5th Annual Curry Cook Off…….and the winner is

For those of you who are regular Safari of the Mind readers, you will know that about 5 years ago we started a curry cook off to ward away the winter blues.  There are no strict rules for this cook off, everyone gets to vote for their favorite curry at the end of the evening, and I get to post it on my blog 🙂 Since then, it has been an event that is anticipated and looked forward to.  It typically happens in February when winter just drags on.  It is always a lot of fun and it surely brings out the competitive streak in some of our friends :).  This year we decided to set up in the basement.  I’m always a bit leery with friends waltzing in and out with curries in tow, so this arrangement worked a whole lot better.  🙂 We set up some smaller tables and chairs, turned it into a cafe and had music piped in. There were about 11 entries, also Indian appetizers, and plenty of yummy desserts.  This had turned out better than I had expected.  You see with a cook-off of any kind, you are never too sure who will be competing and if there will be enough to go around. As you can see from the pictures below, there was plenty to be had.


We started out with some appetizers – vegetarian samosas and pakoras with cilantro chutney.  It paired real well with drinks.


An aerial view of some of the dishes presented.


(1)Chicken Balti, (2)Spring Impending Curry, (3)Malai Kofta, (4)Chicken Tikka Masala


(5)Thai Red Curry (Vegan), (6)Egg Curry, (7)Trinidad Mango Chicken Curry, (8)Free Range Chicken Vindaloo (9)Roasted Okra (10)Vegetable Pulao


And the winner of the Fifth Annual Curry Cook-off 2019 was the Philly Cheesesteak Curry.  The first of its kind 🙂 Jacque and Paul won the lantern, and deservedly so.   A lot of effort and thought went into creating this unconventional curry.  For those who have not heard of Philly Cheesesteak, (popular of course in Philadelphia), it is a sandwich served on a hoagie roll with thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese and of course toppings. Here’s Jacque’s own words:

“We chose to  make this recipe mostly because we really wanted to create something unique that had a chance at winning our local curry cook-off.  Knowing the competition would be extremely fierce, we had to land on something that would stand out, a recipe beyond standard chicken and vegetable curries…..something that would be a crowd pleaser! Honestly, in the Philadelphia region, what’s more crowd pleasing than a Philadelphia cheese steak? It’s also worth mentioning that we’d never won this cook-off before, so we tapped that Philadelphia underdog competitive spirit and played to win!

My personal affinity for cheesesteaks goes back to my first handful of part time jobs when I was young.  I think I worked at every deli and pizza shop that existed in Newark, Delaware.  In order to prove your salt at those places, you have to work the grill and kick out the best steak sandwiches possible.

Nowadays it pretty much takes a sports tailgate to get a cheesesteak in front of us, so this curry cook-off presented a fun opportunity to tip our hats to this food legend”.

Please click here for the full recipe.

9 thoughts on “5th Annual Curry Cook Off…….and the winner is

  1. I cannot believe you have been doing this for 5 years! I recall the first post about it, and thinking how fun it sounded! I love that one entry entitled Impending Spring Curry 🙂 -very creative name! Congratulations to your winners-the recipe sounds complex and tasty! What was your entry, Loretta??


  2. Such fun Loretta. The smell in your basement must have been like being at food ally in middle Asia. I love that an unconventional curry won. Philly cheesecake curry truly makes sense when you think about it. It has many of the fundamental ingredients one need for a curry. It sounds like Jacque and Paul took their culinary skills to the next level. I love the recipe, it’s a real fusion of different food cultures. Great post.


  3. Another truly memorable Curry Cook Off, Loretta! Each year, I share your photos with my husband. 😊 We’re certain that your special guests must look forward to this wonderful event all year long! What a nice way to add more spice to life!💗


  4. This is such a fun event that you host Loretta! All the entries look amazing! Does everybody vote for their favorite? I was recently invited to be a judge at an Indian event in the Boston area and had a lot of fun. but it was also a tough job as the entries were superb!
    I like all the curries here, loved the name Impending Spring and the creative genius in making a Philly Steak Curry! I am also curious about the Trinidadian mango curry. Was it sweet and sour?


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