What’s the inspiration behind your recipe, and can you recall the moment the idea was born?
I came to Australia with no knowledge of how to cook due to a privileged upbringing. Being so far from home, I craved and missed so much and when it came to food I missed the authenticity.
I went to a local health food store and saw samosas, or so I thought. When I went to purchase them, I told the shop owner they weren't samosas. He told me that if I made them, that he would buy them from me. I realised God was giving me an opportunity - this potential order for samosas was going to empower me. I experimented with different versions over the years until I came up with this recipe which I loved. To my pleasant
surprise, everybody loved them including my family and friends.
Who do you think your recipe is perfect for?
An easy at home, a light meal, to an entertainers' delight. I think early 20's up and those who have a palate that craves and yearns for exotic flavours.
How has your recipe evolved since the first time you made it, and what were the challenges of preparing a commercial quantity?
Perfecting the right consistency of pastry over the years, and the right levels of layered spice flavour. The main challenge was working with brands of spices that react differently to what I am used to. For example, chilli powder - some are hotter than others and can throw out the balance.
What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges?
Being versatile with the cooking technique and experimenting for example, oven baked over fried.
What was the most surprising thing you learnt about the process of turning a recipe into a commercial product?
I think what surpised me most was the process involved in creating the brand and all the details involved in the marketing. It was challenging but fun.
From your experience, what advice what you give someone who has an idea but doesn’t know where to start trying to make a success out of it?
I would recommend holding tastings and looking into endorsements! Make the most of every opportunity - dinner parties, social events, community events. Get people tasting your food, talking about your food and of course, learn from their feedback.
What does the future hold for yourself and your recipe? Any other great ideas in the pipeline you could give us a taster of?
This recipe is part of my brand - Manju! I plan on my samosas being a long term household item and grocery necessity! I am bursting at the seams with recipes, everything from a simple 'do it yourself' naan bread, to a mouth-watering lamb korma, chicken tikka masala and of course, vegetarian dishes.