In a new series, British-Indian television chef Anjum Anand shows the diversity of Indian food to an outside audience .
BUTTER chicken and naan. For many people outside India, that’s where their discovery of Indian food usually begins and ends. But British-Indian television chef and cookbook author Anjum Anand adds more destinations on the Indian food tour. Anand brings a 12-part series that showcases Indian cuisine in all its varied splendour to the world. Shot in Melbourne, Australia, TLC’s Anjum’s Spice Stories adds an Indian twist to Australian classics. So, you have a ginger tiramisu chai and Punjabi samosas, tandoori grilled salmon parcels, baked spinach ricotta, and contemporary takes on Murgh chaat and Delhi papri chaat.
In the show, which began on August 15, Anand showcases the spices, fresh produce and richness of Indian food as she goes exploring the picturesque Australian countryside and the street bazaars of Melbourne. “Australians are big foodies. However, I’ve always felt there is no proper understanding of Indian food,” she says, over the phone from London where she lives.
She also hopes to dispel the notion that Indian food is unhealthy. “It’s the healthiest in fact. Look at our spices and ingredients — turmeric, ginger, garam masalas, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, garlic, chillies…the spices give our food a distinct quality and richness,” she says. “I’ve tried to show new and innovative cooking methods for healthy and easy cooking that tricky Indian dishes demand. There is a smorgasbord of food to choose from — vegetarian, non vegetarian, and sea food,” says Anand, who travels frequently to Australia.
A popular face on food shows in the UK, Anand has seen the way food has come to dominate popular space. “When I started, it was very much about the food and the recipe. But the way the scene has changed, especially with food shows on TV, is quite phenomenal. It’s more about competition, connection, journey, characters and judges, and less about food,” she says.
Anand, who has authored several books, is now ready with another. “This book will capture the best food of India, from biryanis, chaats, samosas, tandoori food, all focusing on health, flavours and no shortcuts,” she says.