Chef’s curry paste inspired by family love
FOR CELEBRITY chef Anasia Govender, it’s her most treasured memories of her own family’s bonding over a meal that has inspired her new cook-in curry paste.
Memories of a last game of three tins, followed by a quick wash-up and her dad dishing out their favourites – the feet of the chicken for one sibling, “Atu talia” (the jaw bone) for another and for her – the biggest potato, while her parents settled for leftovers.
It is this love and bond that food created in her childhood home that Govender wishes to convey in the meals served at the tables of families today and she aims to do this through the paste.
“With today’s hectic lifestyle, time has become a most precious commodity. Parents are balancing work, homework, after-school activities, business meetings, deadlines and a host of “more important” tasks and are sacrificing quality time around the dinner table,” she said.
Being the eldest daughter at home, Govender had to be in charge when her parents were at work.
“I started cooking and baking early. I cooked my first curry when I was just 9 years old.
“But growing up vegetarian had its challenges after I married. So my husband (Satha Govender) would tutor me on how to prepare meat dishes.
“Eventually my cooking improved to a point that gave me the confidence to open my own restaurant after I was retrenched,” she said.
Chilli Kadhai Restaurant and Takeaway was meant to be something that would bide time for Govender, but her popularity as “Annalakshmi” – her comedy alter ego – grew after the video of her singing an Ed Sheeran parody went viral. Destiny had other plans.
“I never thought my entertainment and food would flourish together,” she said.
Commenting further on her food journey, she said she loved creating delicious, nutritious food for people to enjoy.
“I am also passionate about quality ingredients.
“Preparing a meal that is satisfying someone’s hunger and their palate is rewarding. I try not to take the compliments to heart, but I love seeing plates that are wiped clean.
“That is complimentary enough for me. I’ve always been passionate about injecting love into everything I do and cooking at my restaurant fulfills that desire of mine. I sing and ensure that positive vibes are going into my food.
“Putting a smile on my face is what drives me.”
On the foodie front she draws inspiration from a range of people, including her mother, Sushie Aniruth.
“My mum always cooked far more than we could consume, just to share with others, and she always made innovative different dishes.
“She is the reason I make a concerted effort to put love into my food. My sisterin-law, Raganie Pillay, is one of my foodie inspirations – her attention to detail and sheer meticulousness in cooking food that is always delicious.
“And Jamie Oliver, who is a genius in the kitchen, but also so passionate about sourcing the best ingredients and cooking very practically, is my kitchen role model.”
Govender said the idea for her cook-in curry paste was born after the parody video about her restaurant went viral.
“After that we were inundated with requests for our delicious food from all parts of the world.
“This is when my husband and I started experimenting with a basic braise that would make any dish delicious.
“After two years of testing, we are ecstatic to launch a versatile, easy-to-use, quality curry paste that is made with love and will bring families together in the kitchen and around the dinner table.
“Our intention for our product is to make cooking easy and enjoyable for the whole family.”
The paste is made using the finest ingredients and cooked in a secret recipe to ensure consistent taste and quality.
“To make each curry taste different, we have simple recipes that require minimal ingredients that produce authentic curries with rich flavour and taste.”
firstname.lastname@example.org You can keep an eye on what Govender is up to via Chilli Kadhai Restaurant and Takeaway or Anasia Govender aka Annalakshmi on Facebook or www.chillikadhai.co.za
Anasia Govender’s culinary career ups a notch with the imminent release of her new cook-in curry paste.