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Bollywood Burner on fire

Chefs in Britain are getting hot under the collar over claims to the world’s hottest Indian curry.
By HT Correspondent | IANS
UPDATED ON JUL 18, 2008 11:56 AM IST

Earlier this week, London-based chef Vivek Singh caught the attention of food connoisseurs the world over when he announced that his creation, Bollywood Burner, is the hottest curry in the world. He also announced plans to apply for an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.

The lamb dish, inspired by Andhra cuisine, makes use of two of the world’s hottest chillies — the Dorset Naga and the Scotch Bonnet. A clearer picture about the ‘bite’ of these chillies can be gauged by the following comparison — the Dorset Naga is over 100 times hotter than Jalapeno peppers! In fact, the dish is so hot that The Cinnamon Club, the restaurant serving it, requires clients to sign a health disclaimer before ordering it.

But the Bollywood Burner now has a rival claimant to the title of the world’s hottest curry. Bangladeshi restaurateur Rukon Latif, owner of the Rupali Restaurant in Newcastle, says he has cooked a curry that is hotter than the Bollywood Burner. He calls it Curry Hell, a dish that he says was created by his father Abdul Latif when he opened Rupali in 1977.

“How dare they claim the Bollywood Burner is hotter than Curry Hell?” asked Latif. “Dad would be turning in his grave. We’ve been serving the Curry Hell for years now and it’s one of our most popular dishes. “But we’ve been thinking of ways to make it stronger — we are experimenting with using Mexican chillies rather than the crushed Indian bird’s eye chillies we use traditionally. Also, the heat does not come from the chillies alone — there’s a secret ingredient, too, which gives it its kick.”

Meanwhile, celebrities have been sampling the Bollywood Burner and sweating with delight. Popular chat show host Jonathan Ross, of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross fame, wolfed down the dish on television after signing the ‘by-my-own-will’ disclaimer.

Hollywood actor Steve Carell, who has acted in films such as Evan Almighty and Get Smart, politely turned down Ross’s offer to sample a spoonful. Lianne la Borde of the Daily Star newspaper says, “It is the hottest I have ever tasted. At first, it tasted delicious. Then my mouth caught fire. It even made me feel dizzy. Definitely, one for the connoisseur.”

According to Metro taster James Ellis, “...while scorchingly spicy, the Bollywood Burner is daal-icious. The lamb-based curry is innocuous enough at the first bite, especially if you only try the filling. But a mouthful... saw my taste buds melt in fury at the inferno in my mouth.” A burning issue indeed!

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