Leeds likes it hot as country tucks in for National Curry Week

It is up there with one of the nation's best loved dishes yet derives completely from the other end of the world.

Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 8:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 9:38 am

However, that doesn’t stop us Brits tucking into a tikka and nibbling on a cheese and garlic naan of a Friday night.

Today marks the start of the 20th annual National Curry Week and in all that time our hunger for a hot madras or certainly hasn’t been satisfied.

When we launched our search for the Yorkshire Evening Post curry house of the year back in June we were inundated by suggestions from the city’s curry fans but the eventual winner was revealed as Spice Zone on Pendas Way at Cross Gates.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Spice Zone Pendas Way, Crossgates winner of Yorkshire Evening Post Curry House of the Year 2018 Jaber Ahmed owner of Spice Zone with staff

It was third time lucky for the family business which had made the shortlist twice before being crowed king of the curries.

Mo Ali runs the business with nephew Syed Jaber Ahmed while Ripon Ali, another family member is the chef.

Aside from the obvious jalfrezi or vindaloo dishes they say that the more traditional ones, local to their family home in Bangladesh are actually the most popular such as Guss Khatta Masala - diced lamb with garlic, ginger, coriander, peppers and onions, served on a sizzler and phaal dishes.

Since taking the award the business said it had more customers coming from across the city to try them out.

Spice Zone Pendas Way, Crossgates winner of Yorkshire Evening Post Curry House of the Year 2018 Onion Fried Rice and Ghust Katta Masala - de-boned lamb braised in golden brown sliced onions, ginger, garlic, and ground garam masala prepred in a thick sauce

Mr Ahmed, 38, said: “Of course we were surprised to win, we were so happy because we are a small, family business.

“A lot of our business is people that keep coming back and they were really happy for us too.

“Of course it was good publicity for us and we got a lot of new customers. Where we are in Cross Gates -it is not the city centre - so we got lots more people from the east to the north.”

According to research by Sainsbury’s supermarket we each spend £30,000 a year on curry and 205m poppadums are crunched on each year.

The first reference to a curry recipe in English cookery books appeared in Hannah Glasse’s The Art Of Cookery in 1747, and the country’s first Indian restaurant, Hindoostane Coffee House, was set up in London in 1810, and now there are more curry houses in the capital than Mumbai.

Mr Ahmed added: “Curry is still very popular in England, because it is a chilly winter time people like hot food.”


We have asked the team at the Spice Zone to share one of their favourite recipes with Yorkshire Evening Post readers.

The team have suggested their Guss Khatta Masala .

This mouth-watering dish uses diced de-boned tender pulled lamb which has been braised and prepared in a thick sauce.

Ingredients include:

200ml olive oil

1tsp salt

5 cloves of garlic peeled

50g ginger,peeled and sliced

3 small onions (approx 400g) roughly chopped

2 large red or green chillies, roughly chopped

2 fresh plumb tomato

2 tsp tomato puree

1 green pepper chopped

2 Bai leafs

2 cinnamon stick

1tsp turmeric

2tsp curry powder

1tsp garam masala

100ml water

800g lamb leg, diced

300ml water

15g fresh coriander chopped

Then just let it cook in a steady heat.