For men, eating curry has some kind of social importance and credibility attached to it; only real men eat curry and the more manly you are the hotter the curry you can eat. Additionally, the more you know about curry, the more manly you’re perceived to be – and that’s probably why you’re here reading this. This article then will serve two purposes – to make you look clever and knowledgeable while in the curry house, and to help you survive some of the more brutal dishes.
The first thing to consider when picking a curry is that the menus are normally organised in order of hotness. That means that the lower down the menu they are, the hotter they’ll be so you don’t need to know anything about different types of curry to know what you’re letting yourself in for (though bare in mind that not all restaurants follow this rule). If you’re really lucky they might alternatively have a rating system such as allocating them a number of chillies next to the title to indicate hotness. If in doubt bare in mind that the hottest curries as the Phahl, the Vindaloo and the Tindaloo – if what you’re ordering is near them then watch out. When you get your curry look out for chillies and bare in mind that surprisingly it’s actually the smaller ones that are normally hotter. If you want to impress your friends then pick a big juicy chilly and eat it by biting it off at the stalk and it won’t be that bad. Meanwhile, subtly dispose of your little ones or handle with caution and lots of beer.
The other part of the title refers to the meat you’re having with it. For example you can order a ‘Meat Massala’ or a ‘Chicken Ticka Massala’, with ‘ticka’ being a particular style of chicken found in curry houses (and a delicious one at that). My personal favourite style however, and the best one to use if you’re eating a searing hot dish, is the ‘keema’ which means minced meat. This is particularly good as it soaks up the sauce meaning you don’t end up with lots of plain sauce on its own to spoon up at the end. Another way to avoid this situation is to order lots of rice to mix it with. If it’s still to hot you can get plain yogurt to mix it with. For any left over sauce at the end use naan bread to wipe it up with.
Eating a hot curry is hard, but what’s harder is eating while it’s hot in temperature too. Give it a chance to cool down and you’ll find it much easier to handle (cold curry is actually delicious and far less painful to eat). If you don’t have time to let it cool, then cool your mouth with some beer or ask for a pitcher of water for the table.
After you’ve dealt with your mission you’ll probably find your stomach and mouth hurting (as will everyone else though they won’t admit it). To help this problem and look as though you know your stuff, order yourself either a kulfi – which is a small ice cream with pistachios and almonds, or a ‘lassy’ which is a yogurt drink used to settle the stomach after curries. Bon appetite!