Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Working on Peer Gynt at the National theatre, it's set in a morgue and a fish freezing plant...

When it gets as cold as it did today a preferred countermeasure is to coock a Vindaloo, Indian strong. The spices get the blood flowing and at least your warm on the inside... How strong is up to taste, personally I like to mix a couple of fresh ones with a couple of dried ones, including the seeds for maximum punch. As a starter I would recomend thai dynamite, a clove of garlic slightly browned in oil or fresh, a large shrimp, raw, and a small fresh chili on a toothstick. Consumed in one go and washed down with a shot of thai whisky, opens up the taste buds and primes them for a curry blast.


½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tb ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick

1 tb bright red paprika

1 tb ground coriander

Chili according to taste

1½ tsp garam masala

4 tb corn or peanut oil

2.7kg/5lb 15 ¼oz chicken, jointed and partially skinned

½ tsp whole brown mustard seeds

¼ tsp whole fenugreek seeds

15 fresh curry leaves, if available

2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into fine half-rings

2 tb fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a pulp

2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
120ml/4fl oz cider vinegar

2 ¾ tsp salt

1 tb sugar

475ml/17fl oz water


1. Mix together the turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander, crushed/minced chili and c/m cinnamon stick and garam masala in a small bowl and set aside. 
2. Pour the oil into a large, wide, lidded pan and set over a medium-high heat. 
3. When the oil is hot, put in as many chicken pieces, skin side down, as the pan will hold easily in a single layer. 
4. Lightly brown the chicken, about 3-4 minutes per side, and remove to a bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces this way and remove.
5. Add the mustard and fenugreek seeds to the hot fat and, as soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, which will happen in a matter of seconds, put in the curry leaves and onions. 
6. Stir and fry them until the onions begin to turn brown at the edges. 
7. Now put in the ginger and garlic. Stir and fry for a minute. 
8. Add the mixed spices from the small bowl and stir for 30 seconds. 
9. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they have softened, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan while you do this. 
10. Now add the browned chicken pieces, the vinegar, salt, sugar, and 475 ml water. Stir and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook gently for 45 minutes, lifting the lid occasionally to stir. 
11. Increase the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, a bit more vigorously, stirring more frequently, for a further 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Working on Peer Gynt at the National theatre, it's set in a morgue and a fish freezing plant...