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Feed: My Life in Curry

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  • william blake,

    Used to traverse Auckland to go to the Otahuhu food court and remember choosing a vindaloo from the curry stall. The chef did that inimitable indian head wobble and said 'I was not ready for his vindaloo', and he meant it, only relenting on the third visit. It was worth the wait but not all that dangerous.

    And the amazing guy who used to run Jai Jalram gujarati in Sandringham, who ordered for you and was right. And his dire experiment with mukhwas icecream, (the little colourful fennel and anise breath fresheners) which he thought would make his fortune...

    Since Mar 2010 • 370 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    growing up in Mangere in the 70s we had one couple over the back fence - outwardly Pomgolian, but she was born and raised in India and he'd been a soldier stationed there - who used to pass facemelting curries over on a regular basis. my dad would pretty much leave the house for the duration, salt and (white) pepper was the beginning and end of his flavour palette.
    then over the right fence was a Fijian-Indian family who used to host regular celebrations and invite the whole neighbourhood over. got to enjoy Indian style sweets for the first time as well.
    was all very mouthpopping for a wee nipper, and it took me a long while to appreciate them. I'm a horrendous sweater when it comes to chilli which, while considered a spectator sport by some, is never a look I particularly enjoy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Later on in London, we’d trip up to the famous South Indian restaurants in Euston.

    The same Euston strip also had the Everest which introduced me to Terai Nepalese curries, a passion I've retained to this day. I'm lucky enough to get to Hong Kong a few times a year and have become habitual in my need to head to the Himalaya in Wan Chai (and the killer Szechuan place just along from it but that's another story).

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3278 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    Rick Stein, eh? By chance late last night we watched a repeat of his food tour through Louisiana. I went to bed so, so hungry and dreamed of spare ribs and steak and pound cake!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2524 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Ben Chapman,

    Two good South India restaurants in Hamilton: RR South India (out near the university) and Bananaa Leaf (not sure why the extra 'a') in Hamilton East. A long tradition of Indian restaurants here--might be something to do with the tradition of Indian dairy farming in the Waikato.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2524 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to william blake,

    said ‘I was not ready for his vindaloo’, and he meant it, only relenting on the third visit

    Love it. You had to show you were serious.

    If only the Scoville scale were more useful, one could present credentials showing tolerance to a particular level.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10573 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    Ben I have a good sweet chilli sauce recipe that I'd be willing to share? Given to me by a mate who used to be a chef :)

    Ah curry. Close to my heart! My first curry experience must surely have been something my mother concocted with Gregg's curry powder in the 70s, which only my dad liked. Then the various crappy Indian restaurants on the Shore in the 90s. I went to one dodgy outfit in Hauraki Corner for a friends cheap birthday dinner. There was a mountain of wine bottles out the back, and when you went past the kitchen to the loo you could see these gargantuan pots of curry. One was being stirred with what looked like an oar, one with something attached to an electric drill.

    Curry house on the Shore these days? There was an amazing one in Birkenhead a couple of years back called Bombay Bites - they served an amazing goat curry but sadly it's gone. I think it was a bit too authentic for whitebread Birkenhead Point, a theory borne out by the baffling flourishing of the offensive Masala across the road.

    Our local curry house in London was the Taj Mahal. Loved the majestic name juxtaposed with the tacky reality of the interior decoration. The good was good as I remember, but that was also before I had visited India and found out what curry really means. My husband is still chasing the dragon of the first curry we had in Delhi - a delicious aloo mattar (potato and pea).

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Rick Stein, eh? By chance late last night we watched a repeat of his food tour through Louisiana. I went to bed so, so hungry and dreamed of spare ribs and steak and pound cake!

    Yeh, that's the blues one eh? RS appears to be quite the Mississippi Delta blues fan. The soul food on offer all looked like heart attack on a plate! :)

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 946 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    Japanese kare raisu – best hangover food ever.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    For most of my high school years my best friend was a girl whose family had moved to Nelson from India to help in her uncle's restaurant. I spent many happy evenings hanging out in their kitchen, sampling the food and helping out where I could. On busy nights they would dress me in a sari and send me out to help my friend wait tables. Invariably a customer would say "But you're not Indian." To which I would reply "No, but I'm family.‘

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rebecca Williams,

    Ben I have a good sweet chilli sauce recipe that I’d be willing to share?

    No need to ask! Put it up here!

    I went through my notes to find out what the hot chili in my pic is. It's a Jalapeño. So not really that hot per volume, but if you take a big bite, ouch! But I've just found this site for next year's crop. That baby is currently considered to be the world's hottest chili.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10573 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    oki doki :) i've had a bit of success with growing chillies this year. very pleased about that as i've had no luck in years past and it's been my fond wish to make this recipe with homegrown chillies. the main difference this year was that instead of insisting on trying to grow them from seed, i caved and bought some seedlings from the shop.

    apologies for the chilli related thread-jack ....

    Jacky and Mike’s Amazing Chilli Sauce Recipe


    Ingredients:

    • 40 red chilli (big red ones) 60-80 if smaller chillis (de-seed).

    • 3 large cooking apples

    • 3 sections of garlic

    • I T salt

    • 1.2kg brown sugar

    • 750ml malt vinegar

    • 1 large tin tomato sauce


    Method:

    • Peel apples and blend with chili and garlic.

    • Put in pot and simmer with everything else except tomato sauce for 25 to 30 minutes.

    • Add tomato sauce and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

    • Bottle.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rebecca Williams,

    apologies for the chilli related thread-jack ….

    Sigh ... I was going to save chilli for a future post of its own. But no, go ahead, don't mind me ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rebecca Williams,

    Curry house on the Shore these days? There was an amazing one in Birkenhead a couple of years back called Bombay Bites – they served an amazing goat curry but sadly it’s gone.

    Oh yes, I went there once and remember being impressed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    My favorite “Indian” while living in London was this great vegetarian place. We frequented it often in part because of the all-you-can-eat Sunday buffets (which I note now cost a very modest £6.95 which is only a couple of quid more than it was 20 years ago). Also I tended to hang with Brits rather than Kiwis and just about every young (aged say 18 – 25) middle-class English woman I knew was vegetarian (though in many cases the healthy element of the diet seemed to be countered by the constant consumption of mars-bars and jaffa cakes...)

    Those memories also have reminded me of this wonderful satire of English curry culture. An oldie but a goodie…

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ben Chapman,

    Japanese kare raisu – best hangover food ever.

    On one level, Japanese curry is terribly wrong. On another ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    A long tradition of Indian restaurants here–might be something to do with the tradition of Indian dairy farming in the Waikato.

    Well, there's one thing I learned today.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to BenWilson,

    The foreground ones, shaped more like a small capsicum, sent me into convulsions, to the amusement of my children, when I made the mistake of taking a large bite.

    They look like jalapenos; not actually that hot on the scoville scale, but they're big, so I guess you can get a lot of pain from one big bite.

    (My garden is full of them after I failed to eat them all one year; now I have them as weeds)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1710 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rebecca Williams,

    Thanks! Makes about 3 liters? Might make my own tomato sauce for it, too, got millions of them at the moment.

    i caved and bought some seedlings from the shop

    Yeah me too. At about 50c per plant, yielding 10 or more chilis each, it's economic without being the headache that raising seeds is. One bonus - many types are perennial. I had a second harvest from a number of plants. If I'd known that, I wouldn't have pulled out the old stems, and would have planned where they were planted a bit more carefully.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10573 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    now I have them as weeds

    Nice weeds! My garden's the same - I get endless brassicas coming up as weeds everywhere. Zero effort broccoli. It's amusing really, because things pop up when the season is right for them. No thinking involved, just weeding out the things you don't want.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10573 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Wood, in reply to Che Tibby,

    Wow... I can see this blog is going to open a pandora's box packed full of cans of worms of an incredibly delicious nature.

    Without going into curry stories from eight years of living in Singapore, by way of a theory about how much a cuisine is like a language (hard to learn, needs constant practice, feels good when you break out of rote phrases), let's just go with how my 8 year old and I harvested our way-overgrown coriander last week; first time I've bothered to, and, yep, the seeds are incredible, as described - resinous, piney, lemony; they are to store-bought coriander seeds like fresh ginger is to Gregg's Ground Ginger. Different use-case, completely different sensation. Best bit? Seeing Ruby figure out we had scored FIVE DOLLARS worth of FRESH CORIANDER SEEDS without spending a *single cent*.

    And yep, like Richard says, Rick Stein's India is well worth a watch. Beats the crap out of Reza the Spice Prince.

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    Yeah probably about 3l.

    I'm still pining about groeing my own from seed ... But something in me balks at the idea of buying a heater .... Or even having to grow things inside.

    Russell - do the chilli thread :) it's a whole new conversation.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Wood, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    The Himalaya! We lived one street over for a good few months. What a find, after all the South Indian carry-on in Singapore.

    Although having said that, Samy's Curry House on the Dempsey hill was (still is) my favourite. "Fine South Indian Cuisine" -- served right at your communal plastic table from buckets carried by evil lurking waiters who get their mates to distract you with poppadums on your right while they bang six vindaloo prawns on your plate from the left... all made better by the raw pleasure of tipping the melted icewater out of your beer mug all over your feet, given the temperature inside the un-airconditioned room was often in the 40s. Magic...

    Oh god... this thread is going to eat me alive!

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    Tips on growing coriander? By far my favourite fresh herb - can't grow it.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Raquel Moss, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We have absolutely no idea. On the same night we were interviewed by the local newspaper, who were doing a feature on the guy who owned the cooking school (plus three hotels, two restaurants, a spice shop and who knows what else). When we read the story in the morning, the reported had taken our names and made up quotes to go with them!

    Wellington • Since Mar 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

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