Brief history of curry dishes. Julia Fursdon.
If London is the world in a city, then curry restaurants are a continent in flavours. The restaurants provide as wide a range of cuisines as the Indian sub-continent. There are a huge number regional dishes, each with its own historical influences.
The story of Tandoori
A Tandoor is a type of clay oven traditionally heated with wood. It is used in the Punjab region of northern India. Naan bread is cooked in a tandoor. Tadoori chicken ( chicken marinaded in yogurt and spices and then roasted ) is cooked in a Tandoor.
Fancy a Balti?
Balti is also a type of curry from northern India. In fact, the word “balti” means the metal bowl in which the curry is served. The balti curry is colourful and spicy and eaten with naan bread.
The hottest thing on the menu…
While naan bread or chapatti are the accompaniment for curries from North India, curries from South India are served with rice. South India with its strong Hindu traditions and a tropical climate brings us vegetarian dishes such as dals – spiced lentils and dishes flavoured with tamarind and coconut. Pungent and aromatic, ginger is a major curry ingredient. 70% of India’s ginger is grown in south India. Curries from southern India tend to be very hot. You have been warned!
Family-owned restaurants will have their own recipes, passed on from mother to daughter so expect to be surprised! Interestingly, one of the most popular dishes, chicken tikka masala may have been invented in the UK!