Having told you about my first curry a few days ago, it only seems right that I tell you about my worst one.
In fact, there are two contenders for this title. The first – and owner of the dubious title of having made the only inedible curry I have ever bought – goes to an Indian restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand. I wish that I could remember the name of it, because anyone who serves up food this bad needs to be named and shamed, but unfortunately I wasn’t in charge of phoning the order through so never knew what the place was called.
In case you have never had one, a pathia dish should be hot and slightly sour in flavour. A chicken pathia is just about my favourite Indian dish, largely because it is quite hard to do badly. Unless, like this place, you form the view that the dish should actually be bland, watery mush, a cross between baby food and cat food.
Mine wasn’t even the worst dish served up. Those who didn’t like spicy food received something which had even less flavour and which was, in a couple of cases, almost luminescent. I wouldn’t normally wish ill on anyone (with the exception of Delia Smith) but I really hope that this place has gone out of business in the intervening three years and are no longer inflicting their inability to cook upon other people.
Vying for the dubious title of ‘most inedible curry’ is, I am ashamed to say, the first one that I ever cooked for Helen. Now, remember that I can’t really cook. I am occasionally quite adept at throwing things at a pan and making them stick (or rather not stick), but it is an erratic talent. If I was a sportsman, you’d call me ‘mercurial’ – good one day, awful the other six.
The other thing that you have to remember is that, at the time, curry cooked by English people tended to be very different to that cooked by other nations. As the comedian Jeremy Hardy put it
“…an awful lot of fruit seemed to creep into the equation. Sultanas, pineapple…maybe some hundreds and thousands on the top, or a sponge finger”
Being English, my curry had the first two ingredients in it (I never did use the last two, honest!). Helen came home from work, took one look at my masterpiece simmering on the stove and her face fell. About half an hour later I dished the food up, she took one mouthful and declared it inedible. Then she reached for the phone and ordered the real thing from our favourite takeaway
At some time, I’m going to recreate some of the dishes I cooked or had cooked for me as I was growing up. I just need someone else to take my wife out to dinner for about a month, in case I accidentally kill her.