Madhuban Jhalfrezi Sauce
Meaning: Bengali: Jal or Jhal means ‘pungently spicy’ and frezi, ‘stir-fry’
In the Chittagong Hills in the former Indian state of West Bengal, now part of Bangladesh, a Buddhist tribe called the mogs can still be found. In the Anglo-Indian days of the Raj, 150 years ago, mogs became household cooks, particularly in the nearby Calcutta district. It was they who interpreted their memsahibs’ demands for good old plain English cooking, such as roasts and pies and mountains of boiled vegetables, to be served in endless courses at lunches, dinners, and banquets in stifling heat and humidity. The Mogs enthusiastically cooked this strange alien food in totally unsuitable conditions, often without any form of an oven or decent kitchen equipment. Naturally, given a chance, they added a little spice here and there, and a wonderful food style evolved. In those days there were no refrigerators, but the memsahibs allowed no wastage. So the cooks also had to devise ways to use up leftovers for another meal. Jal frezi, became the name of a particular dish for using up cold cooked meat or poultry leftovers, combining them in a spicy curry stir fry.
Jal Frezi has evolved in recent times at the Indian restaurant to become a rapidly cooked stir- fry, which uses meat or chicken breast or prawns or vegetables. The chosen ingredient is sauteed or stir-fried with spicy gravy and lightly cooked onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, green capsicum, fresh coriander, and chilli. The amount of chili demanded is quite high, these days, and the dish is correctly rated ‘Hot’.
It goes perfectly with our higher welfare diced chicken fillet.
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