Taking curry recipes to India sounds on a par with shifting coal to Newcastle.
But Sheffield chef Allam Ullah is adamant there’s demand.
“British versions of Asian food go down really well in India,” says Allam, who owns Gleadless Town End restaurant Cutlers’ Spice with parents Ashfurn Nesa Begum and Noim Ullah.
He’s off to demonstrate his skills at the British Curry Festival in Varanasi with four other UK-based Asian chefs. They have been chosen from thousands by magazine Curry Life to cook at the hugely popular festival.
Says Syed Belal Ahmed, editor: “There is an appetite for British curry, despite the vast range of indigenous cuisine on offer in the sub-continent. British curries are quite unique. They are milder and healthier.”
Allam, who head out in September, adds: “Indians love the fact that we keep our vegetables crunchier and use meat off the bone.
“I’m hoping to bring new dishes back to my restaurant, too. While Indians are wanting to try British-style curry, Brits are wanting to explore Asian dishes they haven’t tried before.”
After two weeks in India, Allam will travel to Bangladesh, his parents’ homeland, in search of more new flavours – and to explore the possibility of opening a branch of Cutlers’ Spice there with Brit-style curries on the menu.
Allum is willing South Yorkshire’s Asian restaurant cooks to sign up for a professional course at Sheffield City College, where he has just gained an NVQ Level 3.
The year-long, six hours a week NVQ Level 2 diploma in Indian Cookery will “raise standards and could make us the UK curry capital,” he says. Enrolment starts on August 23.