Indian cooking in the UK has undergone something of a rebranding in recent years. Driven by the likes of Dishoom and chefs such as Atul Kochhar and Vivek Singh, it is no longer confined to the curry house and the ubiquitous balti and vindaloo. There is a growing number of innovative operators capable of judging the strong flavours of Indian cuisine and delivering dishes that excite, while showing judgement and restraint with spicing.
Will Bowlby might be an unlikely-sounding name on that list, but the English head chef and Kricket co-founder has won plenty of plaudits for his take on Indian food, which in this cookbook he describes as “taking recipes from the different regions and giving them a twist”.
Here he explains his background in Indian cuisine – from his grandmother’s curry parties to creating the award-winning Khyber restaurant in Mumbai, and his travels to find the inspiration for the street food dishes that made Kricket such a sensation when it opened in London’s Pop Brixton in 2015.
While the 80 recipes in Kricket are based on Indian flavours, they are created using British seasonal ingredients. For example, Bowlby combines hake – a fish more commonly found around these shores – with a delicate malai sauce to bring out its flavour. Meanwhile, from the chapter on meat, duck breast with sesame and tamarind sauce is a regular on the Kricket restaurant menu and would not be out of place on a more British-led blackboard, while duck leg kathi roll with peanut chutney and pickled cucumber is a mouth-watering interpretation of Kolkata kathi rolls.
The vegetable section is full of inspiration, including Jersey Royal aloo chat; smoked aubergine with sesame raita and papdi gathya – a poppadom-like snack which lends some texture; and the signature Kricket bhel puri.
There’s not the space to go into the cocktails, breads (though bone marrow and cep kulcha sounds exciting), or pickles and chutneys, but they all take the same original approach to familiar ingredients that will spice up your menus.
Kricket: An Indian-Inspired Cookbook by Will Bowlby (Hardie Grant Books, £26)