As Christmas Day beckons, most of us will be on at least our fourth roast of the season before the main event this weekend.
And don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against a roast potato, nor a juicy turkey.
But to stop myself from going into festive overdrive, in the run up to Christmas Day it is nice to enjoy some poultry that hasn’t been roasted or basted.
In fact, give me a bird that’s been cubed, shoved on a skewer and dunked in a vat of curry sauce.
This is where your humble Indian takeaway comes in – and in my case, The Original Curry Land is the one I’m ordering from.
The name reflects the age of the place – a restaurant that has been in business since the Seventies and still draws in the customers.
To my mind, a takeaway curry is not a solo affair. It’s best eaten in a large group buffet style, so everyone can try a bit of everything
Traditional favourites like bhuna and Madras are present, but also more exotic fare which attract the eyes of my friend and I when we peruse the menu.
I’m reminded at this point of the episode of Gavin and Stacey where they all order a takeaway curry, and the age-old dilemna it highlights: to share or not to share?
To my mind, a takeaway curry is not a solo affair. It’s best eaten in a large group buffet style, so everyone can try a bit of everything. And maybe this is why so many of us opt for one at Christmas time, when our social calendars are packed to the brim yet our patience for cooking is at its lowest.
We do our best in a pair to replicate the group effect, and choose the chicken and lamb tikka, onion bhajees and crab lajawab (think scampi with a claw) to start.
The meat is tasty and tender, and whetted our appetites for the main course. In addition to the usual sundries, we opt for the Bangladeshi Maas Curry, a spicy tomato-based freshwater fish dish, and the Dhaniya Narial Ka Murgh, a coconut and fennel cousin of chicken korma from South India. And by chance, it proved the virtue of sharing curries. Alone, the South Indian curry would have been too sweet for me; but with the saltiness of the fish dish, it went down a treat.
As always with curry, we had so many leftovers – another thing the takeaway shares with Christmas Day lunch. And it was similarly appreciated the next day. But while you might put roast turkey in a curry, I don’t think I’ll be putting Maas in a sandwich any time soon.
Have you checked out our new Christmas section yet?
It’s packed with ideas and tips to ensure you make the most out of the festive season.
There’s recipes, suggestions for presents and everything from choosing your tree to recycling your packaging and paper.