[The Bridget Diaries] Pepperwater, Dol Mash, Bad Word Curry… Her Fav Anglo-Indian Dishes Of All Time

Reminiscing and recreating heritage - The Hindu

As we end this series, I just had to ask Bridget about her favourite Anglo dishes and honestly, her top-5 wasn’t a surprise. They just happen to be my favourites too. Coincidence? Nope! We are just wired that way. Also, taking a deep dive into the background of Anglo cuisine as a whole with this post…

ANGLO-INDIAN CUISINE - By Bridget White-Kumar: AN ANGLO-INDIAN FESTIVE  LUNCH OR DINNER PLATTER - Chicken Buffarth, Anglo-Indian Chicken Roast with  Braised Vegetables, Pepper Mince and Potato Cutlets / Chops, Pork Vindaloo,  Pork

Dishes like Coconut Rice and ball curry with Devil Chutney or Pork Vindaloo, Pepperwater and Dol Mash are such staples of Anglo-Indian homes that they hold place of pride at most social get-togethers. The biryanis and chicken kebabs from our local cook down the road is kinda staple too, but that’s on the really important occasions when more than the usual suspects are invited over.

While speaking with Bridget, it becomes clear very quickly of how deep an impact her time growing up in Kolar Gold Fields has had on her life. Especially mealtime – a staple of curries made of seasonal vegetables and meat, stews, “fugad” or stir-fried vegetables and milk pudding that was the ultimate “comfort food”. When the family shifted to Bangalore, this love for food and cooking continued and the pride in her roots only grew stronger.

Bridget has since, painstakingly collected and fiercely guarded the cuisine that has evolved over many hundred years and has carefully documented and preserved it in her numerous books. Safe for future generations to recreate and enjoy.

From The Deccan Herald dated 3rd March 2016

Anglo-Indian cuisine has evolved by the reinventing and reinterpreting of quintessentially western cuisine by assimilating and amalgamating ingredients and cooking techniques from all over the Indian subcontinent. Thus a completely new contemporary cuisine came into existence making it truly “Anglo” and “Indian” in nature, which was neither too bland nor too spicy, but with a distinctive flavour of its own. It became a direct reflection of the multicultural and hybrid heritage of the new colonial population.

Interesting facts about Anglo-Indian cuisine

> London’s famous – The Epicure’s Almanack published in 1815 has been a perfect example of how the culinary influx influenced both the cuisines. In fact, all the dishes were dressed with curry powder, rice, Cayenne, and the best spices. Indian food was cooked at home from a similar date as cookbooks of the time attest.

> The love of the Anglo-Indian cuisine was beyond boundaries and this was evident when English colonel Arthur Robert Kenney-Herbert documented the Anglo-Indian cuisine in 1885. The detailed documentation revolved was meant to advise the British Raj’s memsahibs how to cope with their Indian cooks.

> During the British Era, the Britishers loved the Indian delicacies so much that they created Anglo Indian delicacies by amalgamating Indian and british traditional flavours such as Kedgeree and Mulligatawny soup.

> In 1810 The Hindoostanee Coffee was the first Indian restaurant in London as described in the Epicure’s Almanack in 1815.

– Courtesy The Times of India

Dominic Chapman, a fourth-generation chef from the UK tries Anglo-Indian Coconut Rice and Ball Curry.at Calcutta in 2013. “My grandfather was posted here during World War II,” he explained. Having brought British curry to Calcutta, he was in search of the origin of curry. And The Telegraph took him straight to the Collin Street doorstep of Rubin and Pamela Ribeiro. Rubin, a musician, has sung many a time with Carlton Kitto and the soft-spoken Pamela is a name the community swears by when it comes to good Anglo-Indian food. Photo: The Telegraph India

“The food is so, so good. It’s fresh and spicy, yet not overpowering. It is delicious. This is food I’d love to cook back home,” raved the Michelin chef. “They’re as British as my grandparents!” he exclaimed, adding that the afternoon with the family was definitely the “most massive highlight” of his trip. Read all about a British perspective on Anglo-Indian food here.

Back to to what we do best, here’s Bridget…

SAFFRON COCONUT RICE, ANGLO-INDIAN MINCE BALL CURRY (Also known as Bad Word Curry) and DEVIL CHUTNEY (HELL’S FLAME CHUTNEY). An all-time Anglo-Indian favourite.


(All quantities are for 6 generous servings)

  2. ANGLO-INDIAN PEPPERWATER and DOL MASH / DAL MASH (This combination goes with most dishes, including the dishes below)



1 pack of coconut milk diluted with water to get 5 cups of milk or 1 fresh coconut grated and milk extracted to get 4 cups of diluted milk
2 ½ Cups Raw Rice or Basmati Rice (Around 1 kg approximately)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder or a few strands of saffron
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons butter or ghee
3 cloves, 3 cardamoms, 3 small sticks of cinnamon and 2 bay leaves

Heat ghee in a large Pan or Rice cooker and fry the spices for a few minutes. Add the washed rice, salt, turmeric and 4 cups of coconut milk and cook till the rice is done.

Coconut Rice is best served with Ball Curry or Chicken curry and Devil Chutney.

ANGLO-INDIAN MINCE BALL CURRY Also known as Bad Word Curry

Ingredients for the Curry

3 large onions chopped
6 or 7 curry leaves
3 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
3 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
3 big tomatoes pureed or chopped finely
½ cup ground coconut paste
1 teaspoon all spice powder or garam masala
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon coriander leaves chopped finely for garnishing
½ teaspoon turmeric powder

Ingredients for the Mince Balls (Koftas)

½ kg minced meat beef or mutton (fine mince)
½ teaspoon all spice powder or garam masala powder
3 green chilies chopped
A small bunch of coriander leaves chopped finely
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric powder

Heat oil in a large pan and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and the curry leaves and fry for some time. Now add the chili powder, coriander powder, all spice powder or garam masala powder, turmeric powder and coconut, and fry for a few minutes till the oil separates from the mixture. Now add the tomato puree and salt and simmer for some time. Add sufficient water and bring to boil.

Meanwhile get the Mince Balls ready – Mix the all spice powder / garam masala powder, salt, chopped green chilies, turmeric powder and coriander leaves with the mince and form into small balls. When the curry is boiling, drop in the mince balls carefully one by one.
Simmer on slow heat for 20 minutes till the balls are cooked and the gravy is not too thick.
Serve hot with Coconut Rice and Devil Chutney.DEVIL CHUTNEY (HELL’S FLAME CHUTNEY)


2 medium size onions chopped roughly
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (use Kashmiri Chillie Powder)
1 tablespoon raisins (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
Grind all the above ingredients together till smooth. If chutney is too thick, add a little more vinegar.
Serve with Coconut Rice and Mince Ball Curry



2 medium size onions chopped roughly
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (use Kashmiri Chillie Powder)
1 tablespoon raisins (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
Grind all the above ingredients together till smooth. If chutney is too thick, add a little more vinegar.
Serve with Coconut Rice and Mince Ball Curry



2 large tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon chillie powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
Salt to taste
½ cup tamarind juice extracted from a small ball of tamarind or 2 teaspoons tamarind paste

Cook all the above with 3 or 4 cups of water in a vessel on high heat till it boils. Reduce the heat and cook on low heat for about 5 or 6 minutes. Season as follows with the under mentioned ingredients which should be used whenever a dish is to be seasoned/ tempered.


I small onion sliced
2 red chilies broken into bits
1 teaspoon chopped garlic crushed roughly
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
2 teaspoons oil

Heat the oil in a suitable vessel and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the curry leaves, onion, crushed garlic and red chilies and sauté for a few minutes.  Pour the cooked pepper water into this and simmer for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Serve hot with rice and any dry side dish such as Meat Pepper Fry, Chicken Fry, Fried Fish or Prawns or a piece of fried Salt fish 



1 cup Tur Dhal or Masur Dhal
2 onions chopped
2 green chillies chopped
1 teaspoon garlic chopped 
1 teaspoon ginger chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil

Cook the dhal with sufficient water and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder till soft in a suitable pan or a pressure cooker. The dal should be semi solid. Mash and keep aside. 

Heat oil in aother pan and add the mustard seeds. When it splutters, add the chopped onion, green chillies curry leaves, ginger and garlic and fry well till the onions turn golden brown. Add the cooked and mashed dhal and mix well. Cover with a lid to keep in the flavours and remove from heat Add a little ghee while serving.

Serve as a side dish with White Steamed Rice, Pepper Water, Papadams and some fried salt fish.



1 kg chicken cut into medium size pieces
3 large onions sliced finely
2 teaspoons pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
2 or 3 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions lightly. Add the chicken and mix in the pepper powder, turmeric powder, Coriander powder and salt. Stir fry till the pieces become firm. Add ½ cup of water and cook on low heat till the chicken is tender and semi dry. Garnish with a slit green chillie or two

(Alternately, the chicken can be par boiled with a little water and then added to the sautéed onions and pepper)

Serve as a starter or a side dish with either rice or bread



1 kg pork (with fat) cut into medium size pieces
3 large onions sliced finely
2 teaspoons chillie powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder or paste
2 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons garlic paste
3 tablespoons vinegar (use malt or any non-fruit vinegar)

Mix the pork with the garlic paste, chillie powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, mustard, salt, sugar and vinegar and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan or pressure cooker and fry the onions till light brown.
Add the marinated pork and Fry for a couple of minutes till the pork pieces become firm and the oil separates from the mixture.
Add sufficient water and either simmer on low heat till done or pressure cook for 10 minutes.
Let the Vindaloo rest rest for atleast 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with bread or rice. Goes very well with Coconut Rice



½ kg finely minced meat either beef or mutton / lamb
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 medium sized onion chopped finely
2 green chilies chopped finely
1 teaspoon pepper powder
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon chopped mint leaves or ½ teaspoon mint powder
3 tablespoons oil
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3 large potatoes

Boil the potatoes, remove the skin and mash well.  Keep aside.  

Cook the mince, ginger, garlic, onions, green chilies, pepper powder and salt with a little oil till the mince is dry.  Remove from heat and cool for some time. Mix it well with the potatoes.  Form into round shaped cutlets then flatten with a knife. Dip each cutlet in the beaten egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Shallow fry the cutlets on low heat  till golden brown on both sides.  Serve as a side dish with Pepper Water and Rice or as a Snack with Tomato Sauce or Mint Sauce.

Bridget-White Kumar

Cookery Book Author, Food Consultant and Culinary Historian

Bridget was born and brought up in Kolar Gold Fields, a small mining town in the erstwhile Mysore State (now known as Karnataka), India, which was famous for its Colonial ambiance. She comes from a well-known Anglo-Indian family who lived and worked in KGF for many generations.

Bridget has authored 7 Recipe books on Anglo-Indian Cuisine. Her area of expertise is in Colonial Anglo-Indian Food and she has gone through a lot of effort in reviving the old forgotten dishes of the Colonial British Raj Era. Her 7 Recipe books are a means of preserving for posterity, the very authentic tastes and flavours of Colonial ‘Anglo’ India, besides recording for future generations, the unique heritage of the pioneers of Anglo-Indian Cuisine.
Her Cookery Book ANGLO-INDIAN CUISINE – A LEGACY OF FLAVOURS FROM THE PAST was selected as Winner from India’ under the Category: ‘BEST CULINARY HISTORY BOOK’.

Bridget is also an Independent Freelance Consultant on Food Related matters. She has assisted many Restaurants, Hotels and Clubs in Bangalore and elsewhere with her knowledge of Colonial Anglo-Indian Food besides helping them to revamp and reinvent their Menus by introducing new dishes which are a combination of both Continental and Anglo-Indian. Many of them are now following the Recipes and guidance given by her and the dishes are enjoyed by both Indian and Foreign Guests.

All photos courtesy: Bridget White-Kumar unless expressly stated

One thought on “[The Bridget Diaries] Pepperwater, Dol Mash, Bad Word Curry… Her Fav Anglo-Indian Dishes Of All Time

  1. Thank you so much Derek for giving me this opportunity to share my Recipes of Anglo-Indian Favourites with you on your Blog. I enjoyed the experience immensely. You are an inspiration to many. God bless you and keep you happy, safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

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