RECIPE: A winter warmer straight outta Durbs


Durban Curry Up2Date by Erica Platter and Clinton Friedman

Printed by Paw Paw

R395 available at

144 pages

Whaaat? Has Durban curry, that ever-changing, developing dish, beloved across the nation, finally gone too far?

Chill, this is not a curry you can smoke or one that will make you high. It may be the most way-out and unexpected recipe in this book and may make you feel happy, but that’s because it is delicious and different, not because of its unusual ingredients – hemp seeds and Durban Poison Cannabis Lager, “Durban’s kiffest beer”.

The seeds are no naughtier than cumin or coriander, though they do contain many more essential fatty acids than flax seeds and soya beans, for example, which have too much omega-3 and omega-6, respectively.

Andre Schuster, the operations director of Poison City Brewing, specifies that the lager is “not a craft beer, but a light premium beer” that is brewed with hemp oil. It doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol – what we know as THC – “the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis”.

That is perhaps sad news for those fond of the local weed strain known forever as Durban Poison, but, luckily, the herb has been legalised by the South African government for private use.

Schuster is also an experienced restaurateur (Market, Circus Circus). He is a vegetarian and this is his recipe.

Poison City co-director Graeme Bird is in charge of sales and marketing, and he has been busy – the lager sold 12 000 litres in its first month after release last year. By the end of the year, they were selling 150 000 litres and it was being distributed nationally – a huge leap from their beginnings in 2014, when they home-brewed some beer for a mate’s birthday and sniffed new opportunities and challenges.

Serve this paneer makhani with rotis, naan or jeera rice, Durban Poison Cannabis Lager and fresh dhania.

  • Paneer has become readily available in stores, but can be cheaply and easily made at home, so go on and google a recipe and give it a try


  • 375g ripe red tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1½ Indian bay leaves (tej patta)
  • 2 tsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 2cm ginger and 4 small garlic cloves, crushed to paste
  • 2 heaped tbsp hydrated sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 bottle Durban Poison Cannabis Lager
  • 1 cup water
  • 2cm ginger, slivered
  • 1 to 2 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt or as required
  • ¾ tsp dry fenugreek leaves (methi), crushed
  • 3 00g paneer, cubed
  • 3 to 4½ tbsp cream
  • 2½ tsp garam or tandoori masala powder


Blend chopped tomatoes until smooth and keep aside. Melt butter in a pan, add bay leaves and cook for a few seconds until aromatic. Add hulled hemp seeds and braise for 30 seconds. Add ginger/garlic paste and braise until aroma is no longer raw. Add sun-dried tomatoes and braise for one minute. Add blended tomatoes, stir well. Add red chilli powder, fry and keep stirring until fat begins to seep on the sides of the tomato paste – it may take up to 15 minutes on a low flame.

Add 150ml of beer or water, or as required. Stir and simmer on low heat until the gravy thickens – this takes up to eight minutes. Add green chillies and slivered ginger, simmer for a minute. Add sugar, salt and crushed dry fenugreek leaves. Stir, then add paneer cubes. Simmer for two to three minutes. Gently stir in cream. Switch off heat, stir, sprinkle with garam masala and stir gently again.

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