In specialist "Balti Houses" the balti is a meal in itself which contains both meat and vegetables and is eaten straight from the karahi using curled up pieces of nan bread.

In standard Indian restaurants the balti is more of a stir-fried curry containing plenty of fried green peppers and fresh coriander ( cilantro). Bhuna is first and foremost a cooking process where spices are gently fried in plenty of oil to bring out their flavour.

In the Indian restaurant, however, all the dishes are made to order and the poor chef has to find a way of preparing the biryani in double quick time.

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Some traditional versions of the dopiaza use twice the weight of onions compared to the weight of meat but a classic Indian dopiaza is more likely to use the onions in 2 different ways, fried and boiled, at different stages of the cooking.

The restaurant version has small fried pieces of onion in the sauce and then larger chunks of lightly cooked onion are added towards the end of the cooking. Jalfrezi is not a traditional Indian dish as such but, like the bhuna, is actually a method of cooking.

Colonial households employed Indian cooks who would use the jalfrezi method of cooking to heat up cold roasted meat and potatoes.

But the restaurant jalfrezi is not a version of the Anglo-Indian dish. The Indian restaurant chef uses the jalfrezi method to stir-fry green peppers, onions and plenty of green chillies as the basis for a curry with just a little sauce.

If it is done well the dhansak is an excellent curry with contrasting flavours and textures.

But if the "sweet" in your restaurant dhansak is provided by the addition of pineapple then, in my opinion, you should order something else.Unnikrishnan, 47, worked for the CIA for nearly two years informing them about what was then an ultra-secret operation: R&AW training and arming Tamil groups including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Indian government's negotiating positions on the peace accord with Sri Lanka.A 1962 batch IPS officer on deputation to the spy agency, the suave Kerala-born Unnikrishnan was finally tracked and trapped by the Intelligence Bureau in Mumbai where he had gone to meet his CIA handler.The restaurant biryani is usually garnished with almonds and sultanas ( golden raisins) and is accompanied by a mixed vegetable curry to add a little juiciness to the rice. An authentic dhansak will made with lamb and contain vegetables and many different types of dhal (the sak in the name).The curry house dhansak is often referred to as "hot, sweet and sour with lentils". The US spy agency threatened to reveal Unnikrishnan's compromising photographs with a Panam air hostess (Madras Café shows it as a sex tape) to force him to cooperate.