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Jul 10, 2008 05:04 PM

What did the Indian-Americans, Indo-Canadians, British-Indians etc grow up eating?

inspired by the recent thread:

What did you grow up eating? typical meal?

I guess I'm looking more for people raised in Anglo/Western countries but anyone who spend some of their childhood in a country other than India can reply.

Just pasted my response from the thread.

well my parents are Immigrants from India and was born and brought up in MD. raised in the Balt/Annapolis area.

I was raised vegetarian w/ eggs although I don't think vegetarians eat eggs in India. still mostly veg. my parents are Tamil Iyers (Brahmins) from Kerala for those of you that might be familiar with any of that. anyway american breakfast, cereal generally else bagels sometimes pancakes etc. lunch pbj, chips, fruit sometimes pizza I think this probably moved away from pbj a bit in HS but sadly my memory fails me. Dinner generally always Indian, think rasam, sambar, yougurt, broccoli, cabbage, buttermilk, rice, beans, chapati (roti) etc. hmm the pronunciations for some of the foods are complicated I'll just leave that off. didn't eat out a lot. ff to college and post college and eat out a lot even though I'm poor :). I regret not having a more baltimore/md eating experience growing up. still haven't eaten a crab. have had some crab cakes. had berger cookies at least after college. wasn't into restaurant exploration back then.

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  1. If I can speak on behalf of my kids (being raised in the US and Africa):

    Breakfasts: varied. Weekdays: cereal, toast, frozen waffles, eggs of some kind; milk. Weekends: aloo poori, parathas, upma/poha, pongal, idlis, dosais, waffles/pancakes made from scratch, elaborate omelettes, etc.

    Lunch: I pack their lunches as the school lunches are disgusting. Khichdi or upma, pasta, veg pulao, all these with lots of veges mixed in; or something like hummus+pita; tabbouleh; etc. Water to drink usually.

    Dinner: most often the usual dal/roti/rice/sabzi/yogurt thing (as much variety as possible with seasonal veggies; and you know that there are so many dal, chhole, paneer, etc recipes in India that you'll not get tired of them in one lifetime); or pasta; or fake Chinese or Thai food (fake=recipes are often not very authentic and rely on bottled Thai curry pastes etc.), or Mexican recipes (quesadillas, tacos, chili, etc.). Weekends we sometimes do pizza.

    Snacks: cookies, ice-cream, chips (I keep trying to hook them on banana/tapioca chips, masala chips etc. instead of Frito Lays); chiwda, chikki, bhakarvadi, murukku, etc.

    The usual fruit etc. and I try to make the South Indian kosumbari style salad (finely shredded veggies) as often as possible to go with meals.

    [My family is vegetarian (includes dairy products and eggs, and fish is not a plant product) :) ]

    1. We didn't eat much Indo-Pak food when I was very young because I had no tolerance for spice. Plus my father had become enamored of Western junk food after leaving Asia so breakfast became a vehicle for most of the sweets he loved: bread, butter and sugar; cinnamon buns; waffles; pancakes; prepared cereal, etc. along with the occasional kheer or seviyan (neither of which I liked). If I had my way, he'd make me eggs: usually sunny-side-up, but occasionally ekuri.

      Packed lunches were mainly sandwiches of what passed for halal lunchmeat in the 80s betwixt slices of buttered bread. Margarined bread in the 90s. If it was summer, we would wash it down with lassi. Otherwise we would just have leftovers from dinner which would sometimes include bland Indian food like dal, chicken tikka or peas pulao with store-bought rotis or naan. Most food, however, was Western, Chinese or Filipino. For special occasions, my father was sometimes requested to make Indian food and we would have biryani (usually chicken or beef) with raita, chicken tikka or nihari. Otherwise he would take us to the banquet hall-aspiring curry house or a buffet for rogan josh, rooh-afza lassi and gulab jamun. These were called lamb, rose lassi and sweet syrup balls by my brother and I.

      When I got a little older and my father got tired of eating bland food, I was forced to try accomodating spice and we began eating a diet much heavier in South Asian food: goat curry, haleem, catfish curry, cabbage curry, brain masala, beef curry, aloo ki tikki, chicken biryani, nihari, kheema matar, etc. These were added to the regular repertoire of tacos, sweet and sour meatballs, kaldereta ng kambing, oven-fried chicken, bistek, sloppy joes, stir-fried shrimp and tough T-bone steaks. If father didn't want to cook, he'd stop by the take-away for seekh kababs, parathas and samosas. These became our favorites as he slowly edged away from the Middle Eastern falafel sandwiches and boureki we grew up with.

      In general, our upbringing was very divorced from Indian food. We encountered most of it late in life, and only the Northern Indian that he liked. If you asked me to order off a South Indian menu, I'd have no idea what I'm doing. My brother is even worse and doesn't know the names of half the foods we eat.

      1. i was born and raised here and both my parents came the the US for college - were gujurati.
        during my childhood days a typical day would be like this -
        breakfast - cereal or toast and OJ - sometimes on the weekends eggs or bisquick pancakes or frozen (sometimes chocolate chip!) waffles for breakfast
        lunch - when given a bag lunch at school it was always pb+j or a bagel with cream cheese, chips or cookies and a juicebox. when at home spaghetti or ramen was often, otherwise frozen pizza or other frozen items or dinner leftovers, sometimes nachos! - this was also an afternoon snack on somedays since we didnt eat dinner till at least 7-730. (my mom would always make my dad indian food for lunch but never made my brother or i eat it)
        dinner - usually typical gujurati food, usually rotli, some type of dal/lentil creation, 2 types of vegetables (one was always a potato, the other spanned the extremes of different indian vegetables to broccoli, my fav was spinach) and rice - i always added the spicy indian pickles to my food. but once a week we'd order pizza or chinese or my mom would make mexican, tacos, refried bean and cheese enchiladas, etc...we rarely ate in restaurants cause my dad was convinced he wouldn't find vegetarian bro and i ate chicken but rarely in the house till i was old enough to cook.
        once i started cooking i made a lot of different meals and bbq often. ive even branched out into seafood these days. living by the beach gives many options.