Kosher Curry Expansion

A kosher Indian restaurant Kavanna has recently opened in Hendon, north west London and a range of kosher curry paste, poppadoms and pickles are now available in Barnet supermarkets for the first time. They will be well received by the 1000-strong Indian Jewish community who live in the Hendon/Golders Green area, many of whom go to local Sephardi Synagogues.

Another kosher Indian restaurant is to open soon, run by Richard Moses of Hendon. Mr Moses is also responsible for supplying local kosher stores with the Simtom Indian food products. He has a good knowledge of Indian cuisine, because his parents were both born in Burma and lived in India before coming to England. “My restaurant has a talented Indian chef, who is able to cook authentic food, adapting traditional Indian recipes so they are kosher. For example, there will be no prawn curries, and no chicken dishes involving yogurt,” said Mr Moses.

There may not be any kosher Indian restaurants in the UK, but there is a kosher and Indian bakery in Hendon run by Nathan Moses, a Jewish man who came to London from India in 1978. Before this date he lived in Israel for over 10 years. His family were able to settle in England as they had duel nationality (Indian and British), because India used to be a British colony. Nathan Moses became manager of the David Bakery in Vivian Avenue, Hendon, 10 years ago. It is a good place to see the two different cuisines side by side.

Jewish breads such as bagels and pastries are sold next to samosas, bajias (deep fried patties made of onion, potatoes, chickpea flour and spices), pilau rice, vegetable korma and dhal. “There are some similarities between Jewish and Indian culture. As well as food playing a central role, discipline, education, and respect are important to both groups,” he says.

Rabbi Abraham David has roots in India and Burma, and leads a congregation made up of a high percentage of Indian Jews, at the Od Yosef Hai Synagogue in Hendon. “You will sometimes hear Hindi spoken in the synagogue,” he chuckles. “I often speak it to the older generation to make them feel at home.”

Those are the people who were born or lived in India, as opposed to their children who may have been born in England. Rabbi Abraham thinks that Indian Jews in Hendon feel they are more Jewish than Indian. “When they lived in India they had thier own food and their own customs – they didn’t absorb much culture.They never had any problems, and were not persecuted at all.”

He concludes that Indian Jews in Hendon are more easy going than the Anglo-Jews, and they are generally very hospitable group, who visit each others’ homes a lot. Warmth and a strong sense of community are therefore similar traits between Anglo-Jews and Indian-Anglo-Jews – who also share a love of food.


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