The knack: How to eat a vindaloo, by Udit Sarchel

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Indy Lifestyle Online
"Vindaloo is an explosion of chilli, vinegar and spices to the unsuspecting palate, and so should be eaten very carefully. The best way is to sip the gravy first, then savour a chunk of meat and follow each mouthful with some steamed basmati rice. You could have nan bread, but to get the true marriage of flavours you should stick to rice. Once you've enjoyed the excitement of eating a Vindaloo, you'll be asking for one every time - it's quite addictive.

In the West, the word `Vindaloo' is used as a scale of how chilli-hot a dish is. But genuine Vindaloo is a dish on its own which derives from Goa and is made with either pork or chicken. Although `Vindaloo' should not really be used as a benchmark of the spice level, a lot of restaurants will make something a Vindaloo by adding lots of extra chilli. You need something to neutralise all this chilli and wash it down well, or it will stay in your tummy and burn slightly. In India you'd be given either feni - an alcoholic drink made from dates and cashews - or coconut. Here in England, a good choice is the yoghurt-based drink lassi. Lager can also help, especially Indian lager, as it is more syrupy and sweeter than other kinds. Contrary to popular opinion, wine is also good with a Vindaloo, but go for a cool white wine as opposed to a warm red, which will make you hotter. Water will not help you; in fact, it excites your palate further and makes the chillis stronger."

Udit Sarkhel, from Sarkhel's Indian Cusine in Wimbledon, and Three Monkeys, opening shortly in Dulwich (0181-870 1483), will be preparing some of his signature dishes as part of the BBC's `Network East Live Megamela' event at Birmingham NEC (27-29 Nov).

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