10 years I trained as a classical French chef, I never did manage to get my C.A.P but I can still take 3 days to make a nice gravy. I’ve forgotten how to bone a quail but I’m sure it would come back to me pretty quick, Risotto? I make the best dam wild mushroom Risotto in the Balkans!
So what is it about the Avalon and Curry! We feed about 50 people a week, all pre-booked sometimes months in advance 90% of whom are repeat guests. All of whom are here because they have heard through the grapevine about our curry nights.
I never properly learnt how to cook a curry. I don’t really count sitting in a smoky canteen watching some crone knock up some subji and rice in India, Dal and rice in Nepal, or some old badger of a chef slapping Naan into a tandor and deep frying samosa in gee in Pakistan. But weirdly it looks like it rubbed off! People like what I call curry!
So what is this dish called curry ? Most Brits will have a pretty good image in their heads of the standard fair and will think of it as Indian food. However Indians aren’t really into what we call curry first off they are all vegi so spiced vegitables, lentils rice and if you are lucky naan is their bag second off they are poor as poor can be so it is more about the rice than anything else. The classic Indian Thali is loads of rice some watery bland lentil soup and if you are lucky a spicy little dab of chutney. Mmmmmm fuel but not really anything to write home about.
So British Curry that imperial hangover that just wont go away, rich mans curry, rich carnivores curry! Now that is what we are talking about in the U.K. no holding back, no religious qualms do taboos! Just Spice, Meat and chillies! Our Curries are Mughal curries, the food of those nouveau riche barbarians that came charging down the passes from the Hindu Kush led by Babur the personification of Nouveau the personification of barbarian but what a poet, what a man! If ever you find the time read his autobiography it is called the Baburnama and is not only one of the great pieces of self promotion but also a cracking rags to riches read.
So a bunch of British pirates with pockets full of cash meld with a bunch who used to be land based pirates with pockets full of cash and the child that is born is what we call curry. The word means nothing to any one in Asia but means everything to everyone who was touched by the empire. From Jamaica to New Zealand via Bristol and South Africa everyone has their own version of curry.
So what is it we serve at the Avalon, well I am sporn of that empire, touched by the wilds of the Himalayas, enraptured by the Hindu Kush enlightened by the thin air of Nepal and just a little twisted by the illicit spices of the subcontinent! Below is a list of my favourite dishes we serve and from the looks of the empty bowls our guests love it as well!
The last curry of the season will be this Thursday the 27th of March. We’ll be showcasing some of the favourites of the winter.
Kashmiri Pork, hot and aromatic with lots of different pepper flavours, from Hot Hot Chillies to mild tones of smoked paprika. 4 hours this bad boy sits in the slowest of slow ovens to the point where the meat just melts and the gravy is black!
Chicken Tikka, but not as you know it, boneless chicken thighs marinaded in a bright red mix of hot spices from Lahore and then baked in yoghurt for a sour creamy finish. Watch out it isn’t that mild androgynous sandwich filler of UK petrol station fame, hot and sour.
Chicken Balti, prime chicken breast in a classic Balti sauce, red peppers and a hint of Tamarind. Straight out of Birmingham nothing I saw in Baltistan looked anything like this but it tastes good and Brits recognise it!
Korma, my korma! None of this sweetened rubbish you find in the U.K. a rich onion and spice gravy thickened and sweetened with tons of coconut milk and coconut cream! In Baltit at the snout of the Baltoro Glacier in the shadow of so much vertical rock I found a fantastic coconut curry! WTF the nearest coconut tree must be a thousand miles from Baltit but hey this is the first bit of civilisation a bunch of minted mountaineers arrive at after months in the hills! You want coconut Sahib coconut it is!
Aromatic Kashmiri Chicken. Another Kashmiri classic but this time from Azad Kashmir, Chicken, spinach, bay, coriander, cumin and cardamom all lifted with a little lemon. Proper peasant fair, simple spices, some greens, lemons if they are in season and a pile of bread! Yum!
Chana Dal, proper northern Indian Dal, rich nutty with a hint of chick pea, thickened with split orange lentils and lightly spiced. I could live off Dal !
Palak Gohbi (Saag Gohbi) you can argue about the wording all day long! Spinach and cauliflower in a rich dark spice gravy . Again straight out of the north, subji, subzi, sabzai, call it what you like veg, flavourings in a wet-ish sauce, a true Himalayan staple
Samosa, Bargi, Papad, chutney, raita, lime pickle and lassie!
25lv a head!
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