A night out a the local Indian restaurant is a treat that is prety similar in whetever town or city you choose to eat in. The restaurants and take-aways all, to some extent or another follow a very similar format from the flock wallpaper through to the deep pile carpet and piped raga music to keep you entertained through your culinary exploration of their menu’s.
However there is the problem, most if not all menu’s are representative of a very select group of dishes, generally prepared in very quick time and bought to your table when sitting down in the restaurant, by the waiter in the white shirt black tie and black waistcoat, don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the dishes aren’t nicely cooked or well prepared what I am saying is that the great majority of Indian eateries are very similar. There are of course exceptions on every menu but the great majority offer the same dishes as the competition 200 metres up the road.
The first question is why do they do that?
Well lets face it Indian cusine is fast food on the high street.
It shouldn’t be but it is, we expect our Indian meal on the table or ready to carry out in 15-30 minutes, and that can only be achieved with the use of ………Daag
This is the real secret that 95% of all the curries produced in the curry house use Daag as a base and as such is essential to all of the Madras, Kormas Dhansaks, Dopiaza, Bhuna Rogan Josh and an infinite number of other curries too numerous to mention. Daag is versatile and lends itself to whatever level of chilli is required , and can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, and longer in the freezer, all you need to do is heat a few spoonfuls of it with some oil add some meat, chicken, fish, Prawn,or vegetables and saute for a few minutes and voila curry you have…..
It really is that simple, quick curry in a hurry! ….what follows is a recipe for Daag to my taste you can vary the amount of chilli you add, bearing in mind that the restaurant /take-away will add the required level of chilli for each dish as it is prepared.
1.5 inc sqr fresh Ginger
6 Cloves Garlic
4 Green Chilli
6 Medium Tomato’s
100ml(3.5fl oz) oil
.5 tsp Coriander powder
.5 Tsp Cumin
.5 tsp Turmeric
.5 tsp Garam Masala
Good handfull chopped Coriander
1 tsp Salt
First thing you guessed it, chop the onions,ginger & garlic nice and fine, and puree the tomato’s
Now heat a nice big pot with the oil in and fry the onions until they are dark brown, thats going to take you about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the Garlic Ginger and chillies and continue frying for a further 3 minutes, add the Coriander powder and saute for a further 5 minutes, not forgetting to stir continuosly, if the mixtuure is being naughts and sticking add a couple of tablespoons of water, then add the Turmeric Cumin, and garan masala, after about 30 seconds add the Tomato and Coriander, give a good stir and then add 400ml(24 fl oz)of water, add the Salt too and cook over a low heat for abouit 15 minutes
Remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely then it is ready to store in an air tight jar in the fridge or freezer.
There is enough here for about 12 portions based on allowing meat at 8oz portions……
From the cheffy point of view it could be argued that all the curries taste the same with the exception of the chilli level, but the good Restaurant take-away will ensure that the addin ingredients to the dish seperate one dish from another, only you can be the judge of that. What I do know is that any recipe for any traditional dish should stand up in its own right and for me that is not based on the curry sauce for all of its advantages…. feel free to comment I would love to hear your views…..