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Friday 28 January 2011

Friday Food Is Curry!

Ever wondered how to reproduce that curry house taste at home? Here is what works for me.

Back in the late 1980s, my local curry takeaway – I kid you not – was called the Bismillah, on the parade in the Huddersfield suburb of Marsh. Its USP was that the ovens were out front, in the shop, and so you could see how the dishes were prepared, and the kinds of ingredients used. They also did some pre-cooking of those ingredients, something I still do nowadays.

The Bismillah is long gone, so I’m told, but those key curry components, like paste, puree and yogurt, are timeless. So, after any Wayne’s World moments, on to the preparation. The curry described is a vegetable one: chicken or lamb can be used as well, or instead of potato.

Pre-cooking: chick peas (if prepared from dried), onion and potato should be prepared separately. Also applies to meat, if used.

First things first: start with oil (I use ordinary veg or sunflower oil) and curry paste, adding chilli powder to taste, and having mixed together, stir in some natural yogurt. This moderates the effect of the spices, and it’s why yogurt based drinks go better with curry than large amounts of lager.

That’s the base for the curry – done.

I always do mushrooms in my curries, and they go in next. Stir in and leave to soften and cook through.

Then add and stir in tomatoes (canned are fine) and tomato puree – you’ll figure out what amount works best for you – followed by pre-cooked pulses (I use chick peas), then onion, potato and/or meat. It’s that simple.

By all means chuck in favourite spices as you go: I prefer to leave it at curry paste and chilli powder, but get out the savoury pickle at serving time instead. Serve with pitta bread (quick and easy), chapatis, or rice. Naan breads if you must.

And that, folks, is curry house curry made simple. As I said, it works for me – your preference may be different.

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