The man behind Norfolk's first Indian deli reveals secrets to a great curry
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The man behind Norfolk's first Indian deli knows a thing or two about making great Indian food - and now he wants to share his skills.
Philip Mitchell opened Chaat Man Indian Deli at Half Moon Farm in Rushall, near Harleston, in May last year and has since gained a loyal following.
He now plans a series of cooking demonstrations that delve into India's street food scene this summer, with the first one selling out in only two days.
Mr Mitchell, 48, became "infatuated" with traditional Indian cuisine following a trip to the southern Indian state of Kerala in 2003, where he learnt the art of 'desi' cooking, which means 'home-style'.
Since then he has immersed himself in this style of cooking and went on to launch Chaat Man as a mobile street food business in 2016, visiting markets and festivals all over the UK before turning his focus locally.
Mr Mitchell, from Long Stratton, said: "After two years I decided to concentrate on the local area and began trading at local farmers' markets.
"As well as street food I started selling more fresh and frozen curries as well and after the pandemic the street food business took a back seat.
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"People were craving restaurant-quality curries but couldn't go to restaurants so Chaat Man Indian Deli was born."
The deli has a revolving menu of over 150 regional and speciality curries to choose from, with over 30 available each week.
"I'm a one man show. I work six days a week" said Mr Mitchell, adding: "It's full on but for me it's not a job.
"I'm just doing it because it is what I love and the income is a nice side effect."
Chaat Man Indian Deli is open Fridays 12pm - 6pm and Saturdays 10am - 4pm and orders can be made online at chaatman.co.uk or in-store.
You can also find Mr Mitchell at local farmer's markets throughout the year.
His cooking demonstration in May has already sold out but a further one is planned on Saturday, June 11.
The secret behind a great curry sauce
"Time, time and more time," said Mr Mitchell. "Long and slow cooking is key. Real 'desi' cooking takes hours which helps the flavours develop.
"Using freshly ground spices for the masala is really important and not using pre-ground spices that have been sat in plastic pots for months.
"Also making use of the best ingredients you can get is key.
"Add your freshly ground masala to the cooked-down onions and garlic.
"Next you want to add the base of your sauce which can be made in a number of different ways depending on the curry.
"You might use stock, coconut milk, tomatoes, ground coconut, blended onions, or a mixture of these.
"Once you have added the base of the sauce you want to continue cooking.
"You will know when the spices are cooked through when the fat rises to the top of the sauce.
"Then you will know that everything is cooked perfectly."