By Leigh O'Connor.
"I believe that each of us is the sum of all our parts. I
know that everything I have done and experienced in life has brought me to this
place in my career, and looking back, I can see how all the dots join up. In my
case, these indelible markers started before I did.” – Anjum Anand.
Meal time for Anjum Anand is always a mix of family heritage
– her Pakistani Mother’s light vegetarian fare blended with her Father’s
meat-based curry culture.
Her eighth cookbook – I Love India – is a collection of
recipes inspired by family and travel, showcasing fresh, light ingredients and
local dishes. It is a personal collection, interspersed with stories and
history gleaned from multiple visits to the sub-continent, where Anjum’s
tastebuds have been opened up to a wealth of dishes reflecting India’s diverse
From steamed Nepalese meat momos from the dumpling houses of
Calcutta to finger-licking crispy spinach chaats eaten at North Indian street
stalls, it is a food journey packed with flavour and love.
The streets of India are vibrant, chaotic and colourful -
most cities don’t have a main shopping street, usually shops and stalls cluster
in small markets selling everything from shoes to the local street food of the
region. This fast food is affordable and really delicious and some of Anjum’s
favourite recipes come from the markets, where she would watch hawkers toss
humble ingredients onto dried banana leaf plates, resulting in sensational mouthfuls
of many flavours and textures.
From the Sunder Nagar market in Delhi comes papri
chaat, a lunch or teatime snack made with potatoes and chickpeas, combining
spices and creamy yoghurt with tamarind chutney, pomegranate seeds and red
onion to create an explosion of flavour.
Few people consider Indian food when they think of mussels,
but they are loved on the West Coast. This shellfish takes spices and strong
flavours really well and is used in curries and stir fries, enveloped in pastry
and steamed in jackets made from rice.
fried spiced mussels from Kerala is one of Anjum’s go to tapas-style
dishes, where dinner guests can pick at a big pile of moreish morsels,
sprinkled with coriander and lemon wedges, or in the half shell on a bed of
curry leaves. Semolina can be added for a crunchy finish or the mussels may be
served on little toasts brushed with coriander oil.
Food from Andhra is some of the spiciest in India, where
fat, green chillies grown in the area are used with abundance in many delicious
lamb and chicken dishes. Andhra
Green Chilli Chicken 65 is not for the faint hearted as Anjum allows at
least one chilli per person when preparing the meal, but she says those unsure
of the heat can push the chillies to one side and still enjoy the wonderful
flavour of the chicken.
With her own internationally stocked range of sauces, dhals,
chutneys and naans – The Spice Tailor – Anjum is on a mission to bring Indian
food up to date and this cookbook is another step in that direction.
It is sure to help novice and confident cooks alike to
recreate the flavours of India from the comfort of their home kitchen.