The Curry Guy

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Editor
Added
10 May, 2017

We talked to Dan Toombs, AKA The Curry Guy, about how cooking Indian food turned him into an award-winning blogger and a cookbook author, as his new book has just been added to the library.

What made you choose Indian cooking for a blog?

We don’t have Indian restaurants, like Britain does, where I’m from in California, so I wanted to learn how to cook authentic Indian food. However, I soon realised it was the British Indian restaurant dishes that I really wanted to learn. To start with, it was based on guesswork as restaurants were very secretive about their recipes. Then, people from Indian restaurants started contacting me and saying, why don’t you come up here and we’ll show you how it’s really done. 


You must have had so many recipes on the blog to choose from for the book, but do you have any favourites?

I’ve got a couple. My British favourite would have to Rogan Josh. I will always love the British Indian restaurant style – but I love a few others that I’ve learned along the way too, like Sho-coo-tee, which is a Bangladeshi version of a Goan dish. My favourite recipe right now is the Lamb nihari. It has nice spices in it but it’s not spicy. Serve it with chillies at the table – I’d not really ever seen that done but it means you can make the same dish work for anyone. 


Do you need any special kit to make Indian food at home?

If you’re going to make my recipes the most important thing is the base sauce, so you really need a spice grinder. It’s ideal for making big batches of Garam masala, and Garlic and ginger paste. I like to make these fresh. You can freeze them too, they last for ages. 

You need a good pan, but it really doesn’t need to be an expensive one, and aluminium is good, because they heat up really fast, which is actually much more like what they use in the restaurants. 

Then I also use a hand-held blender. Especially when making a base curry sauce, because you don’t want to be transferring your sauce into a counter-top blender then back into a pan, a hand-held blender is perfect and does the job. 


What would be good dinner-party recipes for first-time curry makers?

I really like the Bora and pedina, like a hot crisp which is dipped into a cold coriander chutney. Those contrasts and the different flavours are amazing. Lamb shami kebabs – if you’re having a party you can just hand them around. Then a Chicken pakora, all things that you can make ahead and keep them warm in the oven. I do like to do a couple of the British classics too – one that everyone always asks for is the Lamb saag. I always have to have it with Chicken korma or Chicken tikka masala as those are the two most popular. Both kids and adults like those. 




After eating Indian food for a year, are your family your fiercest critics?

Yes, they tell me when they hate it! But, they also say when they think I’ve got it right. For example, I still make butter chicken about once a month because my kids love it. It’s not too spicy and very neutral.


Have you had any real disasters?

I’ve had a few disasters, but I’d never serve a large group of people something that I’ve not tried before. There was one time though that we had friends round for dinner, and I couldn’t be bothered to cook curry that day so we had sushi – and they complained that they’d come all that way for curry not sushi!


Do you ever order a takeaway these days – I don’t need to as I’m still visiting restaurants and often get sent away with food for the family – but a takeaway is also so expensive compared to when I cook it at home too. 


THE CURRY GUY

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