Walk down any Scottish high street and chances are you’re going to find an Indian restaurant or takeaway.
Rewind to the years following the Second World War and that was far from the case. Indian food was an exotic rarity – a far cry from its place as part of Scotland’s staple diet today.
Hamida and Khushi Mohammed from Jalandhar in India arrived in the UK in 1935 and opened their first eatery on Edinburgh’s Potterow in 1947, called the Lothian Restaurant.
The outlet changed its name to Khushi’s in 1974 and, after Khushi himself died while on pilgrimage in 1977, Hamida took over the business, as well as raising seven children.
Khushi’s has moved several times over the year – from an old car showroom on Lothian Street, then to Candlemaker Row, then to Drummond Street and then to Victoria Street.
A fire gutted its premises on Victoria Street just before Christmas in 2008 but the business bounced back, opening a branch at its present location on Antiqua Street.
As well as its site on Antigua Street in Edinburgh, the family now has a restaurant on Canmore Street in Dunfermline, along with Mithas, a fine-dining Indian eatery on Dock Place in Leith.
Many of Khushi’s earliest customers were university students and the restaurant has continued to build up a following among cost-conscious diners as it doesn’t charge corkage on its bring-your-own-bottle policy for beers and wines.
To celebrate Hamida’s 80th birthday this year, the family has rolled out a version of its 1940s menu, complete with dishes such as mutton curry and lamb chop curry.
‘The menu used to be a lot simpler,’ explains Hamida.
‘The method of cooking may have changed over the years, but the quality and freshness of the ingredients used in those days remain the same to date.’
That quality and freshness was definitely on show when the Scottish Field team descended on the restaurant for lunch.
The chef used some of the old-style ingredients and techniques to give us a taste of the 1947 menu and it went down a storm.
Stars of the show included the platter of starters, which featured the chicken shammi kebab, minced lamb samosa, vegetable samosa and vegetable pakora.
For the main courses, the chicken dishes proved popular, as did the lamb curries.
With so many tasty dishes on offer, we hope the 1947 menu will make another appearance to mark the restaurant’s next big anniversary.
Find out more about Khushi’s at www.khushis.com