I did not grow up with spices. Herbs I know and love, but I am very unfamiliar with spices. So when I ended up with half a can of coconut milk in my fridge that I needed to finish, you might be surprised to know that I decided to make curry.
I looked at 4 or 5 different recipes, then gave them all up, and went from memory of what I had just read. Exciting, no? I looked at my spice rack and grabbed everything that sounded familiar. I think I ended up with a nice curry powder too. Thai or Indian curry you ask? Neither, it was "Nathalie" curry, but lovely nonetheless. I threw in a bit of this, a bit of that based on what I thought smelled nicest. Turmeric smells a little funny to me, so not too much of that, and I'm not huge on anise, so I went easy on the fennel seed. But there's a whole bunch of cumin (my favorite!) and I may have put in about a tablespoon of dried chili peppers. Um, yes, it was spicy.
I also had a bit of pre-made curry powder, but I thought this would be a fun time to experiment, so I made my own and compared. Mine was a bit less sweet and a bit more intense. Hmm, maybe it was those chili peppers...
Anyway, I chopped up some onions, and cooked those with chicken tenders. Once they were cooked, I pulled them out and toasted my curry powder, along with the store bought stuff. I added 4 teaspoons of lime zest (I keep it frozen in ice cube trays) and about 7oz of light coconut milk.
I would have left it at that, but it was so overwhelmingly spicy that I had to add about a cup of sour cream too. Even with the onions, chicken, and some chickpeas in the sauce it was much too spicy.
So I added about a tablespoon of brown sugar and a can of diced tomatoes. Finally a dish that wasn't so spicy it would burn all my taste buds off! It was pretty tasty, especially for my first spice experimentation. Maybe next time I'll actually use a recipe, though, or at least write down the amounts of ingredients that I used!