Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: curry

Change For Life Challenge- Friday

Evening Meal- Vegetable Jalfrezi

Friday night is the perfect night for a curry. After a hard week, a curry feels like a treat but there is no reason for it to be unhealthy. This vegetable Jalfrezi is packed full of vegetables and if you’re craving meat, you can change the chickpeas for chicken.

Ingredients for this veggy curry

Ingredients for this veggie curry

I am partial to a vegetable curry so I went for the non meat version found in the recipe booklet. It was very easy to make and the cooking times were accurate. Brown rice takes a little longer than white rice so remember that when working out your timings but everything is clearly laid out in the instructions so you shouldn’t go wrong.

It was pretty tasty with the chunky vegetables and the chickpeas made it nice and filling. In fact, the portions were very generous and each one was still only 401 calories. I wouldn’t usually buy a curry paste. I like to make my own so I know exactly what’s in it and so that I can get the flavour I want but if you’re pushed for time or new to cooking, a paste from the shop works fine. When looking around the shops, I found a few and they all varied in calories and fat content so that’s worth checking when choosing yours.

I really liked the inclusion of an apple which isn’t something I’ve thought of before but it added a lovely sweetness. I served my curry with the optional coriander and I think it really added to the flavour. I love coriander but if you’re not keen, it still works well without.

Perfect for a Friday night

Perfect for a Friday night

Recipe- Serves 4

401 calories per portion, 20 minutes prep time, 40 minutes cook time.

Ingredients:

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

1 eating apple, cored and chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tbsp Jalfrezi curry paste

1 large carrot, sliced

1 pepper, deseeded and chopped

400g can chopped tomatoes

200g cauliflower. broken into florets

410g can chickpeas (canned in water), rinsed and drained

300ml reduced-salt vegetable stock

180g wholegrain brown rice

50g frozen peas

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)

4 tbsp low-fat plain yogurt, to serve

salt and freshly ground pepper

What to do:

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, apple and garlic and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and cook for a few seconds.

2. Add the carrot, pepper, tomatoes, cauliflower, chickpeas and stock. Simmer, partially covered for 25-30 minutes, adding a little extra stock or water if needed. At the same time time, cook the rice in a large pan of gently boiling water for about 30 minutes.

3. Add the peas and coriander (if using) and heat for 2-3 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding a little pepper if needed. Serve the curry and rice, topping each portion with 1 tbsp of low-fat yogurt.

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Mint and Mustard- The new Chakara Menu!

There are plenty of Indian Restaurants in Cardiff but few who could really come out on top in the Cardiff restaurant scene. Mint and Mustard is one of the few that I consider to be in the running.

I have eaten in the Mint and Mustard before but I have to admit, not since chef Anand George left to set up the Purple Poppadom. I was worried that it wouldn’t be the same and I didn’t want to be disappointed. After being invited to sample the new Chakara Fish menu, I am confident that Mint and Mustard still has plenty to offer.

With lots of Indian restaurants on Whitchurch Road, Mint and Mustard has a fair bit of competition but it has done well to set itself apart as a more ‘upmarket’ Indian restaurant and not your average curry house and is usually full and lively.

We were seated in the back of the restaurant with a party of food bloggers and other food lovers. As we chatted and munched on poppadoms, we were talked through the menu by the very proud Executive Chef Pramod Nair who has racked up quite a career in India including cooking for the queen when she visited Kerala. He designed the new menu which is to be served in Cardiff and a Taunton restaurant which has recently opened.

There is a Chakara Tasting menu available for £37.50 per person as well as an A la carte. We were treated to a tasting menu but it wasn’t the one available to customers. It was a selection of the chef’s best dishes.

We kicked off with a selection of starters. Each one was presented beautifully although as a tasting menu I’m not sure that they really worked together. We dived into scallops cooked in a saffron and coconut sauce, a spicy salmon mousse, a soft shelled crab and a saucy king prawn. The soft shelled crab was delicious and I could have happily eaten several of these. The prawn had some fantastic flavours but it was a little bit messy and I really enjoyed the mousse. However, the scallops were a little over cooked for my liking.

After a successful (and large) starter, we moved onto a King Fish Steak Vattichathu which was a served with shallots and tomato on a potato cake. The fish was lovely, I really like meaty fish and it worked well with the flavoursome sauce as it wasn’t a delicate fish and the potoato cake added an extra and welcome texture. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this dish as I got over excited and forgot to take one.

Following this, was another selection of dishes that would usually be served as mains. The Queen’s Silver Pomfret was named so as this was the dish Pramod cooked for the queen. This came with a dressed crab in a masala sauce, fish cooked in a banana leaf and a serving of seafood rice. The Pomfret was a soft delicately flavoured fish. It didn’t need any bells and whistles because it was well cooked and beautifully flavoured. I really enjoyed the fish in the banana leaf which was lovely and tender but I wasn’t so impressed with the crab. I think a meat as delicate as crab was over powered by the masala sauce.

Quite full at this point, we moved onto yet another course. Each table was served a Konju Mango Curry (tiger prawns cooked in fennel, coconut and mango) and a Mixed Seafood Pachadi (cod, monkfish, shrimps, squid and mussels cooked in a pineapple, butternut squash and coconut sauce).

On holiday in India, I really enjoyed the fruity curries but I had never experienced anything quite like the pineapple one we tried here. Milky pineapple and fish might sound like a bizarre combination but believe it or not, it does work! I think it would be a great flavour for a chicken curry too. However, for me, the mango curry was the best. Mango is a favourite of mine and this was fabulous!

Stuffed beyond belief, it was time for dessert. After such a huge meal, we were relieved that the dessert was a light ice cream and for me a dish to remember. We were treated to a trio of jack fruit, rose and a mint and mustard ice cream. Jack fruit is one of my favourite fruits and reminds me of times in Asia so I loved this one. It had an unusual texture and the jack fruit flavours came through clearly (although a few of my fellow diners didn’t agree). The rose ice cream was similarly lovely and then there was the mint and mustard…

I can see what Pramod was trying to do with the Mint and Mustard ice cream and I think it was a novel idea but it wasn’t well received by everyone. In fact, I was the only person on my table to finish it. Even when I had eaten it all, I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or whether I had eaten it out of morbid fascination. The initial taste was like a Murray Mint but the aftertaste was of strong mustard and I’m not sure that the flavours really worked together. Pramod clearly enjoys experimenting though and I’m sure he will carry on with this to try and perfect it as it is still a work in progress.

Overall, I enjoyed the new Chakara menu. I think it has the potential to be really great. There are a few tweaks that could be made to improve it and I’m sure that with time, they will be made.

As we were invited along to this tasting and it we didn’t experience the menu as a paying diner would do or have the taster menu on offer to customers, it isn’t easy to comment on price and service. Therefore,  I’m not going to give my usual spoon ratings but I would love to visit again on a normal night and chose from the a La Carte menu and I have a sneaky suspicion this would achieve a green spoon!

The Welsh Curry House Awards 2012

Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by India and since visiting a few years ago, my interest has grown further and I cannot wait to go back. My love for India combined with my love of good food means that I am a big curry fan and so the prospect of attending the Welsh Curry House Awards was very exciting to me.

We arrived to a drinks reception and some rather unusual ice cream from Cadwaladers. Starting with a spicy curry flavoured version, we followed it with a cucumber riata flavour. Innovative and not as unpleasant as it sounds.

The evening ceremony followed with the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones AM announcing the name of the Welsh Curry House of the Year 2012 during a delicious taster menu and traditional dancing by India Dance Wales. It was great to have the dancing in between courses and along with the sweet and spicy smells coming from the kitchen area, it made me quite nostalgic, reminiscing my times in India.

The food was excellent. We started off with a series of starters including a Chicken Malai kebab which was cardamom and mace spice flavoured chicken cooked in a clay oven which was my favourite. When chatting to people later, there was talk of some wonderful lamb chops but unfortunately, we didn’t get any on our table and there was so much to share around we didn’t even realise!

Moving onto the mains we had four curries and a selection of nans. My favourite was the ‘Fill The Pot winner 2008’, a winning entry from a competition run by the Spice Route and was a delicious blend of Indian spices with mutton and Welsh potatoes. The mutton was cooked perfectly and I polished off my than my fair share.

For dessert we were presented with a selection of Indian sweets and some ice cream from Cadwaladers. I very much enjoyed the sweets and they were a nice way to finish the meal.

As well as sampling the delicious food, it was of course exciting to see the award of Welsh Curry House of the Year 2012 presented to the wonderful Purple Poppadom. As one of my favourite restaurants in Cardiff, I felt it was very well deserved and was an amazing achievement at such an early stage in their business.

Photo by The Festivals Company

There were five awards all in all and the winners were:

  • Purple Poppadom, 185 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff. CF11 9AJ (NATIONAL  WINNER)
  • The Suhail, 12 Bastion Road, Prestatyn. LL19 7ES (NORTH WALES WINNER)
  • Bengal Spices, Ashfield House, Llanymynech. SY22 6ER (MID WALES WINNER)
  • Purple Poppadom, 185 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff. CF11 9AJ (SOUTH WALES WINNER)
  • Bombay Blue, 27a Cardiff Road, Caerphilly. CF15 7SS (BEST DESIGN)

A very enjoyable evening all in all with some excellent food and interesting entertainment. I’ll look forward to the next one in 2013!

Khazana- were we reading the same menu?

On our hunt for a really good curry house, Ben and I tried Khazana in Whitchurch last week. It seemed quite impressive when we looked at the menu as it was serving regional dishes from all over India so we thought we might be able to get something different and quite unusual. I got quite excited when I noticed that they served momos and some fruity Bengali dishes. We spent some time in India last year and I really wanted to get stuck into some of the dishes I tried while I was there.

We were seated in a nice booth which I liked because it was quite private and even if the restaurant was empty (which it wasn’t) the booth still created a nice cosy atmosphere. The restaurant was a stereotypical Indian restaurant with red seats, paper table clothes and very smartly dressed staff. Staff were friendly and helpful and we were served quickly.

When it came to the important business of ordering, Ben chose a coconut and chilli crab cakes and I chose chillis stuffed with cheese only to be told that they were out of stock of and the supplier had stopped making them. What? Buying in chilli’s with cheese? Surely this is something that can be done by the chef? I was surprised but changed my order to potato momos.

When are starters arrived, we were a little disappointed. Ben’s crab cakes were very processed. They were flat, cheap and very basic. For the price of £6, we expected better. My momos were ok but not like any momos I have ever tasted. Traditional momos are like dumplings but these were made of a hard shell, like pastry. Momos (originally from Tibet) were my favourite snack when I was Gorhkaland in India but they were nothing like these.

Unfortunately, it didn’t improve much with the main. Ben’s Lamb curry was nice but it was supposed to include butternut squash and potato but it did not. My curry was a totally new culinary experience for me! My fillets of mint chicken cooked in herbs and spices and finished with carrot and cheese sounded very unusual and I couldn’t wait to try it. I was expecting a lovely minty flavour with a topping of grated carrot and paneer. However, my MINT chicken turned out to be MINCE and the carrot was cut into discs placed on top with grated melted cheddar! In fact there was a bizarre mix of chicken pieces and mince. It was more like a curried bolognese! Very odd but not unpleasant, just very annoying to not get what you ordered.

My 'mint' chicken curry

Overall, we weren’t very impressed with the food. The dishes were more expensive than your average curry house and if we had got what we thought we were going to get based on the menu description, it would have been worth it. However, we did not. On the plus side, staff were lovely and it looked the part. If you like curried bolognese then give it a try!

My Last Mouthful was: Ben’s lamb curry

Service-

Atmosphere and decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall Rating-

Haveli- No Seafood…(or lamb)

I’ve always thought of Haveli to be a bit different when it comes to Indian dining. A bit of  step up from your average Indian restaurant. It certainly looks the part, but on my latest visit, I was left a bit disappointed.

I’ve been to Haveli a few times and had a really good time. The atmosphere is great and it’s a good choice if you’re with a group of friends. It has a very modern vibe and always pleases with its dramatic interior. Large bright patterned walls, fairy lights and an elaborate material runner along the ceiling make it very trending and it’s certainly a popular place. The food has always been enjoyable too and reasonably priced which is why I have been back several times.

However, on our most recent visit, things were slightly different. We used a Living Social Voucher deal that I found for £15 which entitled us to two starters, two mains and a glass of wine each. The voucher said that we could have anything from the menu except King Prawns so this seemed like a really good deal.

On arrival to Haveli, we were seated right at the back of the restaurant on the last available table (good job we booked!) next to the kitchen. It was very busy so business is obviously going well! We were seen to quickly by a slightly stressed waiter and ordered our drinks (the wine we got with our voucher).

When it came to ordering the food, Ben ordered a cod starter and was told by the waiter that he couldn’t have it because it was fish. If he wanted fish from the menu, he would have to pay £2 extra. Considering the starter was only 45p more than the others, it seemed a bit ridiculous to pay so much more for it. We questioned this as the voucher stated that the only exclusion was king prawns. The waiter assured us that we could have ANYTHING we liked from the menu as long as it wasn’t seafood. We settled for Brinjal Bhaja and tandoori Wings.

Chicken Shashleek at Haveli

When it came to ordering the main, I chose a Chicken Shashleek and Ben chose Lamb Barah but was promptly told that our voucher did not include lamb unless it was in a curry! This was most annoying when this was not outlined on the voucher and we had just been told by the waiter that we could have ANYTHING except fish! Not impressed and left with a very standard curry house menu, Ben changed his order to a curry.

When the food arrived it was very nice on the whole but the evening was tainted a bit by the issues with the voucher. It was then tainted further by a senior member of staff telling off our waiter while he was serving us our starters because he didn’t remove the side plates. The waiter then proceeded to answer him back while serving us which is just so unprofessional.

Ben’s starter of tandoori wings were very tasty and my Bhajas were nice too. The batter was unusual and really complemented the aubergine. My main was lovely too. The chicken was tender and spicy and came with a generous portion of barbecued vegetables. With the naan I chose, it was very filling too. Unfortunately, the wine was not so good. In fact it was pretty horrible. Cheap is not the word!

Overall, I was disappointed this time due to the service but I have enjoyed my visits on previous occasions so I’m a bit torn. If my first experience of Haveli’s was this visit with the voucher, I probably wouldn’t go back but I am tempted to try it again based on my previous experiences. The food was nice but the service just wasn’t up to standard. The problem with the exclusions could have been the fault of Living Social so I am reluctant to give a red spoon for service but it certainly won’t get a green on this occasion.

Hopefully next time it will be back to its usual self. I’d be very interested to learn about your experiences.

My last mouthful was:  Chicken Shashleek

Service-

Decor and Atmoshere-

Quality of Food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for Money-

Overall rating- 

Kasturi – The bring your own Indian Restaurant

Feeling a little worst for wear last Monday following the weekend, I felt the need to indulge in a giant curry. We immediately headed for our usual haunt and then changed our minds realising that we are supposed to be trying as many new places as we can. I looked in my copy of Chaat! magazine and found a list of places in the area. We chose Kasturi as it is relatively new and I have noticed some really good deals advertised outside when I have driven past.

There were quite a lot of people in there for a Monday night which was a good sign and staff were welcoming and showed us to our seats. The restaurant was minimal and stylish with big faux leather seats and nicely laid tables. We were immediately given a menu and asked for our drink orders. We were surprised when we tried to order beer and they didn’t serve alcohol but what we didn’t realise was that you are actually allowed to bring your own which is brilliant and a real saver for the old purse.

The menu was quite extensive and a little bit more exciting than your standard Indian restaurant. As we were feeling greedy we went for the meal deal. It seemed excessive but the 5 course deal of starter, main, rice, naan and side dish was only £9.95 and it would have cost that for a curry, naan and rice from the main menu. After some debate I was able to swap my naan for papadams because I had already ordered them which I thought was very accommodating.

The food was nice. The starters were good but nothing too unusual. My Chilli Panner was tasty and there were other things on the menu that I would still like to try. On the menu, the mains included the usual favourites but there was a ‘chef’s recommendations’ section that had some more unusual dishes. I chose a Kashmiri Masala which was a mild fruity curry. I really enjoyed it, it was very sweet which made it quite unusual and it was reminiscent of currys I’d had while in West Bengal. Ben’s Pistachino curry was also very nice. The Spinach Bhaji side dish left a little to be desired but the mushroom one was good. Our meal deal excluded sea food dishes but they looked like a better option that I will consider next time.

Overall, I really liked this place. If you’re looking for a good hearty filling curry there are so many places to go in Cardiff but I think I will come back to this one. The menu offered a few unusual choices that I’d like to come back and try and the fact that you can bring your own alcohol is a real bonus.

My last Mouthful was:Kashmiri Masala

Calling Curry Loving Cardiff- Pick up your copy of Chaat!

I usually review food products but I also want to give some blog space to other food related things that come out of Cardiff. That’s why I’d like to let you know about Chaat!
Chaat! magazine is the very first of its kind: a title dedicated to curry lovers made by dedicated curry lovers. Over 60 pages, the magazine’s team of passionate, professional food, travel and lifestyle writers deliver a healthy range of spicy sagas every two months. From unique signature recipes to intrepid tales of exotic adventures across the globe, Chaat! is a full of information ideal for anyone who enjoys the spicy lifestyle.
A British Curry Club publication, Chaat!’s main aim is to inspire curry lovers to explore, embrace and celebrate their local spice houses… And where better to start than Cardiff: the very home of the British Curry Club! The inaugural issue will take a look at all things spicy in Cardiff including a selection of restaurants that are partnered with the British Curry Club.
Chaat! magazine is available for £2.50 or £9.99 for a year’s subscription.

keep your eyes on  www.britishcurryclub.co.uk/subscriptions as their site will go live later this week and you can make sure you get your copy.

Chaat! can also be found for free during the next two weeks in the entrance of Culverhouse Cross Tesco superstore.
For full details on Chaat and the British Curry Club please visit www.britishcurryclub.co.uk

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