Curry the wrong way round

This recipe is is adapted from one Rick Stein used when he visited the famous Karachi Restaurant in Bradford, one of Bradford’s oldest curry houses.

They don’t do the plethora of silly named curries (pathia, dopiaza…) but just plain ‘chicken curry’, ‘chicken and potatoes’, ‘lamb and spinach’ and so on…

Feel free to adapt it to your taste.  Have a few goes at making it until you find it to your taste.

Chop 3 large onions roughly and fry in ghee or oil.

When onions are softened and just turning golden, whizz in the pan with 6 cloves of garlic and 2 tsp chopped ginger, a tin of tomatoes and 3/4 tin of water.  When this is well and truly whizzed, add your choice of meat – lamb on the bone using small lamb chops is excellent – the insides of 6 cardamon pods and salt and cook for 30 mins or so.  You could also add potatoes at this point too.  If you are using chicken breast, add it after this 30 minutes cooking time.

When the half hour is up, add the dry spices – 2tsp each of cumin and coriander, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp turmeric, 2tsp chilli powder and a couple of roughly chopped tomatoes (quite big pieces)

After another 10 mins or so of cooking, or when the oil starts to show on top of the gravy (yes – that’s the correct name, not sauce) add a huge handful of fresh spinach or a few ‘pellets’ of frozen chopped spinach and some roughly chopped coriander.  When this is wilted and the frozen lumps defrosted and heated through, add 1tsp garam masala.  To lift the flavour even more, add some Mr Naga chilli pickle.  Mr Naga is hot – there’s no escaping this, but the flavour and aroma even half a teaspoon adds is amazing.

Curry in a hurry!

Curry in less than 20 minutes? Here’s how.

The recipe featured on Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Curry Nation’ and was cooked by Mumtaz Khan Akbar of Mumtaz restaurant fame.

No actual recipe was given, so the amounts are guess work

Place the following into a cold wok

– 2 chicken breasts diced or sliced. I often use 3 or 4 chicken thighs instead
– 1 large onion very finely chopped or ‘whizzed’ in a food processor, along with ginger and 4 or 5 garlic cloves and a chilli if you want it hot
– 1/2 a 500g carton of passata
– large pinch of salt
– yogurt – I don’t know how much – I just use a ‘blob’
– 1/2 tsp asafoetida (not essential)
– 1/2 mug cold water.

Turn the wok on, bring to the boil and cook for 5-7 mins on a high heat.

Reduce the heat and add the spices – he used about a dessert spoon – maybe a bit more of ‘basar’ – if you don’t have that then use a heaped teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, paprika and garam masala and about half a teaspoon each of turmeric, fenugreek and chilli. Feel free to add more to taste! Also add another ‘blob’ of yogurt and 2 chopped tomatoes. At this point he also added a ladle full of oil! I don’t and the curry’s still fine though probably doesn’t taste quite as good. Lower the heat, cook for another 5 mins and add some chopped coriander just before serving. Feel free to add frozen peas at the end, or frozen spinach or tinned chickpeas when you add the spices.

Note: The amounts of spice are to your personal taste – I often use more than what I’ve said here.

Basar (or Basaar) can be found in all good Indian shops – in Doncaster, the shop at the bottom of Chequer Road sells it, as does Pak supermarket in Rotherham.

An easy curry recipe…

Time for a curry recipe. There’s not really a ‘name’ for it.

Slice a couple of medium onions (use more if they’re smaller) thinly and fry in 2 tsp of oil and a good pinch of salt. I use a nonstick wok but any large pan will do. Before they begin to burn, add a splash of water and continue to cook. Keep adding water and cooking until they become soft and medium/dark brown. Add 2 or 3 tsp ginger garlic paste (or the equivalent fresh) and 1tsp of fennel seeds and carry on cooking.

Once the onions are rich and brown, add 2tsp coriander powder, 2tsp cumin powder, 1tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, 1tsp fenugreek powder, 1tsp garam masala, 1 tsp fenugreek powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tsp paprika* and some salt. The mixture will be quite dry so add enough water to form a thin paste and cook for a few minutes until the water evaporates. Add around 125ml plain yogurt (I use fat free), mix well and cook for a bit longer.

If adding meat or potatoes, add them now. cook for 5 mins or so and add water to make the gravy a curry like consistency. From now, the curry will need to be cooked for about another 20 mins, or it won’t hurt if you cook it longer. If adding pre cooked vegetables such as peas, kidney beans, chick peas etc, add them 10 mins before the end. Also add another 1tsp garam masala now too. Check the seasoning and serve.

I think chicken (thighs) work well with this, but white fish would work well do. Try it and see what you like!

* increase or decrease spices to taste, especially chilli powder.


Over the last few years, a trip out involving curry has been on the agenda for New Year’s Day and this year was no exception, except that we went on January 2 instead!

Prashad, Bradford

86 Horton Grange Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 2DW
Mon closed; Tue-Fri 11-15, 18-22.30; Sat-Sun 11-22.30
01274 575893

Update – Prashad have moved. Read here

Prashad is a back street curry house (but on a main road) in a not particularly posh bit of Bradford where we had to exercise caution parking due to the amount of glass on the road.

Has that put you off? No? Oh well, read on…

Prashad recently featured in the final (and the preceding heats too) of Ramsay’s Best Restaurants and was just pipped at the post by the winning restaurant. That must be a bit of a clue to how good it is.

We arrived a touch early and were shown across the road to the ‘Punjab Lounge’ – a bit like a doctor’s waiting room but with the walls adorned with awards and a special display case full of Ramsey-ana! Sat behind the desk was the chatty waiter who now appears to be receptionist / front of house.

Soon we were seated in the restaurant and choosing our meals.

Even the poppadoms were a bit different – they were home made and made into a cone shape, served with a selection of chutneys and pickles.

Starters came in the shape of the ‘Mixed Platter’. I can’t really remember everything, but they all were absolutely stunning.

For main course, we shared Bhinda (okra) and Black Eyes Beans, with Jemma having Kichdi and me roti, all washed down with mango lassi. Again, the food was faultless, apart from the roti being a tad on the small side. The food was well spiced, but not overly hot. The blend of a just a few spices in both the dishes was just right.

Service was good too – the waiters were friendly and helpful but not pushy.

Unfortunately, part of the restaurant that used to be their sweet centre and deli has been converted into a restaurant seating area. They’re also looking for new premises, possibly in the Harrogate area. I just hope this doesn’t detract from their concept of excellent homestyle food.

Overall opinion? I’ll be back!


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
45g butter
6 curry leaves
1 green chilli, chopped
½ tsp brown mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp salt
pinch of asafoetida (if you don’t 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.
Vindaloo Recipe

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)
5 cloves
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.