Manju Malhi was raised in North West London where she grew up surrounded by Indian culture, traditions and lifestyles. She comes from a non-conformist Asian family. Her parents moved to England in the late sixties at a time when things were tough, not only for the host community but for people who were coming from the Indian sub-continent in search of a better life. Her mother recalls the days when all her parents could afford to eat was tomato ketchup for a meal. But Manju was born in a loving family who tried to give her everything.
As an Asian girl growing up in West London, she was bullied at school and sought solace in cooking which she learnt from her mother. She spent several years of her childhood in India where she explored and experienced the vast and varied cuisines of the country. In her cooking, she draws up on her past and combines it with the realities of urban Western life and has come up with her own unique Brit-Indi style of food. It's easy Indian homecooking. She won the BBC's Food and Drink competition in 1999 and cooked with Antony Worrall Thompson on BBC2, and was invited back a second time.
Manju's Simply Indian series was aired on the Taste Network in 2001.
She has also appeared amongst several other programmes, on ITV's Saturday Cooks and This Morning, Channel 5, Sky One, BBC1's Saturday Kitchen and Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds.
Her foray into the world of the gogglebox has taken her to India for a forty part series entitled 'Cooking Isn't Rocket Science' for one of India's leading broadcasters NDTV. She was preparing British cuisine for India - a reverse of what she is generally known for in the United Kingdom!
Manju’s first book, the award winning ‘Brit Spice’ was published by Penguin Books. Her second book ‘India with Passion’ covers regional Indian home cuisine, Manju’s ‘Easy Indian Cookbook’ explores new ideas which she hopes will encourage more and more people to experiment with spices and her fourth cookbook is ‘Classic Indian Recipes’. She loves hosting cookery theatres around the country promoting the easy ethos of Indian home cooking.
Her other work that keeps her fed and watered is writing on Indian food for newspapers and magazines, voice overs and television continuity for BBC1 and BBC2 (her favourite channel). She has worked with the VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) and their Big Curry Night. The fundraising event is a kind of 'Cash for Curry' concept where she has devised a complete menu with recipes including the VSO Veggie Special. Her hobbies include BodyJam and Combat