The word Balti literally means bucket. Rather than a dish or single recipe, Balti is more a way of preparing food in a round-bottomed pan similar to a wok, also known as a karahi. It has been said that the style comes from an area between Pakistan and China called Baltiyul, Baltisatan or Little Tibet. Balti started out in Birmingham around the 70s, becoming increasingly popular in the 90s.It is a self-contained meal served with naan and/or rice. It features a good number of peppers and coriander leaves, quickly cooked over a high heat with meat off the bone or vegetables in a sauce.
Bhuna is a method of cooking, hence the western world has adopted the name, which originating from the Bengal area of India and Bangladesh. The process is key to this dish. To start wioth the oil is be heated to a high temperature, then all the spices are added and fried, bringing the mix to a paste. As a result a strong fragrance will likely fill your kitchen. The dish itself is a mild to medium with regards to heat and its usually quite dry with very little thick sauce present.
Biryani is derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’. In Farsi, Birian means ‘Fried before Cooking’. Originally, rice was fried without washing in Ghee. This served two purposes: the flavours gave the rice a nutty flavour and also burned the outside starch layer, gelatinizing it in the process. After the rice is stir-fried, it is boiled in water with spices until half cooked. The meat is then marinated in a paste with whole-milk yogurt and spices. Thereafter, the meat may be cooked in an earthen pot called handi. The rice and meat are layered with the rice forming the bottom and top layers. The handi is sealed then cooked in an oven or in coal embers. This practice can still be seen in places like Morocco.
Chaat is a term describing savory snacks, typically served at road-side tracks from stalls in India. It has become immensely popular in the rest of South Asia. There are common elements among the chaat variants including yogurt, onions and coriander. Other ingredients include Sev (small dried yellow salty noodles); and chaat masala which typically consists of amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, Kala Namak (rock salt), coriander, dried ginger, black pepper, and red pepper. The ingredients are combined and served on a small metal plate or a banana leaf, dried and then served in a bowl.
This is a Parsi dish, combining elements of Gujarati cuisine as well. Its traditionally a hot, sweet and sour dish made with mutton, lentils and vegetables which are mixed together and served with rice. Commonly the lentils are red split lentils [masoor] or pigeon peas although some restaurants will use chana daal.
Dopiaza comes from the Persian word Do Piaza meaning two onions. According to legend the dish was created when a courtier of Mughal emperor Akbar Mullah Do Piaza accidentally added a large quantity of onions to a dish. The dish evolved further in Hyderabad, India, and became a staple of Hyderabadi cuisine. This dish is very heavily laden with onions added at two different stages of cooking. It is usually mild and prepared with any kind of meat or fish.
Jalfrezi is an Indo-Chinese method of cooking. Some say it was a dish designed to use up leftovers. In the Hindu world this was not really done so one would assume that it is more of a British myth. Stir-fried in a hot pan, this dish would include onions, green peppers, fresh tomatoes and fresh green chilli. The flavours would explode with the hot pan and seep into the meat or fish, giving a pungent, hot carnival of flavour. Nowadays the meat or fish is freshly marinated, eliminating any leftovers. However, its a good dish to choose for your Christmas left-overs.
The dish karahi takes its name from the pan that it is cooked in. A karahi is similar to a wok, but with steeper sides. The dish itself is similar to a Balti, but is more stew-like in its consistency and requires plenty of time to prepare. There are many variations to this dish [as with the spelling] depending on which region of India it comes from. Some of the most common versions feature a green chilli and tomato base reduced down to a relative thick sauce which has a medium-hot flavour.
The word korma is derived from Urdu ḳormā or ḳormah, meaning braise, derived in turn from Turkish kavurma, literally meaning cooked meat. The dish is cooked over a low heat with a combination of spices which mainly consist of cumin, coriander seeds, onions ginger and garlic. Marinated in yoghurt , kormas are slow cooked in their own juices so that the yoghurt sauce does not split. Some use saffron to flavour and colour the dish although this technique is seldom used in any restaurant.
The Madras dish takes its name from the city of Madras. The name for the dish is not used in India and is in fact a British invention which originated in its restaurants. This dish has a sour sweet fruity flavoured sauce, made from tamarind especially for this purpose. It is often laden with red chilli powder or paprika for the red colour, depending on the heat required for the dish.
There is no particular style of moghlai cuisine. Like its language, Moghlai cuisine was adapted by the Turks and Persians during the middle ages and evolved into some of most aromatic dishes prepared by Indian chefs. Dishes include various Kebabs, Kofta (meatballs), Nihari, Pulao (a.k.a. Pilaf in Central Asia), and Biryani. Paneer is used for preparing vegetarian dishes to suit vegetarian dietary requirements. A dish with the name Shahi (Royal) is an indicator of its mughlai origins.
Pasanda derived from the word Pasande which is Urdu for favourite. During the Mughal era, the dish was always made from the best cut of lamb. It would be cut in to thin strips and tenderised, then marinated in yoghurt and spices [cardamom, peppercorns, cumin, chilli and garlic] and garnished with tomatoes. In some cases the dish is garnished with almonds – a method known as Badaam PasandaModern versions are made with any available meat fish or prawns. Pasanda also refers to a mild curry sauce made with cream, coconut milk, and almonds.