Last Friday I went for dinner with the girls to one of my favourite places in Hong Kong; the Dehli Club Mess in Chung King Mansions.
Walking into ChungKing Mansions is like walking into no where else in Hong Kong. Technically a building, the Mansions, are made up of five 17 floor towers of rabbit warren. Hundreds of tiny rooms pack people into apartments, hostels, shops, money exchanges and restaurants. Heaving with life, the mansions are home to over 5000 people, but see many, many more passing through each day.
Before you walk through the main door on Nathan Road, take a deep breath. Brace yourself. As you walk through the metal shuttered entrance you are bombarded with men handing you dozens of flyers for restaurants, shouting out names of resturants, trying to pull you in. Push on through them (the key is not to accept a single leaflet, we learnt this the hard way!) and keep walking right as far as you can right to the back of the building. To get to the Dehli Club you’ll have to take one of the tiny, metal lifts up to the third floor. A huge board on the wall announces the names of dozens of guest houses and eating messes. Order a beer, soak up the atmosphere.
Chana Masala, full of chick peas and spices, is my current favourite curry, and I’m a huge curry fan. Last friday I ate mine along with mounds of rice, piles of nann bread, and spicy pea and potato samosas, folded in rich, flakey pastry. The restaurant is packed and buzzing, we eat under a ceiling hung year round, for reasons unknown, with christmas baubles.
This recipe is adapted from the Smitten Kitchen. I had to change the recipe slightly based on the spices I could get my hands on in Hong Kong. It’s a warming, stew-like curry. Deep flavours in a hearty sauce.
I don’t think the pictures really do the curry justice, but i’m still struggling without a camera. Fingers crossed the pictures will get slightly better soon!
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
400g chopped tomatos (I used one tin)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
300 ml water
800g chickpeas (equivilent to two drained tins)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add in your onions, garlic, ginger and green chilli and cook for about five minutes until browned and softened. Turn the heat down to low and add the ground corriander, cumin, tumeric, curry powder, paprika and garam masala. Stir into the onion mixture and cook for two minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Mix well until the tomato is well combined.
Add the chickpeas and simmer uncovered for about ten minutes.
Finally, add the salt and squeeze over the lemon juice.
Serve with plenty of rice and naan bread.