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Donkin's World: Donkin's Keema Madras

Richard Donkin gives instructions on how to make a tasty curry.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Have just had a seriously good blokes' curry. What is a blokes' curry you may ask? Well, a blokes' curry is a curry that a bloke can make without too much trouble.

The key to this kind of curry is that it does not involve precise ingredients - always a turn off for blokes. But there are no short cuts either and it's best to start this kind of curry a couple of days before you are going to eat it. Delia Smith never tells you this stuff, but it matters.

What you need: Meat. Obviously meat is the most important bit and the best meat for curries is lamb, beef or chicken. Goat is good too but I don't know where to get goat. Game works well, also. But for this one - Donkin's keema madras - we're going to use minced beef.

So first buy your minced beef. I bought a kilo - two 500gm boxes on offer at Waitrose. The exact quantity doesn't matter but obviously you need a decent amount as no bloke will thank you for short measures.

Other ingredients:

Cumin seed,
Cardamon pods,
Ginger root,
2 tins of tomatoes
one or two onions
one or two cloves of garlic
juice of half to one lemon
Teaspoon of Marmite
Oxo Cube
Garam Masala
one or two chili peppers

For a bit of class get some fresh coriander leaves for right at the end (therefore easily forgotten, but no matter)

You will also need one big deep pan with a lid and one good-sized frying pan.

First peel and chop your onions, peel and mash your garlic and chop the chili. You may want to start conservatively with the chili, adding a bit more if needed. Stick some olive oil in a pan (you could use Ghee which is probably better but I have never bothered to buy any) and heat it. Now shake about a teaspoon or so of cumin seeds in the pan and fry them for a minute or so on quite a hot ring, but don't burn them. Now add the onions, garlic and peppers and fry them, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula until they're soft.

Now stick that lot in the big pan and stick your mince in to the empty frying pan. Fry the mince until it is brown.

While you are doing that, crack open a couple of tins of tomatoes and stick them in to the big pan (I know this is bordering on multi-tasking but come on guys, you can do it).

At the same time you could also be pummeling the cardamon seeds (a few, say 12 to 15, it doesn't matter) with the mortar and pestle. This is a bit fiddly because you have to remove the pod casings and leave the seeds which you then grind up. This bit is quite satisfying because you feel like a real cook. Then stick the ground-up pod seeds in to the big pan.

By this time the browned mince will be ready to go in to the big pan too. The rest is straightforward. All the ingredients from now on go in to the big pan. You could start washing the frying pan if you want to be really organised. But don't forget to juice half a lemon and stick that in. Now grate some ginger - about the size of your thumb - and stick that in. Add some turmeric - about a spoon, the Marmite and the Oxo cube if you think it merits (it's not going to spoil it one way or t'other.)

Now bring the whole lot to the boil on a low light, adding a bit of water if it's needed. Cook for a while but don't leave it to burn. The lid will help here.

Now - and this is the really important bit - leave the mix to cool and leave it for at least 24-hours. If you're going to leave it for longer - and that would be no bad thing - stick it in the fridge to be safe (once it has cooled).

Leaving your curry for some time allows the spices to permeate and flavour the meat and takes some of the bite and sharpness from the chilis. After the first cook you could do a taste test and add a bit more lemon and chili if you think it's needed. But remember, not everyone might like it quite as thumping hot as some blokes claim they do.

The next day or the day after that, when you're ready to eat your blokes' curry. Get some naan bread or chapatis and/or some basmati rice and cook or heat them/it (it only takes a few minutes). But first heat your curry thoroughly for maybe 20 minutes to half an hour. Just have it simmering over a low light and stir occasionally to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Give it a taste as well. Chop some coriander leaves and stick them in before serving (or add them on the plate for colour if you don't mind being a bit girly) with a sprinkling of garam masala.

Now heat some bowls up, get some blokes along (ideally) to eat the curry, a few beers, and enjoy.

A Christmas tip: the same ingredients work well with Turkey leftovers.

Another cook's tip: if you happen to have a few leftovers in the fridge, stick those in too.

For a really professional job you could stir up some chopped cucumbers with natural yoghurt, sliced onions and tomatoes as a side dish or add some chutney and popadoms, but this might be asking a lot if it's your first time. Once you have the ingredients, however, you're equipped to make blokes' curries whenever you want.


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