letters to the Curry House

Stefanie (avid curry eater) wrote :
Now I am not going to ask you for a recipe as you expressly ask us not to but my favourite type of curry is a chicken pathia (sweet sour and hot) and is done to a fantastic standard by my local curry house. Do you have any knowledge of which region of India / elsewhere this might come from to aid me in my search for a recipe as I have had no luck and have tried most sites / books now... and I am desperate to find one! Pathia (or patia) is Parsee dish. The Parsees originally came from Persia centuries ago and settled principally in Gujarat and around Bombay. The problem with your quest is that a restaurant patia will be just that - a traditional dish adapted to restaurant methods and customer preferences. So you could discover the most wonderful authentic recipe from a Parsee family in Gujarat and still be disappointed . Although you might have an excellent dish in front of you after you cooked it it would just not be the same as your restaurant-style favourite. I sympathise. That is why I started writing recipes in the restaurant style to satisfy my own quest for my restaurant favourites. Unfortunately, I cannot help you myself as I have not got round to working out a patia yet. I can only recommend my favourite curry book of all time and that is "50 Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi and published by Kyle Cathie. It is a fabulous book with lovely recipes although, naturally, not in the restaurant syle. She has a recipe for Prawn Patia which I have not yet tried but the photograph just makes your mouth water! It might be near to your restaurant favourite or it might give you some clues about how to develop you own recipe. Remember though that most restaurant dishes rely on their basic curry sauce as a foundation. So you could make some of my BSC and adapt Camellia Panjabi's recipe around it. That might work (no guarantees though!!!)

© David W Smith, 2002
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