Picnics: Taking Inspiration From India
There’s no denying that we have had a pretty good summer. And while the weather may have taken a turn for the worst (hopefully temporarily), that doesn’t mean we should pack away our picnic rug and hamper just yet. We Brits love a bit of al fresco eating – or at least the idea of it. Surveys suggest that almost all of us enjoy a good picnic, but the figures reduce dramatically when we start thinking about the extras a picnic brings with it – wasps, mud and rain to name the main culprits.
However, all this might change if we treat ourselves to an Indian-inspired picnic. Put the limp cucumber sandwiches and crisps covered in sand to one side, and make way for spicy morsels of tasty goodness. Leave the hamper where it is and load up the tiffin instead. Take an Anglo-Indian fusion approach to creating your picnic menu and you are reaching perfection. Think about the items you love to eat in between slurps of tea. On the list might be scotch eggs, pork pies, chicken drumsticks, dips and a range of sarnies. So how to give them an Indian twist?
If you are making your own pork pies (go on, give it a go) why not add a sprinkle of tempered spices into the meat mixture? You can take a similar approach with scotch eggs, a hint (or hefty dose, if you prefer) of spice can be added to the breadcrumb or meat mix – or both. Or why not keep things simple with a hard-boiled egg dipped in a chaat masala?
Chicken drumsticks or wings are another easy dish to give an Indo-tang. Marinade the meat in a mixture of yoghurt and spices before cooking them quickly, on a high heat. This will give them a tandoori twist and leave you all licking your fingers and wanting more.
Staying with chicken, let’s not forget that Anglo-Indian classic we all know and love – coronation chicken. This dish was created in 1953 as part of the banquet for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. It takes the traditional mix of chicken and mayonnaise and adds curry powder, flaked almonds and raisins (all considered quintessentially Indian ingredients back then). Part of its charm is the fact it has such basic ingredients and is so retro – a classic we should all reacquaint ourselves with before the summer is truly over.
Love a cheese and pickle sarnie? Quite frankly, who doesn’t? But why not exchange the pickle for piccalilli – the English interpretation of an Indian pickle. It will pep up your doorstop sandwich or any summer savoury snack.
If you are still not convinced and would much rather get a more authentic taste of ‘real’ Indian snacks and street food there is an alternative head to one of London’s popular Indian brasseries and sample the genuine article. And if you fancy, you could always order to go and find a patch of grass on which to enjoy your snacky picnic feast.