How did the British view Indian food?

The British who were in India almost certainly encountered Indian food, such as dal makhani, Pav bhaji, Pulao, Rajma, Paneer, Roti subzi, Aloo gobi and etc...
How did they exactly deal with Indian food? Did they like it or did they not? Did they eat it regularly? How well did the British respond to Indian food? Was the spice too overwhelming?

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I've heard that some British colonists consumed Mulligatawny soup, and then there's Chicken tikka masala. But I mean, how often did they consume or encounter Indian food? What were the official or commonly held views amongst the British.
 
Sorry this is my third post, but I find this question to be really fascinating since I cannot even imagine Puritans or Victorians eating Indian food 🤓 and it honestly feels ASB.
 
The British who were in India almost certainly encountered Indian food, such as dal makhani, Pav bhaji, Pulao, Rajma, Paneer, Roti subzi, Aloo gobi and etc...
How did they exactly deal with Indian food? Did they like it or did they not? Did they eat it regularly? How well did the British respond to Indian food? Was the spice too overwhelming?

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These photos have reminded me that it's been WAY too long since I had any good Indian food :D
(stuff I try to make myself doesn't count...)
If the British of the Raj didn't avail themselves enough of the local cuisines, they were idiots... they didn't know what they were missing :)

I'd say though (with admittedly little knowledge of it), that enough of them must've eaten and enjoyed Indian cuisine to take home some inspiration from it, as it didn't take long for some Indian influences to start seeping in to English culinary habits...
 
Brits felt Indian food too spicy and so they invented curry.
I live in the US, but have been fortunate enough to live in some places with some really good Indian restaurants... had a friend who spent some time in the UK, who said he was really surprised at how... bland... most of the food he got from "curry houses" there seemed to be....
 
I live in the US, but have been fortunate enough to live in some places with some really good Indian restaurants... had a friend who spent some time in the UK, who said he was really surprised at how... bland... most of the food he got from "curry houses" there seemed to be....

What did he expect from Britihs food:p?

But curry can indeed be bit bland. But there is too some well made curry too.
 
Chicken tikka masala - (a British invention created by immigrant Indo-Pakisanti curry houses to cater to British customer tastes) - is the number 1 takeaway meal in the modern United Kingdom. It was even voted as the British national dish in UK surveys, so clearly the Brits did absorb some love of Indian food.
 
Curry is incredibly popular in the UK, even if it's apparently pretty bland compared to actual native foods.

While it varied on specific foods, I think it's pretty safe to say that British people adopted/adapted a lot of Indian food which suggests they like it.

There's actually more places that sell Indian dishes near where I live than there are places selling Alcohol. And there's quite a few of those.
 
In the Sherlock Holmes story Silver Blaze (the one with the dog in the night-time) a curry is plot-relevant, and it's not treated as anything strange for ordinary folk to be cooking or eating.
From my memory of books written/set in early 20th-century England (which is not the Victorian period either), the red-faced former Indian Army officer with his fondness for volcanic curries was something of a cliche.
But the big curry explosion in Britain dates to the period of significant immigration from India/Pakistan - i.e. post WWII.
 

Opo

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Possibly the best known example of the Victorians embracing Indian-inspired cuisine is kedgeree. Traditionally Khichdi or Khichari is a rice and lentil dish served to babies in the north of India and as the Victorian middle and upper classes loved nursery food, they quickly took to it.

It seems to be Eliza Acton who anglicised it in 1845 by ditching the lentils and adding smoked fish and boiled eggs but the basic spices and method used to make kedgeree are pretty much the same as the original.
 
The British who were in India almost certainly encountered Indian food, such as dal makhani, Pav bhaji, Pulao, Rajma, Paneer, Roti subzi, Aloo gobi and etc...
How did they exactly deal with Indian food? Did they like it or did they not? Did they eat it regularly? How well did the British respond to Indian food? Was the spice too overwhelming?

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Basically they were aware of it and even included it in their recipe books but it was very much as "niche" dish for Europeans and mainly included for servants and Indian guests. Fascinating book on the household economy of the Raj published in 1860 here https://books.google.co.uk/books?id...=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false There is one chapter (out of 30 odd) on Indian cuisines albeit quite a long one.
 
All my rough understanding:

Depended a lot on who was out there and the era. Company traders who just want food are different from British upper middle class civil servants who want to emulate British society back home.

It's worth considering there are some expense issues as well; modern people interested in food today can emulate fairly cheaply at least the range of spices that you might have on the Mughal high table, though getting quantities of Indian game or the labour intensive modes of prep would be out of the question. A Brit in India would face high costs to all these elements when it came to Indian high cuisine, and paying for something like that which was without the prestige of French cuisine wouldn't be a common choice.

Also things like street food don't really exist as much in limited urbanisation conditions and more food is prepared in private homes, with some social barrier.

Also tentatively ingredients probably grew for longer, under less industrial conditions and had more flavour without enhancement, and local Indian and British food both used somewhat less elaborate processing than either do today.

Generally what it seems like is that when Brits in India ate local it was interpretations of local food made by local servants for a not very sophisticated British audience, and then this got further simplified or industrialised in the transition back home - "curry powder" etc or the British naval curries that form the basis for Japanese or Cantonese curry. Or it was Anglo-Indian dishes made by locals to modify British recipes - mutton chops with some seasoning etc. It seems like they were not totally closed to it, but also not very curious or very interested in going to high expense to sample delicacies or sophisticated cuisine.
 
I think from the very start, there had been two distinct British views of Indian food- one experienced by the "Nabobs" who wanted to and could afford to maintain themselves (and consequently their kitchens) in the style of the Mughal aristocracy, and the views of the average British soldier or clerk.
The former was influenced by what was then North Indian high cuisine, which was both resource and time-intensive. These would have been complex dishes requiring multiple people laboring over the course of several hours or even days, perhaps slightly modified according to the tastes of the Patron. This never really migrated to the UK because of the aforementioned logistical problems, as well as an unwillingness on the part of the Nabobs to, well, appear as "Nabobs". People like Clive and Hastings, who were already under great suspicion and mistrust over their ill-found wealth, would hardly flaunt their extravagant lifestyle back home.

The latter view and the one I suspect really lasted is those of the more common British individuals who stayed in India or the Indians who emigrated to Britain. They basically took the version of Indian cuisine being cooked in the communal kitchens of the great market cities or the army camps. This was by necessity much watered-down food cooked for large numbers, by people who often couldn't afford to buy or didn't have access to spices by themselves. Hence "Curry powder" and a variety of rice-based dishes, which could be prepared relatively quickly.

I remember watching a video on something similar about Chinese-American cuisine, and why it seems like a parody of actual Chinese cuisine- basically it was Chinese food cooked by poor immigrants without authentic ingredients, who in any case didn't know how to cook very well.

Edit:Wrote "views of British food", instead of "British views of Indian food"
 
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My great uncle, been told my great grandad. loved Indian food. Both posted there, but 40 years apart. Great grandad form 1898-1909, NWF, off and on and my uncle in the 1940's, in the east, against Japan
 
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