In what seems like a previous life, when I was just getting to grips with cooking for myself, not long out of university, I picked up a copy of Kris Dhillon’s The Curry Secret. The premise of this book is as follows (I paraphrase). British people like going to Indian restaurants. British home cooks like the idea of cooking Indian food at home, but a recipe book describing Indian dishes will almost certainly be describing what an Indian housewife would cook, which is not at all like what a British Indian restaurant serves. Dhillon’s book tells you how to cook British Indian Restaurant Food at home.

The key recipe in the book is Curry Sauce. Once you have a batch of this made, you can whip up an curry you like. Chicken curry? Chicken + Curry Sauce. Lamb vindaloo? Lamb + Curry Sauce + chili + potatoes. Prawn korma? Prawns + Curry sauce + almonds + cream. And so on. The curry sauce recipe is a bit daunting and it doesn’t look at all appetising until the very final stage. Decades after I bought the book, I’ve gone through the whole process and documented it for you. Quantities are deliberately vague to encourage you to buy the book.

Step 1. Cut up a shit-ton of onions.


Step 2: Cut up a load of ginger and garlic.


Step 3: Blend the ginger and garlic together with some water.


Step 4: Simmer the ginger, garlic and onion with more water and some salt for a long-ass time.



Step 5: After it has cooled, blend the simmered onion mixture. Reserve some of the sauce at this stage to cook the chicken in later.


Step 6: Blend up a can of tomatoes.



Step 7: Briefly fry tomato puree, turmeric and paprika then add the blended tomatoes and simmer.


Step 8: Add the onion mixture. Keep simmering and skim off the froth which rises to the surface every so often. Ugh.




Step 9: Your curry sauce is now ready. You may now prepare the chicken. Cut that sucker up into bite-sized pieces.


Step 10: Fry the reserved curry sauce with some turmeric until it darkens in colour.


Step 11: Add the chicken and cook throughly.


Step 12: Both curry sauce and chicken can be put in the fridge at this stage. After several hours, we are now 20 minutes away from curry o’clock.


Step 13: I made Chicken Dopiaza. Slice onions and fry ’em up.

Step 14: Add curry sauce, salt, chilli powder and chicken.


Step 15: Cook until sauce thickens. Stir in more spices.


Step 16: Serve with basmati rice and sprinkled with coriander.


The result was very authentic and absolutely delicious. Worth the time and effort? Ah, well that’s another matter.