The Hindi term for the process of cooking wet ground masala of the spice paste in hot oil, using light stewing, sautéing and stir frying, adding small quantities of yoghurt to a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger and sun dried coriander, tumeric powder and other garam masala. The process releases the essential oils from the spices and creates the wonderful well rounded tastes of good curry. Garnished with brown onions and fresh coriander.
Indian cuisine as curry and rice has always been popular outside India. Tandoori cuisine was made popular in England by the Punjabi immigrants. Amongst those, tandoori chicken was the favourite. Since it was a barbequed preparation and does not fit the curry and rice image, innovative chefs added it to a creamy, milk tomato and cashew nut gravy and hence was born the chicken tikka masala. This gravy has become very popular over the years and has since been tried with various meat preparations.
This dish was brought to India by the Portuguese when they arrived in Goa in 1496. Originally called Vina Di Alhos, it consisted of pork marinated in wine and garlic (still available in Portugal). The local Goanese were soon converted to Christianity so had no problems consuming wine and pork, both considered to be taboo in the Hindu religion.They found the preparation to be bland so they increased the quantity of garlic and added spices and chillies to it and simplified the name to Vin-der-aloo which over the years has become Vindaloo.
Jal or Jhal meaning pungently spicy and Frezi meaning stir frying. Hence a rapidly cooked stir fry meat or vegetables with a tempering of cumin. In Anglo-Indian days of the Raj a Buddist tribe known as Mogs became house-hold cooks in Calcutta, West Bengel. It was they who interpreted their English memsahib’s demand for good old English cooking and given a chance, Mogs added a little spice and thus evolved a wonderful cooking style.
Very popular amongst the Moghul nobility, this scented preparation reveals its origins in its list of ingredients – almonds, cashew nuts, white cardamoms, white pepper, poppy seeds and melon seeds. There are many sorts of Khorma, all of which were awash with mellow gravy achieved by the usage of cream, yoghurt and coconut milk. Perfected by the Moghuls it was said that if a chef could cook a good Khorma he was fit to cook for the Emperors court.
Karai / Balti
Made popular by the Karai shops of north eastern India. Meat is dry cooked without adding any extra water in a thick tomato based masala and finished with fenugreek leaves. Being of Kashmiri origin, it is very aromatic and herby with lots of dhaniya. The traditional Karai shops still in existence have an in-house butchery where the diners select the chicken or meat which they cut into small chunks. A Karai chef can handle up to 16 Karais simultaneously ensuring each is taken off the fire at exactly the right time and reaches the right table. Karai in which the food is prepared is then placed at the centre of the table and everyone eats out of it.