Taxi Driver Curry

May 2015

Regular: $460
Deluxe: $3600

Indian curries were voted Britain’s favourite dish for many years. No surprise then that curry is the subject of this new book by David Esslemont, whose passion for food, cooking and making books coalesced in 2013 with Chili: a pictorial recipe.

There are many different ways to cook curry – this transcript of a conversation with a taxi driver describes just one approach and was recorded at 4.30 a.m. while travelling between terminals at London’s Heathrow airport.

The woodcuts are based on Kolam, traditional Indian designs that are created outside homes to bring prosperity and ward off evil spirits.

Edition details

Hand printed from the original wood- blocks, the text from polymer plates, 175 x 254 mm ( 7 x 10 ins) landscape, 24pp, 10 woodcuts.

Edition of fifty copies:

Five deluxe copies – $3600
Bound in white alum-tawed goatskin with a design painted in acrylic ink based on one of the Kolam woodcuts, created with toothbrushes and stencils, with gold tooling. The design continues inside the covers as an outline of gold dots on the doublures, so “closing” the cells of the Kolam to keep out the evil spirits. Sewn on linen tapes with hand-sewn headbands and leather-jointed Indian handmade-paper endleaves, in a felt-lined cloth-covered drop-back box.

Forty-five regular copies in printed cloth-covered boards, presented in a drop-back box – $460.

Prints

The woodcuts are available as signed prints on sheets 7 x 10 inches (landscape), editions of 24, unmounted. $120

Video trailer – Taxi Driver Curry

Taxi Driver Curry

May 2015

Regular: $460
Deluxe: $3600

The Conversation

Do you cook curry? I do. Tell me how you cook your curry. Well . . . with the meat what we do, myself personally, I . . . if it is meat, chicken or something, I just put some oil in there and fry the meat a bit. No spices, no garlic, no onion? With no spices yet, because what happens is, with the . . . if you fry it a bit with the hot oil, you know the smell from the meat chicken and all that stuff? You don't smell it. When the curry is cooked, you don't feel the smell. If you do all the other spices and stuff like that, you do it that way and you add water and stuff then you feel the smell of the curry while it's cooked. So the first thing I do is, do the meat with enough – not too much oil, just little bit oil to fry it with. What kind of oil do you use? I personally use Olive oil. Then we mix the chopped onion. After it’s been let's say five, six minutes or ten minutes or so you add the spices and all the other herbs and what have you and just leave it there for some time, and if you want to add some water, add some water. Then it's curry. Are you grinding the spices, are you making a paste? I personally don't grind it. What happens is when you put the onion and all this stuff and the garlic, you know the thing you use to – I don't know what it's called. You mean the pestle and mortar, the thing for mashing? I don't use a machine. I use a spoon to mash it, so it becomes a paste, you don’t have to grind it. So you don't heat the oil and crack the spices sometimes? If I do it, I do it in a separate thing, not in the same place where the chicken is being cooked, because I don't want the smell in the curry of the chicken and the meat. And what would you eat with the curry, do you make bread? We do chapati. If we don't have this spicy curry or chapati we'd be hungry all day. So we have to eat that. That's what we've been eating since childhood. So our stomach doesn't feel filled up without all that stuff. I like to have curry for breakfast, do you eat curry for breakfast? Yes, we always eat curry for breakfast, always. Yes it's always curry for breakfast, dinner, lunch whatever. Are you using fresh chilies? I use red chili, red powder. Well thank you for sharing that with me. You're welcome.

Copyright © David Esslemont 2015