Belal and Pasha's love for curry holds no bounds. Former restaurateurs turned journalists and food critics these charming, portly, funny and affable gourmands own the UK's largest and most successful Indian food magazine 'Curry Life'. In addition they own the UK’s only Bangladeshi newspaper. In their own words; "We love curry so much, we're now even marketing it back to India!" Advocate extraordinaires, the duo have been part of British trade delegations around the world, recently taking British curry festivals and competitions to Slovenia.
Concept for Episode One
We are all familiar with an ‘Indian’ at our local curry house with a few pints of Cobra.
But where did it all begin?
In a culinary journey through the ages, our two heroes jump into their classic Mini Cooper and travel across the United Kingdom to eat, cook and explore the history of Briton’s favourite food.
Beginning at the Port of London, now East India Wharf, they explain the history of spices and why so many Bengalis jumped ship.
They visit the setting of the first Hindostan coffee house (Britons first Indian restaurant) established in 1810. Mr. Mahomed, the first Indian writer to be published in English, planned to serve "Indianised" British food at his coffee house. He hoped it would appeal to the Indian aristocracy in London as well as British people who had returned home from India. But unfortunately as the Knights explain, Mr. Mahomed's pioneering idea backfired, as the British aristocracy would rather stay at home and have their chefs' cook their food.
Also contributing to this was the success of Hannah Glasse’s recipe book ‘The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy’. In the former coffee house setting the Knights recreate Glasse's Eastern (Kolkata) butter chicken that became a familiar Victorian household dish. Now Brits who'd never set foot in India or even met an Indian were also cooking and eating Indian foods. This had set the taste for what we now call British curry.
Walking through the heart of Whitechapel the Knights explain the significance of Indian restaurant names and how these names have evolved through the transition of the Indian sub-continent. They explain how their journey through the restaurants and food of the United Kingdom will mirror this transition to show how history and food are intrinsically linked leading to the current Indian food phenomenon.
They continue to explain why a large Bangladeshi influx to the United Kingdom took place during the 1970s leading to the establishment of the British Bangladeshi community. But as the Knights explain, prior to the Bangladeshi experience of curry, what we knew of as British curry was a very different experience.
The Knights then visit one of the oldest restaurants in the United Kingdom to learn about its history and cook what was on the menu when it first opened. Our heroes observe the method of cooking then devour the traditionally cooked broiler chicken Madras with half rice and half chips.
The episode concludes as the Knights leave the London restaurant, climb into their Mini Cooper and continue their journey to Manchester to further explore the history of our favourite food.
Further episodes include: -
2. Manchester in the 1930s, the Knights visit Minara, the daughter of Mr. Nazir Ud Din, who now runs Minara foods. Her father jumped ship at Tilbury Dock around 1934 and later opened one of the first Indian Restaurants ‘Bombay’ in 1936. Minara has a collection of menus and recipes dating back to that period.
3. South Shield’s Ocean Road in the 1960s and why the Bangladeshi community settled there. The ‘Star of India’ claims to be the oldest surviving Indian restaurant in the North East. The Knights lean how to cook with a slop pot.
4. Glasgow in the 1970’s was this the birthplace of the Chicken Tikka Massalla? The debate still continues. The Knights try to get to the bottom of the controversy.
5. Birmingham in the 1970’s and 1980’s and the birth of the Balti Triangle, the Knights learn why and how this dish was invented and how has it evolved?
6. Sheffield in 2014 the Knights meet a chef at log-a-heads with his father, as traditional cooking methods compete with experimental fusion cooking, taking curry into the future. A chef determined to try something different, but is a spiced Yorkshire pudding one step to far?
In each episode the Knights will also meet the families behind the food, to inform the audience of how the Bangladeshi family is structured and operates differently to the typical British family.
This documentary series explores Britain's love affair with curry, the history of the United Kingdom’s connection with the Indian sub-continent and how this in turn created the UK Bangladeshis community. In a funny, informative, educational mix of food, cooking, history, animation and travel with unique personalities, this is a sure fire hit with audiences not just in the United Kingdom but throughout the world. A Knights Tale unlike any other, a road movie unlike any other, buckle up and prepare yourself for a culinary journey through the United Kingdom’s historic spicy landscape.