“ Brand: Colman's / Type: Sauces „
I like to send my husband to do the shopping because he is always tempted by something new and like a child he wants it immediately. Last time he saw Colman's Chicken Curry Sauce so I had to prepare chicken curry for lunch. Since then we eat chicken curry every second week at last. My sons love it too.
So what is this chicken curry about? This is a 50 g pack of yellow curry mix with some green herb pieces in it. It has strong curry flavour. It is extremely easy and quick to prepare it. The ingredients of a chicken curry are listed on the pack and there you find also the recommended recipe. So to prepare your chicken curry you need about 450 g diced chicken breast, a chopped onion, a little oil, 300 ml milk and a Colman's curry mix. Brown the chicken and the onion on the oil then add the milk and the curry mix and cook it for further 5 minutes until the sauce becomes thick. Serve it with cooked rice and a hint of coconut.
What are the ingredients of the curry mix? Well, it contains sugar, modified cornstarch, curry spices, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt, dried coconut, dried apple, vegetable oil, flavourings, dried onion, dried parsley, dried garlic, lactose (from milk), milk proteins, dried lemon juice, dried glucose syrup. It contains traces of wheat and egg. The curry mix is free from artificial preservatives, colours and hydrogenated fat.
It is nut easy to describe the taste of the curry as it is so characteristic and quite a basic taste. When I eat curry the first thing that comes into my mind is India. I love this chicken curry and despite the fact that this meal is ready in 15 minutes it is a fabulous meal. I found that it coloured my favourite wooden spoon to yellow and I cannot clean it any more so I dedicated it to chicken curry.
The ready made sauce has a lovely creamy texture and vivid yellow colour. If you prepare a pack of chicken curry according to the recommended receipt the sauce will be enough for 3-4 servings. It is a bit hot and the taste of the curry can be felt long after you finished your meal. Do I recommend this meal? If you like spicy food I highly recommend trying it. It is delicious and ready in 15 minutes. This spice mix costs 74 pence in Sainsbury's and Tesco.
*I'm tallulahbang, but this is just for the Dooyooers. Never say I don't do anything for you.*
Remember your childhood? Remember the things you got as treats?
Trips to the cinema, new games for your Commodore 64 (if you're under 28 you'll be looking a bit puzzled now), a new doll or action man...
Is all of this sounding familiar?
Well, either times were tough in the Tallulah parental home, or I was an exceptionally gullible child, because my treat for being a particularly good child was...
...wait for it...
A school dinner.
Nowadays, that'd be child abuse. Then, though, I was bloody delighted. School dinners now are nothing like they were in my day (for which we have Jamie 'looks like the missing link' Oliver). Back in the 80s an average school dinner consisted of a mountain of mash, some sausages that looked like they had been made from a genetically modified pig, cabbage that had been boiled until it was as grey and tasteless as old flannel and gravy so gelatinous that you could actually peel it off your meal if you didn't fancy it. All of this would be followed by some kind of 'pudding' which was usually some stale cornflakes that had been superglued together, drizzled with jam and then doused in watery custard. If all of this sounds pretty horrific, that's because it was. There was enough stodge in the average school dinner in the 80s to transform even the brightest child into a zombie with the reaction times of a bag of wet cement.
But, all of that paled into insignificance beside the one dinner that actually *was* a treat. I refer, of course, to chicken curry. It didn't matter that the rice was sticky and lumpy, that the chicken was stringy or that the vegetables were overcooked. Indeed, it didn't even matter that the curry sauce was the kind of radioactive yellow that suggested the chief dinnerlady had been on an extended hiatus in Sellafield right before she cooked it. What mattered was the taste. Mild but with a definite taste of curry, creamy, coconutty and with occasional sultanas it was, in the parlance of the playground, 'proper ace'.
As an adult, I don't often get the opportunity to indulge in this kind of dining delight for a couple of reasons:
1) I don't often eat Indian food but I'm aware that, when I do, it is most definitely not the done thing to ask for the blandest curry in the place. An appreciation of the spicing and complexity of the flavours is generally what is called for, rather than an admission that you really want something so mild and innocuous that the average toddler could eat it without complaint.
2) I'm not a fan of ready meals or packet sauces, which is most often where this kind of curry is to be found. I'm not a total food snob by any means but ready meals tend to be overpriced, full of ingredients that I wouldn't necessarily elect to eat and there's rarely a guarantee that the chicken used is free range or organic.
How, then, a packet of Colman's Chicken Curry sauce made it into my cupboard is something of a mystery. I honestly don't remember buying it. And, therein lies a bit of a confession. The expiry date on my packet was April 2009. Given that these things usually have a shelf-life of six months or so, I must have bought it sometime around November 2008. For those of you a wee bit behind in the numeracy department that means my packet was a year and a half old and more than a year out of date. However, I am nothing if not an intrepid and fearless reviewer, so I ploughed on and cooked it up anyway. I hope you appreciate the risks I take on your behalf.
The back of the packet advises that you'll need half a pint of milk, some chopped raw chicken, an onion and some vegetable oil. Because I am quite the budding Delia, I took the liberty of adding some finely diced raw potato and a handful of sultanas. Heston Blumenthal, I feel, would be impressed.
To make the curry you fry the onion and chicken until the chicken is sealed. You then mix the contents of the packet with the milk and pour over the chicken. After simmering for 8-10 minutes, it's ready to be eaten.
As soon as you open the packet there is a definite whiff of coconut and curry spices. The powder doesn't mix terribly well with the milk: what I ended up with was a jug of yellow milk with a layer of powder on top that wouldn't blend no matter how well I mixed it. As soon as it was poured into the pan, though, it all turned into a lump-free sauce that thickened up nicely.
Once cooked, it has a good consistency and smells properly school dinner curry-ish. It doesn't have quite the same day-glo hue that the curry of my childhood did, and a quick check of the ingredients list reveals that everything is reassuringly familiar - there is nothing that I wouldn't expect to see in a curry and, aside from a few stabilisers and the like, the chemical additions seem to be at a minimum.
The taste is reassuringly mild and inoffensive. This curry doesn't so much assault your tastebuds as wave a quiet hello to them. The overriding flavour is of coconut, with curry coming close behind. It is quite a sweet curry (the first ingredient on the list is, somewhat worryingly, sugar), so my adding sultanas actually turned out to be a bit of a mistake (sorry Heston) and not something I would recommend. Realistically, it's the kind of curry that is perfect comfort food, but any true curry connoisseurs will probably be absolutely horrified by it. The packaging advertises that it will serve four, but that's only if you're stingy and serve loads of rice with it. If made with 2-3 chicken breasts and served with a medium sized portion of chips (for that is the correct, authentic way of serving curry, I believe) you'll get 3 good sized portions out of a packet.
I have no idea how much it cost, because it's at least a year and a half since I bought it and my memory's not *that* good. It's likely to be under a quid, though, so you could probably splash out and get yourself a nice tin of fruit salad for afters. Lovely.