Being of South Asian origin, I’m asked quite a bit about curry – liking it, making it, being good at making it, how there are so many ingredients, etc. and about Indian restaurants. I’ve never liked Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant food (the ones on the menu*) because they mainly make food that the masses will like, rather than the type of food that I’ve grown up eating, and (after 5 years of being away from home) miss eating.
This is my answer to everyone for everything about Indian cooking/food: Rafi’s Spicebox.
Rafi’s Spicebox, a family run business, exists in Sudbury, York, Newcastle and Harrogate (UK), and they deliver to just about everywhere in the world. The Sudbury one opened back in 1989 (!) and their curry packs are not only famous, but I can’t rave about them enough. They have my, and more importantly, even my mother’s seal of approval.
The staff are great, so if you’re in any of these cities go to one of these stores. Tell them about your Indian food adventures or misadventures, and they can prescribe the perfect curry pack to soothe your desires. They put the curry packs together on the spot, you can make it as mild or as spicy as you want, and buy as much or as little as you need. And when you get home just add the liquid, add your veggies/meat/fish/tofu/paneer and simmer and eat!
The few things I’ve tried from their curry packs are:
Bhajia, which I like best with aubergine (eggplant) slices. Following the directions, it tastes exactly like the evening snack food from visiting my grandparents during summer holidays.
Not only do they have these amazing curry packs (which I had warned I wouldn’t be able to stop raving about), which are so fresh, and probably healthier than the jars of Indian sauces that you can get in supermarkets. They also have a huge collection of other things you’d need during your Indian food feast – chutneys, streetfood, rice mixes, and things like mustard oil and ghee which are great additions to a Subcontinental meal.
If you’re looking to DIY your curry night, wanting to try/craving authentic desi homecookingish style food, or even wanting to give a unique gift, this is your one stop heaven.
*I have been very lucky the handful of times I have gone to Indian restaurants. They are usually run by very hospitable Bangladeshis who love feeding their own, and each and every time, they got me a special dish from the kitchen which they had prepared for the staff to eat.