This dish reminds me of Elizabeth Gilberts, Eat, Pray, Love; wherein she avers, ” ‘Parla come mangi’, It means ‘speak the way you eat’ or in my personal translation ‘say it like you eat it’. It’s a reminder that when you are making a big deal out of explaining something, when you are searching for the right words – to keep your language direct and simple, don’t make a big production out of it, just lay it on the table”. Jal-Farezi is that kind of dish. Next time when you make it for a casual dinner or formal, just let the dish do the talking.
The Indo-Pak Cuisine is extremely rich in innovation and diversity of flavours. It is an amalgamation of global flavours fused in the Asian cooking frame. You would come across dishes like Singaporean Rice, Thai Rice, Asian Spaghetti, Chinese Fries Rice infused with cumin, Shawarma made with Asian spices, Tikka Casserol, Tandoori Pasta, Spicy Zinger Burger, Tikka Brioche, Asian Ruzbukhari and the list is endless. All the dishes such extracted from various cuisines and infused with Asian flavours, though sound eccentric but are a kick of flavours. Asian dishes are like that I suppose, you give us Thai, Chinese, English or any other cuisine for that matter and we will know how to infuse it with Asian spices. The interesting thing is, no such dishes exist in their original home cuisine. Personally, I think this is the zenith of Asian Cooking; the fusion of various cultural flavours fraternize on excellent terms with one another and brilliantly intermingle to form a sterling of a dish.
Beef Al-farezi is one such dish. It is a brilliant take on the famous Indian-Chinese dish “JalFarezi” where chicken is fried in a garlic, cumin and nigella seed infused oil along with Green Bell Pepper, Onions and Fenugreek leaves. It holds a piquant flavour and is served with Omelette. The hotness of the flavour comes from the Red Chilli Flakes and the chilli garlic sauce and is perfectly balances with the sweetness of the Tomato and Bell peppers. For me, I love the hint of fenugreek leaves in the flavour. It gives the dish an earthy flavour.
The word “Jhal” in Bengali means Hot but the origin of the dish wasn’t in Bangladesh rather it was in the British Raj (Empire). I wouldn’t be wrong to say that Jalfarezi has insinuated it’s way into the hearts of British. Every Retailer in England carries the pre-packed Jalfarezi Masala. Back in its old day during the British regime in India, the British would curry up cold pieces of meat with onions and chillies infused with Indian spices, for the love of it’s flavours, wholsomeness and budget friendly aspects. It was during that time that in the Middle-class English Kitchens, this infamous dish Jalfarezi, was firmly established as an integral part of the Biritsh Cuisine landscape and later became a part of the Chinese-Indian Culinary frame. Hence, now anyone can understand why the English Ga-ga over this immaculate sapid dish.
The Jal-farezi we know now is a thick saucy gravy covered with stir fired meat, veggies or paneer. This version of mine has no sauce apart from the juices of the meat and veggies. The hotness is pretty mild but anyone can adjust the hotness according to their likeness ofcourse. Hence, the name Al-Farezi.
This is one rainbow of a dish with fascinating piquant flavours.
640g – Beef Strips
1 tsp — Ginger Paste
1 tsp — Garlic Paste
2 tsp — Red Chilli Flakes
2 tsp — Cumin seeds
2 tsp — Nigella seeds
1 tsp — Salt
1 tsp — Oyster Sauce
1 tsp — White Vinegar
1 tbsp — Chilli Garlic Sauce
1 tbsp — Ketchup
1 tbsp – Dried Fenugreek Leaves
2 — onions (thick sliced)
1 inch — Ginger Julienned
1 — Green Bell Pepper (cut into strips)
1 — Red Bell Pepper (cut into strips)
2 — tomatoes (cut into strips)
6 tbsp — Oil
Garnish — coriander
Omelette prepared (cut into strips)
- In a hot skillet, add oil and ginger garlic paste, along with red chilli flakes and cumin seeds. The oil will splatter a bit so be careful.
- Saute the spices for a minute and add the beef strips along with the Nigella seeds.
- Stir fry the beef until all the water has evaporated and the beef is cooked through (if the beef is taking longer to cook, add a little water and cook it covered for 8-10 minutes).
- Add the diced onions and Julienned ginger to the beef.
- Stir fry for 2-3 minutes to help the onions saute.
- Add the diced bell peppers to the beef.
- Add all the sauces, ketchup, chilli garlic sauce, Vinegar and oyster sauce.
- Season the dish with salt.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the Fenugreek leaves.
- At the end add the tomatoes, cover the dish and cook for 6-8 minutes on low heat.
- In a separate frying pan, prepare the omelette with a little salt and red Chilli flakes. Cool it and cut it into strips.
- Place the Jalfarezi on a platter and top it with the prepared omelette.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve it with cumin rice.
Cumin Rice ~
- In a cooking pot, heat oil and add cumin and ginger garlic paste to it. The oil will splatter a bit so be careful.
- Cook this for a minute and add 2 cups of water.
- Add salt to taste and let it come to a boil.
- Wash 1 cup of rice and add to the water.
- let it boil until all the water evaporated and the rice is done.
- Let it steam for 5-8 minutes on low heat and turn off the flame.
- For a spicier touch, chopped green chillies can be added to the oil with cumin and ginger garlic paste (on individual preference).
Happy Foodieating ~