Adventures in Curryland – Bipin’s Masala
Bipin’s Masala were kind enough to send me some of their curry paste to review and this is the resulting blog! I know I’m doing a fair few food related articles at the moment, it’s just that food is a very practical thing to review and it helps to expand our culinary horizons a little. At the moment I’m trying to persuade the kids that ‘spice is nice’ and that a tingling tongue is not a bad thing (obviously not a burning tongue, I’ve not been force feeding them Vindaloos or anything!) I tend to give Darlek and Sausage a big glass of milk if they have a curry that’s any stronger than a Korma and they seem to cope ok, in fact Darlek quite often has seconds.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried curry pastes, jar curries, takeaway curries, and I’ve even made my own from scratch a few times. (Polishes halo) Not that I’m claiming to be an expert, I just think I can tell the difference between a good one and a rubbish one. I’m not really a fan of straightforward jar curries though. In my mind’s eye I always imagine they’re made in huge vats stirred with massive metal mixing paddles, poured out of taps into jam jars that scurry past on conveyer belts. Takeaway curries are hit and miss, but I enjoy them anyway because I haven’t had to make them so they’re hassle free. The only problem is I suspect they’re always laden with salt and I end up waking up at 3am feeling like I could drink a bath full of water. Curry pastes on the other hand are highly fragrant, you can add as much or as little as you like to your curry for different strengths, and you can actually see the texture and the ingredients they’re made up of – unlike the gloopy jars of pre-made stuff.
So I was very happy to have a go at Bipin’s Surti Masala curry paste! I’d never heard of ‘Surti’ Masala before so was curious and hoped for a good dinner on a Friday night. Horace was late home from work so I had two kids to deal with on my own and they were clamouring for food, so it was a relief to see that the recipe was a simple quick one. Here it is:
Mix Surti masala with 600g of diced chicken (try out chicken thighs), cook on low heat for 20 minutes in a covered pan to retain moisture. Fold in a tablespoon of coconut milk or alternatively single cream. There’s no need to precook the chicken or add anything else. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice and green leaf onion salad. Its a perfect meal.
I know it says it’s a perfect meal as it is, and there’s no need to add anything else, but I like a bit of veg in my curries. Anything to get the kids to eat the stuff. So here are the ingredients I used. (I also used coriander and single cream, but didn’t take photos of them because I forgot, basically) .
Due to distraction and general stupidity, I forgot to cover the pan, forgot to add the single cream until after I’d served it up on plates, and forgot to add coriander until half of it had been eaten. Despite this, we all really enjoyed the Surti Masala, no thanks to my expert cheffing skills! It wasn’t too strong for any of us – although I did use over the recommended amount of chicken and a lot of veg, so it will have convoluted the tang of the curry paste quite a bit. The kids ate it without complaining of burning tongues, and didn’t do the open-mouthed baby bird, flappy hands, ‘ow! ow!’ thing so it got their vote of approval as well as ours.
Bipin’s website is full of mouthwatering pictures of spices and curries, and is easy to navigate and use. I’ve noticed that they do a variety pack of 3 masala’s for £10 (delivery £2.74) which sounds like an attractive offer and one I’d consider taking them up on. To be absolutely honest, they are a little pricey considering each pack is enough for just one curry (for four people), but you can see the paste has been made with care and attention (looks home-made rather than factory fodder), the packaging presentation is second to none and the paste came with detailed instructions for making the curry with different meats too. It looks like Bipin has all angles covered really.
Apart from anything else, Bipin sounds like he actually cares about what goes into the food and what people think of it. I’d be happier buying something from him than from one of the huge companies that often seem far removed from genuine home cooked food. Bipin says he is trying to encourage people to enjoy genuine Gujerati cooking in their own home and it shows. I think the main problem is the cost, we certainly couldn’t afford to order from the site regularly, but would certainly consider it as a treat every now and then. I’d definitely recommend a wander around the site, if only to drool at the pictures!
Please click here to visit – Bipin’s Masala Utterly Authentic website
In response to this blog Bipin said: ‘I do understand it is a little expensive but is all 100% fresh and natural, all pure unprocessed ingredients and it is hand made no big factory job ….and we almost always send an extra pot with the pack of three so people can give it to a friend.’ and ‘also a weight watchers member asked me about nutritional values and I gave them all the data ……they worked out that each masala pot contains less than 4 weight watchers pro-points: which is less than 1 weight watchers pro-point per serving as the masala pot produces 4+ servings once you added the core ingredients etc…, this apparently is very very low and perfect for people on diets!’