To celebrate National Curry Week we visited customers and industry friends, including celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala, to see how they are spicing up their curry sales.
Curry has become an integral part of British cuisine with more than 9,000 Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants across the UK and about 23 million people eating the dish regularly. With the nation’s appetite for Indian cuisine showing no sign of slowing, it’s critical to take advantage of every opportunity to grow sales.
Curry in a hurry
Curry is not always the fastest cuisine to cook – with mutton taking hours to prepare. Caterers are busier than ever before so working with fresh, succulent meat can offer a quick and easier option which is now a critical part of any successful curry menu.
JJ customer Arif Hayat, owner at Tandoori Restaurant in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, managed to increase sales and improve efficiencies by putting more fresh lamb on his menu.
“We were cautious at first because fresh lamb can tend to be quite expensive, but the prices at JJ are really competitive. The softer texture and tenderness has been an immediate hit with our customers”, he says. And it’s not just the customers who are benefiting, using more fresh lamb has enabled Arif to make significant savings in other areas of the business.
“We’ve reduced cooking time from two hours to just twenty minutes, helping to cut our energy bills by £35 a month. We now use 100kg of lamb per week compared with 25kg of frozen mutton – it’s been a huge success for us.”
Love your ingredients
While fresh lamb offers a quick cooking time, it’s also a softer alternative to mutton but it must be treated with great care, explains critically acclaimed modern Indian cuisine chef Atul Kochhar.
“The most important lesson I’ve learnt in my career is to treat your ingredients with respect and they will give you an immense amount of joy in return. Lamb is gentle, juicy and succulent. It has amazing flavour and requires a shorter cooking period. It should be used in season and must never be doused with spices – just gentle seasoning.”
A range of useful recipes can be found at www.eatpgiwelshlamb.co.uk
Caterers also play a role in promoting more sustainable food options, according to Chef Cyrus Todiwala, proprietor of East-London based restaurant Café Spice Namaste. Cyrus has put goat curry on his menu to do his part to prevent wastage and put male goats back into the food chain.
“Next year the British public will start to look more closely at sustainability and ethical sourcing” he says, making it critical for caterers to work with supplier partners who offer British or regionally sourced options.
Certifications such as the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) are critical – this stamp assures consumers of the authenticity of provenance. Welsh lamb is from animals born and reared only in Wales.
“All our Welsh lamb is PGI-certified”, says JJ’s Sue Guilfoyle. “Using the stamp on menus and POS, where relevant, is an important way of highlighting to customers where your meat has come from, that it has been ethically sourced and is fully traceable.”
Buy fresh welsh lamb for your curry menu from just £3.79/kg. Call 07972 347 379 or visit www.jjfoodservice.com
About JJ’s Welsh Lamb
Our Welsh lamb has the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) stamp, which assures consumers that Welsh lamb is from lambs that were born and reared in Wales, is fully traceable and that suppliers are compliant with government regulations on the transportation and slaughter of livestock.