Spicy joke… No. 3

There is a superb curry house up the road from me. Everyone loves the food, except this one lady who always makes a fuss at the end of the meal. She gets up shouting and screaming as she leaves but the rest of us just boo and Jeera.

The Curry Guide… No. 3

If you walked into a restaurant in Madras (now called Chennai) in India and ordered a “Madras” you’d almost certainly be met with a blank look. It’d be the same as walking into a restaurant in the English capital and asking for a “London”.

The Madras is a British invention and its connotations with “hot” stem from the traders and soldiers who were in the city from the time the British arrived in 1640. Not only do South Indians love spicy food but the city is extremely hot and humid, with temperatures usually over 30°C (86°F) and frequently reaching 40°C (104°F).IMG_1359

Those early ex-pats would have brought back the tastes of India when they returned home with their pots of spice mixes, or early curry powders. As there were no standard for these spice mixes (indeed, as not all curry powders are the same today), it’s possible that the mixes with a little bit extra zing were called “Madras” to acknowledge their extra heat.

The early Indian restaurant owners in Britain carried through this thinking by adding their own hotter mixes or more chilli powder to their standard curry to create the Madras Curry and why today many people are able to order virtually any dish on the menu and ask the chef to make it “Madras hot”.

Spicy joke… No. 2

A young boy is watching the animated film Finding Dory. He turns to his dad and asks, “I like Dory but why is he so blue?”

“That’s just his colour son, ” replies his dad.

“But does he ever change colour dad?”

“Of course son,” his dad says smiling. “When he goes on holiday he spends a lot of time in the sun on the beach. Then he becomes a Tandoori.”

The Curry Guide… No. 2

Pathiri (dosa)
are a type of pancake and are particularly popular in South India, which is where they originate from. Ingredients are simple enough, with rice and black gram soaked in water, then ground to form a batter but the skill is in the creation because the perfect dosa will be paper-thin like a crêpe. They can be eaten plain, coated in ghee or stuffed with other ingredients like potato. Dosas make a great starter or snack and are usually served with chutneys.


Spicy joke… No. 1

A man is in a pub having a beer but the place does not serve food.

“Do you know a good Indian restaurant?” he asks the barman. “I’d like to order a takeaway.”

“Of course,” the barman replies. “I have a few phone numbers here you can Dhal.”

The Curry Guide… No. 1

Don’t treat your order of rice as an afterthought. Choosing the right rice should enhance your meal. If you are ordering a special dish (or a really hot one) stick to Plain Rice or  Pilau Rice so you don’t have tastes competing with the flavours (or heat) of your main dish. If you are looking for more flavours on the table then go for a rice that really adds something to your dish rather than something that just soaks up the sauce.

• You’ve ordered soIMG_6913mething hot, like Vindaloo or Madras… then go for Plain Rice or the lightly spiced Pilau Rice to give yourself some respite from the blast.

• You’ve ordered something smooth like Korma or Tikka Masala… then go for Lemon Rice for a sharp taste to cut through the cream.

• You’ve ordered a medium-spiced lamb dish like Karahi Lamb… then go for Coconut Rice as its subtle flavours complement the strong, robust taste of the red meat.

• You’ve ordered Biryani… then go for, ahem, you won’t be needing any extra rice with this one.


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