It ain't half cool, Mum! ...not all Indian meals are hot

Posted by Abul's Spice on 19 July 2016 at 11:17am

It ain't half hot, Mum, but Indian meals can be cool too, in multiple senses of the word. A rich, spicy-hot curry is not everyone’s idea of an enjoyable meal, with some running a mile to avoid such unfamiliar culinary territory. Some may perish the thought of a curry, in the misguided belief that such a dish has the potential to corrupt their tastebuds beyond all hope of being able to savor food ever again. Certainly, some curries are a little fiery, but there is far more to Indian cuisine that spicy hot dishes.

Welcome to those who give curry a cool reception

Here at Abul’s Spice, we offer a comprehensive menu including traditional dishes which are carefully prepared to suit all tastes. Our curries and biriyanis each have their own characteristics which are indicative of the variety and amount of herbs and spices which go into their creation.

For those with delicate palates and an appreciation of mild, sometimes sweeter flavours, Abul has created dishes which incorporate carefully chosen whole and ground spices with cooling yoghurt, sweet coconut milk, or cream. Generally, the addition of dairy or coconut milk inhibits the release of the 'heat' in spices without compromising aroma or flavour. Ground almonds, cashew or peanuts are also added to some dishes, which helps to thicken the sauce and add flavour.

Korma is a method of cooking

Take a traditional korma, for example. A korma is a method of slow cooking, as opposed to an actual dish. As with a good marinade for meat before it goes onto a barbecue, meat for a korma will likely be marinaded in yoghurt before being cooked over time. When the sauce is reduced, it is enhanced with the addition of mild spices. Far from being bland, a good korma is a fragrant assault on the senses and should be well seasoned. Recipes vary but typically feature cardamom seeds; cumin, which is part of the parsley family; ginger; bay leaves and garam massala. Coriander and garlic is also used, as is coconut or ground almonds.

Likewise, the pasanda’s mild flavours come from cardamon and pureed tomatoes, as well as cream and ground almonds. Similarly, massala dishes feature a blend of spices mixed with water or milk to create a paste. Again, recipes differ regionally and may contain as many as a dozen varieties of spice including chilli, star anise, nutmeg or bay leaf. The spice mix is often toasted or dry-fried before adding to the dish in order to release its distinctive flavours. The meal is then simmered in a creamy sauce and though it may assert the flavour of a particular spice above others, it is nonetheless mild on the palate.

Biryanis are mild too

Commonly mistaken for a curry, the biriyani is a work of subtle culinary art in its own right. Though not the main event on the table, no self-respecting Indian household would serve a vegetable curry without accompanying it with a biriyani. Originating from Persia, the biriyani is a dish of rice and meat (or fish) baked in the oven, thus allowing mild spices and meat juices to imbue the rice with their flavours. Biriyanis are dry in texture but marry well with vegetable curries, which have a lot of sauce.

Give it a go!

Having taken the heat out of the argument that all curries are too hot to handle, Abul’s Spice would like to invite you to try their milder dishes in the hope that they can dispel the myth that curries are to be avoided at all cost.

On the other hand, you might be a die-hard naga chilli enthusiast. In which case, Chef Abul can most certainly oblige. Just roll up your sleeves, have some water to hand, and ask for his signature naga chicken or lamb. You will not be disappointed.

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