The blandest thing on the menu

indische curries

Asked to name a very traditional British dish, many Brits will say something like ‘Lamb Jalfrezi’. So entrenched is the culture of the former British colony in the United Kingdom that it has become part of its identity. Many Indian people run restaurants in Great Britain, and as there is competition all over the place, the quality of the food is mostly excellent. But where can you go for palatable Indian cuisine in Cologne?

One of the things my English husband complains about most in Germany is the fact that it is so hard to find a good curry here. We cook them ourselves, most of the time. (A great book to make easy and tasty curries for beginners as well as advanced cooks is The Hairy Bikers Great Curries.) The rest of the time, when we want Indian food, we can be seen roaming about town trying to find a curry that’s at least half decent. Sadly, despite being a city of considerable size, Cologne has as yet not yielded any true revelations. Instead, we recently discovered a treasure in Hürth, Royal India. Recommended by an Indian lady and now by us too!

An absolutely hilarious taking-the-mickey approach to the whole British-Indian identity issue is taken by the BBC series Goodness Gracious Me, broadcast first on BBC Radio 4 (1996-98) and later on BBC Two (1998-2001). In one of the episodes, a group of Indians visits an English restaurant (‘go for an English,’ as they call it) and behaves in a way that many drunk British guys do at curry places all the time. As a special dare, one of them orders ‘the blandest thing on the menu.’ Get a taste here.

I intentionally didn’t go into detail with the political issue here, but I do recommend these extracts from Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s 2001 speech calling Chicken Tikka Masala a true British national dish.

Next week, find out why size matters to Germans.

The Pommes Buddha says: When in Germany, select your tandoor wisely.

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