Garam Masala Beans
Tin of Baked Beans, dessert spoon of Garam Masala. Thats it...
Don't judge me...
The late and much-missed Lester Haines wrote a series called Post-Pub Nosh Neckfiller, high calorie food you can cook when drunk, or hungover. These veered into sophisticated recipes hard to rustle up when sober, let alone drunk - like home made polenta Eggs Benny with home made hollandaise sauce. As a tribute, and for one …
@dave 93: a bit longer but feeds two hungry people
1 tbsp Vegetable masala powder (comes in a cardboard box - should have a haz-chem code - consists mostly of chilli, salt, ground cumin and ground corriander) and handful of fresh corriander from local shop washed (to get the lead off, we are on a main road) and chopped
Large onion peeled chopped
Can spinach drained, can chickpeas drained, can chopped tomatoes
Fry onion until scorched, add masala powder, add chick peas, spinach, fork it round a bit to break up the leaves, add tomatoes, bubble until reduces a bit
Serve with chopped corriander and kulchar naans from local naan shed or bought rotis. I usually have yoghurt with mint and some chutney on hand.
Back in the "good old days" you didn't even need this effort and simply opened a can of Heinz Curried Beans .... quick googling inidicates that they stopped producing this but recently introduce "Beans - Curry flavour" but reports indicate that "this is nothing like as good as the old version".
As it happens, yesterday I was thinking about the way that ceratin groups of people like to sneer at the standard BRI curry as "no-one in India eats this and they invented it for the English" .... sadly this decision to match the spicy flavours of Indian cuisine with the English liking of gravy based food happened in the past as doubtless if it was "invented" today it would be cutting edge fusion cuisine and all the Shoreditch hipsters would be rushing to the trendy tikka massala vendors.
"If you wash the basmati four or five times in cold water (I use one of these) making sure pretty much each grain gets a rub between your fingers, then leave it to stand for half an hour before draining, it will then cook in 2-3 minutes when you need it in a hurry."
My dear sir, if I have to fondle each and every grain of rice I wish to cook, I'm pretty sure it'll take a hell of a lot longer than the 15 minutes of simmering the whole lot will normally require.
When cooked, strain and then rince with hot water to have non-sticky rice. Yes, it's as easy as that. I usually use an earthen pitcher in the microwave. When the water is boiling, the rice goes in and gets a twirl so as not to stick on the bottom. The flame goes to minimum and the microwave is set to nuke for 6 minutes. When it dings, I give the rice another twirl and set the microwave to minimum for another 6 minutes. At the next ding the rice gets another twirl in the water and I check its cooked state. Generally, for Basmati you'll need another minute or three. Then strain and rince with the microwaved water and voilà : perfectly cooked non-stick rice.
You can't fail, even if you're reasonably sloshed.
Surely that rice thing is too much effort? And takes just as long as doing it on the hob with more to do.
1. Measure 1 cup of basmati rice per person (half a tea mug) and put in decent sized sieve. Wash under cold tap for a minute to get rid of some starch. You can skip this step if you don't care about the rice sticking together (which I mostly don't - especially when drunk). Different batches of rice are differently starchy. My current bag is really sticky and needs it - the last one didn't really.
2. Bung this rice in non stick saucepan with tight-fitting lid. It doesn't need to be non-stick, it's just zero effort to wash up afterwards.
3. Add a bit of salt to taste.
4. Add 2 cups (1 full tea mug) of cold water per person (i.e. double the volume of the rice you added).
5. Time saver - boil most of the water in the kettle first.
6. Bring to the boil on a decently high heat. Once it's starting to boil, bung on the lid, turn down the heat to a low simmer and set a timer for 15 minutes. It's pretty much unfailingly perfect at 15 - but batches of rice do vary by a minute - some need a tiny bit longer. All the water will have gone into the rice and you'll have dry, fluffy perfection ready to dish up.
If you've pre-boiled the water this is basically 1 minute of measuring and filling your saucepan, two minutes of waiting for it to boil and then 5 seconds to set the oven-timer for 15 minutes and turn down the gas to its lowest simmer.
You can do rice in less than half the time if you keep it topped up with boiling water and run it on really high heat - but you have to do a lot of stirring and watch it like a hawk so you don't burn it to the bottom of the pan.
Make a ton of curry and rice in advance, while sober and therefore you can be as fussy as you like, then portion it up into take-away tubs, and freeze the whole lot.
That way you can have a post-pub curry all year round without any effort whatsoever, other than operating the machine that goes "ping".
And why stop at curry. Heck, why stop at post-pub nosh? Do your entire year's menu in one sitting, sell all your kitchen appliances (except the freezer, microwave and kettle) on eBay, then use the money to buy a year's supply of beer and a second-hand bar fridge, and convert your kitchen into your very own pub, beer and curry included.
Move the telly and sofa into the
kitchen "bar", turn on Sky Sports, and invite all your mates round.
Also, way cheaper than the actual pub, way closer, no taxi required, and you can smoke indoors without being arrested.
But garlic paste, and ginger paste, are available fresh in toothpaste-style tubes in the vegetable section of most supermarkets as is chilli. Fresh pureed stuff - I assume this is suitable? Or do you need lazy ginger?
To get really nice rice it is pretty essential to wash and drain a few times as described (use a sieve not a colander, btw...) but I've often missed the 'leave in cold water for 30 minutes...
For quantities I'm forced to use that American measure 'a cup', however, for us Brits I'll qualify that and say 'an ordinary tea cup', like the posh ones your mum had. Anyway, 'a cup' of rice per person is usually sufficient and put in the saucepan. Now add the equivalent in cups of water, so 2 cups of rice plus 2 cups of water in the saucepan. Bring to the boil with a little salt then - this is important - put a lid on and turn the heat down to lowest to simmer for 15 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID OR STIR while cooking. After 15 mins it should be ready, check by tasting.
After many years of intermittent cooking of rice I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that microwaveable bags of rice make a lot of sense. No pans, no clouds of steam, no starchy water down the sink, no anxiety over timing.
Rice is there to soak up liquids while giving you a portion of carbs. And if you're mixing it with a strong tasting sauce such as a curry then any subtlety of flavour is forsworn.
And if you're only cooking because your body is crying out for something because of the ravages upon it from alcohol, then 'is it edible?' is your yardstick.
Re: those microwavable bags of rice
Is it edible? being your question , I would rather eat a stir fried cushion than another one of those bags of 'rice' heck even the MREs so beloved of the military taste better than that crap.
Anyway... if you're spending 15 mins doing a quick curry, you may as well chuck some rice on to cook properly.... then turn it into egg fried rice when the curry is done....
...no starchy water down the sink...
If you have water leftover when the rice is cooked, you're cooking it wrong.
Pan, meet rice. Rinse well. Add water to cover the rice by about half a centimetre. Pinch of salt. Insert lid. High heat to get the water almost boiling, and then lower to low heat for 10 minutes until the water has been absorbed. Eat.
Also, non-stick rice is for pussies. ;)
Here's seems to be the best way. I've been using it for some time now. And "brown" rice is worse for arsenic than the "white".
I'm sure everyone has their own method. After several attempts using the instructions on the packet with disappointing results, I developed my own. Soak the rice for a few minutes, drain and rinse. Add to boiling water. Once it returns to the boil, cook for 8 minutes. Drain, but not too much. Put it back in the pan, cover and leave for another 8 minutes.
No need to measure, wash or wait with this method:
1. Fill large pot with water and bring to a roiling boil
2. Add some Basmati rice and stir once
3. Simmer for exactly 10 minutes (cook your stir fry/curry on the other hob)
4. Drain by using a lid slightly ajar, pot tipped to the side over a sink
5. Leave covered for 2 minutes
6. Fluff with a fork
Perfect Basmati rice. Done.
Almost correct - but a few changes to make it perfect!
1. Boil a kettle
2. Put one cup (it's not that difficult to get plastic cup measures!!) of Basmati rice in a saucepan with TWO cups of boiling water from kettle (1 cup rice is enough for two - always two:one ratio of water to rice)
3. Stir briefly once; cover with pan lid and bring back to boil - it will take a minute or two as water is already boiled.
4. Simmer for 11 minutes - 10 is a minute too short. Make sure steam can escape or you will have a hell of a mess to clear up as rice bubbles over!
5. Remove heat; fluff and leave for a few minutes
Perfect every time.
My cousin gave me this method for cooking rice, which she got from her Amah when she lived in Macau. It is referred to by my family as "Hoose Rice" after the Kevin Bridges sketch.
Half a cup of rice per person, plus an extra half cup for the pot.
Rinse until water is clear
Just cover with water, at the very most the nail of your pinky above the top of the rice
Place on largest ring of your hob and bring to the boil
Move to smallest ring of hob on lowest setting, cover and leave for 12 minutes
If you get this right the water will all be gone and the rice will be perfect, it's usually dry enough that you can fry it straight away if you are making egg fried rice.
Anyway, glad to see a tribute to Lester and his much missed articles, and in honour of that WHERE'S THE BACON?
Pfft.. posh rice! My lazy way is..
Put the kettle on. Minimum enough water for 3 mugs (by volume, not diners)
Pour 1 mug rice per person into a sieve
Shove under the tap to rinse while kettle is boiling
Shake well (as in enough to drain the rice, not wear it)
Chuck into a microwaveable bowl
Add 2 mug water to 1 mug rice (the extra mug(s) of water are for tea/coffee)
Cover with cling & nuke for 10-12mins (YMMV). With practice, should end up with no need to drain any water off. If there's crunchy bits on the bottom, ya cooked it too long.
Then the fancy bits. So instant sag aloo can be 1 tin spinach, 1 tin spuds. Drain spinach by simply using the tin lid as a plunger. Also works on spuds to turn them into mash. Unless you have one of those posh tin openers that cuts around the side instead of the top. Add a lump of butter, some seasonings and nuke that for 2-3mins. My local shops also sell tins & jars of paneer so can use that instead of spuds.
And lazy curry base.. Chop up some onion(s). Chuck into bowl. Add butter and seasoning. Nuke for 5-7mins or till onions are nice & soft*. Mix up some onion gravy powder into a curry-like consistency, combine with onions, add meat (cooked, or nuke long enough to avoid food poisoning) and serve with some chopped corriander on top to help disguise it's origins.
Much less risk of hot oil incidents and fires, unless you leave a metal spoon in the microwave...
* Can cheat by chopping a batch of onions up while bored/sober, then freezing them. Saves tears on cooking and freezing breaks cell walls, so cook softer, faster.
Jesus, I know this is a cheaters quick nosh guide but this is beyond even my cooking patience and skill. I'd rather reach for the app and order something even if I have to wait! Kudos to anyone who can follow these steps drunk and even more so to the organised who have time or the inclination to pre-prepare stuff.
Happy New Year commentards!
Alternatively make it after the puib crawl for consumption the next day .... many yearws ago we had a day out between Christmas and New Year and called in for lunch at a small country pub (think it was recommended for food in Good Pub guide) and they had turkey curry on the menu which we had. The pub owner warned us that "I made it last night after a Christmass drinks session with all the regulars so if it doesn't taste riught let me know as I'm not sure if I was in a state to follow the recipe properly". In the event it was excellent curry!
Your freezer is your friend. I don't cook when drunk, the results are too variable and I can't get the balance of spices right. The first glass of wine doesn't go into the chef until I've got everything chopped, flavoured and all that's left is juggling saucepans and serving up.
But if you're going to cook anything, then it takes pretty much no extra effort to add a few portions and leave them in the saucepan til cold. Then into plastic containers and into the freezer. These can then be taken out in advance of your pub visit - ready to hit the microwave on your return. Or even be microwave defrosted upon return and then heated up.
Personally though my post pub nosh of choice is fish finger or bacon sandwiches. My Mum gave me her old deep fat fryer - so if I'm feeling adventurous I can also have chips. I've used it so often I can do it safely - though they'll have to be frozen ones, I'm not peeling and chopping spuds at post-pub o'clock.
Alternatively, at this Christmas time, I should mention the holy of holy post-drinking snack. Slice various cheeses. Place on top of cheese biscuits. Add slices of extra apple that you used to flavour the mulled wine and have kept in the fridge, maybe chutney or grapes if handy. Pour very large glass of port. Enjoy!
shurely there's a demand for this thread to be resurrected ?
I remember it well, if not the actual nights themselves LOL
proud to say have tried a few, and survived them all, although waking up in a bed that stinks of god knows what the morning after was always a surprise :o)
this year, I am in work, support is always available :oP
but thinking of you all in your party frocks :o)
Happy New Year commentards!
A friend of mine awoke and descented into his kitchen to discover a pan on the floor and an empty steamed putting can on the work surface and a ring on. The steamed putting can looked like it had been attacked by a very hungry and lock in pissed himself so he thought no more of it until he was eating his fry up and some jam appeared in the middle of it and he looked up to see a steamed pudding practically embedded in the polystyrene tiles.
I am drunk, but on Highland malt rather than Islay malt so I may as well be sober. All the Islay malt disappeared from shops here well before Hogmanay. I suppose at least I didn't have to resort to Speyside.
[Islay malt should be made illegal overnight. Addicts like me should be given it free on prescription. None of it should be exported]
I've been coughing my lungs up since the eighties without any ill-effects. In the past two weeks I've been feeling a sore twinge in the middle of my head every time I cough. Modern cigarettes are awful, they now contain flame retardants so they go out if you drop them on your bed or carpet. Great for your neighbour, crap for you.
My father attacked me yesterday because he couldn't work his TV that I bought him. I really don't want to reach his age, I merely want to outlive him. I said that to a specialist my GP sent me to to discuss my drinking, and the specialist agreed about life-span, "Quality not quantity".
Cigarettes are ruined, but have a curry, have a whisky. Avoid anything steamed.
and prepare it all beforehand so that come 01:00 tomorrow and you return from the Pub/Club/Embankment all you need to do is whack the curry and rice in the microwave and nuke it for 2-3 minutes?
Then you can settle down with a nice curry with that last pint of Sussex Bitter and welcome in the new year.
You really don't want to fry spice powder together with whole spices, powder will simply burn long before the whole spices fry to perfection (ie pop or smell great, depending on what whole spice you're using - mustard seeds pop, dried chillies can pop so beware of hot oil violently spraying all over the place/face). Burned spice powder just tastes of ash. A safer solution is to add spice powders with some sliced onions to fry together (moisture from the onions prevent spice powders burning) or as Indian chefs do in India: mix spice powder with hot water into a paste, to add shortly before frying, for when the whole spices have fried to a nice deep smelling shade of brown, or have exploded. Add tomato puree, fry that too (you get a lot more flavour out of what is essentially tomato flour paste), reduce to a nice thick aromatic goo and add gravy etc...
p.s. Happy New Year - I'm off back to my single malt and Guinness
"This condition is called polymer fume fever, or Teflon flu, and presents with temporary, intense, but not serious symptoms such as fever, shivering, sore throat and coughing (Harris, 1951 & Shumizu, 2012). These cases of Teflon flu are due to acute (short-term) exposures to PTFE fumes; no studies have been done looking at the long-term effects of brief, repeated PTFE-fume exposure, as would be the case in cooking using non-stick pans for a lifetime. Birds were found to be particularly susceptible to the PTFE fumes, based on some reports that pet birds were dying after their owners left a coated pan heating on the stove. Indeed, parakeets and Japanese quails died after exposure for 4 hours to PTFE fumes generated at 330 ºC (626 ºF) (Waritz, 1975 & Griffith, 1973). In summary, inhalation toxicity becomes a concern when PTFE is heated to high temperatures which releases toxic particles and gases that could result in polymer fume fever."
Great stuff, and a lovely tribute to Lester's much-missed (hint) series.
I've used the base gravy method for ages and first came across it in a little book called "The Curry Secret". It has a nice selection of restaurant-style recipes.
Now, for the big missing link. How the hell do you get the kind of heat intensity into, for example, a wok like they do in Indian and Chinese outlets? The "wok burners" on hobs are almost useless and I'm assuming a pressurised gas supply is needed. Anyone done serious research into this?
EDIT. PS - Bisto curry sauce for putting on your chips. Surprisingly tasty.
"How the hell do you get the kind of heat intensity into, for example, a wok like they do in Indian and Chinese outlets?"
I use gas and cast iron pans. The pans are heavy, and hold a lot of heat. So you stick them on a burner and don't add too much at a time.
They are often hated by everyone else, and often get dumped. They are not cheap new, and often require you to season and treat them, which is quite a bit of hassle compared to using teflon coated stuff and wooden implements for home cooking.
Keep an eye out in second hand shops and yard sales. If you're very keen then going to auctions for restaurant equipment can also work, but unless you're in the market for other kitchen stuff it seems overkill for a pan :)
I've picked up a couple that had wrecked handles, and they work just as well, apart from being more tricky to handle when hot.
I use an authentic beaten steel wok and large gas burner turned up to max. Said wok is handled as with cast iron pan. Wipe it out with a lightly oiled cloth or paper towel. Here, I'm the only person allowed to clean any of the cast iron pans and nonstick pans, as well as my wok. Touching them is a termination offense.
"How the hell do you get the kind of heat intensity".
I've tried cookers with a 'wok heater' in the middle but even they dont seem to provide the heat necessary. You can get special wok cookers but under no circumstance use these in a normal home kitchen, even if sober.
This means you need an outdoor cooking area which limits the season you can wok cook properly but with a bit of thought you can make a pizza-oven/tandoor/wok cooker using the same rocket stove burner and baffles to send the fire to the different 'ovens'. I say you can - mine got damp and exploded!
You can get plenty of heat in a steel wok on an ordinary gas cooker. Even without a special wok ring. You just need to have the heat on full all the time, and add very small amounts of stuff to cook - so you never lower the temperature too much. It's no use for cooking for several people at once though. Then again, if you're organised and have prepped stuff well, cooking time is so short that it becomes worthwhile to cook for 2 people at once, serve them and then cook for the next two.
Sadly I have a ceramic hob. It's mostly great, and almost as controllable as gas. But it's got heat sensors, so turns the ring off before over-heating. Which means you can put a decent amount of heat into a heavy cast iron pan, but you can't run a wok at really high heat - so I've mostly given up on cooking chinese. I'm not getting a separate gas burner to use inside - that way madness lies.
All hail El Reg. This was one of my favourite series of articles - and a really good start to 2019 (Happy New Year, by the way) to see it resurrected one more time. But how about bringing it back as a regular?
(I’m just about to make a batch of Reaper Sauce for my hungover NYD bacon buttie)
This puts me in mind of
Jamie's 30-Minute Meals Jamie's 60-Minute Meals Jamie's Two-Hour Meals, where you just double every timing estimate given in the recipe to achieve the actual, real-world preparation and cooking time. Yeah, I grant you that Jamie has an army of off-camera assistants, and that in this case you've prepped some stuff ahead of time and are trying to cater for inebriation, but these things always run up against the brick wall of reality: you need a pan hotter than most Brits ever cook with (they just don't get the idea of a full-on pre-emptive thermonuclear spice fry) and anyway, who's going to get that right when they are pissed?
It's a great plan for the dedicated, experienced and relatively sober: but it will not execute well when attempted by hasty, drunken laymen.
Plus, I really do think that once you've exhausted the entertainingly chatty style (aka El Reg Traditionally Labored Humour™), the article should include the typical simple, concise recipe: ingredients, prep and cook instrux in proper order.
Curmudgeonly Yours, &c. ;-)
Whilst I'm technically a millennial (early 80's) I do love giving the younger generation a good bashing.
However, I am for once with them on this. If I want a curry, I'll be getting it from a curry house either via the pub or via an app.
I can cook. I can do a decent curry from scratch. But living alone means cooking as we know it is a rare treat I'm afraid. Given society I fear this is a growing trend.
Great article, and bloody marvelous to see Lester's name back on El Reg!
You are an "Elder Millennial", ala Iliza Shlesinger. I'm boycotting Netflix now so make do with a transcript and just know it is hilarious.
Also, it is spelt '80s, not 80's. Come to Edinburgh, cook curry for me, and I promise to criticise your grammar, in lieu of rent.
I'm rather fond of doing a proper curry from scratch and I could never work out what they did in the curry shop next door to make them all come out in 8 minutes tasting exactly the same. Now, I know their trick: as above, plus a pint of sunflower oil.
Also, if you can't tell Halloumi from Paneer, even half cut, you should probably see a doctor. Something is very wrong.
I cook a massive, highly concentrated curry paste which bagged as tablespoon sized portions and frozen, lasts me about three weeks:
1. Roughly chop/axe 3kg of onions. Get 1kg frozen mixed peppers, three tins of plum tomatoes, two big handfuls of chopped fresh coriander.
2. Bash and remove skins of 5 entire blubs of garlic - no chopping required. Peel roughly the same volume of ginger with a teaspoon, thinly slice and dice into teeny tiny little bits.
3. Add a stupid amount of veg/sunflower oil (250ml) into a massive steel pot and fry garlic and ginger with dried birdsye chillies and a handful of whole garam masala (all seeds, twigs, bark, leaves and/or branches). Fry till garlic is brown toast brown.
4. Add 4 tablespoons of salt and all the onions and frozen mixed peppers, max out heat and stir like a mad bastard till there is almost no water left.
5. Add a huge amount of curry powder mix - proportions are: 4 madras curry powder, 3 turmeric, 2 paprika, 2 coriander powder, 2 cumin powder, 2 garam masala powder (2 parts chilli powder is optional).
6. Keep the heat high, stir like a mad fucker, add half a tube of double concentrate tomato puree, 3 tins of plum tomatoes, fresh coriander and stir, stir until it's on the verge of burning.
7. Add a litre of hot water, simmer it down till it's an extremely thick paste.
8. Allow to cool, bag into er... bags and freeze.
This whole process takes about an hour and a half (plus an hour or two to cool) and these little bags of curry madness saves me oodles of time. Chuck the concentrate into any meat or veg. I waterboarded indian chefs to get the curry mix, the last few didn't reveal enough.
chilli powder amount depends on the state of the chef / strength of the chilli powder, failing that curry powder, failing that any old spice, pour into can of baked beans* (having first ingested 2 table spoons of the same to make room). A pinch of salt. Stir in the tin until you can't be bothered stirring any more and et voila ready to eat (albeit cold) but only while intoxicated. May be garnished with sprinkling of grated cheese to add colour and interest.
* alphabet spaghetti or spaghetti hoops can be substituted as per availability of ingredients.
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