Indian Food on the International Scale
Indian cuisine is the fourth most popular cuisine in the world after Chinese, Italian and Japanese cuisines. It is estimated that five per cent of people across two of the large economies eat at Indian restaurants. Due to the giant diaspora of Indians, even Indian restaurants went global, and restaurants such as Haldirams, Saravana Bhavan, Kailash Parbat and many others were able to extend their reaches into foreign lands. However, the love for Indian cuisine that people have in foreign countries is a result of a long process of trial and assimilation. Let us look at a few examples of how Indian cuisine helped remap people’s taste buds in foreign lands.
Britain has always been a hotspot for Indian food. There are around 12,000 curry houses in Britain. Curry is the word used for any stew-like food from the Indian subcontinent. In England, the first recipe for making curry was published in 1747. Thousands of British men and women spent their lives in India and had Indian cooks and servants. These people returned to their country with their newly acquired taste for Indian delicacies. The first Indian restaurant in Britain opened in 1810, called Hindostanee Coffee House, and featured Khichdi, Chutney and Pulao, later anglicised to be known as Kedgeree, Chutney and Pilaf. Readymade curry powders began to be sold. The Brits modified the curry from India and used pickled cucumber to replace mango and apple for tamarind, and slowly, the dish had little in common with its Eastern counterpart. When Indian staff were added to Queen Victoria’s court in 1887, she acquired a taste for Indian dishes made by her Indian cooks. Initially, the Indian restaurants in Britain catered to other Indians over there and were located in port towns. However, by the 1920s, there were around 20 Indian restaurants in London. After the partition of India, Indians migrated to Britain in large numbers, resulting in a boom in the production of curry in Britain.
The Indian Diaspora has been gaining importance in the United States since the ’90s, and more than 1200 Indian food products have been introduced there since 2000. Many of the north Indian dishes in the US are Americanized to make them less spicy and more suited to the taste of the American people.
In south-east Asia, cooking styles in many countries derived themselves from traditional Indian practices. Since a strong Hindu and Buddhist culture is prevalent in this region, Indian cuisine is naturally trendy here. There are a variety of North and South Indian restaurants in Singapore, especially in Little India. Malaysian cuisine incorporated the various curries through the Indian people, and soon, it became a staple of the masses. In Thailand, curry is called Kaeng and also includes shrimp paste in addition to chilies, onions and garlic.
South Africa saw the development of curry in the late 20th and early 21st century, consisting of lamb, chicken and bean curry poured onto a cut-out loaf of bread, much like a sub.
In the Middle East, the large Indian Diaspora also affected Arabian cuisine. Many of the cooking practices from India were adapted to the Arabian world. The use of tandoor stands as the prime example, which is supposed to have its roots in north-western India.
Discuss more of such topics at the Hospitality Management College at Amrapali Institute, Haldwani. Amrapali Educational Institute is a top-ranked institute in Uttarakhand.