The British, French, Portuguese, Dutch and Danes; India was colonised by many countries and each had an influence on its produce and cuisines. But less is known about the impact India has had on the food of its colonisers.
The Indian dish khichdi, left, inspired the British dish kedgeree, right [Ruth Dsouza Prabhu/Al Jazeera]
By Ruth Dsouza Prabhu
1 Apr 2021
“Lunch is ready,” I called out to my husband and daughter, setting the serving dish down on the dining table. On cue, Anoushka, my 14-year-old, reached out to open the lid to check what was inside.
We were having khichdi – mashed lentils, diced vegetables and rice topped with caramelised onions. “Did you know that the British kedgeree (a mix of rice, flaked fish and boiled eggs) is inspired by our khichdi?” Anoushka asked, drizzling spoonfuls of ghee (clarified butter) onto the khichdi on her plate.
She was studying the colonial history of India for her upcoming exams and trivia was her way of making the subject easier. I did know the khichdi-kedgeree connection. I am sure there are more, I replied. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could find out what Indian dishes were behind some of the colonisers’ cuisine and cook them?” the budding chef asked excitedly.
It was a great idea. We agreed to split the work – after all, she still had to study for finals – I would research the dishes and tell her stories about them, and she would do the cooking.
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