Whenever I talk about my blog to people I describe it as a blog about “celebrity endorsed food products” which I think is a fair assessment. This week however I can’t help wonder if I’m stretching the definition of celebrity, so I turned to Google for advice. Google told me a celebrity was 1 A famous person or 2. The state of being well known. I thought for a while about the name Rahila Hussain and wondered just how well known she might be, I concluded – not very. But the thing about Rahila is, she won a 9 part ITV1 prime time show to get her curry on the shelves of M&S. She is the food equivalent of Steve Brookstein and I think we all know who he is, and would not for a minute doubt his classification as a celebrity. So with that faultless logic, I decided that Rahila could qualify as a celeb, especially for the purposes of this blog.
Food Glorious Food was ITV and Simon Cowell’s attempt to produce a credible competitive food show, to take on BBCs Masterchef and Great British Bake Off. Personally I thought they didn’t do too badly and deftly avoided making a shit programme, although I know many others felt differently.
The curry takes 20 mins in the oven and comes out looking very appetising, it is described as a “white” korma and it’s certainly paler than the usual sandy coloured sauce. The curry comes topped with a green chilli; I learnt from watching the programme that it was to make the curry look more appealing, but I’m not sure it was a success. It does add a bit of vibrant colour, but by the time the curry has cooked it ends up half submerged in sauce and in reality it just looks a bit silly.
Stupidly I was imaging there would be some rice included. I don’t know why, neither the packaging, ITV, Simon Cowell or M&S promised me rice I just thought there would be some. This meant that when my dinner was ready all I had was a bowl of sauce and no accompaniment. However on closer inspection of the packet, I see that it is supposed to serve two people, which looks like a stretch – fingers crossed I’ll be full from a double serving of sauce.
It doesn’t taste like any korma I’ve ever eaten. It isn’t laden with cream and it isn’t mild. It’s a rich, complex and spicy curry, given body by a unique blend of nuts, which has changed my views on korma. In the past I’d always thought that korma was just there so the people who don’t really like curry have something to order, but Rahila’s version stands proud. If all korma had this much fire in it’s belly I’d be a happy man. I can see why Loyd Grossman got so excited I bet he wished he’d made one this good, unlike this horrible sauce. It was a great idea to use chicken thigh rather than breast as it had a meatier texture and good flavour, but it also had a bit of gristle which I was going to write off as a blip until I read this. It would seem that gristle is par for the course. It would also seem that I am in a minority enjoying this curry. Anyway make of that what you will, I reckon you should give it a try if you’re happy to take on some gristle and cook your own rice.
Rahila Hussain Fragrant White Chicken Korma £3.99 for 350g