Nottingham chef stars in Secret Millionaire

Published on May 29, 2012

Arfan ‘Raz’ Razak, head chef and owner of Nottingham’s Curry Lounge, last night starred in an episode of Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire. Watch it on C4OD here.

Channel 4’s summary for the show reads: ‘Arfan Razak runs one of the most successful Indian restaurants in the country. He goes undercover in Oxford, where a quarter of the population suffer significant financial hardship. The experience leads him to question his family priorities.’

Raz is also creating a recipe book to raise money for injured Royal Marines, cooking for Nottingham boxer Carl Froch, and creating a range of curry kits.

“I did the show because I wanted to make a real difference,” says Raz. “It was humbling to see people in bad situations make the best they possibly could of every day.”

Nottingham’s Curry Lounge is part of Great Food Club


Raz’s Lobster Pepper Fry
Serves 4

With this dish, you combine traditional masala sauce with tender lobster meat that’s been cooked in wonderful spices, creating a curry packed with flavour.

For traditional masala sauce

* 3 onions, chopped and diced
* 2 fresh tomatoes
* ¼ tsp chilli powder
* ½ tsp garam masala powder
* ½ tsp turmeric
* Pinch of saffron
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2.5cm ginger, cut into matchsticks
* 2 chillies, finely chopped
* Juice of half a lime
* ½ tsp coriander powder

1 Sauté the chopped onions in a little oil with the chilli powder, turmeric, garlic and ginger. Cook over a low-to-medium heat and when the onions look like they’re drying out, simply add a little water and continue cooking.

2 When the onions are golden brown  add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

For the lobster pepper fry
* 3 lobster tails
* ½ tsp mustard seeds
* 8 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
* 5 curry leaves
* ½ tsp red chilli flakes
* Pinch of saffron
* Pinch ginger powder
* 1 clove garlic, crushed
* Handful fresh coriander, chopped

1 Push three wooden skewers into each lobster tail so they don’t curl up when exposed to heat (see picture above and Raz’s tip, below). Place tails into a pan of boiling salted water for two minutes.

2 Remove, take out skewers, and place tails onto a kitchen towel. Using a sharp knife, apply gentle pressure lengthways down the spine of each softened shell (see picture). You’re trying to half-break the shells so you can remove the flesh and fan out the shells to use as rice bowls (see pictures). If you’re not bothered about doing this then simply break them, extract the meat and discard. If you are going to use as fancy bowls then remove the flesh and return shells to boiling water for 20 minutes, so they turn red.

3 Trim the meat, discarding any remnants of the lobster’s feet, and cut into large bite-sized pieces and reserve.

4 Now add a large knob of butter to a hot pan and add the chilli flakes, garlic, ginger, crushed pepper, mustard seeds and saffron. Lower the heat so the spices don’t burn but infuse into one other. When mustard seeds are popping, add the curry leaves.

5 After around two minutes, when the curry leaves start losing their colour, add the lobster pieces. Keep the temperature low so that the meat absorbs the flavours.

6 Once the meat has been fully coated in pepper sauce – after a minute or two – turn the heat up high and add your masala sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in fresh coriander and leave to simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat. Serve with rice, dahl and a fresh salad.

Raz’s tip
“Insert wooden skewers down the length of your lobster tail to stop it curling up during cooking. This technique also works with most fish.”

The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.