From her first sale at a local fair to the shelves of Harrods and John Lewis, 25 years on, curry sauce queen Anila Vaghela has every reason to celebrate, writes Philippa Hennessy
Not much beats the taste of a sizzling, spicy sauce, mopped up with a pillowy, fresh naan (and drowned with a swig of Cobra or Kingfisher beer). So, when it came to my attention that Zimbabwean born and Surrey resident Anila Vaghela is celebrating a quarter of a century making fine food and, through her range of eight sauces, has served more than two million meals to customers around the world, I thought it deserved some quality air time.
Her flair for flavour doesn’t stop here. As one of the pioneering artisan producers using traditional family recipes to concoct Indian cooking sauces, she’s also provided over three million servings of chutneys and pickles from an array of 16 accompaniments.
She’s learned from the best – as a child, she cooked alongside her great grandmother, grandmother and mother. “Creating healthy sauces using only fresh ingredients, just as mum makes”, is at the core of her philosophy.
Rightly so, she’s marking her anniversary in style and, between May and September, she will be offering customers at farmers’ markets across the county, the chance to win one of her cookery classes (including vegetarian cooking) or a ‘hot’ hamper full of her yummy products. Her loyal fans, many of whom are epicures of Indian food, come from far and wide, and she’s showing no sign of lapsing on her promise to continue creating and churning out authentic products.
If her sauces appeal to your taste buds and you’re already planning an Indian inspired supper party, don’t fret about catering separately for any vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs, Anila’s sauces are sugar, dairy, gluten and animal free, with no trace of artificial colours, additives or preservatives.
Anila’s sauces are available via her website or from farmers’ markets at Walton, Thames Ditton, Surbiton, Guildford, Farnham and Wallington.