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NO.53
SUMMER2017

Boulestin’s Maltese curry with Worcestershire.

An utterly English egg dish despite its name that, Boulestin immodestly but justifiably if hyperbolically claims, is “a rich brown curry, at the same time hot and sweet, dry and soft, and better than any curry you can get in India or anywhere else.” Four smallish servings with rice.


  • Worcestershire_L-P_old_image2012.jpg2 Tablespoons bacon fat (see the Notes)
  • about 2 cups chopped onions
  • about 2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (see the Notes)
  • salt (maybe) and pepper
  • 3-4 Tablespoons curry powder
  • cayenne to taste if your curry powder is mild
  • 1 cup water
  • a peeled and sliced peach and two peeled and sliced apricots (!) or a good sized sliced apple
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color or color combination you like)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 or five beaten eggs

  1. Brown the onions in the bacon fat.
  2. Add the tomatoes, bring the slurry to a boil, reduce the heat to low, season with salt if your bacon fat is not too salty and add the curry powder and optional cayenne.
  3. Simmer the sauce gently indeed until the onions and tomatoes dissolve into each other and dry: “It is a dry curry. There should be no liquid at the end of the cooking.” This may take some time, up to a good hour or so.
  4. Add the fruit, bell pepper and sugar, increase the heat to medium low and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes. If the curry threatens to scorch add enough cream to save it now.
  5. Stir the Worcestershire and (whatever is left of) the cream into the sauce,
  6. Quickly stir the eggs into the sauce “so that there is no visible sign of the eggs in the dish” and serve straightaway.

 

Notes:

-Boulestin insists on the primacy of bacon fat here (“no other fat will produce the desired flavour”). You can save the dish for vegetarians by breaking his rule in favor of butter. The curry still will be good--just not as good.

-Use common sense in selecting your tomatoes. Unless they are very nearly perfect, that is, in their short season, eschew fresh ones in favor of canned San Marzanos.

-As with many curries from the American south, this one provides for the addition of bananas. Southern curries often add bananas to apples: Boulestin makes then an option instead of the other fruit.

-He recommends two or three Tablespoons of curry powder instead of our three or four. It really depends on the nature of your curry powder.

-The quotations in the recipe and notes are from page vii of Subtle Seasoning: A Collection of Recipes for Epicures and Others (Worcester, England 1926) Who are the others?

-What makes it a ‘Maltese’ curry? It is hard to say. The Oxford Companion to Food does not mention it, and although Madhur Jaffery covers curries from over a dozen countries in her Ultimate Curry Bible, Malta is not among them. Recipes for Maltese curry do tend to share some common ingredients--tomatoes, fruit, eggs, curry powder of course--although Ronald Johnson’s recipe from Simple Fare: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Humble Food omits the eggs and the techniques of different authors vary quite a lot.