Some are found in the Mediterranean, others are bred in farms, but the most prestigious and sought-after - about 90% of the world’s supply – are from Iran, Russia, the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan. The various types vary according to origin. The fish get anesthetized before their ovaries are extracted by hand. This is a very delicate operation and the eggs must get separated according to their size. Then they are washed, salted and packaged.
Beluga is a caviar of large sized eggs. They come from the Huso sturgeon, which can weigh up to 2,000 lbs and just think: up to 15% of that weight comes from her eggs. The taste is rich, creamy – almost fatty – but very refined. It’s one of the most prestigious kinds of caviar and definitely the rarest.
Sevruga caviar comes from the Acipenser stellatus, or the “Starry” sturgeon, which is small and weighs less than 50 kilos. Her eggs are medium sized and are grey anthracite in colour, creamy in consistency, and have an intense, aromatic taste.
Osetra (Osciotr) is also called Imperial caviar and comes from the Acipenser Guldenstaedti sturgeon that ranges from 40 to 160 kilos in weight. These eggs tend towards brown in colour, with a slightly nutty aftertaste that has made it very popular among true caviar enthusiasts.
Malossol caviar is much less salty. With modern refrigeration, the amount of salt necessary for conservation is much less than it once was.
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.