November Staff Testing
This month, Spicerers Jack, Chris, Dan, Rob and Jess got the chance to test out recipes at home to determine any last tweaks before we begin blending, designing and packing for the upcoming Subscription Boxes...
Read on to see how it went!
Jack's Keema Naan Pizza
Keema Naan Pizzas with Tandoori Wings and Garlic Raita
I jumped at the chance to test out this one, a cool twist on my favourite dish, pizza with a naan bread base.
It was straight forward to prepare, with impressive results. For sides we had tandoori chicken, kosambari, garlic raita... and banana pina coladas!
Being a massive fan of cheese, I added about twice as much mozzarella as was needed which worked out great obviously, and it was the best pizza ever! That comes from somebody who pretty much lives on it!
I do love a good Pizza party!
Chris' Railway Curry
So this time round I opted to try out the FNCD Railway Curry, ‘a rich lamb curry from the British colonial era in India’ (as stated in the recipe’s blurb), and it did not disappoint!
It wasn’t just the end result that was great, but the whole process of preparing the meal was really enjoyable too. I find that there’s something really satisfying about watching a curry develop as it simmers away on the hob, whilst you simultaneously prepare the various dishes – salads, sauces, pickles – that accompany the main dish. Also it was a good chance to try out my new blender (finally, I’ve got one that works)!
I found the proposed prep time of 40 minutes to be pretty much bang on and the instructions were easy to follow, so no problems at all on that front. Again, preparing the curry itself was just really fun, from making the paste to putting it on to simmer. And when the paste that forms the flavour base of the curry smells good straight out the blender (i.e. raw), you know that the end result’s going to be something special! Preparing the sides, namely the carrot pickle, salad, and Achari Gobi, was an absolute breeze.
Also included in the meal are paratha, a kind of the flatbread that in this recipe are stuffed with onion. Anything involving baking usually freaks me out/ makes my heart sink (I just assume something’s going to go wrong!), but making these paratha was super easy! Now, onto how it all tasted… With a total cook time of 1hr45m, I couldn’t wait to try the lamb curry.
Sure enough, it was delicious, rich, sweet and really satisfying, with the lamb cooked to perfection. The acidity of the salad and carrot pickle nicely cut through the richness of the curry, and the achari gobi (cauliflower) and paratha both provided some nice crunch that offset the – for want of a better word – ‘wetness’ of everything else.
The Railway curry gets the thumbs up from my housemates and myself, top marks all round! The recipe states that rice is optional, we didn’t cook any and we all found that it was a substantial meal without it; it didn’t need it. My only criticism is one aimed at myself: the first paratha was a little on the thick side, so I’d say don’t be afraid to roll them super thin before they hit the pan; the thinner the crispier/ better!
Dan's Punjabi Thali
This month I chose to try out the Punjabi Thali. I swapped my usual Saturday night takeaway for this kit and thankfully it didn’t disappoint.
The thought of cooking lots of individual dishes was at first a little daunting, but with the help of my girlfriend we managed to take a few dishes on each and didn't burn the kitchen down or smash anything in the process!
The pooris was my favourite dish to make in this recipe. I was curious to see how it would turn out as I’d never actually heard of them before but I must say they were probably one of the highlights of the whole Thali (the recipe notes to cook them for one minute however I cooked them much longer so they were extra golden) The chutney, paneer, dahl and subji were all nice and easy to cook too. We used carrots in the subji and although it didnt look massivly appetising it was actually really nice and went well with all the other sides.
All in all the Thali was perfect. The chutney and pooris were the highlights for me and my girlfriend really enjoyed the dahl. Another successful curry night!
Rob's Date Night in Bengal
Fried Aubergine with Poppadoms, Raita and Green Chilli Chutney
A real cosy comforter. As if poppadoms weren't enough to ready your taste buds for what curry is to come next, the fried aubergine offered a perfect melt-in-the-mouth, big flavoured accompaniment. Alongside the tangy green chilli chutney and a healthy dollop of cooling raita and the crunch of the poppadoms - it was the perfect combo.
Murgir Jhol, Green Chilli Chutney
As much as I love a curry with lots of sauce (to use as an excuse to be mopping up with naan bread), this dry curry made me realise just how much there is to explore and enjoy in the curry world. Fair in its heat intensity but perfectly balanced in flavour, the murgir jhol offered a delicious, savoury curry. Perhaps not for the everyday Korma lover, but a definite must try to everyone else. But then again, don't knock it till you try it, Korma-lovers!
I enjoyed the added depth the rice seasoning gave to my usually plain rice. Not to mention the left over green chilli chutney and raita - which made me grow accustomed to a dry curry even faster. Will be making again, would recommend to a friend.
Mango Saffron Kulfi
Beautifully fragrant, super sweet and creamy. It tasted authentic. Those with sweet toothes, this is one for you, as somehow it felt even more indulgent than ice cream. And to know it had saffon included, a spice more expensive than gold (!!!), it felt really special having it included in our dessert. Definitely give this enough time to freeze, though. We were impatient and had a slightly frozen/notfrozen dessert. Delish nonetheless.
Everything was all very simple, but it just takes a little while to prepare. Yes, we’ve all heard it, ‘good things come to those who wait’, and that’s right, everything was all delicious enough to be worth it in the end. I’d say turn the prep and cooking side of things as part of the fun in date night (that’s what I did, anyway, and it went down well). Put some music on, pour a glass of wine and so long as you’re not Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, enjoy each other’s company. Luckily we didn’t have too much washing up to tackle at the end of the three courses, but the dishwasher had its fair share.
Jess' Thai Fishcakes / Khao Mok Gai
This must be my favourite Spicery home testing I've done in ages.
The recipe is simple but seemingly technical (everyone feigned surprise anyway!) and really delicious.
The starter is fragrantly seasoned fish cakes with a sticky sweet chilli sauce and sour salad followed by a coconutty and creamy chicken Biryani. Had a slight hiccup as I didn't have a lidded pan wide enough to cook the Biryani evenly but this was nothing a make-shift foil lid didn't fix.
The hidden gem was the mint Nam Prik, served with the Biryani, it was perfectly tart and flavoursome, making it delicious with the subtle rice dish (especially because, as a vegetarian, I was avoiding the chicken!). Polished off with a crisp bottle of wine, it was a all round winner!