NATIONAL CURRY WEEK - 7th to 13th October 2013
Yes, it’s National Curry Week this week, so it's time for a Korma, Madras, Jalfrezi or Vindaloo ... just some of the most famous curries! National Curry Week involves curry restaurants, caterers and curry lovers across the UK celebrating the dish with diners, record breaking attempts, raffles, auctions and all manner of events designed to help combat poverty across the South Asian continent and worldwide.
National Curry Week was started in 1998 to promote the cuisine and to raise funds for charities concentrating on hunger, malnourishment and poverty. During the week, curry lovers can get out and visit their local curry houses, some of which will be staging special events and fun challenges. Special Events this week can be found at:
The second thing is that the term "Indian" is used very loosely - many of these restaurants are actually run by restaurateurs technically from Pakistan, Bangladesh, or even Sri Lanka. The food heritage is shared across the sub-continent, and most restaurants serve dishes from right across the region (Kashmir, Madras, etc.). The normal rule is that food from nearer the equator is hotter - watch out in a Sri Lankan restaurant, it can blow your socks off!
The final thing to note is, Indian food doesn't have to have a sloppy sauce - those that do are classic "curries", those that don't are usually "tandoori" food - baked in a traditional clay oven, or tandoori.
Korma - The classic "beginner's" curry, with almonds. Can be over-sweet or bland to the more experienced palate, but often a lovely dish.
Pasanda - The King of the mild curries, a royal dish with a creamy sauce containing almonds and coconut. Often also contains wine (white with chicken, red with lamb). Highly recommended.
Dopiaza - The name literally means "double onion" - there should be plenty cooked in the sauce, and plenty of raw onion sprinkled on top. Not recommended if you have romantic intentions.
Rogan Josh - Fairly traditional curry with lots of tomatoes.
Bhuna - Similar to a Rogan Josh but with a thicker, drier sauce.
Balti - In this dish the ingredients are cut into large chunks and the sauce is thicker than a standard curry, because it is served not with rice but with a Naan bread which doubles as the tool for eating it. Originally introduced as a "premium" dish (presumably because it is served in a cast-iron pot) and consequently overpriced.
Karahi - The precursor to the Balti in terms of being served in a sizzling, red-hot dish, it is usually more expensive than a standard curry without tasting discernibly nicer.
Gosht - Like a standard curry but with okra.
Jalfrezi - Cooked with a large quantity of peppers, this dish is one of the most visually appealing, and the taste can be anything from a lively medium to a challenging heat, depending on the amount of green chilli used.
As for the regular curry lovers among you, as it’s National Curry Week, why not try a new curry dish? Stop sticking to the same old curry; try something completely new or try a little twist on the old favourites. And don't forget the accompaniments; naan bread, chutney, poppadums, rice and a Cobra beer, of course!