Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Curry: Britain's National Dish

Continuing on the theme of overindulgence (which I'm suffering from now - remind me to never try and eat a double stuffed burrito in one go and wash it down with more Corona than I can handle), I now draw your attention to Indian curry.  Ok, so it's not Britain's national dish, but former foreign secretary Robin Cooke once caused controversy by deeming Chicken Tikka Masala (which, apparently, is as "authentic" as Chicken Chow Mein in your local Panda Express is) so.

The other night, while polishing off a Sainsbury's 2 for £5 chicken jalfrezi microwave meal, John said happily, "I could happily eat a curry once a week."  He chewed thoughtfully for about a second.  "Yes, that's right, once a week."  So could I.  In fact, when I lived in East London, I did.  Every Monday, after my extremely non-strenuous yoga class in the meeting rooms at my office, I'd order a Butter Chicken with Plain Rice from my favorite takeaway, East Is East, on Commercial Road (they've recently acquired new management, so I can't vouch for what the food is like now) on my way home, while John favored Tayyabs' tandoori specialties (which we used to smell 24/7 as John lived directly by the restaurant's extractor fan, but that's another story for another post at another time) on Fieldgate Street.

Due to the waves of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian immigrants arriving and settling in Britain (especially London), curry houses in the UK are the equivalent of tex-mex joints in the US - i.e. ubiquitous.  The East End is full of Bengali restaurants, namely on Brick Lane (though John and I had a disastrous experience at one once and vowed to stick to Tayyabs/East Is East from then on), where you can guarantee to be harrassed invited in by men standing outside, ready to make you a deal (if it sounds sketchy, it isn't, really ...).  A curry deal, that is. 

Moving away from my beloved East Is East was difficult; when I first arrived in Maida Vale, I remember anxiously asking my new housemates if there was a curry house nearby (thank goodness Meghna Grill was just a two minute stroll away).  But it's really nothing a jar of Patak's curry paste and some good chicken drumsticks can't solve, as John has evidenced with his superb cooking skills.  Failing that, there's always the "Indian" aisle in our local supermarket ... with curry, options are never scarce.

Photo source


  1. or you could just pick up a curry recipe from my blog!!!

  2. Ohmygod! Last night I had the craziest craving for spicy food and it HAD to be curry. So I made my husband drive me over to our local spot and I dropped 30 bones on Chicken Tikka and Chana Masala. OHHHHH man it was good and worth every penny. Juicy and earthy and spicy and yesyesyes. Yummy! Leftovers tonite. Wahey!

  3. 30 bucks, Anna B., that's desperation!!! If you're ever in London, I will take you to Meghna/East Is East/Tayyabs. Leftovers make it all worth it though, definitely. Curry always tastes better the next day!

  4. that's why you had a heartburnt and couldn't go to work. you were so full of it....DOUBLE STUFFED burrito....

  5. Ok, first of all, I DID go into work. Second of all, I didn't feel sick until two days AFTER the burrito. So really, I have a stomach virus. Take pity.


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