Wednesday, 6 January 2010
The bitter snow and treacherous ice of late has been the talk on everyone's lips, Oh, well that and the fact that Leeds United beat Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time in potentially a decade at the weekend.( Come on you whites...ahem)
It's at times like this when the weather is cold and we've got the shivers that we need a little something to warm us from the inside ( I know the Leeds win was indeed heart warming, but i meant something that's much better for the soul...)
Having been ill with flu like symptoms for over a week now and not having had much time to go shopping, also feeling reluctant to order home shopping at the risk of it not arriving in these blizzards i needed some help- fast.
I was in need of a pick-me up that wouldn't break the bank, so i looked to a trusted favourite and cupboard staple of the Hardy family's for decades- the Patak's Curry.
Now, i have been to India before and sampled many a delicious curry over there- including a particularly fragrantand wonderful Goan curry.
I have visited a few good curry houses in Leeds before owned by Asian families or industry men that know what they're doing when it comes to spicing things up, i've even attended a friend's wedding at a Sikh temple where the tradiotional curries and dahls was part of the buffet- incredible!
You wouldn't necassarily think you could get that kind of authentic quality when it comes to supermarket bought curries would you, that is untill you've tried a Pataks Curry my friends.
(I promise i don't have shares in Pataks or work for their PR Team)
Since i was 15 years old and Curries (What us Brits thought were proper Asian curries anyway) came into fashion in a big way, my mum always used to buy Pataks curry paste.
I never knew why she didn't just buy us all an indian take away or buy a jar of sauce, because it turned out she was making it wrong for years- Mum used to put a measely spoon of Pataks paste in and vastly wrong quantities of water as well as green peppers and carrots mixed in with chicken or lamb, so what was produced was very watery curried soupy- rice. ( We still ate it because we knew no different)
It wasn't untill years later after i had my first proper curry at Akbars in Bradford that i realised she'd been doing it wrong and that curry was supposed to be quite saucy, firey and hot.
When we made it the next time i made sure we followed the jar instructions ( at least 1/4th a jar of paste mixed with tomatoes and water) and left out the carrots and peppers and what came out of this wonderful purple, exotic jar was absolute heaven to me.
Nearly every hung over Saturday evening i managed to nurse myself well again with one of Mum's fab curries.( I don't think their Vindaloo is half as spicy as it should be, and they are all generally milder than the more authentic ones in general-but they managed to sweat the booze out of my pores anyway!)
Since i've left home now and have to fend for myself- whenever i have a curry craving and i can't quite stretch to a full blown indian banquet from the local take away, i keep a few jars of different curries in from Pataks and get my fix that way.
Favourites include a Pataks Chicken Madras with pilau rice
( Veet do a good microwaveable one for around £1.35 if you can't be bothered to buy your own turmeric, saffron and cardamom to flavour your basmati rice, or even better- but more calorific is the Uncle bens microwave pilau rice which is a bit more expensive at around £1.60, but seems to have a bit more of a kick to it- both serve 2)
Pataks Lamb Rogan Josh with Basmati Rice and a Peswari Naan from Sharwoods
Pataks King Prawn Balti with Mushroom Pilau Rice and a few onion bhaji's ( Sainsbury's are bang on)
Best Naan range and Chutney range ) lime and mango varieties) as well as great pickles go to Sharwoods
Best Saag Aloo goes to Sainsbury's or M&S- in fact Lidl had a geat one last week for £1! Bargain
The pickle tray and Naans, Chappati's or Poppadoms and other accompaniments are optional, and we usually only eat them on special occassions or when friends come over to help.
The moral of this story is that you need to make sure you always have a jar of Pataks in, some good quality chicken breasts, handful of onions and a can or two of chopped tomatoes so that when this blizzard like weather strikes or you have a curry craving but no money, you won't spend the rest of your days crying into a chapati, with nothing to fulfill your eastern needs and the slum dog millionnaire sound track on repeat as you rock yourself to sleep in a corner wearing a blanket and sucking your thumb.
This is, admittedly not a swanky restaurant review, nor is it an advert for Patak's curry pastes and sauces, but it is a good, honest food review for when you're on a budget or having a lazy day.
Pizza and chips aren't always the answer to everything when times are tough financially and you can't be bothered cooking too much.
I'd choose a curry any day, and if i was pushing the boat out, i'd probably go for a more authentic one, but if all else fails, there's always a Pataks.