This year it emerged that it was the jalfrezi - a hot curry house staple with green chillies, tomatoes, peppers and onion - rather than the bog-standard chicken tikka masala that came out top in a British Curry Club poll of the UK's favourite curry dishes. Second was the spicy madras, and the fragrant Kashmiri dish of rogan josh came in third - showing that tastes for Indian cuisine are becoming increasingly more adventurous. And it's not just restaurants that are picking up on this, with supermarkets such as Sainsbury's creating more authentic, regional and unique Indian ranges to enjoy at home.
With the nights drawing in, there's never been a better time to host your own curry night for friends - and why not cheat a little bit by taking advantage of the new by Sainsbury's range of Indian dishes that have been taste-tested by curry aficionados? Go on, they'll never know...
Tailor your menu
When creating your cook-at-home Indian feast, think about the guests you've invited, and scope out their preferences in terms of spice levels and fondness for meat and fish. It's always nice to get their palates fired up with some Indian starters and snacks to begin the meal, so why not try your hand at making a paneer tikka - a punchy little starter of marinated Indian cottage cheese fried in spices with vegetables - a great veggie option.
This works well alongside the by Sainsbury's chicken tikka samosa - a twist on the ever-popular samosa made with tender British chicken cooked with a tandoori masala, in a spicy batter that cooks to a lovely crispy texture in the oven. Serve the samosas with a homemade raita dip made with natural yoghurt, diced cucumber and mint - and try perking it up by adding some torn up fresh coriander and very finely chopped green chilli for a bit of crunchy heat.
Cooling raita and comforting dhal
When it comes to main courses, if you've got some chums who can't handle much spice, it's a good idea to cook a mild and comforting dal (a soupy dish made from skinned yellow split mung beans), which can provide a mellowing backdrop to the more fiery dishes. The fragrant, creamy properties of dal work really well against a richer dish like the by Sainsbury's new Chicken Patia - which has a sauce made with onions, tomato, tamarind and warm spices, creating a rich tangy curry cooked with marinated British chicken. It's also a good idea to lay on a mild, creamy dish such as buttered chicken or prawn korma, just in case there's anyone who can't stand much heat.
Boiled rice is a cheap and easy accompaniment, but perhaps buy in one pilau rice too to offer some variety, or even better, a rice-based dish like the new by Sainsbury's vegetable biryani - chunky mixed vegetables cooked with aromatic spices and layered with Basmati rice. It's always nice to throw in a naan bread for people to rip and share around the table, and by Sainsbury's new chilli naans are perfect for those who like a tingle on the tongue.
For dessert, cardamom rice pudding always goes down a storm and is relatively easy to make - you just warm some milk up with a cinnamon stick and cardamom seeds to infuse it before adding basmati rice and vanilla extract. It works especially well served with some poached fruit like pears, plums or peaches. To accompany your feast, you could enjoy some wines - a few wines that go well with a range of Indian dishes are Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Or you could have a go at making some Indian-inspired cocktails: think tamarind and saffron-scented vodka martinis. Or failing that, nothing beats a cold beer!