5 Best Goa Curries

Curry News

Goa is the smallest state in India yet it is the home to some great curries – often sizzling hot. The Portguese ruled the state for 450 years until 1961 so Goan dishes are often combine flavours from Portugal, Indi and often Africa (where Portugal had other colones). Here are Five of the Best Curries from Goa.


1. Vindaloo

Vindaloo is probably the best known of all Goan dishes and is now eaten all over the world. As the only state with a predominantly Catholic population there are few food taboos so the tradional dish is a slow-cooked Pork Vindaloo with lots of vinegar. British restaurants used the word vindaloo as a byword for very hot curry so although their Lamb Vindaloo, Chicken Vindaloo and Prawn Vindaloo are vastly different to the tradional pork version they have become hugely popular among fans of spicy curries.

2. Chicken Recheade

As much a pickling paste as a curry, Chicken Recheade is made by combining red dried chillies, black pepper, garlic, ginger, and spices with vinegar to form a paste that is used to marinate the chicken then cooked with chopped onions, tomato paste and garam masala. As with many Goan dishes it combines Indian and Portuguese styles of cooking and ingredients.

3. Ambot Tik

Ambot Tik is another hot and spicy dish from Goa that combines Portuguese and Indian flavours. It can be cooked with any any type of fish but popular choices are shark and prawns. If using prawns keep their shells on to soak up the range of flavours. To cook this curry, first create the aromatic masala by dry frying spices, combine with a sauce of onions, tomatoes and tamarind and add the prawns.

4. Goan Fish Curry

Goa’s location along the western coast of the country, by the ArabianSea, means seafood naturally features prominently in its cuisine. Coconut milk, tamarind, juicy white fish and blazing heat from the chillies creates a delicious Goan Fish Curry.

5. Chicken Cafrael

Chicken Cafrael, a simple dish to make – marinate the chicken in a green spice paste, then fry – is another classic curry from Goa. Originating in Africa (probably Mozambique) it was brought to India by the Portuguese. Although this is a dish that traditionally uses chicken legs you can also use bite-sized chunks of chicken.

How to cook… Chicken Livers Curry

Curry News

Serves 4 as a main dish

Often overlooked as an ingredient, chicken livers are excellent when curried. In this Chicken Liver Curry you need to marinate the livers first then cook them in a classic spicy tomato and onion sauce.

What you need…
• 600g chicken livers, washed and drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
• 3 Tablespoons oil
• 1.5 onions, finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, sliced
• 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon coriander powder
• 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 1 Tablespoon tomato paste

Marinade
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 0.25 teaspoon ground black powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 3 Tablespoons chopped coriander
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• Salt to taste

CHEF’S TIP
Soaking the livers in milk before marinating for 30 minutes will remove the bitterness.

How you make it…
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and coat the chicken livers with it. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil to a medium heat and fry the chicken livers until they all brown (about 4-5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onion until it softens (about 5 minutes).
4. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute.
5. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, tomato, tomato paste and a little water, mix well, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
6. Add half the coriander, garam masala and salt and mix well.
7. Add the livers with any juices and stir fry until the are soft and buttery (about 2-3 minutes).
8. Check a piece of liver to ensure it is cooked and once you are happy add the rest of the coriander and serve.

If you like this you should try our
Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Feet Curry (Africa)

People who order this dish never share… They’ll just tell you, “liver my food alone!”

How to cook… Lamb Vindaloo

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Lamb Vindaloo is for curry lovers who are after some serious heat. The restaurant-style Lamb Vindaloo has heat from the peppercorns and chilli, sourness from the vinegar and includes it’s trademark chunks of potato in a thick, dark sauce.

What you need…
• 1 large potato, cut into 5cm chunks (you should have 6-8 of them)
• 2 Tablespoons ghee
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 800g lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 600ml Base Curry Sauce
• 2 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
• salt to taste
• 0.5 onion sliced
• 1.5 Tablespoon vinegar

Spice Mix 1
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon peppercorns
• 0.5 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

Spice Mix 2
• 1 Tablespoon curry powder
• 4 teaspoons chilli powder
• 1 teaspoons turmeric powder
• 1 Tablespoon garam masala


How to make it…
1. Boil the potato chunks until cooked. Set the potatoes aside once cooked.
2. Heat the ghee to a high heat. Add the Spice Mix 1 and fry for 15 seconds. The spices should sizzle immediately when you add them to the ghee. You can test it is hot enough by adding one cumin seed.
3. Add the garlic paste and cook for 1 minute on a lower heat. You may have to remove the pan from the heat for a while to the paste burning. (If it burns then throw it away and start again.)
4. Add the lamb and stir fry until sealed (about 2–3 minutes).
5. Add the Base Curry Sauce and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to avoid it sticking.
6. Add the Spice Mix 2 and tomato ketchup, mix well and cook for 20 minutes.
7. Add the salt, onion and vinegar and continue cooking until the lamb is tender (about 5 minutes). Add water, as needed, to maintain the consistency.
8. Finally, add the cooked potato pieces, make sure they are coated in the sauce but be careful not to break the pieces up, and serve.



CHEF’S TIP
Add water to this dish as it cooks to maintain the consistency but don’t overdo it because you want a thick, dark sauce when it is served.
Lamb Vindaloo, extra hot in a dark, rich sauce.

If you like this you should try our
Lamb MadrasChicken PhallMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Check out 5 Best Goa Curries

Where do chillies live? … Scoville.

How to cook… Swahili Chicken Curry

Recipes

Serves 3–4 as a main dish

Swahili Chicken Curry, a creamy on-the-bone chicken dish, is a popular East African dish served with rice and chapatti. This recipe is from the Hilton Hotel in central Nairobi, Kenya

What you need
• 5 teaspoons cumin powder
• 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
• 5 teaspoons cardamon powder
• 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
• 2 teaspoons chopped ginger
• 500g yoghurt
• 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 litre coconut milk
• 1kg chicken thighs and legs
• 4 teaspoons corn oil
• 100g chopped onions

For the garnish
• 100g chopped onions
• 1 tomato cut into small cubes
• small handful of chopped coriander
• pinch of parsley

How you make it
1. Mix half of the cumin, turmeric, cardamon, garlic, ginger, yoghurt and lemon juice and 150ml coconut milk, and coat the chicken with the mixture to marinade. Set aside for two to three hours.
2. When the chicken has marinated arrange the pieces on an oven tray, making sure they are all well coated with the mixture. Preheat the oven to 180 C and cook the chicken for 25 minutes. Check that all the pieces are cooked through.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion then stir in the rest of the cumin, turmeric, cardamon garlic, ginger, coconut milk and lemon juice. Reduce the sauce to half of its original amount then add the rest of the yoghurt and let it boil for 1 minute
4. Add in the chicken pieces and heat through.
5. Add the garnish and serve with rice and chapatti.
• Recipe courtesy of Dominic Keya, chef at the Hilton, Nairobi, Kenya.

If you like this you should try our
Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Kenya make this delicious Swahili Chicken?

How to cook… Chilli Paneer

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Chilli Paneer is a popular and spicy Indo-Chinese dish, combining flavours from both cuisines and with Indian cheese as its main ingredient (make your own paneer). These dishes are emerged in states that border China and India and also from a group of Hakka Chinese people who moved to Calcutta.

What you need
• 4 Tablespoons cornflour
• 1 Tablespoon red chilli powder
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 Tablespoons cooking oil
• 500g paneer cheese, chopped into small, evenly sized chunks or strips
• 1 large onion, roughly chopped
• 1 each of red, yellow and green capsicum peppers, chopped into bite-sized chunks
• 20g garlic, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons chilli sauce (try Baj’s Blazin’ Original Hot Sauce)
• 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
• 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
• 4 green chillies, sliced down the middle and cut into chunks (don’t deseed)
• small handful of coriander to garnish


How you make it
1. Mix the cornflour with 20ml of water, the chilli powder and some salt and pepper. Coat each piece of paneer in the cornflour mix.
2. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a frying pan to a medium heat and shallow fry some of the paneer for a 1–2 minutes until just turning golden. Set aside on kitchen towel. Repeat until all the paneer has been cooked.
3. Add the onions and peppers to the remaining oil and cook for 3–4 minutes on a medium heat.
4. Add in the garlic, the chilli sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar to the onions, peppers and garlic and cook for 2 minutes on a medium heat.
5. Add in the paneer and cook for 3 minutes, then add in the chillies, salt and pepper to taste, then stir well and ensure everything is warmed through,
6. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves.
Recipe courtesy Baj’s Blazin’ Sauce in Greenwich.

CHEF’S TIP
This recipe uses strips of paneer but you can use cubes if you prefer.



If you like this you should try our
Make your own PaneerSag PaneerMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Some may warn you that this dish is very hot but it’s really quite chilli.

Curry Guide… Goan Cuisine

Curry Guide

1024px-India_Goa_Chapora_River_Boats.jpg

The food in Goa is quite distinctive from the rest of the India, despite it being one of the smallest states in the country and home to fewer than 1.5 million people. Its location along the western coast of the country, by the Arabian Sea, means seafood features prominently in its cuisine and because its population is largely Christian (Catholic), thanks to just over 450 years of Portuguese occupation, beef and pork are also common, unlike in the rest of India. Chillies are also important in Goan cuisine having been introduced to to the country by the Portuguese in 1498. Curries without chillies, who’d have thought? The Indians used peppers for heat before that.

The most famous Goan dish is Vindaloo, which is a favourite of all heat lovers. Vin means vinegar, thanks to the southern Europeans and the aloo bit is for the amount of garlic in it (the aloo bit is commonly confused as meaning potato because “aloo” means “potato” in Hindi and chunks of the good old spud is in the dish. The traditional dish, cooked with loads of vinegar and pork, is nothing like the curry house dish you’ll get in Britain, although it does share the heat levels.

Other well-known Goan dishes are Xacuti, a dish of chicken or prawns with chilli, white poppy seeds and coconut, and Cafrael, a Portuguese-Indian combination dish which uses a lot of coriander and lime juice and has its roots in Africa.

Photo: Zerohund Wikipedia.

Recipe… Chicken Chilli Dry Fry

Recipes

Chicken Chilli Dry Fry Low Res

Chicken Chicken Dry Fry
Serves 2-3 as a starter

This is an Indo-Chinese stir-fry dish, combining flavours from both cuisines. It is a very hot, dry dish and should be always be served fresh.

 

What you need
• 2 Tbls cornflour
• 6 tsp soy sauce
• 150gm chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
• 3 Tbls oil
• 1 small onion, roughly chopped
• 1/2 green pepper
• 1-3 green chillies (to your taste), chopped
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
• 1 tomato roughly, chopped
• 2 spring onions chopped
• a small handful of coriander, chopped

How you cook it
1. Mix the cornflour with 4 tsp of soy sauce and coat the chicken in the mixture. Marinate for 15 minutes.

Chicken Chilli Dry Fry Step 1

Step 1a: Mix cornflour with soy sauce.

Chicken Chilli Dry Fry Step 2

Step 1b: Marinate chicken

2. Heat oil to a medium-hot heat.
3. Fry the chicken until all the pieces are sealed (about 2-3 minutes), then set aside.

Chicken Chilli Dry Fry Step 3 Low Res

Step 3: Seal the chicken pieces

 

4. Add the green peppers to the pan and stir-fry until they start to soften (about 3-4 minutes).
5. Add the onions, chillies, pepper and chilli flakes and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add a tiny bit of water if needed but not too much as this is a dry dish.

Chicken Chilli Dry Fry Step 4 Low Res

Step 4 and 5: Fry the peppers, onions and chillies

6. Add the other 2 tsps of soya sauce and mix in well.
7. Add in the tomatoes and chicken and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked.

Chicken Chilli Dry Fry Step 5 Low Res

Step 6 and 7: Add the remaining ingredients and return the chicken to pan until cooked through.

8. Garnish with spring onion and coriander and serve (this dish is best served fresh).


 

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

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The most popular hot curries

Curry News

In a recent survey we asked: “How hot can you go with your curries?”

The Goan classic, Vindaloo was a narrow winner with our spice heads, just pipping that perennial favourite Madras, which was preferred by 29% of curry fans. The super hot Phall polled 19% among the serious heat lovers, while another 19% said they couldn’t eat anything that hot. Korma or Chicken Tikka Masala it is for them then.

Spice Card holders can enjoy a 20% discount on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. Get your Spice Card here…

3D card image

The Riz (Margate, Kent)

2. Reviews (Other UK)

The Riz, Margate

If you love a good old British-style seaside resort and you love a good curry may I direct you to the Riz in Margate?

The smartly dressed owner directed proceedings and gave us all the information we were after when it came to what was and what wasn’t in certain dishes. It’s always good to gauge different dishes and if the owner or staff are happy to help out then they’ve found the right man for a chat.

The decor is as smart as the owner. This is a real little gem, albeit not in the smartest of streets. And it looks like the locals know it too as there was a gaggle of girls getting stuck into and a couple of families enjoying the food.

My previous experience of trying to get a curry in this street had not gone well (yawn! Is it ever coming?) but my Margate friend assured us that this was the place to try. He was right.

The Riz serves superb dishes and they are as fresh as they come. This is the place to dip into South Indian and Sri Lankan dishes. So where to start? How about Nethli Meen Varuval (£4.50), spiced anchovies which are then deep fried. A pretty lively taste of Kerala I’d say. Or Fish Cutlet (£2.50), Sri Lankan traditional fish dumplings, crumb fried and served with hot spicy sauce perhaps?

House specials are parathas, iddapams and puttus, which all use eggs. A chicken paratha, scrambled with eggs and cooked with minced parathas is £6.95. But it’s got to be fish for me so the recommendation is Monkfish Curry with Mango (£8), a Keralan dish made with mango, coconut milk and ginger.

The Riz, 49 Northdown Road, Margate. Tel: 01843 293698.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 9
Decor 8
Service and friendliness 8
Atmosphere 7 (Tuesday evening)
Value for money 8

Lightly spiced

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Lee Raj, Blackpool

There are so many food options in Blackpool town centre and along the Golden Mile that when a local recommends somewhere beyond the lights it’s worth taking note.

Lee Raj is only just beyond the lights in fact, only a short walk from Starrs Gate, the last tram stop on the south shore. It’s quite disconcerting leaving the flashing lights behind after a couple of days, like you’re heading into no-man’s land, but it’s a welcome relief too, to get back to some sort of normality.

This is a neighbourhood restaurant serving locals very good food. It’s under new management  and the service is efficient and very friendly. It’s got a long and comprehensive list of choices, many of which were new to me so the waiter received more than the usual amount of queries about how dishes are cooked and their origins. It’s Bangladeshi run so there are some nice specialities from there, such as Biran Mas (£8.50) a dish of lightly spiced fish, but there is food from many regions, including Sri Lanka, which is forgotten on many menus.

Shatkora is a citrus fruit that is used in Bangladeshi cooking. If you like lime pickle you’ll like this, although it has a sharper and cleaner bite on the tongue than the pickle tray favourite.  Shathkora Torkar (chicken at £7.40) it was then. Fantastically sharp, the chef  used nice big chunks in the dish. Other times I’ve tried this dish chefs seemed a bit afraid of the fruit and its taste was hard to discern. I was delighted that this chef pushed the use of the fruit to the limit. If you order something you want to taste it, not go searching about in the sauce.

Because of the distinctive taste of shathkora I went for plain pilau rice (£2.30) to avoid a taste clash, but a couple of chapatis (£1.30 each) or a plain nan (£2.30) would work equally as well.

Lee Raj, 23 Squires gate, Blackpool, FY4 1SN. Tel: 01253 401800/406300

Scores on the tandoors

Food 9

Decor 8

Service and friendliness 9

Atmosphere 7 (Friday evening)

Value 8

It takes all sauce

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Ribble Tandoori, Clitheroe, Lancashire
(Takeaway)

As one of only a handful of curry houses serving the market town of Clitheroe, as well as the large surrounding area of villages and farms, the Ribble Tandoori needs to be good. And as it is the nearest Indian to my friend’s cottage, requiring a good 40-minute round trip, I am delighted to report that it is, which is no surprise as it’s been operating since 1993. A post-pub curry in these parts need a certain amount of planning if you live in one of the Forest of Bowland villages, so disappointment isn’t really an option.

The sauces for both the South Indian Hot Garlic Keema (£5.45) and the Rogan Josh (£5.45) were thick and tasty, using finely chopped onions instead of the oft mulched-in-blender method for the base. This found an immediate fan, not least because I have adopted this approach in my own cooking in the last couple of years. Self-validation and all that. It does take a bit longer to soften up the onions but it draws out their sweetness better and the reward in the texture is well worth it, as anyone who has dished up a curry that makes them think of baby food will agree.

The garlic in South Indian Hot Garlic Keema was similarly noticeable and its taste prominent, as indeed it should be if you order a dish with garlic in its name. It was refreshing to see this dish on the menu, and indeed there were many others that don’t appear on too many others, including Lonka Garlic Masala, Lonka Piaja, Jai Puri, Zafranai, and Hathkora. I could have stayed for ages discussing the ways these dishes are created with the friendly guy serving and watching the chefs at work in the open kitchen, but alas it was necessary for me to go and find out the bit below for where to have a beer while you are waiting.

And the curries were indeed worth the wait. We added Lemon rice (£1,95) and a nan (£1.50).

Parking: on the Waddington Road or one of the nearby side streets.

Delivery: yes, but the menu doesn’t specify a distance or a minimum. Because it serves a rural area it will depend how far away you are ordering from.

Beer while you’re waiting: the Wagon and Horses is a two-minute walk up Pimlico Road and the Royal Oak, in Waterloo Road, is four minutes.

Ribble Tandoori Takeaway, 19 Waddington Road, Clitheroe, BB7 2HJ. Tel: 1200 443368. Open: daily 5pm-11.30pm. Sunday 4pm – 10.30pm.

The scores on the tandoors

Food 8

Waiting area: 5

Value 9

Service and friendliness 8

Spice panorama

3. Reviews (International)

 The Vista, Nairobi, Kenya

There are great views of the Kenyan capital from this seventh floor restaurant in the vibey area of Westlands. Large glass panels offer diners about 180 degree span of the city as they enjoy their curry.

As the Vista serves as the Hotel Emerald’s restaurant and bar there are different cuisines on the menu, but strictly speaking this is a curry restaurant and it welcomes a lot of locals and visitors who aren’t staying at the hotel.

Considering the chefs do have to cater for different tastes there is decent line up in the Indian section, with no less than 20 starters and 34 main dishes, not to mention naans and rice. Vegetarians are particularly well catered for, with a host of tasty sounding dishes, including the lively looking Dynamite Paneer Pops (Ksh600).

If in doubt keep it simple, so I opted for a Chicken Malai Kebab (Ksh800), a butter naan (Ksh100) and pickles. The chicken was tender and as the juice oozed out of delicately charing you you could taste the tandoor at work, while the coriander and crunchy salad provided the perfect fresh complement. Wrapped up in soft naan and topped off with some spicy pickle it makes for a great lunch.

Image-1

Chicken Malai Kebab with butter naan.

The Vista (at the Hotel Emerald), 7th Floor, Krishna Centre, Woodvale Grove, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +254 (0)716 228 302. Open: daily noon–3pm and 6pm–10.30pm.

The exchange rate at the time of the visit was £1 = Ksh153, $1 = Ksh100.

The scores on the tandoors

Food 8

Decor 6

Vibe 3 (Saturday lunchtime)

Service and friendliness 8

Value 9

Rub a zub zub

3. Reviews (International)

Zub Express, Flic en Flac, Mauritus (Takeaway)

Granted, poor old Zub Express had a tough ask when I ordered the Chicken Kolapuri (Rps190) because the best curry I have ever had was when I ordered the same dish in India. But while this kolapuri wasn’t quite up to those dizzy heights, the chef gave it a great go. There was that tasty, creamy, yet spicy sauce, with large chunks of well-marinated chicken and slices of onion that had been added late (ala many Chinese dishes) to provide a nice crunch. The restaurant advertises itself as a fusion of Indian and Chinese so maybe this was their fusion.

Although there are many Chinese dishes on the menu this place exudes ‘curry house’. Nicely decorated inside, it sits alone, away from the buzz of the other bars and restaurants in this resort, but en route to the main tourist hotels. Many diners choose to sit outside at one of the tables and look out across the beach, a naan’s throw away.

The kolapuri was served with some of the best, and freshest rotis (Rps30 each) I have ever had – fluffy yet firm, and perfect to scoop up this tasty dish. It’s a no brainer that I will soon be eating, not throwing, the naans (from Rps35) and trying the Aloo Ka Pharata (Rps40) soon.

As well as a good selection of the classic curry dishes, and, of course, this being Mauritius, a range of briyanis, there are also special seafood dishes to tempt, including King Prawn and Coconut (Rps750) and a Lobster Butter Massala (Rps950), which I’d imagine get more than a few tourist takers.

Strangely there is an extra charge for takeaways (Rps10.50 for each item). When I first commented that this was unusual, I was met with the service classic, “I don’t know why, I just work here.” I’m told by another takeaway regular to Zub that it’s to pay for the takeaway pots. Look after the pots and the pounds will look after themselves my old grandad used to say.

Parking: car park by the beach opposite.

Specials (or should that be non-specials): each takeaway item is charged Rps10.50 extra, so it’s cheaper to eat in than take food away.

Beer while you’re waiting: no alcohol is served at the restaurant and there are no bars nearby. Your only option would be a bottle while sitting on the fence by the beach.

Zub Express, 286 Coastal Road, Flic en Flac, Mauritius. Tel: +230 453 8867/68. Hotline: 5777 6655 or 5757 9355 or 5860. E-mail: zubexpress06@gmail.com. Web: www.zub-express.com. Open: Friday–Wednesday 10am–9.30pm, Thursday 5pm–10pm.

The exchange rate at the time of visit was £1 = Rps50 and $1 = Rps35.

The scores on the tandoors

Food 7.5

Waiting area 6 (no dedicated area so you must stand at the service bar or grab one of the outside tables if there is one free).

Service and friendliness 8

Value 8

Would you Adam and Eve it

3. Reviews (International)

Adam’s Curries, Baku, Azerbaijan
(Review by Neil Beard, Greenwich resident and International Curry Correspondent).

Adam curries pic

After spending two long, hot and busy months in Azerbaijan and at the request of Curry Bard Dan, I finally managed to get around to visiting Adam’s Curries in Baku for the first time, just four days before I return to the Royal Borough, warm beer and the rain.

My three dining colleagues for the evening were, along with myself, working on the 1st European Games. However, I imagine that their roles in catering services would, perhaps, make them slightly more critical of any dining out experience, especially as one of them is the former head chef at Asia Da Cuba St. Martins Lane, London. Adam’s was my recommendation so the pressure was on!

We hit Adam’s (which also doubles as a Thai on some nights) at eight, after beers at the Clansman pub. It was relatively busy and the aroma of spices was prominent on the street before we entered. Our reserved table was already occupied but the kind gentleman was politely asked to move to make way for four hungry men on a curry mission. Strategically placed next to the buffet, we couldn’t wait to get started.

The buffet was already pre-selected in everyone’s mind before we arrived but seeing the excellent choices, and our lack of a decent spicy meal for months, the decision was quickly re-affirmed. The Saturday evening buffet is 15 AZN per person (approx £8) with the local Xirdelan beer at 4 AZN (approx £2).

We tucked into delicious Chicken Tikka pieces, not just coloured chicken but really tender, and tasting like it had been baked in a traditional tandoor. Freshly cooked naan bread with mint raita, yogurt, and just for good measure a chili spice dip, were all available. Delicious.

There was no bhajis on offer but a selection of other starters including samosas and pakoras were available but as with all buffet food timing is everything. We quickly turned to the main event

The main courses included, among others, a Beef Madras, Chick Pea Curry and a Chicken Jalfrezi.

Each curry was individual, clearly all home made using fresh spices, which was a real surprise to us all and we commented on the authentic taste of each dish in turn. Fluffy basmati rice (a genuine art) complemented each mouthful, and quietness descended upon the table – always the best indication of a quality meal. Seconds, and even thirds, were consumed

I wish I had visited Adam’s before so I could have tried other dishes on the menu, in particular the Goan Fish Curry, which I’m sure would have been amazing as a specialty dish

Our hosts, curry meisters Narayan Pawar and his team, were incredibly friendly and polite. Adam’s is clearly a favourite among the ex-pats and oil-working community and long may it continue.

Adam’s Curries, 12 Tarlan Aliyarbeyov Street, Baku, Azerbaijan. Tel: +99455-348-1857. E-mail: adamscurries@gmail.com. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adams-Curries/123673817720175?sk=info&tab=page_info

 

Starters orders

1. Reviews (London)

Bhaji, London E14 (Takeaway)

Established in 1997, this friendly Isle of Dogs takeaway serves up decent takeaway food from a great menu. Bhaji‘s Chicken Benjal (£4.95) caught my eye straight away. Jalfrezi lovers would enjoy this dish of tomatoes, green peppers, onions and chillies, although a bit more oomph in the heat level would have been welcomed.

The Mushroom rice (£2.25) was generous with its spices and mushrooms, but best of all was very tasty. The Uri Bhaji (£2.65) was slightly soft by the time we’d got it home, but with light spicing and chopped onions, these green beans make an interesting alternative to the usual veg side dishes. All veg dishes can be bumped up to main portions for a pound extra.

Elsewhere there are some very decent offerings on the menu. It’s not difficult to see why this place has been around for 18 years. There is a healthy options sections (such as Salmon Shashlik for £8.95), some Salads and Dips from £2.50, and, unusually for a takeaway, a decent selection of desserts.

There are also some set meals – and not the usual line up most places offer. For instance, the Staff’s Favourite for One includes Dallier Bora, Naga Chicken, Tarka Dal, Rice, Roti, Rice and Mint Sauce (£10.95).

Then there are Indian Style Noodles (from £4.95), a range of Sag Baltis and Naga Baltis (from £5.95) and Shatkora Doner Kebabs (the mind boggles) as well as the usual curry favourites from £4.45.

There will be return visits. I might even have a lassi (yes, they do these as well).

 

Takeaway essentials
Parking:
on-street parking.
Delivery: free within three miles for minimum orders over £10.
Specials: 10% discount on orders over £12 collected. Free bottle of Coke or side dish with orders over £18.
Beer while you’re waiting: The Ship pub is just over the road.

Bhaji, 6 Chapel House Street, London, E14 3AS. Tel: 020 7531 6166/7. Open: Mon–Sat 5.30pm–11.30pm.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 7

Waiting area  8.5

Value 7

Service and friendliness 9

Manjal, London E14

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This classy Isle of Dogs gem has always impressed me with its freshness (see Fast but certainly fresh) – now it boasts a fresh menu as well as fresh food. And what a menu it is.

Dishes are split into sections on the new line-up: as well as dosas, rice and breads, there are veg starters, autograph veg starters, non-veg starters, autograph non-veg starters, with the same format  used for mains. I almost felt sorry for the lovely sounding dishes that failed to be elevated to the autograph status! But there was no need. The Potato Tikka Chat (£5.95) was one such dish and it was delicious. The potato patties were lightly fried and topped with channa dal and carrying an unexpected kick with its spicing.

This was just one of the dishes that will interest vegetarians. Broccoli Varulal (£5.95), delivers the trademark freshness, as I know from previous visits, while the great named Gobi ’65 (£5.95) – an Indo-Chinese offering of deep-fried cauliflower florets – is certain to get a testing in the future. It’s also nice to see dal dishes treated with deserved respect by the menu creator as too often diners see it just as something to moisten up their rice, if they eat it at all. Here there is a choice of Dal Tadka (£5.95), the wonderfully creamy Dal Makhani (£6.95), a popular dal-lovers dish that is cooked with different types of lentils, and Dal Manjal (£6.95), a coconut curry from South India.

But this dockside venue, which had a smart after-work business buzz to it on this visit, has superb choices for those of us who enjoy non-veg dishes as well.

The Mutton Kothu Roti (£9.95) has to be tried. This dry dish of Sri Lankan origin is a mix of meat (there are also chicken and veg versions), onions, leeks, spices and pieces of shredded bread – think of it as a sort of bread biryani. It’s really unusual – each mouthful delivers a spicy mix with tasty chunks of mutton and the odd chewy piece of roti thrown in for good measure. It’s always extremely filling – I could only manage one tier of this nicely presented two-tiered dish. It comes with a side of spicy sauce.

The kottu was, of course, one of the autograph non-veg curries. And it had some serious competition when it came to me choosing my main because others on the menu were the Chettinad Manjal Special Chicken Curry (£8.95), the Manjal Special Fish Curry (£10.95) and the got-to-be-tried-next-visit Manjal Special Lamb Curry (£9.95). Another creation from South India, this is a dish where lamb, liver and bones are all cooked together in a thick masala sauce.

I’m always on the look out for new dishes to try and this menu certainly offers scope for plenty of return visits for that. Having tried the Devil Chicken starter (£9.95), another of the Indo-Chinese offerings with a wow spice kick, as well the dishes mentioned above, I know they are more than worth a try.

Manjal, 3 Turnberry Quay, Pepper Street, London, E14 9RD. Tel: 020 7538 1140. E-mail: info@manjalrestaurant.com. Open: daily, noon–11pm.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 9

Decor 9

Atmosphere 8 (Thursday night)

Service and friendliness 9

Value 9

* The Greenwich Curry Club was hosted by Manjal restaurant.

Manjal on Urbanspoon

1. Reviews (London)

Fresh versus tinned

3. Reviews (International)

Spicy Village, Torreblanca, Spain
Ganga, Torreblanca, Spain

Just when I was about to decry that all Indian restaurants in Spain seem to churn out pretty poor, generic curries after eating at Spicy Village, along comes a saviour in the form of Ganga.

The two curry houses are both relatively new and are vying for business in the resort of Torreblanca along the Costa del Sol. But it’s pretty obvious which one will come out on top.

Spicy Village has a great location facing the sea and although it is housed in a pretty uninspiring brick-faced building, the covered outside area has been nicely decorated with large photos of spices and impressive buildings from the Sub-continent.

The food is a let down though. The Chicken Dopiaza (€7.50) was ok-ish, with a decent amount of onions giving the sauce a sweetish taste. But it just felt so generic, like a standard sauce that would go with almost anything. Now, as most of us know, restaurants use the same base sauce for most tomato based curries, but there was a feeling here that not a lot else had been added to the base to make the Dopiaza any different any of the other curries on the menus. The way the Garlic Nan (€2.50) had been made reinforced the disappointment – this was just a standard nan with a few chunks of garlic pressed into the top. Where was the great infusion of taste these breads usually deliver?

But it was the Vegetable Madras (€7.95) where things really fell apart. Here was a bowl of base sauce and can of tinned vegetables, with those perfectly chopped cubes of carrots and all. Not acceptable, especially when Spain boasts such tasty and cheap vegetables.

Spicy Village, Paseo Maritimo Torreblanca No 110, Edif Nautico Local, Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 951 50 52 77 or +34 647 12 83 65. Open: daily 1pm–midnight.

Scores on the Tandoors

Food 5.5

Décor 6

Service and friendliness 6

Atmosphere (Saturday night) 8

Value 6

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But there was complete turnaround on the visit to the spacious Ganga. The waiter looked almost bemused when asked if the chef used fresh vegetables. Of course, of course. The chef/owner, I was told, worked and even trained others in New Delhi’s famous Taj Hotel. He certainly knows how to cook, that’s for sure.

The fresh veg feast included a generous portion of Palak Paneer (€5.50) and a delicious Paneer Jalfrezi (€6.95), and although it might be a bit saucy for some Jalfrezi purists, it had plenty of fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers in a smooth base that verged on the creamy but delivered a nice kick. Made on site, the paneer is soft with a slight bite to it, but it has none of the rubberiness you can get from some pre-bought cheese. It’s among the best I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. And fresh was the order of the day with the Aloo Gobi (€5) with nice chunks of perfectly cooked potato (amazing how many places can get this wrong) and florets of cauliflower coated in a dryish sauce.

Paneer Jalfrezi (left) and Aloo Gobi, with a tomato and onion salad and a nan bread (Ganga)

Paneer Jalfrezi (left) and Aloo Gobi, with a Tomato and Onion Salad and a nan bread (Ganga)

And just to show it’s not only veg that is cooked so well, the Chicken Tikka Masala (€8) was spot on. You know the chef’s got this classic right when you end up scraping the dish at the end of the meal even though you are full to the brim already.

The table was finished off with a large serving of Pilau rice (€2.75), a Cheese, Onion and Chilli Nan (€3.50) and my new favourite accompaniment, an Onion and Tomato Salad (€2). I find the freshness of the salad cuts through the spiciness of the curries beautifully, acting like a mid-meal and setting me up for the next dish. And you’ll want plenty more dishes at Ganga, that’s for sure.

Ganga, Plaza de Torreblana, 7 (Av Torreblanca), Torreblanca 29640, Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 952 661 749 or +34 652 240 902. Open: 6pm–midnight (later in season).

Scores on the Tandoors

Food 9

Décor 9

Service and friendliness 8.5

Atmosphere (early Sunday night) 6

Value 9

Curry base-ics

1. Reviews (London)

The Greenwich Curry Club always like to check out new curry venues so we were delighted to be the very first customer at Balti Base, the name chosen by the new owners of the takeaway at 106 Blackheath Road. Previously Curry to Go, and before that Medina, they have some tough competition with Le Popadom, Indelicious, Green Chillies and Chutney all close.

But the young owners have a spark that makes me believe they could thrive. A smiley, friendly service (I was number one customer after all…) goes a long way, but you’re going to love the prices even more. Old-school curries like Bhuna, Rogan and so on come in at £3.75 for chicken and 50p more for lamb, while you can sample specials like Chicken Honey Khany (nuts and sultana in a sweet yoghurt sauce) for £5.25 or the King Prawn Special with mushrooms for £6.25.

Parking: on the side streets off Blackheath Road.

Delivery: free on orders over £12 although the menu doesn’t specify which areas this covers.

Specials: free Bombay Potato on orders over £15 that are collected.

Beer while you’re waiting: the Graduate is over the road.

Balti Base, 106 Blackheath Road, London, SE10 8DA. Tel: 020 8692 2423. Open: daily 5.30pm–11pm.

 

The scores on the tandoors

Food 7

Waiting area 6

Value 8

Going south

Curry News

Kerala Village, another new Greenwich curry venture can be found at 119 Trafalgar Road. Offering South Indian, Sri Lankan and North Indian dishes, all the usual dishes are there if you want them. But there are many unusual dishes, including four egg curries and an extensive range of seafood offerings such as Mussels Fry, Squid Fry, and the intriguing Fish Molly. And vegetable fans have a range that is second to none with dishes incorporating beetroot, cabbage, aubergine as well as the more usual paneer, chick peas and dal.

Not so real

Curry News

Real Taste, the chicken, chips and kebab place next to the Co-op in Greenwich town centre has cut its offerings of curry. The venue used to offer a full range of spicy food including all the old-school favourites at decent prices under the banner of Real Spice. However, this has been trimmed back, although a small range of biryanis is still offered and makes a nice alternative to fried chicken and chips.