Monday, May 18, 2009

Interview with Baluchi's

All About Fifth interviews Arthur Pereira, General Manager at Baluchi’s, as part of our ongoing series that highlights local leaders in the business and nonprofit sector along the Avenue.

Where are you from originally? I grew up in Bombay—but from the southwest coast of India called Goa.

When did Baluchi’s open in Park Slope? We opened in December.

Baluchi’s has a number of restaurants throughout the city—what drew you to open a location in Park Slope? With the great support and positive feedback our customers have given us through the years we felt we needed to expand our geographical footprint to the Park Slope area.

The history of Indian food is fascinating and complex, with the intermingling of so many influences. On top of that, there are several regional differences within in Indian cuisine—what type does Baluchi’s favor? Our cuisine favors the northern Indian region.

What are the staple ingredients of northern Indian food and what distinguishes it from other regions? The cuisine of India is characterized by its use of locally available resources, including spices and vegetables. Each family of Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. Indians coming from different religions, regions, and castes do share a common ethos with each others’ cuisine in a limited way—a similar method of slow cooking, and a commonality of food materials, particularly spices. Indian cuisine has had a remarkable influence on cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia. Curry, for instance, is used to flavor food across Asia. And throughout India (north or south) spices are used generously. The use of tamarind to impart sourness distinguishes Indian food. In Andhra food, excessive amounts of chilies are used. Some popular dishes include the Biriyani, Ghee Rice with meat curry, sea-food which includes prawns, mussels, and mackerel.

Indian cuisines are one of the more popular across the globe—not only with the Indian Diaspora—but as common fair in Europe and North America. What do you think accounts for its popularity? The Indian cuisine is a diverse cuisine and satisfying to the pallet. It offers an array of meat and vegetable dishes with its full aromatic flavors and the feeling of contentment when you are done eating.

What does the name Baluchi refer to—a quick search suggests it is a northwestern Iranian language? It is a northwestern Iranian language but it also is a breed of sheep that originated in the area which is now southwest. They are a fat-tailed meat breed with carpet grade wool. Since we liked the sound of the name and Lamb is a large menu item for Indian cooking, it seemed very appropriate.

Are you a cook—and if so, what’s your favorite meal to make? I am not a cook but I am a great eater. Come and join me at Baluchi's and you will not be disappointed.

Interview conducted by Rebeccah Welch

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