Every now and then, a maverick chef will hit the headlines because of a weird and wacky food combo which nobody has thought of before.
And Sunday, as I enjoyed a leisurely read through the supplements, was such a day.
MARMITE CURRY! Who’d have thought it??!!!!
Not that they gave a recipe, mind you. Just a lip-smacking summary of the stand-out items on the menu at Cinnamon Soho, in London.
Chilli and peanut-crusted chicken breast with a marmite korma sauce, anyone? And perhaps you’d like a marmite naan with honey, chilli and garlic on the side?
These culinary masterpieces are the work of head chef Vivek Singh. But of course, he doesn’t divulge the how and what. So, if you’re feeling indulgent, take a trip to the Big Smoke:
While the mention of Marmite got my instant interest, the participation of meat dampened my ardour somewhat.
As you probably know, the key ingredient in Marmite is B12 (niacin), which is good for the nervous system and mental health in particular. Just one serving of Marmite on toast provides 60 per cent of your RDA of B12.
I was sufficiently inspired to adapt one of my favourite vegan curry recipes with the addition of the stuff you either love or hate. It was delicious. And here it is. I’m calling it Marmite Pathia (serves 4-6):
2 tbsp oil (preferably coconut); 1 cinnamon stick; 2 tsp fennel seeds; 0.5tsp ground cloves; 1 tsp turmeric; 1 tsp black onion seeds (also called Nigella); 2 star anise; 1 large onion; 2 small, potent chillis (depending on how hot you like it); 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger root; 4 cloves garlic, minced; large bunch fresh chopped coriander; 1.5 packs vege mince; 1 tbsp Marmite; 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes; juice of 1 lemon, to taste; agave nectar, to taste (found in all major supermarkets and health shops)
- Heat the oil in a large pan so it is moderately warm and add all of the ingredients in the list above up to and including the star anise. Fry for about a minute, ensuring they do not burn.
- Add the finely chopped onion, chillis, ginger and coriander (reserving a little of the coriander for a garnish). Fry on moderate heat until onion is soft. If the mixture is sticking, add a quick splash of some of the chopped tomatoes as and when necessary.
- Add the vege mince, Marmite, tomatoes and then a little water in order to form a thick gravy. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Now comes the taste test: gradually add some agave nectar teaspoon by teaspoon so the sweetness juxtaposes the heat from the chillis. Likewise, do the same with the lemon juice, until it tastes how you want it to.
- Leave to simmer away for as long as you like now (the longer the better, I think), then serve with quinoa, simmered with the addition of 4 whole cardamom pods.
If you love Marmite as much as me, try these other suggestions:
With the Nigella recipe, I use a little soya margarine and olive oil instead of the butter, boil up some Dove’s Farm gluten-free organic spaghetti, and swap the Parmesan for Marigold’s Engevita nutritional yeast flakes, also packed with B12.
TIP: If you want to cut down on the calories in any dish, but still crave that cheesy flavour, try the Nutritional yeast flakes, from most health food shops. They are YUMMY!