The restaurant food enjoyed in British Indian restaurants for generations is very different to traditional Indian food, largely because the majority of "Indian" restaurants are owned and run by Bengalis, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. In addition, the original recipes have changed to reflect local tastes and available ingredients. This has resulted in what is today identified as the "BIR" or British Restaurant Curry. This recipe has been contributed by a customer who asked to remain anonymous (Thanks again "M"!) who has spent 20 years trying various combinations and recipes - his own personal "Holy Grail" and we reproduce it here exactly as he wishes. The Basic Curry Sauce (Tip: have a read of ALL of these pages first - pick a curry and ensure you've got all the things you need before starting). 4 large RED onions, coarsely chopped - yes red onions! 2oz unpeeled fresh ginger, chopped 3oz peeled fresh garlic, coarsely chopped 6tbs vegetable oil 1tsp heaped salt ½ tsp sugar 240g tin of chopped tomatoes 1tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder (important!!!!) 1tsp Paprika 1tbs tomato puree 1tsp tomato ketchup 1. Fry onion in 1tbs of oil for 10 mins on a low heat until soft (not browned) 2. Put in the garlic, ginger and salt then add enough water to just cover the top of all ingredients. 3. Bring everything to boil then turn down to a simmer for 30 mins (no lid) 4. While this is simmering, place remaining 5tbs of oil, tomatoes, puree, ketchup and spices into another saucepan - boil then simmer for 10 mins on low heat. Separately blend both of the above VERY FINELY and combine, then simmer for another 15 minutes to ensure cooked and well mixed. The blending is vital to the flavour/correct texture. Add water if it ever gets too dry during this phase. The end result should should be about 1600ml of gravy - if it's not, add water to this volume now. The Secret Onion Paste (biggest secret!) 2 lge white onions, chopped finely 4 cloves garlic 3tbs vegetable oil Pinch of cumin Pinch of cinnamon Place raw onion and garlic into blender. Add enough water to come about halfway up the side of the blender and blend until WELL smoothed. Heat the oil in a pan on a high heat, adding the mixture (it will spit!!!) Reduce this down until it gets dryer then add the spices and continue frying until it turns into what looks a bit like bread dough. This may take some time but is worth it for the final taste! Be careful not to burn this as it will be ruined. Taste the finished product - tastes almost "soapy" - remind you of anything familiar? Special Spice Mix (not that special) Equal amounts of cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and dried fenugreek. If unsure which brand to buy, try NATCO - especially their garam masala which is superb. I mix up a few tablespoons of each at a time and keep in a Tupperware tub, etc! The above are a MUST for all recipes and corners cannot be cut in any way. The above recipes could be doubled up for ease and stored in the freezer in pre-measured amounts. How to make a basic 'Medium Curry' 800ml of basic curry sauce (should be around half the basic sauce recipe!? - this is enough for 4 people's main meal) 5tbs Vegetable Oil 1 level tsp of salt 1tsp of ground coriander ) 1tsp of ground cumin ) (This is the special spice mix but listed individually!!!) 1tsp of garam masala ) 1tsp dried fenugreek leaves ) ¼ tsp of chilli powder fresh coriander leaves Add oil and heat. Add basic sauce (along with fresh chicken/other meats if using them) and simmer on high heat for 2-3 mins. Add all of the spices and salt and continue for 5 mins or sauce separates from the oil. Add the prawns (if your cooking a prawn curry!) and simmer for a further 7 minutes - add any water if you feel it's getting too dry. Although the curry is now cooked, further frying is now required and this must be done in individual portions. At this stage (if you've doubled up the quantities) you can measure out lots of bags of 200ml/400ml at a time and freeze them for a quick curry whenever you need. You can now take out a bag from your freezer along with a couple of frozen chicken breasts in the morning and be eating within 20 mins when you get home. 400ml of this basic curry sauce will be enough for 2 main dishes, therefore one entire recipe should be enough for 8 main dishes and so on. 1. Add some oil to your 'individual curry' pan. 2. ***NOW REFER TO THE STYLE REQUIRED AND OBEY INSTRUCTIONS*** 3. Then add the required amount of sauce and meat/cooked vegetables for one portion (only 200ml of sauce as it's got to be an individual portion for authenticity) 4. Heat everything up and then add 1 tbs of the onion paste in the final minute 5. Taste, if necessary add more of the 'special spice mix' - more fresh coriander for garnish Voila ! your individual curry!!! From this method, you can have people round for a curry and given them all differing ones according to their personal tastes. THE CURRY STYLES For all of the types below, I recommend having the ingredients to hand as you'll have to work quickly - no time to start raking around your cupboards for stuff once you've started!!!! Dupiaza Whilst you are preparing the basic curry recipe, prepare the following 1tbs of vegetable oil 1tsp of Cumin seeds 2 large onions, sliced into rings 4 green or red chillies, halved lengthways Heat the oil and add cumin seeds. 5 seconds later add onions and chillies and reduce heat. Fry until onions are soft and slightly charred. Add to basic sauce, check seasoning, serve Bhuna Same as dupiaza but replace 1 of the onions with a chopped green pepper! (easy innit?) Jalfrezi 1 tbs of vegetable oil 1 tsp of cumin seeds 1 large green pepper, chopped into chunks 4 green or red chillies Korma 5 mins from end, add 1 tbs of ground almonds and 3 tbs of single cream. (It's that easy!) Pasanda Cook the basic korma and add 1" of a standard coconut block, ½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp turmeric 5 minutes before the end. Madras Replace ¼ tsp chilli with 1 tsp of chilli. Add some lemon juice if you want. (how easy was that!?) Masala Add 4 tbs of Heinz tomato soup (& red food colouring) 5 minutes before end. Serve with single cream on top. (I guess the tomato soup fully justifies the £7.50 price in a restaurant!) Vindaloo Replace ¼ tsp chilli with 2 tsp chilli and add 1 tsp of malt vinegar 5 minutes before end. Pilau Rice Fill and switch on your kettle Whilst this is happening heat up a little oil in a pan that comes with a tight fitting lid Allow 3oz of BASMATI rice per person (weigh it!!! And it must be basmati - nothing else works! You can also be boring and soak the rice in water first but I never bother) Salt to taste 2 green cardamom pods (split open slightly) per rice serving 1 whole clove per serving When the oil is warm, add the raw rice and spices together Mix well, ensuring the rice gets coated in the oil - don't worry if it starts to turn white Turn down the heat to minimum Quickly pour the boiled water into a measuring jug (allow double the fl oz of water to the rice weight) ie for 4 portions: 12 oz of rice and 24 fl oz of boiled water. Stir everything around to stop any sticking and place the lid on securely Cook for 12 minutes on the lowest heat setting After 12 minutes take from heat and leave for another 12 minutes (do not remove the lid - the steam will continue to cook the rice!!!) Later take the lid off and you can add a drop or two of food colouring for that restaurant effect ( I use a drop of red at one end of the pot and a drop of green at the other - leave for a while and then mix through the white rice for a realistic effect) I would normally make the rice first and, while it is resting, knock up the curry sauce. The rice stays hot like this for a couple of hours if you don't keep removing the lid and let the steam escape!) This recipe will give impressive results if you measure/time things accurately. A piece of cake…. (For plain boiled rice, omit the spices and food colouring). Hope these recipes are of help - never forget this produces excellent results, but is like watching a film on TV (ie not as good as the cinema) so never forget how enjoyable good company and good food is in an Indian restaurant.