July 30, 2018
The Irresistible Taste of North Indian Cuisines
More often than not, when you’re dining in an Indian restaurant in the UK – particularly on our high street – chances are that the menu will be made of dishes which are primarily North Indian. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that North Indian cooking is the be all and end all of Indian cuisine. Well, not quite.
Hearty, tasty and meat orientated
There happens to be a vast repertoire of regional cuisines that make up Indian alone – crisscrossing from North to South, East to West and everything in between! In addition, the term “Indian” cuisine can also often be used in British culture to loosely define the cuisines of the subcontinent, regardless of whether they originate from India or even Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and more. So the richness, origins and variety of Indian cuisine is wide-ranging. Yet, it is North Indian cuisine which often carries the mantle of not only being hearty, tasty and meat orientated. The cuisine is by far, the most popular outside of India.
Rich and robust
Region wise, North Indian cuisine features cooking from Kashmir, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan and other parts. But what typifies North Indian food? The true answer is that it isn’t just one or even a few things, but quite a few along with Moghul influences, rich and robust spicing, strong aromas depth of flavour, use of ghee (clarified butter) and onion based sauces – not to mention the deployment of cooking methods such as stewing, roasting and indeed, use of the tandoor (clay oven).
Key spices utilised in North Indian cuisine include a veritable who’s who list of Indian spicing. From cardamom – including black cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, chilli, nigella seeds peppercorn, bay leaf, clove, fenugreek, fennel, saffron, mustard seeds and yes, that wonderful blend of spices which can really lift a dish, garam masala as well as a host of others. Of course, where would North Indian cooking be without haldi (turmeric), garlic and ginger?
On Chakra’s menu, which is made up of mainly North Indian dishes with the addition of some pan-Indian as well as signature dishes – all delicious and freshly prepared, such spices are de rigueur. Lovers of North Indian cooking will find many of their favourite dishes here. Starters include Lamb Keema Naan, Samosa Channa Chaat, Fish Amritsari whilst flavoursome items from the tandoori feature Achari Paneer, Mirchi Murgh Tikka, Patiala Chuza (poussin), Amina Di Shammi and Adraki Jhinga.
The main dishes at Chakra emphasise North Indian cooking but with strong Punjabi influences. Jalandhar chicken, for instance, is Chakra’s version of the Punjab classic with tandoori grilled chicken simmered in a tomato and cream masala whilst the signature Lamb Rogan Josh offers influences from Kashmir with lamb cooked with ginger, chilli, saffron and whole spices.
For vegetarian items at Chakra, one couldn’t get more of a Punjabi influence than the Maa Di Dal classic black dal cooked overnight on the clay oven. The Ghar Da Matar Paneer has homemade organic Indian cottage cheese sautéed with green peas and an onion tomato masala. Diners may also enjoy the Channa Masala dish. The exciting and palate tingling North Indian journey in Chakra’s menu continues with Biraynis, Pulao, various Naans, Parathas and Tandoori Roti. For the sweet-toothed, there’s also an exquisite Rasmalai, amongst other desserts.
Chakra’s cooking presents a very fine example of uplifting North Indian cooking.