If someone asked us to find a common denominator to curries like the korma, rogan josh, Madras and vindaloo, our answer would be that they are all quintessential Indian curries. But there can now be another answer and this one involves British celebrity chef Alan Coxon. In the bubbling pot of culinary television shows, Coxon is a well-known name with an array of published cookbooks and hundreds of internationally screened shows to his credit. He’s also introduced as a food archaeologist for his passionate research about everyday ingredients and recipes, including long-forgotten ones. Ranked among the Top 10 TV chefs of the world by BBC World viewers, Coxon has cooked for an enviable list of celebrities but it’s his latest foray into the world of curries that caught our attention.
“From Birmingham to Bombay” is Coxon’s new travel and food show, which looks at five of the United Kingdom’s most popular curries. “The show essentially looks at the global love affair of Indian food and curries. It traces back the curry recipe to its original place of birth in India and delves into the spices that give each dish its unique character,” explains Coxon who was ably helped by India’s most well-known chef and culinary expert Sanjeev Kapoor in his endeavour.
Filmed in both the UK and India, each show features a well known curry and aims to establish if the international favourite is any different to the one found in India itself. “Food history is something I am very passionate about and I have always been fond of Indian spices and ingredients,” says the chef who doesn’t shy away from the reaching for the pepper mill. The peppercorn is something that the chef considers a strong ingredient – he calls it black gold – given its history and the way it has travelled across the world.
To accompany this series, the chef has written five books. The first of these e-books takes the readers on a trip to the northern parts of India, the state of Punjab and the city of Amritsar, home to the GoldenTemple and the communal kitchens where over 40,000 meals are served everyday by volunteers. “I visited the GoldenTemple a year ago and was amazed by the way it functions. It’s an example for the rest of the world,” said Coxon was travelling to Punjab as part of the GREAT campaign, the British Government’s international effort to showcase the very best of what Britain has to offer.
For someone who has researched ingredients from across the globe, it’s no surprise that the award-winning chef has put together a historic food range that has been recreated from centuries past, and is available online and across top stores around the globe. The food range comprises four unique products, which are stored in bottles created and designed by Alan Coxon. “My aim was to bring a taste of the past to the kitchens of the present and to offer a sense of history to our modern dining,” says Coxon. The products are reproductions of flavours and ingredients that once adorned the tables of Ancient Greek temples, mighty Roman emperors and medieval knights. “Wherever I travel I make sure I take home with me a local ingredient. I have been taken in by the properties of the black cardamom and can’t wait to pair it with a new recipe,” sums up Coxon.