The History Lesson
Once upon a time Neil invited Hector up to Dundee for a visit. Curry was partaken at an Outrageously Wonderful Restaurant – The Gunga Din – on Perth Rd. Asians were conspicuous by their absence in all levels of the Operation. The Menu contained Dishes never hear of in Glasgow in the mid 1970s, or since. Murgh Masala Bad Shuli, My Memory, My Spelling. Yes, Hector ate a Chicken Curry, I have never forgotten it, for all the right reasons.
The Geography Lesson
Malabar, as on the coastline of Kerala in South-West India, adjacent to Tamil Nadu.
The Ingredient Lesson
Dundee Curry 2014
Marg and Hector had matters in The East this afternoon, a Dundee Curry was in the offing. Last August the Malabar (304 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD2 1AU) was closed for vacation when we dropped by. There remains, allegedly, a connection with the Legendary Gunga Din. Sadly each table this evening had a message about the recent demise of The Chef – Stewart Simpson – mid February. Two Chefs appeared from the Kitchen during our visit, once again not an Asian in sight. Intriguing.
Not the largest of Venues, we took a table on the raised Dias to the rear, but only after Marg had attempted to access this via the passage to the Rest-rooms. Two other Couples would join us at adjacent tables, away from a possible Draught at the opening door? Well, it’s still winter. The Waitress brought The Menus.
Something Wicked This Way Comes?
That was the hope. There was a Chicken Karahi but no Lamb. Marg spotted the Malabar Beef. – A sautéed dry dish, cooked with our blend of aromatic spices, hot and deliciously flavoursome. Marg knew that this fitted the Description of the Perfect Hector Curry. Marg fell on the sword.
Karelan – Beef curried with a dark roasted spice mixture, coconut milk, shredded ginger and fresh coriander. Well that was the Listed Ingredients, no mention of the Bitter Vegetable. Time to take advice.
The Waitress was asked to explain the use of the term – Karelan.
It’s from the region – she replied.
Actually, it isn’t – was Mine. Karela is the Vegetable, Kerala is the Region.
We should have quit while we were ahead. Marg did order the Karelan.
The Menu had no Chapattis and no Paratha. It was confirmed that these were not on offer. Enquiring as to how large the Naan were, Two Garlic Naan were ordered.
We’re not finished. An Interesting Vegetable was required, a Side Dish.
Aloo Masala – Potatoes curried with fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and crushed chillies. The Joy of Methi.
We settled down for the wait.
In what was an alarmingly short time, the Food arrived.
If someone designed a Curry to be as remote from the Hector Ideal, it would be The Karelan. A Dark Green (Blended Coriander?) Soup. Yes, The Soupiest Curry I have seen since the Horrible Bamberg Curry Experience. No Onions had been harmed in the making of the Masala, sorry Soup. Was I glad this was not for me.
The Malabar Beef was indeed Dry. The Thick Vegetable Masala looked the part. There was hope. Collecting at the Base was an ever-increasing quantity of Oil. Now this is not necessarily a negative feature, as the Curryspondents know, the Oil can pack a Taste-Punch.
Time to Dip the Garlic Naan. Marg had already noted her level of disappointment – Too Doughy. I had to agree. There was a consensus that the Naan were reheated, and possibly not even uncooked on arrival at Malabar.
The Malabar Beef had a bit of Character at the Surface. The Oil at the base was, well Oil. No chance of the Bradford Blast. The Beef was Soft, but Chewy in parts. More Seasoning required also. The Levels of Disappointment were on the rise. Deliciously flavoursome – is not the description Hector would apply.
Hector went Dipping. The Karelan was indeed Very Poor. Coconut Milk served Green, ugh. This Dish had nothing to endear itself. Marg ate it on sufferance.
We are spoiled elsewhere – she proclaimed. Marg knows Quality Curry.
The Saving Grace
The Aloo Masala was actually Very Good. A Thick Masala which suggested an Oil-Onion Base. There was a Cumin Blast, from somewhere, – Flavour at last. This became the Focus.
With Chapattis Hector could have cleared the table. The Naan were too filling, Doggy Bag required.
£33.95. £5.90 for Bread. What would the Good People of Bradford think?
There was a long drive back to Glasgow. The Legendary Dundee Curry remains a memory.
Sad to end on this note, hopefully Curry-Heute will return soon in a more upbeat mode.
72 Hours Later
The Leftovers were combined in a pot and a smidgen of Salt added.
The Result? An much improved Curry! And no Oil Slick. This hit The Proverbial. Now why was it not this good on Sunday?