One of our favourite producers, whose wares we have stocked for more than a decade, is celebrating a big anniversary this year.
In the last quarter of a century, curry sauce queen Anila Vaghela has produced sauces used in more than two million meals by customers around the world.
The founder of Anila’s Authentic Sauces has served an amazing 2,168,000 meals through her range of eight curry sauces since her first sale at a fair in Weybridge, Surrey in the Spring of 1992. She has also provided more than three million servings of chutneys and pickles from her range of 16 accompaniments.
“These figures are quite staggering and it seems an enormous amount of cooking, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed producing curry sauces over the years and giving others the opportunity to create authentic meals easily,” said Anila.
“We’ve come a long way from our very first fair and now supply food halls, health food stores, garden centres and farm shops, including Harrods, John Lewis and Chatsworth. Anila’s exports internationally to France, Ireland, Hong Kong and Portugal, sells directly online and attends local farmers’ markets in the South East and food shows around the country.
“When I first had the idea to create the curry sauces, Indian food wasn’t as popular as it is today and I was one of the pioneering artisan producers making Indian cooking sauces using traditional family recipes.
“That’s very much the philosophy that we have stuck to over the past 25 years – creating tasty, healthy, curry sauces in small batches using only fresh ingredients.”
Growing up as the eldest child and grandchild in the family, Anila learnt to cook alongside her mother, grandmother and great grandmother in Zimbabwe where she was born.
Years later, as a busy mum living in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey Anila started to make small batches of curry sauces for convenience. She began selling jars of curry sauce on a very small scale in her local community, and at her first fair in Weybridge in 1992 all 80 jars were snapped up.
In 1997, at the age of 40, she was made redundant from her job as a PA and opted to launch Anila’s Authentic Sauces as a full-time business. Initially working from her home kitchen producing four varieties of curry sauces, she later began production from a catering kitchen in Surbiton and then relocated to a unit in Hounslow, with husband Dan who left his job to join the business. She gradually increased the range and now has eight curry sauces and sixteen pickles and chutneys.
“Over the years, we have kept our promise and vision of making authentic products just as “Mum makes”. We frequently meet people who bought our products 25 years ago who are loyal to this day. We have been overwhelmed by compliments and still receive great comments every week which give us the enthusiasm to continue to serve our customers,” said Anila who also runs Vegetarian Indian cookery classes. Anila’s have won numerous Great Taste Awards, including the Best Speciality Award for the South East and FREE-FROM Food Awards.
As well as being popular with connoisseurs of Indian food Anila’s sauces are also suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs. They are sugar, dairy and gluten free, and contain no onion or garlic, as well as being free from artificial colours, additives and preservatives – making them popular with those on FODMAP friendly and Paleo friendly diets.