How to make a curry in three easy steps, with Anjum Anand

Anjum_Anand_Rustic_rogan_josh

I love to cook. But i love people cooking for me just as much. And i’ve had UK-based celebrity chef Anjum Anand cooking wicked Indian curries with me in my kitchen for the past week — well, almost.

I’m off to India for a food-writing trip with Anand tomorrow, representing The Australian Financial Review’s Life & Leisure section. In the lead up to the trip i was sent a selection of curry sauces from Anand’s Spice Tailor range. They said cook in “3 simple steps”. I was curious — and sceptical — because anyone who likes cooking curries, as i do, know it takes much more than that.

The packaging is colourful and cleverly designed. You can see three plastic pouches: a small one containing whole spices — the Rustic Rogan Josh collection includes bayleaf, black cardamon, cinnamon, black peppercorns, green cardamon and a dried red chilli; a slightly larger pouch containing a base sauce; and a larger one again containing curry sauce.

The instructions tell you what “bits to buy” — for the rogan josh it was 275g of lamp rump, neck or chops, and what you need “from your cupboard” — some oil and a whole chilli, for extra heat. Then follow three steps: 1) Heat oil and fry spices, 2) Add meat and brown, then add the base sauce and simmer for 2 minutes 3) Stir in the curry sauce and simmer.

Included on the pack are “tailor to taste” recommendations to customise each dish: including things like which vegetables to add, or the inclusion of fresh spices for extra zing. There are “sauce facts” too, including details of each curry’s origins, and a link to the Spice Tailor website for “online inspiration”, including other recipes to use the sauce with. They’re made without colours, preservatives and additives. They’re pretty damn impressive.

I’ve now tried the rogan josh and tikka masala — they were both full bodied, gutsy curries with a home-made authenticity that casts off the stereotype of usual pre-made packet sauces. The vibrancy of the whole spices — a very clever addition by Anand — cannot be understated. I’ve been making Indian curries for years, and have some really good ones up my sleeve. I’d be thrilled to turn out something as good as these.

My partner is thrilled, too. There are some remaining sauces in the cupboard. While i’m wandering bazaars, sampling street food, drinking at tea stalls, and having some hands-on tuition with Anand, he’ll be cooking with her at home — well, almost.

Note: The Spice Tailor range is available in Coles. RRP: $4.99.

A feature of the trip to India will appear in Life & Leisure. Link to follow.

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11 Comments

Filed under Chefs, Cuisines

11 responses to “How to make a curry in three easy steps, with Anjum Anand

  1. You get all the best gigs! Enjoy…

  2. Sounds like an impressive packet curry! Enjoy your trip, it sounds glorious!

  3. Have a wonderful time and while you’re away, I’ll head to Coles and give this a try.

  4. i agree with lizzy, you get great work assignments FS! i want to be you when i grow up :-)
    i’m not a big fan of curries, but you are selling me on this. it is clever doing all the multi-packets, it would make you feel that you are contributing more as a cook to the dish, rather than glugging out something homogenous.
    also, the design would look great sitting on the pantry shelf.

    • You hit the nail on the head … the sauces & spices do make you feel a if you are contributing something to the cooking of the dish. My partner now thinks he can cook curry … i’m not going to tell him otherwise!

  5. Dear Rachel,

    Is this a paste or a powder? I find that Australian chicken meat releases a lot of moisture when being simmered and this is unlike chicken meat in South-east Asia.

    I love tikka masala for its thick curry sauce but invariably my previous attempts would turn out a little more watery because of the chicken meat. This is fine if it’s a south Indian style curry some of which generally comes with a more watery curry sauce. I also read the chicken meat for tikka masala is actually marinated and baked in the oven first before being simmered with a curry sauce for it to absorb all the curry flavours. Perhaps this step prevents the eventual curry sauce from becoming too watery? Maybe Anjum can shed some light on this which has intrigued me for years.

  6. Hi there – they generally comprise two sauces: a base sauce and a curry sauce, plus a small pouch of spices to add. Very clever & very authentic flavours. The meat for tikka masala would traditionally be cooked in a tandoor oven first – which gives it that intoxicating charred exterior. It is then added to the sauce, which has been made separately. You should be able to taste the smokiness of the tandoor in the chicken, as well as the lovely sauce. Difficult to replicate without a tandoor – but you can try grilling, or even BBQing to get a similar effect. You basically need a really high temperature – tandoor ovens heat to around 480-degrees, i believe. Good luck.

  7. After reading your latest post, I now have to go to Coles and hunt these out! :)

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