CURRY IN GENEVA
by Chené Koscielny
Where do you find an authentic Indian curry in Geneva? You know, the type of curry that tantalises your sense of smell like a striptease unveiling layer upon layer of exotic flavours before slowly setting your taste buds on fire.
Having lived in England where Indian restaurants are clustered on every street corner, we’ve found it quite hard to come by a decent curry at a decent price in Geneva. My homemade efforts tend to come from a jar (shameful, I know). So, when I’m invited to an Indian curry cookery class at a friend’s house, I don’t hesitate.
Also intriguing is the concept of “The Curry Club” which offers the option of ordering different take-away curries every week!
Cooking up a Storm
With the temperature soaring to 38 degrees Celsius outside, Urvashi Laneville, who hails from Calcutta, stays remarkably cool behind the stove while whipping up a four-course meal from scratch surrounded by 8 people. It’s only the second time she’s done this, she confesses, but if she’s nervous Urvashi really doesn’t show it. The class starts with the preparation of a freshly made iced mango lassi for everyone, followed by a plate of tasty and deliciously spicy pakoras to share – onions and potato slices fried in Garam (chickpea) flour and pumped up with coriander powder, turmeric, cumin and chilli.
While we enjoy our starter, Urvashi pops skewered and marinated chunks of chicken breast in the oven in preparation for the main dish: A butter chicken curry.
Urvashi’s TOP TIP: Skewering the chicken helps to cook it more evenly.
Meanwhile, Urvashi also starts to prep a vegetarian (Okra) masala side dish.Her step-by-step explanations are easy to follow, even for the novice cook (like me). We also get a handy booklet with all the recipes to take home.
Urvashi’s TOP TIP: Okra, ghee (clarified butter) and most of the Indian spices are available at reasonable prices from Asian shops in Geneva, such as New Asian Spices – Rue Caroline 7, 1227, les Acacias.
Finally, we get to taste the two curries. The Okra Masala is just beautiful with crunchy onion and loads of fresh coriander on top. The Okra is cooked to perfection – not stringy and not at all hard.
Urvashi’s TOP TIP: Don’t discard the coriander stalks – use them too as they contain the most flavour.
Taste buds on full alert
As for the butter chicken, words can’t really do justice to the heavenly, melt-in-the-mouth rich taste – but I’ll try. It’s the perfect mix of spicy and creamy; gentle, yet with just enough of a kick to keep your taste buds on full alert. Apparently the expats like it hot, but Urvashi keeps the curries for the Swiss on the mild side.
The ingredients in this dish include whole green chillis (poked, but not opened – otherwise they are too strong); loads of grated tomato – grated raw with skin and all, generous amounts of chilli powder, garam masala, black cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste, coriander, yoghurt and cream. The portions are generous, but you really can’t get enough of this stuff.
“We don’t like haute cuisine, because in Indian food it’s all about ‘hearty meals’ and we feel that haute cuisine sometimes loses the ‘heart’ of the meal.” I couldn’t agree more.
Urvashi and her husband, Jake Laneville, American but Swissed, are currently on a diet though, as their Indian wedding is in October and “Indian clothes show everything,” she says.
By the time we are served dessert, a rice pudding called Kheer, I know I need the Curry Club in my life. Kheer is a blend of rice, condensed milk, sugar, cardamom powder and ghee topped with pistachios and almonds. I’ve been craving this pudding daily ever since.
How much does it cost?
The cookery class and generous portions of all the recipes produced costs CHF45 per person. We even got to take some leftovers home!
Indian Street Food on its way
Urvashi and her chef husband have a licence to start a food truck serving Indian Street Food from 2018. Great news for Geneva!
The couple, who met at a culinary school in Valais, fight each night over whose turn it is to cook!
Join the Curry Club
Join the Curry Club to receive weekly menu suggestions per text available to order – usually on a Sunday. A menu for one usually includes a curry dish, vegetable dish, rice and yoghurt sauce if appropriate, for 18CHF. The portions are very generous.
The curries – currently between 20-30 per week are delivered to two pick-up points in Troinex and Thônex.
To find out more about the Curry Club or to join the club and receive the menu by text every week, message Urvashi on 079 3212307.
Now, you can have curry in Geneva every week!
Please note Urvashi is away in India until the 30th of June, so the Curry Club will restart the following week.