Curry Facts & Trivia


Where can my partner and I go to learn how to cook proper curries?

I always used to enjoy Bombay Duck with my curries but I understand the EU banned it. Do you know where I might find some?

Why do you think that Chicken Tikka Masala is the most popular dish in the UK?

What's the hottest curry?

What's the cure for chilli burn?

Could you tell me any background information on curry in Britain, some curry facts and the addresses of some organisations. It's for my GCSE Home Economics coursework


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Where can my partner and I go to learn how to cook proper curries?

I don't have any experience of courses myself and the courses I used to feature here are now finished.

Google throws up quite a few courses but how do you know which one will suit you? I suppose it depends on what you mean by "proper" curries?

Most courses will give you experience of home-style Indian or Pakistani cooking which is very different to the restaurant-style curries which most of us are used to. Over the years, I have had several reports of people attending courses only to be disappointed with the style of cooking. Don't get me wrong - they had no problem with the quality and flavour of the dishes it's just that the results weren't anything like they expected.

Even if you are interested in home-style Indian cooking (and, after all, it's about as authentic as you can get) you should take into account the vast differences in the cuisine of the many different regions of India. The hearty cooking of the Punjab based on dairy and grain products is a sub-continent away from the seafood dishes of Kerala flavoured with coconut.

So it's important to do a little research before you book a course to avoid being disappointed later.



I always used to enjoy Bombay Duck with my curries but I understand the EU banned it. Do you know where I might find some?

For the uninitiated Bombay Duck is not an Indian water fowl but is in fact fish fillets which have been air-dried until crisp.

The EU did not ban Bombay Duck but, for a long time, there were no Indian suppliers whose product satisfied the EU's food hygiene requirements. However, the good news is that the suppliers have cleaned up their act (literally) and Bombay Duck can now be found again in the UK. The downside seems to be that it was away for so long that it has disappeared from the curry house ritual and so has become a speciality item only (I must confess I'm not too sad as I was never that fond of it anyway).

Various companies sell it by mail order. Spices of India sell it in 200g packs. They also sell Fern's Bombay Duck Flavoured Pickle if you really fancy attacking your taste buds. Sounds a bit fishy to me...



Why do you think that Chicken Tikka Masala is the most popular dish in the UK?

Because it is a very western sort of curry dish (invented by British Asian restaurateurs). It is creamy, quite spicy but not too hot. It has a sweet edge to it which has a universal appeal. It looks attractive with its red colour and lack of visible oil that the standard curries tend to have.



What's the hottest curry?

In standard Indian restaurants the hottest always used to be the Phal but the Phal it has been knocked off the gold medal spot in recent years by anything containing the Naga or Bhut Jolokia chilli.



What's the cure for chilli burn?

If you mean what alleviates the chilli burn after you've eaten extra-hot food the answer is any dairy produce - milk, lassi (yoghurt drink), ice cream. NOT beer or even water. Personally, I don't mind a little chilli burn and drink beer anyway.

If you mean what helps with "ring of fire" the next day the answer is ...nothing. It will pass.



Could you tell me any background information on curry in Britain, some curry facts and the addresses of some organisations. It's for my GCSE Home Economics coursework

The UK Indian food industry (that's not just restaurants but includes supermarket ready-meals, frozen meals, chutney manufacturers etc etc) has an annual turnover of £1.8 billion (yes, billion) and employs over 60,000 staff. So it has quite an influence on the economy of the UK.
[source : "FoodService Intelligence"]

There are 9800 "Indian" restaurants in this country and 85% of them are run by people of Bangladeshi, not Indian, origin.

As far as organisations go, try The Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs. They tell us that Indian restaurants in the UK serve over three million meals a week.

You will find more facts on Peter and Colleen Grove's site Curry, Spice & All Things Nice.