As in a meal, so in our cookery course, the bahjis were only a starter. This week we moved onto our first curry, with basmati rice. Now I didn’t actually pay any attention while CB made the rice (it was supposed to be collaborative, but my onions were burning at the time), so I can’t give you any hints and tips on that front I’m afraid. Washing the rice seems to be dead important, but perhaps we might try a little less butter next time around.
However, as in a meal, so etc., it was the chicken curry with cream that was the focus of the evening. The trick here turns out to be — and perhaps you already knew this, but no book had ever explained it properly to me — that the onions you put in the curry to start with are not supposed to end up an obvious part of the final product. So no stir-fry-style chunks, these onions have got to be FINELY chopped. And that’s as fine as you can possibly manage, mind. Then you fry them; and this is really frying them, for what feels like hours — certainly enough time to chop up the chillis, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and all the rest. Of course this is the point where my onions start to burn, rather than turning a nice golden-brown colour, but they do get rescued in time! So when you add the yoghurt and spices to the onions, you’re trying to make a lovely, rich, smooth and above all thick (that’s the job of the onions) sauce — in fact, blending the whole lot in a mixer helps.
At which point we were rapidly heading for what looked — and eventually tasted — more like a decent carry-out feast than anything home-made I’ve ever dared to give the name ‘curry’ to before. Fantastic. And there’s still 7 more classes to go!