Maximum taste, maximum heat... and maximum heart rate. The three things that make a great curry.
But when I’m faced with the two hottest curries on the menu, I have to make a call.
Which is the one that is going to curry favour with its flavours and be crowned the hottest in town?
It was a tough call, with the Jala-Jule up against the Hamadan Special – the first a Jalfrezi-esque zingy affair with loads of fresh chilli and chicken tikka chunks , and the second more of a chicken Vindaloo type with a slightly bitter but deliciously fresh taste.
Both curries (£8.50 each) had me sweating after the first few bites and the slightly sweet garlic naan (£2.70) was doing nothing to control the rapidly growing fire in my mouth.
Fortunately the music at the Hamadan restaurant in Longridge – sitars and lamenting Hindustani vocals – was calming and brought me back from the brink of a heart attack.
In true chilli-challenge style I kept on going, not allowing myself to think, and with the help of some raita and the soothing and deliciously garlicky tarka dahl (£2.90), I managed to conquer both beasts. The “four-chilli” rated curries were no more.
But would they have their revenge the next day, I wondered...
Now I had to decide which was the hottest , the best at putting me to the test. It was a close call but the Jala-Jule won the day with the fresh chillis taking it to another level of heat.
My dining partners went for less challenging curries but they were still first-class for flavours.
The butter chicken(£7.90) was like a creamy korma with the almonds and ginger adding depth to the thick sauce.
The chicken dansak (£6.90) was pineapple heaven, with generous chunks of the fruit complementing the ginger and chilli powder.
The pilau rice (£2.50) was shared between us all and was the usual colourful dish with red and yellow grains mixed in, nicely cooked too.
Before the clash of the curries had even kicked off we had two starters, the tandoori chicken (£3.50) being the best of the two. It wasn’t too dry and came with a generous amount of salad and the essential lemon segment to squeeze over the clay-oven cooked chicken.
The shami kebabs (£3.50) were like burger patties but for what they lacked in presentation they made up for in flavours with the minced lamb seasoned nicely with smoky Indian spices.
We’d also enjoyed the usual popadoms (50p each) and the chutney tray (£2.20) that was no different from most other curry houses around , with no sign of home-made dips unfortunately.
Overall, the place packs a punch when it comes to delivering knock-out curries. When you combine that with takeaway-level prices, friendly staff, and a lovingly Indian vibe, then there’s no arguing that Hamadan is the hottest place in town.