Rice and Curry

My favourite recipe is Rice and Curry. I learned how to make it from my mother. She learned how to make it from missionaries on furlough.

When I was young and growing up on the farm near Winkler, we went to the Mennonite Brethren Church in town. That church sponsored missionaries to foreign lands who came back to Canada every seven years. My parents cultivated friendships with these missionaries, especially the Dyck family back from India when I was seven years old.

My uncle Abe Kroeker had a big house in Winkler and prepared a huge party with the Dycks as special guests. Part of the evening was a meal of rice and curry prepared by Mrs. Dyck. Then they would show slides of India. Since going to a picture show was still verboten, I thought it pretty neat to be seeing slides on a screen. The stories they told were fascinating.

Even though the Dycks were the stars, a quartette in which Ubcle Abe and my Dad sang, performed for the guests during dessert. One of their best songs was “Shall We Gather At The River.”

At the end of the evening all the women, including my mother, got copies of the rice and curry recipe.

My mother took it home and softened the spicy bite down from what we had eaten at Uncle Abe’s place, and through the years made it often so that it became one of our family favorites.

Little did I know at the time it was the missionaries’ way of raising money for their next seven years abroad. They would cook rice and curry in homes across Canada and the United States.

One Christmas when I went home from California, I asked my mother:

“Are you going to make rice and curry?”

She did. That time I sat at the kitchen table watching her and writing down the ingredients. Since then, through my own years with my own family, I have made it often, becoming known as the chef supreme when it comes to rice and curry. (Ask 10 other rice and curry chefs how to make it, and you’ll have 10 other supremes!)

However, there is one difference between Uncle Abe’s dinner and mine. I put on Sheherazade during dessert, not a gospel quartette singing “Shall We Gather At The River.”

Rice and Curry Recipe

The Curry
2 lbs hamburger
1 lb ground pork
3 onions diced
3 cans diced tomatoes
3 tbspn curry powder
3 tbspn vinegar
3 tbspn stevia
1 star aniseed
Dash oregano
Dash cumin
Dash parsley
Dash garlic powder
Dash basil
Dash rosemary
Dash cilantro

½ cup whipping cream

3 cups rice

Reserved diced onions
Reserved diced tomatoes
1 tspn vinegar
1 tspn stevia
Dash of spices
(not aniseed or curry powder)


Fry the onions golden brown. Add the meat and fry until done, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer. Add water or tomato juice if the curry gets dry. Serve on cooked rice. Condiments are chutney, nuts and bananas. Add cream just before serving.

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