Celebrating a strong affiliation with Indian merchants

Glasgow’s Clydebuilt Festival of the Sea returns this month and one Glasgow restaurant is celebrating the city’s strong affiliation with Indian merchants.

The city’s history of shipping and unique maritime heritage will be a highlight of the festival on September 21 and 22 and visitors to the Clydeside and Riverside museum will be able to enjoy a rowing regatta, dragon boat racing, live music, sea shanties and more.

To mark the occasion, Glasgow’s South Indian Dakhin restaurant in the Merchant City, which was the epicentre for the city’s shipping merchants, will be celebrating with a custom dish – designed to reflect Glasgow’s import and export links with India.

Migration from South Asia to Scotland began in the 18th century as cultural and trading ties were forged.

The first migrants were servants of colonial administrators and seamen, known as Lascars, hired as cheap labour in Indian ports and then unable to find a way home once they arrived on Scottish shores.

Dakhin Owner Navdeep Basi said: ‘When they arrived in Glasgow the Indian sea farers set up an informal canteen by the Clydeside where they would enjoy traditional fayre. The first reported Indian restaurant in Glasgow on the Broomielaw was operated and owned by a Mr Chowdry in the 1920s.

‘We want to pay homage to these hard workers as well as their link to the rivers and seas by offering a special dish over the weekend of September 21 and 22.

‘Our chef JD who has prepared banquets for ministers and royalty in India has created a brand new dish for the occasion.’

The £19.95 dish is called Meen Podhi and consists of a Shetland Salmon fillet marinated with black pepper chilli powder lemon and fresh curry leaves.

Wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed, it has no oil and is a dish that would have been traditionally enjoyed by those in the South East or South West of India during the 1920s when the first seamen came to Glasgow.

Navdeep said: ‘The dish is free from gluten and nuts and we believe it is a fitting tribute to India’s historical links with Scotland. We have other fish dishes on our menu but it’s great to come up with something fresh and exciting.’