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We love our curries here at The Kitchen Shed. Born and bred in Leicester, we’ve eaten a few authentic Indian meals in our time, home cooked and takeaway. Leicester is able to boast some of the best curries in the UK and we are even luckier to have the famous restaurant, Indigo (featured on River Cottage Veg) just round the corner from my Mum and Dad’s house. The dosas from Indigo are to die for and, according to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, are the best outside of Mumbai.
The earliest memories of my taste buds being tickled by spices are rooted in the 1970s (showing my age now) at a friend’s birthday party. Heena’s mum had made all the food for the party, a sumptuous array of Indian food including aromatic savouries and divine sweet dishes. At one end of the table there was a humongous plate of jam sandwiches and a big bowl of jelly for the English girls. At the end of the celebration Heena’s Mum was surprised but pleased to see the sandwiches and jelly were untouched and we’d happily tucked into the Indian buffet.
When Craving Curries offered to send a curry kit for review, I couldn’t resist even though it was to be my first time using a kit and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I chose the Chicken Makhani kit from their mouthwatering selection, a creamy curry with mildly spicy tones that was guaranteed to leave us wanting more. The kit arrived with clear, concise and easy to follow instructions, along with a list of fresh ingredients required to complete the dish. As an extra bonus I received a free recipe sheet for a green chutney dip which looked very tasty.
The kit comes in at £3.99, which you might think is a little steep, if like me you live on a limited budget. However, if you compare the price with how much you would have to spend buying all the separate spices to make an authentic tasting curry it makes good value for money. Craving Curries roast, grind and blend the very best spices in small batches to ensure they reach the customer as fresh as possible. So fresh that as soon as you open the kit you want to start cooking. The aromas from these tiny packets are amazing, with none of the harsh notes you find sometimes if you’ve added a little too much of a bitter spice like fenugreek.
The curry was easy to prepare. The marinade was made the night before so on the “curry night” I simply followed the recipe instructions with no worrying about how much of which spice to include. I did change one ingredient on the ingredient list supplied – the recommendation was for a tin of chopped tomatoes but we prefer a smooth sauce so I substituted passatta. Other than that, the Chicken Makhani was made exactly to Craving Curries’ instructions, choosing the option of two green chillies as we like a bit of heat in our curries.
My sister and her family shared our home-made curry night with us. We had a couple of extra guests arrive at the last minute so our Chicken Makhani stretched to seven portions. We did have plenty of rice, home-made naan bread and a Bombay Aloo so there was plenty to go round. The total cost of the Makhani came out at less than £3 per portion (based on four people) but stretching it to feed seven reduced the per head cost considerably. Excellent value for money and certainly a lot less than a takeaway. “But what about taste and flavour ?” I hear you say. The overwhelming response – a genuine one as my family don’t mince their words if they don’t like something – was the Chicken Makhani rated as one of the best curries they had ever tasted.
Using top quality ingredients in your cooking really does make a difference and the Craving Curries curry kit certainly did that with our Chicken Makhani. The flavouring of the spices were well balanced and just enough to enhance the dish and not overpower the final result. Our choice of two green chilies gave the curry the right amount of kick we like and I was glad I substituted the tinned tomatoes with passatta – there wasn’t a single piece of naan bread left as everyone used it to mop up the delicious sauce.
I’ve got my eye on one or two, or maybe three, more dishes I would like to try from Craving Curries and I want to put an order in before we pack up and go to France for the summer. The good thing is, if I don’t order enough whilst in the UK, Craving Curries do post to Europe. In Brittany out in the sticks (where our Kitchen Shed is) you won’t find an Indian takeaway, although you may find the occasional Moroccan restaurant. Our local supermarket in France does have a small English groceries section where everything is, of course, at least double the price and very limited when it comes to curries. We’re certainly looking forward to cooking up some more Craving Curry spice kits for our friends in France.
I can genuinely recommend you pop over to Craving Curries and take a look at their mouth watering selection of curry kits.
- Craving Curries provided me with the spice kit to make this dish in return for trying out their recipe. I purchased the fresh ingredients.
- All views expressed are completely my own and are 100% honest.