Food Drink

Eat out, drink up

Sp'ce up your life

How good is Marks & Spencer’s range of INDIAN CUISINE? Perdip Singh of Edinburgh’s Namaste tested it out.

ndian cuisine an exotic delight of spices and blends is

a true melting pot ol‘ rich and diverse styles ol‘ the

subcontinent. It varies from region to region. with tastes. colours. textures and appearance of~ similar delicacies changing almost every few kilometres. lf‘ India's culinary art has found its place among the great cuisines of~ the world. it might he because of the trail-blazing Punjabi f’ood. (‘hef‘Atul Koclihar. of London’s Michelin-star winning 'l‘amarind. is best known for his tandoori and north west Indian dishes. But can he work the same magic with ready meals from M&S‘.’

Mattar paneer

A l)tlll)£tl)l favourite: peas and diced paneer cheese in a creamy tomato sauce flavourtxl \‘Jiill (‘lllllL garam masala, cumin and coriander. This (lifill offered excellent flavour and its freshness was as good as one :*::..:d exptx;t of a chilled meal. the paneer w; s soft and good. Peas. r:;~.'.'evei. could have bren a wee bit more tender. Would have gone down a treat wrth a choprhya phulka (a chapatti doused with desi ghee) and a raw onion rather than rice. (QQExy’S‘t .79)

King-prawn makhani

this dish also originates from the Punjab and comes from the same ' t'llily as the most popular Indian poultry delicacy. rnurgh inakhani. soft and supple with gentle strokes of spices leaving the palate tintslltt} for mom. Mild. buttery. laced with crearii, fresh coriander.

a' i:-:atic spices and finished with honey a subtle but important

'3 ,..:;r: i'iat highlights the aspirations of this M88 range. The prawns -':l ti .-r,~ir texture. but I )tllfl prefer larger ones. This dishy dish went :i ‘.'/el| or) the l’esliwari rice. (Siam/53.79)

Chicken iatfrezie

A irritig". iiiaiked 'hot' with a three chilli ranking on the package. this [a f’f;;.f(l have thrust itself a bit more in the spicy direction and

-' -’-" 'nfr’l firirii a fe'.'/ more (tiliennes of peppers in it. Still. the flavours a: ,’).."‘.’i l'l this dish air/l the clever use of lemon iuice (although

i, firmli‘l'y a tad too much here) brings a sour taste to a nippy dish

tr r,- ialliiiark of a good (fillNE/lt}. We would have it with plain rice or

5' ~-’ -’;1 l/Ilétll to enioy the wonderful flavours. (flog/533.79)

Aubergine masala

a sexy dish! I arge chunks of aubergines lurking in a lovely

' '1‘ unit. It had to he one of the best pre-packed. chilled dishes we

r a.-:,- i’:.r:' lead. the aubeigines tasted as fresh as one could expect ii a". eff the shelf meal and the blend of masala exuded an almost riastiorioiiiic sexuality. A good accorirpaniinent to a meal and on its would have been nice Will) a good old Punjabi paratha and

I. ghurt. (Qing/S‘QQU)

Peshwari rice

Ari lltll riiizg (I’)llll)llt£tll()ll of basmati rice in butter with pistachios, ;:!'tir;r"lé; ()i‘..()llfi and most interestingly toasted coconut. A good i’,’,f,'ltl}{llt"l‘(}lll to an enigmatic north Indian meal. (950g/S‘l .49)

The final analysis

ilte new range has captured the essence of good Indian cuisine

ii '.(;l)illl(_l the limitations of the 'ready meal'. What's more remarkable ‘, ii'l every dish we sampled tastes and flavours were (listinguislfable. A (I',’/l use of time honoured coiiibinalioris and blends of spices has --'l to Iowl a“. close as possible to the taste of restaurant fare.

Namaste North Indian Frontier Cuisine, 41 West Preston Street, Edinburgh, 0131 466 7061; Marks & Spencer’s Indian range is available in its food courts.


Side dishes

An extra helping of news

1%: item


Suitcase is the long awaited book by the proprietors of Lupe Pinto’s deli. Anyone who knows the shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with their cornucopia of Mexican and American foods, chillies, Asian and Iberian sundries, will appreciate the joint travelogue and recipe book. ‘We don’t hold back,’ says Dougie Bell. ‘We say what we think.’ It should soon be available in bookshops: in the meantime try Lupe Pinto’s or visit the web site

ITHE DHABBA HAS brought north Indian cuisine to the Merchant City. Owner Nav Basi is presenting authentic cuisine without the dishes Britain generally associates with Indian cooking. Instead. we may soon be swooning about murg kall mirch (chicken and peppercorns), raan sikandari (lamb leg) or paneer ashiana (cheese dumplings with spinach).

I FRATELLI SARTI ON Sauchiehall Street has reopened. Karyn Neville is now in charge. Nearby, the bar 396 has become Absolution, which features a bit more real cooking and flavoured vodkas. And Babuska, a London chain of up- market bars, now operates where Logic traded.

I GLENFINLAS. Edinburgh's fine food specialist has a new web site for selling its exclusive range of Green Mountain coffees wwwgreen mountaincoffeecouk. The Vermont-based products include Fair Trade organic (eg Peruvian Select) to others with exotic origins (such as Jamaican Blue Mountain). some signature coffees (French roast) and flavoured blends (English Toffee Cream) as well.