Sunday, December 6, 2009


Popularity of Chinese ethnic foods amongst populations in the East as well as the West needs to be emulated by their Indian counterparts which have no doubt established its roots amongst the Indian immigrant communities in the US and the UK. One of the major differences between Indian and Chinese foods is the use of spices in the former, especially Chilli, considered too hot for the taste buds of the Westerners. But how come, the Mexican foods which also are reputed for their pungency due to Jalapeno chilli, are becoming increasingly popular in the western world? Slow pace of innovation and adaptation, rigid recipes, lack of sanitation in many Indian joints, domination of unorganized vendors with no uniform quality yardsticks, are all constraints in the "universalization" of Indian foods.It is almost 200 years since Indian foods made their appearance in a foreign land and if they cannot emulate their Chinese or Mexican counterparts, fault lies with the organized catering industry sector in the country.

'Dean moved to Portman Square in London 1809 where he joined the vapour bath owned by Sir Basil Cochrane. Here Mahomet added "champi" to the list of services offered, and later opened The Hindostanee Coffee House. His restaurant was aimed at Anglo-Indians for the "enjoyment of Hookha, with 'real chilm tobacco', and offered Indian dishes in the highest perfection, and allowed by the greatest epicures to be unequalled to any curries ever made in England", in a setting decorated with Indian and Oriental scenes".

It is a pity that restaurant foods in India are still confined to traditional precepts and practices, refusing to explore the vast global opportunities waiting to be exploited and a major effort is required to lift them from the status of 'grandma' foods to modern scientifically sound products with unique qualities like high nutrition, health endearing, unique sensory characteristics and proven safety. If the UK is celebrating a curry week or President Obama is serving Indian culinary delights at the White House, there must be strong reasons and inherent strength for Indian foods which only need to be propagated through organized efforts.

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