Tag Archives : Curry

Jolly J’s Restaurant, Port Phillip Arcade, CBD { Melbourne Food Review } 2

Jolly J's Sri Lankan rice and curry

To continue the Port Phillip Arcade theme, I bring you Jolly J’s. As mentioned in the previous post, Port Phillip Arcade is a Mecca of cheap eats in Melbourne CBD. Some good. Some terrible. But noone seems to agree on what is what. So I can only do my bit and let you know what I like.

Jolly J's in Port Phillip Arcade's menu

Jolly J’s is a little bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to your cheap CBD lunching needs. The menu consists of various hot food items (such as chicken parma, calamari rings and garlic prawns) and hot chips. But of course, the main draw card for Jolly J’s is their Sri Lankan style rice and curry.

Jolly J's Sri Lankan rice and curry

(Jolly J’s daily specials of Sri Lankan style rice and curry – $7.50)

I, of course, went directly to the Jolly J’s Daily Special – Rice & Curry. How can you argue against a good, wholesome interesting Sri Lankan lunch for $7.50? Did I mention it’s super cheap?

As any other Sri Lankan rice and curry shop in Melbourne, you get a choice between white rice or yellow rice, a choice of vegetable curries (eggplant, pumpkin, lentils, mixed vegetables, etc.) and a choice of meat curry (beef, lamb, chicken). You will also get yoghurt condiment (sometimes called ‘curd’ at Sri Lankan restaurants), coconut sambal and chilli. A poppadum is also served on top. (more…)

A Most Excellent Rogan Josh and Saffron Rice 8

Book: Food Safari by Maeve O’Meara (recipe by Kumar Mahadevan) Theme: Indian Recipe: Rogan Josh

This week flew, didn’t it? The Cookbook Challenge Week 2 theme is Indian. I have been itching to buy myself an Indian cookbook as I love making Indian food but never really got around to it. The Food Safari book is the companion to the Food Safari series (which I love and have on DVDs despite not having a functional TV at home). It has amazing recipes – which better still can be watched individually on the SBS Food website.

This recipe is such a winner. It’s spicy, and oniony and meaty. The lamb was just so soft and rich. We have a bit of love for this Kashmiri specialty in our house because Josh orders a rogan josh when he is out of ideas at Indian restaurants simply because of its name. We amazingly enough never made it at home. I told Josh the night before about the idea of making rogan josh for the Cookbook Challenge and came home to find that he had defrosted the lamb chops, bought some tomatoes and fennel seeds and already made a start on chopping up the onions so I ended up backseat-cooking and helping him chopping things instead. He did most of the cooking.

We tweaked the recipe a little bit due to availability of ingredients – substituting here and there. But the full recipe, including a video, is available on the SBS Food site. (more…)

Melbourne Food Review: Gaylord Indian Restaurant, Chinatown 4


(chicken curry?*)

I have always wanted to go for a meal at Gaylord’s. It happens to be right opposite to Shanghai Noodle House which is one of our eternal favourite places for dumplings and every time I walked past Gaylord, the kitschy decorations have always drawn me in.

Japanese green slippers

(Japanese slippers – $9?)

Tara and Nat have been there  a few times and absolutely swear by them. So one night, we ended up there for a quick dinner because we were all heading off to see a show. We started by cocktails which were rather cheap and awful. I ordered something that was meant to be a mixture of Bailey’s, Frangelico and a couple of other things and all I tasted was watered down Bailey’s. But as Josh said, an Indian restaurant in China Town is hardly an appropriate place for cocktails!

complimentary pappadum and mint sauce

(complimentary papadum and mint sauce)

We were given papadums as nibbles but we went and ordered a lot of entree anyway.

tandoori mushrooms

(tandoori mushrooms – $10.00)

The tandoori mushrooms were sizzling hot and well flavoured with the orangey tandoori paste. It was quite good. (more…)

Red Centre Trip: Cooking in a Hostel Communal Kitchen 2

Ayer's Rock Resort Communal Kitchen

(Ayer’s Rock Resort’s communal kitchen at around 9pm)

Wow I never thought I would ever do this. I figured I have already missed my boat on the whole backpacking/youth hostel thing. We were camping out at the camp ground at the Ayer’s Rock Campground near the Uluru-Kata Tjutu National Park because I planned the whole trip out in two days and I couldn’t get us reasonable accommodation that didn’t cost, like, $500 a night. So sleeping in a tent, it was.

boiling up pasta in a wok

(the choice of cooking implements were sadly lacking)

It seemed like, though, that everyone around us was well prepared and came with their own portable stove and cooking equipment. We only had some provisions, plates and cutleries and a billy can! I actually planned to just buy food there but the choice was so sadly lacking that when we by chance discovered the communal kitchen, I decided that I would hit the supermarket and make us some food. It was absolutely packed at first but once we made a trip to the supermarket and came back, the crowd had died down and the kitchen was nice and empty.

hot water!

(I didn’t realise there was a water boiler there, I actually set a huge wok to boil some pasta)

To the certain extent I was prepared for everything to cost more, but I didn’t expect everything to nearly double in price! Amazingly, the only thing that wasn’t double in price was the steak. They loved their steak out there. That was the only thing in that entire Ayer’s Rock Resort IGA that didn’t cost much more than it would in Melbourne!

pasta sauce with bacon, broccoli and zucchini

(pasta sauce with broccoli, zucchini and bacon)

So I ended up making us two meals there on both nights we camped there. The first night I made pasta with vegetables and bacon, having all the ingredients from the box. The second night, Mum insisted on some more meat and so I made green curry with beef and mushrooms and stir-fried lettuce with bacon.

chopping up salad

(we had salad every night)

Things I already had in the provision box (some of which desperately needed to be used up):

  1. 1 x 500g. fusili
  2. 1 jar of Leggo’s Stir-Through pasta sauce
  3. 2 slices of bacon
  4. an iceberg lettuce
  5. cooking oil
  6. fish sauce
  7. seasoning soy sauce
  8. salt
  9. green curry sauce (Mum bought this in Thailand so it really wasn’t so bad)
  10. 2 tomatoes
  11. 1/2 broccoli
  12. 1/2 zucchini
  13. 3 x mushrooms


(our pasta mean on the first night)

The rest I had to acquire at the supermarket, of course. I cut up some bacon, broccoli and zucchini. I stir-fried them in a bit of oil and added the Chilli, Tomato and Olive Stir-through pasta sauce in this mildly-filthy frying pan that I had to stir with a bent-up ladel. The shared equipment’s cleanliness had a lot to be desired I have to admit. Mum insisted on rewashing everything but some of the burnt on filth just wouldn’t come off. Ah well. The food they were selling there didn’t look much more appetising though! I’d rather have something I made!


(pasta dinner for three, cooked in a communal kitchen, served in provided bowls)

I ended using all of the pasta and sauce and we had some for lunch the next day (we needed to energy to climb the Uluru!)

green beef curry with mushroom

(green curry with beef and mushroom, this is me breaking every Thai cooking rule here)

The second night saw us procuring some very nice and reasonably priced scotch fillets, which Mum promptly grilled up (in a wok I might add as it was the only thing we could lay our hands on because we went in during peak time on that day). I sliced the other one up and marinade it in 1 tbsp of fish sauce.  I brought the green curry sauce to boil and added the steak and mushrooms and simmer and cooked them quickly so that the beef stayed nice and tender.

green curry with beef and mushrooms

Yes I know. There is no mushroom in any Thai curry, ever. But I needed to use up the mushrooms as we didn’t have a fridge and I would be damned to store anything in the communal fridge! Again, I made a lot of food hoping to have it for picnic lunch the next day. Not a great idea with the curry as the fat solidified, so we saved it (and thankfully it lasted) until we get to Alice Springs where we had a microwave!

stir-fried lettuce with bacon

(stir-fried lettuce with bacon)

I also stir-fried lettuce and bacon together quickly in very hot oil. I only used salt as a flavouring ingredient. Everyone thought it tasted great. But the wok was so filthy it really put me off that I just couldn’t enjoy it knowing it was cooked in such a filthy communal wok. I literally added a heap of salt into a heated wok to clean out all the burnt bits that were on there that couldn’t be removed by detergent and scouring. It was rather disgusting to see what came off it. Although I cleaned it rather well, the memory lingered! I know the lettuce probably wasn’t a traditional stir-fry veggie but everyone should try it. It’s rather good.

rice cooked in a billy

(Rice cooked in a billy)

I made some rice in a billy! The trick is to use a lot less water because the billy is much taller and narrower so there’s less room for water to evaporate. Still the same ten minutes, just as it takes on the stove.

I guess I wouldn’t mind cooking in a communal kitchen again. I loved the big space and industrial-sized stove. The cleanliness had a lot to be desired but I think I’ll be happy to do it again provided that I bring my own saucepan, wok, frying pan, etc!

I saw a few families cooking in the kitchen together and it seemed like a great family bonding experience. I think that’s what everyone should do at home. Cook with your family. Sit down and eat the meal you have all prepared together. It was an experience for me observing all the family dynamics that were going on. I found it very interesting.

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