Sunderland-style curry going down a storm in India

Taste of Britain Team: (l-r) Chef Ali Hussain from Sunderland, Chef Khalis Miah from Aberdeen, Mr David Lelliott, British Deputy High Commissioner to Chandigarh, India, Chef Mark Poynton from Cambridge and Chef Abul Monsur from Kent.
Taste of Britain Team: (l-r) Chef Ali Hussain from Sunderland, Chef Khalis Miah from Aberdeen, Mr David Lelliott, British Deputy High Commissioner to Chandigarh, India, Chef Mark Poynton from Cambridge and Chef Abul Monsur from Kent.
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A Sunderland chef cooked up a storm showing India how to make the British version of curry at an international food festival.

Ali Hussain, a freelance chef at the Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United Football Club, was jetted out to Chandigarh to showcase his special talents at the eight-day Taste of Britain Curry Festival.

Chef Ali, who was selected from hundreds of chefs across the UK, was part of a group of four leading British chefs aiming to recreate an exclusive selection of British curries in India.

The event organised by the trade magazine Curry Life, promotes the skills of British curry chefs abroad and introduces diners to the unique phenomenon of British curry, which has replaced fish and chips as the country’s favourite food.

The festival was held in Chandigarh as part of the ‘British Week’ in collaboration with the British Deputy High Commission, British Council, UK Trade & Investment and Visit Britain, to showcase UK expertise and take forward UK’s partnership with Northern India.

Ali and other members of the Taste of Britain team were asked to create a mouth-watering menu of over seventy different fusion dishes for diners at the Taj Hotel in Chandigarh to sample. And British favourites such as the Birmingham invention of Balti and the ever-popular Chicken Tikka Masala went down a treat.

“The British love curries but the way we make it in the UK is slightly different from in India,” explained Ali.

“Over the years, chefs have adapted the recipes to suit the British palate. The main difference is in the spicing, as we tend to use fewer spices and more European herbs. Sauces and gravies are creamier and sweeter but because they contain a lot less oil and butter, the British versions are often healthier.

“Feedback from customers was very positive. All the customers seemed to enjoy the menu we designed for them and many commented on how tasty the British curries were, even though several said they were not quite as hot as the Indian versions.”

Now, chef Ali is looking forward to implementing some of the new ideas and techniques he learned in India.

He said: “This whole experience gave me the inspiration for many new dishes as well as the know- how to create more authentic dishes, so hopefully diners will benefit from my new found knowledge as well.”