What is (Indian) British Curry?
Indian restaurants in UK started to change their business model during late 1960s which led to the creation of British curry.
British curry is created exclusively for the British palate, it is spicier and hotter than North Indian curry. These curries are now an integral part of British Cuisine.
The restaurants started out by incorporating popular Anglo-Indian dishes (Jalfrezi, Madras) created during British Raj, modify existing dishes (Vindaloo) and create new curries (Phall, Balti)
Indian British Curry Ratings
The curries are categorized according to the strength of spiciness and heat. The top three starting with the strongest are as follows
1. Phall Curry.................... Strength: Extremely Hot
2. Tindaloo.........................Strength: Hot Plus
3. Madras...........................Strength: Hot
Phall Curry is the hottest curry. It is based on a simple Punjabi Chicken curry with a lots of Habaneras. The name 'Phall' was given as a joke referring to the word 'Phallus', a symbol of manhood of a person who can eat Phall curry. When the curry became popular, restaurants credited the name to a dish called Phall in Bangalore, except that the Phall in Bangalore is a spiced Goat Kebab broiled over hot charcoal. Phall in Bangalore is not a curry.
Tindaloo is based on Vindaloo, a dish from Goa. Vindaloo is based on 'Vinho de alho', an old Portuguese Pork preserve in Vinho (Red wine vinegar) cooked with a lot of Alho the garlic. Vindaloo is a hot curry made with Southwest pickling spices, red chili peppers, tamarind, lots of garlic, and vinegar. Tindaloo is a Vindaloo with added fresh hot habaneras for increased pungency
Madras Curry is Anglo-Indian curry originated in Madras during British Raj. This is red colored spicy hot curry with combination of Fresh hot green chili peppers and dried hot red chili peppers.
Indian British Curries
British curry is fashioned after North Indian curry. The curry starts out as a standard 'feedstock' composed of sautéed mixture of onions, tomatoes, garlic, fresh ginger, fresh chili peppers. Curry powder spices (Example: Turmeric, cumin, coriander, dried ginger, fenugreek seeds), Garam Masala spices (Cloves Cinnamon Cardamom Black peppercorn), and ground red chili are added according to the recipes. The meats are browned and added to spiced feedstock, cooked till tender.
Any meat can be added to the spiced feedstock, though it may result in an un-authentic traditional curry in India. The choice of meat gives you the corresponding curry name. Example of Madras curries would be: Chicken Madras, Lamb Madras, Mutton Madras, Prawn Madras, Beef Madras. Chicken Rogan Josh is legal British curry but not authentic, Rogan Josh is always made from mutton. Normal meat choices are: Chicken, Prawn, Lamb. Chevon (Goat) and Mutton are available. Beef and Pork are rare. The curry names are same as traditional Indian curries but the recipes are modified.
Phall - Strength: Extremely Hot. Habanera Serrano Cayenne. Dominant: Ginger, Fennel
Tindaloo - Strength: Hot Plus. Habanera Serrano Cayenne. Dominant: Vinegar, Garlic
Madras - Strength: Hot. Serrano Cayenne. Red color
Pathia - Strength: Hot. Serrano Cayenne. Lemon juice and Tomato puree
Vindaloo - Strength: Hot. Serrano Cayenne. Vinegar Garlic Spices
Dhansak - Strength: Medium Plus. Sweet and sour. Lentil puree Pineapple optional
Do Piyaz - Strength: Medium. Bhuna with onions added in two stages
Rogan Josh - Strength: Medium, Tomatoes Paprika.
Bhuna - Strength: Medium, Thick sauce Some vegetables
Jalfrezi - Strength: Medium, Onions Green chili peppers, Thick sauce
Samabar - Strength: Medium, Sour curry soup made with lentils and lemons
Pasanda - Strength: Mildest, light pink Yogurt Nuts Almonds Touch of tomato puree
Korma - Strength: Mild, Creamy pale yellow, Yogurt Almonds
Biryani - Spiced Rice and Meat cooked together. Served with Brown curry sauce
Most Popular Dishes (Balti, Chicken Tikka Masala)
In 1977, Kashmiri-Pakistani restaurants created 'Balti' in Birmingham exclusively for British palate as a spicy hot stir-fry. In Urdu, Balti means bucket. In reality, food has never been cooked in a bucket anywhere in India. The dish was named Balti as a joke on the un-suspecting British population implying that the dish was cooked in a bucket. After the dish became popular, it came to be known as Balti style cooking. Restaurant owners fabricated a story crediting the Balti tribe of Baltistan with the cooking style. The restaurants even started to serve the dish in a specially made flat-bottomed iron pot as a gimmick.
Chicken Tikka Masala (CTM)
Traditional Tandoori Chicken was too dry for the palate of the British. The enterprising restaurant owner created a dip from tomato and onions based curry sauce. It lead to the creation of 'Chicken Tikka Masala', Tikka was the Tandoori chicken kebab, and the dip was called Masala. Frozen CTM was developed and sold in the Grocery stores ready for microwave oven. CTM would become a popular Pizza topping. It is also sold on inter-city commute train stations. Eventually, the CTM out-sold 'Fish and Chips'. In April 2001, Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, proclaimed 'Britain is not a single Anglo-Saxon race, but a gathering of different races. Chicken Tikka Masala, is now Britain's true national dish'
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