Screen Queens Keen You Glean Cuisine Means In National Curry Week


So here we are, balti-deep in National Curry Week 2012, celebrating the greatest dish in the world. But even though curry is absolutely beloved in the UK, apparently not that many of us feel confident enough to actually cook it. To mark the launch of National Curry Week, TV chef and cookery writer Anjum Anand – founder of The Spice Tailor range of curry ingredients and sauces – commissioned research that affirmed that Britain's favourite dish is still Tikka Masala (with Korma sneaking in at number two, ahead of Beef Wellington at number three). So far, so good.

But the same research – carried out by an Oceans Connect team – revealed that 75% of those polled had never tried actually making their own Tikka Masala (although it's unclear whether this meant "from scratch" or using sauce from a jar). To add flimsult to flammery, apparently 81% hadn't attempted a Korma whilst 83% were feart of tackling a Rogan Josh in their own kitchen. The disparity between our love of curry and our ability to actually make it seemed further emphasised by the revelation that only 34% of those surveyed admitted to feeling feel under-confident about cooking classic Indian dishes for family or friends. What is there to do?

Luckily, Anjum Anand has a possible solution. "What many people don't realise is that you don't have to go out or dial a takeaway to enjoy Indian food," she says. "In fact, you really can create simple, healthy and delicious Indian food in minutes in your own kitchen. Whether you cook from scratch or use a few cheats along the way, don't be afraid to give Indian cooking a go; it really can be a brilliant everyday option for the whole family."

First The Spice Tailor ... will a Herb Tinker be next?

To that end, Anand has filmed a series of Spice Night video tutorials, demonstrating how to make a family curry in just 15 minutes. The rather ambitious idea is that you register on Anand's site, pick up the necessary ingredients and then "tune in" live on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm to cookalong with the tutorial. Or you can simply catch up with them on YouTube at your leisure. Anand obviously a dab hand at this sort of thing, and the videos are very professional. Eight episodes are planned, running until November 6.

Trendspotters that we are at TATTGOC, it would be remiss not to also point out that other curry video tutorials are available if you fancy cooking up a spicy storm during National Curry Week. Episode three of Aasmah Mir's Cracking Curries concept has just gone live, with the 5 Live broadcaster putting together an amazing-looking fish curry (you can't embed Cracking Curries videos but this screengrab will give you an idea of what Mir's up to):

And long-time TATTGOC crush Nisha Katona's most recent video tutorials feature her cooking in her mum's kitchen. As well as showcasing some excellent and easy-to-follow recipes, the interplay between mother and daughter can be highly entertaining. (In the Aubergine Curry recipe video below, Katona embarks on an extended Lord of the Rings metaphor which is stopped in its tracks by one look from ma.) An enterprising TV company should sign them up immediately:

But while all these attempts to leverage YouTube and get punters cooking should be applauded, what about the original Curry Queen, the woman who probably did more to popularise the dish in the UK than anyone before or since? After a long break from our screens, the mighty Madhur Jaffrey is back to take on all comers with her new series Curry Nation, scheduled for broadcast on the Good Food UK network sometime this month.

MJ meets the Mr Singh's team

For the series (and accompanying book), Jaffrey travelled up and down the country to gauge the influence of curry and gather the best recipes, and while in Scotland, she stopped off at Mr Singh's India (one of the four restaurants representing Glasgow in Curry Capital 2012. To hear Jaffrey talk about her new show, tune in to the BBC Radio Scotland's Kitchen Cafe at lunchtime on Wednesday Oct 16. And a good friend of TATTGOC suggests picking up a copy of the Scotsman on Saturday Oct 20 for a lively interview with the original Curry Queen in the magazine.

STOP PRESS: Also next Wednesday, Madhur Jaffrey will be discussing her Curry Nation series and book with Hardeep Singh Kohli at a special South Asian Literature Festival event in London. Details here.

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Ravi said...

I made a lovely lamb bhoona, at the weekend, from that invaluable book "Curry Easy" by Madhur Jaffrey

I have to say - it was a winner, as has every recipe I have used from the book.

Bobo Balti said...

Nice One Ravi, I need to check that one out.

The Tramp said...

Cheers for the tip Ravi, will have to check it out.

I swear by the Shish Mahal Cook Book:

I also picked up the excellent India: The Cookbook which is rammed with regional dishes I've never heard of:

I think we should have a TATTGOC event where we all have to bring a dish. could be interesting!