Jozi spots every serious curry lover should know about
Andrea Burgener's discovered a great place to get authentic Indian takeout and buy the best fresh rotis in Johannesburg
Curry Up looks kinda take-outy, and is in an entirely charmless centre just off Beyers Naude. But the logo, an almost anime-type elephant with rabbit-like ears, has us hooked, so in we go.
The thankfully shortish menu divides the food roughly into Durban-style and dishes from the Subcontinent. The distinction is interesting, and it's one which usually gets ignored. We walked out with lamb roti, an earth-shatteringly good dhal & brinjals, and a bean bunny.
All dishes were remarkable. Not just because they were delicious, but because each tasted entirely distinct from the others, and because none of them smacked one little bit of "restaurant" Indian.
They didn't have that slap-across-the-face, one-liner spicing and intensity that so much of this cuisine suffers from when offered commercially. Just like the best home cooking, the spicing is subtle, and you can eat great bowlfuls without heartburn setting in. There's also less oil on show.
I kept thinking about it, and the next week we were back.
This time round we went for sugar-bean and potato curry, chicken tikka masala, butter naan, paneer palak, and an incredible aloo jeera, laced with ginger strips and curry leaves. The one naan was strangely undercooked and doughy, but the rest was sublime.
Please, Curry Up, never ever change.
• Visit Curry Up at Cresta Crossing, 011-027-1522, or at Clearwater Mall 011-675-5212.
Naan is tricky, and not something a sane person would try to make at home (unless that sane person owned a tandoori oven). But a wheat-based side to curries that you definitely can make at home is roti.
Now I didn't grow up with rotis, so I'd never call myself an expert, but I do know that you can make better ones at home than you can buy. And because I get so cross about the cement-heavy, too-oily rotis in many places, I try to get them right.
For one of the best recipes you'll stumble across, just Google ''How to make soft roti - food like Amma used to make it". It's not lightning quick, but the light flaky results make up for any pain and suffering. My only change is to use olive oil instead of the suggested seed oil.
If making rotis at home seems - understandably - a bit of a stretch, then the best place to find them is at the fantastic Eastern Temptation superette in Emmarentia. They have a range of always fresh rotis which survive a reheat perfectly. My favourite is the whole-wheat roti, which sounds worthy but is gloriously decadent.
• Visit Eastern Temptations at 35 Greenhill Road, Greenside,. Call 011-646-8429.
• This article was originally published in The Times.