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Sunil Ghai: Indian Food is More Than Tikka Masala

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Indian chef Sunil Ghai goes off script at Food On The Edge, explaining how he has seen tastes for Indian food in Ireland evolve over the years from, the same thick sweet boring dishes to something much more authentic and delicious.

When Dublin based Indian chef Sunil Ghai first started serving Irish diners in his restaurant the demand was always for the same, limited type of Indian cuisine. Indian restaurants cooked with chicken breasts, which is not how it is done in India. There, people eat meat on the bone, they don’t need to use stock as they have the flavour of the marrow coming through.

After a stint working in London, Ghai came back to Dublin inspired and wanting to change things. He started cooking with chicken thighs. That first evening he got 17 complaints in his restaurants, customers were unhappy that he was using so-called cheaper cuts. So, Sunil went to every table and explained what he was trying to do.

Today in Sunhil’s restaurant, Pickle, on Camden Street in Dublin, everything is cooked on the bone and since then he has been on a mission to bring the real, authentic Indian cuisine to Irish plates. Travelling the country, Sunhil teaches about traditional methods of making pickles and chutneys, spurning Indian curry house favourites like chicken korma and lamb rogan josh in favour of lamb bone arrow curry and other dishes that he learned from his mother.

Spices are the magic in Indian cuisine, according to Ghai. Buy them whole and roast them and grind them as you use them, cook a little at a time, but do it with passion is his mantra. People use turmeric everywhere these days, and even if you’re not into Indian food, Sunhil urges you to use it. It has antiseptic qualities and health benefits when drunk in warm milk.

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