When a cuisine leaves its place of origin, it adapts to a completely new palate. It gets transformed or gets a culinary make-over to suit its new patrons. Amount and type of ingredients, the style of cooking, or even the names of the dishes change! But you already knew that.
But what I want to ask you is that are you ready to go try the cuisine in its original form?
Welcome to the world of Suki’s curries! An Indian girl raised in Delhi, I am a self-obsessed Indian foodie who visited all sorts of restaurants, cafes, dhabas, hotels, and small eateries wherever life took me in India. And, India is huge! Leisure and happiness were all about eating. Celebrations were all about eating. Making memories meant eating good Indian food with family and friends. Going abroad for holidays meant trying the local cuisines of that region and I never chanced upon trying Indian find abroad until I was 36 years old, married, and living in the UK in the Midlands. Read on.
Craving for my favourite chicken curry or daal meant I either cook it or eat out! So, on those leisurely weekends when you fancy going out for a pint and dinner, I have gone and tried many Indian restaurants on the high street where I live. The dishes are beautiful, the names are unfamiliar and the colours are bold. Although I enjoy eating out, the Indian Sikh Punjabi in me is forever craving for my Indian delights that I was habitually used to eating back in Delhi.
So, I cook.
I cook Murg Makhani or butter chicken. I cook Daal Makhani or black lentils. I cook Rara Gosht or lamb curry. I cook Gobi Aloo or dry cauliflower and potatoes. I cook Matar Paneer and I cook a lot of dishes from my home town Delhi and my family kitchen in NOIDA, a satellite town! Its an endless list!
For most of you, these names may be slightly different from the dishes that your order in an Indian restaurant on your high street. I said most of you because I don’t mean the lovely folks from London who have Indian dining experiences run by chefs from India right from the heartland of India, on their doorsteps. At par with the dining scene in Delhi. Very impressive!
See, I don’t know many of the names and categories of dishes I get served in these lovely restaurants which play Bollywood music of the 1990s and have extremely courteous staff serving you. Balti dishes or Jalfarezi dishes or Madras dishes pique my excitement and I like to always shuffle between them and try them all of them except I have never eaten these in India.
So, when I teach Indian cooking or discuss a dish with a lover of Indian cuisine (it’s was a very animated and passionate exchange over Chettinad chicken), I can only confidently talk about what has its origins in India and what I have eaten in Delhi or Bangalore or Chennai (erstwhile Madras) or Amristar or in my family kitchen.
Reminiscing about those gorgeous dishes makes me hungry…
…and so I cook.