Currying Flavour!

A TINY takeaway in Purton is this year’s winner of Swindon’s annual curry competition.
The Spice Express beat off tough competition from the three other finalists during a cook off at Swindon College.

The other finalists were the Lalbagh Restaurant in Rodbourne, the Biplob Restaurant in Old Town and the Chariton House Catering Service at Network Rail.

All three produced a huge variety old dishes with exotic names such as a chackmai king prawn- marinated tiger prawns, okra caldeen—spiced okra and kumramalabba - a green vegetable curry with a type of Indian cheese called Paneer.

The Spice Express chef Jamal Miah, 43, of Kingswood Avenue, impressed the judges with his dishes which had contrasting flavours.

He cooked a sweet cinnamon chicken curry accompanied by a side dish called bajja boal - pan fried fresh water cat fish marinated in spices and a shahi pilau — basmati rice cooked with milk, spices and nuts.

Jamal said: “It feels great to win. The takeaway was one of the four short-listed in last years cook off.”

Its owner Mohammed Ali, 39, said: “It is nice to win especially when it is only the second year that we have entered. But everyone is a winner because the standard of cooking and food has been excellent.”

The Spice Express will now represent Swindon in the regional finals which may well be held at Swindon College later this year.

For the first time this year, the competition, which is backed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, was open to all commercial food outlets that can cook curry not just Indian and Asian restaurants.

Eunice Salmon, an environmental health officer at Swindon Council, organised the curry competition. She said: “I hope it gets bigger and better next year. So if people have a really good curry from a take- away, or even from their local pub, then they should encourage them to enter the contest.”

Of the 11 establishments which entered, nine passed a hygiene inspection and went through to the next round when chefs had to prepared a main curry, a side dish and a bread or rice dish for the judges to sample.

Each dish was awarded points on the basis of taste texture, appearance and aroma and the four restaurants with the top marks went through to the Swindon College cook-off.