Sometimes a curry can be light and healthy.
A tricky thing to do is to photograph white rice with a contrasting top and keep all the detail. There are lots of things you can do in photoshop to make that easier. We are all about doing what makes the most sense, and in most cases using a layer or two, and a few brush strokes is the way to go. But sometimes we go back to a day when photographers were required to do things in camera.
We did this in this shot. To start, when we have a very heavy saucy item like this, we need to get great highlights that feature the sauce. We started by putting a soft light source above our set for some very subtle large unbroken highlights on the top. Then we brought 2 point light sources from either side in the rear. This gave us the specular highlights.
This started to make the sauce look saucy, but the shot was very contrasty and not what we were looking for. So to start controlling the contrast, we brought in a soft light source from the left side, which gave a little direction and opened up the shot greatly. But the right side was still a little dark, so we filled with a white card.
With all this light flying around, the curry was looking great, but the rice was blown out. So we set up screens on armiture wire and flagged the light with bricks and cloth.
The reason we did it this way instead of photoshop was for 2 reasons. 1, because it’s fun and 2, because we shot the sauce as it was moving. This was a very fluid shot, meaning that if something moved, we couldn’t easily brush in another layer. So we took a little more time in the stand in part of this shot to make sure everything would capture in camera.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 4-ounce can or jar yellow curry paste
- 3/4 pound pineapple, peeled, cut into 1/2″-thick
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 blood orange, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3), peeled, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 13.5-ounce or 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- Chopped fresh basil and cilantro
- Almond slivers to taste
- Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pineapple, onion, and blood orange and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes, chicken, coconut milk, and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Divide curry among bowls and top with herbs.
- Top with greens of choice and almonds