Category Archives: curry

beef rendang

brisket beef rendang thai curry

When Jamie started banging on about using brisket to save money, I didn’t need any convincing. I’ve been a fan of this largely ignored beef cut for years; I’ve got 5 or 6 recipes around here somewhere including the mighty cholent, a very popular dinner in this house.

I bought a lovely 2.5kg piece for £19, divided it up and froze half. I roasted the other half to serve 4 people generously and still had four portions left. Two of them ended up in this beef rendang. I don’t often get out to a Thai restaurant but this is my go-to order. It’s a thick, rich and deeply coconutty curry with a low, slow-burning heat.

And this recipe is a blinding version of it. As with every single Jamie recipe in existence I’ve dialled the heat right down but it still packs a spicy punch that really delivers. This one is going on regular rotation in my house.

Based on a recipe from Save with Jamie.

Beef rendang (serves 2):

250g shredded brisket (any cooked beef will do, or you could fry some strips of steak instead)

½ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

300ml coconut milk

200ml beef stock

1 lime

Flatbreads or tortillas, coriander leaves and more lime wedges on the side

Coconut rice to serve

For the paste:

1 red onion

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger

2 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of fresh coriander

  1. Blitz the paste ingredients together with the coriander stalks in a food processor with some salt. Add some oil to a pan and fry this paste off for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the beef, stock and coconut and bring to the boil. Simmer for another 15 minutes, grate in the lime zest and add lime juice to taste. Season and serve with rice, flatbreads, coriander leaves and rice.

beef madras

beef madras curry from sorted food

YouTube is quickly giving rise to a whole new breed of superstar; the self-made vlogger. From NineBrassMonkeys to Periodic Videos, if you’ve got something to say there’s a place for your voice. And if people like you, you’ll build a following (a quick shout out to my great mate MeganIsSleeping – go watch, subscribe and like!). This of course allows room for all hobbies, including food and cooking. I’ve given it a try myself but struggle to make it work. Some people that have found the magic formula are Sorted Food. With nearly half a million subscribers and over 35 million combined views, they’re clearly doing something right.

I was sent a printed copy of Sorted Food’s Food with Friends. On first pass everything reads a little ordinary, but looking again there’s surprising time-saving ingenuity at play – tapenade as a duxelle substitute in a Wellington, tinned oysters in a gratin, BLT in tortilla form. In terms of writing all the instructions are bold and brash with laddish overtones, featuring plenty of SQUEEZE this and SPLASH that. There’s definitely a debt to Jamie Oliver in the style, but it may put some off.

As a fan of the channel, Spud Jr took over this one. We left this simmering for 90 minutes but there was definitely something missing from the flavour, it lacked depth. I had to tone down the chilli content for the family so the tomato was the dominant flavour. It took a little boost from powdered coconut to add a rich sweetness (I love  this stuff from Maggi’s and have always got a box handy for coconut rice, Thai dishes or cake mixes). The instructions are slightly off on this recipe, referencing a paste which you may not realise you’ve just created in previous steps. My beef also wasn’t tender in 90 minutes, so this recipe would need someone confident dealing with casseroling meat to know it may take longer. I reckon with patience 4 hours would make this melting and delicious.

This are nitpicks really, from someone who’s spent a long time in the kitchen. If you’re looking for a great core of recipes you’re likely to actually want to make in an accessible style, this would be a good start. With recipes at the more humble end of budgets and a focus on fast food (the good kind!), this would be a great book to slide into a student’s bag before they head off to Uni (or gift them the Kindle version).

If you want to give it a try, The Ultimate Barbie from the Sorted crew is free to download for Kindle. Thanks to Penguin for the book.

Beef madras (serves 4):

2 onions, peeled

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon chilli powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon

800g diced beef

4 tablespoons tomato puree

200ml beef stock

1 tin tomatoes

2 tablespoons powdered coconut

For the leek garnish:

½ a leek

1 tablespoon cornflour

  1. Get a large lidded casserole on the hob over a high heat. Season the beef and fry all over until browned.
  2. While the beef browns, in a food processor blitz the onion, garlic and ginger to a paste. Add the salt and some pepper, the chilli, coriander, lemon and fennel and whizz for a second or two to recombine. Add this to the browned beef and continue to fry until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and stock, stir well to combine and then cover. SImmer on a low heat for 60 minutes and stir in the coconut. After 90 minutes check to see if the beef is tender.
  4. For the leek garnish, slice the leek into fine strips and dust with cornflour. In a generous amount of oil fry the leek strips for a minute on each side then drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt and scatter over the curry. Serve with creme fraiche and basmati rice.

keema chana curry

keema chana curry

This was completely inspired to the ideas I’d been absorbing from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. Keeping a few pans on the go, everything cooked separately and brought together, powerful spices to give the flavours a kick… It’s exactly in keeping with the way some of the Jamie recipes work.

I do have one ingredient in there I’m not convinced Jamie would approve of… frozen mince and onion. But I can’t ignore the time-saving this offers me.

If’ I’d have had coriander leaf to scatter on top, it would’ve been perfect. But I was happy enough.

Keema chana curry (serves 2):

250g frozen mince and onion

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 red onion

1 clove garlic

1 tin tomatoes

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 tin chickpeas, drained

2 sweetcorn cob halves

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  1. Get two frying pans and a saucepan on pretty hot. Get the kettle on to boil.

  2. Add a dash of oil to one of the pans and add the cumin seeds and turmeric. After a minute add the mince and onion and stir often.

  3. Get your blender ready, and whizz up the onion, garlic, tomatoes, nigella and garam masala with a pinch of salt until liquid. Add to the other pan and allow to bubble. After a couple of minutes add the chickpeas.

  4. Fill the sauce pan with boiling water and add the sweetcorn. Simmer for 10 minutes until tender, then drain. Return to the pan and add a knob of butter, a pinch of smoked sea salt and paprika. Pop the lid on and toss well.

  5. Serve the mince on top of the tomatoey chickpeas with the sweetcorn on the side.

chicken katsu curry

chicken katsu curry wagamama style

Whenever my son is offered a treat out to a restaurant, say for a birthday or good school report, before I’ve even finished the question he replies “Wagamama“. And he always orders the same thing: chicken katsu curry.

I’ve hard arguments with people on Twitter about Wagamama in the past; that it is lowest common denominator stuff, that it’s Westernised muck… they are aiming at global appeal to be sure. I can’t speak to its authenticity but I know I like what their kitchen serves up. My favourite dish by a long shot is yaki soba, and I must’ve had it a hundred times in and out of the restaurant.

But the katsu curry is really good too. Super-crunchy chicken and a spiky curry sauce, with fluffy rice to soak it up. I have got the Wagamama cookbook but this recipe isn’t in there, so here’s my interpretation which I think is pretty damn close.  They have salad alongside theirs, I went with some more Autumnal veg in fitting with October diets. But it’s the curry sauce I’m absolutely overjoyed with, a dead simple and really tasty condiment that goes with so many things.

Chicken katsu curry (serves 4):

4 chicken breasts

100g panko breadcrumbs

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons flour

Mugful basmati rice

1 star anise

4 cloves

3 cardamom pods

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 Knorr chicken stock pot

White wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Patak’s curry paste (whichever flavour you like)

400ml coconut milk (I like Maggi’s powder)

  1. You’ll need two frying pans and two saucepans on the go for this one. Sorry about that. You should also put the oven on a low setting, about 100°C and pop a baking tray in there.
  2. Get the large saucepan over a medium heat and add the rice, the star anise, cloves, cardamom and two mugfuls of water. Cover and stir occasionally while you get on with everything else.
  3. In another saucepan, gently fry the carrots for a minute in a little oil. Then barely cover the carrots with water and add half the stock pot. Simmer. After 5 minutes, add the peppers and when all the liquid is reduced add a punch of sugar and a dash of vinegar – check for seasoning.
  4. In a saucepan over a high heat, add the curry paste and cook out for a minute. Then add the coconut milk and the other half of the stock pot. Simmer until thick.
  5. Get a large frying pan, cover the base with oil and set it over a medium heat. Between two pieces of clingfilm bash the chicken breasts with a rolling pin until 1.5cm thick. Dust with seasoned flour, dip in egg then coat in breadcrumbs. Fry the chicken in batches as your pan allows, browning on both sides and transferring to the baking tray while you finish the rest.
  6. When all the chicken is cooked, the rice is fluffy (it will probably need some salt and pepper) and the veg is tender, serve with lashings of the curry sauce.

Gary Fennon

curried chickpea burger

curried chickpea and cumin burger

I’ve never really gone for vegetarian-style burgers, and yet one evening I had a curious craving for a chickpea burger. With a rummage in the cupboards I pepped them up with some curry flavour and enjoyed a substantial and tasty meal which left all thoughts of minced beef behind.

Curried chickpea burgers (makes 4):

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

1 roasted red onion*

1 heaped teaspoon curry paste (I used Patak’s balti paste)

  1. Whiz all the ingredients together in a food processor and season to taste. With wet hands mold into 4 patties.
  2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook for 4 – 5 mins on both sides until well browned. Serve in a soft white bap with sweetcorn on the side.

*I had a red onion leftover from this recipe, if you don’t have one then pop one in the oven for 30 mins or fry briefly.

chicken tikka balti

Image courtesy of Su-lin (

Despite all the recipes listed here like many other people I am a sucker for a takeaway curry. When I lived with my Mum and Dad creeping back home on a Saturday night my evening was made that much better by discovering a plate of leftovers in the microwave.

I’m well aware most Indian folk wouldn’t recognize the food served up at the ‘traditional’ British curry house but I’ve been eating this stuff for most of my life, and whatever culture they derive from I really enjoy “an Indian”. I’m especially a sucker for spiced Tandoori meat, a rich gravy, a crispy onion bhaji and a fluffy, chewy naan.

I was invited to try out, an online takeaway ordering service. It’s not just Indians, but Chinese, pizza, kebabs… the usual takeaway suspects. The site is cleanly laid out and dead easy to use. One downside for me is the range of places to choose from is pretty poor, with 11 Indian restaurants and a couple of others. This will vary throughout the country of course but it’s not a massive selection for me. Luckily in this case the one I wanted was there, the Spice Hut. I’ve been using this place for about 6 years and they’re very consistent and I love the food there. By picking a takeaway I’m very familiar with I can review the service as opposed to the food, as I know what to expect. We even had a paper menu to help us all order at the same time.

And the paper menu pointed to another issue: they offer more on the real menu than they do online. There’s a whole section called “Spice Hut Specialities” which Mrs. Spud really wanted to order from, so had to change her order which was a little disappointing. Everything else was there so we ordered our usuals, including their excellent chicken tikka balti. I was then stung by another little niggle: a 40p credit card charge. Surprise charges like this may not be much but they really annoy me, as I could’ve gone direct to the shop and avoided that.

That said, the whole ordering and checkout process was swift and painless, and I even played with the mobile version of their site on my terribly old Android phone and it worked great. I ordered a delivery as a treat (I always collect) and it arrived in 20 mins instead of the prescribed 45 mins, which is a bonus. We ate loads and enjoyed the feast, which was up to their usual high standards.

The site works just great and you can pay with cash on delivery if you prefer, which is a nice touch. I might use Just Eat again if I was in an area where I didn’t know the restaurants – as I knew the place in this case I was aware of the items I was missing and would’ve missed out the (admittedly tiny) charge.

diamond jubilee chicken

heston blumenthal's diamond jubilee chicken

Another year, another royal celebration, another round of special dishes by Heston Blumenthal. Following last year’s trifle to commemorate the royal wedding, this year Heston produced a panoply of picnicky treats. I’ve had a stab at one here: Diamond Jubilee Chicken.

I’m really not a fan of coronation chicken, the dish originally commissioned for the Queen’s coronation. For me the fruit in there just really jars. Thankfully this version dismisses all that and you get a lovely curried chicken mayo. I read the summary of the ingredients and given it a go myself. You can skip the brining if you like, but brining gives you succulence and depth of flavour, with a lovely finish of peppery nigella seeds which I adore.

I haven’t been able to try the shop-bought version. It may or may not taste like the Heston dish but it makes a great buffet treat regardless.

Diamond Jubilee chicken:

3 chicken breasts

For the brine:

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 star anise

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon golden syrup

For the dressing:

300ml mayonnaise (home made if you can)

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon nigella seeds

Lemon juice, to taste

  1. Put the chicken and all the brining ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with water and add enough salt to make an 6% brine solution. Allow to brine for 6 hours, then drain, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Grill the chicken until cooked through (I used a George Foreman Grill). Allow to cool on a wooden board and then slice into bite-size chunky pieces.
  3. For the dressing blend all the ingredients together, then stir in the chicken. Dust with paprika and serve with toast, crudites or salad.