Over 200 years ago the first curry shop was opened in London by an Indian migrant. Ever since, Brits have developed an appetite for spicy foods to say the least. Indian food is now among the most popular cuisines in the UK; nowadays there are more Indian restaurants than fast food establishments throughout England! In fact, chicken tikka masala has recently been added as a national dish of the United Kingdom, in addition to the well-known original national dish, fish and chips. So if you’re ever on a tour of England, you may find yourself sampling some not-so-traditional English food. It would be an understatement to say that Indian food is popular in the English culture. We’re here to prepare you for the jolt of flavor coming your way on your next trip to England.
Although Indian food has had a presence in England since 1809, it was during the Victorian Era and the period of British rule over the Indian subcontinent that really brought Indian food to the forefront of the culinary scene. A new genre of food had been created called Anglo-Indian cuisine; along with traditional Indian dishes inviting a new wave of British culinary cuisine. By 2013, there were as many as 10,000 restaurants serving Indian food, and the Indian food industry accounts for two-thirds of restaurants in England and Wales.
Indian food in England doesn’t entirely adhere to traditional Indian recipes. Although it reflects the culture of India and Britain alike, diners are often free to combine a number of base ingredients such as chicken, prawns, or other meat with a number of curry sauces. They are free to create Indian dishes in the way that suits their palettes best. If you’re looking for some tips on what to order, here are some of the most popular Indian dishes:
Chicken Tikka Masala
England’s most popular Indian dish, chicken tikka masala is a bowl of roasted chunks of chicken in a spicy sauce. The sauce is usually creamy, but the recipe varies greatly so you never know what you’ll get!
More formally known as murgh makhani, butter chicken is typically marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture. It usually includes garam marsala, ginger, garlic paste, lemon, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chili. The chicken is usually cooked in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven used for cooking in Southern, Central and Western Asia.
Rogan josh is a lamb dish of Persian origin, and its name roughly translates to “cooked in oil at intense heat.” It was brought to Kashmir and other areas in and around India and is now one of the most craved types of curry.
Malai Kofta is the vegetarian version of meatballs. It goes well with naan bread or Jeera rice. Although it is typically cooked only for special occasions, many Indian restaurants in England still serve this on the daily.
This chickpea curry is as spicy as they come and is typically accompanied by bhatooras, which is a fried Indian bread. It is usually served as a breakfast with onions, carrot pickle, green chutney and achaar (variety of vegetables). But this is a far cry from an American breakfast of pancakes and eggs, so maybe save this for later in the day.
If you’re looking to stay healthy abroad, this is the perfect Indian dish for you. Palak paneer is a dish consisting of spinach and paneer (Indian farmer’s cheese) in a thick curry sauce based on puree spinach. It is among the most popular vegetarian dishes in India.
A popular Indian snack, you can find dozens of street vendors in London selling this. There are several types of chaat, but the variants are all based on fried dough mixed with other ingredients.