5 of our favourite UK based Indian brand
Hello Cheeky Ones,
So while we all know that Cheeky makes the best Indian pickles in the country (of course!), we thought it would be good to shout out about some of the other upcoming and "proper" Indian food brands in the country.
The food business can be tough at times, but one of the most rewarding parts (aside from eating all the left-over pickle.... mmmmm) has been all the other incredible producers I've been so lucky to meet in the industry. It has been a real privilege to have had some of their support, while their passion, stories and amazing products remain a constant inspiration to me.
Below I would like to share five of the most inspiring teams I know, producing what I (and my mum) believe to be the finest Indian food products in the country. What strikes me most is how these people are so seamlessly managing to mix tradition with innovation, so all us lucky foodies are able to reap the rewards of their dedication and creativity.
I love these guys! Such beautiful presentation, and top of the top spices. For any aspiring Indian chef, their 'Masala Dabba' spice tins filled with aromatic spices imported from all over the world are an absolute must.
They are a family run artisanal spice and tea company run by lovely mother and son combo Sanjay & Shashi Aggarwal. It was started over the kitchen table on Christmas Day 2012, and is centered around Shashi's expertise and knowledge with spices and spice blends. They specialise in selling freshly ground spice blends and tea blends, along with their very popular spice tin collections. Check them out here!
Holy Lama Spice drops
These guys have created something really cool. Their Drops perfectly capture the taste and aromas of the spices, and have a real feeling of purity to them. The drops are particularly brilliant because they allow you to extract rich flavours, while avoiding the powdery texture, so naturally are great for making cocktails, cordials and desserts. Furthermore, they allow you to be a bit more experimental with your cooking; adding a drop of this essence, or a drop of another. They are absolutely reaping in the great taste awards, and when you take your first whiff, you'll really see why! And as if that's not enough, Spice Drops® are made in Kerala in a factory ‘manned’ by disadvantaged women who would otherwise be rejected by society but who find self-worth and dignity through the work they do. Heading their Europe operations is the very enterprising Gouri Kubair, read more about their incredible story and products on their webpage.
That Hungry Chef
That hungry chef is a London-based fine dining events company, taking the dazzling array of Asian flavours and blending them into exquisite cuisine of the highest order. Their chef and co-founder, Pratap, has worked in some of the UK's finest restaurants (the list is too long to detail here, so just believe me!), and the food he produces is mind-blowing stuff. I have not tasted anything quite like his style anywhere else; it is a true melting point of cultures, cuisines, and it all achieves absolute harmony in his deft and delicate use of spicing. His dishes come from experience, his upbringing, and meticulous thought and planning, giving rise to bold flavours that hit every taste bud. Taking the lead on the gorgeous presentation and impeccable hospitality is his wife and business partner Nikhtat, who together take your senses on an adventurous journey of food and experience. So check them out here, and book yourself a dining experience that is not to be missed.
Sweet Sensations by Seema
Seema's philosophy is that a healthy and balanced diet means holding something sweet in both hands... And when you have taste of her gorgeous treats, you'll understand that she truly lives by this mantra too. The aromatic spices of Asia surrounded Seema's upbringing, have worked their way magnificently into her fusion chocolates, which blend the best of Belgium with the excitement of the orient. They are incredibly well-thought out and executed, and a single bite will make an instant believer out of any fusion skeptic! Check our her Facebook page here and get in touch to try something both innovative and sumptuous.
Chintal Kakaya grew up surrounded by food and culture. Her Indian family lived in Kenya for the first 12 years of her life, and the culture of sharing and preparing food there with family and new friends got deep into her bones from an early age. It wasn't long naturally until she began to get in the the kitchen herself, and after mastering the art of tasting and blending spices, she's began making her own wonderful bakes with her nan khatai or Indian short bread as her speciality. Her cakes and nan khatai have a flavour and balance that demonstrates instantly her skill and knowledge of spices and baking, and are a delight that has to be tried. Words are simply not enough for how beautifully soft and satisfying her cakes are, so please direct yourself instantly to her site here, and order some while their hot!