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BIR (British Indian Restaurant) cooking is a specific method used by takeaway restaurants to quickly cook curries using precooked ingredients. Typically, spices are fried in oil, ginger and garlic added, the mixture then quenched with a base gravy and/or watered down tomato puree. The rest of the ingredients are then added and heated through.

Traditionally, aluminium pans with a steel chefs spoon are used to stir and scrape the curry as it is cooked, and as the Maillard reaction causes the base gravy to caramelise to the pan, this is then scraped off and stirred back into the sauce.

Large aluminium stockpots are also used to prepare the base gravy which also contains acidic tomato.

There is an argument that these pans are used primarily due to their low cost, which may well be the main reason they are used. How much though, will using all this aluminium cookware contribute to that distinctive "takeaway" taste?

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    Are you claiming that British Indian takeaway tastes metallic?
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 27, 2022 at 18:54
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    Or, do be more specific: you need to define "takeaway taste" for anyone to answer this question.
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 27, 2022 at 19:01
  • I know some individuals who (part jokingly) say the distinctive taste of takeaway food, particularly curries, is due to this. I know my aluminium chefs pan always leeches a very small amount of aluminium which can be seen on a damp paper towel after cleaning. I personally don't taste anything metallic or particularly bitter in my curries, but knowing how tomatoes and aluminium react with each other I would be surprised if it didn't add a distinct dimension to a dish.
    – Greybeard
    Sep 27, 2022 at 22:22
  • This doesn't seem like an answerable question the way you've formulated it, then.
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 27, 2022 at 23:34
  • Maybe the question should be "What taste profile is developed when tomatoes are cooked in an aluminium pan" ?
    – Greybeard
    Sep 28, 2022 at 12:17

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