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India to Get a Taste of 'British' Curries

It was once hailed as Britain's national dish, but chicken tikka masala -- the spicy "Indian" curry popular throughout the United Kingdom -- has remained largely a mystery on the subcontinent.

Now one of Britain's most celebrated chefs, Manju Malhi, wants to change that by introducing this favourite and other British-and-Indian fused foods to Indian palates.

Malhi is shooting a television cooking show in New Delhi promoting British cuisine with an Indian twist, a combination she has dubbed Brit-Indi, and which has made her famous back in Britain.

On the menu during the 40-part series are mango crumble, baked beans balti, couscous salad and the Scottish dessert cranachan, with mangoes replacing traditional raspberries.

"People here think British food is just roast beef and burgers and chips," said Malhi, who is hosting the series for private local NDTV network.

"I am trying to fly the flag for British food, which is really vast and varied," she said.

Malhi, whose parents emigrated from India in the 1960s, is, however, aware of the challenges of winning over Indian audiences.

Unlike in Britain, where celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver are household names, India has only a handful of television cooking shows and fewer well-known chefs.

And British food has found little favour in India despite the fact the region was a British colony for centuries. Indian and Chinese restaurants are the most popular choices for eating out.

But Malhi remains confident.

"A good show is all about packaging. It's about making the food look sexy -- the way you drizzle oil slowly, soft focus lighting, like a music video," she said during a break from shooting back-to-back episodes.

Her recipe for success back in Britain is simple: use ingredients that are readily available in stores, such as bread and beans.

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