New Delhi: It was once hailed as Britain’s national dish, but chicken tikka masala—the spicy ‘Indian’ curry popular throughout the UK—has remained largely a mystery on the subcontinent.
Now, one of Britain’s most celebrated chefs, Manju Malhi, wants to change that by introducing this old favourite and other British-and-Indian fusion foods to Indian palates. Malhi is shooting a television cooking show in New Delhi promoting British cuisine with an Indian twist, a combination she has dubbed Brit-Indi, and which has made her famous back in Britain.
On the menu during the 40-part series are mango crumble, baked beans balti, couscous salad and the Scottish dessert cranachan, with mangoes replacing traditional raspberries. “People here think British food is just roast beef and burgers and chips,” said Malhi, who is hosting the series for the NDTV network.
“I am trying to fly the flag for British food, which is really vast and varied,” she said.
Malhi, whose parents emigrated from India in the 1960s, is, however, aware of the challenges of winning over Indian audiences. “A good show is all about packaging. It’s about making the food look sexy—the way you drizzle oil slowly, soft focus lighting, like a music video,” she said. Her recipe for success is simple: use ingredients that are readily available in stores, such as bread and beans.
Many of the dishes in the series are from her first book Brit Spice, published in 2002, in which she shows how to rustle up easy meals out of British ingredients with added Indian spices.
She has adopted the same technique here, albeit with different ingredients.
“On the show, I will replace some of these ingredients with those that are easier to get (in India),” Malhi said.