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The Great 80's...

General chat about British Indian Restaurant curries

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slicker55
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The Great 80's...

Post by slicker55 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:11 pm

My passion for curry started in the early 80's when a good night out wasn't complete without suffering Ganges revenge the following morning!

BIR style cooking has left many newcomers totally unaware that curries these days as quite removed from what they used to be

I would like to revisit those marvellous 80's, if only from my own back yard, but need genuine recipes.

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Cory Ander » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:22 am

Not too sure that I understand what you mean or what it is that you're looking for, slicker?

Whilst I agree that BIR-style curries may be different from BIR-style curries from to 80's (which many of us are seeking to replicate), for whatever reasons, they are BIR-style curries, nevertheless? Isn't this what this forum is all about (or, is supposed to be all about, anyway)?

There are many recipes and discussion threads on BIR-style curries from "yesteryear" (e.g. the 80s).

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you and you're actually looking for something else? :hmmm:
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by slicker55 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:41 am

As much as I love preparing, cooking and eating BIR curries, this 80’s thing is driven purely by nostalgia and to pay homage to those early pioneers for what is now a thriving industry.

I see Indian Restaurants and Balti Houses as two different things, although these days the former are few and far between over here in the UK.

I’m not having a knock at Balti Houses, they readily appeal to the masses, their business model makes economic sense with everything tailored around cost and speed.

However, the end product is quite removed from what their fore-fathers served up and it’s their recipes and techniques that I would like to get my hands on.

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Cory Ander » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:05 am

Still not too sure what you mean, slicker? Or what you're actually looking for?

I also crave the typical "BIR-style" curries of the 80s (as do many other of our members). But "BIR-style" curries of the 80s (and, indeed, much prior to that), as far as I'm concerned, were "BIR-style curries". That's how the typical "BIR-style" curry cooking techniques (i.e. quick delivery of curries, primarily by Bangladeshis, to meet the perceived UK palette) evolved. And that "style", by and large, continues to this day (perhaps with some subtle differences and diversification over the years/decades). This is the typical style of "British Indian Restaurants" in the UK? And replicating those curries is the main purpose of this forum.

"80s curries" certainly weren't, in my opinion and experience, curries cooked by a "traditional" style of curry cooking. Far from it!! Unless you waited 2, or more, hours for your meal?

And "Balti" (and "Balti Houses") came afterwards (and were/are in a minority and reasonably locailsed). As far as I'm concerned, "balit" and "balti house" are/were largely marketing hype and misnomers for those British Indian Restaurants wishing to differentiate themselves from the "norm" at the time.

So I think you may be confused? Or maybe I'm still misunderstanding you? Or maybe I'm confused?

Perhaps you're after more "traditional" style Indian recipes (which take much longer to prepare and are not suitable for "fast food" outlets? In which case, recipes (and books, thereon, abound).
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by slicker55 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:16 pm

... maybe we're all confused - but that could also be down to old-age :lol::

You've probably summed up what I'm looking for in your last para..

Interestingly, we have just returned from our weekly asian shop during which we got talking to one of the shop owners on this very subject.

He reckons we've all become conditioned, "restaurants have to make and shift food cheap and fast but a good curry takes time, lots of time"

I was quite surprised when he said that he has become so used to eating balti-style curries that when he goes back to India, traditional curry, actually makes him bad!

I will also speak to one of our neighbours - an elderly asian family and I would wager they have never heard of base gravy!

However, that said, I have been watching some interesting stuff put up on Youtube by a respectable Indian Chef who talks about four different types of 'gravies', each made for use with specific curry types... fascinating stuff

Got to go.. another batch of base gravy to make!

(not joking!)

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by pauly » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:49 pm

Friends of mine did a tour of India & the food they had in the country areas was horrible they said. I've shared the evening meal of Bangladeshi friends after the restaurant closed & again it was horrible. Maybe the Moghul Emperors had top quality meals, but for me BIR style is more to my taste.

Having said that, I believe the curries of the 80's are superior to what is generally around now.

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by steveparadox » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:55 pm

I wish I was around to try curry in the 60s, 70s and 80s, I would love to see how the popular curry house developed during these periods!

Interesting seeing your comments re Balti house vs BIR curry house. In London there are literally just a handful of Balti houses. There are BIR style restaurants everywhere! I had a shebab balti 2 weeks ago though, wish they had a restaurant like that near me!!!!

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Adam-r84 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:00 pm

How did curry differ in the eighties from now?
When I started ordering from Indian takeaways about 15 years ago, we only had one Indian typetakeaway in our local area and that was called Shaans balti house tandoori and that was the flavour I craved but when I moved I started trying other bir takaways and realised they arent all the same. The flavour varies from one bir to another. Unlike chinese takeaways where the curry is pretty much the same from one takeaway to another as they all must have very similar recipes and techniques. Maybe you crave curry from a chef or group of chefs that had the same recipe knowledge and skills that you can no longer get because the younger chefs these days use different recipes.
I have ordered curries from various curry houses and alot of them are similar but others are completely different maybe the ones that are similar, the chefs may have been trained by same people or know each other. Maybe it was the same in the curry houses that you remember.
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by 123merrik » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:56 pm

For 1980's BIR curries, you must head to Kris Dhillon 'The Curry Secret.' Still use it as a base!

Merrik

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Cory Ander » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:58 am

slicker wrote:He reckons we've all become conditioned
Of course we have. And that's what we (most of us) like and wish to replicate. Hence the reason for this forum.
slicker wrote:an elderly asian family and I would wager they have never heard of base gravy!
I'd wager that, too. They would, undoubtedly, cook their curries in a more traditional way, slaving over a hot stove, for hours, making their "gravy" in situ. There is tons of information (including books) on how to make traditional style curries (without recourse to a curry base).
slicker wrote:a respectable Indian Chef who talks about four different types of 'gravies', each made for use with specific curry types
Yes, that's more typical of Indian restaurants elsewhere in the world (including Australia). Which is why they are nothing like typical, Bangladeshi owned and operated, British Indian Restaurants. They might be enjoyable, but they are not the same. And in my opinion, they are generally inferior (and not what I'm personally wishing to replicate).
slicker wrote:You've probably summed up what I'm looking for in your last para
That's how I would understand it. I also believe 'balti" is, typically, simply a subset of "BIR-style curry"
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Adam-r84 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:19 pm

123merrik wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:56 pm
For 1980's BIR curries, you must head to Kris Dhillon 'The Curry Secret.' Still use it as a base!

Merrik
It it worth a read?
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by pauly » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:27 pm

In my opinion no. The base gravy is very limited, chucking a teaspoon of cumin & garam masala in the curry while it is cooking is hardly best practice, & that is a feature of most of the recipes. The recipes on the forum will produce curries that leave these for dead.

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Cory Ander » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:46 am

See here, for other opinions on her book, Adam
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Adam-r84 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:06 am

Thanks ill have a read
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by bombay andrew » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:19 pm

i loved the 80s anyone got a spare Delorean


ANDY

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by Adam-r84 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:11 pm

Theres a delorean on cars and classics for £21000 lol

It would deffo turn some heads. But probably only in this time lol
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by cartz64 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:43 pm

TBH we had limited TA's down this neck of the woods.
My town, when i was young, only had a Chinese restaurant, and fish and chip shops! :o Oh and pasty shops! :D
So I'm a late comer to Asian cuisine..ive made up for it since lol

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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by macferret » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:39 pm

I love threads like this, not least for the mutual incomprehension.
Yes, the UK curries of the 80s were great, but you had to be there. This was the era of Pop-Tarts and Findus Crispy Pancakes and Angel Delight and Vesta instant meals. Beer was fizzy, TV was fuzzy and the evening news was a deadly contest between Margaret Thatcher and earnest men in donkey jackets.
No-one can go back there. Except perhaps in the kitchen...
The curries of the 80s were cartoon fast food: over-sweetened, over-spiced, over-seasoned, over-coloured. They were served in an atmosphere of social theatre and racial tension that is mercifully impossible to explain now.
But the recipes and techniques are all actually here on the site, as Andy says. You can cook these dishes exactly as they were cooked. Just suspend your disbelief and add that extra tablespoon of sugar, that extra slug of oil, that double-daily-recommended-dose of salt.
And if you don't like it, that's because our tastes have moved on. We've all moved on.
(Well, some of us.)
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by charliebir » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:36 am

Spot on mf, but we admit tousually having a couple ofVesta Chow meins in the cupboard.

Does bring back memories.Their crispy noodles are unbeatable. :yes:
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Re: The Great 80's...

Post by JalfreziT » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:19 am

slicker55 wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:41 am
I see Indian Restaurants and Balti Houses as two different things, although these days the former are few and far between over here in the UK.
I always thought they were two different things too. But to be fair, I've only ever seen a Balti House in Birmingham, and didn't realise they existed elsewhere.
They've been cooking on Blue Peter, now they're sampling the dishes,
I don't normally like tomatoes John but this is delicious.

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