Foodieblogroll Ads

Thursday, June 07, 2012

ANGLO-INDIAN CUISINE: A JOURNEY THROUGH HISTORY

>This blog has been written by my Guest Blogger Gavin Harvey. Gavin Harvey is a travel addict and fusion-food fanatic who writes for KDCUK KITCHENS a Kitchen Installation Company based in the United kingdom

It’s pretty commonplace to interpret ‘Anglo-Indian food’ quite simply as either Indian food
that’s weaker than it would usually be or just ‘spiced up’ traditional English food. But there’s a whole lot more richness to the world of Anglo-Indian cuisine than provided here.To understand it fully, you have to bear witness to an evolving background of cultural exchange, economy and various moments of contact between different groups of people. Anglo-Indian cuisine is far more interesting than simple swapsies - The Spice Trade alone is dubbed one of the main contributors towards Europe’s age of enlightenment and global discovery. As such Anglo-Indian food is the delicious result of loads of historic foreign invasions and contact points throughout India, and it has taken centuries to evolve!

The concept of ‘Anglo-Indian’ food dates from the early 16th Century – right from the entrance of the first Europeans into India. There were many - the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Spanish...and of course the British.Towards the 19th Century, the East India Company was formed: More English settled in India and a multi-racial community emerged. It’s often documented how this community adopted the styles of the European counterparts– but food was different. Anglo-Indian cuisine was one of the first truly ‘fusion’ foods of the world. But it wasn’t just Indian and British; it was a mish-mash of the various influences whose presences had been felt in India.

The well known ‘Vindaloo’ dish is a prime example– a dish so widely accepted in British culture, that English band Blur wrote a song about it! But the name and the dish come from the Portuguese: ‘Vinha De Alhos’: ‘Vinho’ for wine/ wine vinegar and ‘Alhos’ for Garlic. It started as a vinegar and garlic based stew made with pork or other meat but when introduced to India it got revamped with various spices and chillies. Potatoes were also added to the dish and ‘alhos’ became ‘aloo’ (Hindi word for ‘potatoes) – so soon people assumed potatoes were a necessary ingredient of this dish. Anglo-Indian food has always differed from typical Indian food – it represents a more tentative and judicious choices of spices, whereas conventional Indian food would utilize all the ingredients in the kitchen. Common ingredients include a mixture of English spices such as pepper, bay leaves, cloves and nutmeg with Indian additions of chilli, cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger and garlic. Sweeter ingredients are also present to counter pungent tastes i.e. Yoghurt, milk, coconut and almonds. Many of the meat ingredients now found in Anglo-Indian dishes also probably represent the European influences on the cuisine given the popularity of Indian vegetarianism.

The story and journey of Anglo-Indian food is certainly not over; we’ve got increased communication and contact between societies all over the world, so that fusion- everything seems a natural course.Western born Indian chefs are continuing to innovate, combining new ingredients and methods of cooking into their food all the time. Take British born Manju Malhi, risen to prominence through her uniquely self-fashionedBrit-Indi food.But could it be that whilst Indian-influenced cuisine has continued to penetrate all echelonsof British society, India has been less tempted by traditional British tastes in recent history?This is why a few years back Delhi-based NDTV got Malhi in for a TV series to woo over the Indian public through her re-jigged versions of perceived ‘bland’ British food.
Recipes included various Indianised versions of mango crumble, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and bread and butter pudding.But India covers a much vaster geographic area than the UK does, and local cuisines are far more likely to vary from state to state, region to region and even community to community. It’s always hard to quantify these things but it would be nice to hear your thoughts
regarding the future of Anglo-Indian cuisine in India.

Gavin Harvey is a travel addict and fusion-food fanatic who writes for KDCUK Kitchens, a
kitchen fitting company based in London.Kitchen Installation and Fitting "> Company based in the United kingdom

No comments:

Post a Comment