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Spice up your Autumn

Brits have got the hots for curry. It’s now the UK’s second most popular food when eating out* and the favourite dish to cook at home**. National Curry Week (7-13 October) presents the perfect opportunity to spice up your menu and increase footfall and sales by holding theme nights during the event.

What to do
This year is the 21st anniversary of National Curry Week. To make sure your outlet cooks up the best night, here’s some great tips from Mark Rigby, executive chef at Premier Foods:
• Promote the night – provide teasers on busy evenings in the run-up to show customers what’s to come, such as sample taster dishes and make sure your event – and any offers on the night – are on social media and your website.
• Staff training – make sure all staff are briefed and well versed on the food (and ingredients) and drinks so they can talk confidently and enthusiastically to customers. Also think about hiring additional staff for the night. You want your customers to remember ‘great food, great service’.
• Know your recipes – if you are serving dishes you haven’t prepared before, make sure you test them in advance and know what’s in them so staff can confidently talk about the dishes when asked.
• Offer sharing plates – the best way for customers to taste a number of smaller dishes and explore the cuisine. It’s also a great social way of dining which will in turn create a lively atmosphere in your outlet.
• Offer a variety of dishes – from varying spice levels to a mixture of meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes, make sure all appetites are catered for. Sharwood’s Indian range is vegetarian friendly, so you can cook a variety of dishes with confidence.
• Stand-out starters – samosas and onion bhajis are always going to be a winner with customers but why not experiment with authentic and lighter starters such as momo steamed dumplings?
• Ready-to-use sauces – this will help reduce prep time in the kitchen and enable a steady flow from kitchen to front of house. Mango chutney works great as a dipping sauce when blended with yoghurt.
• Consider your customers’ needs – have options that allow you to cater for those with specific dietary requirements and allergies.
• Presentation is key – toasted seeds and nuts, fresh pomegranate, coconut shavings and chopped or whole herbs make great, eye-catching garnishes
and help to finish a dish.

What to pour
There is nothing more refreshing than a cold, crisp drink to pair with your curry. Here are the top suggestions from nationalcurryweek.co.uk:

Kingfisher – India’s number one beer and the perfect partner for the heat and spice of the richest of curries.
Lion lager – A slight sweetness and tempered hops make this an authentically refreshing lager, great for washing down a fiery curry.
Bombay Bicycle IPA – Kingfisher teamed up with craft beer experts Freedom Brewery to develop an IPA that’s an excellent match for Indian food.
Peacock cider – Expertly crafted, this is a good complement to rich, exotic Asian flavours, providing a burst of refreshment to balance aromatic spices.
Lion stout – One of the world’s most iconic stouts and a cool, creamy counterpoint to any curry dish.

What to serve
Popular dishes like vindaloo and korma will always have a place on your menu, but serving seasonal, authentic and healthier curries will also make your menu on-trend and memorable.

See recipes Pulled Lamb with Fiery Mint Chutney, Quick & Easy Tarka Dal and Chickpea & Pumpkin Curry

Helps at hand
Sign up to nationalcurryweek.co.uk for recipe ideas, tips, access to promotional material. And participate in their 25% off voucher.

Sources: *MCA Eating Out in the UK Report 2018,

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