Author Topic: Indian Styles for beginners.  (Read 12456 times)

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Online livo

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Indian Styles for beginners.
« on: October 18, 2014, 12:54 AM »
Even though I've been cooking "Indian" and "Sri Lankan" dishes for over 20 years on a fairly regular basis, I still consider myself to be very much a beginner in terms of full understanding.  Sure I can reproduce dishes and they are good but there are still elements of doubt and uncertainty.

I would very much like to open a discussion on Styles of Indian cookery as I feel it may help other beginners to understand what I hope is the concept.  This site is clearly directed towards the BIR style of dish preparation as opposed to traditional. Fair enough and the difference there is fairly straight forward.  I also found good reference to Aussie style which helped me so much as well but it is very different to BIR.

What is the difference between BIR and Balti?  Is Balti just a small sub category of BIR?  Are the only differences in the fact that Balti is less wet and served in a Balti?

I can cook a CTM Aussie Style, Traditional, BIR and probably Balti, (I haven't tried yet).  Is it simply a variation of cookery style to come to a dish that is pretty much a CTM?

Offline noble ox

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2014, 10:06 AM »
Livo :)

With your 20 years of cooking experience of curry

If you have to ask the questions
Would you understand the answers?

All the info is already on this site


Offline JerryM

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2014, 11:03 AM »
Livo,

as noble ox says there is a lot posted on the subject. i think bengali bob's three balti is good start.

in very simple. BIR = indian Bangladeshi, Balti = Pakistani. it gets more complicated as Pakistani is also BIR with Balti a very small sub set.

Pakistani is found in a few concentrated areas in the UK. Bradford, Manchester to name 2.

in general i don't like the Pakistani version. i've never really worked out why. i dont like curry on the curry mile as i'm sure it is mainly Pakistani.

i think the difference is down to greater use of methi and probably use of gm in place of mix. i also think the base must be different. bengali bob i think in exploring balti is working on other potential differences of which stock is clearly a factor.

as for balti the dish or method of cooking has nothing to do with the difference. i in fact believe contrary to popular belief that balti is best cool fried not hot fried (which i use for BIR).

the trouble is many Indian BIR have attempted to copy Balti and now the waters are very muddy. the real McCoy though has not traveled outside Birmingham.

the type of naan bread is also a good indicator - balti is quite thin and sort of crispy. indian naan is soft and doughy.

there is a BBC lenny henry video i think on youtube that gives a real good overview. may even be link on this site.

http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php/topic,12060.msg96944.html#msg96944

Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2014, 12:45 PM »
What is the difference between BIR and Balti?  Is Balti just a small sub category of BIR?  Are the only differences in the fact that Balti is less wet and served in a Balti?

I can cook a CTM Aussie Style, Traditional, BIR and probably Balti, (I haven't tried yet).  Is it simply a variation of cookery style to come to a dish that is pretty much a CTM?

This last part confuses me, Livo.  What is the dish to which you refer that is "pretty much a CTM" ?  I assume not a balti, because one of those and a CTM are as different as chalk and cheese, so unclear as to which dish you are referring in those closing words.

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Online livo

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2014, 01:36 PM »
Thanks to all, and especially to Noble Ox. I think I'll understand the answers.  I say 20 years regularly as in fairly often, but not weekly of even close in terms of regular meals.  It has not been a major part of our diet, just an occasional treat.  Your answers so far actually reflect the exact point of query. Simply a point of clarification.  From this side of the planet I've not eaten a genuine Brum Balti and so have no idea as to what it should be like. Shops sell "Balti" but is it really?

Phil, can you have a Balti CTM, or a BIR CTM or a traditional style CTM? (or even an AIR CTM).  They would all be Chicken Tikka Masala but different.  I guess this is the question your asking of me.  My research outside this forum leads to information that simply says a Balti is a meatier version (or less saucy version) served in a balti dish.  I would think there is obviously more to it than that.

Jerry has more or less given me the clarification I was after and some direction.  Now clearer in my mind than mud.  As I said, I still consider myself very much a beginner in this style of cooking.

I hope this gives a better idea into my questions?

I'm not happy to play a guitar but I build them and amplifiers. Practise is one thing and knowledge is more.

Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2014, 01:43 PM »
Phil, can you have a Balti CTM, or a BIR CTM or a traditional style CTM? (or even an AIR CTM).

To the best of my knowledge (I don't eat CTM, and live too far from the Balti Triangle to want to try a balti), BIR CTM exists (and is virtually oxymoronic) , and AIR CTM probably exists.  There can be no "traditional" CTM because it was invented over here, but if you look into Chicken Makhani you will get an idea of its traditional roots.  As to a Balti CTM, no idea; these days, almost certainly yes (somewhere); when Balti dishes were first launched, almost certainly not.

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Online livo

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2014, 01:51 PM »
I think you have answered a big part of my question right there Phil.  Oxymoronic.  I would appear to me that in much of Indian cooking people just throw in an Indian food name or two or three just for the sake of it.

Didn't someone here recently cook a Tikka Bhuna Tandoori Balti Chicken Korma or something similar?

As Jerry says, I believe the waters have been muddied.


Offline Garp

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2014, 02:08 PM »
I had a FIR, French Indian Restaurant CTM, which bore no resemblance to BIR.

Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2014, 02:15 PM »
I had a FIR, French Indian Restaurant CTM, which bore no resemblance to BIR.

And my wife, mother-in-law and I once had FIRFP ("French Indian Restaurant Food Poisoning"), having eaten tandoori chicken that must have been disinterred from the local cemetery so bad did it smell.  Never again.  I've eaten good Vietnamese food in France, and of course good French food, but never good Indian food and now I never shall ...

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Online livo

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2014, 11:55 PM »
Another way to ask this beginners question in the beginners section is:
How is a "Real Balti" different from any other style?
(and I don't mean the Wikipedia definition, ie: "A Balti (Balti: ????, Urdu: ?????) is a type of curry served in a thin, pressed steel wok-like "balti bowl".[1] It is served in many restaurants in the United Kingdom. The consensus appears to be that the term refers to the pot in which the curry is cooked,[2][unreliable source?] rather than to any specific ingredient or cooking technique, although it is stated that it is cooked until the cooking liquid has largely evaporated. [3]")

Quote from Bengali Bob Oct 2 2013. Three Baltis

"The main thing that is throwing me somewhat at the moment is that the Kushi base, spice mix and pre-cooks are, I feel, essentially very much like what (in the right hands) can be used to make typical high-quality "BIR faire", whereas the actual dishes from the Kushi are (in my experience) high-quality "Birmingham balti".  Both highly desirable food stuffs, yet markedly different in nature."

This is on p 11/38. Waters still muddy for me but I intend to read the whole thread this morning and some of the links contained therein.

Curryhell from p 6
"Maybe one day, i'll get back to Brum and get to try a real balti.  I sure as hell am not going to get anything close down my neck of the woods, albeit served in the right dish and called a balti  :( .
Good luck to those on the balti quest."


fried from p15
"I've heard people talk in hushed whispers about the Birmingham Baltis but unfortunatly missed the boat on that. I find it hard to understand the exact difference in taste between Balti and standard BIR."

jerry p16
"across most of BIR land there is no difference between Balti and BIR dishes."

So I've read the 38 pages and it would appear that Jerry has provided the closest thing to a method / ingredient list to a Balti, as far as a couple of people are concerned anyway.  I see very little difference in ingredients to other curries and the method is about low heat / quick fry as opposed to high heat / singeing.

Stock, soy, tomato powder, rose petals, pandan, ajwain (which is not lovage), secret GM's, oil or ghee, pre-cooked meat or fresh. All still not answered definitively.  What makes a balti a balti?
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 02:09 AM by livo »


 

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