ALERT: This is not one of my usual recipes for one. So if you are looking for great low calorie recipes for one, pop down to the bottom of the page for some inspiration. But if you want a bit of a food history lesson read on!
One of the recipes that my Mum shared with me when I was staying with her was my Nanna’s recipe for curried corned beef. I will say up front that this is not a gourmet recipe, using both tinned meat and tinned vegetables and it looks a bit dodgy. But it tastes pretty damn good and what I found particularly fascinating about the recipe, is that it is one my Nanna made during World War II in an attempt to get flavor in to wartime food.
I have always loved history – it was my favourite subject at high school – so how I ended up as an accountant is a bit of a mystery to me. I probably couldn’t see how I could make a living out of history. One of the things I loved about history was trying to get a feeling for how ordinary people lived during momentous events. And what better way to do that than through understanding what people were eating. I loved the show the BBC broadcast called The Supersizers Go which looked at people ate over history. Some of it was quite frightening!
And what could be better than a family twist to that history. This dish is not curry in the sense of traditional Indian or Thai curry. It isn’t very spicy, it is a bit like the Japanese Chicken Curry, it is more comfort food curry. My Dad loves this curry, it is one of his favourites. Plus it is definitely a budget meal.
This recipe is from England and the corned beef is the typical corned beef you find there in tins – as well as here in Australia. I have had a bit of a look on the interwebs and in the US there seems to be more options, a sliced version bought at the deli and a version in a can. I think the canned version is very similar but I can’t make any promises. I also had to quiz Mum on the pimento – it is not the small red chilli but is like a peppercorn. When ground it is often called allspice bu this is the non ground version.
It served with boiled potatoes that soak up the juices and a mint and lemon juice sauce. Preparation time is about 10 minutes. To cook this takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes,though most of that time the curry is just sitting on the stove simmering away – perfect for a wet Sunday afternoon.
To make the lemon and mint sauce, take a bunch of mint, using just the leaves, chop them finely. Add 1 tsp of sugar and then add enough freshly squeezed lemon juice until a thin sauce is made.
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 tbs olive oil or butter
- 1 (2 inch) piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 tin (400g) of mixed vegetables with liquid
- 1 cup of skim milk
- 1 tin (340g) of corned beef, cut into chunks
- 6 cloves
- 6 pimento (allspice but not ground)
- 2 tbs of curry powder
- 1/2 tsp of paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Combine all the ingredients of the spice mix and mix with a little bit of water to form a paste. The spices won't breakdown, it is more to get them combined well.
- Heat the olive oil (or butter) in a saucepan over a medium-low heat.
- Add the onions and cook them slowly in the olive oil until they are translucent and very soft, 5- 10 minutes.
- Add the spice paste, ginger and cinnamon stick to the onion and stir well.
- Add the tin of mixed vegetables with their liquid to the pan.
- Add the skimmed milk to the pan
- Stir well and simmer for at least 2 hours, adding more milk if necessary.
- About 10 minutes before you are read to serve add the corned beef and continue simmering.
- Serve with plain boiled potatos and a mint and lemon juice sauce.