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   Inside Out - North West: Monday 4th November, 2002

THE NATION'S FAVOURITE DISH

Indian food and Madpur Jaffrey

Curries are now a regular part of life in the North West. Rusholme's curry mile in Manchester has offered a diverse range of foods from the Asian subcontinent since the 1960s.

But did you know that curries were eaten in the North West as early as the 18th century?

History of the curry

Inside Out went to John Rylands library in Manchester and tracked down recipes dating back to 1769, written by the house keeper at Arley Hall in Cheshire.

Tony Morris researching the history of curry
Tony Morris researches the history of the nation's favourite dish

The first curry houses in the North West were cafes, set up for the men who had come to the region from the Asian subcontinent in the 1950s to work in the textile mills.

The Tandoori Kitchen was one of the first curry restaurants to open on Rusholme's famous Curry mile on Manchester's Wilmslow Rd.

The Hussain family opened the business 35 years ago, originally serving Persian food to immigrant workers.

Posh spice

In recent years there's been a revolution in curry eating.

The image of men behaving badly, gulping downing super-hot curries with several pints of lager, are long gone.

Today, a trip out for a curry is a posh affair, with some of the country's top chefs cooking up sophisticated dishes of complexity and variety.

Indian restaurant
A far cry from a Saturday night curry from a foil container!

The Shere Khan opened its first restaurant on Wilmslow Road in Manchester 16 years ago.

Chief executive Nighat Awan says she wanted the restaurant to be bright and modern, away from the "flock wallpaper" image that other restaurants had at the time.

Her empire has now grown to include restaurants and takeaways across the North West, and a Shere Khan range of food products which are exported across the world.

Curry crazy

So what are the Shere Khan's top tips for making that perfect curry?

Plate of curry
Spice up your life

One of the hardest things to get right for the amateur cook is the 'spice factor'.

If your sauce is too hot, try cooling it down with a touch of yoghurt.

On the other hand, if it isn't spicey enough, simply add some chopped green chillies.

Better still, try out the Shere Khan's very own special recipe for chicken balti.

Chicken Balti

  • 1 jar of Balti sauce
  • 2 diced chicken breasts
  • 1 sliced red pepper
  • 1 knob of butter or tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Coriander

Gently fry chicken till cooked.

Add peppers and fry with chicken for three to four minutes.

Add Shere Khan Balti sauce and simmer for ten minutes

Garnish with coriander and serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

Serves two people
Cooking time - 20 minutes

See also ...

On the rest of the web
The Curry House Sherekhan
Arley estate
History of curry
National curry chef
Tandoori magazine

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