The very first national curry week took place in 1998, founded by the late Peter Grove, a journalist who had fallen in love with curry. Twenty-five years on, it’s been adopted by restaurants and shops across the country.
‘Curry’ is something of an umbrella term for the fragrantly, sometimes hotly, spiced food traditionally from South East Asia. Dishes from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and far further afield, all mee the brief. And what makes a ‘good curry’ is hotly contested.
Supermarket curries are, I admit, looked on with some suspicion in our house – how could they not be, when I’ve spent a small but significant proportion of the last twenty-odd years in Bangladesh? But where better to start than with the M&S curry range…
On a £15 budget we wanted to feed two of us, at a moderate heat level/spice range. The obvious thing to do was buy the Dine In range – £15 for two mains and two sides, but we wanted to be more ‘adventurous’, go a la carte, if you like! And we fancied a bargain…so we chose a selection of our favourites from the short-dated/reduced price shelf.
I’m not sure of the authenticity of the Punjabi style Butter Chicken Samosa, but the taste (and size) was far superior to your average ready-boxed Indian starter. Flavourful, full of chicken and vegetables and in a perfect pastry case.
We followed that with Chicken Korma, Keralan Lamb and Gunpowder Potatoes, with a side order of basmati rice and two small naans. The main dishes were a good cross-section: mild, medium, medium-and-a-bit, which all tasted satisfying different (as opposed to generic but hot). These don’t include rice – which we prefer – but the three portions more than generously fed two (even when one is greedy and the other is a growing teenager) with leftovers.
The rice was, well, rice – no complaints – and the naan was about as decent as a pre-made flatbread that hasn’t been handmade and cooked in a tandoor!
As an easier version of homemade, and a cheaper version of a restaurant meal of takeaway, the M&S range was a credible and tasty option. A good choice for national curry week.
We actually spent £15.92. The full price would have been 5p over £20 – and we could have fed three easily. In the current cost of living crisis it felt like a manageable, decent value treat for a special evening – far superior to more budget ranges. Oh, and we ate with such enthusiasm, we forgot to take pictures…these in-text are the M&S stock images.