Anglo-Indian Cuisine: India's First Fusion Cuisine? 4 Emblematic Anglo-Indian Cuisine Recipes

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Anglo-Indian Cuisine: India's First Fusion Cuisine? 4 Emblematic Anglo-Indian Cuisine Recipes

Mulligatawny soup is an anglicised version of Rasam.HighlightsAnglo Indian cuisine took some centuries to evolve almost organicallyIt has been infl

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Mulligatawny soup is an anglicised version of Rasam.

Highlights

  • Anglo Indian cuisine took some centuries to evolve almost organically
  • It has been influenced by Europeans with traces of Dutch and French
  • Here are 4 Anglo-Indian cuisine recipes you must try

I still remember my first interaction with Bangalore-based Author and culinary expert Bridget White-Kumar, one of the biggest champions of Anglo-Indian cuisine. It was 2012, close on the heels of the 125th Anniversary celebrations of the Taj Westend in Bengaluru. It’s also the time I began digging deep to trace the origins of Anglo-Indian cuisine. I believe that this might well be one of the first examples of fusion cuisine in India. Fusion cuisines are dime a dozen in the 21st century as creative chefs around the world push boundaries, mix and match ingredients but Anglo Indian cuisine took a couple of centuries to evolve almost organically.

The name is a tad misleading – this isn’t just a simple blend of British and Indian cuisine; it has been influenced by all the European conquests with traces of Dutch, Portuguese and French elements. By default, this cuisine evolved in British colonial institutions like dak bungalows, army canteens, railway kitchens and gentleman’s clubs. It also became an integral part of the identity of the Anglo-Indian community that has battled to preserve its distinct identity post-1947. Back in 2012, Bridget White-Kumar who has published multiple recipe books on the cuisine and also manages a popular Anglo-Indian food blog was worried about the declining interest in the cuisine among the community. Cut to 2021 and she’s more optimistic. Blame it on home chefs (a trend that gathered further momentum in a post-pandemic world), Instagram and online food communities, there’s a renewed interest in many micro cuisines.

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(Also Read: Warm Up For The Oncoming Season With The New Winter Special Menu At Anglow, Khan Market)

Even as many Anglo-Indians have moved to Melbourne, the UK and Canada in large numbers, some of the old gentleman’s clubs and Raj-era hotels like the Taj Connemara in Chennai or the Taj Westend in Bengaluru still offer glimpses of this cuisine. Old-timers vouch for The Madras Gymkhana Club’s Mulligatawny Soup and Bread and butter pudding that has stuck to the traditional recipe. Mulligatawny soup, an anglicised version of Rasam (Mulligatawny is the corrupted version of Milagu Thani or pepper water) is one of the quintessential Anglo Indian dishes. Soups are a mainstay of this cuisine and so are gravy preparations with red meat.

Food was always the centre of most Anglo Indian celebrations like weddings and Christmas – occasions when signature dishes like Dak Bungalow Chicken curry, Railway Mutton Curry, Country Captain Chicken, Mutton ball curry and Bengal shrimp curry were served. These were accompanied by relishes and pickles. Part of the appeal of Anglo Indian cuisine comes from the fact that the flavours and ingredients vary across India. While mustard is used liberally in the Kolkata recipes, the presence of coconut is unmistakable in the Chennai and Bengaluru versions. Bridget White-Kumar also believes that some of the dishes are spicier in many homes than they were a few decades ago, a clear indication of the increasing Indian influence and maybe the next evolution of this unique cuisine.

Here Are 4 Emblematic Anglo-Indian Cuisine Recipes That You Must Try:

1. Yellow Coconut Rice

Recipe Courtesy – Bridget White-Kumar

This is a great accompaniment for a typical Anglo Indian chicken curry.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of coconut milk: dilute it with water to get 4 cups of milk

– 2 cups of raw rice or basmati rice

– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (or) a few strands of saffron

– Salt to taste

– 4 tablespoons of butter or ghee

– Spice mix: 3 cloves, 3 cardamoms, 3 small sticks of cinnamon and 2 bay leaves

Method:

1. Heat ghee on a large vessel or rice cooker and fry spices for a few minutes

2. Add the washed rice, salt, turmeric and 4 cups of coconut milk and cook till rice is done.

(Also Read: Mulligatawny Soup: How Soup Met Rasam and Became a Favourite Anglo Indian Dish)

2. Mulligatawny Soup

Recipe Courtesy – Taj Westend, Bengaluru

This is one of my favourite soups. I recommend topping this with a few morsels of rice and squeezing a few drops of lemon just before you serve it.

Ingredients

– Mutton bones and pieces of meat – 1kg

– Chilli powder – 1 tsp

– Pepper powder – 2 tsp

– Cumin powder – 1tsp

– Coriander powder – 1 tsp

– Crushed garlic – 2 to 3 cloves

– Sliced onions – 2nos.

– Coconut paste/coconut milk – 1 cup

– Celery – 1 stalk

– Salt – to taste

Method

1. Cook the bones, meat and all ingredients with 4-5 cups of water in a large vessel on high heat till it reaches boiling point

2. Lower the heat and simmer for at least one hour till the soup is done and thick.

3. Garnish with coriander and serve.

4. Another variation of the soup is made by adding lentils and flavoured with the curry powder and curry leaves.

3. Grandma’s Chicken Country Captain

Recipe Courtesy – Taj Westend, Bengaluru

Ingredients:

– Chicken – 1kg

– Chopped onions – 2

– Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

– Chopped green chili -3.

– Tomatoes – 3

– Coconut paste – 1/2 coconut

– Chilli powder – 3 tsp

– Chopped coriander – 1 bunch

– Ginger/garlic paste – 3 tsp

– Whole spices – few

– Oil – 3 tbsp

– Cumin powder – 1 tsp

– Curry powder – 3 tbsp

– Salt – to taste

Method

1. In a pan, heat the oil and add the whole spices and onions; fry till golden brown.

2. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a few minutes.

3. Add chillies, masala and tomatoes; cook well till the mixture leaves some oil.

4. Add chicken and salt; cook for 2 mins.

5. Add water and coconut paste; cook well till the chicken is done and the gravy is slightly thick

6. Mix in the coriander leaves and serve hot with coconut rice or steamed rice.

4. Bread and Butter Pudding

Recipe Courtesy – Taj Westend, Bengaluru

The spices added a wonderful element to this classic dessert.

Ingredients:

– Soft butter – 50 gm

– Soft white bread, cut diagonally across – 10 slices

– Raisins – 50 gm

– Freshly grated nutmeg – 1/4 tsp

– Cinnamon – 1/4 tsp

– Milk – 350 ml

– Heavy cream – 50 ml

– Large free-range eggs – 2

– White sugar – 25 gm

– Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Heat the oven (180 C)

2. Grease a 1 litre pie dish with some butter and spread each of the bread triangles with butter.

3. Cover the base of the pie dish with overlapping triangles of bread, butter side up.

4. Sprinkle half the golden raisins evenly over the bread and then lightly sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon. Repeat this layer one more time or until the dish is filled, finishing with the raisins on top.

5. In a saucepan gently heat (Do not Boil) the milk and cream.

6. In a large baking bowl, beat the eggs with 3/4 sugar and the vanilla extract until light and airy and pale in colour. Pour the warm milk over the eggs and continue beating until all the milk is added.

7. Pour the egg mixture slowly and evenly over the bread until all the liquid is added.

8. Gently press the surface with your hand to push the bread into the liquid. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the surface then leave to one side for 30 minutes.

9. Bake the pudding in the hot oven for 40-45 minutes until the surface is golden brown and the pudding has well risen, and the egg is set. Serve hot.

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About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.

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