Indian cuisine is diverse and its diversity has spread all over the world. The Brits, for instance, have appreciated what this Asian cuisine has to offer. Since Brits love spices as much as Indians do, they have welcomed the flavours unique to Indian food. Wonder how Indian cuisine invaded the UK? Here is a brief history.
It all began two centuries ago
The popularity of Indian food in the UK all started some 200 years ago when an Indian migrant in the UK opened his Indian restaurant. It all started in 1809 when the said migrant ran an advert in a popular newspaper announcing his restaurant’s opening. The restaurant strongly gained patrons since it was located in a strategic place in London, one that is frequently visited by those returning from Colonies. Every visitor enjoyed the entire experience of dining in a restaurant whilst tasting the spiciest, most delicious vegetable and meat dishes they have ever tasted in their lives.
Coffee houses and ex-pats also had a share in this history
Even before this first Indian restaurant opened in London, a few coffee houses in UK were already serving curry dishes to patrons. Ex-pats or those returning to their homes from the Indian subcontinent, on the other hand, attempted to create their own Indian dishes for their families. They choose to use personal recipes but there are a few who made use of curry recipes found in a popular recipe book that dated back to 1747.
The earlier recipes were milder than Indian cuisine in the UK today
It has been noted that some of the old Indian recipes served or prepared by ex-pats and coffee houses were milder when compared to the Indian food known in UK today. These were flavoured using a fusion of various herbs and spices. Curries, back then, were made using a mix of lemon juice, salt, peppercorns and coriander seeds. To make Indian food even more flavourful, other ingredients were introduced in these UK-based Indian cuisines. Cumin, fenugreek, ginger, cayenne and turmeric were amongst the few spices fused into the food in the turn of the 19th century. Old recipes were recreated to make them even more flavourful.
Many English dishes originated from Indian cuisine
The influence of Indian cuisine did not stop from the fact that people come to visit Indian restaurants in the UK. It even spread to other popular English dishes which originated from the popular Asian cuisine. A few examples of Indian-inspired English dishes were Kedgeree which is an all-time traditional British breakfast and Piccalilli which is the English counterpart of a certain type of Indian pickle dish.
The influence spread to the British way of cooking
With more than three centuries of influence on English cuisine, the Brits have also learned to appreciate the way by which Indian food is cooked. Before they even knew Indian food, the British never cooked or fried meat in fat. Now, they are already familiar with the process and do the same cooking procedure themselves.
The spice trade has a role to play in the history
Long before restaurants introduced Indian food in the UK, there was already a part of history where knights brought home spices which they have bartered for another product during their Crusades. Trading companies have been established by many European countries in India which brought about discovering how flavourful these spices are when mixed into Indian food.
The history of India cuisine in the UK is with no doubt filled with a lot of remarkable events that explains the Brits’ love for Indian food. Try the cuisine by visiting Brick Lane restaurants today!