Britain's Top 10 Curries:
1. Chicken Tikka Masala
Obviously, this had to be the most loved curry; I mean, it overtook fish and chips to become our national dish, didn't it? Legend has it that a diner at an Indian restaurant in Scotland asked for some sauce to go with his Chicken Tikka and was served the first ever Chicken Tikka Masala. It's not an easy curry to make absolutely from scratch; there's a lot of grinding various spices and pureeing tomatoes and the like - and lots of different stages. But it's a silky, mild and aromatic curry. I love it.
|Chicken Tikka Masala|
2. Chicken Korma
Soft, pale, and often scattered with sliced almonds, Chicken Korma is a rich and creamy curry made from mild spices and coconut milk or cream (sometimes both). I ate it for years - it was my knee jerk reaction to student curry nights in Hull until I discovered the Balti....
3. Chicken Madras
Ooh, a spicy one. And chicken again. According to the Patak's website, the Madras curry was named after the city of Madras, now named Chennai. It's sauce is hot and spicy and made from tomatoes along with spices such as coriander and cumin. If you like your curries spicy, you'll love it.
4. Lamb Rogan Josh
Lamb (as well as beef) I think, works so well in a curry because the natural fat and muscle fibres in the meat break down over long cooking so you get meltingly tender and flavoursome meat. And lamb is perfectly paired in this medium-spiced tomato-based curry from the Kashmiri region of India. It's one of my favourite curries and I always, always make it with red meat.
5. Chicken Jalfrezi
A sweeter curry with a gentle heat, the jalfrezi is tomato-based but often has red peppers or other vegetables in it - although you don't have to make it with chicken - it's also quite popular made with prawns.
6. Chicken Balti
It was with a Chicken Balti that I had my first 'eureka' moment when it came to Indian food. I used to meet up with 10-12 friends and we'd all go off take over our local curry house in Hull. Scared stiff of anything with spice, for months I automatically ordered a creamy, mild Chicken Korma, until one day I decided to order a Balti. The aroma was amazing; the dish came sizzling to me at the table and it was served with only coriander and garlic naan - no rice. It has quite a hum to it, heat-wise, and a beautiful fresh aroma. I love it sprinkled with lots of freshly chopped coriander.
7. Chicken Rogan Josh
Rogan Josh again, but this time with chicken. It seems we can't get enough of chicken in this country...
8. Chicken Dhansak
Chicken again, but this time it's a Dhansak. A Dhansak has a sauce with medium-heat and it's made with lentils, too. If you're into jars of curry sauce you might find it difficult to track down this one, which will give you a good excuse to make it yourself. Anjum Anand has a good one here, and she uses tamarind paste for a slight bitterness.
9. Prawn Korma
A creamy, mild sauce with succulent prawns. If I had to choose a Korma I'd have to say I would go for the chicken, but the prawns' sweetness really does work well with it.
10. Vegetable Balti
Ah, the Balti again - and this time with veg. In a vegetable Balti you normally get chunky pieces of red, green and yellow peppers, tomatoes and onion, although the veg used will vary between restaurants. Incidentally there's still a debate over where the Balti first originated: some say Birmingham and others say Pakistan. Either way, when made properly, it's one of my favourite curries.
Was your favourite curry here? What's yours?