Friday, 2 December 2005
THE OFFICE - FRIDAY LUNCHTIME
Floyd - Feel like a curry for lunch?
Pualo - Roger roger, Over under.
This is generally how it goes at our office every friday. There is no beating the convenience of popping to an Indian restaurant for a work day lunch. You can be sure that you will get your meal and be back at your desk within the hour. Lamb vindaloo - nice and hot - rice and a garlic naan is my choice. The nice and hot is generally the catch though. When you first try a restaurant you have to take a gamble with how the waitress translates your request for nice and hot. Then there is the restatement of the order to the chef. All this is further complicated with the inevitable assessment by the restaurant staff as to whether you really can handle it. They do want you to enjoy your lunch. However there is a phrase is Wellington that comes in rather handy for the first visit order of one's vindaloo - Kiwi Hot - as in not quite Indian Hot but hotter than just hot!
The best way to be sure that the vindaloo you eat is exactly how hot you want it is to make the vindaloo yourself. Although I must say this plan is not fool proof. Evidence of this is in the photo above. The yoghurt is only there because the vindaloo was a bit too hot. Good though and just the thing!
Vindaloo is a speciality of Goa, introduced by the colonising Portugese. The word Vindaloo derives from the Portugese words for vinegar and garlic. The aloo in the word Vindaloo is often misinterpreted to mean potato (as in aloo gobi an Indian cauliflower and potato dish) and that is why potatoes are added to many a vindaloo. Authentic or not, I add potatoes because I like potatoes in curry.
My recipe for lamb vindaloo is this :
For the paste soak 8 stalk-less dry red chillis in a cup of vinegar until soft. Puree, or grind, the chillis with 6 cloves of garlic, a couple of inches of fresh ginger root, a tablespoon of garam masala and half a teaspoon of salt. Use this mixture to marinate cubed lamb for at least three hours or overnight.
Fry some onions until golden. Add the lamb, drained of the marinade, and fry briefly. Add the remaining marinade, 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate, 1 1/2 cups of water. Simmer gently for at least 2 hours, adding more water as required. It is good at this stage to cool then chill the curry overnight to improve the flavour. Reheat gently and add a tablespoon of brown sugar.
Serve with naan for mopping, poppadoms for dipping, and rice for everything else. Oh and yoghurt if the vindaloo turns out a wee bit too hot . . .