Anglo-Indian cuisine: A colonial delight!


As India celebrates its 75th anniversary of independence, this small community continues to hold on to its unique culture, customs and cuisine.

New Bengaluru’s glitzy colonial charm may be waning, but a legacy of that period – Anglo-Indian cuisine – continues to tickle the taste buds…and the odd bones too. “Cooking is a community staple and is still valued in Anglo-Indian households as it has been over the years and will live on as long as the community is there,” says Bridget White-Kumar, author and food consultant on Anglo-Indian cuisine.

Dishes like Country Captain Chicken Curry, Oxtail Curry and a Sunday favorite called “Bad Word” Curry (a euphemism for Ball Curry, to avoid blushing at the table), give Anglo-Indian delicacies a unique place in Bengaluru gastronomy. . “Ball Curry is usually a side dish with coconut rice or golden or saffron rice, because of its tinge of turmeric,” says Karen Martin, who ran a cloud kitchen called House of Anglo, which gave a gourmet touch to some traditional Anglo- Indian dishes.

Another accompaniment with coconut rice is the so-called Diable chutney or the mother-in-law’s tongue chutney, probably due to its pungent bite. “Vinegar makes it pungent, and it’s more of a taste than a chutney”, explains Bridget, who adds that the coconut rice and Devil chutney are typical of how Anglo-Indian cuisine has taken on influences from various cuisines. “The coconut is an adaptation of the South Indian custom while the vinegar is a Portuguese contribution,” says Bridget. “Similarly, the Dutch gave us hash whereas cooking with wine was a French loanword,” adds Bridget, who recently launched a free app called Bridget’s Anglo-Indian Recipes, which features over 350 popular Anglo-Indian recipes. selected from his cookbooks. “The app is my way of passing on traditional recipes to the next generation. With young people looking to experiment with new cuisines, this app would help preserve those age-old recipes,” says Bridget. Anglo-Indian cuisine is a fusion of meat-rich English diet and Indian cuisine rich in spices and colors, evolving not only in community kitchens but also in departments of the British Raj like the railways and its clubs, according to Karen.

The dishes take on names that give a clue to their origins like the Railway Mutton Curry once enjoyed by privileged first-class rail passengers and the Dak Bungalow Curry (probably bearing a stamp of the cook of the Postal Service circuit houses occupied by officers English). The unique Anglo-Indian masala is even going global, according to Karen, who says ingredients used in Anglo-Indian chicken and pork curries ended up in chicken puffs made by her cousins ​​in Australia and are an instant hit. Obviously, Indian food was quite a challenge for the English, who couldn’t handle the spiciness or the pronunciation. Therefore the muligu thanni or pepper water was boiled into mulligatawny soup on the Englishman’s tongue, while the Indian khichdi have fallen out for kitchiri Where kedgeree. These are famous Anglo-Indian dishes. Also called Club Food, due to a variety of bar bites in its cuisine, Anglo-Indian cuisine, with its full meals, side dishes and famous desserts like bread pudding and Anglo-layered trifles, is also unique as the culture of the community and is part of the city’s heritage.

Quick and easy

Bridget White’s latest book on Anglo-Indian recipes The microwave cookbook of Anglo-Indian recipes includes a host of easy-to-cook recipes of famous Anglo-Indian dishes that can be prepared in the microwave.

Khichdi & meat

(For 5 people)
Cooking time: 1 hour
Preparation time: 45 mins


½ cup pink lentils
1 ½ cups basmati rice
500g meat cubes
1 cup meat broth
3 ½ cups of water
9 tablespoons oil
1 sliced ​​onion
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 flower of mace


Soak the lentils in water for 2 to 3 hours.
Soak the Basmati rice in water for 30 min.
Pressure cook meat without salt until cooked through and tender. Once the meat is cooked, reserve a cup of broth.
Heat oil in a container, add spices, onion and ginger garlic paste. Sauté the mixture until fragrant.
Add the soaked lentils without water and brown them well in the masala.
Add the meat with the drained rice and fry until fragrant.
Add the rest of the broth and water and stir the mixture.
Add finely chopped cilantro and salt. Cover and cook until the rice is cooked through and frothy.
Leave on very low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve hot with raita, curry or sambal.

(Recipe courtesy of Karen Martin.)

(This column delves into some food fetishes and secrets of a foodie town and beyond.)


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