The Patak Empire strikes back from the dusty shelves of Asian grocers nationwide. Those purveyors of pickles have teamed up with Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker and wine expert Suzy Atkins to launch a curry club from their website. Fronted by Anjali, third generation member of the Patak family firm, the club showcases recipes compiled by both Dhruv and Anjali together with Suzy’s wine pairings. We were invited to try a selection with all three present at a swish showhouse in London’s Holland Park the night before Diwali.
Dhruv, modest and approachable, tells me that the most difficult part of fame, having won Masterchef earlier this year, is the time away from his family. He’s easy to talk to and every marketer’s dream, his rugby player’s physique straining a violent pink sweater. Speaking of violent pink, we started our own little supper with Indian Scotch eggs. OK, I lied about the pink but these were fab. Pretty much like regular Scotch eggs but using spiced lamb – spiced using a pickle of course – instead of the usual ground pork.
Anjali had been painstakingly peeling the quails’ eggs the previous day but her labours were not in vain. The eggs were paired with a lovely Errazuriz Pinot Noir 2009 from Chile whose berry flavours (See? Pink!) pepped up the eggs without upstaging them. I have to say, the coconut-stuffed guinea fowl with wilted spinach and saffron crushed potatoes didn’t blow me away, but again, using a paste would make this easy work. I’ll stop here as I’m no Patak’s PR – take a look at the site for yourselves. But I guess these dishes reminded me that pickles can substitute for spices and produce perfectly fine dishes. And Suzy’s wine pairings worked excellently.
Patak’s has commissioned some research to launch its club. It’s all about busy lifestyles and social networking eclipsing meaningful connection. Too true! Tweet me well and I’ll love you! Supperclubs, and unsurprisingly, curry clubs are the answer, it says. There are some surprises in the report, however: Apparently people in the Midlands are most likely to view supperclubs as a good way to meet new people. And Brits value their guests at £9 per head when planning a dinner party. Probably more than enough to buy a few jars of the old pickle, if you’re that way inclined. And you’d be supporting your faithful Asian grocer.
This recipe can work as a starter or snack with homemade dips. If vegetarian, substitute the lamb for mashed potatoes.
250 g lamb mince
8 quail eggs / 4 hens eggs
2 tablespoons Patak’s Rogan Josh Paste
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
1 Patak’s Naan Bread ( I like Garlic & Coriander)
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 hen’s egg, beaten
oil for deep-frying
salt, to taste
chives, to garnish
For the dips:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon French mustard
½ teaspoon sugar
150 ml vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
pinch of coarse sea salt
pinch of white pepper
1 tablespoon Patak’s Brinjal Pickle
1 tablespoon thick Greek yoghurt
1. Heat the oil to 180°C.
2. In a bowl mix together the lamb mince, Patak’s Rogan Josh Paste and fresh coriander.
Whilst the lamb is marinating, boil the eggs. Add the eggs to simmering boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave in the water for 30 seconds for quail eggs and 6 minutes for hens eggs. Remove carefully and plunge them into ice-cold water.
Carefully peel the eggs by gently tapping them on a hard surface before removing the shell. Set aside.
Grate the Patak’s Naan Bread on a grater so they resemble breadcrumbs.
Take 1 tablespoon of spiced lamb and flatten it in the palm of your hand.
6. Put a soft-boiled egg in the centre. Gently wrap the spiced lamb around the outside of the egg until all the egg is sealed inside.
7. Roll in a little plain flour and dip in the beaten egg.
8. Roll in the naan breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the eggs are coated.
9. Fry the Indian scotch eggs for 4 – 5 minutes until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
10. While they are cooling slightly, make the dips. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolk, white wine vinegar, French mustard, sugar and white pepper.
11. Slowly begin to pour in the vegetable oil whisking constantly until the mixture emulsifies and turns into a mayonnaise.
12. With the back of a knife, crush the chopped garlic with a pinch of coarse sea salt.
13. Add the crushed garlic to the fresh mayonnaise. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
14. In another bowl mix together the Patak’s Brinjal Pickle with the yoghurt.
14. For serving, cut the Indian Scotch egg into two. Place a small teaspoon of each dip on the plate and place the halved Indian Scotch egg on top. Place over some fresh chopped chives for garnish.
Anjali’s Tip If you don’t have time to make your own mayonnaise then just mix the crushed garlic with shop bought mayo.