What is a Jalfrezi Curry?

Jalfrezi Curry Description

A jalfrezi curry is a cooking style where ingredients are stir-fried in hot vegetable oil.

Onions and spices are stir-fried before meat, or vegetables, is added along with spices, tomatoes, fresh green chillies and bell peppers (capsicum).

A jalfrezi curry is a dry curry, with a thick sauce, and it is spicy hot. The stir-fry style of cooking a jalfrezi means that the jalfrezi tastes fresh, as well as delicious.

Jalfrezi curries are hugely popular in the UK.

Where Did Jalfrezi Curry Come From?

It looks like the jalfrezi cooking style was invented by the British in Bengal sometime around 1830 in order to reheat left over food. The food, usually meat, had already been cooked so all that needed to be done was reheat it adding onion, chilli and spices.

Bengal used to be part of British India but nowadays one part of Bengal is in Bangladesh and the other part of Bengal is in the Indian state of West Bengal.

The word “Jhal” means spicy hot in Bengal and “zee” is an Urdu word to say “fry”.

There are loads of different spellings of jalfrezi, with jalfraise, jalfrazi, jalfrezzi, “jal frazi”, jalfarezi, jalfreizi and jelfrezi being some of the more common variants seen in searches on the Curry Focus website.

Eventually the jalfrezi cooking style reached the UK and gained popularity because it was a quick way to cook tasty food.

Different Types of Jalfrezi Curry

A jalfrezi style curry can really have almost any main ingredient so can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

By far the most common jalfrezi is chicken jalfrezi and other common jalfrezi recipes exist for lamb jalfrezi and prawn jalfrezi. But the stir-fry nature of the jafrezi cooking style is also ideal for vegetarian jalfrezi curries where the vegetables are cooked quickly.

What Is In a Jalfrezi Curry?

The most common ingredients used in a jalfrezi curry are onions, garlic, ginger, bell peppers (capsicum), tomatoes and fresh green chillies.

The standard curry spices (ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric and ground black pepper) are often included in a jalfrezi curry recipe.

And fresh coriander (cilantro) is often used to garnish a jalfrezi.

The original main ingredient of a jalfrezi curry used to be left over meat, which might have been marinated, but now uncooked meat such as chicken, lamb, beef and prawns often feature in a non-vegetarian jalfrezi curry.

The more common vegetables that are added to a vegetarian jalfrezi are cauliflower, broccoli and green beans.

There are a large number of combinations of vegetables that can be put into a jalfrezi.

How Spicy Hot is a Jalfrezi Curry?

Generally speaking a jalfrezi curry has a hot spice heat level and this is due to chillies being one of the main ingredients. Obviously a jalfrezi with lots of chillies in it will be spicy hotter than a jalfrezi with just 1 or 2 fresh chillies.

A curry restaurant jalfrezi curry will certainly have a hot spice/heat level.

Where Can I Find Jalfrezi Curry Recipes?

There is a whole category of jalfrezi curry recipes on the Curry Focus website.
Do you have a favourite jalfrezi curry recipe that you can share with us? If yes, you can give us the recipe on the New Recipe page or email the recipe to us at curryfocus@gmail.com. We will format the recipe and publish it on the website – and you get the recipe credit.

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