The Big Boys Curry Book


Wealthier tourists can have a day boat for quite a lot of money

This is a South Indian recipe that I first came across in a book by Rafi Fernandez. She is one of the main reasons, along with the now defunct Ganpath Restaurant in the Kings Cross area of London, that I cook a lot of South Indian food. Before I tasted this, I was a firm believer that rice should be eaten hot. Not any more. Its a great picnic and barbecue dish because it can be made in advance. In my experience, there won't be any left, however much you make. This recipe is for 4-6 people. Scale up or down as required.


  • 12oz (350g) Rice. Basmati, Patna or American Long Grain in order of preference.
  • 1 pint (600ml) Water.
  • Knob of butter.
  • 6 tblspn Sesame oil
  • 5 large dry chillies de-seeded and broken
  • 6 curry leaves, chopped roughly
  • 1 tspn mustard seed
  • 1 tspn fenugreek seed
  • 1 tspn sesame seed
  • 4 tblspn cooked chick peas
  • 1/4 tspn asafoetida
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • 2 tspn tamarind puree (Tamicon) in 4 fl oz (125ml) hot water
  • Salt


  1. Wash rice and soak in cold water for 30 minutes
  2. Put rice in pan with salt to taste and knob of butter. Add pint of water. Bring to boil, stir and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer until just cooked, (al dente).Turn off heat, but keep covered.
  3. Whilst rice is cooking heat sesame oil (don't overheat as the oil can burn,) in small pan and fry the mustard seeds till they pop. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add the fenugreek, sesame, chillies, curry leaves and chick peas and saute until chick peas are golden and slightly flaky.
  5. Add asafoetida and turmeric. Reduce heat to low and add tamarind and salt to taste.
  6. Bring mixture to boil and reduce by 1/4.
  7. Allow cooked rice to cool and then place in a large serving boil. You should be able to touch rice before pouring over the tamarind gravy and then mixing gently with a fork so that all of the rice is coated in the mixture.
  8. Allow rice to cool completely. If making the day before, make sure it is cold before covering and putting in the fridge. You can reheat slightly before serving if you wish, but this rice should not be eaten hot.

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