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Let's talk about Indian cuisine in Malta!
- Let’s talk about Indian dishes in Malta -
Indian Cuisine in Malta
Indian Restaurants in Malta have become a favoured option for people who want to dine out. In fact, Indian cuisine has gained substantial popularity on this island, mainly due to the rich and diverse ingredients used in dishes, which are not commonly found in Western cuisine. It isn’t surprising though, considering that India alone boasts a population of over 1.3 billion people! That being said, the culture, traditions, language and styles of cuisine vary so greatly across the country – where each region has traditional recipes that have been passed down through families and generations.
The perfect mix of ingredients
Did you know that your average Indian dish consists of approximately 7 ingredients? And that each one of these ingredients has over 50 molecular flavour compounds? It is a perfectly balanced amalgamation of various spices and herbs that somehow blend together to create unique tastes. This subcontinent has managed to create an extraordinary culinary experience by pairing flavours that other cuisines would not normally place together in a dish. Each herb and spice are specifically selected to be added to a recipe with the aim of shaping the flavour into something incredibly desirable to our palate.
A bit of history on Indian food
Indian restaurants starting carving their pathway to fame way back in the 1800s, when the British got hold of their ideas and took them back to England. As the story goes, the Queen of England was incredibly impressed that the royal kitchen had to prepare Indian curries each day! England alone has over 10,000 Indian restaurants and would you believe that Chicken Tikka Masala became one of the national dishes of the country – right beside their Fish n’ Chips?
Indian restaurants have developed and tweaked many different recipes and flavours globally, with the purpose of targeting the preferred taste buds of various cultures across each and every continent. An 8000 year history is behind Indian cuisine, leading to an insane amount of diversity in the flavours throughout India, let alone across the world, creating an ever-increasing array of flavour combination, to a cuisine that was already so varied!
The most popular Indian dishes:
Chicken Tikka Masala – This consists of boneless chicken pieces (marinated in yoghurt and spices) which are then roasted in the oven and served in an orange-coloured sauce (due to turmeric, paprika and other spices it may contain). There isn’t a standard one-size-fits all for this recipe – the sauce could be a combination of pureed tomatoes, coriander, coconut cream and a masala spice mix – however, you might find that not a single restaurant here makes it in the same way!
Korma – This can be served with a variety of meats (chicken, lamb, goat, beef), or as a vegetarian dish. It’s typically made by braising these with cream or stock and yoghurt. Again, there are various techniques of cooking this, but are mostly based on a mixture of herbs and spices (such as ginger, coriander, cumin, garlic, cloves etc). It can be served as a mild or medium-hot dish and tastes incredible with traditional Naan (Indian leavened bread).
Dal Makhani – This is a quintessential Indian dish and a staple in their cuisine, mostly due to the fact that it is super versatile and can be served as a main or side dish. It’s a vegetarian dish, and includes various ingredients such as lentils, red kidney beans, cream and butter (or even ghee, milk or yoghurt) – which is where the richness of this dish develops its deep flavour.
Naan – Although not strictly Indian as it can be found across a many cuisines, this is an oven (or tandoor) baked leavened bread and has become something everyone orders with their meal. It can be brushed with oil and garlic, coconut flakes and raisins or stuffed with minced meat and herbs. Whatever you choose, it’s definitely a must-have with any Indian meal!
Indian Cuisine in Malta
Over the years, Indian restaurants have been popping up left, right and centre and almost each region in Malta now has their ‘local’ Indian restaurant as their go-to delivery or dine-in option. It is a cuisine that targets both meat-lovers and those who are plant-based, giving absolutely everyone an option to order whatever tickles their fancy!
The best Indian restaurants that have come about in Malta are mostly found in the following areas:
St. Paul’s Bay
The list of dishes you can order is endless, but one thing is for sure, no matter what Indian restaurant you choose to explore, they will all have their own unique way of giving you a delightful culinary experience!