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

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album