Indian food for European palate
February 17, 2017 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recipes, resources, or suggestions relating to a certain style of Indian cooking that was described as: modified for a European and/or German palate.

I recently travelled through Germany and stopped in Bayreuth (Northern Bavaria) for some Indian curry. We ordered:

-Vegetable Korma
-Chicken Tikka Masala
-Lamb Bhindi
-Shahi Paneer

Despite these being fairly mild dishes anyway, we really noticed that the food was quite different than what we were used to eating in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. It was less hot, less garlicky, and sweeter, and we really noticed the flavour of the spices.

We asked the staff about the difference and they suggested that we would have been used to eating more "authentic" Indian food with hotter spices and stronger garlic. They explained they had purposely modified their recipes for a European and/or German palate. As examples, they specifically mentioned adding honey and coconut.

I'd love to cook this kind of curry at home for my partner who reacts badly to garlic and onion. I'm looking for recipes for a milder, sweeter, non-garlicky curry with a ton of aromatic spices.

The restaurant's menu doesn't offer much in the way of hints as to what was in each dish. It just refers to "delicate" spices and sauces.

What does Metafilter know about this style of cooking? I'm open to any suggestions as to how to recreate this.

PS. Yes, I've seen this question ("How to Cook Indian Cuisine").
posted by cranberrymonger to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Balti. Made in Birmingham.
posted by plep at 10:31 AM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am literally at this moment eating leftovers of this chicken korma recipe, which I made for dinner the other night. I think it would meet your criteria. I omitted the chili, and you could scale down the amount of onion and garlic (it gets blended up anyway so there are no onion-y chunks).
posted by cpatterson at 10:53 AM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Both these sources are mentioned in the previous question, but just in case you didn't notice this particular match for your needs: You might begin with Vedic cooking, which will omit onions and garlic. Manjula's Kitchen and Lord Krishna's Cuisine are good sources for those sorts of recipes.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:09 AM on February 17, 2017

I've made this Murg Jalfraizee (Chicken with green Bell Peppers) dozens of times. I often use red and green or just red bell peppers, which makes it a bit milder and sweeter. You can reduce the onions and garlic if that works for your partner, or you could leave them out entirely, and I'm sure the result would still be tasty.
posted by amf at 1:36 PM on February 17, 2017

You might want to look into Jain recipes, since they avoid onion and garlic for religious reasons. Gujarati Jains also tend to put more sugar in their foods.

In general, many Indians eat less spicy food than you would think, just because it doesn't suit their palate, for example my grandmother ate fairly minimally spicy food once she was 65 or so. Look into Indian food meant for the elderly or invalids. There are also special versions of many dishes with no onion or garlic for religious fasts and festivals.
posted by peacheater at 1:49 PM on February 17, 2017

So specifically in Central Europe a lot of curry is much sweeter than in the U.K. with much less depth of flavour/complexity for example. And in the U.K. they in turn were much simpler than what I had in India. In my experience more authentic recipes won't get you what you want, even toned down ones. I would recommend that you search for recipes on German language sites - the term curry will suffice - and then use a translation engine to translate.

The reason is that Central European palate is much less used to the trinity of garlic, ginger and chilies and uses a lot less spices in general. My colleagues here in Switzerland call all kinds of things spicy/hot/complex flavoured that have me rolling my eyes. So they are coming at this from the completely other end of the spectrum. There is also the fact that there are a lot less of the more authentic spices around in non superstore sized supermarkets and even there choices are limited at times - pot of 'mild curry powder' anyone? And don't get me started on the amount of fruit being added to 'curries' or even, shudder, a ladle of tinned fruit cocktail when serving (without asking!).

So this is the background against which the restaurant you visited was modifying things. I am sure they did a much better job than my office canteen but... Read some German recipes and compare to ones you're more familiar with. My expectation would be a lot less spices, a lot less steps to prepare. Hopefully this will give you ideas.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:10 PM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Bobotie, and other Cape Malay dishes. Indian-European ingredients, with mostly European cooking techniques!
posted by beijingbrown at 7:51 AM on February 18, 2017

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