Have your own curry club
I have a group of friends who every couple of weeks like to get together and have dinner. It started a while ago with ‘Come Dine with Me’, where we’d all host our own dinner party and score one another. Like the show, the food is key and extra points went to those who put that little extra effort in – “Did you make your own bread, Suzie?” “Is this shop-bought pastry?” “No amuse bouche this time?” – although it’s all in the very best humour, it does push our culinary skills to the limit to try and serve up the very best dining experience. The fact that we’re all foodies helps because if we weren’t, I’m sure this would sound like some kind of torture exercise.
This week, it’s my turn, and I’ve decided to have a curry club night. I know midweek we can all rely on some lovely Scotch Beef and Lamb to brighten up a jar of shop bought curry sauce, but for this evening, nothing but the best will do. And that means making my own curry paste.
How to make curry pasteOnce you know how to make a basic curry paste from scratch (and once you know how easy it is) you can experiment and add twists to really make your curries your own.
This curry paste works a treat with these two fantastic curry recipes, although I add a little extra chilli to the lamb curry so we have a fiery option for the heat-lovers.
For this ‘Come Dine with Me’ style evening, my score would take a beating if I didn’t make my own sides for the curry feast. My friends have come to expect nothing less (and as I’m currently in second place, there’s a lot riding on this). But I always try to find a balance between having all the bells and whistles whilst not being an exhausted and emotional host when my guests arrive. So I’ll use these tried and tested Indian sides that won’t have me breaking into a sweat.
Don’t worry; I’ve not forgotten the poppadoms. Now I could make them from scratch but I’ve decided not to stand over a fryer just before my guests arrive (my hair couldn’t take the humidity). But I’m not overly keen on the shop bought ones and my friends would detect that I hadn’t made them a mile off. So I’m going to cheat and pop to the Indian around the corner and buy a big bag. The way I’ll hopefully get away with this mild deception is to say they are ‘freshly made’ instead of ‘homemade’ – no deception there and a clear conscience for me (I know, I take this too seriously, you’d really think there was the £1000 prize at the end!).
For drinks, of course Indian lager is a perfect accompaniment with a curry, and there will be plenty of Kingfisher and Cobra in the fridge. But like some kind of sommelier in training, I like to pair my dishes with the perfect plonk (and I wouldn’t want to be marked down for no wine). This matching food and wine site is where I got my tips before I popped to the vintners.
With this lovely menu, the perfect drinks, my colourful Indian table decorations and some henna tattoo fun for after dinner, fingers crossed I’ll do enough to overtake my friend and become the reigning champion in my dinner party circle. If not, we’ll see what I’ll do for the next one.