Jalfrezi has become one of the most popular dishes among British diners in Indian restaurants. It means a spicy food (jal or jhal) stir-fry (frezi) so should be dryish and served fresh from the pan, although in many restaurants it’s morphed into a dish with the generic curry house spicy tomato and onion sauce.
The dish was born in West Bengal (now part of Bangladesh) when the chefs, obviously without fridges in the Anglo-Indian days of the Raj, were forced to create dishes using leftover meats and other ingredients before they went to waste. With chicken being easy and quick to cook using the stir-fry method, it soon became the number one choice for Jalfezi.
A classic Jalfrezi uses few spices except cumin seeds, turmeric and sometimes chilli powder, but instead relies on frying up fresh ingredients such as garlic, ginger, chillies, onion, peppers and tomatoes and letting the flavours combine. The only sauce is from the ingredients themselves and the will be a golden colour from the turmeric.