Six top chefs reveal their secret hacks to help turn a humdrum takeaway into something you’re more likely to experience when dining in a fine restaurant.
A recent study has unsurprisingly unveiled that the top activity the British population want to do post-pandemic is going out for dinner. Alas, lockdown is going to continue for yet more weeks so it’s unlikely restaurants will be opening their doors soon, however, there are still a few takeaways open, offering light relief from the usual Ready, Steady, Cook-Esque flavour combinations.
Just because it’s ordered in and delivered in a plastic container, doesn’t mean it can’t be a real gourmet treat! We’ve collated some tips and tricks from some of the UK’s top chefs for clever hacks to improve a takeaway using simple ingredients found in your cupboard!
James Cochran – 12:51
Pizza: I always add soy sauce to a takeaway pizza, it brings out the sweetness in the tomato whilst intensifying the cheesy umami goodness.
Curry: Always order more naan than you need. With the leftovers, add cheese, lime pickle, plain yoghurt, and chilli sauce and grill for a delicious new dish, perfect for a weekend brunch or hangover snack!
Kebab: Order a proper chicken shish kebab and when you’re waiting for it to arrive, make up a packet béarnaise sauce. Pour it all over the kebab when it’s all nice and hot. Game changer
Pip Lacey – Hicce
Pizza: Even the worst takeaway pizza can be improved with a hit of chilli. I keep lots of Thai green chillies in the freezer so I can add them to takeaway pizzas when needed. Also, if you ever see chilli oil in a sachet, grab a few extras for future pizzas and go to town with it.
Chicken Wings: Whatever cuisine you decide to order, if they do chicken wings – add them! Chicken wings are always a good idea.
Sushi: Always ask for extra wasabi with any Japanese takeaway. If the flavours are lacking then the wasabi will add a welcome hit of heat and always make sure you have soy sauce In the house.
Curry: Keep a jar of mango chutney in the house. They never send enough with the poppadoms and always get two poppadoms each so you’re not fighting over the crumbs.
Tom Booton – The Grill, The Dorchester
Burger: If I get a burger delivered, I have to make my dirty mayonnaise for the chips. It’s made up of two parts mayonnaise, one part tomato ketchup, one tablespoon chopped capers & gherkins and a dash of tabasco to taste. I always have a pot of it in the fridge! It’s banging with a steak.
Ben Tish – The Stafford Collection
Curry: If I’m ordering an Indian, I’ll always get roti on the side. To refresh them, I get a frying pan very hot and then flash fry the roti on both sides for a minute or so. It gets them nice and fresh and crispy. Also chopped fresh coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice adds a zip to any curry if it needs livening up a bit.
Martin Sweeney – The Petersham
Fish and chips: Unless you’re eating them right away, ask for just salt and add your favourite vinegar when you get home, this will keep the chips from getting sweaty and soggy in the bag. Mix brown sauce and vinegar and get dipping, it sounds odd but it’s a staple in Edinburgh and it works surprisingly well!
Curry: The most consistently disappointing thing about curries is the condiments. Knock up a quick raita at home from natural yoghurt, cucumber and mint and keep a jar of good quality mango chutney handy. Give soggy naans a flash in the oven to re-crisp.
Fried chicken: Fried chicken goes well with pickled gherkins – the salt and vinegar complements the hot, crispy chicken wonderfully. Slice up some gherkins at home for a sour refresher between bites of chicken. I’d also mix a bit of pungent blue cheese with jarred mayonnaise for a great cheesy dip.
Sara Lewis – Vintry & Mercer
Curry: For the two of us, our usual failsafe order is one crunchy starter, one rice, a veggie side dish, a main and a naan bread. Follow that equation and you can’t go wrong! I always love to make a dipping yoghurt when we’re waiting for the delivery with natural yoghurt, add a little smoked paprika and some lemon zest, some dried mixed herbs and finely sliced cucumber. To jazz up the rice dish, we always saute some onions, peas and egg with turmeric and occasionally a pinch of saffron so we can turn our regular pilau into a yummy fried rice.
Pizza: If we are ordering a pizza, we love to add some fresh rocket and parma ham on the top and a drizzle of Spanish extra virgin olive oil. Delicious!
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