Keep Calm & Curry On
This is the 7th year of the World Curry Festival in Bradford and this year I felt it really did go the extra mile.
I helped to organise and serve a banquet for 250 people in Bradford Cathedral and what an experience it was!
The menu really was authentic curry – our team included Chef Oberoi from the Taj hotel group, the godfather of Indian food; Amir Iqbal, Pakistani television’s version of James Martin; and myself. All three of us are World Curry Festival ambassadors.
Entertainment for guests began with canapes in the nearby Kala Sangham rooms: eight types including golgappa and curry-spiced Yorkshire puddings filled with red lentil dahl.
We then moved to the Cathedral and wow did it look stunning highlighted in the World Curry Festival pink.
The evening was hosted by television’s Hardeep Singh Kohli. I talked to him on stage, where he proposed to me! What can I say – the guy needs glasses!
The meal went well and the feedback was superb, it justified the planning – we prepped the food in a central production unit for school meals borrowed for the event!
We had Ghurkha Chefs, all the way from Nepal (pictured here in red), and our Bradford dinner team, working alongside each other. There was a really great atmosphere and I was very happy to be there working on a side dish of spiced dahl with a rice topper.
All the chapatis were made fresh and all the curies tasted superb, cooked on these giant bratt pans. The finish of the food was fun and tasty. This is a little different to making chapatis on a non-stick chapatti pan I can tell you – but we created the quantity needed in no time!
The event went well. As part of the festival I taught a class to make chicken curry with homemade chapatis and cucumber and tomato raita.
Here is the last photo of the students getting stuck into the making of the raita; curry is often eaten with raita as the natural yoghurt acts like a cooling side dish to the curry.
Feeling inspired by our efforts? If you’d like a good recipe you can cook for your dinner this evening, this chicken recipe will have you smacking your lips with glee. Chapati is a popular Indian flat bread made with wheat flour and this easy chapati recipe that everyone can make at home produces fluffy chapati that make a great accompaniment to this dish.
- Heat a heavy based wok.
- Pour the oil in the wok, once it’s hot add the chopped ginger and garlic, cook till golden brown.
- Add the tomatoes (chopped) and cook on high flame.
- Once the tomatoes are softened add the masala (mixed spices) – roasted and crushed cumin, coriander, black pepper, red chilli and salt.
- Once the masala has cooked for three minutes, add the chicken to the wok.
- Stir until the chicken is fully cooked, and a fine layer of oil appears.
- When the chicken is cooked, add the yoghurt and stir for a few minutes.
- Add cut green chillies, strips of ginger and coriander.
Place the chillies, coriander, mint and roasted crushed cumin in a blender and blitz. When it is a fine paste add the yoghurt and mix.
Serve with a raita made from chopped cucumber, tomato, red onion and a few leaves of chopped mint, and lemon juice to taste, accompanied with chapatis.
- Sieve the flour, add salt to it and mix well. Place the flour in a large bowl and add ¾ cup of water. Stir lightly with fingers in a circular motion till the flour start to gather. Add 1-2 tablespoons of flour if the dough looks too sticky or add little more water if it looks too dry and firm.
- Knead the flour until you have soft and pliable dough that does not stick to your fingers. You can put a little oil on your hand while kneading the dough to help with kneading. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for a minimum of one hour at room temperature. If keeping for longer period store the dough in refrigerator and make sure to bring it back to room temperature before using it.
- Once ready to make chapatis, heat the griddle over medium-high heat. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal-sized balls and start working with each ball separately. Place the bowl in dry flour and flatten it a bit with help of finger tips. Transfer the flatten ball to any clean flat surface and with help of rolling pin, roll it into approx. 6-7 inch circle of uniform thickness. While rolling the chapati if the dough sticks to the rolling surface, dust it and the surface lightly with little flour.
- Place the rolled chapati on the hot griddle and cook for 30 seconds or until tiny golden dots appear on the bottom, flip over to the other side. Once the other side is also covered with larger brown dots, turn it over again. Soon the chapati will start to puff up. With the help of a folded kitchen towel press gently on the puffed part, gently pushing the air to the flatten part of chapati until the whole chapati puffs up into a round ball (don’t get disheartened if your chapati doesn’t puff up like a ball, it will still taste as delicious as the puffed one. It may take a little practice to get perfectly puffed chapatis). You can puff up the chapati on direct flame too.
- Transfer the cooked chapatis to the plate, if you want to baste it use a little butter or ghee and serve hot.