A Melbourne Grown Curry – Can it be done?

I have a mission!  – To successfully grow all the ingredients for an Indian vegetable curry.

For this I figure at a minimum I need to grow:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander (seed and leaf)
  • Cumin
  • Chilli
  • Tomatoes
  • Plus a vegetable to curry eg potatoes.

As I’ve sown more potatoes than you can poke a stick at, and plan on sowing more in a month or so, this part of the curry should not be a problem.  Even if all my potatoes fail I will just substitute eggplant or beans or anything that I do have when the other ingredients are ready.

Of the other ingredients Tomatoes, Garlic, Chilli and Coriander don’t present too many problems (although as I’ve mentioned before, Melbourne and Coriander usually don’t seem to like each other that much – however I have heaps in the garden at the moment so I am feeling confident!).  I have posted before on my attempts to grow Ginger and feel fairly optimistic that I can again achieve a large enough crop for a curry.  I have also attempted turmeric previously and whilst I didn’t really get much more than I planted I still think it would be sufficient for a meal.  This leaves cumin and most ridiculously onions.

Onions should and do grow well in Melbourne but I sowed mine late, and this is what they currently look like:

Which would be fine (if annoyingly slow) except they are growing right where I want to plant out these:

So the onions are going to have to be eaten as spring onions and the curry experiment may need to go on hold….or not…….as I do have these, planted in convenient location:

Shallots it is then to replace onions, which leaves cumin.

Cumin I really need to do some research on.  My first attempt to grow it entailed sowing some seed my mother had in her pantry (I usually sow seeds at my parents house – they entertain the kids whilst I play in their potting shed).  Interestingly what germinated, and I originally thought was cumin, actually turned out to be grass seed (well I’m pretty sure I grew grass not cumin…).  So either some got into the seed tray (and none of the others I sowed that day) or the cumin I bought had been adulterated with grass seed.  Which has actually got me thinking about how many other spices have been adulterated – perhaps I will sow some and see what pops up.

All this aside and I am no closer to growing any cumin.  So is there anyone out there who has successfully grown cumin, ideally in a temperate climate but frankly any info would be great at this point?  If not lets hope my spice supplier is more trustworthy than my mothers…..

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7 Responses to A Melbourne Grown Curry – Can it be done?

  1. Love this idea, but sorry I’m absolutely not help on the cumin front. Good luck with it.

  2. Johanna GGG says:

    great challenge – would that make it a 10 footstep meal rather than a 100 mile meal? I am impressed at all you have grown as I don’t have much in my pots. I don’t know about growing cumin but I could advise that you look around at some simple curry recipes and I am sure there would be ones without cumin. Sometimes eating local means cutting the pattern to fit the cloth. My neighbour has lemongrass growing wild (well untended) so maybe our climate is more suited to that of the thai curry if you are looking for another challenge!

    • Liz says:

      I though about a thai curry – I too have lots of lemongrass…..but I really enjoy Indian cooking hence the desire to grow Indian. I really like cumin and it is fairly central to most basic curry recipes which is why I want to keep trying but I do think you’re right – cuisines adapt to meet what their surroundings can supply and that is how different dishes evolve which is fabulous. Perhaps your right and my goal should be the perfect cumin free curry.

  3. Diana says:

    You have remind me of cumin. I keep on forgetting to grow them. We have the same problem with onion. It so slow to grow and I feel tempted not to grow them anymore due to space problem.

  4. Katie says:

    I’m very impressed that you’ve managed to grow ginger in Melbourne. So far, in Adelaide, I’ve been to chicken to try it (ditto tumeric) but I really should give it a whirl!
    I’m really enjoying reading your blog and your photos 🙂

    • Liz says:

      Thanks Katie, If it grows in Melbourne it certainly should in Adelaide. I bought mine online from Green Harvest but you could probably just use stuff from the market. I’m going to give mine more food and water this year in the hope of a larger crop.

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