In an effort to impress my wife with my culinary skills, I thought that I'd put them to test and cook a supposedly tasty, hot but endorphine promoting Naga curry using one of the many Norfolk Naga chillis we've grown this year. This proved not to be such a great idea and what follows is really a bit like someone putting together flat pack furniture THEN reading the instructions to find why their book case now resembles a stool.
Mistake number one....how not to handle Nagas:
I looked at this innocuous twisted little chilli and thought "Nah...can't be all that bad, I mean look at it...it's almost cute looking!"
No gloves worn, Naga finely chopped and fingers used to remove the remnants of Naga from side of knife blade, and added to the curry base I'd prepared earlier (you can PM me for the recipe if you like but its one of the nicest if hot curries you'll ever taste).
Wiped brow....something not right....eyebrow feels "funny" and eye begins to twitch and water. Now at this stage, I'll be you're thinking "you must have learnt your lesson, surely?" but obviously not as what happened next was that I rubbed my eye. Then banged my shin on a chair as I danced half blind around the kitchen looking for something to put the fire out in my eye.
After my wife administered first aid and pressed a cool damp towel to my eye, I continued, albeit a little warily to attend to the curry.
Mistake Nr 2: Always finely chop Naga, do NOT leave large lumps of it swilling about in the curry
I picked up a spoon to test the curry after things had been cooking for a little while and unknown to me, lurking just beneath the surface of a teaspooon used for the taste test was rather a large lump of naga. I didn;t spot it because my eye was still watering and vision a little blurry. Initially, the taste was "wow!" However...that little lump of evil was chewed into and within seconds I was slumped on the floor gasping for breath and hoarsely calling for a glass of "Mick,......I need Mick". My wife doesn't know anyone called Mick so was a little confused until she realised that my tongue was so numb that I couldn't really pronounce my "L's". After a miming session rivalling the best of Christmas family charades, she got the message and gave me a glass of "Mick" and the throat and mouth fire slowly abated. My eyes were still watering, and yep, you guessed it, i instinctively wiped my painful eye with my, still, Naga ridden hand, and managed to smack the other shin on the dance around the kitchen which ensued.
After a repeat first aid attempt and calming me down by saying that I didn't have to go near the wretched evil little curry bubbling away on the hob, I sat down to nurse my wounds.
Mistake Nr 3....caught off guard.
My wife kindly finished the cooking and dished up, because she was laughing so much at my attempts to limp aorund the kitchen with watering eyes moaning like a homesick zombie that it was hurting. her eyes were watering for quite different reasons, it's fair to say. She dished up this little bundle of evil onto the waiting rice, but I have to admit I was feeling hungry by then and the smell was wonderful, so I tucked in. The initial flavour was "wow!" and hot but not too bad, just amazingly tasty, so I abandoned caution and had another few forkfuls. I was too distracted to notice that my wife was waiting for my reaction before she touched her curry. Oddly, the endorphins rush hit me BEFORE the horror that followed. It started with a build up of heat so intensive, I thought I'd swallowed a hot exhaust pipe. them I lost all sensation in my mouth and throat, just a sort of death twich and tingling sensation and a feeling that my head would explode. I reached for the water but that only seemed to make things worse, so I dived for the freezer and the ice cream tub. by then the sweat was starting to appear on my brow, and yep, you've guessed it.....another dance round the kitchen diner knocking into things before being subdued and spoon fed ice cream which almost sizzled on contact.
It took an hour or so before I felt normal again, but you know what....apart from the injuries sustained, that has to be one of the tastiest curries I've ever eaten! Nest time, I'll remember to do a proper risk assessment before cooking the damned thing!
Seriously, one tasty curry. Happy to provide the recipe to anyone brave/interested.