Aside from the nicely designed presentation (obvs), what made a particularly good first impression with The Kari Club, a new Brighton-based Indian recipe box subscription service, was the cooking sheet taught me a number of things on page one even before I turned on the hob:
- "Curry" is Anglicised from the Tamil work "Kari" meaning sauce. Noted for the next pub quiz.
- I've never washed basmati rice but you need to do it quite excessively, and it really makes a difference. Doh!
- It's best to scrape the skin of the ginger with a spoon rather than peeling/chopping it off it as the sweetest part is just under the skin.
- Blending cashews is a really easy way to thicken a curry sauce and add silkiness.
Recipes are written (when he's not pinching from his mum) by Minesh, who is behind the well regarded Brighton restaurant, Indian Summer. On the menu in this box was Mamaji's Chicken, Sweet Potato & Carro Thoran, rice and chapati.
I really enjoyed making this - I felt I learnt a lot and was slightly more challenging than some other recipe boxes. Not that that's a negative, it's just some don't really feel like cooking, just assembling and are very pedestrian. This showed good use of spicing throughout stages and the bread element was a new thing learned - I won't be impressing any Indian mammas with the shape anytime soon but bye bye supermarket chapati.
It took around an hour too cook with reading through all the ingredients and watching the videos (optional but really helps). I did cook the elements simultaneously but I cook a lot and imagine you'd get a bit flustered if you didn't. But there's no reason not to take it at a more leisurely pace and enjoy the process.
Only negative was the oil quantities you could possibly get wrong - you could tip the "remaining oil" in the thoran but you'd need some for the chapati and rice later on.
The design is really nice; simple, clear and the tips in red throughout the recipe sheets handy. Ingredients were excellent in terms of quality. Meat from Handcross butchers, tomatoes that smelt good and spices far more vibrant than your dusty supermarket versions. The kit came with a full recipe so you are free to recreate it yourself, which I will be certainly doing.
And the best bit. Darn, darn it was delicious. Certainly restaurant grade delicious. Cook it for a crowd and they'll be talking about it for weeks delicious. It was such a rich, luscious and fragrant thing to eat; all the elements worked perfectly. The curry itself was silky and you got a real sense of all the spices. I adored the textural crunch from the thoran and the fact it lightened a heavy meal.
Prices are not too bad for what this is; you can buy a one off for £20 for 1, £25 for 2 and £40 for 4 people and would make an easy dinner party option to impress for the latter - it's restaurant grade food and for £10 a head that's remarkable. You can also go for a monthly subscription.
Portion-wise this two portion box would feed two handsomely or three sensibly, so is very generous. Expect some left overs or next day if you can resist.
Let's face it, it's not a sustainable way to shop everyday, financially or environmentally (even though the packaging was almost entirely recyclable) yet the format of recipe boxes tend to prove popular for a number of reasons. Less food waste in many respects, but number one is that they tend to take you out of your cooking comfort zone, yet guide you through it, and it's pretty exciting unpacking a kit for a meal. Well for me anyway.
Delivery is nationwide. For more information visit thekariclub.com
I was sent a sample box for review. Word and thoughts, as always, my own.