Here’s a quick recommendation from my favourite local takeaway, Neon on Camden Street.
The Chu Chee curry. F**k yeah. Cheap? Meh, not particularly, takeaways are rarely cheap.
But this curry – extra hot, with vegetables, lime leaves, hot chilli paste, and your choice of chicken, beef, tiger prawns and tofu – was a stark and hugely overdue reminder of why I love chillies so damn much. It was well worth the €10.95 price tag (and includes steamed or brown rice).
I like when chillies make me cry, and this curry danced away with my tears. More important, a good strong chilli dish should not hobble the other flavours of the meal, and there was plenty of robust and vibrant fight from the vegetables and meat – usually a clear signal of freshness. Mine featured chicken, but I reckon the strong flavours would be a good match for the usual aching blandness of tofu, if you’re that way inclined.
This summer, I’ve neglected chillies. I’ve been eating a lot of healthy and fresh food. It’s so much easier to be healthy in summer: fresh green vegetables are in season, the shops are full of local cherries and raspberries, and fresh mackerel is in abundance. I’ve been cooking a lot, mostly Greek and Middle Eastern. A friend of mine says that summer is the best time to be healthy and shed a few pounds: the warmer weather suppresses your appetite, healthy food and salads are genuinely appealing, and outdoor exercise is no chore.
But that’s no excuse: I should have eaten more chillies. And I’m sorry. Chillies are healthy too, and they deserve more love. And I’ve managed to convince myself that Neon’s Chu Chee Curry, with all the fresh veg and hot chillies and lean chicken, is healthy too. And I want more. I’m eating it right now.
What are you scoffing more of this summer?