Pat Chapman's Curry Club
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Yorkshire Chilli Pepper Pudding

Great British roasts are made all the greater by their accompaniments. What would roast lamb be without mint sauce or roast pork without apple sauce? Bread sauce and sage stuffing turns roast chicken into taste perfection as does cranberry with Christmas roast turkey. Even the humble roast sausage is transformed by piquante English mustard. The list goes deliciously on. By unanimous vote today’s most loved Great British culinary combination is Yorkshire Pudding with roast beef.

All these pairings have been around for centuries. The accompaniment ingredients all had things in common; they were made from simple, easily obtained ingredients and they cheaply filled big appetites. Today this is not the issue; simply, they are essential to the enjoyment of our food.

But this is not the case in other parts of the world. If British food earned itself a still lingering poor reputation overseas, it is because its critics conspicuously failed to understand or acquire the taste for these exquisite combinations.

Roast Beef’s traditional and glorious accompaniment, the iconic YP, is hard to explain to non aficionados. Its Yorkshire connections, if they exist at all, are unexplained. It first got its name in an early recipe by Newcastle born Hanna Glass whose 1747 cookery book was written in London. She got the recipe (then called Dripping Pudding) from an earlier book (1737) called The Whole Duty of a Woman, by ‘A Lady’ who it later transpired was a man called William Kenrick.

To add to the confusion YP is neither a pudding nor a pie. It starts as a runny pancake batter made from eggs, flour, milk and oil. Today it is baked in a very hot oven so that it rises to a crisp golden outside surrounding a silky soft inside. In olden days the beef was cooked on a spit with its juices and fat dripping into the flames. Someone, somewhere thought of catching the drippings in a pan in which batter was placed. The heat of the flames cooked the batter, the drippings flavoured it.

Hey presto! Britain’s national dish.

Or is it?

I quote from the BBC on

“Many foreigners believe the English national dish is 'Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding' but as we all know it is really curry.” And who can argue with the BBC?

So here is my recipe for Spicy Yorkshire Pudding.


Serves 4



vegetable oil

110g plain flour

2 eggs

250ml milk

freshly ground black pepper

1 fresh red chillies, chopped

garam masala

1 teaspoon salt

handful of chopped coriander



Preheat the oven to 220°C /425°F / Gas 7.

Put enough oil in a roasting tin to cover the bottom and lap a bit up the sides, and place in the hot oven for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle.

Beat in the eggs and, gradually, the milk, using a balloon whisk to make a runny batter. An electric whisk will do this in seconds. Add the remaining ingredients.

Take the roasting tin out of the oven, and pour the batter into it. Return to the oven for 25 minutes or until risen and browned.

Serve cut into pieces, not forgetting a cold Cobra.


Recipe copyright Pat Chapman

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