Fancy an Indian?

For those who read my blogs and know a little about me, you’ll know I’m the author of “The Curry Mile” a novel set in Manchester’s curry district. For those of you familiar with Indian cuisine it may come as a surprise that the cuisine of Indian Restaurants isn’t purely Indian.

Most restaurants in the UK are run by people from the Bangladeshi community, closely followed by entrepreneurs from the Pakistani community.

Few Indian restaurants are run by Indians.

So what makes the restaurants Indian? Is it simply marketing?

The food predominantly eaten in British Indian restaurants, is essentially Mughal cuisine which has its roots in Persia and the Turkic lands and it is heavily influenced by many nations, including modern day India. It’s so mixed that it is incorrect to define it as Indian, but it commonly is, because of, erm, convenience. And if we start to talk about Balti, that complicates things further.

But this is where it gets even more confusing.

What is deemed India today is no more India than if Bangladesh or Pakistan were to name themselves India – in fact they might have more of a right to do so. India’s other name is Bharat and where the name “India” originates from is actually in…Pakistan. The Indus Valley.

Therefore, not only is Indian food not Indian, but India itself is not India.

So the name comes from Pakistan, Bangladeshis premoninantly make it, but the name given to it is “Indian”?

How droll.

You might ask me in exasperation, “what should we call Indian Restaurants then?!”

If Chicken Tikka Masala is anything to go by, I’d say Indian restaurants are actually British. And if you had met Henry VIII on a cold winter’s night back in the 16th Century, I’m sure he’d have succumbed to an invitation to join you for a slap up curry meal.

Tuck in, the food’s getting cold.

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