What dish defines how Londoners are eating now? We asked leaders in the city's food scene to share a recipe that says "London" to them. Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer are the chef-owners of Honey & Co., a Middle Eastern restaurant in Fitzrovia.
When we first came to London, we fell in love with that particular London stalwart: the curry house.
Every high street (that's what Brits call main street) in every neighborhood has one, and they are all pretty much the same, but like your favorite sports team, you find the one for you and stay loyal to it for the rest of your life.
Ours is Maharani on Clapham High Street: We’ve been eating their food at least once a month for twelve years. If you had to count, then, we’ve probably eaten their food more than that of any other restaurant we go to.
The offering of a London curry house is not in anyway authentic Indian fare, but uniquely British: Hearty, with the spice softened in rich and creamy spices, it’s definitely cold weather food.
We always order the same meal: samosas and bhajis, tandoori chicken in the summer or chicken pasanda in the cold months. We always have paratha, and we always have matar paneer—a dish of peas and paneer cheese in a creamy, spicy sauce.
If you're us, a meal like that will always result in a light to moderate heartburn, but it’s like that with an old friend: You know the upside and the downside, and you always go back for more.
Whenever we're skipping the curry house and cooking Indian food at home, we look for fresher and brighter flavors and turn to recipes from Madhur Jaffrey and, more recently, Meera Sodha.
- 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Two 1 3/4-inch cinnamon sticks
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- One 2 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 fresh green chiles (or 1 teaspoon chili powder)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons strained tomatoes (such as Pomì)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt (plus extra for serving)
- 2 pounds 3 ounces skinless chicken legs, or 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
To see the rest of our Food52 Goes to London guide, head here.