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Messages - Paul-B

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Madras / Re: Madras Base Sauce
« on: May 31, 2007, 03:03 PM »
Hi Salamander. Thanks for the recipe, any chance you could post some pics of the sauce and of the end curry?

Ta muchly.

Lets Talk Curry / Re: Were it all began
« on: May 31, 2007, 02:36 PM »
I can well remember, as a teenager growing-up in Oxford, being particularly fascinated by an "Indian" Restaurant in the St Ebbes area of Oxford which was called "The Cobra". It was painted a rather faded light blue, and the smells coming from it were extraordinary to my nose, having been used to mum's "curries" which were, basically, meat stews with curry powder added, together with raisins and dessicated coconut. Must have been about 1957/58 or thereabouts.

Thanks for the links, Cory. I see Eurocosm do an indoor version for ?79, looks ideal for me (my kitchen doesn't have gas). Do you reckon that would get hot enough?

Great post, Cory.

Where did you get your burner, roughly how much did it cost, and does it run on bottled gas?

Just Joined? Introduce Yourself / Re: lo guys
« on: May 22, 2007, 08:05 AM »
Hi Garry.

I'm a noob here myself, and have to say this is a superb source of information. I made my first BIR last week using Darth's recipe and was amazed at the result. Been trying for years to get that BIR flavour, without success, but Darth's recipe did the trick!

Try a few yourself and don't forget to post the pics of your curries.

Lets Talk Curry / Re: Beer, Lager, Wine or Water?
« on: May 22, 2007, 08:01 AM »
I quite often drink chilled white wine with my curries. Needs to be full-bodied and flavourful, so an Oz Chardonnay is just perfect. Avoid the more "astringent" grape varieties, French Vin du Table is definitely *not* the way to go.

I've yet to find a red which complements a curry, maybe a decent Rioja might do the trick but I'd not waste a good one by trying it.

Like the others, I like a good Belgian beer with my curry, I buy a few cases of Leffe and/or Grimbergen when I go to France and keep a dozen bottles in the fridge.

Lets Talk Curry / Re: The Best Oil?
« on: May 19, 2007, 10:36 AM »
Hi peeps
This is my first post after a couple of weeks on the site and wow what a site it is, so much info my head is spinning!!!
Anyway to get to the point, all the recipes I've read seem to specify "veg oil" but which oil do you think is best?
For me a good oil can make or break a curry, its the base of the base so to speak. Over the years I must have tried most of them but for the last year or so I've been using something called "Carotino" which is a blend of red palm and canola oil. Its a deep orange/red colour and cholesterol free but high in vitamins A & E and omegas 3 & 6 and has no trans fats. Just as importantly its a joy to cook with having a very high smoking point, great for stir frying and sealing meats etc. and it gives everything a lovely sheen making curries in particular look wonderful. The only downside is the price...?2 for a 500ml bottle, more expensive than some olive oils!!!
Still in this case you do get what you pay for and for me at least it represents good value.
This is not an advert I'm just a very satified customer and wondered wether anyone else had tried it or had any other suggestions/comments.

I've not tried it. However I notice Asda sell Carotino for UKP 2.33 per litre. Might give it a go.

Quite a few Indian restaurants in this part of the world use Ghee... one of my local ones chucks the empty cans into their garbage skips, I've noticed them quite a few times.

Superb service and food from Ahmeds. His chicken Jalfreyzi (his menu calls it Zalfreyzi) has to be tasted to be believed, and the g/f loves his Bhuna and his Garlic Chilli Masala. Authentic BIR taste, large servings and I always get more poppadums than I order without extra charge. Prices are good... Prawn Patia Puree starter is ?2.95, Chicken Jalfreyzi, Garlic Chilli Masala and most specials are ?5.90, standard curries (Madras, Vindaloo, Rogon, Patia etc are ?4.45 - ?4-70), side dishes ?2.60. Delivery around 40 minutes after ordering, and the portions are such that 3 mains, rice, nan and 1 side dish cost around ?22-?24 and last both of us for 2 days main plus a mixed breakfast for me next day. Very friendly and helpful staff.

Highly recommended  ;D

Tel: 01993706786, 01993708090

Pictures of Your Curries / Last weekend project
« on: May 14, 2007, 02:47 PM »
OK, on Saturday I had my first go at making a base and a curry. I used Darth's recipes with a few modifications. It was going to be a Jalfreyzi, but I decided on this first attempt to stay with Darth's Madras.

First, I downsized to half, basically because I was at my g/f's place and we didn't have a large enough pan to go for the full monte... that will be put right this week :-) We had a possible problem in that she has a Rayburn range (similar to an AGA) so it's not practical to make a good stir-fry, the cooking surface doesn't get quite hot enough, which is why she's going to have a gas wok ring added when her new kitchen is installed. Anyway, we went to the Cowley Road early afternoon... for those who don't know Oxford it's where all the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Caribbean shops are, and it's heaven to a curry-lover. I bought new spices to make sure everything was fresh and full-flavoured, because I know spices get tired quite quickly, especially if they're ground. I used the Moulinex with the chip attachment to chop all the vegetables, and made the garlic and ginger puree in an electric coffee grinder which we keep for that purpose. Started frying the purees and spices in a large Ikea cookpan, a bit like a wok but with a large flat base. While this was cooking I cut the chicken breasts and put them in the water to boil, as per the recipe.

I let the base sauce cook for 90 minutes (with a Rayburn it comes to temperature slowly, so inevitably cooking times are going to be longer). While this was happening I sliced the chicken breasts as Darth's instructions, poured boiling water over them and let them simmer for 10 minutes. Took them off the range and left them in the water

I prepared the curry as per Darth's recipe. The result was delectable... a rich, thick, spicy curry, very much like a BIR one. Full marks to you, Darth, from both myself and the g/f.

A few comments might be in order here. First, I used the maximum amount of oil in the base, I didn't include the coriander stalks 'cos I hate coriander. I used half the recipe quantity of salt, but I added three tablespoons of Thai fish sauce - I use this in all my sauces and gravies, it adds richness and flavour, and you don't taste the fish. Liquidising was a problem, as I don't have a liquidiser (that'll be remedied this week) so I used the Moulinex, with the result that the base wasn't a pure liquid, it was quite "grainy". Didn't detract from the final result, though. Next time I won't use chicken breasts, I find them on the dry side. I'll use chicken thighs slashed to the bone to get the sauce right in deep. And the work-surface is now stained yellow where the base oil seems to get, so I'll do most of the work on a plastic slab until the new kitchen's installed.

I took some camera pics which are attached. They are:
1. The base sauce cooking, with the chicken breasts in another saucepan next to it
2. The base sauce before liquidising
3. The base sauce after liquidising and cooking
4. The final curry :-)

Finally, thanks to all. I'm *so* glad I found this forum!

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