Anjum Anand Has Some Amazing Tips for Lovers of Indian Cuisine

Holi is a Hindu celebration of harvest, fertility and new life.

You may know it better as the "Festival of Colours" due to the tradition of hitting the streets and throwing coloured powders around. 

The fun festival is also a day for sharing food and love with your family and friends. 

This year, we spoke to master of Indian cuisine and The Spice Tailor herself, Anjum Anand, about what she'll be cooking up to celebrate. 

Q: How do you celebrate Holi festival?

A: Unable to travel to India each year for a traditional Holi, I have taken to running colour fights in my own and my friend’s back gardens so that my children may still experience the magical spectacle.
We all bring an Indian dish and spend the day together, ducking away from too much colour (it takes forever to come out) and avoiding the water guns altogether. The children absolutely love it.
Spraying one another with water guns full of the coloured water is always, to me, crazy, chaotic and magical.

Q: What’s on your Holi menu?

A: Each year I try to do a special dish from a couple of different cities, so I give my guests that authentic, diverse taste of Holi. On the menu this year is plenty of Dahi bhallas, a lentil dumpling from Amritsar, smothered in yoghurt and tamarind chutney, Gujarat’s “Barfi” for dessert, a coconut sweet made to have a custard-like consistency and Kesari Malai Peda, a doughy, sweet saffron pastry, similar to a donut!

Q: What is the difference between the Indian food we might commonly find in Australia or Britain, versus traditional Indian cooking? Are there any misconceptions in the West about Indian cuisine?

?A: I feel Western conceptions of Indian cuisine are far too limiting - when we think Indian food, we think warm naan bread, samosas and curry, don’t we? But it is so much more diverse than that. There are five regions in India, with dozens of cities all with their own unique twist on Indian food that we completely overlook in the West! At the same time though, I find it exciting, that there are still so many undiscovered hidden gems… my personal favourites are the street food delicacies of Hyderabad - think everything from fresh tomato, onion, potato stuffed egg omelettes with goats cheese oozing out of every bite to soft, milky sweet drinks with tranquilising effects and lavender after tastes!

Q: What’s your favourite quick and easy meal to make after a busy day?

A: Definitely my Korma Curry, which serves my entire family in 10 minutes! I can come home without rushing from work, even tune into a quick afternoon show, then heat up the pan and prepare this delicious, mildly flavoured, delicate dish in no time. I love it because the gentle, nutty-flavours are so soft on the palate and make the flavours melt in your mouth, and it is so versatile, that it can be prepared with just about anything. All it takes is some type of protein and vegetable blend, be it chicken and mushrooms or lamb and potatoes, the delicate korma curry sauce from the spice tailor range, and some fresh spices to garnish with a side of rice to serve.

Q: What are a few things every lover of Indian cuisine should have in their kitchen?

A: Fresh spices are a must, Indian cooking is so reliant on them. Sauces can sometimes be difficult and hard to make, so a pre-packaged purchase is just more convenient for every cook’s busy day. But fresh spices are an easy, last minute addition that can take any dish from bland to spectacular. They are a necessity to every lover of Indian cuisine to have in the kitchen and something that adds a whole level of authenticity to the mix. Cardamon, tamarind, turmeric, even something as simple as coriander! That and of course, beautiful serving trays never go astray!

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