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The Curry Connection

The Curry Connection
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Ingredients, tastes, spices and herbs� with so much in common, it is no wonder that the flavour rich Asian cuisine is so easy to adapt and relish ...

jhsdgjkhsdkjgsdIngredients, tastes, spices and herbs� with so much in common, it is no wonder that the flavour rich Asian cuisine is so easy to adapt and relish Chicken dumplings and vegetable dimsums: the steamed marvels of China, Tai Chin chicken: stir-fry using the classic ingredients like the soy sauce and chilli peppers, Som tam: the spicy, sour and sweet papaya salad and delicious green curry and red curry with unique spices and coconut milk from Thailand, tori teriyaki: the succulent grilled chicken marinated in Japanese sauce and sushis: sticky rice rolled into nori �sea weed with interesting fillings ranging from sea food, meats to vegetables, murtabak: the Malaysian street food which is like a Kerala paratha made using minced mutton, along with garlic, egg and onion and the wide variety of rice including the garlic fried rice, Thai fried rice �Pan Asian delicacies have slowly and surely made their way into Indian palate. "All You Can Eat" menu at Holy Basil restaurant of Radisson Blu hotel offers all the above and more of the Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes at a fixed price during lunch. And biryani loving foodies of Hyderabad are making the most of the unlimited food offer.
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What is it that endears these dishes from all over Asia to the spice loving Indians? While the change in the eating habits is primarily attributed to increased travel to other countries, it is also because of many restaurants, especially in cities like Hyderabad that have introduced variety of dishes from Asian countries like China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and even Vietnam. The commonality in the predominant tastes like spiciness and sourness is also one of the main reasons why it is so easy to adapt to the Thai, Chinese and Malaysian cuisines, while the more bland Japanese dishes are tweaked to taste. Be it the Japanese sticky rice or the Chinese Jasmine rice or the widely used Basmati, rice is a staple in many of these countries - and chilli is widely used. If it is the bird eye chillies in Thailand, it is the Kashmiri dry chillies and several other variants available in India. And the Japanese make it up with wasabi, the innocent looking green paste that is soaringly hot and more or less compensates for the rest of the Japanese food. And how can you forget the Schezwan pepper corns, which when used liberally can put any Indian chilli to shame.
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Asian food cultures can be broadly divided into three regions � South West: India, Pakistan, Srilanka and Burma where eating of naan along with kebabs a la Persian and Arabian style, roti, rice and curries is more in vogue. "Indian food is more on spice and more rich and heavy in flavours," says Dawa Sonam Lama, Junior Sous Chef, Radisson Blu. North East is more about using fats, oils and sauces in cooking. Countries like China, Korea and Japan fall into this category. China offers more in terms of variety attributing to its different regions including the Schezwan and Hunan. Like in India, even in China, the food from these different regions is similar, yet distinct in its own way. The South East (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia) on the other hand is all about light and aromatic food. Use of ingredients like kafir lime, galangal, lemon grass and herbs like basil, cilantro and mint add to the flavours. Except, probably in the North East, curry rules the roost in most other regions and use of ginger and garlic is very common in all the regions. Ingredients, tastes, spices and herbs� with so much in common it is no wonder that the flavour rich Asian cuisine is so easy to adapt and relish. The other restaurants offering Pan Asian cuisine in Hyderabad are Syn at Taj Deccan, Thai Pavilion at Taj Vivanta, N Asian, Ohm at Avasa and many Chinese restaurants dotting the city. -RK
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