22 May Thali’s from Inder’s Kitchen
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An Indian Meal On A Tray
Last night saw the launch of another new enterprise by Inder’s Kitchen, who opened their Cambridge kitchen in December 2010. Their business idea came simply from eating too many terrible Indian takeaways whilst living in London. The food so often served does such an injustice to the wonderful aromas and flavours of true Indian home cooking and they wanted to change that. Something I fully agree with. I’m a keen chef of Indian food myself and once you’ve fallen in love with the Indian cuisine and know how to mix your own spices and have developed your ‘own flavours’, it’s very hard to eat out. Often Indian meals are bland, sauces thin and heat get’s confused with spiceness. Heat isn’t having a blow torch in your mouth, but knowing how to mix your spices which results in a delicious flavoursome warming dish.
Inder’s Kitchen hasn’t been standing still recently. Over the last few months they had a lot of new additions to their offering. Recently Indian street food with their street van hit the streets of Cambridge. The Kati roll and their biryanis you can order online at lunch times too. Last night their Thali was dished up at the Free Press pub, which is not only famed for being a very good pub away from the touristy area of Cambridge, but also for hosting an eclectic array of pop up’s. “This is only the start. Our aim is to have a pop up every day” according to Craig and Ben, the team behind the Free Press.
So what is a Thali? If you have travelled to India, you know exactly what to expect. It’s a dish, which can be eaten throughout the day, but very popular at lunch time. It’s quick and easy as it is served on a tray. Thali dishes vary from region to region in South Asia and are usually served in small bowls, called katori, which are placed on a round tray, the actual Thali; often a steel tray made with multiple compartments is used. Typical dishes include rice, dal, vegetables, roti (bread), papad, curd ( yoghurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and sweet dish to top it off. Most of the time you can choose between either a meat or vegetarian option, although I have come across the vegetarian version most of the time in India. Ask somebody in the know when you’re in India or Nepal where to go for the best Thali in town as it can vary a lot. The Indian’s are very proud to guide you to their favourite one.
I’m happy to guide you now to the best Thali in Cambridge; Inder’s Kitchen at the Free Press. Just as in India your Thali meal starts with bread. Popadums are served before the meal and we opted for one of their Indian bar snacks before our meal too, spicy chicken with a dip. Excellent with a crisp glass of Chenin blanc or one of the local beers served at the Free Press. Inder’s kitchen offers 3 bar snacks so you could just have those between the two of you if you only want a light bite.
The Thali appeared reasonable quickly after we had finished our snack and I have to say, the spread was excellent. It was very tasty and we definitely wouldn’t go away hungry. The Thali last night consisted of 2 types of dal, a chicken and beef curry, rice, spicy tomato and a raita. Although all of it was very nice, my favourites were actually the dals. Very aromatic!
I’m not sure when Inder’s Kitchen will be popping up again at the Free Press, but keep an eye keep out for their both their Facebook pages. Booking is essential to avoid disappointment.