The Flavours of History

Appendix 9 COMPENDIUM OF FOOD TERMS (Continued)


Preparation - The perfect chicken tikka masala should be rich and creamy in a lush red sauce with a hint of coconut, the meat should be tender and slightly smoky from the tandoor with beautiful aromas coming from the dish. There is no definitive recipe for chicken tikka masala and is very much a case of personal preference.

Restaurant - The chicken tikka masala experience can vary in heat, colour and even texture depending on the chef. The colour can be radioactive red, to a quieter red, brown and even green. It is normally quite a mild, creamy dish but some chefs like to introduce a chilli tang. It remains the most popular single dish requested in Indian restaurants accounting for up to 15% of all orders.

Dhansak :

Name Origins : Dhansak is a Parsi dish traditionally served on Sundays and very popular with the Parsi community around Mumbai. It is a hot, sweet and sour dish offered at feasts and made of mutton, lentils, vegetables, spices, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic etc. Dhan means grain or rice and sak means vegetables.

History : In order to escape persecution at the hands of the Muslims in Iran, a small group of Zoroastrians left their ancestral town of Paras and set sail for India. Known as Parsis, according to legend, this group on reaching Sanjan, on the Gujarat coast, asked the local king Jadi Rana, for asylum. Before getting permission, they were asked to prove how they wouldn't be a burden on the local people. The leader of the group stirred some sugar into a bowl of milk which was filled to the brim. When the sugar dissolved, the priest told the Rana, "The bowl of milk represents your people, the sugar represents us. Just like the sugar gets absorbed in the milk and sweetens it without spilling, we, too, will assimilate with your people and sweeten their life without disturbing it."

The Rana was taken aback with the Parsi's reply. He gave them asylum but laid down five conditions. These were:

*The esoteric and exoteric doctrines and practices of the religion should be explained.

*They should forsake their native language for the local one. Hence, their mother tongue is Gujarati.

*Parsi women would only wear what the local women wore. Parsi women wear sarees, wrapped in the Gujarati style even today.

*Eating beef would not be permitted. Most Parsis do not eat beef even today.

*They would not convert the locals to the Zoroastrian faith and perform their religious ceremonies where the local population couldn't witness it.

Preparation : Dhansak is one of the most popular dishes in UK and offers a wonderful mix of textures and flavours. When made by a Parsi chef and offered, as is traditional, with Brown Rice and Kachumbar salad it is one of the most exciting dishes on the menu. The meat is traditionally mutton and there are different types of lentils such as masoor, or mung, urad and toovar dhal. The sweetness comes from red pumpkin and the sourness from fresh dill. Other ingredients include aubergine, fenugreek, onions, cloves, Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind pulp.

Restaurant : Chicken Dhansak is the most famous version in most restaurants and is usually not served with brown rice or salad but conventional rice and side dishes. The dish served in Indian restaurants today is based on the addition of a lentil puree to the cooking process. It is described as a sweet and sour curry with a lentil sauce. The serving varies from restaurant to restaurant, but often expect a pineapple ring or some other fruit to be included in the curry for added sweetness plus sugar and very rarely will you find the required red pumpkin.


Name Origins . The name Dopiaza is from the Hindi for two, do, and onions, piaz The name means double or twice onions and hence is somewhat confusing. Some chefs take the meaning to be double onions compared with meat and others, twice onions' with onions added at two different stages both fried and boiled. Very popular in Hyderabad and Andrah Pradesh.

History : Legend has it that Mullah Do Paiza, a courtier and advisor of Mugal Emperor Akbar, discovered this dish when accidentally doubling the amount of onion in the dish he was cooking. One of the Navratans (nine jewels) of the Court, it is said he could "conjure up culinary delights using only two onions".

Preparation : Usually contains one large onion or two medium plus garlic, yoghurt, turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin coriander, bay plus cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns for the garam masala. No water is used in cooking this dish and it is usually of medium heat with a thickish sauce.

Restaurant : Most restaurant versions of the dish today, fry small pieces of sliced onions first in a thick curry sauce with green peppers and chopped tomatoes and then add larger chunks of onions towards the end of the cooking. With the less subtle versions you can find chunks of raw onion added to the dish before presentation.

Dum Pukht :

Name Origins : Dumpukht is derived from Persian meaning 'air-cooked' or 'baked. "DUM" means to "breathe in" and "PUKHT" means "to cook".

History : This is a slow-cooking method dating back to early sixteenth century and used in Akbar's kitchens and first mention in writing in 1590 according to Hobson Jobson.

Dum cooking was introduced to India by the Mughals. The cuisine was popular at the time of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, the erstwhile ruler of the State of Awadh. The State was hit by a famine and unemployment was high. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah decreed the never ending construction of a giant edifice, the Bara Imambara, creating unceasing employment. By royal decree too, arrangements were made to provide food. Enormous containers were filled with rice, meat, vegetables and spices, and sealed. Hot charcoal was placed on top and fires lit beneath, while slow cooking ensured food was available day or night. The result was extraordinary, for when the containers were unsealed; the splendid aromas attracted even the royal attention. The "dummed" cuisine was then perfected for the royal table. Exotic dishes were evolved, in which flavours and fragrances intermingled, with exquisite results.

Preparation : Slow Oven means cooking on very low flame, mostly in sealed containers, allowing the meats to cook, as far as possible, in their own juices and bone-marrow. Less spices are used than in traditional Indian cooking, with fresh spices and herbs for flavouring. In some cases, cooking dough is spread over the container, like a lid, to seal the foods. Its famous recipes include Dum Chicken Biryani, Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani, Nihari Gosht, Dal Bukhara, Mirch ka Salan, etc. This cuisine is popular in Pakistan, Punjab, Kashmir and UP in India.

Garam Masala

Name Origins : Urdu - a basic blend of ground spices to be used alone or with other seasonings. The contents of garam masala varies region by region and even by town or village. Some of the best known are :

Punjabi Masala - toasts whole spices and grinds coriander seeds, bay leaves, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom seeds, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks.

Bangala Masala - not toasted, cloves, cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks.

Rajasthani Masala - finishing spice, black peppercorns, black cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom seeds, bay leaves, mint leaves, Kashmiri chile, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground mace, ground cinnamon.

Maharashtrian Masala - raw peanuts, white sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, Thai chiles, nutmeg, mace, unsweetened coconut.

Kashmiri Masala - cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, ground ginger, black cumin seeds, cloves, ground nutmeg, mace, black cardamom pods.

Balti Masala - fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom seeds, nigella seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cayenne, nutmeg.

Kolhapuri Masala - red Thai chiles, unsweetened coconut, white sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, mace, bay leaves, oil, ground Kashmiri chiles.

Sambhar Masala - curry leaves, red Thai chiles, chana dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, white poppy seeds, cinnamon sticks, sesame oil.

Chaat Masala - cumin seeds, dried pomegranate seeds, black peppercorns, mango powder, black salt, sea salt.

Haandi: -

Name Origins : Unknown

History - Originated in Lahore in Pakistan. Supposedly introduced to UK by Manzoor Ahmed of Tabaq Restaurant in London(now closed). Haandi is an Indian pot that has a bottom like a wok and then has a narrow opening on the top. Slow cooking in steam or in seasoned moist flavourings are its special attributes. The cooking is done in a thick bottomed pan so that the food does not stick or burn; the lid helps retain the aroma and flavour. Both bhunao and dum are aspects of Haandi cooking.

Jardaloo :

Name Origins - Parsee(apricot)

History - A Parsee celebration dish with lamb or chicken cooked with Hunza or Afghan apricots, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, red chilli powder, cumin, wine vinegar, sugar, pepper and garam masa


Name Origins: (many alternative spellings such as jhal frezi, zalfrezi) The name is said to come indirectly from Bengali jh?l, spicy food, and Urdu parhez?, suitable for a diet. Rather than originating as the name of a dish, it is actually a style of cooking.

History : Said to have originated in Pakistan or Eastern India perhaps encouraged by non Indians based on the Chinese stir fry style of cooking . The literal meaning of the word Jalfrezi is "hot-fry" and entered the English language at the time of the British Raj in India. Colonial households employed Indian cooks who would use the jalfrezi method of cooking to heat up cold roasted meat and potatoes.

Preparation : Marinated pieces of meat or vegetables are stir fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. It is cooked with green chillies, with the result that a jalfrezi can range in heat from a medium dish to a very hot one. Other main ingredients include peppers, onion and tomato.

Restaurant : Jalfrezi has become one of the standard curry house dishes in Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants in UK slotting in in spice heat terms, between Madras and Vindaloo.


Name Origins : The actual meaning of korai, karai or karahi is an Indian cooking pot made from cast iron, very similar to a wok. Origins are from the Pakistani Frontier region. Karahi is the 'Urdu' word for the pan in which this dish, with fresh garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onions, chillies and coriander is prepared.

History : A Karahi (karai) is a type of thick, circular, and deep vessel (similar in shape to a Chinese Wok) used in Pakistani and Indian cooking. Karahi are traditionally made out of cast iron. Karahi or .kadai (also spelled "kadhi," "kadahi," or "kadhai") is a kind of dish cooked in a Karahi. Dishes in India are often presented "kadai fresh," like Kadai Chicken, and Kadai Paneer, where the dish is served with a miniature kadai and hot coals underneath it to give the impression of being hot from the stove.

Preparation : Karahi is a stir fry dish with similarities to balti. Both meat and vegetarian versions are popular and ingredients vary considerably according to the cook.

Restaurants : Karahi has been a popular dish with many diners since its introduction onto the menu's of Indian restaurants long before a balti was ever thought of. A dish with large pieces of onion, capsicums and tomatoes with herbs and spices, often served in a sizzling karahi at the table. Chicken, lamb or king prawns are usually the preferred meat used to cook the karahi but vegetable karahi's are also very popular.

Kebab (kebap, kabab, kebob, kabob, kibob, kebhav, kephav, kebabie)

Name Origins : The Arabic word possibly derives from Aramaic kabbaba, which probably has its origins in Akkadian kababu meaning "to burn, char". The Persian term kabab was adopted by medieval Arabs, and Turks as kebab. The term shish kebab is said to come from Turkish words literally meaning "skewer" and "roast meat." Christopher Columbus was fond of Portuguese espetadas, a beef shish kebab marinated in wine and roasted on an open fire.

History : The term is essentially Persian in origin and legend has it that the dish was invented by medieval Persian soldiers who used their swords to grill meat over open-field fires although The dish has been native to the Near East and ancient Greece since antiquity; an early variant of kebab is attested in Greece since 8th century BC in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and in classical Greece, amongst others in the works of Aristophanes, Xenophon and Aristotle. Excavations held in Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini by professor Christos G. Doumas, unearthed stone sets of barbecue for skewers used before the 17th century BC.

Preparation : There are many different variations - Shish - Turkish word for skewer : Doner - rotating kebab, lamb, beef or chicken : Kathi - cooked in tandoor with skewer : Kakori - named after the city, minced goat : Chapli - minced beef patty : Burrah - Muglai, usually goat : Kalmi - Chicken drumsticks hailing from Balochistan : Galouti - Made for Nawab of Lucknow - no teeth : Testi - cooked in clay pot : Chelow - national dish of Iran : Koubideh - Iranian made from ground meat : Barg - Persian BBQ : Joujeh - marinated in onion and lemon juice : Shami - meat patty and chickpeas


Name Origins : A dish consisting of flaked fish, usually smoked haddock but sometimes salmon, boiled rice, eggs and butter. Said to be adapted from Indian dish Kichri or Kichdi, a popular comfort food.

History : The Scottish Kitchen by Christopher Trotter has traced the origins for the kedgeree recipe to books by the Malcolms dating back to the year 1790 and many suggest Scottish troops during the Raj introduced the dish into India where it was adapted by local chefs. The Indian dish Kichri or Kichari existed well before this (first mentioned in 1340) so whether they introduced it to the Scots or the other way round is impossible to say although the former seems likely. In Victorian times kedgeree was a typical breakfast dish in Britain.

Preparation : Most recipes now contain light curry powder and or turmeric, coriander leaves (cilantro) or parsley to accompany the rice, boiled egg, butter, peppercorns, small onion, bay leaf and haddock. Sometimes cream or yogurt are stirred into the rice after cooking to make the dish richer.

Restaurants : Raj dishes such as mulligatawny and kedgeree are rarely found in Indian restaurants in Britain (with some very tasty exceptions) and tend to be produced more in the home


Name Origins : Hindi & Urdu gorma, of Turkic origin; akin to Turkish kavurma fried meat, from kavur- to fry, roast.

History : A Muslim court dish originated in 16th-19 century from Persia. Emperor Shahjehan used to have all white banquets on full moon nights at the Agra Fort. - white carpets, cushions and flowers with guests in white and white food. Shahi (Royal) Korma is said to have been perfected for the mainly toothless Nawabs of Oudh in Lucknow.

Preparation : Korma is a greatly mis-understood curry. Korma is "slow cooking or braising" rather than meaning a mild curry as it has become accepted in Britain. It can be very mild or rather fiery depending on which part of the country the recipe originated. Northern kormas generally have rich ingredients like saffron, nuts, nut pastes, khoya (full fat dried milk), cream etc.

Moglai korma originates from the north of India, and is cooked with almonds, cashews, yoghurt in a creamy base, and with cardamoms and saffron to give it added flavour and aroma.

Kashmir Korma originates from the Kashmir region of Pakistan/India, and uses all the same ingredients as the Moglai Korma but with dried fruits also being used in the cooking proccess .

The South Indian korma is quite different to the Moglai and Kashmir korma as fresh coconut or coconut milk is added along with fennel seeds, and unlike the other kormas this one is slightly spicier as cayenne powder is added. A Korma (quorma, qorma) is a very popular dish throughout India and even Pakistan and Afghanistan and varies from mild to a strong medium spice heat.

Restaurant : These days the Korma you get served in your local Indian is a very mild, creamy rich dish, cooked slowly on low heat with coconuts, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and double cream and often recommended for "curry virgins". Shahi Korma can be very rich and quite sweet but is very popular with those being introduced to Indian cuisine. Originally almonds were used but often now includes cashews plus poppy seeds, yoghurt, bay, onions, green chillis, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and mace.