The Saga Of The Anglo Indian Cuisine
The British and
Indians share an elaborate history of over a century. The British rule did not
just affect India on a superficial level. It seeped into every facet of an
average Indian’s lifestyle. Parallel to the chaotic episodes of upheavals and
revolutions, during the British Raj, there also ran beautiful stories of
friendship, love, admiration and practice. Many genres like language, faith,
education and family, had an influence on both Indian and British lifestyles. Cooking
was one of those.
practices had a mutual influence on both the cultures. Food is the central part
of any community; Indian food was popular among the British. Their love for
curries and chutneys led them to set up curry houses in England that
exclusively served Indian food. Cookbooks were authored, describing the Indian
cuisine and spices. Rich Indians opened restaurants in the London. And thus, a
new cuisine surfaced known as the Anglo-Indian cuisine, the medley of the
goodness of both worlds!
cuisine is one of the very first fusion cuisines witnessed by India. It is a
perfect balance of the English and the Indian tastes. It is neither too bland
nor too spicy and thus a perfect amalgamation. Every dish is unique and has a
history to it. There is certain glamour to the Anglo Indian cuisine with its
quaint names like ‘Railway Mutton curry’, ‘Devil’s pork curry’, ‘Anglo-Indian
mince ball curry’, ‘Daak bungalow curry’, ‘Bengal Lancer’s Shrimp curry’ and
Anglo-Indian food carries diverse influence from various parts of India. For
instance, Anglo-Indian recipes originating from Bengal used mustard oil as
their cooking medium, while recipes from down south use coconut oil. The
tradition and the word of mouth, to date, have preserved these invaluable
recipes. We have listed the most popular ones from an endless list.
It is perhaps one of the most popular dishes evolved out of the British India time. British loved the peppery stews but would eat them only in the form of a soup. This lead to a revolutionary invention, the mulligatawny soup. It has all the traditional south Indian ingredients like red chillies and pepper. This recipe is internationally famous, and also common among the Anglo-Indian households in India. Mulligatawny is an anglicized term for Tamil word ‘Peppery Broth’.
As the name goes,
this spice powder originated in Kharagpur, West Bengal. Being one of the most British influenced
states, Bengali cooks were greatly exposed to the English style of cooking.
While at clubs, the Indian chefs found new ways of expelling the blandness of
Lamb roast, Mutton curry and Chicken broth. Kharagpur masala came out of this
practice. It is a milder version of Indian garam masala, with no black or green
cardamom in it. It is till date commonly used in Bengal, to make the ‘Railway
Country Captain Chicken
Back in the 17th
century, the British trade ships in India were called as country ships. The captains
of these ships were addressed as ‘country captains’. This chicken recipe is
what the captains indulged in after a voyage. Thus, the name country captain
chicken was coined. This tangy, tasty and easy to make recipe was favourite
among the ship crew. The unbroken tradition is followed even to this day, and
it is one of the popular dishes among the Anglo-Indian homes of Goa and Bengal.
Daak Bungalow Chicken
dish owes its name to the Daak Bungalows or the rest houses along the coastal routes.
Back in those days, the keeper of the rest house made a quick curry, invariably
chicken for dinner, while the officers reared at the house. This chicken recipe
was passed on to their sons who would eventually take up the job. Lal Murgi curry today has its origins from
the Daak Bungalow chicken recipe.
is made of red chillies. This chutney is also called Hell’s fire or Hell’s
flaming chutney. It got the name mainly because of its bright red colour. Quite misleading by its appearance, this
chutney is, in fact tangy, sweet and just a tad pungent. It’s a very easy
recipe primarily made of Red chillies, vinegar and onions.
Snake coy stuffing curry
This curry is
snake guard cut up into bite-sized rings, de-seeded, and stuffed with minced
meat that’s marinated with a whole lot of Indian spices. This recipe is more
Indian and uses all Indian spices. It is generally eaten along with coconut
rice. The recipe finds its roots from Kerala and Karnataka.
When the colours
and spice of the South Asian cuisine meet the indigenous cooking practices of
the west, the outcome is quite commendable. That is reflected in the kind of
love Anglo-Indian cuisine receives. We hope this feature gave you a good peek
into the cuisine and awoke your willingness to explore it further.