Does your family have a recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation? My husband’s family has a slew of famous family gems: decadent pumpkin pie, savory spaghetti sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, moist Thanksgiving stuffing… the mouth-watering list goes on and on.
In my family, there is one recipe that’s been passed down, but one recipe is all we need. And so begins our love story…
Catherine, or Kitty, as her friends called her, was born and raised in Manchester, England. Petite and pretty, Kitty was a young woman who loved to sing, dance, and act. She was full of passion and life, with a sprinkle of cheekiness.
Soon after World War II ended, she met Bud, a tall and handsome American soldier who was stationed in England. They had a whirlwind courtship and fell head over heels for each other. She knew it was true love, and invited Bud to her home to meet her family. Kitty made Curry and Rice for dinner, an Indian dish which was gaining popularity in Britain after the war. She served the meal with cornbread and a knob of butter.
One bite of Kitty’s delicious Curry and Rice was all it took for Bud to confirm what he already knew: he was in love! Soon after, they were married and expecting their first child. While Kitty was pregnant, they received the news they knew would eventually come: Bud’s tour of duty in England was over, and he was to be stationed in his hometown back in the States.
Kitty stayed in Manchester until her baby was born. When her little one was only six weeks old, she and her new daughter made the courageous journey to the United States of America by ship. The years went by, and Kitty proudly became a US citizen. She and Bud had four more children. They raised their family in a little white house with an apple tree in the front yard and garden in the back. Kitty crocheted, sang Englebert Humperdinck songs, and visited the beauty parlor once a week. She made Curry and Rice as often as she could, because it reminded her of the day she and Bud fell in love.
Kitty and Bud are my grandparents, and while they probably didn’t fall in love over Curry and Rice, everything else is true! I can’t imagine being a young wife and mother and making the journey alone to a new country. She was brave and zesty, and I love her so very much. She taught me how to crochet, dance, and drink tea with a splash of milk. Whenever I make Curry and Rice, the distinctive aroma takes me back to my grandmother and mother’s kitchens. Talk about the ultimate comfort food!
Curry and Rice is not a fancy dish. Most recipes use chicken with curry, but ours uses beef. It’s a stew of sorts, with ground beef, potatoes, and peas over rice, with a light curry sauce and brightened with a squeeze of lemon. One of the things my mom loves about the recipe is that it’s inexpensive and easy, and you can make it as mild or spicy as your heart desires! There’s enough for leftovers, and it tastes great the next day.
I’m excited to share with you the recipe that makes people fall in love: Curry and Rice!
- 1 1/2 cups white rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 5 or 6 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Water to cover
- Thai Kitchen brand green curry paste, 4 oz. bottle (gluten free)
- 1 can peas (do not drain juice) or 12 oz frozen peas
- 2-3 lemons, cut into quarters
- Salt and Pepper
- To cook rice, add rice, water and salt to sauce pan. Stir. Bring to a boil and stir again. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove lid and take a few grains of rice out of the center. Taste test to see if done. If water is absorbed and grains are soft, the rice is ready. Remove from heat and keep covered until curry is done.
- In a large pot, brown ground beef. Drain fat.
- Add cubed potatoes and enough water to cover potatoes and beef.
- Add curry. For mild curry, add 1/2 bottle of curry paste. For medium, add 3/4 bottle, and for hot, add the whole bottle (I use 3/4 of a bottle).
- Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook covered for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, add one can of peas with juice, or frozen peas. Continue to simmer.
- Cook for 5 more minutes, or when potatoes are done. Potatoes are done when you can stick a fork through a potato cube.
- In a bowl, add approximately 1/2 cup of rice.
- Using a ladle, pour one ladle full of curry over rice, then add 1/2 ladle full of the curry juice.
- Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
Serve with cornbread, butter, and honey if desired.
The original recipe calls for S & B brand curry sauce. It comes in a block. My mom uses 1/2 a block in her curry and rice. S & B brand is not gluten free, however, so I use Thai Kitchen brand curry paste.
Here is a picture of the curry paste I use. You can find it in the Asian section of the grocery store. Sprouts, Walmart, and Fry’s (Kroger) carry it:
So, do you have a family recipe that makes your heart (and tummy) happy? Have you had to adjust any recipes due to food allergies? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a message in the comments below. 🙂
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