SD Dish of the Month - October 2013 [Curry]
So why curry, you ask? Well, first of all, many people think there’s not much in the way of Indian food of note here in SD. But wait... perhaps there’s something unique, modern, and/or fresh floating around out there. Or some well-done classic dishes. Time for another try?
Also, of course, there’s a lot more to be had than Indian curry dishes, such as those from Africa, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. And the namesake “spice” itself, being a mix, has an essentially infinite range of variations.
My own game plan for the month is to try at least one curry dish that I haven’t had before, or if not that, then at least to have a familiar curry dish somewhere I haven’t been before. Or if not even that, then at the very least, to have a familiar dish at a place I haven’t been to in a long time.
Happy October to all!
re: Fake Name
Sure. That's the way I'd say it, when speaking in general terms. Kind of the same as saying "I popped in for a burger", or "I'd never stand in line for a doughnut".
Unless I had a specific dish in mind, in which case I'd say something like "I'm going to go over to Sab-E-Lee and have the red curry with chicken". (Which, by the way, is one of my favorites there. Yum.)
Well, whatever. No rules on that.
I popped in for a curry at Flavors of East Africa, an unpretentious small restaurant next door to Pomegranate on El Cajon. I’d been wanting to try this place for some time but never seemed to get to it, and curry seemed like as good a reason as any. They offer both chicken and lamb curry, and I opted for the lamb. Two side dishes come with the plate, and I ordered Sukuma wiki (collard greens) and ugali (corn mash). The server suggested a spicy ginger/herb/pineapple drink, which went well with the meal.
The lamb was wonderfully tender, and pretty much fell off the few small bones in the generous portion. I think the meat had been slow-cooked with a mild curry. It came to the table plain, with just a faint yellow color. Very good. The finely chopped collard greens had been sautéed in a somewhat more pungent curry oil, and were a nice compliment to the lamb. The two curries didn’t compete. The ugali, which resembles grits in flavor and texture, but is stiff enough to make cutting with a knife the easiest way to eat it, gave balance. I added a few squirts of the Rwanda yellow chili oil (which looked deadly in the eyedropper-size container on the table -- had to try it) to the ugali, to “kick it up” a bit.
A satisfying and flavorful, if simple, meal. I will most certainly go back.
I went over to World Curry on Garnet this afternoon. This is another plain, unpretentious restaurant --and pure PB by my way of thinking. I had the chicken phall, an English dish, which is shredded chicken in a very flavorful, heavy, hot curry sauce. It had the unmistakable tropical fruitiness that comes from orange habaneros, although these and the other chilies must have been pureed (or perhaps powdered forms were used) because there were no visible pieces. It was very good, and came with a small, simple side salad consisting of chopped greens and cabbage, somewhat akin to a Spanish slaw. And rice, of course.
I can definitely recommend this dish to those who appreciate the wonderful world of chili flavors that accompany intensely hot food, something that can’t be had any other way. This curry is a 10 on my personal hotness scale -- and I didn’t have to ask.
The on-tap Ballast Point ale was very reasonably priced, as was the curry, and together they made my day.