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The Indian Restaurant Menu Explained

TANDOORI

Tandoori dishes derive their name from the Tandoor oven that they are cooked in. Tandoor ovens are traditionally clay ovens fuelled by charcoal in the bottom. Today, in the Indian restaurant, they are a little more high-tech, and can be fuelled by charcoal, gas or electricity. It is probably the heat generated in the Tandoor that give Tandoori dishes their unique taste, rather than the particular fuel used to fire them. Meat, kebabs and breads are cooked in the Tandoor. Meats are lowered into the oven on skewers and bread is stuck to the side with the aid of a good slap and asbestos fingers.

I suppose most things can be ‘Tandooried’, but the preparation is to marinate the meat in a marinade of yoghurt and spices. In the Indian restaurant, red food dye is often added, giving a rather radioactive red to the colour of the dish. This is not traditional and is only done for presentation.

Tandoori dishes do not have a reputation for being too spicy and are often recommended as being subtle and especially good for anybody wanting a more gentle introduction to the Indian menu. They are usually served as starter with a small side Salad and a Yoghurt and Mint Sauce, or with a Salad and Naan bread as a main course.

TIKKA

Tikka is prepared in a similar way to a Tandoori dish. However it is usually a piece of fillet meat, chicken or fish that is cooked on a skewer, whereas Tandoori dishes are usually a whole portion of meat such as a Chicken quarter or half.

TIKKA MASSALA

Tikka Massala is Britains No. 1 favourite dish, allegedly. It is so popular that they even make it in India now. It is also the answer that you will get if you ask any Indian waiter what they recommend. I think they are all programmed to respond with “Chicken Tikka Massala”.

The Tikka Massala curry is made with Tikka meat. That is, meat that has been marinated and cooked on skewers in a Tandoor before being used in the curry preparation. The Massala is the curry sauce that the Tikka is served in. It is a creamy mild and colourful dish, often appearing day-glow red due to the addition of the red food colouring either in the Tikka process or in the Massala or both. It is prepared in the same way as a basic curry dish but with the addition of possibly yoghurt and just before serving, single cream.

B

BALTI

BHUNA

BIRYANI, BIRIANI

C

CHAPATTI

D

DHANSAK, DANSAK

DOPIAZA, DUPIAZA

J

JALFREZI, JALFRAZI, JHALL FRYZY, ZALI FREZI etc, etc.

K

KORMA, KURMA

M

MADRAS

N

NAN BREAD, NAAN

P

PHALL

PURI

R

RICE

ROGAN JOSH

S

SAMBER

SHAMI KEBAB

SHEEK KEBAB, SHEIK KEBAB

T

TANDOORI

TIKKA

TIKKA MASSALA

V

VINDALOO

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