British balti chicken aiming to capture Indian taste buds

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London, April 21 (ANI): As Kolkata plays host to the Taste of Britain's Curry Festival, organisers are confident that the "British Indian" fare will do very well in India despite there already being a vast range of indigenous cuisine on offer.

The dishes being showcased include the balti chicken, which originated in Birmingham in the 1970s, and chicken tikka masala, which are nowhere the same in taste as the ones being offered in the sub-continent.

"British curries are quite unique," Times Online quoted Syed Ahmed, the festival director and editor of Curry Today magazine, as saying.

"They are milder and healthier. I predict that a flagship British Indian restaurant will soon open its doors in India," he said.

Ahmed revealed that the festival has yielded one deal so far, with a five-star hotel having agreed to start importing balti, Urdu for bucket, sauces from Britain.

"Indians have shed their preconceptions and their reservations," Nondon Bagchi, a Calcutta-based cookery writer, said.

"The impact of travelling and the telly mean it's now the done thing to be experimental with your food," he stated.

According to Sanjay Matta, a consulting chef who has designed menus for some of India's smartest restaurants, chicken tikka masala, which was dubbed "a true British national dish" by Robin Cook in 2001, is among the recipes gaining in popularity.

And even though the dish's origin is fiercely disputed, Matta believes that the British staple is merely a tweaked version of the classic Punjabi butter chicken.

According to Ahmed, it is such innovation that has given rise to a British curry industry that employs 100,000 people and is worth 4 billion pounds a year.

India's elite is warming to older Anglo-Indian recipes that date back to the Raj, and more modern East-West fusions, such as chicken tikka masala.

"Some of the Indian food you'll eat in the UK is the best you'll find anywhere," Matta added. (ANI)

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