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Mexican Curry July 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, People, Vegetarian Recipes.

Although my mother’s love of sewing escaped me, I did inherit her love of cooking.  From a  young age, I loved to help in the kitchen.

Perched on a stool, dressed in a handmade smocked dress with matching pinafore, I would assist by cutting out cookies, and placing them on cookie sheets.

As I got older, I helped with meal preparation, and occasionally planned whole menus.  My mother was more than willing to share her kitchen with me . . . until I started deviating from her tried and true recipes.

Growing up, a milkman delivered milk to our house a few mornings each week.

Early in the morning, he would drive up the driveway, walk around to the back door with milk bottles clanking, and deposit fresh milk in the insulated milkbox.

Once a year, the dairy printed a calendar with recipes featuring dairy products ~ milk, cream, butter and eggs.  Since my mother did most of the cooking, and had a full repertoire of recipes, the calendar generally gathered dust.

One day, during a curry phase, I glanced through the calendar for recipe ideas and stumbled across a recipe for Curried Hotdogs.  Wow!  I looked over the instructions (easy!) and ingredients (nothing more exotic than curry).  I couldn’t wait to try it.

As I started assembling the ingredients, my mother walked into the kitchen, “What are you making?”  I handed her the recipe.  She stared at it and quite articulately said, “Yuck.”

I grabbed the recipe back from her, “It sounds wonderful.  We all love hotdogs and I love curry.  It’s going to be great.”

She looked disapprovingly at the ingredients assembled on the counter, “Why don’t you make something else?”

“Because I want to make this.  Nobody tells you what to cook.  If you don’t want to eat it, you don’t have to eat it, but this is what I’m making.”

I proceeded with the recipe:  I sautéed onions and peppers in vegetable oil.  I added flour and curry to the oil to make a paste.  I stirred in tomato sauce and milk, gradually, to prevent the sauce from curdling.  I sliced the hotdogs on the diagonal (to add a fancy touch) and added them to the simmering mixture.

I slow cooked the concoction for 45 minutes, until the hotdogs plumped up and the sauce thickened.  I cooked a pot of rice to serve under the fragrant curry.

My older brother, Jim, walked into the kitchen, “What’s for dinner?”

My mother made a face and replied derisively, “Curried Hotdogs.”

Jim walked over to the post, and stirred the mixture, “You should have left out the onions and peppers, but it smells good.”

I beamed.  Coming from Jim, that was high praise ~ high praise, indeed.

My mother snorted, “He hasn’t tasted it yet.”

As my siblings appeared, they looked at the curry and started to make special requests.  Betsy wanted hotdogs and sauce, no rice.  Jim wanted hotdogs, sauce, and rice, but no onions or peppers.  Doug, the most adventurous, made no special requests.

I carefully ladled out their dinners and carried bowls of curry to the table.

As I blew on my first forkful to cool it, I anxiously awaited their verdict.

Mom stood on the sidelines (like the Grinch) waiting for the Whos down to Whoville to all cry, “Boo hoo.”

They didn’t!

The Cumberland Farms Dairy had printed a winner in its calendar that year.  Hotdog Curry was a hit ~ a homerun!  We all loved it.

In fact, forty years later, we still make it.  Jim omits the onions and peppers, and doubles up on the hotdogs.  I omit the hotdogs and substitute corn, broccoli, carrots, and celery.  But the sauce remains the same ~ tomato sauce and milk thickened with flour and flavored with curry powder.

Even Betsy, who is not a fan of curry, or rice, often cooked it for guests who always gave it rave reviews.

220px-Carrots_of_many_colorsMEXICAN CURRY

2 Tbsp. salad or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped,
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
10 oz. frozen corn
1 head of broccoli, chopped
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
8 oz. tomato sauce (or 2-3 chopped tomatoes)

Saute vegetables in oil until softened.  Add curry and flour to make a paste.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir in milk and tomato sauce (or tomatoes).  Gently simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes.  Serve over rice.

For Vegans:   I’ve made this without milk and it’s quite good, especially with all the yummy veggies.  Think Tomato soup vs. Cream of Tomato soup.

For hotdog lovers, add a 1 lb. package of diagonally-sliced hot dogs once the mixture comes to a simmer.   If you must, follow Jim’s lead and omit any of the vegetables that don’t appeal to you.

Related recipes and posts:  Harvest Soup * Veggie Stir FryVeggie Kabobs * Zucchini Boats Versatile Pasta Salad * Mango Salsa * Yummy Hummus  * Bon Appetit! * Bruschetta Ten Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet  


1. Paula - July 8, 2010

I like the looks/sound of that one…like you when you were younger! My Mom was always great about having me (or anyone else) in the kitchen too. The only time I ever remember her insisting on anything (other than, “You mess it, you clean it, no exceptions!) was when Thoumma, the mother in a family of Laotians who lived with my folks for about a year, acclimating to the US, wanted to use the bottled fish sauce that is so popular in Asian cuisine. Thoumma was an EXCELLENT cook, and we always loved her cooking, but my Mom would get ill just at the smell of the fish sauce, and couldn’t be around it at all. So Thoumma adjusted her recipes when Mom was around…for the rest of us, it was “pour it on!”

nrhatch - July 8, 2010

My mother had no qualms encouraging us to try snails, octopus, squid, and other squishy things . . . but this recipe offended her sensibilities.

To each, his own. : )

2. cindy - July 8, 2010

Made me hungry and gave me a smile, nice memory 🙂

nrhatch - July 8, 2010

Aah, those were the days . . . I can’t imagine baking cookies in a smocked dress and pinafore these days. : )

3. Paula - July 8, 2010

We always had “exotic foods.” You are not going to appreciate this particular mention, but admit it – at least none of the cow was wasted!: one of my Dad’s favorite breakfasts (we’re talking 50+ years ago) was calf’s brains and eggs. You just scramble them up together in the pan. Even if I wanted some now, I don’t know where I would go to get them! Dad also loved scrapple, something that I could take or leave, but usually left! Plus a lot of other “poor folks” foods…both my parents grew up in relative poverty in addition to living through the depression, so you ate what was available!

My Dad’s favorite thing to cook, though, and he passed the recipe and tradition down to me, was gumbo, (we used to live in ‘cajun country) which of course was one of the original “poor folks” meals. I still make it, and always feel my Dad looking over my shoulder, watching and smiling!

nrhatch - July 8, 2010

I didn’t even like scrambled eggs . . . so I’ll pass on your dad’s breakfast choices. : )

I love simple “peasant” food from around the world . . . fresh local ingredients, prepared in season, with fragrant sauces.

Gumbo, Paella, Jambalaya, Curries, Stir Fries, etc. ~ and I’ve made vegetarian versions of each.

4. Paula - July 8, 2010

Usually make my gumbo with seafood and chicken breasts (mainly for the stock, but I use a good fish stock sometimes, and/or clam juice), and I also love it vegetarian, which I make sometimes…plus I’m a big fan of anything spicy – VERY spicy and hot – and stir fries, etc. (Most especially Asian and Mexican) My Dad made a really great “dirty rice,” as well as Jumbalaya…I have not made those, however, because the ONE unfortunate fact of my married life is that my husband cannot eat spicy-hot or highly spiced foods…they just wreck his stomach. I like my gumbo spicy-hot, so when I make it, I always take some out for him before I load it up with the good stuff!

nrhatch - July 8, 2010

I’ve made a delicious Dirty Rice with Boca sausage patties ~ vegetarian, not too spicy, and scrumptious!

I keep Tabasco sauce and red pepper flakes around to spice up my meals because Bill doesn’t enjoy the spicier side of life as much as me.

5. Liz - June 27, 2011

So glad you posted this recipe, I have been looking for it for years. My Sister & I made this in the late 70s early 80s and we loved it, but as the years passed she lost the calender the recipe was on, tried to make it a couple times by memory but it wasnt just right, Now I cant wait to make it, Thank you thank you…

Liz - June 27, 2011

Oh I forget to put on what recipe ( Mexican Curry) the curried hot dog wieners, dont knock it til ya try it

6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - September 19, 2011

Thanks for sharing this link with me. No peppers and onions! I don’t think my mom would’ve discouraged me from cooking when I was younger. Well, she wasn’t a fan of hot dogs… so maybe.

nrhatch - September 19, 2011

My mom encouraged me to cook . . . but she wanted veto power over what was served in HER kitchen. 😀

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