A while back, street food trader par excellence The Ribman, normally to be found (depending on the day) at either King's Cross, Brick Lane or Hackney, made a very welcome appearance south of the river at Brockley Market, taking his place alongside such lauded vendors as Mike+Ollie, Mother Flipper, Red Herring, Luardos, Spit & Roast, Fleisch Mob, and Egg Boss.
Not having ever tried the Ribmeister's babyback ribs, rib meat rolls or wraps before, it was incumbent upon me to get down there stat. And thank the lawd I did - I had a doughy bun packed to overflowing with ridiculously tender and tasty pork, drizzled with BBQ sauce. Dribble-tastic.
Here's a video about Mark Gevaux (the man behind the stall):
While I was there, I also took the opportunity to get myself a bottle of Mark's famous Holy Fuck Hot Sauce, which is made with scotch bonnet peppers and naga jolokia chilis (second only, apparently, to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chili on the Scoville Scale). Frighteningly, this isn't even his hottest sauce - the big man also sells one called Christ on a Bike, with three times more naga chilis in it. But that's not his hottest sauce either - that signal honour belongs to his Holy Mother of God which comes with the following stark warning: 'do not buy this if you have a weak heart or are worried about your eyesight'!
Now, while I'm not exactly a chili-wimp, I'm far from being a chili-fiend either. But, especially considering I don't use chilis in cooking all that often (since my 'repertoire' is mainly British-ish/Spanish-ish/Italian-ish), I've surprised myself by how often I've been reaching for this bottle over the last several weeks - to add zing to a sausage butty, swirled into a bowl of soup, even dabbed onto a slice of pizza. So much so that it now resides on the kitchen top, next to the olive oil, salt etc., rather than in the dark recesses of a cupboard. Even then, this fiery concoction still felt it needed to make its presence felt - the other week it erupted, popping off its lid and splattering all over the splashback.
Anyhow, when I decided to make some dal for lunch today, rather than go out and buy some chilis, I asked myself 'why not use the Holy Fuck'? The answer, as it turned out, was 'no reason at all, son, no reason at all'.
holy fuck tarka dal
serves two to three
for the dal:
250 g moong (AKA mung) dal
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cm piece root ginger, peeled
2 tsps turmeric
a little more water (as required)
holy fuck sauce (or similar)
for the tarka:
1tbsp rapeseed oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsps dried fenugreek leaves
a drizzle of rapeseed oil
Wash the dal, drain and put in a pan with the water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
Now add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the dal has become a soft mush.
Remove the piece of ginger and add more water if you want the dal a bit thinner. Season with salt, then add your holy fuck sauce, a teaspoon or less at a time, until the dal is as hot as you'd like it to be.
Keep the dal warm while you make the tarka: heat a frying pan to high, add the oil, then the onion. Fry the onion until almost burnt, then add the spices, stir and fry for a minute or two.
Swirl the tarka mixture into the dal, add the fenugreek leaves and stir. Serve in bowls with a little more oil drizzled over the dal.
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