Haandi man brings the new Balti to Britain

IT'S ONLY an earthenware cooking pot but it could change the face of the modern British curry. First there was Tandoori, then there was Balti. Now there is Haandi, an ancient cooking method from Lahore in Pakistan that relies on a large clay dish.

IT'S ONLY an earthenware cooking pot but it could change the face of the modern British curry. First there was Tandoori, then there was Balti. Now there is Haandi, an ancient cooking method from Lahore in Pakistan that relies on a large clay dish.

It may not sound revolutionary but then neither was Balti - which became enormously popular partly because of the size of the portions. Yet in an industry desperate for new culinary genres to hook discerning British punters, it is novelty that counts and finding a new name is really half the battle. Thus, the Haandi House is born.

In Tabaq, a small but established Punjabi restaurant in Balham Hill, south London, Ahmed Manzoor stands proudly next to his latest acquisitions. Wearing an apron emblazoned in gold and red thread with the words National Curry Chef of the Year, he picks up one of the weathered-looking brown pots. "We've never seen these in the UK," he enthuses. "For a long time I saw my mother and sister cooking with them and I wondered to myself why no one had used one here."

So he brought some pots back to south London and began to experiment in the kitchen. The results must be impressive because he won the curry chef award with his recipe for Zaikidaar Haandi gosht, a lamb dish with yoghurt, tomato, cumin, coriander and garam masala.

But Iqbal Wahhab, ex-editor of Tandoori magazine and curry commentator who once compared the atmosphere of an average Tandoori house to that of a funeral parlour, isn't bowled over by the Haandi innovation. "It's basically a different kind of pot isn't it? It's like saying I'm cooking your food in one sort of frying pan compared to another. The end result is pretty much the same."

Whether it's a vat, pot, wok or bucket, the clamber for reinvention is understandable, however. According to recent figures, Indian restaurants have reached a plateau; they increased from about 100 in the early 1960s, to 8,000 by 1997. When 10 years ago the Tandooris were growing a little jaded in image, Baltis came to the rescue, allowing the curry house to flourish again. But now Balti, it seems, is yesterday's Tandoori and the industry desperately needs to spice up its act.

In the clamour for custom, supermarket dishes have not helped, though. Nor has ersatz Asian fast food, usually in the form of the McDonald's McChicken korma and the Burger King masala burger. While the mass food market dilutes the complexity of Asian cooking, Indian chefs are becoming more "purist" to try to maintain the identity of the cuisine.

Manish Sood, business development manager for the Academy of Asian Culinary Arts at Thames Valley University, agrees that cooks are now looking more towards tradition."We're not going for mixes with French or Italian food. We're stepping back and looking at methods that are very old, full of ancient ritual and culture."

The recipe

Zaikidaar Haandi Gosht Marinade:1 pot natural yoghurt1 tsp cumin seeds1 tsp coriander seeds1 tbsp garam masalapinch of salthalf tsp red chilli powder2 green chilliesfresh garlic and ginger1tsp white wine vinegarhandful fresh coriander

Other ingredients:1 large onion2 tbsp ghee2 tomatoes1 tsp cumin, coriander,green cardamoms1 bay leaf1 lb boneless diced lamb

Method:1. First find your Haandi 2. Place yoghurt in a bowl with all the marinade ingredients and mix together 3. Add lamb and leave in fridge overnight to marinate 4. Place the marinated lamb in Haandi with herbs. Heat on high flame. Add ghee and onions5. Wait until lamb is tender and add tomatoes, then simmer for 30 mins6. Serve with basmati rice

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before