Author Topic: Indian Styles for beginners.  (Read 12468 times)

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Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2014, 09:48 PM »
Some people claim BIR came from Balti style

Such people must be very young.  I was eating BIR-style curries in Birmingham 40 years ago, at which time the Balti triangle did not exist and no-one had ever heard of a balti curry.

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Online livo

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2014, 10:34 PM »
I probably should have said "Baltistan style" Phil, meaning that the BIR possibly came from chefs who brought their cooking knowledge and techniques from that region, as opposed to "The Balti" as we know it, or don't.

My investigation and research is very circular and sometimes wildly tangential at the moment and it is clear that there is no single explanation as to how either BIR or Balti evolved.  I am, however, thoroughly enjoying the trip at this point.

Different singular and combined definitions of Balti so far:

A dish cooked in a Balti Pan.
A dish served in the same pan in which it was cooked, ie a Balti Pan, Karahi or Kadhai.
A dish that is dryer than a normal BIR curry with more meat and less sauce. (Contrary to what Jerry has recently posted.)
A dish that is eaten by using bread rather than utensils.
A dish that is an "Indian Stir Fry".
A dish that contains both meat and vegetables.
A dish that comes from Birmingham.

So does this mean that you can't have a Balti anywhere other than BRUM, in a normal pot, serve it on a plate, eat it with a knife and fork, have a saucy dish or a balti that contains only meat or vegetables at the exclusion of the other?  Can a balti be slow cooked?


Online livo

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2014, 11:24 PM »
So here is an updated version of my Base Sauce / Gravy comparison Spreadsheet.

I've added the Bajelkar book sauces in the Balti section because they come from a Balti Book, but really the Base sauce is more like a BIR when you look at it, (albeit with lots of G/G and Tomato compared to anything else) and her Butter Sauce is something completely different to anything else with no onion or water but with cream.

Also note that The Original Onion Base Gravy and Curried Away both use a spice mix that I have not yet analysed to * off the included spices as I did for the other one.

Worth noting as well, is the amount of water added to the different sauces. This comparison is based on 1 kg of onions and if we were to analyse them in terms of total finished liquid volume we would get a completely different view of spicing levels.

T = Tablespoon. t = teaspoon

« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 11:44 PM by livo »

Offline commis

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2014, 11:13 PM »
Hi
I was hoping that JB had posted the Balti Paste recipe as used in the takeaway. This may of helped to show the Balti style curries as served in BIR's.
Regards


Online livo

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2014, 11:23 PM »
I'd like to see it too.

Next time I go in there I'll get a demo as well as asking about his home made balti paste.

I found this recipe for a home made Balti Paste.

Ingredients
5T Coriander Seed
3T Cumin
3T Curry Powder
2T Tumeric
1T Ginger Powder
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Dried Chilli or 2 fresh or 1 t powder
6 Bay leaves
3t Cardamom Seed
2t Mustard Seed
2t Fennel Seed
1t Fenugreek Seed
2T Oil
1t white vinegar

Method
Dry roast or fry spices. (I don't think I'd do it this way. I wouldn't cook all of the powders.)
Grind with M&P for 2 minutes
Add oil and vinegar
Grind to a paste for further 3 minutes.

and this one from a book (lifted in qty to make similar amount), which presented it as Hot Indian (Balti) Curry Paste. Chilli, Peppercorn, Mustard and mustard oil, no wonder it's hot.  But does this fit the "Balti" style?

Ingredients
5T Coriander Seed
4T Cumin
2.5T Tumeric
1 Cinnamon Stick
3T Black Peppercorns
3T Chilli Powder (no wonder she calls it hot)
2.5T Brown Mustard Seed
Seeds from 15 Pods Green Cardamom
15 Cloves
1T Fennel Seed
1T Fenugreek Seed
150 - 200 mls oil, either Vegetable or Mustard.

Method:
In this one the coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, fennel are prepared as a GM. (Nutmeg optional.)
Dry roast the fenugreek and mustard seeds for 1 minute.
Grind to a powder.
Add other spices.
Heat the oil.
Pour over spices and mix well.
Allow to cool and store in a jar for up to 3 months refrigerated.

This is another example (2 actually) where the recipe for a paste is provided but there is no instruction on how it is used and in the case of the book, not one recipe actually calls for it's use.





« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 01:02 AM by livo »

Offline mickdabass

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2014, 10:27 AM »
Well I have just eaten my 4th Balti from Al Frash in the last couple of weeks, and firstly I must say how unbelievably inconsistent they have been! The first two were bog standard chicken Baltis. Both the flavour and texture of the two dishes were like chalk and cheese. The first one was absolutely delicious - as I expected, and consistent with what I have tasted before. The second one which I left in the  fridge for a couple of days was one of the worst curries I have ever eaten!! The only redeeming factor/taste was a definite chicken stock taste to it. In fact that was the only taste. That curry was cooked on a saturday night so I cant see that it was cooked by a stand in chef. It was pale and watery. Very disappointing.

Offline JerryM

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2014, 09:50 AM »
mickdabass,

that pic does not look appetizing at all - real disappointment. even across BIR that discrepancy in quality is getting worse. i see it down to the price pressure that has changed what was a cheap ingredient offfering (like pizza) balanced with over supply.

livo,

attached my similar incomplete spreadsheet (may be of help/interest). i've given up on it for the moment. i hope to have a 2nd meet in Brum this xmas and aim to try to get portion of base to try - without knowing what i'm aiming to produce its up creak without paddle. in short even with all the published info there is no wrong answer and very little useful information.



Online livo

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2014, 02:18 AM »
Still unable to do much after my recent surgery, I'm off on another little adventure in the kitchen today and boy am I glad of it.  A great success, or at least I think so.  What 5%?  Hahaha. 

It started yesterday when I was cooking the Rogan Josh and to fill in the blank time I was looking further into the mention of the "Homemade Balti Paste" above.  I'm documenting here so I can remember, as much as passing the info off to anybody else, but I recommend you give this a try.

I made a batch of the first paste shown in my post just above.  I noted to myself that it was way too dry and added a little extra oil and a splash more vinegar but I still wasn't satisfied, although it would probably work like that.  Today I was looking at other homemade pastes, particularly native Indian ones and noticed that they are partially cooked and bottled like a preserve so I found a good recipe page as a guide and set about creating something.

I blended up 1 onion, 1Tablespoon each of Garlic and Ginger and 2 green chillies with some water to make a smooth paste / puree.  I then heated a couple of Tbsp of Veg oil in a pan and cooked the water out of it.  Then added a bit more oil because I wasn't satisfied with the separation.  Next in went some tomato puree and tomato paste, not much, and then cooked the water out again.

Next I added the spice paste I'd made yesterday and immediately the magic happened.  It smelled great.
I cooked this off for a minute or two till it was hot through, not too much then bottled it in a hot jar.

There was about a Tbsp that didn't fit in the jar and JerryM has told us recently to do practice sauces without meat, so off I go into the next phase.

Bit of oil heated then in with the left over paste for just a minute. Smells great, Added half an onion chopped and cooked it briefly but was scared of burning the spices so I added in a good splash of base gravy, kept it going on high until it needed more gravy and added a second lot. By this time the onion is nearly cooked enough. A splash of tomato puree, a squeeze of fresh lime, pinch of Fenugreek leaf, pinch of Balti Garam Masala and done.

I though I'd probably throw it away after I tasted it but I couldn't help myself from eating the whole thing.

Pics to come in a minute after I resize them.  This is great.

Offline mickdabass

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2014, 09:27 AM »
Jerry
The Al Frash portions are measley. I have weighed the last two that I have had. 130 - 135 grammes including the foil container. My mate goes there regularly and gets me a t/a when he does. Told him not to bother again...

Livo
Sorry to hear about your health problems, just hoping the surgery was successful and you are on the road to a speedy recovery. If its any consolation, my wifes got to have some surgery very soon, and we are all very worried.

Anyhow I digress. Last night I poured my fourth batch of "balti" gravy down the drain and I have now thrown the towel in with that. I have been using the RCR gravy + tweaks but seems like I am getting further and further from what I am trying to achieve. I have never tried making a paste, but after looking at your photos, I still might give it a try.

My general conclusion is that if restaurants like Al Frash can't consistently produce a good balti; what chance have we got??

Best Regards

Mick

Offline Naga

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Re: Indian Styles for beginners.
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2014, 12:27 PM »
Your Al Frash experience is disappointing, MTB. As I've said before, I've never knowingly had a genuine Balti, so I wouldn't know what to expect other than as described by members on the forum.

I DID order what purported to be a Balti chicken from a local T/A last weekend and it wasn't even a great curry, never mind anything else. It reminded me why I regularly make my own and rarely order anything in from T/As nowadays.

I'm interested in livo's thoughts about paste, though. It's something I've been mulling over for a long time now, but haven't really got into gear about it yet. I made a couple of pastes from the Cook4One website about a year ago, but I thought they were a bit bland for my tastes and just put the idea on the back burner without further experimentation.

It was only when a recent thread came up about slow cooker curries and the question of the singing and baghaaring of powdered spices was posed that the idea of pastes and their relevance to slow cooking sprung back to mind.

It's not something I would usually do, but I DO have a slow cooker which does little else than gather dust. I think I'm going to take a couple of different currys up to the stage immediately before adding base gravy and see how the resulting pastes fare in a slow cooker.

I'm sure it'll produce something worth eating, if not exactly BIR. Worth a punt anyway! :)


 

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