A Spicy Variety Of Savory Curries

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - March 01, 2006
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Until it was recently surpassed by The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS was the longest-running musical in Broadway history. Army Community Theatre at Fort Shafter is making Hawaii history again as the first community-based group to present the big hit.

CATS is running now through March 11 at Richardson Theatre and is a treat for people of all ages. Cats of all descriptions come to life on the stage, dancing on the military junkyard set and singing the worlds of T.S. Eliot’s Old
Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

No cat has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide more than Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, a down-on-her-luck, aging diva who sings the show’s most memorable song, Memory.

Sarah Barratt Markovits, a newcomer to Honolulu, is making her ACT debut in the role. The newest member of the faculty at the University of Hawaii Music Department, she moved to Oahu from Seattle just in time for the fall 2005 semester. In addition to her work at UH, she also teaches privately, and a voice class at Punahou. With credits from many operas and such shows as The Mikado on the Mainland, Sarah wowed director Vanita Rae Smith with her talent.

This week’s column is dedicated to Sarah, a Mililani resident and a welcome addition to the local arts scene.

The term “curry” refers to a blend of spices, as well as meat, fish and vegetable dishes that highlight this seasoning. Curry can contain as little as five to as many as 50 ingredients, with 15 to 20 spices most commonly used. Almost all curries contain cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Curry may also feature mace, aniseed, caraway, fennel, bay leaf, poppy seeds, saffron, or mustard seeds. Cooks in Sri Lanka add coconut milk, and in Thailand curries sometimes contain shrimp paste. The intensity of the curry varies with the amount of hot pepper in the blend, and can be mild to very hot.

Curry is available in most supermarkets in powder and paste forms, and the nutritional value varies according to the type and ingredients.

Serve this aromatic curry with naan or pita bread and a tossed green salad for a satisfying and delicious change of pace.

Frozen vanilla yogurt with sliced fresh strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate syrup completes the meal.


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 teaspoons curry powder
* 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into medium-size pieces
* 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (low-salt)
* 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 3 shallots, finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon chili powder
* salt, to taste
* water, as needed

In a large stew pot, heat oil with curry powder and cumin on medium heat, until aroma is pungent. Stir in cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, shallots, chili powder and salt to taste. Cover and cook 40 to 50 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender, adding water if necessary to maintain a stew-like consistency.

Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 220 Total Fat: 5 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: about 400 milligrams, depending on salt added

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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