15 Jun 2010

A very Scottish...curry

Many years ago, when the idea of moving to Scotland was still lurking behind an penchant for Celtic music and British telly, I was an English literature major at the University of British Columbia.

One professor, whose name I cannot recall, possessed a deep monotone voice that was fed by one of those English accents you would expect to hear in an old fashioned gentleman’s club. Only once did he speak of British food. Slowly, pausing periodically for effect, this is what he said:

“The food in Britain…as you know…is terrible. If you can avoid eating while you are there…do. Unless of course…you are having a curry.”

Now obviously I don’t agree that the food in Britain is terrible, but I do agree that the curries are spectacular. There is a world of flavour waiting to appeal to every palate, from mellow kormas to taste bud busting vindaloos.

By far the most popular curry in Scotland (and the rest of Britain) is the Chicken Tikka Masala. Last year Glasgow City Council backed an MP’s bid for Glasgow to be officially recognized by the EU as the home of the famous dish.

Just as Vancouver is recognized as one of the best places in the world to eat Chinese and Japanese food, so it is with Scotland and curry. When you come to Scotland, don’t miss a chance to try some of the best Indian food outside of India itself.

Today marks The Scottish Love Curry Awards 2010, and to celebrate I have made the famous Chicken Tikka Masala, using a recipe I gleaned from the internet.

Behold the ingredients for the marinade, which consists of lemon juice, a teaspoon of crushed garlic and ginger, a generous blob of plain yoghurt, and a teaspoon each of chilli, cumin and coriander.
Go slow. Curry responds well to letting spices mingle, so let the marinade-covered chicken (cut into bits) sit in the fridge overnight.

A chopped onion, some more ginger and garlic, as well as more cumin, coriander and chilli are fried up and some tomato puree is tossed in before the chicken. Oh the beauty of it when the mixed spices start to heat and the scent blooms from the pan. The cream is added last, and the whole thing is served with rice (and a sprinkling of fresh coriander over top, if you fancy it).
There are many recipes on the web. Some call for ghee, which adds another dimension of (calorie dense) flavour to things.

Can’t get enough Scottish curry? A few extra links for curry lovers:

Check in with the Scottish Love Curry Awards to see who came top this year.

Based in the Highlands, Caledonian Curry has created some wild and wonderful sauces. With names like “The Kilt Lifter,” “The Sporran Splitter,” and “After Burns,” you know you’re in for an adventure.

Follow the exploits of Trampy and the Tramp’s Glasgow of Curry. Worth a read: their interview with Scot Shaw about his attempt to take on Scotland’s hottest curry at Kismot in Edinburgh.

What is your favourite curry?

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