Sunday, 10 January 2016


From the Standard:

Speaking to the Financial Times, Oli Khan, vice-president of the Bangladeshi Caterers’ Association said thousands of curry houses could shut because of pressures facing the industry.

He said a shift in home-cooking, takeaways and interest in foods from around the world had combined to create a “curry crisis”.

Personally, what's changed things for me is how good supermarket curries have become. They didn't used to be that good, but they've been improving and got to the stage where I don't buy takeaways. The jalfrezi or rogan is really about as good as the local takeaway. I might if I was in Birmingham where curries are cheap and really good, but they aren't in Wiltshire. If I want a curry, I go to Sainsbury's or Waitrose. It takes no more time and saves a load of money. And why wouldn't they be as good? Curry isn't some fine cuisine of individual cooking. It's meat in gravy, basically. You can do it at an industrial level.


JuliaM said...

I highly recommend the 'Spice Tailor' kits (usually three stage: spices, a paste, then a sauce). They are fabulous.

I note you can also get Thai curries, and Blue Dragon Chinese kits have been around for ages. But I don't recall seeing any whinging from the Thais or Chinese.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Supermarket stuff and ready meals have got so much better over the years.

Oven chips are now nearly as good as proper chips done in oil. Thirty years ago, oven chips were just burnt potato on the outside and raw potato on the inside.

Chicago Town pizzas are just about as good as takeaway pizzas (our local Domino's is a bit rubbish I am afraid to say). I've had a two M&S microwave ready meals which were pretty good (but salty), one was bolognese, one was curry.

Pot Noodles are still gross though.

Tim Almond said...

Yeah - I've used pastes before, and they're good. The whole technique in the restaurant isn't much different - they make a base sauce (in the case of one business near me, one chef does the base for 2 restaurants and does 3 days in each place).

It's about the industrial thing. It scales up so well, it's worth investing in processes and recipe development as it costs so little per portion for that stuff.

With some foods, it makes sense having lots of small sellers because of freshness. You can't make and pre-freeze battered cod. OK, they sell it, but it isn't as good as fish shop. It doesn't have that crunch of fresh batter.

Takeaway pizza, I don't understand at all. As you say, the shop ones are good. Or even just buy some bases and some bits and make one. It takes a couple of minutes. My kids were doing that when they were 9.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, in the good old days, I used to make pizzas from scratch, i.e. making my own dough. That worked because the boiler cupboard was in the kitchen so ideal place for dough to rise. Without a warm place for the dough to rise, I'm not sure what to do.

But pouring some tomato on the base and grating a bit of cheese over it is the easiest part.

Tim Almond said...


We've made it in the bread machine. It's pretty good (the machine isn't actually cheaper, but it allows more variety of breads)

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, good idea! Mrs W bought a bread machine a few years ago and - as is traditional with these gimmicks - has only used it twice. I can repurpose it as pizza dough maker.

Graeme said...

But your home oven can't get hot enough to bake a proper pizza.... They turn out just as soggy and yucky as a Pizza Express pizza, where I bet the heat is turned down as a value-shaving accountancy exercise

Lola said...

I can't eat pre made foods - they all give me gyp.
In any event it's dead easy to make a curry from scratch as long as you have the ingredients.