Category Archives: Curry

National Curry Week

This week is National Curry Week and the 6th Annual British Curry Awards were presented in London last weekend.

From a local perspective Hox Brasserie from Salisbury came 2nd in the South West category, one of 56 shortlisted restaurants from a total of 3,500 restaurants nominated by the public. And I can personally testify to how good the restaurant is.

The winners in the nine regional categories were:
Ashoka Johnstone, Johnstone (Best in Scotland)
The Spice Cube, Newcastle (Best in the North East)
The Millennium Saagar, Douglas, Isle of Man (Best in the North West)
Lasan, Birmingham (Best in the Midlands)
Rajpoot, Bath (Best in the South West)
Aziz, Oxford (Best in the South East)
Bengal Dynasty, Shotton, Flintshire (Best in Wales)
Brilliant, Southall (Best in London Suburbs)
Bombay Brasserie, London SW7 (Best in London Central & City)

In addition Mem Saab, Leicester was named Best Newcomer and Brighton’s Chilli Pickle the Most Innovative restaurant.

The following is a complete list of all of the finalists in the various categories
Most Innovative Restaurant
Chai Street, Cardiff
Chez Mumtaj, St Albans
Chilli Pickle, Brighton
Vine & Spice, Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire

Best in Scotland
Ashoka Johnstone, Johnstone
Britannia Spice, Edinburgh
Lancers Brasserie, Edinburgh
Mushtaqs, Hamilton
Mya, Edinburgh

Best in the North East
Aagrah, Leeds
The Last Days of the Raj, Gateshead
The Spice Cube, Newcastle
The Valley, Northumberland
Vujon, Newcastle

Best in the North West
Indian Ocean, Ashton-under-Lyne
The Millennium Saagar, Douglas, Idle of Man
The Viceroy, Carlisle
Usha, Burnley

Best in the Midlands
Almas Brasserie, Dore, Sheffield
Asha’s, Birmingham
Itihaas, Birmingham
Lasan, Birmingham
Rilys, Redditch

Best in the South East
Aziz, Oxford
Haweli, Twyford
Jaipur, Milton Keynes
Malik’s, Cookham
The Old Bengal, Beaconsfield

Best in the South West
Hox Brasserie, Salisbury
Myristica, Bristol
Rajpoor, Bath
Viceroy 1, Yeovil

Best in Wales
Anarkali, Swansea
Bengal Dynasty, Shotton, Flintshire
Bokhara Brasserie, Bridgend
Sheesh Mahal, Llanelli

Best in London Suburbs
Blue Junction, Morden
Brilliant, Southall
Chak 89, Mitcham
Green Spice, Dartford
Royal Tandoori, South Croydon
Shampan 2, Bromley

Best in London Central & City
Bombay Brasserie, SW7
Bombay Bicycle, SW10
Gaylord, W1
La Porte des Indes, W1
Mehek, EC2
Tamarind, W1

Best Newcomer
Aagrah, Bradford
Cinnamon Kitchen & Anise, London EC2
Jai Ho, South Shields
Lucky’s Indian Tapas Bar, Newbury
Massala, Cobham, Surrey
Maya, Surbiton
Mem Saab, Leicester
Zook Tea Bar & Grill, Manchester

If you live anywhere near any of these restaurants I suggest you get down there this weekend. I’ll be at Anokaa in Salisbury on Friday, any excuse for a curry!

Curry of the Week #4

It’s been 3 weeks since my last curry recipe and I’ve started to get severe withdrawal symptoms. So here’s tonight’s curry, lamb curry (andhra style) from Camellia Panjabi’s book “50 Great Curries of India”. This is a great curry recipe book packed full of information.

The Andhra style of cooking is the hottest in India but the yoghurt in this recipe balances the spices nicely.

150 ml full-fat yoghurt
2 1/2 tsp garlic puree
2 1/2 tsp ginger puree
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsps chopped coriander
1 1/2lb stewing lamb
3 tbsp oil
2 onions finely chopped
3 tomatoes finely chopped
6 green cardomoms
4 cloves
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
10-12 curry leaves

1) Mix the yogurt, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric and coriander leaves and add to meat, leave to marinate for 2-4 hrs. I left mine in the fridge overnight.
2) Fry the onions in the oil until brown, add the cardomoms and cloves and fry for 1 minute.
3) Add the meat and marinade and cook on low until the marinade is absorbed (10 mins) then turn the heat up and fry the meat stirring for 5 minutes.
4) Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed then fry the meat again stirring for 5 minutes.
5) Add the caraway seeds, curry leaves and salt to taste. Stir well then add a pint of hot water. Cover and cook on a low heat until the meat is tender. Then uncover and boil off the excess liquid until you have the consistency of gravy you like.

Garnish with coriander and serve with rice. Delicious!

An update on the Firsdown Bus Fire last week which was front page news in the weekly Salisbury Journal published today. Credit to Mr Trudgill who acted so quickly and got his children and others off the bus in the nick of time. One of Rachel’s photos appeared in the Journal. There’s a few videos of the incident on You Tube now, quite shocking how quickly the bus burnt out.

Last of the Peppers

The time has finally come to harvest the last of the greenhouse peppers as the foliage is starting to die back.

We’ve been dining on peppers for a while, had around 30 in total, and they’ve gone into various recipes like spag bol for the girls or this nice stuffed pepper recipe.

But what could be more fitting them putting them in a veggie curry especially now I’ve just restocked the spice cupboard. Here’s a quick and easy recipe:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 small piece of fresh ginger chopped
8 oz Veg
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
3 tomatoes chopped
600 ml water
Salt to taste

1) Fry the onions in the oil until golden brown. Then add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
2) Add all the spices and fry for a further minute. Add 200ml of the water and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
3) Salt to taste, add your veg, the rest of the water and cook until done. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice and/or breads.


Curry of the Week – On the Road

No home cooking in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been on the road for a few curries instead. First was The Royal Jaipur (7/10) in Landford, New Forest where I had a Gosth Chilli Fry. Followed by two curries in Salisbury, a lamb chilli balti at the Shah Jahan (8/10) and Laal Mans, (a lovely Rajastahni-style slow cooked lamb dish), at Hox Brasserie (8/10).

Then it was up to Derby and a Sheekh Tawa at The Raj (6/10) in Allestree. The following day we paid a visit to Christchurch Meadow, home of ‘the Nailers’, the mighty Belper Town F.C., who reside in the Evo-Stik League. They beat Shepshed Dynamo 2-1 watched by 217 hardy souls. Pukka Pies supplied the half-time snacks but it wasn’t the greatest game I’ve ever seen although it was good to get back to grass roots football after the World Cup debacle, the Wayne Rooney saga etc.

On the way home I dropped a friend in Leicester, just off Narborough Road, and replenished my spice cupboard from one of the many Indian grocery shops.

And I couldn’t visit Leicester without a trip to Ajay’s Sweetmart (111, Narborough Road, LE3 OPA), who makes the best vegetable samosas I have ever tasted. He was doing a roaring trade in the run up to Diwali. We’ve been going there for years, and he also does a mean Onion Bhaji, or a pepper stuffed with peanut masala, and for the brave, a fiery Potato Bomb. Well worth stopping by if you are in town!

Curry of the Week #3

Last week was my favourite Beef Madras.  This week is curry as true comfort food, again from the Queen of Curry Madhur Jaffrey from her 2001 book “Foolproof Indian Cookery” (BBC).   Keema Matar (Minced lamb with peas) – very easy to make and medium spiced, great as a nice quick curry, all in all about an hour to prepare and cook.

Serves 4

4 tbsps of olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tsp crushed garlic

1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger

1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

200g (7oz) chopped tomatoes

4 tbsp plain yoghurt

550g (1 1/4lb) minced lamb

1 tsp salt, or to taste

250 ml (8fl oz) water

2 tbsps lemon juice

150g (5oz) fresh or frozen peas

1.  Heat the oil in a wok or similar pan, add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Add the spices and cook for a further 10 seconds.

2.  Add the tomatoes and yoghurt and cook for 2 minutes then add the minced lamb and salt.  Stir for 2 minutes breaking up any lumps then add the water and bring to a simmer, cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  (I skim off the excess oil after this stage).

3. Add the lemon juice and peas, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes.  Serve with rice and/or breads.


Don’t forget if you want a chance of winning a free foraging guide book leave a comment on this post before Saturday.

Curry of the Week #2

Last week was an easy to make medium-spiced Chick Pea and Mushroom curry. This week is probably my favourite home-made recipe by the Queen of Curry Madhur Jaffrey from her 2001 book “Foolproof Indian Cookery” (BBC). Beef Madras – we’ve stepped up a level in complexity, heat, and breadth of ingredients with this one but trust me it’s worth it.

2lb of good quality beef stewing steak (you can use pork or lamb shoulder meat just cook for 1hr instead of 1 1/2 hours)
400ml can of coconut milk
1tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
10 fenugreek seeds
4 cloves
4 hot dried red chillies
6 tbsp olive or groundnut oil
2 onions, very finely chopped
1 tsp very finely grated fresh root ginger
2 tsp crushed garlic
3-4 hot green chillies
2 large tomatoes, very finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Put the peppercorns, coriander, fennel & fenugreek seeds, cloves and dried chillies into a cast iron frying pan over a medium heat until they go a shade darker and start to give off a lovely spicy aroma. Leave to cool then grind to a powder.
2. Pour the oil into a wide non-stick pan over a medium heat (I use a wok), cook the onions until they soften and turn brown at the edges. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies and stir for 20 seconds. Add the meat and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, ground roasted spices, salt and cocunut milk and bring to the boil. (as the beef cooks for longer add a little water as well).
3. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender. Then take the lid off and boil away the liquid until you get it to the stage of a sauce which is just clinging to the tender meat.

This one will mature nicely in the fridge overnight or freeze for a quick curry next time you get the craving!

Garnish with coriander, serve with rice and/or breads. Perfect!

Curry of the Week

As part of my blog diversification over the winter months here’s a new feature…..curry of the week. Combining two of my favourite things, cooking and curries. So a nice easy one to start with, about half an hour from start to finish, 10 minutes prep and 20 minutes cooking time. From one of my curry recipe books “100 Best Balti Curries, Authentic Dishes from the Baltihouses” by Diane Lowe and Mike Davidson (Pavillion Books 1994) which evokes memories of my student days at Wolverhampton Poly and the odd trip to the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham, the Balti Belt!

Chick Pea and Mushroom Bhuna Balti – serves 4 (or 2 large helpings) and is medium spiced. And you don’t have to have a Nigella-sized larder cupboard to have these ingredients about your kitchen!

1 large can of chick peas (drain but keep the liquid)
6 oz button mushrooms, sliced
6 tbsp vegetable oil ( I normally put in half this and use olive oil)
2 onions, chopped
1 fresh chilli, chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
Spices – 1 tsp curry powder, 1tsp turmeric powder, 1/2tsp ground coriander, 1/2tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander and a little extra garam masala for garnish

Heat the oil in a wok on a moderate heat and fry the onions until they are starting to brown. Add the tomatoes and chilli for about 3 minutes until they are starting to soften and then add the chick peas, reserved liquid and spices. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt to taste and cook for a further two minutes or so. Then serve in a bowl with Naan bread (or with rice, whatever you prefer). Garnish with coriander and garam masala.