17 Jul
Durban Curry

Durban Curry Up2Date screams flavour and features delicious winter-warming curries to satisfy all tastebuds, writes Katrine Anker-Nilssen


Schooled reporter, writer, editor and creator of mad book ideas, Erica Platter, together with photographer and designer, Clinton Friedman, have just released their second Durban curry book.

“This is the fifth we have made together,” says Erica. “Except for My Kind of Wine with John Platter, all the books have been a collaboration with the cooks and chefs, farmers, fishermen and food people of KZN; a celebration of local produce and dishes.”

“The first book, East Coast Tables, was born when ‘retiring’ to my home province and concerned friends from the Cape and Joburg promptly began to send food parcels, so worried were they at the absence of cuisine in these parts,” laughs Erica. “But the jewel in our crown is of course Durban Curry, So Much of Flavour. The sales, popular and critical success of this book led to three reprints.”

The food-story book approach Erica and Clinton take is much appreciated. “We don’t do recipe books, we are not chefs,” says Erica. “Though Clinton does fancy himself as a bit of a fish cook, and I’m OK at mayo,” she laughs. “The thing is, you don’t have to gloss up a Durban curry. It comes with its own glistening oil slick. You don’t have to pump up the colours, they’re naturally there. And you don’t struggle to get their makers to relax: they are proud of what they’ve cooked, appreciate that we are interested and enjoy explaining. They and their stories are the distinguishing feature of our books.”

With the first book long sold out came the decision to publish a sequel, entitled Durban Curry Up2Date, not only for the obvious reason, but because it’s a play on the official name of the potatoes sold by their millions to Durban curry cooks, namely UTD or Up To Date potatoes – which cook more meltingly than any other variety.

“The Durban curry is a constantly evolving and changing dish – that is its essence and explains why it changed from an Indian to a thoroughly South African dish,” says Erica. Introducing modern influences, more plant-based ideas, quicker-easier tricks, and more cheffy inspirations, Durban Curry Up2Date goes fine dining.

“The best part is not the awards or the sales, but how affectionately we have been welcomed into the Durban curry community. No one has ever refused us a recipe. The cooks and chefs are as proud of our national treasure of a dish as we are.” * 

Durban Curry Up2Date is available now at Gorima’s and other spice and gift shops, or online at durbancurry.co  




500ml sugar beans soaked overnight in cold water; 60ml oil; 2ml each cumin, caraway and mustard seeds; 2 sticks cinnamon; 1 onion, chopped; 2 sprigs curry leaves; 7,5ml chilli powder; 2,5ml turmeric powder; 5ml coriander powder; 5ml cumin powder; 2 green chillies; 10ml ginger/garlic paste; 2 tomatoes, chopped; 4 medium amadumbe, peeled, diced; salt to taste; 60ml oil; 750ml water; chopped coriander


*Drain beans and boil in fresh water until finger soft. Drain. Heat oil in a heavy-based pot, add whole spices and cinnamon, fry for a few seconds. Add onion and curry leaves, fry until golden. Add ground spices, green chillies, ginger-garlic and tomatoes, cook for a minute. Add amadumbe. Stir and cook till half done. Add sugar beans and salt. Stir, cover, cook for 2 minutes. Add water, simmer until gravy is thick. Sprinkle with chopped coriander. Serve with a chopped cucumber and tomato sambal.




750g lamb mince; ½ red onion, finely chopped; 2 red chillies, deveined, de-seeded, chopped; 1 handful fresh dhania and/or mint, chopped; 1 fat clove garlic, grated; 1 thumb ginger, grated; 1 Tbsp tamarind paste; 1 tsp honey; 1 tsp mixed salt, pepper

*Mix all ingredients well. Shape into patties. Put on a tray in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. Heat and lightly oil braai or ridged pan. Cook patties on both sides until grill marks appear, but lamb remains slightly pink inside.


Simple Spicy Red Durban Sauce


3 Tbsp oil; 1 onion, chopped; 1 tsp each mustard and cumin seeds; 1 Tbsp grated garlic; ½ tsp turmeric; 1 tsp dhania-jeera powder; 1 tin (410g) Indian-style diced, peeled tomatoes; 1 Tbsp tamarind paste; 1 Tbsp honey; salt, pepper


*Braise onion, seeds and garlic in oil until seeds start popping. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Adjust seasoning.





2 Tbsp olive oil; 1 medium white onion, chopped; 1 Tbsp ground cumin; 1 Tbsp garlic, grated; 2 Tbsp ginger, minced; 2 green chillies, de-seeded, sliced; 1 Tbsp ground coriander;

1 Tbsp chilli powder; 1 tsp ground turmeric; 1 tin finely diced tomatoes; 2 potatoes, roughly chopped into 3cm cubes; 2 cups cooked chickpeas; 1 cup water; salt if needed; 2-3 tsp coconut sugar (or brown); 2 tsp garam masala


*Heat oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add onion and cumin, cook gently. In a mortar and pestle or food processor grind the garlic, ginger and green chillies into a rough paste. Add paste to onion-cumin mixture. Add coriander, chilli powder and turmeric, stir to coat onions well. Add tomatoes, potatoes, chickpeas and water. Cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are perfectly tender and curry gravy has thickened. Season to taste with salt and coconut sugar. Remove from the heat, stir in garam masala. Serve with sweet potato roti.


Cashew Cream


1 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked for at least 4 hours, drained; ½ cup water; ¼ teaspoon salt; 1 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice


*Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Whizz until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl every now and then. Add extra water if needed to reach the consistency of thick cream. Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.




75ml oil; 2 tsp mustard seeds; 1 onion, chopped; 6-8 curry leaves; 3-4 green chillies, slit; 2 Tbsp grated ginger and garlic; ¼ tsp turmeric; 3 Tbsp fish masala; 6-8 jam tomatoes, crushed; 4 Tbsp tamarind paste; salt; 1 kg extra-large crab, cleaned, segmented; handful of dhania leaves, chopped


*Heat oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds, cook until they pop. Add onion and curry leaves. Braise until light gold in colour. Add chillies, ginger-garlic, stir well. Add turmeric, masala and  tomatoes, stir well. Add tamarind and taste for seasoning. You may want a pinch of salt. Braise for 5 minutes. Add crab pieces. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Scatter with dhania just before serving.


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