In 2014 when I first went into the kitchen with a hope to cook and serve, I had no idea I would be a chef that would end up presenting a masterclass at the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival. It was a great pleasure meeting you all, and as promised, the recipes and cooking techniques for the Prawn Kofta and Prawn Kofta Curry are below for you to enjoy cooking the dishes that I presented to you, in your own kitchen, at home.
In 2020, after six years of growing East India Cafe in Cheltenham, we decided to sell and concentrate on Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar as well as other ventures. Rick Stein once said that ‘’cuisine reflects the culture’’ and that it is imperative that we now know what we eat and how we eat. For us, as chefs, the provenance of what we consume is crucial. We believe sustainable cooking means sourcing your ingredients ethically and locally, whilst the preparation of it should be centred around not only creating an incredible dish, but doing so whilst producing food with less waste. With the reopening of hospitality in the UK and learning from a very challenging year throughout the pandemic we decided to revise our menu and our food production with sustainability at the heart of what we do.
At Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar, we serve Anglo-Indian cuisine. It’s an amalgamation of Indian, European and Mughal cuisine, which was developed during the British rule in India. However, the way we like to eat nowadays has changed dramatically over the last decade, and with that in mind, we made the whole menu tapas-style dining and called it ‘Memsahib’s Picnic’.
Below are two recipes; one for a snack style Prawn Kofta and another for a curry style Prawn Kofta using a creamy coconut milk. You won’t find sustainably grown local prawns in the UK, and as a chef, we feel terrible to hold a block of shrimp that has travelled six to eight thousand miles to come to our kitchen. However, we believe we have addressed this issue with our Land Ocean Farm project, where we hope to produce white-legged shrimp in a biosecure environment using recirculating aquaculture technology. In a couple of years, you will be able to find Gloucestershire grown prawns in your local shop and being served in restaurants.
Sustainable food production requires education and learning, awareness and overall continuous practice and improvement. We really believe in this ethos at the Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar and also encourage our guests and followers, through our masterclasses, to practise the reduce, reuse and recycle strategy. This allows us to be fully responsible for the products we consume as well as the waste we create. Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, which contributes between 8 – 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, food waste at home is a huge contributor to our emissions and reducing it can be so powerful in the fight against climate change. I also firmly believe that we can be that much closer to eradicating food poverty if we can achieve zero food waste, and especially so from commercial food production kitchens.
There is enough food for us all – we just need to be mindful in our consumption of it.
We would love to see how you have created these dishes at home – please do share with us and tag us on Instagram – @memsahibbar #memsahibathome