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autumn 2016

Spicy Secrets from Local Chefs


Curry has become one of Britain's favourite foods, with households, restaurants and takeaway outlets serving a variety of dishes from fiery to mild. But what is the secret of a really good curry? I asked two restaurants in Barrow to share their curry-making tips and their favourite recipe. Shahab Uddin of Bengal restaurant says the real secret is to make your own spices as opposed to buying them off the shelf – but spice making is a long process, so he advises buying fresh spices from a market. The balance of spices is important too.

His family originates from Bangladesh where spices are made freshly before cooking and, despite having chefs in his family, he says his mum gets the balance just perfect.

Bengal’s chef, Mohammed Abdur Razzak, says you need to experiment. “Everyone is different, with some people liking curries spicier than others,” he says. “Spices differ between suppliers too, so if you change supplier you may have to adjust quantities.”

Mohammed Kashime of Masala Spice says onions should be fried over a medium heat and don’t make the oil too hot when adding the garlic and ginger. “Good spices make good curries, so go to a specialist spice store and buy quality spices,” he advises. When adding spices, watch them and stir often to ensure they do not burn.

Curry can be eaten for several days after cooking. Cool completely before refrigerating. Mohammed, whose family comes from Bangladesh, has been in the restaurant business for 40 years. However, what is served in the family's restaurants differs dramatically from what the family back home in Bangladesh eats. “It's like night and day,” he says. “In the UK, we have adapted the recipes to appeal to Western palates.”

Lindsay Ord