Back in 1992 Anila Veghela had the idea of bottling some of her home made curry sauces and selling them at a local craft fair. These sauces proved popular and were well received by customers. Necessity is the mother of invention so when Anila was made redundant in 1997, she decided to take things further and form her own company, Anila’s Sauces with an expanded range of sauces. During the intervening years the product range has increased to a total of 24 products that now include pickles & chutneys in addition to sauces.
For those not familiar with Hindi or Urdu, “Methi” is the word for Fenugreek which is a common ingredient used in many Indian dishes. The versatility of the Fenugreek plant is such that it may be used as a vegetable (by using its fresh leaves as greens), as a spice (using its seeds) or as a herb (using its dried leaves. The seed & dried leaf forms are the most commonly found in this country and they add a very distinctive taste and a pungent aroma to any dish.
Tomatoes, Fennel, Celery, Rapeseed Oil, Tomato Puree, Chilli Powder, Gram Flour, Fenugreek (Methi) leaves (1%), Ginger, Green Chillies, Salt, Spices, Tamarind [Gluten free product]
Product kindly supplied by Anila’s Sauces
Labelling design on the jar is quite simplistic listing ingredients and nutritional information on the outer label which can be peeled back to reveal some company information and the serving suggestion instruction. The cooking instructions themselves couldn’t be simpler – just pour the contents of the jar into a saucepan, add you chosen veg / meat ingredient, top up with up to a jar of water and then simmer until ready.
The fragrance is such that by just opening the jar it’s abundantly clear that Fenugreek is one of the ingredients. The pungency of Fenugreek means only a small amount is required in a dish in order to imbue its properties, hence the low percentage used. Indeed looking at the rich brown sauce, I can see tiny bits of the dried Fenugreek leaves therein. I decide to cook some of the sauce with lamb (a full jar serving would be enough to serve 4-6 people) and after a few minutes of cooking the aroma of the Fenugreek intensifies. My kitchen has been filled with the aromas of a curry house kitchen but that’s not a bad thing in my books though, given I’m a fan of curries and Indian food.
Tasting the dish some thirty minutes later doesn’t disappoint either. Although the tomatoes are the largest ingredient, their taste isn’t over dominant nor at the fore. It’s the flavour of the Celery & the distinctive tanginess of the Fenugreek that are more prominent; the taste of the tomatoes with hints of sweetness from the Fennel & Tamarind help round out the overall flavour. There’s a lush, unctuous like quality to the sauce without it being very greasy or oily. Although no onion or garlic have been used in the sauce, ingredients often used in your British curry house restaurant, the combination of other flavours ensure this a great tasting sauce that feels like you’ve ordered in from your local.
Heat wise the warmth comes through quickly hitting both the front of the mouth and the back of throat, but doesn’t have much longevity. The ingredient list just notes “green chillies” so I’m not 100% certain as to which variety has been used but as I know Indian cuisine commonly makes use of long thin green cayenne or finger chillies I would take an educated guess that they have been used in this instance.
Overall, this is a great tasting sauce that I’d definitely recommend any curry lover to try. No matter what level your culinary skills are in the kitchen, it will allow anyone to produce an authentic tasting curry at home with the greatest of ease.
Anila Sauces are available from many local food retail outlets in the UK (a list of stockists is available on their website) or they can be purchased directly from the company website for £4.00 for a 300g jar.