Rick Stein’s In­dia

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - COVER STORY -

A lover of all thing ex­otic, Rick Stein heads to In­dia in search of the per­fect curry. chats with the lov­able chef about Rick Stein’s In­dia.

Guy Davis

Rick, you’d spent time in In­dia be­fore mak­ing this se­ries but this was your first time vis­it­ing in a pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity, right? I’d been go­ing there with my fam­ily for about 20 years but I’d never filmed there. Great Bri­tain is ad­dicted to cur­ries – just about any­body I know, even from when they were lit­tle, al­ways liked go­ing for a curry, so when I thought about do­ing a pro­gram in In­dia I thought it would be well- re­ceived.

That’s be­cause there’s a feel­ing we don’t have the cur­ries like they have in In­dia, and I think that’s the case in Aus­tralia too. We’ve had close to it but I thought if I went out in search of the per­fect curry there would be a bit of a jour­ney in find­ing out what they were re­ally like. Ex­plor­ing a na­tion’s cui­sine is a big ask, I imag­ine – there must be a lot of diver­sity from re­gion to re­gion. Yes, I was faced with the re­al­i­sa­tion that the task was so enor­mous I was only go­ing to scratch the sur­face. But I was able to es­tab­lish cer­tain par­tic­u­lar­i­ties about cur­ries in cer­tain parts of In­dia, and I was able to go af­ter the ones the Bri­tish are most fa­mil­iar with and find re­ally good ver­sions of them.

The other thing I was able to do was dis­cuss with var­i­ous In­di­ans what is meant by curry – while we tend to use it to de­scribe all kinds of In­dian dishes, it’s not a word that ex­ists in In­dia. Are there ba­sic fun­da­men­tals to mak­ing a proper curry? You start by heat­ing ghee – a clar­i­fied but­ter – or oil. You fry whole spices in it, then add onions and maybe gar­lic or gin­ger. Af­ter that are the dish’s main spices, what­ever they might be, al­though they will al­most al­ways in­clude turmeric and chilli pow­der. And then you add the main el­e­ment of the dish – meat or fish or veg­eta­bles – and fin­ish off with a pinch of the main spice just be­fore serv­ing it. The terms “curry” and “heat” are of­ten syn­ony­mous, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily the case in In­dia, is it? Not re­ally, no. They’re al­ways fra­grantly spicy but heat is not al­ways there. I’ve had com­plaints from peo­ple about a beef vin­daloo I fea­ture be­ing too hot, and I wanted to write back to them say­ing “… and?” [ Laughs] But it’s true, in In­dia they tend not to think in terms of spici­ness or heat, it’s just about what the dish needs.

Rick Stein’s In­dia, ABC1, Mon­day, 8.30pm

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