May 5th, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Many years ago, HG /BSK dined at Chutney Mary , an Indian restaurant in London. A revelation. Best Indian food ever. On Many subsequent visits to London, HG/BSK made sure to visit Chutney Mary. Never disappointed. One of the CM cooks was Paddy Rawal, then a young man. HG/BSK were unaware that Paddy, after other culinary posts, had moved to Santa Fe and opened a very well regarded restaurant, Raaga. Well, Paddy has continued the CM tradition but with an emphasis on vegetables plus a few southwestern touches. HG/BSK dined there last week with a friend and colleague from BSK’s Colorado environmental battles. (BSK continues to fight in New Mexico for Mother Earth). Meal was spectacular. Highlights were two extraordinary vegetable dishes: Fried spinach salad with warm yogurt dressing and crisp fried okra with pico de gallo (both hot and sweet and totally satisfying). Other vegetable dishes included cauliflower in a garlic tomato sauce (lassoori gobhi) and raaga tikki (an Indian version of eastern European potato “latkes.”). There was a meat dish. Three sublimely tender pink lamb chops in a masala sauce. They were as good as the lamb “popsicles” served at Vij’s, the great Vancouver Indian fusion restaurant. HG/BSK also had mahi mahi in a mustard infused Bombay curry. Great curry. Tasteless fish — the meal’s only flaw. Naan was the best HG ever ate. Drank a well priced malbec. Refreshing desserts of rasmalai and mango ice cream. Yes, followers of Hungry Gerald. There’s more to Santa Fe than green chile and robust Mexican cooking.

Chicken Curry Highs and Lows

May 1st, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK made chicken curry last night and it was a knockout. The basic recipe was based on the curry Vikram Vij, the master of Indian/Fusion cuisine, makes for his family. BSK tweaked his cookbook recipe (more ginger, no garam masala, no cloves, lots of marjoram ). BSK cooks the chicken thighs with their bones. Adds more flavor. When HG began going to restaurants in the 1950’s there were very few Indian restaurants in New York. “Curry Hill” did not exist. The East Village curry joints did not exist. If there was delicious Indian food in Jackson Heights, Queens, HG did not know about it. HG first tasted chicken curry at Longchamps (long closed New York chain of excellent upscale restaurants). This was a suave dish with a slight amount of heat. HG devoured it with delight. When HG/BSK began their marriage, BSK used the Michael Field recipe for chicken curry. The late Michael Field was the author of unerring recipes. Follow the recipe and you couldn’t go wrong. The Field curry was rich (sweet cream was an ingredient) and called for a variety of condiments–chutney, peanuts, coconut flakes, bacon, sliced scallions, etc. Worst curry HG ever tasted was at La Coupole, the famous brasserie on Montparnasse in Paris. La Coupole has a magnificent art deco interior but, unfortunately, serves assembly line food. The touted lamb curry was a gristly, tasteless disaster. London is the go to city for Indian food. Loads of cheap Indian cafes and a variety of plush and posh restaurants. The cheap joints are very good and the expensive eateries are a revelation (Chutney Mary is an HG/BSK favorite).


Art And Great Indian Food. Hey, This Must Be London.

March 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Last day in London. HG back to normal (almost). Sunny day. Lovely walk over the Millennium Bridge to Tate Modern. HG loves this place. The building, the volumes of space. It all comes together as one giant sculpture. There were some enticing special exhibitions but HG and BSK concentrated on the permanent collection. No, it’s not the encyclopedic look at modern art you get at MOMA and it doesn’t have the depth of the French Biggies (Picasso, Braque, Kupka, Leger, etc.) you get at Centre Pompidou. What you do get is space (nothing too crowded); wit (artists’ comments on the works are illuminating and sometimes acid); curatorial discipline (each piece is vital and necessary to the drama of modern art). It is a museum where you are stimulated but not eye exhausted. It is all very friendly and comfortable. Loads of elevators, rest rooms. A pleasant recognition of mature museum goers. The cafe is a joy. A long, long stretch of tables facing the Thames, St. Paul’s, the financial center, the startling “Gherkin” building, etc. Perfect venue for tea.

Dinner at Chutney Mary in Chelsea. Beautiful, tri-level Indian restaurant with great style. The food is reminiscent of Vij’s in Vancouver, HG’s favorite Indian. Same creative fusion cusine, same light touch. HG and BSK started with monkfish filets steamed in banana leaves and crisp fried stuffed artichokes. There were touches of cilantro, basil, mint and cumin. All perfect. Then a platter of super tender, medium rare lamp chops in a fenugreek, cream and tomato sauce similar to Vij’s famed lamb lollypops (and just as good). Then a rich and fragrant butter chicken curry. Rice. Chutney. Raita. Bread from the tandoori. Very good English ale to drink and rasmali (the Indian cheese, cream and almond dish) for dessert.

Lovely farewell to London.

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