Anyone who know my husband well will know his love of curries. Life pre-children meant a weekly meal at one of our local Indians, and since having children we try to treat ourselves to takeaways whenever funds allow.
I have also tried my hand at 'making' curries, but this pretty much means a jar and a chicken breast, and on the whole a korma or a tikka massala taste the same whatever the label on the jar.
When we were offered the opportunity to review Anjum Anand's Spice Tailor range I am not sure who was most looking forward to it, the OH loves curry and I like to cook at home as much as possible- it was a win-win.
When the kits arrived, I think I was taken by surprise, I can't put my finger on why, I think it was the mix of how well the kits are presented and packaged, but also the kits aren't for curries you'd be most familiar with.
We received Punjabi Tomato Curry, Keralan Coconut Curry, and Mangalore Herb Curry. We even had fun deciding which order we'd try them, only to find out that there are seven in the range!
The great thing about the curries is that they're all suitable for vegetarians, which means they prove ideal when inviting friends around.
After trying the Punjabi Tomato curry this is exactly what we decided to do with the other two.
The tomato curry came in three parts: the spices, base, and the sauce. For the simple cook this is an ideal way to get familiar with spices and what each adds to a meal. The great thing about these curries is that they come with an optional red chilli for heat, I hate spicy food whilst the OH loves his curries hot. One thing he is more than aware of is the difference between artificial spices and the clean heat which chillis provide.
For both of us the first curry was a hit, we loved the cooking process: heating the pan with the spices, adding the chicken (our choice), then the base and then the sauce. We prepared ours with rice and the meal was ready within twenty minutes (ten minutes for the curry, and twenty for the rice).
What we both loved most about the curry was the fullness of flavour, that by cooking the meat first with the spices and then adding the sauce means that the chicken was really tasty, but on top of that, unlike one of our previously bought jar sauces, that the kit really gave a rounded flavour.
We were really impressed with our curry that we decided to save the other two for 'an occasion', we rarely get the chance to have friends round but when we do they are the most enjoyable evenings.
The curries serve 2-3, so even though there were four of us we did take the option of trying both. We did the coconut curry with chicken and the mangalore with paneer and vegetables. They were both a massive hit. The textures and flavours were completely different, and we rarely go for vegetarian dishes but we were left with empty dishes on both counts.
What we liked most was the authenticity of the sauces, that may sound twee, but the fact you are getting the opportunity to find out what black cardamom, and green cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns bring to a meal. I have always liked playing with herbs but shied away from spices, I feel a lot more confident 'knowing what I like' now. It is almost the first step to making curries from scratch, something I like to be able to do with all food we have.
And, as a bit more information on The Spice Tailor, I love knowing the story behind things, and it's great to know that this range was not an overnight concept, build on nearly 2 years of research (for a project manager it is great to know, I can start managing expectations!), that the kits are based on quality ingredients, fresh spices and based on being able to create at home. I especially love that The Spice Tailor is a family business, that it is truly based on partnership.
I think it's a reflection on the curries that so much attention and detail has been given to getting these to us, we loved the kits and the taste... and will definitely be a feature of curry nights into the future.
You can find out more here, the kits retail at £2.89 and can be purchased direct from the website or from Waitrose.
Disclaimer: We received three kits for the purposes of this review. The opinions and views are expressed are entirely our own.