If you have been enjoying the banter between the two Incredible Spice Men, you would have enjoyed my evening on Wednesday. I got invited, as a food blogger, to an event at Cyrus Todiwala's restaurant Cafe Spice Namaste in E1. Cyrus and his wife Pervin run this long-established restaurant specialising in fine Indian cuisine, and have even won this year's Best Asian Restaurant Business. The banter between Cyrus and Pervin reflected that on the show, and he was at ease cooking in front of 20 or so foodies, often diverging from his point to answer one of our questions, giving us a wealth of biological facts and interesting anecdotes to ponder as we watched and ate. For instance, did you know that all turkeys originated in Mexico? Or that turkeys lay their eggs only in the summer months, requiring thirty times as much food for only a third the amount of eggs that chickens provide? Or that the difference between a spice and a condiment is that spices are dry (cloves, cinnamon, star anise) and condiments are wet (garlic, coriander, ginger). A spice will absorb your cooking oil (rapeseed is best - both for its Britishness and the fact that it is healthier than olive oil AND has a much higher ignition point making it safer to cook with higher temperatures) which then releases the flavour of the spice into your dish. And, a masala, familiar to us as a sauce with your chicken tikka, is in fact a mixture of any two or more ingredients, so a garlic and ginger paste is a simple masala.
|Spices and condiments|
The event was to promote British turkey as an everyday meat. Not just for Christmas. To demonstrate the versatility of the Norfolk Black, we were treated to a variety of Indian dishes cooked by Mr Todiwala. Pretty much every part of the turkey can be eaten. We sampled a khari gurdun - turkey necks cooked simply in a simple whole spice flavoured sauce - the neck is often disregarded as it has such well-developed muscle (comically evident in Mr Todiwala's turkey impression) but can be tenderized by slowing cooking or braising.
Turkey liver can be stir-fried and spiced to make a dryish, spicy, flavoursome dish.
|Scrambled turkey egg with turkey breast stir-fry|
As if all this wasn't enough to make us feel stuffed (just like a turkey - geddit!?), it was then time for the four course meal...
Turkey Sheek Kavaab Omlette Roll - turkey minced with fresh ginger, garlic, chillies and spices, formed over a skewer, chargrilled and served rolled in a turkey egg omelette.
Mini Turkey Masala Pie - diced HEART of turkey cooked with chopped shallots, tomato and spices, filled in mini pastry cases, topped with chilli and cumin mash, and baked.
Bhuna Turkey Dosa - rice and lentil pancake filled with diced turkey GIZZARD cooked in traditional bhuna masala.
Trio of Turkey Tikkas:
Cafreal - in a fresh green masala,
Malai - mild with cream and cheese,
Peri-peri - hot .
Leeli Kolmi Ni Curry - light green curry with fresh coconut and cashew nuts simmered with sustainably sourced red sea king prawns. (Cyrus thought we may have been turkeyed out at this point!)
|Leeli Kolme Ni Curry|
Turkey Mince Koftas
Vagharaela chaawal - Pulau rice flavoured with cumin and caramelised onion.
Potato Dosa Bhajee - a simple south style potato prepared with cracked mustard seeds, white lentils and curry leaves.
We're not finished yet! A creme brulee infused with saffron, ginger and cardamom.
|Creme brulee, but not as we know it.|
A really delicious evening - Cyrus showed that turkey is a versatile, healthy and, quite frankly, often cheaper meat to cook and eat. I, for one, will certainly be cooking much more with turkey.
Big thanks to Cyrus and Pervin, and to British Turkey for your wonderful hospitality.
|Cyrus Todiwala, and yours truly|
And hello to some of the other lovely food bloggers and fellow gobblers of the evening: