The Big Boys Curry Book


Offshore boats come in from a trip

This recipe recalls the days when pepper was the main heating agent in Indian food. It traditionally accompanies a South Indian vegetarian Thali. This recipe derives from Patricia Brown's excellent book Anglo-Indian Food and Customs, which has great recipes along with anecdotes of life as an Anglo-Indian



  • A pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1-2 dry red chillis
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tspn black pepper seed

Main ingredients

  • 1 cup toovar dhal soaked in water for 3 hours
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 lg onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic/ginger paste
  • 1 tsp tamarind puree (tamicon)
  • 2 cups of water


  1. DDrain dhal and cook dhal with turmeric in a pan of water until soft. Just before dhal is ready, add a little salt
  2. Mash dhal and pass through a sieve. Set aside
  3. Dry roast the masala ingredients and grind to a fine powder
  4. In a heavy pan, add oil mustard seed and curry leaves and het until mustard starts to crackle
  5. Add onion and fry until golden
  6. Add ginger/garlic paste and fry untl fragrant
  7. Stir in masala followed by dhal, tamarind and water
  8. Lower heat and simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent dhal from sticking.
  9. Check for salt