This week, I tuned in to another new Cooking Channel show to check out what the network was bringing to the table. I caught an episode of Indian Food Made Easy with host Anjum Anand. It was an interesting show, featuring some delicious looking recipes—and I picked up a few tips on how to spice up my culinary repertoire.
Yet another British import, Anand has been cooking Indian food professionally for years. Her main goal is to banish the stereotype that Indian food is hard to prepare. She says as much in the opening credits to her show: "For most people, [Indian food] is more likely to be a takeaway than homemade. In this series, I want to show you how easy it is to cook it for yourself." She also emphasizes making health-conscious dishes that can appeal to all audiences.
In the episode I watched, "Soccer Party," Anand helps her friend prepare easy Indian fare for a bunch of blokes all watching a soccer championship game. The two are seen shopping for ingredients together, during which time Anand discusses how to choose chilis ("They have to be really shiny; and the smaller they are, the hotter they are"). They then move to the kitchen to prepare a meal of foods that are easy to eat "while watching the game," but are still inspired by the spice and flavors of Indian cooking.
They make spiced lamb burgers, which are enormous and juicy. An herb-yogurt sauce looks equally appealing, and the camera makes sure to linger over luscious shots of each ingredient as they are added to the bowl and stirred. My personal favorite part of the episode was when Anand prepared paneer from scratch, for a spiced paneer and vegetable skewer. The cheese looked easy to make and absolutely scrumptious—I really do want to make it myself now.
Since the entire episode revolved around showing a friend how to cook Indian food, most of Anand's instruction is aimed toward him and not the camera. This created a bit of a disconnect, but a consistent voice-over narrative provided some nice viewer-to-host contact.
Overall, Anand is a bit of a serious host, not as smiley and attention-grabbing as most mainstream TV chefs. But her passion is evident, and her food looks amazing—and that's plenty of inspiration for me.
Did any of you catch Anjum's show this week? What did you think?
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