india week

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Indian Tea Tasting: Darjeeling

As everyone knows, us Brits love our Tea! But it is the Indians who are second to China in terms of production and consumption. Approximately 4% of India's national income is derived from its Tea Estates.

In India, tea is very popular with a lot of milk and together with or without spices (If you've yet to try one, ask for a ‘Masala Chai' the next time you are in your local Indian restaurant).

For India Week, we will be trying a different blend of Indian Tea every day of the week. First up, is Darjeeling.

Darjeeling: The Champagne of Teas

Now, first things first: we are not tea experts or connoisseurs. So if you are expecting nuanced descriptions of the intricate flavours, then chances are you'll be disappointed. However, if you want an overview of the general flavour as well as a little bit of information about Indian teas then you're in the right place. Right, that out of the way, let's get on with it.

On the packet it claims that Darjeeling is the champagne of teas. There is no justification for this claim, but the light, delicate yet distinctive flavour makes you understand why (kind of). You can get black, white and oolong (a different type with a unique drying process) Darjeeling, but we opted for the black variety.

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Indian Student Dish Recipes

As part of India Week, Farida Allana, an Indian student living in the UK, gives her take on Indian versions of two British dishes with some brilliant recipes:

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My British Curry Experiences

As part of India Week,'s very own David describes his experiences of eating Indian food in Britain and how the curry has become one of Britain's national dishes. 

I have been eating Indian food for as long as I can remember. A weekly 'curry' was common place in our household, my father having discovered the joys of eating the spiced cuisine at London's Durbar restaurant- one of London's oldest and finest Indian restaurants- when he came to London as a student in the 1950s. The restaurant is still run by the same family!

Today, there are around 9000 curry restaurants in the UK. In London, Brick Lane is synonymous with Indian cuisine. For those of you studying in Manchester, it's the 'Curry Mile' in Rusholme, which has the largest concentration of Asian restaurants in the UK, with over 65,000 diners eating weekly at one of the Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi restaurants.

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Indian Lunch Review Day 1: Thali

As part of India Week, we are trying a different Indian dish for lunch every day this week. Each day we will be eating something from the menu at Masala Zone and will be reviewing it for you. Today's dish is the Thali.

For the first day of five we were looking forward to indulging ourselves on one of the most popular dishes in India; the thali. A thali is basically a collection of lots of smaller dishes all served together as one larger meal and is the most common way that Indians eat at home. The separate dishes are served in small bowls all on a large stainless steel platter (as the pictures show).

We went for the Grand Thali, which seemed to have about half the restaurant's dishes on it. It is a complete meal comprising of rice, a curry of your choice, lentils and vegetables all of which are nutritionally balanced. From Masala Zone they range from £9.05 up to £12.15. The exact dishes change each day, but today we EACH had the following dishes:

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The Delights of Indian Cuisine

As part of India Week, Sam, owner of the Meghna Grill restaurants in St. John's Wood and Hampstead, describes the history and techniques behind Indian cuisine:

Indian Food (or Khana as we know in Hindi/Urdu) consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back centuries. The dishes are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices, such as Chilli Pepper, Black Mustard seeds, Cumin, Turmeric powder (which posseses antiseptic properties), Fenugreek, Ginger, Coriander, Garlic, Fennel seed and many more.

A wide variety of spices are grown across the Indian Subcontinent dependant on the varying climates. The abundance of locally grown spices heavily influences the cuisine from one region to another, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically-diverse subcontinent. Though most of the spices are native to the Subcontinent, others were imported from similar climates. For example, the chilli pepper was brought to India by the Portuguese and has since been cultivated locally for centuries.

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