Phal in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Phal (also known as phaal or paal) is a type of curry that was invented by Indian restaurant owners in Britain to satisfy the desire of their customers to eat the hottest (in chilli terms) possible dish.
Ask any native Indian chef about this dish and they will not have a clue what you are talking about. But most British curry houses will have a chicken phal and a lamb phal on their menu and almost always no-one will order it until after pub closing time. Phals are usually consumed after the intake of at least 8 pints of lager and are almost certainly regretted by the consumer the next morning when performing his (almost always the consumer is male) morning ablutions.
Most phals consist of a mixture of dried red and fresh green chillis and ginger, plus the meat of the dish. The eating experience tends to be of a burning sensation with little flavor imparted by the dish.
Some Indian restaurants (particularly in the north of England) have a dish called a tindaloo, which is in theory hotter than a phal. This is usually a phal laced with additional fresh chillis, usually Scotch Bonnet or Tezpur chillis, which are among the world's hottest. If you were feeling really adventurous (or mad) you could try making your phal with the world's hottest chilli, the Bhut Jolokia.