No Indian or Pakistani restaurant would be without a Jalfrezi on their menu. Not only is it hugely popular at restaurants, it’s also one of the most popular curries to make at home and different versions of the famous Jalfrezi have appeared in cookbooks from the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey over the years. It was even voted as Britain’s favourite Indian-British dish 2005.
Nearly every supermarket up and down the UK stocks Jalfrezi cooking sauces, spice mixes and even ready meals, which goes to show the demand of this popular dish.
In similar fashion to a Bhuna, Jalfrezi isn’t actually a dish, but a method of cooking. The Jalfrezi style of coking did originate in India; during the time of the British Raj, it would be cooked in the homes of the rich colonials who would employ native Indian cooks to prepare their meals. The method itself was more of a functional one rather than a culinary experimentation. To prevent the waste of cold roasted meats, chefs would quickly fry it up with vegetables and spices in order to create new dishes, creating more of a dry stir-fry that eventually evolved to include fresh tomatoes in order to make a basic tomato gravy. It is this “quick-fry” method which earned it its translated name ‘Jalfrezi’.
As Jalfrezi is a technique rather than a dish it can really be filled with pretty much anything you prefer. Any chosen meat, fish or paneer can coincide with any vegetables – you can just use vegetables if you prefer, too. The one thing that all Jalfrezis do have in common is their use of a good handful of fresh green chillies thrown in to give it that signature spice. The meat and vegetables must be stir fried dry first to give them that unique, slightly charred colour which releases deeper flavour before any gravy is added.
Our signature chicken jalfrezi is a popular choice here at our Royal Nawaab restaurant. We use chicken, fresh onions and green chilli peppers as well as a blend of unique herbs and spices to create a dish that is perfectly spiced and balanced.