The Best Curry Quenchers
It’s the time of year when curry is not only my go-to takeaway, it sort of becomes my raison d’etre. The cooler weather makes me long for a bit of heat, and there is no better way to hot up than with a spicy Indian takeaway.
Wherever you end up on the curry spice scale, there’s always the right beverage and optional extra that can enhance your Indian takeaway experience. Make sure you’ve got the right drinks and accompaniments to help you tackle the heat!
Heat Level: Korma
A cool, smooth Indian beer
You’re wading in the shallow waters of spice – you don’t need to concern yourself with rising levels of chili building up on your tastebuds. Enjoy a crisp Indian beer, a deliciously malty Cobra for example. You’ve nothing to worry about… yet.
Added treat: A pashwari naan, to mop up all that sauce. The sweet raisins add some lovely fruitiness to the korma.
Heat Level: Dhansak
Salted lahori lassi
Things are getting funky on the palate – dhansak’s sweet and sour flavours are like a party in your mouth, and there’s a bit of spice kicking in there too. With all these sweet and fruity notes, it’s a good time to get something different from your beverage. Be adventurous and plump for a salted lassi – a traditional yoghurt drink. They’re surprisingly refreshing, and will not overpower your precious curry.
Added treat: Saag aloo, a deliciously savoury spinach and potato side dish that will contrast beautifully with the dhansak.
Heat Level: Rogan Josh
Big bottle of coke
Now we’re starting to head somewhere a little challenging – rogan josh is loaded with kashmiri chillies, and, unless you’ve got a tongue of steel, the spice will start creeping up on you. Luckily, loads of Indian takeaways have massive bottles of soft drink on offer – alternate between your plate and your beverage accordingly.
Added treat: A side of raita: a widely available side dish used as a palate cleanser to cool you down when you need it. Fresh onions, cucumber, and tomatoes in refreshing yoghurt, seasoned with coriander.
Heat Level: Madras
You’re looking down the other end of the telescope, spice-wise. You’re a sucker for punishment, but the rewards are there, if you can bear the heat, in the form of madras’s impeccably creamy sauce, loaded with garlic and coriander. You’ll soon be sweating, and will almost certainly need a break or two on your journey towards Clean Platesville – cool down in those calm moments by cooling your tongue with a chilled, sweet mango lassi. Just the ticket.
Added treat: Pop a portion of traditional dhai yoghurt on your order, and add a blob to the side of your curry. For those moments when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
Heat Level: Phaal
A gallon of milk
You’re a crazy person, friend, that much is evident by your choice of curry. And, as a nutcase, you are probably already familiar with the most effective relief for a faceful of pepper spray: a gallon of milk, applied to the affected area. Well, that’s my prescription for a case a phall-burn. Make sure there’s a four-pinter ready for you in the fridge when you begin, and, when the chilli becomes a challenge, start guzzling and pouring the cooling liquid all over your suddenly red face. Simply rinse and repeat, with special attention to the eyes. Worth it, of course.
Added treat: Ice cream and fritters – a reward for surviving the experience.