Curry Chaat with… Peter Jones, the Curried Londoner

Curry News

Peter Jones is a recipe developer and runs his test kitchen from Greenwich, London. He is author of The Perfect Vindaloo: the ultimate guide to discovering and cooking the perfect Vindaloo curry and publishes a regular newsletter with new recipes.

How would you describe a curry to a Martian?
A curry is the first thing you should eat when visiting Earth. It’s the greatest confluence of the world’s cultures in a single dish. It can be eaten on both hot days and cold days and enjoyed for breakfast lunch or dinner. Oh, and it’s kinda saucy.

When and where did you have your first curry?
I can’t remember my first curry. I grew up in the West Midlands, just down the road from Birmingham, so was pretty much brought up on curry.  I reckon my first curry may have been from a baby bottle! ha ha

What’s the key to a good curry?
In a word: balance. A curry that is only hot, sweet or sour will always taste one-dimensional. However little is used, you also need a little of a flavour’s opposite to make it sing. Oh, and Kashmiri chilli powder – it’s literally my favourite ingredient on Earth (tell the Martians!).

What’s the best curry you’ve ever had?
Tough one. I’m not sure I have an all-time best, but just before the national lockdown I had a Gongura Mutton curry in East Ham that was pretty life-changing. I’ve since discovered Gongura pickle and have been using it in everything from curries, to rice and even as a barbecue rub.  

What’s your go-to curry, your standard order on a quiet Tuesday night?
For me it has to be the Vindaloo. It’s a misunderstood dish as most people believe that it has to be super hot. The best Vindaloos do have chilli in them but also enhance the sour notes (usually with vinegar). It’s that hot-sour combo that I’m addicted to.

If curry was an animal what would it be?
Ha ha.What? I’m going to go with a cuttlefish: they come from mostly warm climates, are eaten all over the world, come in all colours and are often misunderstood (did you know that they are very intelligent?).  

When it comes to the classic pickle tray are you a lime pickle, mango chutney, chopped onion or mint yoghurt kind of guy?
I’m a lime pickle guy married to a lime pickle lady. We have lots of lime pickle in our house!

If you owned a curry restaurant what would you call it?
Novaroon. It means ‘something new’ and was once the name of a takeaway in Stockwell that I used to adore. It changed hands and inevitably reverted to a generic curry-house name unfortunately. I would honour its memory with my restaurant.  

Tell us three restaurants we must visit next time we are in Greenwich?
Greenwich is great for eating out but is mixed when it comes to finding a decent curry. My suggestions are: 1) drop in to see me in North Greenwich, and I’ll cook you a decent curry. 2) Come to see me and we’ll share a takeaway from Corinader in Westcombe Park. 3) Let’s take a short trip to East Ham and try one of the many places there. Paradise is a favourite of mine. I’ve even eaten in its sister restaurant in Hyderabad! 

What curry would you choose for your last meal?
If I were choosing from the menu I’d order a thali (so I could have a full banquet), but I suspect you might think that’s cheating. Otherwise, it’s a Vindaloo for me please!


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… Pork Vindaloo

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

As the only state in India that is largely Catholic there are no taboos surrounding the use of pork in Goa. The dish, like so many in this state, are a combination of Portuguese and India flavours and cooking styles. The result is a spicy dish with plenty of vinegar and is far removed from the British restaurant-style Vindaloo.

What you need…
• 800g pork (a mix of cheek and leg is ideal), cut into largish bite-sized chunks
• 1 Tablespoon ghee
• 2 Tablespoons oil
• 2 red onions, finely chopped
• 240ml pork or chicken stock
• 1 Tablespoon coriander leaves
• Salt to taste

Marinade
• 100ml palm vinegar
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 1 teaspoon ginger paste
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 8 black peppercorns, crushed

Spice paste
• 4 large chillies, roughly chopped
• 3 Tablespoons palm vinegar
• 1 teaspoon coriander powder
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 4 cloves, ground (or 1 teaspoon clove powder)
• Seeds from 4 cardamon pods
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste


How to make it
1. Mix all the Marinade ingredients together, add the pork and leave for 2 to 4 hours.
2. Mix all the ingredients from the Spice Paste to form a thick paste and set aside.
3. Heat the ghee and oil in a pan to a medium heat, add the pork with the marinade and fry until all the pieces are browned (about 5–7 minutes). Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
4. Add the onions to pan and fry until they soften and start to brown (about 5 minutes).
5. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add the Spice paste and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add the stock, reduce the heat and cook until the meat is cooked through and tender (at least 45 minutes but up to 90 minutes). Stir occasionally and add water as necessary to stop it sticking.
8. Add salt to taste and sprinkle the coriander leaves on top before serving.
Recipe courtesy @thecurriedlondoner (Instagram)

CHEF’S TIP
If you really want to turn up the heat add more chillies to the Spice Paste.



Pork Vindaloo is the classic Goan dish for heat lovers.

If you like this you should try our
Ambot TikChilli ChickenChilli PaneerButter ChickenMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken Vindaloo Restaurant-style)Chicken BhoonaChicken Recheade

Check out 5 Best Goa Curries

Get stuck into this delicious dish. It’s certainly better than a pork in the eye with a sharp stick.

If football teams were curries…

Curry News

Spurs would be a popadom… gets everyone excited by them at the start but is never there at the end.
Southampton would be a Bombay Potato… no-one dislikes it and everyone else nicks the best potatoes.
Manchester United would be a Korma… a lot of people adore it but everyone else hates it.
Chelsea would be a Chicken Tikka Masala… there’s no denying it’s delicious but a lot of people say the dish only has recent history.
Manchester City would be a King Prawn Karahi… ridiculously expensive but it still doesn’t completely deliver the goods.
Leicester City would be a Jalfrezi… came from nowhere to become unexpectedly popular.
Arsenal would be a Fish Curry… one week it tastes great but the next week it’s rubbish.
West Ham would be a Phall… eat it and you’ll be forever blowing bubbles.
Sheffield United would be a Keema Muttar… underrated but a lot tastier than you think.
Aston Villa would be a Ceylon Curry… some older people remember when it was good.
Burnley would be a Tandoori Mixed Grill… ridiculously tough to eat.
Bournemouth would be Chicken Tikka starter… small but very impressive.
Liverpool would be a Biryani… a dish that takes for ever to come good but when it does it’s fantastic.
Everton would be a Basmati Rice… forever wanting to be as tasty as the Biryani.
Newcastle United would be a Vegetable Curry… a lot of people keep ordering it every week no matter how much it disappoints them.
Brighton would be a Bhoona… it’s ok if nothing else is on the menu at lunchtime.
Watford would be a Vindaloo… capable of causing an upset.
Wolves would be a Chicken 65… been around for years and still golden.
Crystal Palace would be a Sizzling Lamb… fans of it make a lot of noise considering the dish rarely does anything.
Norwich would be a kulfi… usually at the end of the menu.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

How to cook… Base Curry Sauce

Recipes

Makes about 600–800ml sauce (enough for 4-6 curries)

The Base Curry Sauce is your key to making most of your favourite restaurant-style curries, including Madras, Vindaloo, Tikka Masala, Dopiaza, Dhansak and Bombay Potato. Restaurant chefs make a huge pot of it every night and when the orders start coming in they turn to the pot and with a few additions – a bit of spice here, some onion, some pepper, a bit more spice there – your favourite curries are created. Think of the Base Curry Sauce, also called Base Curry Gravy or Basic Curry Sauce, as the essential building block to all those delicious curries.

What you need…
• 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
• 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
• 500g onions, finely chopped (about 2 large onions)
• 200g chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
• 1 small handful chopped coriander
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Water, as required

Spice Mix
• 1 Tablespoon mild curry powder
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon vinegar

How to make it
1. Heat the oil in a pan. While it is heating up add the vinegar and little water to the Spice Mix to create a sloppy paste.
2. Add the cumin seeds to the ghee and fry for 10 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test it is hot enough by adding one seed.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for two minutes on a lower heat. You may have to remove the pan from the heat initially to stop the paste burning. (If it burns throw it away and start again.)
4. Add the Spice Mix and stir fry for another 3 minutes. It should now be thick and gloopy.
5. Add the onion, some water and cover the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the tomato and coriander and stir well. Use a hand blender to mash the mixture into a creamy puree. It should be the consistency of an apple sauce.
7. Add the salt and cook for another 10 minutes. Add enough water to keep the sauce the correct consistency.


CHEF’S TIP
Rather than making the Base Curry Sauce (or Base Curry Gravy) every time you want a curry, cook up a big batch and freeze it in individual pots. With a pot of Base Curry Sauce at your fingertips your favourite curries can take just minutes to make.
Base Curry Sauce is the key to all your favourite Restaurant-Style curries.

If you like this you should try our
Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken RoganChicken Dhansak

The restaurant owner never bought software. He just used open source.

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.

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

Curry tip 19

Curry News

If a curry recipe includes vinegar (eg. Vindaloo) but you find its taste a bit too tart, then use good old tomato ketchup instead, which contains vinegar. Ketchup is also a good replacement if a recipe includes tomato puree and you don’t have any.

Food lessons from Goa

Curry News

1. If you have fish curry go for fresh not frozen. Getting fresh fish in your curry at home is not easy, of course, especially in restaurants. For cost and convenience most fish we get while out will be frozen (there is a bizarre fad to import tilapia, a Bangladeshi freshwater fish!) so if you find a restaurant that uses fresh, locally caught produce then treasure it. The difference is huge. Or you can always visit the fishmonger and cook your own.

2. Kolhapuri is a dish worth searching out. This dish, originating from a city called Kolhapur in Mahatashtra, is all over Goa, but I’ve never seen it on a menu here for some reason. As hot as a Vindaloo, as tasty as a Tikka Masala and as fresh as a Balti, this is the best dish I have ever tasted. Needless to say, I’d recommend you try it if you find it. Or better still ask the chef from your local curry house (especially if he’s from Maharashtra) to whip one up.

3. Vegetables don’t need to be consigned to side dishes. Most of us order our curry, rice and nan and, then, almost like an afterthought, we add some vegetables. Goa, like most of India, has a lot of veg-only restaurants, and they make you realise that veg doesn’t have to be an afterthought. Veg (make sure it’s fresh) is great for absorbing the spices and because the dishes are not as filling as meat equivalents you can eat more curry. What’s not to like?

4. Vindaloo is a Goan dish. Vindaloo is normally associated with six pints of lager and a metaphorical arm wrestle among friends to eat the hottest curry. It is, in fact, a dish that was born from Goa, when local spices were added to a vinegar-based dish brought to the area from the Portuguese. The most likely explanation for the name is that it is a cross between Vin (vinegar) and aloo (Hindi word for potato). The traditional meat used is pork, this being one of the few areas in the country where this meat is used extensively. While our restaurants still use a bit of vinegar the original recipe soaked the meat heavily in it.

5. A spicy omelette makes a great snack. Bored with your usual cheese omelettes? Masala omelettes can be whipped up in a couple of minutes. One egg, a chopped chilli, some chopped onion and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook, fold over in tissue and eat on the move.

Curry is not just for dinner. Parathas, stuffed with paneer, cauliflower and potato, plus pickles and raita, make a fine alternative to a fry up. I’m sure your local greasy spoon will oblige if you ask them nicely…

Curry tip of the week 22

Curry News

If a curry recipe includes vinegar (eg. Vindaloo) but you find its taste a bit too tart, then use good old tomato ketchup instead, which contains vinegar.

Aurora curryalis

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Zin Zeera, Norwich
(Review by Scott of Norwich Curry Club

It’s all about the lights. You can see them as you drive past Zin Zeera in the evening and they look great. I’m sure that they’ve picked up a lot of business by people drawn in by the light show, but it’s only good food and service that will keep them coming back and at least on one count, they have a chance.

Zin Zeera opened last year on the old Bottoms Up site in Hellesdon. The opening night was by all accounts a bit of a disaster with cold food and big delays causing some diners to walk out. We went as a party of eight (including four children) on a Saturday night and apart from the lights, the first thing you notice is that it’s massive. The dining area is huge and although it is very impressively finished, all sparkly floors and chrome; cosy it is not. This will be their biggest challenge: filling the place. We arrived at 7 and by 8.30, prime time for curry eating, the restaurant was at best a third full.

Because of the size they have employed lots of staff; in fact they have a girl whose entire job was to hold the door open for people arriving and leaving. Bizarrely though, service was slow and inattentive. The waiter taking our order appeared totally distracted and kept looking back over his shoulder at the bar staff. No surprise that two dishes were missed from our order completely.

However, when the food did arrive, it was excellent. We had ordered a wide range of dishes from Korma (chicken £5.95, king prawn £9.95), through Bhuna (meat £6.45) and Dhansak (chicken £5.95) to Vindaloo (meat £6.45). My Dhansak was the best I’ve had – rich, full of flavour and not floating in a pool of oil like some I’ve had. The rest of the party also enjoyed their dishes.

Once the staff had finally noticed we had finished, egged on by my fellow diners, I even broke the cardinal rule and ordered a dessert! I didn’t believe they actually existed, I thought the whole dessert thing was just a game where you looked at a plastic menu full of frozen stuff before saying no and sticking a hot towel on your face.

The bill came to £150 for eight which included plenty of drinks so value was good and we were even given a discount card for 10 per cent off future bills and 20 per cent off takeaways.

So in all, it was a thumbs up for Zin Zeera. If they can improve their service and find some way to fill the place so it creates a better atmosphere, they will survive. They may even make enough of a profit to pay the light bill.

Zin Zeera, 2 Boundary Road, Norwich, NR6 5LA. Tel: 01603 408888. Open: daily noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-11.30pm.

Zin Zeera snapshot

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Goes down fast

Curry News

Always good to discover a new beer made for spicy food, so… presenting for those of you not from Canada… Cheetah. At 5% abv, there is a lager and a dark beer, the former with a nice tang and the latter a bit smoother. Both do what they aim to, which is to go down well with Indian food – they were tested with a Lamb Vindaloo. The beers are brewed in Toronto. Not sure what cheetahs have got to do with Indian food or Toronto, mind you.

Among tat and beauty

3. Reviews (International)

The Guru, Niagara Falls, Canada

Buy a Niagara Falls fridge magnet, get your pic taken with Tiger Woods (wax version) then it's time for the curry

In this place of both beauty (the Falls are stunning) and utter tat (Clifton Hill seems to have been designed to distract the child with the world’s shortest-ever attention span) you will find the Guru.

The unassuming lattice wood and brown decor in the Guru could be seen as plain elsewhere, but in a town where you bombarded with the bright lights of casinos, the Hard Rock Café, the Haunted House, ten-pin bowling, Guinness World Records (need I go on?) this is a calm before the spicy storm.

Politely staffed, the pink-fronted Guru is wedged between Louis Tussard’s Waxworks and Super Souvenirs, just a nan’s thrown from the madness of Clifton Hill. Serving seriously decent food, it’s been here eight years.

Soothing decor and a thick Lamb Vindaloo

Chicken Haryali Tikka ($13) is a tasty green dish cooked with mint and coriander and served up on a bed of lettuce with slices of raw onion. And the tender Lamb Vindaloo ($14) comes with a think dark sauce (made thicker with added coconut) although it’s not the hottest Vindy you’ll ever find. Add some spicy Achar ($1), Basmati Rice ($3) and Cheetah beers (see next post) for a great meal.

The Guru, Victory House, 5705 Victoria Ave, Cnr Clifton Hill and Victoria Ave. Niagara Falls, Ontario, L2G 3L5, Canada. Tel: +1 905 354 3444.

The Guru snapshot

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