What to order and not to order at a curry restaurant, according to top chef

Chef Dipna Anand
10/10/2018 - 09:53
To mark National Curry Week (9-15 October), chef Dipna Anand – co-owner of Indian restaurant ‘Brilliant’ (West London) – has shared her five ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for ordering out at a restaurant.

With backing from HRH Prince Charles and fellow chef Gordon Ramsay, it’s safe to say that Anand knows a thing or two about the cuisine. And while she’s happy to see a chicken tikka masala on restaurant menus in Britain and India, she’s not so complimentary of balti, vindaloo or korma.

Anand said: “In my opinion, the British public is now very educated about Indian food and understands the variety available.

“When they look at an Indian menu, they know what they want to order but are also willing to try something new.

“While chicken tikka masala is a British dish, we have made it authentic by the combination of spices used. If you go to India and ask for it, they will serve it to you.

“But curries called madras, vindaloo or balti are not authentic, they are just names and will have most probably been made using ready-made curry pastes.’

She lists her five top tips below:

  1. While we accept chicken tikka masala is now a staple, there are really only two authentic chicken dishes at Punjabi Indian restaurants: chicken masala and chicken methi.Anything that is called a madras, balti or vindaloo will not be authentic. These are made up names and dishes that have probably been made using ready-made curry paste.
  2. Avoid samosas as a starter. These are usually bought frozen and then deep fried before being served.
  3. Steer clear of sundaes as they will probably be ready made. Better to try the traditional sweets, ras malai (a type of cheesecake) and gajar halwa (a carrot based dessert).
  4. Be wary of menus with too much choice – one that lists a 100 different types of curry means it is unlikely many will be fresh.
  5. The one dish guaranteed to be fresh is a biryani. The rice-based meal takes a lot of labour and has to be prepared fresh daily.

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