Sunday, 24 February 2013

Curry Night!

There are few funnier evenings than when you get some of your good mates together, cook up a curry, sink a few lagers and enjoy that banter which only rather immature fellows - of which I am one - think amusing! I used to watch Men Behaving Badly and think how fun their rather carefree life looked and, whilst I am not going to be building a sauna in my shed or drunkenly erecting a snooker table in a shopping precinct lift any time soon I think in my own special way that I can recreate something of that student dive feel with my curry and beer evenings.

I would be happy to entertain you should you be in the area, but let me just warn you that your drinking cap must be on and your capacity for crap conversation a very generous one!

Below I offer a simple recipe, but one which will certainly satisfy even the most boorish, booze-soaked friend...

My basic lamb curry

(A quick note from a former life!) You cannot survive working in Westminster if you don’t like eating curry, the political scene might as well be drenched in Madras sauce for the amount of times I went to the Indian Diner in Pimlico (incidently if you do find yourself at this establishment their sizzling garlic chili chicken is worth a try) after a day slogging it out in the corridors of power or latterly in Westminster Tower are innumerable. Once upon a time I happened to work for a larger-than-life Yorkshireman MP who, in his words, ‘loved a good curry’ and sparked in me a passion for the stuff that has lasted to this day.

Now, when I talk about curry, I don’t mean that very chi-chi stuff they serve at The Cinnamon Club, Mumtaz in Bradford or the like. I personally like the British interpretation of curry and sod the authenticity, sometimes the cheaper it is the better it turns out (although my time as a student in Leeds taught me that often this wasn’t the case). As my naysayers cackle and crow at my lack of sophistication, all I can say to them is tough titties, if you want the real mccoy then scout out another blog, the curry below - which is a lamb one - is one of my favourite dishes to make in my repertoire full of prep work and gentle cooking. I have adapted it from a fantastic recipe from Rick Stein, but cut the quantity of aromatics including my bette noire - cinnamon. It’s a real crowd pleaser and freezes really well for those times you come home from work on a winter’s night and curry’s the only thing that will fill that grumbling hole in your stomach.


Groundnut oil
400g neck fillets of lamb cubed
1 medium sized onion sliced
6 tomatoes quartered
3 cloves garlic smashed
Knob of fresh ginger
1-2 chillies sliced
handful of parsley and chives roughly chopped
2 handfuls of coriander chopped 
Mug of chicken/veal stock
Mug of plain yoghurt

For Curry Paste
2 tbsp medium curry powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp mild chili powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp groundnut oil

  1. take a large saucepan, sweat onions in oil until soft and translucent, add curry paste, garlic ginger, chillies, chives and parsley mixing thoroughly until the curry powder is cooked off. 
  2. Add the lamb and cook for five minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for a further ten minutes on a medium-low heat. 
  3. Add the stock and the yoghurt incorporating thoroughly, turn the heat low and cook uncovered for roughly 1hour until the sauce has thickened and the lamb is soft and tender. 
  4. transfer into a serving platter, scatter with plenty of fresh coriander, perhaps a dash more yoghurt in the centre. 
Serve with plenty of basmati rice, naans, chutneys and pickles.

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