Anjum Anand spices up the kitchen with her quick and easy Indian recipes
Indian Food Made Easy
Monday 24 November on BBC TWO
As spice queen Anjum Anand continues her journey up and down the country, proving that Indian food can be cooked with the minimum of fuss, she tells Programme Information all about the new series and about the different flavours found in Indian regions and about how she learned a lot of what she knows from her mother's cooking.
Tell us about the new
"It is such a fantastic series. It has the same format as the first series of Indian Food Made Easy but, in this series, each episode and the food is based around a different Indian community in one of the regions of Britain. There is a lot more information being imparted about India, the people and the history told and experienced through their food. The food has recognisable favourites such as Vindaloo and Roganjosh but cooked in the traditional way. The series has many new and exciting dishes as well."
In the new series you
look at the different flavours found across India's sub-continent.
Can you describe the difference between the regions?
"The food from every region is dependent on a number of factors: the ingredients grown there, the history of the region (whether there have been any long-ruling colonisers) and the main religions found there. In the series, we talk about six regions.
"Kashmir is very influenced by food of the Moghuls, so it is very red-meat rich with lots of yoghurt helping to cut through the richness. The food of Kerala is the most diverse as it has large concentrations of Muslims, Christians and Hindus, but what they do have in common is the love of fresh seafood, coconut and rice. Both feature heavily on their daily menus.
"The food of Goa has a strong element of other coastal regions with a love of fish, coconut and rice, but also changed permanently with the Portuguese colonisers who were there for 450 years, so the diet includes a lot of pork as well as vinegar and a lot more baking than anywhere else in India.
"Gujarati cuisine is often vegetarian – their food is so delicious, you can see they have perfected vegetarian cooking over the millennia.
"Bengali food is very different from the other regions. Here, too, the fish is king and is eaten every day, but the spicing is more delicate and there is a heavy use of mustard seed and mustard oil. There is also some residual influence from the British, who ruled the country from Calcutta.
"Finally, Punjabi food, which is the food we are most familiar with, is quite rich, full of vegetables, lentils, wheat products and deep-flavoured curries."
You also visit home
cooks and chefs in the UK in the new series – what new tips
did you pick up?
"I picked up tips on how to make fish pickle, how to cook rice the Kashmiri way and how to make perfect onion bhajis. I learnt about Kashmiri green tea and how it is brewed there and I learnt that you can cook a curry in aluminium foil on an open fire."
What advice would you
give to someone who's about to cook their first Indian dish and
who finds it all rather daunting?
"Stick to familiar ingredients so that you are not tackling a new cuisine and a new ingredient. This will help provide some familiarity before you start. I would choose a simple dish so that you can build up your confidence before tackling the more complex ones."
What are the key spices
and ingredients for someone who hasn't cooked much Indian food before?
"You need cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and mustard seeds."
When did you first become
involved in cooking?
"I was involved at home from a young age but started cooking for real in my twenties."
What's your favourite
Indian recipe to cook?
"I love cooking my mother's dishes. It is probably quite comforting on an unconscious level and it feels wonderful to cook the same dishes for my daughter that my mother cooked for me. Anything with the word Punjabi in front of it is probably one of the dishes she taught me as I learnt it all from her."
Where do you get inspiration
for your recipes?
"My food is inspired by so many things; a fantastic meal I have recently eaten, my last holiday, a magazine article that I have read, the colours and produce of the season and random conversations I have with people about the food of their childhood and their regions."
What other chefs do
you admire and why?
"I admire Jamie Oliver for achieving what he has at such a young age. Nigella (Lawson) is a great writer and presenter. I love Clarissa Dickson Wright's passion and I really like television presenter and author Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa – I find her really inspirational.