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From the Larder: Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson’s guide to Indian food for his fans in the West

The British rock group's frontman's amusing, sincere guide to curry, korma and Kingfisher.

By: Team Express FoodIE | Mumbai | Updated: February 16, 2016 6:15:34 pm
Ian Anderson Hyderabad 2008_759_Rahul Ganguly Ian Anderson performing with Anoushka Shankar in Hyderabad in 2008. (Source: Rahul Ganguly)

There’s one piece of advice, or a note of caution if you will, for fellow musicians in flautist and band leader Ian Anderson’s post on choosing Indian food: “Nothing disrupts a band sound-check like the pervasive after-effects of the Tarka Dhal (lentils and garlic).”

Anderson, who has a good friend in renowned Indian flaute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, has made enough trips to India (his first trip was back in 1972) to be considered a guru of sorts on Indian food.

In an undated post on, Anderson begins by explaining that he wrote this post after a flood of emails from fans asking him what they should choose on a first visit to an Indian restaurant. Known to take no short cuts, Anderson gets into food history of Indian cuisine in the UK before he charts a course-by-course plan (including choice of beverage) for “curry novices” as he puts it.

Chicken Tikka_759_Lucas Richarz-Flickr Chicken Tikka (Source: Lucas Richarz/Flickr)

He is also largely unbiased in his post, offering no suggestions but mainly an explanation of what each dish is. It’s only when he extols the virtues of a naan “cooked in the tandoor clay oven, unleavened and doughy, is a delight to be dipped”, readers know that he is a true fan of Indian bread.

Finding parallels in Western cuisines – he compares papad to a giant chip made of lentil flour and kebabs to sausages made of lamb and beef – Anderson demystifies Indian cuisine in a most engaging manner. Of course, there are some inaccuracies in that Anderson credits the state of Kerala for idlis, dosas and sambar, but since this misconception prevails even in other parts of India, we can’t hold it against Anderson.

Read the full post here.

Read it, while listening to Anderson and Anoushka Shankar jam on Locomotive Breath In India.

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