Curry Guide… the Staff Curry

IMG_7178Are you fed up with the same old menu choices when you go out for a curry? Ask the waiter if you can try the Kitchen (or Staff) Curry – the curry the chef will have cooked for the staff to eat when the night’s work is over. This is unlikely to be a dish you will find on the menu; it’s most probably a dish from the home region of the chef and it will be different every day. There’s not always some spare but if there is then most restaurants are usually more than happy for you to try the dish. Obviously if you are eating early you may be out of luck as the Kitchen Curry may not be underway until later in the evening!


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Curry Guide… Madras

If you walked into a restaurant in Madras (now called Chennai) in India and ordered a “Madras” you’d almost certainly be met with a blank look. It’d be the same as walking into a restaurant in the English capital and asking for a “London”.

The Madras is a British invention and its connotations with “hot” stem from the traders and soldiers who were in the city from the time the British arrived in 1640. Not only do South Indians love spicy food but the city is extremely hot and humid, with temperatures usually over 30°C (86°F) and frequently reaching 40°C (104°F).IMG_1359

Those early ex-pats would have brought back the tastes of India when they returned home with their pots of spice mixes, or early curry powders. As there were no standard for these spice mixes (just as not all curry powders are the same today), it’s possible that the mixes with a little bit extra zing were called “Madras” to acknowledge their extra heat.

The early Indian restaurant owners in Britain carried through this thinking by adding their own hotter mixes or more chilli powder to their standard curry to create the Madras Curry and why today many people are able to order virtually any dish on the menu and ask the chef to make it “Madras hot”.


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Recipe… Handi Chicken

Handi Chicken.jpg

Handi Chicken
Serves 4

What you need
• 3 tsp ghee
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
• 3 whole chillies
• 3 onions sliced
• 2 tsp ginger paste
• 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 1 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• 1 tsp dried fenugreek
• salt to taste
• 750g chicken cut into bite-sized chunks
• 5-6 tomatoes chopped
• 1½ cup plain yoghurt
• 1 cup cream
• Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

How you cook it
1. Heat ghee in a pan.
2. Add the cumin seeds, crushed coriander, whole chillies and fry for 20 seconds (to test if ghee is hot enough put in one cumin seed. It should sizzle immediately).
3. Add the onions and fry until they are golden brown.
4. Add the ginger paste, chopped garlic, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, dried fenugreek, salt and stir well.
5. Add in the chicken and cook until all the pieces are white (but not fully cooked). This should take about five minutes.
6. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
7. Add in the yoghurt, cream and most of the fresh coriander (keep a small bit for the garnish), stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Ensure that the chicken is cooked through.
8. Once ready put into a serving bowl and garnish with the remainder of the fresh coriander.
9. Serve with rice, chapati and a yoghurt and tomato raita.

Kedar
Recipe by Kedar Chandra, chef at Pakbo restaurant in Flic en Flac, Mauritius.

 


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Curry Guide… Dosas

Pathiri (dosa)
Dosas
are a type of pancake and are particularly popular in South India, which is where they originate from. Ingredients are simple enough, with rice and black gram soaked in water, then ground to form a batter but the skill is in the creation because the perfect dosa will be paper-thin like a crêpe. They can be eaten plain, coated in ghee or stuffed with other ingredients like potato. Dosas make a great starter or snack and are usually served with chutneys.

 


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Recipe… Gateaux Piment (Chilli Cakes)

 

Gato Piment 4 Low Res

Gateaux Piment (Chilli Cakes)
This is a popular street-food snack in Mauritius, which is sold in small shops or from homes of people looking to earn a bit of extra income. It is particularly popular at breakfast time. You may also see these advertised as Gato Pima, which is the Creole spelling of the snack.

Enough for about 15 pieces

What you need
• Half a cup of yellow split peas (soak in water overnight and drained)
• 1 onion finely chopped
• 2 spring onions chopped
• Pinch of cumin powder
• 1 or 2 chopped chillies (to your taste)
• 1 tsp salt
• 4 tbls cooking oil

How you cook it
1. Grind split peas to a paste. Use a little water if necessary.
2. Add all the other ingredients (except the oil) to the peas and mix.
3. Form the mixture into small (about 2cm diameter) flat pancakes. Use a little water in order to bind the pancakes, if necessary.
4. Heat oil on a medium heat.
5. Add the pancakes, turning occasionally, and cook until golden brown.
6. Drain the pancakes and remove any excess oil with kitchen paper. Serve with bread and butter or your favourite chutney.

Gato Piment 1Gato Piment 2

Gato Piment 3


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Curry Guide… Choosing Rice

Don’t treat your order of rice as an afterthought. Choosing the right rice should enhance your meal. If you are ordering a special dish (or a really hot one) stick to Plain Rice or  Pilau Rice so you don’t have tastes competing with the flavours (or heat) of your main dish. If you are looking for more flavours on the table then go for a rice that really adds something to your dish rather than something that just soaks up the sauce.

• You’ve ordered somIMG_6913ething hot, like Vindaloo or Madras… then go for Plain Rice or the lightly spiced Pilau Rice to give yourself some respite from the blast.

• You’ve ordered something smooth like Korma or Tikka Masala… then go for Lemon Rice for a sharp taste to cut through the cream.

• You’ve ordered a medium-spiced lamb dish like Karahi Lamb… then go for Coconut Rice as its subtle flavours complement the strong, robust taste of the red meat.

• You’ve ordered Biryani… then go for, ahem, you won’t be needing any extra rice with this one.


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Outstanding Contribution to Curry: Karri Twist

The inaugural Md Azifur Rahman Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Curry Community in the Greenwich Curry Club Awards 2018, sponsored by the Spice Card, goes to Karri Twist (New Cross). Pictured below: Tazkia Rahman, grandaughter of Md Afizur Rahman, who opened the restaurant in 1957.

Pictured: Tazkia Rahman with customer Roger Hepworth, who has been eating in Karri Twist since the 1960s.