18 September 2021
Have you ever wondered how to combine or blend Indian Food with British food or cuisine? Indian people living in the UK do this automatically but read on for one practical way the rest of us could use.
Indian Traditions & Roots
In a traditional Indian home, wives and mothers tend not to work. Being heavily family-oriented, they tend to remain at home, being homemakers, playing the very traditional role in the kitchen that women did.
If other older women in the household, such as aunts or a grandmother, will often help.
Indian girls often start learning to cook at a very early age and help their mothers prepare and make their food. With her mother’s guidance, girls will learn to grind spices to make a variety of masalas learning exactly how and when to add them to individual dishes.
This practice makes perfect sense as spices form the basis of almost everything gets eaten and sometimes drunk in India.
Girls get taught to make different types of bread like Chapattis, Rotis, Parathas and others. They also learn to make several dishes simultaneously and the art of producing the crispest deep-fried onion bhajis and pakora.
These skills in the kitchen will give daughters a good grounding in caring for and providing for their families in later life.
There’s no avoiding it; producing Indian meals is complex and time-consuming, even for experienced Indian cooks.
All very informally, daughters will learn to make starters, snacks, and refreshing beverages like Masala Chai, Lassi, Paneer Soda, Masala Chaas, Aam Panna, Nimbu Pani and even coffee.
They can’t help but learn about the Indian desserts – Gulab Jamun, Barfi, Halwa and others.
That’s the traditional way.
Modern British Traditions
However, life is very different in modern-day India and Britain, where many Indian families have made their homes.
These days, modern Indian women often can’t afford to remain at home all day as before. Most need to work to make life better for themselves and their families.
Indian girls living in England will see their English friends doing less at home than they do. They seem to have far more freedom of behaviour and fewer constraints of traditional home demands.
The net result is that of spending less time in the kitchen.
Children of Indian origin growing up in the UK seem to prefer doing more than their friends do, like spending time on Facebook, Netflix, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest or other social media platforms.
Yet, in addition to that, they recognize the value of growing up in a different culture and doing things different from their English friends.
Thankfully, despite their youthful rebelling, the most sensible of them don’t want to lose the essence and customers of Indian culture, especially food. And without a doubt, their parents work hard to maintain their traditions despite being away from their homeland.
What to do then, when Indian cooking does not provide a quick answer to a meal? Vicky Bhogal has provided a helpful solution in her book, Cooking Like Mummyji.
In it, Vicky explores the culinary problems of a modern Indian girl living in the United Kingdom, a situation that is now very commonplace.
She provides a practical approach that you might find interesting and beneficial to explore if Indian food is something you love.
After reading her book, it would be logical to conclude that her approach constitutes a form of blended cooking, a tasty combination of traditional Indian flavours and British food, letting us foreigners into their delicious world.
If you have a different perspective, please let us know in the comments below.
Read the previous article in the series – Big Flavours That Make Indian Food World Famous.