Everyone knows that Indians have always loved a romance. You only have to visit a multiplex cinema or dip into the great historic epic of the star-crossed Rama and Sita to realise that. And, lest we forget, the oft-coy nation who would hide a Bollywood starlet’s body behind a suggestive wet sari is also the country responsible for the karma sutra. With many Indian ingredients noted for their aphrodisiac properties, treating your beloved to a superb spicy supper on Valentine’s Day could well be your fastest route to Nirvana.
A large box of Devnaa’s Indian-inspired chocolates http://www.devnaa.com (or perhaps make something from their dessert cookbook, reviewed here). The card, meanwhile, must come from Wild Clove‘s beautifully whimsical range (headline article image).
Woo from the moment your loved one wakes by serving Cook in a Curry’s anda bhurji– essentially, spiced-up scrambled eggs with buttered toast or soft rotis, or maybe Miss Masala’s brunch poha– a light mish-mash of mixed veggies and flattened rice. Sup on cups of Pukka Paki’s petal-strewn, fragrant almond milk.
You’re aiming to seduce, not stuff, so please absolve yourself of any notions of the romance of a ready-meal rogan josh. This is one night to opt for aesthetic pleasure over greed. Start with Cook In A Curry’s deep, smoky grilled pomegranate seed-sprinkled Kandhari chicken tikka, anointed with pomegranate molasses and served with Pukka Paki’s joltingly pink beetroot raita. Veggie? Put the beets in Sinfully Spicy’s patties, dunked into spicy green chutney.
For the main course, keep the clean feel and eschew heavy sauced dishes with rice and bread for a protein-rich, one-plate affair like Absolute Indian’s Kerala-style seared steak salad, meat served rare and pink in keeping with my ever-so-slightly twee ‘romantic’ colour palette. In accordance, vegetarians need to choose red specimens only and make paneer-stuffed peppers from Monica’s Spice Diary.
Dessert has to feature British berries, really, doesn’t it? There’s nowt quite so rosy red as a ripe strawberry, even obliging our sentimental sides by growing in the shape of a heart. Aww. But that’s not to say you can’t apply the obligatory Indian zing.
Try Cook In A Curry’s pannacotta-like berry bhapa doi, or Chai Lounge’s srikhand– using the sweet hung curd to make an ersatz Eton mess. For something completely different but particularly spectacular, Pukka Paki’s spiced beetroot halva is knockout.
So there you have it. Romance to really relish from a selection of simply super chefs. Happy Valentine’s Day!