Here in the North of England people tend to refer to all Indian Cuisine as ‘curry’. It’s still popular amongst many to go out drinking or to an event followed by a late night curry, especially after a week of hard graft.
I stopped doing this a long time ago and fell out with meaty, excessively hot dishes served for British palates, finding them all too rich and filling. I also discovered that ghee didn’t agree with me.
Instead I turned to perfecting the art of cooking Indian dishes – vegetarian and vegan – with the help of Madhur Jaffrey.
Long-time favourite has been Saag Aloo, then Chana Masala, Baingan Barta and absolute supremo – Aloo Gobi Masala. I am lucky to live in a diverse place where spices and all kinds of vegetables are readily available, from around the world, at good prices. Stocking up, from turmeric to cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and more, has always been a delightful aspect to my grocery shopping here. Not forgetting large bundles of coriander!
To accompany I go for either brown rice fused with whole spices – cinnamon sticks, cardamom, start anise, saffron – or chapatis. Sometimes there are samosas, pakoras. Always minty yoghurt and mango chutney to make the palate tingle.
Essentials – onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, sunflower oil, turmeric, chilli. Then whatever grabs you. I learnt to be generous and adventurous when it came to Indian cuisine over the years. My early attempts were dreadful. I became less fearful of what I was creating and it stopped being a brown mush and slowly became full of heady aromas.
Fear doesn’t make for good cooking, like everything else in life. Love and savour every ingredient of everything made, when you can.