People have known spices for centuries. In ancient Egypt, spices were used for medicine, cosmetics, flavouring food and for mummifying the dead. Spices are also mentioned in Romano Indian epics and in Hindu inscriptions. Arabs controlled the spice trade for centuries and they considered spices as valuable as gold. The well-known Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, described spices in his expeditions, and the English colonized India in order to get their spices. All these facts have made my interview with Shelly that more important.
Who are you and what is your background?
I am the founder of Bang Curry, a mother of two and physicist who practised at Imperial College in London in a previous life, before children. I'm also a second generation British-Bangladeshi, immensely proud of my heritage but equally patriotic about my home country. I'm a product of the mass economic migration that occurred after the end of British occupation in the sub-continent of India. My particular story began in 1969 when my father started working to become a draftsman at the Ministry of Defence in London. He left Bangladesh, his home and family, to study engineering at Karachi University in Pakistan, so he was used to travelling and experiencing new cultures from an early age. The stories from Dad were always ones of fun and adventure and it was only as I grew older that I realised how tough it must have been for a Bangladeshi migrant trying to make it in the 1970s in London. Throughout my growing-up period, my strongest influence had to be my mother, who in my opinion is the greatest cook in the world. There was never an overflow of words of affection – instead my mum’s expression for love was through feeding us with the most wonderful dishes made with flamboyance and attention to detail. My mother's kitchen was always fascinating to me, in particular the spices she threw together to make the most ingenious of flavours.
What is Bang Curry?
Memories of cooking with my mother inspired the concept of Bang Curry. Bang Curry is all about spreading the knowledge of how to achieve beautiful Bangladeshi flavours using simple ingredients. My mother, being a perfectionist, didn't allow me until later on to quantify and mix my own spices. Instead she would hand me a little bowl of spices that was perfectly proportioned and sent me on my way to cook to my heart's content. Thirty years later, this experience formed the basis for Bang Curry Spice mixes. Essentially, each Bang Curry Spice pack is presented with an easy three-step method for a family curry. Understanding spices is not relevant to creating a Bang Curry and provides access for everyone to enjoy a Bangladeshi home cooked meal.
What are the main ingredients in Bang Curry?
Bang Curry is composed of specially selected, quality spices imported from the sub-continent of India. The star players contained in Bang Curry are the usual suspects, with turmeric being top of the composition list. Turmeric is now recognised as a superfood and is well known in medicine for its anti-carcinogenic properties. Cardamom, coriander and cumin follow suit with equally amazing antioxidant features. Bang Curry is a healthy option as well as being very palatable to the taste buds.
What do you think goes best with your Bang Curry?
Bang Curries are usually served with rice or flat breads and accompanied with a side salad. However you can eat a Bang Curry any way you like!
Are there any special tips to follow when making it?
A Bang Curry is really simple to make. It can be used by a non-cooks to give great results, although our main client base are cooks, as it provides a very useful convenience tool. The first step is the hardest and involves a bit of prep work: chopping an onion, grating a bit of ginger and garlic. When chopping your onion, try to chop it as finely as possible as this forms the main constituent of your curry base. It will enable your spices to distribute more evenly if you have a more fluid curry base.
Are you looking at turning your Bang Curry into a business? What is the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for Bang Curry is keeping up with demand. Word is getting out about our authentic flavours and the ease with which you can use a Bang Curry.
Where can we find Bang Curry?
Bang Curry can be found online and at UK Wholefood Market Stores (High Street Kensington, Piccadilly, Giffnock in Glasgow, Cheltenham, Richmond, Fulham, and Clapham).