Thursday, October 04, 2007

Indian takeaway

Dean Mahomet was born in Patna, India in 1759. He moved to England in 1784 after joining the East Indian Company.

In 1810 he established the Hindoostan Coffee House at 34 George Street, Portman Square, which was (allegedly) the first Indian restaurant in Britain. In 1812 he declared bankruptcy. Dean was eventually appointed 'Shampooing Surgeon' to King George IV.

From this inauspicious start, Indian food has become one of Britain's favourite takeout foods, beaten only by the ubiquitous Chinese takeaway. Many of the Indian dishes we know and consume have been 'custom made' for British tastes, including Chicken Tikka Masala and Onion Bhajis.

Indian takeaway foods are second only to pizza in their calorie-laden-ness-ness. However, some dishes are 'worse' than others:

Cream-sauced dishes have double the calories of their sauce-free tandoori equivalents.

Pilau rice has double the calories of plain boiled rice (Indian restaurants usually add oil to pilau rice).

And naan bread is so stuffed with calories that if you look really closely you can see them jostling with one another for space. This is one of the reasons that Indian restaurants are usually so dimly lit. Maybe.