(An extract from the essay on Bridget's website)

The Anglo-Indian Community can be traced back to as early as the 16th century i.e. to the advent of the Europeans into India.

As a result of the inter-mingling and inter-marrying of the various European races, a new multi-culturaland multi-racial community evolved over many centuries, which later came to be known as the Anglo-Indian Community. The Anglo-Indians are a unique race of people, who, by combining both European and Indian Cultures have evolved a distinctive culture of their own. They have their own special taste in food, which is a direct reflection of their multi-racial and hybrid heritage. In Anglo-Indian Cuisine the spicy “ Indian Curry” is given as much importance as the bland “ English Roasts”.

Anglo-Indian Cuisine has taken the best of both European and Indian Cuisine and altered it by adding or substituting some of the ingredients so that a completely different cuisine evolved over hundreds of years. The very popular Vindaloo, Beveca and Dodol are legacies of the Portugese, while the Roasts, Bakes, Bacon and Eggs are typically British.

Many of the dishes have rhyming alliterative names like Dodol, Kal-Kal, Ding- Ding, Pish-Pash etc. The very nomenclature of the dishes is unique and synonymous with the Anglo-Indian Community's vocabulary. The normally bland western cuisine was given a dash of exotic Indian flavour. Thus a completely new contemporary cuisine came into existence making it truly “Anglo” and “Indian” in nature, which was neither too bland nor too spicy, but with a distinctive flavour of its own. It became a direct reflection of the multi-cultural and hybrid heritage of the new colonial population.

Many of the dishes have a unique history. The very popular and familiar curry dish “ Vindaloo ” is derived from the Portugese word “Vinha De Alhos” i.e. from the 2 main ingredients in it, which were "Vinho", meaning wine or wine vinegar, and "Alhos", meaning garlic. It was originally a vinegar and garlic based watery stew made with pork or meat in Portugal . However after the Portugese introduced it in India, it was completely revamped with the addition of spices and chilies, and over the years it has become one of the spiciest and most popular curry dishes all over the world.

Grandma's Country Captain Chicken was a very popular dish during Colonial times since it was very easy to prepare. In those days, the poultry used in its preparation were authentic well-fed, homegrown country chickens, which would take at least 2 hours to cook over a firewood oven, but the curry when done, would be rich and delicious.

Mulligatawny Soup was also very popular during the Raj Era. It was the anglicized version of the Tamil “Melligu -Thani”. (“Melligu” meaning pepper and “Thani” meaning water). As the name suggests it was originally Pepper Water. However in course of time a lot of other ingredients such coconut, meat and other spices were added to give it a completely different flavour. The dish quickly became popular throughout the colonies of the Common Wealth. The Mulligatawny Soup of today bears little resemblance to the original “Melligu-thani."

Bridget White-Kumar was born and brought up in Kolar Gold Fields, a small mining town in the erstwhile Mysore State now known as Karnataka, India. KGF had a sizable Anglo-Indian population who had lived and worked there for generations. It was well known for its colonial ambience with elegant bungalows with huge lawns and gardens and many clubs with tennis and badminton courts, golf courses etc.

Bridget has always been fond of cooking and trying out all the old forgotten recipes of the Community. Her mother the late Doris White was an exceptional cook and had a vast collection of recipes which were all handwritten in old and torn note books and pieces of paper. What started out as a hobby and pastime slowly became a passion. Through trial and error she arrived at the exact amounts of ingredients etc. to be used, besides substituting some of the ingredients to suit present day availability and health consciousness.

In a world fast turning into a Global Village, with many Anglo-Indians migrating away from India and marriages outside the Community becoming common, Bridget felt that it was imperative to preserve and record for future generations the unique culture and cuisine of our A.I. forebears.

Hence, in order to ensure that the Anglo-Indian Community lives on through its culinary delights, Bridget has published three recipe books on Anglo-Indian cuisine in the hope that they will be a useful guide to traditional Anglo-Indian cooking.

For more information on Bridget's cookbooks go to Bridget Kumar's Cookbooks

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