The simmering curry Trail " Food Bytes The New Indian Express by Monish Gujral

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The simmering curry trail
By Monish Gujral 23rd September 2012 12:00 AM

As Indians, we all love our curry. Every Indian has a different story to tell about their special curry recipe. Ask any youngster about their favourite curry and you may end up listening to a never-ending story about how interesting and special is their family curry recipe. However, if you ask my kids they will swear about the chicken curry I make with hint of cardamom and cinnamon flavour.

It was June 2005 when I was invited by the Nehru centre in London UK, where my book Moti Mahal Tandoori Trail was launched at the Nehru Centre on June 3, 2005 as part of its “Redeeming the Indian Curry” lectures. It was then I set on the curry trail to prepare the lecture I was to deliver at the centre .

What is curry? Whenever most of us hear the word curry our mouth starts salivating. In the recent years the curry has taken the gastronomic world by storm. Curry is actually an English word. It was used by the British for the Indian dishes that could be eaten with rice. It however has its origin in South Indian word Kaari, which means vegetables cooked with spices.

Curry making is an art, it takes some practice and some deliberation to learn to put spices together along with seasonings and other flavours. Most often the name curry is given to any spicy dish or blend of spices that has an Indian or eastern flavour. A good thumb rule is that a curry is a dish containing sauted onions, ginger, garlic and varying amounts of spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, chili, cloves, fenugreek, etc.

Believe it or not, each ingredient of common curry has a medicinal use. In fact each of the ingredients have been used for thousand of years to treat variety of ailments from stomach cramps to throat infections (although some believe curry has caused far more stomach cramps than it has cured). Also be warned, those of European origin whose stomachs are used to milder cuisine may also experience the laxative side effects of the curry.

Curry however is a generic term mostly used in the west to denote a wide variety of dishes originating in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand or South and South Eastern Asian Countries. The common feature in curries is the use of more or less complex combinations of spices and/or herbs.

Traditionally, spices are used both whole and/or ground; cooked and/or raw. Spices may be added at different intervals during the cooking process to produce different results.

Curry dishes are the inventions of curry houses and other restaurants to describe the general flavour of this kind of cuisine. For example the chicken tikka massala, which is one of the most hot selling dish in the west today, eventually boiled down to being a derivative of the famous butter chicken invented in the kitchens of the restaurant called Moti Mahal in India. However, the story of much loved chicken tikka masala does not end, rather marks the start of a new chapter of innovations and inventions.

Because of this phenomenal global demand of Indian curry hundreds of Indian restaurants serving Indian food have been established world wide. Also ready –to–eat Indian curries and food that was unheard of a few years back are fast emerging as a new magic words in the world wide kitchens as the 15 year old globalization effort is bringing rapid changes in the life styles of urban societies.

I would like to reveal some interesting facts about curry:

● At last count, Britain boasted of over 10,000 curry houses.

● November 9 each year is celebrated in Britain as the National Curry Day.

● A firm has developed Find-A-Loo curry which uses whole chillies to get that extra bite to cater to demands by customers for the hotter than the hottest curry. Another name on the table for that curry is Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.

As all the best things are reserved for the end so was this Sindhi curry recipe of mine. So here we go.

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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