Indian Cuisine is Not Just Curry!!


Curry is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when we think of exotic Indian food. Let’s face it. What Brit doesn’t love the curry! But believe me, the “Indian curry” that we have come to love over the years is simply unrecognizable in India. What we think of as the curry is basically a knock-off of the Indian cuisine that has been prepared using curry powder, a mixture of flavors such as ginger, chilies, turmeric, and coriander.

Indians always choose to use a diverse blend of spices in their dishes, with each blend being prepared individually and spices being added as one cooks the dish to make each and every dish unique. The variances are such that the tastes change from region to region, and in some cases, from one kitchen to the other!

So to think of “curry” as the Indian cuisine would be to oversimplify one of the most complex cuisines on the planet. We love to blame the Yanks, but for once, the problem lies closer to home. The term came about when Imperialism was still the flavor of the day, and “curry” was brought into the UK by our predecessors. In fact, there were some of us who started missing the Indian flavors so much that they had the HP sauce (a sauce that reminded them of the Indian cuisine and its exotic flavors) made.

Foreigners visiting India have slowly begun to realize that all “curries” are not called “curry” in India. In the northern parts of the country alone, what we tend to call “curry” goes by many names – saag chicken, mutton korma, butter chicken, and more. Each of these dishes features bold flavors and a unique blend of spices. And that’s just one part of the country that I am talking about.

The southern parts of the country (places that gave birth to the exotic South Indian cuisine) have their own variation of the curry. For example, did you know that the world famous Hyderabadi biryani also uses a variation of the curry??

So the next time you’re in the mood for some authentic Indian dishes, stick to items that do not have curry in their name. I would recommend dishes like mutton korma, palak paneer or saag chicken. Order a side of Indian bread (called roti). I wouldn’t like to call these dishes hot. For me, a hot Indian dish would be the Phall or Madras although I’m not entirely sure if there’s a dish by the name of Phall in India. Why can’t we name our versions to resemble the ones they’ve been inspired by? But that’s a discussion for another day! That said, I will certainly recommend you to take a small taste before jumping in. Some travelers haven’t had nicest of memories of such dishes the next morning.

For something even more exotic, how about making your own version of the Indian curry or dish with the only difference being that the one you make would be so much more authentic and delicious than what is commonly found all over the UK. Well, unless you’re paying out of your skin to eat at one of those fancy-pancy Indian restaurants! Or that you’re privy to haunts that really do serve up authentic Indian dishes (send me a list of those if that’s the case. I’m always searching for authentic Indian). Anyways, I digress!! Back to cooking your own lip-smacking, tongue-twisting Indian dish.

The dish that I am going to recommend is the Hyderabadi Biryani. Considered to be one of the most unique rice dishes on the planet, the Biryani could be the perfect dish to elevate just about any occasion. Think of it as the Caviar of the Indian cuisine, just not as expensive!

List of Ingredients

Butter – 4 Tablespoon
Cardamom powder – ½ Tablespoon
Cloves – 4 pcs.
Cinnamon – 3 sticks
Cumin seeds – 1 Tablespoon
Curd – 250 gm
Ginger garlic paste – 1 Tablespoon
Green chili paste – 1 Tablespoon
Lemon juice – 2 Tablespoon
Meat – 1 kg
Mint leaves – For flavoring
Oil – ½ cup
Red chili paste – 1 Tablespoon
Rice – 750 gm, semi-cooked
Salt – 1 Tablespoon
Saffron – 2 Tablespoon
Water – ½ cup
Sliced carrots, cucumbers, boiled eggs – To garnish.

Don’t freak out looking at the long list of ingredients. In most cases, the secret is to mix them correctly. Start off by cleaning the meat.
Add the green chili paste, red chili powder, salt, mace, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom powder, cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste, mint leaves and lemon juice in a pan. Mix well.
Add butter, rice, curd, oil, water and saffron into the pan. Mix well.
Apply some sticky dough on the sides of your pan.
Cover the lid and cook for 20 – 25 minutes.
Garnish with cucumbers, carrots and boiled eggs.
Serve while it’s still hot.

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