InternationalInternational cuisines are an all-encompassing term used to designate a wide variety of cuisines from Continental to regional and country-specific cuisines.
Chinese cuisine is an all encompassing term used to denote the various styles of cooking originating from the diverse regions of China, many of which have gained worldwide popularity. In many countries where it has garnered a strong following, the cuisine has evolved and undergone adaptations to suit local palates.
There is a yin and yang balance in Chinese cuisine, reflecting how seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent and in turn give rise to each other in the natural world. And so, contrary tastes interact with each other — hot balances cold, spicy balances mild and preserved balances fresh — to give an overall balance to the dining experience.
Among the major regional varieties, the two that have gained an international following are Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine. Cantonese has gained international favor due to its palatability to Westerners and the fact that it can incorporate just about any kind of meat into its ingredient. Interestingly, except for the use of garlic, chives and coriander, mainly as garnish, there is no widespread use of fresh herbs in Cantonese cooking, in contrast to its liberal usage in other international cuisines. Though many forms of cooking are employed in Cantonese cuisine, the two forms that are generally preferred are steaming and stir-frying due to their convenience, rapidity and the fact that it draws out the strongest flavor from the fresh ingredients.
Szechuan cuisine, Szechwan cuisine, or Sichuan cuisine, as it is variously spelt, is a style of Chinese cuisine characterized by its bold flavors. Originating from Sichuan Province in southwestern China, Szechuan cuisine makes liberal use of peanuts, garlic and chili peppers, as well as the intensively fragrant, famed Sichuan peppercorn that give its dishes a distinctive pungency and spiciness. Though generally spicy, Szechuan cuisine also often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, drying and smoking.
Mughlai cuisine, a trendy Asian cuisine that has gained popularity world over, is made up of a rich buffet of main dishes and an array of flavorful accompaniments. As well as borrowing elements from Persian, Turkish and other Central Asian cuisines, this characteristic cooking style exhibits strong influences that reflect the style and splendor of 16th century imperial kitchens of the Mughal Empire.
Popular dishes like kebabs, koftas, kormas, tikkas, pilafs and biriyanis are names reminiscent of their Persian origin. Varying from mild to really spicy, many of the exotic dishes of Mughlai cuisine have tastes that are associated with the distinctive aroma of authentic herbs and ground and whole spices while imparting the tantalizing taste of butter, dried fruits and nuts.
Elaborate preparation and slow cooking or roasting is also inherent to Mughlai cooking, as is its own vocabulary of cooking terms. While you would ask any of our staff for assistance with regard to the Mughlai terms on the menu, it would help if you knew of some of the general terms used. For instance, the word tikka, refers to bite-sized pieces, morsels or chunks of meat; chicken tikka refers to pre-marinated pieces of grilled chicken and chicken tikka masala refers to the above grilled pieces of chicken served in a thick creamy gravy. Today, nearly 20 tons of Chicken Tikka Masalas are consumed every week in Britian, making it Britain's true national dish.
Tandoori meats and breads are other popular Mughlai dishes. Contrary to popular belief, tandoori is not a recipe, it is a form of cooking; it is just that over time the cooking method has become synonymous with the prepared food. In tandoori cooking, the marinated meat, tandoori, is cooked over intense heat, sometimes reaching over 265 degrees C, in large clay ovens called tandoor. Marinated meat pieces are threaded on long metal skewers and then lowered into the heat of the tandoor, until done. Flattened dough pressed against the walls of the tandoor result in tandoor rotis (breads).
The meat for the tandoor is marinated for several hours in a yogurt based tandoori marinade, made up of spices that include ginger, garlic, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, and garam masala — a combination of roasted and ground cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper. Garam masala is great on practically any meat as it imparts a mild yet savory flavor to whatever it is applied on. The intense red color of some tandoori meat comes from the use of ground annatto seeds, while saffron is used to impart a brilliant yellow. The spiciness of the meat is raised or lowered by increasing or decreasing the amount of cayenne pepper used in the marinade.
Another form of cooking popular in Mughlai cuisine is the kadhai, or traditional Indian wok, where the dishes are cooked rapidly retaining much of the rich fresh flavor of the ingredients. Less wide but deeper than a traditional Japanese or Chinese wok, the Indian kadhai cooking uses little or no oil, relying instead on the natural juices of the ingredients and a tomato based sauce along with a savory mixture of garlic and other spices and herbs. Korma is another favored form of cooking Mughlai dishes. Korma is the equivalent of braising, a combination cooking method where the food is first rapidly seared at high temperatures and then finished through a long, slow cooking process in a covered pot with a variable amount of water, stock, yogurt or cream to produce a specific flavor.