British people have been in love with spices and spiced food for far longer than most people think; even before spices were commonplace, people loved eating hot and fiery stuff such as watercress, mustard and horseradish. What is commonly called ‘Indian’ food, which comes in actual fact from many different countries, and with a wonderful and exciting range of regional variations, has been appearing in recipe books almost from the very fist collections of recipes were gathered together.

Here is a hundred year old recipe for bhugias, which we would call bhajis:

  • 5 oz flour
  • 2 tsps finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped cooked cabbage
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ salt
  • 2 eggs throughly beaten
  • deep fat for frying
  1. mix all the dry ingredients except the baking powder really well together
  2. mix in the eggs, really well
  3. lastly add the baking powder just before frying
  4. drop the mixture a teaspoonful at a time into the smoking hot fat
  5. cook until brown and nicely swollen
  6. drain on kitchen paper and serve very hot

The recipe doesn’t actually mention kitchen paper, I guess a hundred years ago they would have used a cloth.

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