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Feed: My Life in Curry

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  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes. Owned by the same people as the excellent Khyber Spice a few doors along, I think.

    The story goes ,the Wife opened the restaurant after the shop became available next door and the Husband is the lovely tall man with the smile still spotted occasionally in the shop. I've forgotten his name. I think the trading name is Shubh but it still gets called Khyber Spice which there actually is one in Royal Oak.
    I get a lot of our groceries there as everything is reasonably priced including olives ,feta and cashews. Now I want curry for dinner......

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    And because I'm a geek I have to say something about the chilli. All the heat in a curry comes from chilli and all chillies come from South America. So hot curries never existed until the Portuguese and Spanish brought back chillies. It makes sense then that there are quite a few authentic curries that have no heat at all - they are "just" blends of spices.

    And to extend the geekiness, the compound in chilli that gives the heat is capsaicin. There are a couple of cool things about capsaicin that are worth knowing. The first is that the receptor for capsaicin gets down-regulated when you eat capsaicin. So if you eat a bit of chilli you feel the heat/burn, but next time you will feel less burn, and the next time even less. You really do become acclimatised to curry heat. And if you don't eat chilli for a month or so you lose that acclimatisation. So those people who feel the burn once and never try it again will never get to enjoy a really yummy hot curry.

    BTW that is exactly the same effect that allows chefs to handle hot pans, they really don't feel the pain.

    The second thing is even cooler. It turns out that the receptor for capsaicin is exactly the same as the pain/burn receptor. So exposure to capsaicin can desensitize you to heat/pain - which sounds boring until you realise you can treat chronic pain with capsaicin. There is a medical application for this that does not belong on a food thread :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Bart Janssen,

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    Cool info! and here is a picture of chillies drying on a hill in Sth America. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The recipe takes 3 full days of cooking

    [...]

    usually requires a trip to Sandringham.

    Sounds like an epic recipe.

    Time also seems to intensify the heat of spicy food - one point for those with a lower chilli tolerance to beware of.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    And because I’m a geek I have to say something about the chilli. All the heat in a curry comes from chilli and all chillies come from South America. So hot curries never existed until the Portuguese and Spanish brought back chillies.

    Ahem. Pepper. Which comes from the subcontinent. Including long pepper, which the Romans knew about. It was largely displaced by the more effective South American chilli pepper, but it's not true that the Indians didn't have a way to make a hot dish.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ahem. Pepper.

    Yup but hardly the same heat as chilli so yes they could make a hot dish but most were not hot as we think of them today. Instead they were "merely" complex mixtures of spices. I guess the point I was trying to make was that chilli and its heat are not required to make a true curry.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Soon Lee, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    And in fact, curries are an example of fusion cuisine because it incorporates chillies that originate from the New World, just as Italian is equally a fusion cuisine when it uses tomatoes, and any European dish that uses potatoes. Virtually everything is fusion if you go back long enough.

    I grew up eating curries so have no recollection of my first time. I do however remember my first curry in New Zealand, which was from a Chinese takeaway and was literally chicken chow mein with a spoonful of curry powder stirred in during cooking.

    My first curry with at a Kiwi friends's was not much better. I had been invited to dinner, on arrival was greeted by friend saying, "You like this, Mum's cooking a curry." It was indeed "curry", made with store-bought Indian curry powder, sausages, sultanas and, *shudder*, apples.

    Thankfully the intervening years has seen a real growth in the availability of authentic options.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I guess the point I was trying to make was that chilli and its heat are not required to make a true curry

    But they are required to make a hot curry, which seems to be the way Indians like their curry, however this came about. So it's not really a total threadjack. I mentioned my homegrown ones because I would like to make a hot homemade, homegrown curry.

    Amusing aside. The plant "curry" has very little to do with curry. I was sooo disappointed by this after growing one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Soon Lee, in reply to Susannah Shepherd,

    Your reference to South Africa reminded me of bobotie which turns out to have an Indonesian origin. The first bobotie I ever had was in New Zealand and was made from a recipe in the Edmonds cookbook.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Soon Lee,

    just as Italian is equally a fusion cuisine when it uses tomatoes

    Yes, and pasta. They don't do it exactly like the Chinese, but that's where the idea came from.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Soon Lee, in reply to BenWilson,

    Curry leaves? I love them. It's a key ingredient for adding authentic flavours to many spicy dishes.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Fruit in curries was quite clearly a thing.

    My one really dud experience at Satya was when once several years ago I ordered the "Navratan Koorma", described in the menu as "Fruits nuts and veges cooked in koorma", and was served what seemed to be their standard vegetable korma with half a tin of Watties fruit salad emptied over the top, complete with a few pale bits of cherry. Since then I've tried almost everything else on the menu and loved it all.

    I've never quite had the nerve to order Navratan Koorma again and discover whether the one I had was some kind of aberration. Or perhaps tinned fruit salad is a common ingredient in southern India, and I'm just being precious.

    Also, everyone's talking about sausage curries with sultana and apple etc., but am I the only one here whose standard childhood curry was mince curry with fruit?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    Dunedin once had the most marvellous vegetarian curry place, Anandas. The curries were all made with fresh ingredients and changed depending to what was seasonal. We ate there or took out at least once a week. We were most disappointed when it closed down. A year or two later I met the former owner who recommended Kohinoor curries. At that time our local supermarket stocked them, 3 for $10, but sadly they are now only to be found at the Indian grocery. Not as good as Anandas but better than most. 5 minutes heating and yum, we do miss naan though, the frozen ones are never any good.

    We get the odd goat off our property and I have decided that a Jamaican ginger curry is the best for goat. And I still won't bother with any goat other than nannies, or suckling billy kids. We were told that in some cultures it is macho to eat stinky old billy, but some men will do anything to seem macho.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Attachment

    Mmm, all good stuff... while I can still enjoy it. I hate to dampen the mood, but I've just been informed my rare tooth condition is ineligible for the hospital waiting list. Most of the time, Murphy's law is an everyday annoyance. Right now, it's being a sadistic cunt to me.

    The attached letter (redacted) explains it all.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ahem. Pepper. Which comes from the subcontinent. Including long pepper, which the Romans knew about. It was largely displaced by the more effective South American chilli pepper, but it’s not true that the Indians didn’t have a way to make a hot dish.

    And mustard and garlic and ginger... They can all give food heat.

    Incidentally, in my experience from living in India, many Indians don't like hot food. Chilli features in Indian food outside of India more than it does in India.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Soon Lee,

    Indeed. But they don't, of themselves, constitute a curry, which is what I thought the name implied. I was hoping of drying the leaves and having free curry powder :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    So hot curries never existed until the Portuguese and Spanish brought back chillies. It makes sense then that there are quite a few authentic curries that have no heat at all - they are "just" blends of spices.

    Ginger, pepper, and mustard seeds.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham,

    Anyone else remember the Bengal Tiger on Willis St in the early eighties? It was one of the few curry houses in Wellington at the time, although I have vague memories of a Chinese/Indian restaurant in Taranaki St.

    When living in London I had many curries at Montys of Ealing. When a crowd of us arrived they would move diners mid-meal to other tables to accommodate us!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The first is that the receptor for capsaicin gets down-regulated when you eat capsaicin. So if you eat a bit of chilli you feel the heat/burn, but next time you will feel less burn, and the next time even less. You really do become acclimatised to curry heat. And if you don’t eat chilli for a month or so you lose that acclimatisation.

    Happens to me everytime I spend time away from Bangkok (mostly in NZ). I lose that tolerance fairly quickly and it takes a few streetside meals to recover it when I return. The folks who own the local formica tables on the street joint up the road always take great pleasure observing watching my tears from what is, to them, a standard Yum Kau Moo Yung or Larb Gai.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ahem. Pepper. Which comes from the subcontinent. Including long pepper, which the Romans knew about. It was largely displaced by the more effective South American chilli pepper, but it’s not true that the Indians didn’t have a way to make a hot dish.

    Nor the Malays, various peoples of what is now Indonesia (including the so-called Spice Islands), Southern parts of China and Thailand.

    One of the most extraordinary chilli dishes I’ve ever had is a Sichuan beef dish which uses combined star anise, cumin and cinnamon as a baked paste on the meat. It somehow anaesthetises your mouth for a moment of two and as it wears off the chilli bites. I’m told that before chilli was used, pepper provided the heat attack required to complete the experience.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Soon Lee,

    [Pedant] But the heat provided is different because the active chemicals are different.

    Capsaicin is only found in the Capsicum genus which include members that don't contain capsaicin like capsicums/bell peppers to members that contain high levels of capsaicin like bird's eye chillies.

    The heat from black & white pepper comes from piperine, whereas in Sichuan pepper it is hydroxy-alpha-sanshool. Wasabi looks even more complicated with more than one chemical providing its 'heat'.

    I don't think the different ingredients are interchangable, e.g. you can't substitute with black pepper if you happen to be out of bird's eye chillies because you'll end up with a dish with a distinctly different flavour profile.[/Pedant]

    Given that the ingredients that impart heat do so via different chemicals, it might be interesting to create an overload dish that contains all of them, chilli, pepper, Sichuan pepper, wasabi. And if you're going to do that, might as well also throw in ginger & horseradish too. It would certainly add complexity...

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    i have great memories of burning my face off in Thailand, not to mention the hilarious sign language it took to ensure that they didn't give me any heads or feet :)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    I notice that the North Shore has been ragged on a little about the quality of curry restaurants. I met the people in Highbury, Birkenhead who run this place and I thought it was great for time-poor people http://www.spiceneasy.co.nz/

    Also, the Curry Kitchen (boil-in-the-bag curries) was born on the Shore. The taste quality of the curries was good at a time when nobody too much notice.

    Nissin curry-favored instant noodles from Japanese would probably turn up a few noses, but the product was tested in India, and the organo evaluation was astounding.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Soon Lee,

    Given that the ingredients that impart heat do so via different chemicals, it might be interesting to create an overload dish that contains all of them, chilli, pepper, Sichuan pepper, wasabi. And if you’re going to do that, might as well also throw in ginger & horseradish too. It would certainly add complexity…

    uh huh ... so you'll be bringing that to the next wine and food match will you?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • chris esther, in reply to peter payne,

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    Yes the wonderful mural and the cozy booths have all gone from the Golden Curry. I made a special trip to it whilst in London, 2007. As you can see, it is now sterile. The food was really bad as well, nouvelle Indian, average execution.

    Since Apr 2008 • 13 posts Report Reply

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