Christmas Turkey. Now be honest. Does the thought of it fill you with excitement? Does it make your taste buds stand to attention?
Probably not. Everyone seems to have a memory of a Christmas dinner that turned out appallingly – insipid meat, flabby sprouts – and the mere idea of cooking a roast fowl can send some people into a decline.
So naturally, we felt it was our responsibility to rescue Dishoom-wallas from this pit of turkey despair. A noble mission to turn this uninspiring meat into something amazing. Something that friends would squabble over the scraps of. A Bombay Party in your mouth, so to speak.
One of our absolute favourite Indian dishes is Raan, a whole leg of lamb, slow-cooked until the meat is so tender it’s falling off the bone. Much-celebrated and more than a little lavish, and therefore quite fitting for Christmas. And in a slightly inspired (read crazy) move we decided to try it with turkey instead – and the results were absolutely phenomenal. Our chef Naved Nasir could actually be a genius. Perhaps a superhero, like in that new Sharukh Khan movie. That’s going a bit far, but you get the idea…
Unlike a traditional roast, we marinate the meat and cook it slowly over a whole day to keep maximum moisture and flavour. We cover the turkey leg with a dry rub of salt and chilli followed by ginger and garlic paste, then allow it to rest and absorb the flavours. The marinated meat is braised over several hours in a rich stock spiced with star anise, black cardamom and bay leaves, before being grilled over charcoal. Finally, it is tossed with butter, lime and black pepper.
Rich, moist and packed with flavour, Flaming Turkey Raan is the antidote to every disappointing Christmas dinner you’ve ever had…
And let’s not forget the accompaniments – the turkey comes with a fiery-sweet chutney made with cranberries and red chillies. And zingy Bombay Potatoes and Masala Winter Greens round off an altogether pretty spectacular dish.
And no matter how full you feel, it will be impossible to resist finishing off your feast with a glass of Naughty Chai.
So this Christmas say no to dull-as-dishwater dinners, and come and try a Bombay Christmas feast in London.
IT HAS BEEN an annual December habit of mine, these past ten years since we embarked upon this restaurant business, to sit alone, with myself, and reflect on the year gone by. I am grateful to be here in the Permit Room in our restaurant in Shoreditch scribbling and writing, the oddly enjoyable taste of splintering wood from my chewed up pencil smoothed by my decently strong drink.
These are the last few days, the dregs of 2019. It’s my habit to sit here in the Permit Room at this time. I am the be-stubbled and dishevelled regular, cherishing his precious drink at the end of the bar. Weary, I sit here pondering the year, attempting to figure out what it was trying to teach me. What wisdom can I glean from it?
I love to truly understand and appreciate the origins of a dish, and learn how communities have adapted a recipe over time to make that dish unique to them.
We have arrived at a very sad, but inevitable and clear choice. As of now, all Dishooms are now closed to diners.