Just Curry


British Indian Resturant Cooking

Also known commonly as BIR cooking, this is not something that should be confused with traditional Indian cuisine that is found in India and the Asian homes in India and of citizens around the world.

It is a unique style of cooking and recipes that may have its roots in India yes but you won't find many of the dishes served in restaurants or homes within the Indian sub-continent.

Traditionally, many curries were cooked long and slow, when Indian food became popular in the UK some way had to be found to vastly speed this process up so that restaurants and take-a-ways could produce a meal in an acceptable time.

Additionally, many of the recipes were adjusted to accommodate the 'less sophisticated' Western palate. For this reason, a style of cooking was adopted for the high street restaurant that has produced a characteristic flavour that has been difficult to re-create at home. Most recipe books for Indian food are written in the traditional home style and can therefore be disappointing to those making these recipes, as the result is not quite what was anticipated.

So is it possible to recreate the restaurant flavour? Certainly, it is; you just need to know the process restaurants have adopted to provide fast food service. It must be said that some restaurants still adopt a more 'à la carte approach which may mean a longer wait but a more traditional style and taste.


By the 18th century, East India Company men (popularly called ‘nabobs’, an English corruption of the Indian word ‘nawab’ meaning governors or viceroys) returning home wanted to recreate a slice of their time spent in India. Those who couldn’t afford to bring back their Indian cooks satisfied their appetite at coffee houses.

As early as 1733, curry was served in the Norris Street Coffee House in Haymarket. By 1784, curry and rice had become specialties in some popular restaurants in the area around London’s Piccadilly.

Since 1998 the UK celebrates National Curry Week every October. Although curry is an Indian dish modified for British tastes, it’s so popular that it contributes more than £5bn to the British economy.

It was not surprising when in 2001, England's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said "Chicken Tikka Massala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences".