Pestle Curry Pastes
Neha Hampton - Henfield. Sussex
Chef Neha Hampton is the founder of Pestle,
Pestle was born in the times of Covid-19 - when ‘normal’ life came to a grinding halt. After a few weeks of disarray she turned a hobby of making fresh curry pastes into a small business to continue to connect with people and share her love for food. The business started by selling to a few suppliers in her local community in Sussex, and the response and reaction was amazing. As The Ethical Butcher we're proud to be the first online retailer for these extraordinary pastes.
For Neha this journey is about much more than food… she's a story teller, and a truth seeker. Pestle is just as much about her love for sharing stories, for discovering a different truth, for connecting people and for being part of a change. Pestle represents a change in the tides, a change where people want to feel a more authentic connection to the world around them.
There are a number of theories surrounding the origins of this dish, the most widely believed is that this British dish was created in Scotland in the 1970’s by a Bangladeshi chef who added a creamy tomato sauce to spiced marinaded chicken after a customer complained the dish to be too dry. Whatever it’s history, this distinct and blatant fusion of British and Indian tastes makes it the most popular curry dish in the UK.
The origins of tikka date back 5000 years to the Mughal Dynasty. This popular tandoori meat was later adapted to the Murgh Makhani by Kundan Lal in Delhi, Northern India which bears an uncanny resemble to the nations favourite curry.
This paste is blended with warming spices such as cardamon, fennel, mace and cinnamon with caramelised onions, garlic and ginger to create an indulgent curry that will be a hit with all the family.
The famous ‘Brindian’ Korma, safe for even the novice to try - a perfect marketing tactic for restaurants to create a range to suit all heat palates. This sweet, creamy curry made with coconut milk or cream is a firm favourite but the British version couldn’t be further from its origins.
Korma is an adaptation on the Urdu name Qorma, meaning ‘to braise’ - the dish originates from Moghul rulers and can be traced back as a banquet dish in the 16th century. This curry is rich, can be served alongside various meats or vegetables and would usually be medium heat but can vary. Said to have been served at the inauguration of the Taj Mahal by Shah Jahan, this dish now has many variations and styles across the subcontinent.
This paste is made of warming spices such as mace, cinnamon, coriander and cumin combined with yogurt for a luxurious celebratory dish.
‘The hottest curry on the menu’… this British adaptation has created a fiery tomato based curry, often with fresh and dried chillies and definitely not one for the faint hearted.
In India, this dish traces back to Portuguese explorers in the 15th century who introduced ‘carne vinha d'alhos’ traditionally meat cooked in wine vinegar and garlic. The dish was adapted to local conditions - with no vinegar, they used palm wine and added local ingredients like tamarind, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom. Chillies arrived with Vasco De Gama in 1498, eventually replacing or complimenting black pepper as a source of heat in Goan cuisine.
This Goan version is hot, but the flavours of dried aromatic spices such as roasted black cardamon, kashmiri chillies and pepper with tangy vinegar & tamarind create a delightful, fiery and aromatic curry.