Growing up on the Staffordshire and Shropshire border meant that the kids in my class came from an eclectic mix of ethnic backgrounds. During my early teens, my best friend was an Indian boy called Vinay.
Looking back, it’s easy to see the appeal of his friendship. Vinay was clever, had a wicked sense of humour, and had no fear. He was more than a handful for the school officials right from the start. On his very first day, a teacher found him guilty of some misdemeanour, and told him to wait outside the staff room. When the teacher returned with his punishment — writing some lines after school — Vinay grabbed the fire hose from the corridor wall, aimed it directly at the teacher, and open fired. The power of the water threw the teacher to the floor, his arms and legs flailing wildly. Unable to turn off the hose, Vinay flooded half the school, which remained cordoned off for several months. I found it highly amusing.
As our friendship fostered, Vinay invited me to come and stay over at his house. I will never forget the pungent smell of freshly toasted indian spices that flooded over me as I entered his home. Inhaling deeply, I relished every flavour, my mouth salivating in anticipation of that night’s dinner. It was a sumptuous feast. Nothing too spicy, everything had its own distinct and delicate flavour. And there were all the accompaniments I’ve grown to love — breads, raitas, chutneys and sauces. I went from zero to zen in my first few mouthfuls, and have never looked back. I can’t even remember the last time I went for a week without eating curry.
But until recently I’ve never been able to recreate anything close to Vinay’s mum’s cooking. I admit, I stopped trying many years ago, resigning myself to always settling for a takeaway. And takeaways pale in comparison to the Indian home cooking I ate courtesy of Vinay’s mum.
Then, a few weeks ago, a trickle of hope opened inside of me when I saw we had a new vendor launch on our marketplace. I got hold of their products and dared to try once again. The results were outstanding, and are the reason I’m so keen to introduce you to them.
So, that’s why today’s Vendor Spotlight is on Mrs. Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery.
Mrs. Balbir Singh was born in 1912 in Punjab. For those in the know, she is the much-loved Godmother of modern Indian cooking. An award winning chef, she published the first Indian cookbook way back in 1961. Her recipes became restaurant favourites, and have shaped modern Indian cuisine as we know it. You can still buy her books on Amazon too, and the book reviews provide a clue to the reason why home cooks struggle — they can’t seem to get the spice blends right.
And that’s why today, the family-owned company continue her legacy by producing a range of gourmet spice blends. It means you can home cook with perfect results. Top grade spices are nurtured from source, freshly ground and then blended in small batches to ensure the highest quality.
“The true art of Indian cooking lies not in high spicing but in the delicacy of spicing” — her most famous of cooking instructions resonates strongly with my own childhood experience, and if you’re a curry lover, I know that once you try yourself, you’ll be an instant convert.