I know Gordon Ramsey is not one to curry favour or mince his words but a recent tweet of his appears to have upset an entire country.
Ramsey invites people to send him photos and descriptions of dishes they create. In turn he gives them a review which, it is hoped, is amusing but can also be quite scathing.
To this end a Twitter user known as Rameez submitted a picture of a dish called Medu Vada, a traditional breakfast meal comprising deep fried spiced lentils served with lentil curry and coconut chutney. Rameez asked Ramsey to rate his dish and received the response “I didn’t think you can tweet from prison”.
Rameez appeared satisfied by the comment, responding that his “mission had been accomplished”. Others, however, were far from amused.
Fine Indian Food
I know Gordon Ramsey is not one to curry favour or mince his words but a recent tweet of his appears to have upset an entire country.
I spotted an article recently about the theory of food pairing. Originated by popular chef Heston Blumenthal and Francois Benzi, described as a ‘flavour chemist’, it argues that food with matching flavour molecules combine to make the tastiest food.
Apparently an average food ingredient contains some 50 matching flavour molecules while complex substances such as red wine may contain over a thousand.
It is argued that the two main factors that combine to produce a dish’s flavour are ingredients and technique. Ingredients can be divided into two groups, ‘quiet’ ingredients such as butter, milk, paneer and rice and ‘loud’ ones which include chillies, horseradish, rosemary and tarragon.
It is that time of year again when we can look forward to National Curry Week in the UK. This year it falls between 9th and 15th October and celebrates its 20th anniversary.
National Curry Week has the obvious object of promoting the great variety and diversity of curry dishes available throughout the country. People are encouraged to visit their local curry houses or make their own versions of the dish at home.
At the same time, the aim is to raise funds for various charities concerned primarily with battling hunger, poverty and malnutrition. People are encouraged to join in, engaging with fun challenges and events, and making donations.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation has published a study which suggests that a chemical compound found in spicy curries can help prevent the risk of developing bowel cancer.
Capsaicin is what gives chilli peppers their heat. In an experiment it was given to mice by scientists. It triggered a pain receptor in cells in the lining of the intestines which resulted in a reaction reducing the likelihood of developing colorectal tumours. In fact it was found to extend the life of the subject mice by up to 30%.
The internet is a wonderful tool, as we all know. Here are seven interesting facts and myths about curry that I have come across in my googling.
1. The earliest known curry is believed to have been made in Mesopotamia in around 1700BC.
2. The word ‘curry’ is thought to have derived from the Tamil word ‘kari’ meaning spiced sauce.
3. Korma is probably the most misunderstood curry in the world. The word means slow cooked or braised rather than the British understanding of it as a mild curry. Indeed, it can be very mild or fierily hot, depending on the ingredients used.
We have a couple of fantastic offers for you at the moment.
Firstly, we are running a great Meal Deal every day. Here’s how it works:
1. We provide a splendid starting platter for one comprising onion bhaji, shish kebab, chicken pakora, meat samosa, chicken tikka and lamb tikka.
2. Following that you can choose a main dish from over 100 featured on our menu, complete with a portion of rice. And if you are still hungry after that, you can choose a further main dish for free!
Our chef prepares all our delicious dishes using fresh and locally sourced products wherever possible.
I am pleased to announce that for the second year the British Curry Club are helping primary school students to grow their own curry ingredients.
Selected schools have already received packets of seeds supplied by Sutton Seeds. The hope is that the chosen schools will form gardening clubs and post news of their crops on their respective websites or social media pages.
I was shocked to read a report in The Daily Telegraph quoting Yawar Khan, chairman of the Asian Catering Federation (ACF). He forecasts some 17,000 Indian restaurants will disappear from our High Streets in the next 10 years – that equates to one in two of the restaurants existing today.
I have talked before about some of the problems besetting our industry, including chef shortages and rising costs, but Khan identifies other factors too; failure to respond to changing customer demand and to keep up with modern technology.
I know a lot of people like a glass of wine with their curry or even a jug of water but the majority seem to prefer beer and Kingfisher is renowned as one of the most popular brands of Indian beer in the world today.
The origins of stretch back to one of the oldest established and best breweries in India. Castle Breweries first began brewing beer in 1857 in the magnificent city of Mysore. Carts drawn by bullocks carried the huge barrels of beer, known as hogsheads, through the narrow streets. In time Castle allied with four other brewers to become United Breweries.
In the 1970s United Breweries began to concentrate on exporting their beers to other countries and it is now found in over 50 countries around the world. The Kingfisher brand was launched in 1978. The premium lager is brewed in the UK to the same authentic Indian recipe.
Today United Breweries are recognised as the leading brewer in India, with around 50% of the home market. Kingfisher Strong is the largest selling beer in the country and one in every three beers sold in India is a Kingfisher.
Kingfisher is heavily involved in sports sponsorship including their own F1 team, Force India. They are also a sponsor of several Indian cricket teams.
I read with interest the feelings of prominent leaders of the UK curry restaurant industry who believe their support for the Leave campaign has been betrayed.
Restaurants are facing closure as they are unable to recruit UK chefs with the required skills. If they recruit from the subcontinent the current immigration requirements are that they need to guarantee an annual wage of £29,570 which is beyond many restaurants budgets.
The hope was that these requirements would be replaced by a points based immigration policy being introduced, similar to that operating in Australia. This would pave the way for more Asian chefs to be able to obtain visas.
The Financial Times reports that Pasha Khandaker, president of the Bangladesh Caterers Association who campaigned heavily for the Leave campaign, was “very disappointed” by the government’s refusal to adopt this policy, despite it being a key proposal in the run up to the referendum.
I appreciate the loyalty of my regular customers and so I have decided to give them a reward with the first ever Baburchi Loyalty Card (BLC).
Starting on 1st January you are able to purchase a BLC for £40.00 or £20.00. This can be immediately used to get 50% off your food and drinks bill to a maximum of £40.00 for four people or £20.00 for two people.
The real bonus, though, is that thereafter you can use your BLC to get 2 meals for the price of 1 or 4 for the price of two! That’s eating in or takeaway.
The deal applies to main course dishes only with the cheapest dish free. Buffet and set menus are not included. Take a look at our website for the full terms and conditions.
You can use the card throughout the year except on certain dates specified on our website.
So sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch – or dinner if you prefer!
To sample Indian food at its best in Gloucester, visit Baburchi Cuisine. Contact us on 01452 300615 or explore indianrestaurantgloucester.co.uk to view our eat in and take away menus.
In India there is a tradition of sweet making at Xmas.
It is a family affair and often all the women in an extended family will gather together to make sweets over a weekend or two. Many of the treats originated in Goa and were subsequently adapted by other parts of the country.
Collectively known as kuswar, they include traditional fruitcakes and rose cookies. Another favourite are kidiyo, which translates as “worms”. Fortunately no actual worms are involved, just deep fried balls of dough covered with icing sugar.
Newrio are sweet dumplings stuffed with grated coconut, sesame seeds and palm sugar. Other delights include banana chips, cardamom and cashew macaroons, and chaklis, a round deep fried savoury made with lentils.
As with many things Indian, there is a broad cultural background to the sweets. The fruitcakes, for example, resemble British plum puddings and even the traditional English Xmas pudding. Rose cookies are of Dutch origin and many of the other treats are grounded in the cuisines of Portugal and France.
We at Baburchi Cuisine would like to offer you the compliments of the festive season. For some of the best Indian food in Gloucester, give us a call on 01452 300615 or explore our extensive take away and eat in menus at indianrestaurantgloucester.co.uk.
I was amused to read of an unnamed curry-loving millionaire arranging for a chef to fly from Wales to North London to provide an Indian feast, a total of 160 miles. That’s some take away!
Chef Mofur Miah is based in Wrexham but was flown from there with his pre-made tasty dishes to be re-cooked for the banquet. The food supplied comprised:
• Five chicken tikka biryanis
• Five meat biryanis
• Five Bombay aloo
• Five saag aloo
• Ten chapatis
• An assortment of side dishes
He travelled with the food on an aircraft and re-cooked it on his arrival at the North London venue.
It is not the first time he has flown with his food. He also caters for high-flying weddings on a converted aeroplane which is used for traditional Bangladeshi marriages. Jokingly he and his colleagues refer to themselves as North Wales’ fourth Emergency Service!
We at Baburchi Cuisine are pleased to offer everything that appears on Mr Miah’s millionaire menu. For some of the best Indian food in Gloucester, give us a call on 01452 300615 or explore our extensive take away and eat in menus at indianrestaurantgloucester.co.uk.
Here in the UK a korma curry is usually described as very mild and comes with a thick, rich sauce. That is not the only way of serving this versatile type of curry, however, as it can adapt itself to different combinations in different circumstances.
The word korma is derived from kormah, a Hindu word meaning to braise which in turn comes from the Turkish kavurma which simply means cooked meat. The dish in India can be traced back to the sixteenth century invasions by the Mughals.
Traditionally a korma dish consists of meat or vegetables that have been braised in water and stock, usually with yoghurt or cream added. As is typical of many Indian dishes it is the combination of spices that give the dish its distinctive flavour. Ground coriander and cumin are the main spices used.
The dish would have been cooked slowly in a pot over a low fire with charcoal put on top of the lid to ensure all-round heat. Despite its mild reputation today in the UK, there is nothing to stop a korma from being spicy or fiery, providing the dish as braised as suggested.
An interesting vegetarian variation is the Navratan korma. Navratan means nine gems and the dish traditionally incorporates nine different vegetables.
We are pleased to offer various kormas on our extensive menu. For some of the best Indian food in Gloucester, give us a call on 01452 300615 or explore our extensive take away and eat in menus at indianrestaurantgloucester.co.uk.
Did you know that National Curry Week is fast approaching?
This year’s events run from 10th to 16th October. National Curry Week originated in 1998 and aims to promote curry while raising funds for various charities concerned primarily with battling hunger, poverty and malnutrition.
During the week people are encouraged to visit their local curry houses or partake of the dish at home, whilst engaging with fun challenges and events, and making donations. Asda have been announced as the lead sponsor and official retailer for the 2016 campaign.
Events arranged include a world record attempt at constructing a tower of poppadums, samosa and poppadum speed eating contests and the Great British Curry Quiz
Some people are so excited by the idea that they challenge themselves to eat a different type of curry each day! While that won’t suit everyone, I would encourage you to take the opportunity to try a new dish – you might surprise yourself!
I am especially proud of the diversity of the vegetarian dishes we offer on our menu.
There has always been a wide variety of vegetarian dishes in India and trade over the centuries encouraged this to increase. It was only when the Portuguese came, for example, that potatoes and chillies were added to our culinary repertoires.
Here are just a few of the vegetarian specialities we offer:
•Madras Vegetable Smaba – this comprises a selection of mixed vegetables cooked with lentils, fenugreek, coriander and a selection of spices. It is sweet and sour and fairly hot to taste.
•Shabji Jafroni – a much milder dish, this features mixed vegetables cooked in Chef’s own special sauce, an enticing blend of spices, almond and lemon. It does contain nuts.
•Aloo Begun Balti – a delightful mix of aubergines and potatoes cooked in Chef’s selection of fresh herbs and Balti spices. Served up for you in a Balti dish.
•Shobji Bhar Poneer – at the request of our customers we use Cheddar cheese rather than the traditional Indian Poneer cheese. Mixed vegetables are cooked together with fresh herbs, spices and the cheese.
•Shobji Bhar Tatul – the vegetables are cooked in a tasty chilli and tamarind sauce, together with onions, peppers and pickled chilli. The result is a sweet and sour delight.
An Indian restaurant in the Longsight district of Manchester was recently surprised by a late night visit from none other than England football legend David Beckham.
Becks had been to the Stone Roses concert at the nearby Etihad Stadium with his seventeen year old son, Brooklyn. Following the gig they and their chums felt peckish so popped in to the Paradise restaurant.
They didn’t arrive until nearly 1:00am but all the staff were happy to serve them a selection of curries and poppadoms. The former England captain spent half an hour there and was happy to pose for photos with staff and later with fans outside the restaurant.
If Becks ever ends up in Gloucester he will find that Baburchi Cuisine is one of the best modern Indian eating experiences available in the city. Give us a call on 01452 300615 or explore indianrestaurantgloucester.co.uk to view our eat in and take away menus.
Looking for something a bit different to accompany your Indian take away? Why not try a bottle of Indian wine.
Fiona Beckett, the wine writer for The Guardian, recently reported on a wine tasting organised for the launch of a new book called The Wines of India: A Concise Guide by Peter Csizmadia-Honigh.
Of the reds she tried, she was most impressed with Misfit 2013 from Myra Vineyard which she described as a “really gorgeous blend of cabernet and shiraz”. It is from the Karnataka region, one of the premier wine growing areas in India, and will shortly be available from Premia Wines.
A recipe for chicken curry has been found in an English cookbook dating back over 200 years, proving our obsession with the dish.
The Daily Telegraph recently reported the find of the handwritten recipe with ingredients including chicken, rice powder, curry powder and veal gravy. It is one of 142 recipes in the book created by a cook at Begbrook House near Bristol in 1793.
The cookbook came to light when it was found by monks in a donation of a book collection to Downside Abbey at Radstock in Somerset. It is believed to be a working kitchen cookbook, rather than one used for meals for special occasions.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting India this month and recently attended a business meeting in Mumbai with a group of young entrepreneurs.
They were shown a ‘dosamatic’, a new machine capable of making dosas, pancakes and even omelettes invented by a company from Bangalore. Prince William wanted to have a go and so was shown how to pour the batter onto the machine’s hotplate.
Once it was cooked, he successfully rolled it and took a tentative bite. “Delicious”, he is reported as saying.