Friday, 29 October 2010

Hot stuff....

I don't know about you but I'm quite an enthusiast for curry. Not the "let's drink seventeen pints of lager and then eat a vindaloo (before throwing up)" kind of curry enthusiast but a more subtle maven. But until I arrived in the spiritual home of great curry (sorry Brummies but that's Bradford) I didn't appreciate just what it was really about.

Bunging into the dish a pile of chilli till it becomes so hot the sweat pours from you. That's not the point - yes, we like it hot. We like that sharp chilli hit. But we also like the dryness of black pepper, the strange sweet aftertaste of cloves, the wonderful smell of jeera and the bitterness of coriander. All wrapped around garlic, tomatoes and citrus flavours.

If you're lucky there'll be other little flavours sneaking in there - an acrid sniff of fenugreek, aromatic cardamon - green and brown - and the wonderful acidic hit of wild onion seeds. Plus that glorious saffron flavour - or for those preferring Kashmiri tang, replace that with turmeric.

So my dear friends, it isn't a game of who can eat the hottest curry. That chilli hit masks a complexity of flavour, a subtlety of taste that you're missing by chasing the machismo of spiciness. A little less chilli, a little less hot and you'll find a revelation - a cornucopia of hot, sharp, sweet, acrid and acidic flavours to set against the taste of the meat, the greens and the beans.


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