Curry in a hurry while the Cat is away…
Sure, your lady is a domestic goddess and you are the luckiest man in the world, but sometimes the airs and graces of dinner party etiquette leaves you cold. Some Sundays, the last thing you want is smooth jazz and pavlova, and the only thing that’s on your mind is how you can quietly escape to the nearest pub. We feel you. Well, we don’t really, but we can attempt to empathise and us girls are pretty good at that. But Huzzah! A free weekend this way comes. Maybe she has to work, or go see her sister, or maybe her wallet will not allow another trip to the cheese shop, but bottom line you are free to watch the footy with the boys. There is only one thing that goes with sport more than beer, and that is a filthy curry feast. How good does that sound?
“This dish with slow cooked lamb shoulder is so worth the calories, not that you men have to worry too much. Bastards”
“You want me to… decorate?” Okay okay, we know it’s not the strongest weapon in your arsenal, but we have faith in you. Plus, who really cares what the place looks like if you’ve got *insert sport of preference here* on the goggle-box. We’d recommend plastic plates & cups; Tesco have a great range of party gear that you can just pick up when you’re on your ingredient shop. The best bit? Once you’ve chowed down, you can just throw it all away, bye bye washing up. If plastic isn’t your thing (cos God knows it’s not ours…) you can save on the serving bowl and just serve straight from the cooking pot to dishes! Our Le Creuset pot is over 33 years old – thanks Mum. If you’re not willing to take the plunge and invest in a brand new pot just yet, why not try second hand? Preloved is a great site to pick up branded kitchenalia for sometimes less than half the cost!
I’m sure you’re already aware most of us girls haven’t got the faintest idea when it comes to sport; we realise this is an enormous generalisation, but it’s certainly spot on when it comes down to us two. However, if you wanted to get the guys round this weekend you could have a football bonanza, as Arsenal are playing Manchester City this Saturday at 4pm kick off. Or if the F1 is more your thing Sunday the 9th of April holds host to the Chinese Grand Prix. The race starts at 7am UK time, so here’s what we propose; get the lads round on the Saturday night, for a night full of anticipation and race-reruns, curry and a few bevies. Maybe a power nap and then get up early doors in time for the race to start. If you’re hard core you can pull an all nighter; but we haven’t even attempted that since Freshers 2010.
The food this week is a crowd-pleasing curry from Pakistan. It is utterly heart-warming as it is rich, flavoursome and packed with pulses like split peas, lentils and pearl barley. As always, adapt our recipes and play around with the spice levels by adding or taking away chillies. But don’t overestimate your masculinity when it comes to heat, your tongue will thank you. It has a soupy texture and relatively healthy when made with chicken rather than beef or lamb, though, this dish with slow cooked lamb shoulder is so worth the calories, not that you men have to worry too much. Bastards.
“If you really want your ego cleansed, you’re going to have to go a bit further than curry and rice. “
This recipe highlights that Indian food need not to be daunting. Sure, spices and flavours are rather particular, but once you have the basics its really rather simple, and we promise, your friends will love it. You can buy the Haleem spice from specialist shops, or just about anywhere on the curry mile. However, if you are struggling to find it you can make it yourself with half a teaspoon of salt, red chilli powder, black pepper, ground coriander, cumin, ground green cardamom, ginger, mustard seed and one tsp. turmeric. The dried pulse mix can we found in supermarkets normally sold as broth of soup mix.
You would not believe how straight forward the recipe is. It is bound to impress, but if you really want your ego cleansed, you’re going to have to go a bit further than curry and rice. Whip up a quick cooling raita with yogurt, mint and grated cucumber. Or, perhaps a crunchy salad of cabbage, carrot and mustard seed which is equally delicious when fried up in a wok and served hot. Popadums and naan are an absolute must. You can make your own if you have the time to spare, but if not, shop bought works just as well, especially the ones from Indian supermarkets like Worldwide.
Top tip: for crisp yet soft naan bread, pop it on some greaseproof paper and flick with cold water before it goes in the oven. This keeps it from burning or turning into a brittle mess. Tearable, shareable naan in minutes.
Watch some sport, drink beers and don’t leave your washing up for the Missus.
See you next Thursday,
Chicken Haleem Curry
300g Haleem mixed lentils
6 skinless chicken thighs, preferably on the bone
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
Thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
1 large red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
Green chilli, sliced (1 for mild, 2 for medium,3 for hot, 4…we dare you)
3 tsp. Haleem marsala (red chilli powder, turmeric, crushed black pepper,
1 curry leaf
400 ml vegetable or chicken stock
Juice of one lemon
Salt, pepper and olive oil (or ghee)
Rinse the lentils in cold water and then pop in a saucepan with 500ml water and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile in a heavy based saucepan heat up a little oil or ghee (Indian butter) in a heavy cast iron pan and brown off the chicken thighs. Season them well. Take them out of the pan on some kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Fry the garlic and ginger until it is crisp and fragrant. Add the vegetables and stir fry until soft before adding the green chilli and spices (including salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and cook for two minutes.
Add the lentils, lemon juice, stock and finally the chicken thighs and stir well to combine. Put the lid on and simmer over a medium heat for 40 minutes.
Take it off the heat and take the chicken thighs out one by one and on to a board. With two forks pull the meat off the bone and in to thin strips, just like pulled pork. Repeat with all the thighs, discarding the bones and transferring the chicken back to the curry. Stir well.
Serve with all the trimmings and ice cold beers.