Friday, 3 May 2013

Kinara Kitchen - a little corner of Pakistan, in Dublin

Kinara Kitchen, in the trendy Dublin neighbourhood of Ranelagh, was our venue for a night out with 2 friends and longtime Dublin locals.  They'd heard about the restaurant's authentic Pakistani flavours and decided it was something for us all to experience. 

On walking through the doors you are struck by a wave of new-age vibe and trendy decor and on the way to our table, as we passed the super-chic cocktail bar, I looked down and wondered if I shouldn't maybe have polished my shoes a little more.  I had no idea what to expect from the menu, but on paging through I discovered the essence of the place was firmly on their heritage.  The food might be glamorously presented and the roaming waiters incredibly knowledgeable on the wines of the world; but the focus of the restaurant is to allow the real heart and soul of Pakistani cuisine to shine through.  I thoroughly enjoyed my ethnic prawn curry, with bold layers of flavour, a perfect match with a garlic nan.  Our table was covered with an amazing array of dishes that included a chicken curry, crisp and spicy squid, a dal and some vegetarian delights, all fantastically prepared and presented.

I know very little about the food of Pakistan so asked what makes it different from that found in India.  This was the answer:

"Everyone is guilty of confusing Pakistani food with Indian.  As you start to scratch the surface of our cuisine you realise that the flavours, aromas and techniques of cooking are distinct and individual, just as are the recipes and traditions.  Being a country that is bordered with Iran, Afghanisthan and China, the influences from these cuisines have had a direct impact on our cuisine, together with the regional cuisines from indigenous people living in the land that makes up Pakistan.  The historical influences are those left behind by the Mughals, those brought by the migration of people in 1947 from corners of India that now make up Pakistan.  This has made Pakistani cuisine distinct - those flavours that are identifiably Pakistani are haunting, aromatic - more meat and simple vegetables, barbecued food, rich sauces and regal rice dishes and breads.  The best way to experience the differences of flavour is through actually eating and cooking Pakistani food - the essence of this flavour comes from the way we 'bhuno' or cook the onions, ginger and garlic - the time at which we add our other ingredients.  Here is a recipe of a patriotic green chicken curry - simple flavours but an identifiable Pakistani flavour in the curry - with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom amongst the spices and coriander, mint and green chili, three main components of Pakistani dishes make up a vibrant green sauce and is great with nan or plain basmati.

Green Masala Chicken Curry (2-3 people)

Make the Masala paste by combining the following in a blender:
  1. half a bunch of coriander leaves
  2. 15 mint leaves
  3. 1 Tbsp green chili
  4. 1tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp brown sugar
  6. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  7. 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  8. 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
Other ingredients:
  1. 500g full fat natural yoghurt
  2. 2-3 tsp veg oil
  3. 2 chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
Whole spices:
  1. 1 cinnamon stick
  2. 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 10 black peppercorns
  5. 3 green cardamom, bruised
  6. 8 cloves
  • whip the yoghurt and add the green masala paste
  • heat the veg oil in a pan, when hot add the whole spices and stir and cook until an aroma builds
  • add the green masala paste and fry until the oil starts to rise to the top of the yoghurt mix
  • add chicken and stir, then turn the heat to low and leave covered to cook until the chicken is done, stirring every now and then, adding a bit of water if needed
  • serve hot with rice or nan or both

No comments:

Post a Comment