Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Oct 25, 2007 11:37 AM

What is a Phaal? Is this a real Indian Curry?

Or is it just a gimmick?

I like hot food -- but only when it is also tasty! My worry is that there is no attempt to make the curry be anything but hot.

Anyone had the Phaal at Chola or Brick Lane Curry House? Those are the two places I know of that serve it.

232 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

Brick Lane Curry House
306-308 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Phaal is the hottest Indian curry out there. I get the impression, though, that it is spicy for the sake of being spicy. Whether or not it is authentically Indian is up for debate as I never encountered it before coming to New York.

    I've never tried it, but I have had plans to go to Brick Lane at some point specifically to give it a whirl.

    1. I've had it at Brick Lane. A very painful, but addictive experience.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Miss Needle

        interesting -- does it taste of anything but chili powder?

      2. it is not "authentic" indian, it is a british indian invention, for drunk boys after a night of ales.

        that said... who cares if it's authentic if it's good

        5 Replies
        1. re: thew

          I agree about authenticity -- pleasing my palate is more important to me than pleasing tradition.

          That said: is phaal any good?

          1. re: thew

            It certainly is not a British invention, it's a Bangladeshi dish.

            1. re: Wilfrid

              This is definitely a British-Indian dish and not Bangladeshi. There is a dish from Bangalore with the same name but it is not the same food.

              1. re: antonys1

                Most "Indian" restaurants in the UK (approx. 90%) are owned by Bangladeshi's who were "Indians" before the partition of India & due to the fact Bangladesh was a new country the Bangladeshi owners used & kept the name "Indian" on their signs etc.

                You can still find Bengali food in India i.e. in the regional area of Bengal. Therefore Bengali food is still part of Indian cuisine. It is considered to be more aromatic & spicier & there is a large variety of dishes including fish, meat & vegetables compared to other the regions of India.

                Along with many other well known favourite curry dishes, the phall is a British - Bangladeshi invention. It is not a tradition dish & was invented for the British public who like their curries extra hot!

              2. re: Wilfrid

                Phall (sometimes spelt as fall, phaal, phal or paal) is a British Asian Indian curry dish, which originated in Indian restaurants in the UK, and is not to be confused with the char-grilled, gravyless, finger food phall from Bangalore. It is one of the hottest forms of curry regularly available, even hotter than the vindaloo, using a large number of ground standard chili peppers, or a hotter type of chili such as scotch bonnet or habanero. Typically, the dish is a tomato based thick curry and includes ginger and optionally fennel seeds.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. As stated on Brick Lane's menu: "An excruciatingly hot curry, more pain and sweat than flavor..."

                It's "good" if what you're looking for is something that normal people can't eat (my girlfriend had a tiny nibble and then loudly declared that I'm an idiot). If you were to subtract the heat, I doubt the flavor alone would bring many people back. There are definitely better-tasting spicy dishes to be found in the city.