This blog is supposed to be about food as well as beer, so I’d better do something about a food post!
Curry is important. Sadly, most British restaurants and take aways, and also manufacturers of curry type products in supermarkets are just rubbish. The items they sell or serve are adaptations of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi dishes more suited to the British palate.
I like proper curry, and unfortunately, most restaurants round here fall into the British curry category. Getting proper curry means visiting somewhere like Karachi in Bradford or Tayyabs in London. The other alternative is to make your own!
There are a few techniques for curry making, but these can be easily mastered. Buying all the separate spices can be a little expensive, especially if you buy them in decent size quantities but once you’ve got them, they’re there for future use.
I tend to use a base recipe and then just modify it depending what curry I fancy, but I thought I’d post a couple of recipes I quite like. I’ll also have the address noted down somewhere in case I lose it!
Daal / Dal / Dhal – spell it how you like. This quick and easy way to make dal. I usually leave the curry leaves out as they can be quite tricky to get hold of.
Vindaloo – Vindaloo in English restaurants is just any old curry stuffed with chillis. Proper vindaloo is based on a Portuguese stew made with loads of garlic and vinegar too and although I’ve never tried it in India, I think this is probably very close to what it should be. Yes, it is hot, but not enough to stop you eating it! One thing to note is that it’s made with pork. Many Indians do not eat pork, but in the area of India that this dish originates, a great deal of the people are Christians and do eat pork. As most ‘Indian’ restaurants in Britain are run by Pakistanis or Bangladeshis, you’ll never find pork there!
Daal Recipe (Vindaloo recipe further down…
Ingredients: (for 2 hungry people)
200g split red lentils
6 curry leaves
1 green chilli, chopped
½ tsp brown mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp salt
pinch of asafoetida (if you dont have this, you can use half a finely chopped onion & 2 cloves of garlic, also finely chopped.)
What to do next:
Bring 500ml water to boil in a large saucepan. Add lentils and return water to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes until mushy. Make sure lentils do not burn and add extra water if necessary (which I had to do, in small amounts).
Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add curry leaves, chilli, mustard seeds, turmeric, salt and asafoetida. Fry, stirring constantly for 30 seconds or until the spices splutter. Again, make sure they do not burn.
If you are using chopped onions and garlic instead of the asafoetida, then fry these first until golden brown before adding the other ingredients.
Stir into lentils, cook for another 2 minutes and serve! A little sprinkle of sea salt was needed.
INGREDIENTS (feeds 4-6 people)
1kg of Pork (preferably pork butt/shoulder)
For the Marinade
120ml palm vinegar (or white vinegar if you can’t find palm)
4cms ginger, peeled
4 fresh chillies finely minced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 black cardamoms (optional)
SPICES (If you don’t have whole spices, use pre ground, just make sure they are fresh)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
2 tsp chilli powder (kashmiri if possible)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
1 tsp gugar
½ tsp salt
1 large onion (sliced)
Oil for frying
Trim the pork of excess fat, cut into 2cm cubes and place in a bowl.
Blend the ginger, chilli and garlic to a fine paste with a little water and salt and pour over the pork, massaging well into the meat.
Add the palm vinegar to the bowl and massage into the meat.
Roast the whole spices in a pan and toast until they begin to release their scent.
Grind them and add all the other ingredients except the onion.
Pour over the pork and massage well into the meat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least two hours. This allows the spices to penetrate and the vinegar to help tenderise the tougher cut of meat.
When ready to cook, heat a little oil in a deep sided pan and fry the onions until golden.
Pour the entire contents of the bowl into the pan (watch out for the waft of vinegar steam that will shoot up.
Add 250ml of water, stir well and reduce the heat.
Cover the pan and allow to simmer on a low heat for about three hours, checking to see when the meat is cooked and that it does not catch at the bottom of the pan. If it does, add a little more water.
After two hours, remove the lid to allow the sauce to reduce. The end result should be quite a dry curry, perfect to serve with plain white rice.