What is it about curry?

Curry… that blend of spices, the meat or vegetables or dhal infused with flavour, the richness, the spiciness, the subtle heat or the blow your head off heat… Is it really addictive? I’m not sure but I know I get a sense almost of craving it! we make quite good curries at home but you really have to go to the experts for the best curry.

India, Pakistani, Bangladesh, these countries are the home of what we here in England understand as curry but of course other countries s use similar blends of spices and cooking techniques that we maybe don’t come across in our restaurants as frequently, Sri Lanka and Malaya for example. Like any country, there are enormous variations between dishes cooked in different areas, and in a country as large as India with different religions, traditions, ethnic groups and influences, as well as the difference in climate between the north and south, east and west, and the different products available, then there is going to be a dazzling variety of foods on offer…. No-one could ever hope to sample them all but what fun to try.

Traditionally in the UK we have seen restaurants, take-aways and shops offering food from the northern parts of the Indian sub-continent, but just recently I discovered the wonders of Indian food from more southern areas. Unfamiliar spices and spice combinations, totally unrecognisable vegetables which I had never seen before, fabulous, fabulous flavours… it’s first thing in the morning as I write this and my mouth is watering already!

At the weekend, on Father’s Day we went to ZaZa’s Bazaar, a huge restaurant with maybe  a couple of dozen ‘stalls’ serving food from various countries, Chinese, Italian, American, Mexican, Vietnamese pho soup (mmmmm!) traditional English, Japanese…. and of course different dishes from India. I had a dosa, an enormous pancake made from gram flour and filled with a potato mix accompanied by cool chutneys… it would have been greedy to have two but I was so tempted! There were also three vegetarian dhal curries on offers… I’d love to have the recipes!

So there was ZaZa’s, a cavernous place with almost every food you could imagine, and I just returned to the curry selection again and again (this sounds very greedy, but I only had tiny helpings each time!) And now, thinking back to what I ate I think I’d like some right now, for breakfast! No doubt I’ll just have some fruit… but curry really would be just the thing!



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