Anglo-Indian cuisine is the cuisine that developed during the British Raj in India.[1] The cuisine introduced dishes such as curry, chutney, kedgeree, mulligatawny and pish pash to English palates.

Anglo-Indian cuisine was documented in detail by the English colonel Arthur Robert Kenney-Herbert, writing as "Wyvern" in 1885 to advise the British Raj's memsahibs what to instruct their Indian cooks to make.[1][2] Many of its usages are described in the "wonderful"[1] 1886 Anglo-Indian dictionary, Hobson-Jobson.[1] More recently, the cuisine has been analysed by Jennifer Brennan in 1990 and David Burton in 1993.[1][3][4][5]


During the British rule in India, cooks began adapting Indian dishes for British palates and creating Anglo-Indian cuisine, with dishes such as kedgeree (1790)[6] and mulligatawny soup (1791).[7][8] The first Indian restaurant in England, the Hindoostane Coffee House, opened in 1809[9] in London; as described in The Epicure's Almanack in 1815, "All the dishes were dressed with curry powder, rice, Cayenne, and the best spices of Arabia. A room was set apart for smoking hookahs with oriental herbs".[10] Indian food was cooked at home from a similar date as cookbooks of the time, including the 1758 edition of Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery, attest.[11]

The British East India Company arrived in India in 1600,[12] developing into a large and established organisation.[13] By 1760, men were returning home from India with money and a taste for Indian food.[14] In 1784, a listing in the Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser promoted ready-mix curry powder to be used in Indian-style dishes.[15] While no dish called "curry" existed in India in the 18th and 19th centuries, Anglo-Indians likely coined the term, derived from the Tamil word "kari" meaning a spiced sauce poured over rice, to denote any Indian dish.[15] Storytelling may have allowed family members at home to learn about Indian food.[16]

Hannah Glasse's receipt To make a Currey the Indian Way, on page 101 of the 1758 edition of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy

Many cookbooks including Indian-style dishes were written and published by British women in the late 18th century,[16] such as Hannah Glasse's 1758 book The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, which included the recipe "To make a Currey the Indian Way".[17]

As Indian cuisine grew in popularity in Britain, the desire for authentic Indian delicacies grew. In March 1811, the Hindoostane Coffee House opened in Portman Square offering Indian ambience and curries as well as hookah smoking rooms.[18] The founder, Sake Dean Mohomed, stated that the ingredients for the curries as well as the herbs for smoking were authentically Indian.[19]


Further information: English cuisine § Indian and Anglo-Indian cuisine, and List of chutneys

Well-known Anglo-Indian dishes include chutneys, salted beef tongue, kedgeree,[20] ball curry, fish rissoles, and mulligatawny soup.[1][7] Chutney, one of the few Indian dishes that has had a lasting influence on English cuisine according to the Oxford Companion to Food,[1] is a cooked and sweetened but not highly spiced preparation of fruit, nuts or vegetables. It borrows from a tradition of jam making where an equal amount of sour fruit and refined sugar reacts with the pectin in the fruit such as sour apples or rhubarb, the sour note being provided by vinegar. Major Grey's Chutney is typical.[21]

Pish pash was defined by Hobson-Jobson as "a slop of rice-soup with small pieces of meat in it, much used in the Anglo-Indian nursery". The term was first recorded by Augustus Prinsep in the mid 19th century.[22] The name comes from the Persian pash-pash, from pashidan, to break.[23] A version of the dish is given in The Cookery Book of Lady Clark of Tillypronie of 1909.[1]


Further information: English cuisine § Indian and Anglo-Indian cuisine

Some early restaurants in England, such as the Hindoostane Coffee House on George Street, London, which opened in 1810, served Anglo-Indian food. Many Indian restaurants, however, have reverted to the standard mix-and-match Indian dishes that are better known to the British public.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Davidson, Alan (2014). Tom Jaine (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  2. ^ Kenney-Herbert, Arthur Robert (1994) [1885]. Culinary Jottings for Madras, Or, A Treatise in Thirty Chapters on Reformed Cookery for Anglo-Indian Exiles (Facsimile of 5th ed.). Prospect Books. ISBN 0-907325-55-6.
  3. ^ Brennan, Jennifer (1990). Encyclopaedia of Chinese and Oriental Cookery. Black Cat.
  4. ^ Brennan, Jennifer (1990). Curries and Bugles, A Memoir and Cookbook of the British Raj. Viking. ISBN 962-593-818-4.
  5. ^ Burton, David (1993). The Raj at Table. Faber & Faber.
  6. ^ "Sustainable shore - October recipe - Year of Food and Drink 2015 - National Library of Scotland".
  7. ^ a b Roy, Modhumita (7 August 2010). "Some Like It Hot: Class, Gender and Empire in the Making of Mulligatawny Soup". Economic and Political Weekly. 45 (32): 66–75. JSTOR 20764390.
  8. ^ "Cooking under the Raj". Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  9. ^ Jahangir, Rumeana (26 November 2009). "How Britain got the hots for curry". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 September 2016. "Indian dishes, in the highest perfection… unequalled to any curries ever made in England." So ran the 1809 newspaper advert for a new eating establishment in an upmarket London square popular with colonial returnees.
  10. ^ The Epicure's Almanack, Longmans, 1815, pages 123-124.
  11. ^ Dickson Wright, Clarissa (2011). A History of English Food. Random House. pp. 304–305. ISBN 978-1-905-21185-2.
  12. ^ Metcalf 2014, p. 44.
  13. ^ Metcalf 2014, p. 56.
  14. ^ Rees, Lowri Ann (1 March 2017). "Welsh Sojourners in India: The East India Company, Networks and Patronages, 1760-1840". (The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. 45 (2): 166. doi:10.1080/03086534.2017.1294242. S2CID 159799417. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  15. ^ a b Maroney, Stephanie (23 February 2011). "'To Make a Curry the India Way': Tracking the Meaning of Curry across Eighteenth-Century Communities". Food and Foodways. 19: 129. doi:10.1080/07409710.2011.544208. S2CID 146364557.
  16. ^ a b Bullock, April (2012). "The Cosmopolitan Cookbook". Food, Culture & Society. 15 (3): 439. doi:10.2752/175174412X13276629245966. S2CID 142731887.
  17. ^ Glasse, Hannah (1758) [1747]. The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy. Edinburgh. p. 101.
  18. ^ Collingham 2007, p. 129.
  19. ^ Collingham 2007, p. 2.
  20. ^ "Sustainable shore - October recipe - Year of Food and Drink 2015 - National Library of Scotland".
  21. ^ Bateman, Michael (17 August 1996). "Chutneys for Relishing". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  22. ^ "pish-pash". Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  23. ^ Davidson, Alan (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.


Further reading