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!Â 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's Open House and The Terry and Gaby Show, Sky One's Taste, UKTV Food' Great Food Live, Food Uncut and Market Kitchen and BBC1's Saturday Kitchen.
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 â€“ a reverse of what she is generally known for in the United Kingdom!
This has led to a demand from publishers to come up with a British cookbook for India which she is currently working on.You will also catch Manju in the Food and Drink section of the popular site www.videojug.com offering her quick curry fixes.
Manju's first book, the award winning 'Brit Spice' was published by Penguin Books. The paperback version came out in June 2003. Her second book 'India with Passion' covers regional Indian home cuisine and was published by Mitchell Beazley in 2004. Manjuâ' next book 'Easy Indian' will be exploring more ideas on simple yet delicious dishes which she hopes will encourage more and more people to experiment with spices and make more Asian delicacies.
A music CD will be attached to the cookbook.Manju has been asked to create the concept of a 'British' restaurant in Delhi. 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) and is the voice of BBC Food.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 Bollywood Aerobics and she dreams of appearing as a dance extra in a Mumbai Masala Movie. However she has just played a doctor in a short fictional film on diabetes so she is getting closer to her wish.