But that didn't deter Crystle Mazurek, a Brockville, Ont., high school teacher.
Having spent her early childhood years living with her missionary parents in northern India, she became very fond of the versatile food they ate.
In Canada, she sought Indian food to satisfy her cravings. She and her family found Curry Original Restaurant in Kingston, Ont., and it became their favourite Indian eatery.
“When I discovered this place I was absolutely thrilled because it was the best Indian food that I have found on this part of the planet,” she says.
Mazurek and her husband John dine there frequently and became friends of the two brothers who own the business, Weais and Ali Afzal, who came to Canada from Bangladesh in 1975.
“Having eaten just about everything on their menu, I approached them to see if I could create a cookbook with their dishes so others could enjoy cooking them at home,” she explains.
On being granted the owners’ permission, Mazurek and head chef Mainul set to work to assemble the recipes, including examples from Mogul, Bangladesh, Persia and other regions.
“We worked at the restaurant’s kitchen transcribing and testing their famous recipes,” she says. “Then I would run home and prepare them all over again.”
The result of their labours is “The Curry Original Cookbook” by Mazurek (General Store Publishing, $20, coil-bound paperback).
“My original goal was to get my hands on the recipe for delicious Lamb Dhansak because I could never figure out what made the sauce so amazing,” she recalls.
This recipe has many ingredients such as Garlic-Ginger Paste (recipe follows), Red Lentil Paste and an array of spices and other ingredients that will demand the cook stock up the kitchen in advance of preparation.
Mazurek has listed the ingredients required and the local markets that carry them.
The recipes include appetizers such as vegetable samosas, entrees prepared in the tandoor and special curries like Butter Chicken and Ragan Josh and plain curries using chicken, beef and lamb.
Other chapters include fish and shrimp curries, soups, vegetarian fare, drinks and desserts as well as vindaloos, bhoona and saag.
An important section holds recipes for various homemade pastes to spice up dishes.
One of the most popular and easy to make is Garlic-Ginger Paste. Here is the recipe:
1 piece (5 cm/2 inches) ginger, unpeeled
1 bulb garlic
30 ml (2 tbsp) water
Wash and chop ginger. Peel garlic. Place all in a blender. Add water and blend until it forms a paste. Store refrigerated in a small covered jar for up to 1 week.
For more information, visit www.crystlemazurek.com.