For those of you who are regular Safari of the Mind readers, you will know that about 5 years ago we started a curry cook off to ward away the winter blues. There are no strict rules for this cook off, everyone gets to vote for their favorite curry at the end of the evening, and I get to post it on my blog 🙂 Since then, it has been an event that is anticipated and looked forward to. It typically happens in February when winter just drags on. It is always a lot of fun and it surely brings out the competitive streak in some of our friends :). This year we decided to set up in the basement. I’m always a bit leery with friends waltzing in and out with curries in tow, so this arrangement worked a whole lot better. 🙂 We set up some smaller tables and chairs, turned it into a cafe and had music piped in. There were about 11 entries, also Indian appetizers, and plenty of yummy desserts. This had turned out better than I had expected. You see with a cook-off of any kind, you are never too sure who will be competing and if there will be enough to go around. As you can see from the pictures below, there was plenty to be had.
We started out with some appetizers – vegetarian samosas and pakoras with cilantro chutney. It paired real well with drinks.
An aerial view of some of the dishes presented.
(1)Chicken Balti, (2)Spring Impending Curry, (3)Malai Kofta, (4)Chicken Tikka Masala
(5)Thai Red Curry (Vegan), (6)Egg Curry, (7)Trinidad Mango Chicken Curry, (8)Free Range Chicken Vindaloo (9)Roasted Okra (10)Vegetable Pulao
And the winner of the Fifth Annual Curry Cook-off 2019 was the Philly Cheesesteak Curry. The first of its kind 🙂 Jacque and Paul won the lantern, and deservedly so. A lot of effort and thought went into creating this unconventional curry. For those who have not heard of Philly Cheesesteak, (popular of course in Philadelphia), it is a sandwich served on a hoagie roll with thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese and of course toppings. Here’s Jacque’s own words:
“We chose to make this recipe mostly because we really wanted to create something unique that had a chance at winning our local curry cook-off. Knowing the competition would be extremely fierce, we had to land on something that would stand out, a recipe beyond standard chicken and vegetable curries…..something that would be a crowd pleaser! Honestly, in the Philadelphia region, what’s more crowd pleasing than a Philadelphia cheese steak? It’s also worth mentioning that we’d never won this cook-off before, so we tapped that Philadelphia underdog competitive spirit and played to win!
My personal affinity for cheesesteaks goes back to my first handful of part time jobs when I was young. I think I worked at every deli and pizza shop that existed in Newark, Delaware. In order to prove your salt at those places, you have to work the grill and kick out the best steak sandwiches possible.
Nowadays it pretty much takes a sports tailgate to get a cheesesteak in front of us, so this curry cook-off presented a fun opportunity to tip our hats to this food legend”.
Please click here for the full recipe.