Karara: Variety is the spice of life
Even today, the smell of a particular spice blend or a taste of a carefully concocted chutney takes him right back to that kitchen in Jodhpur.
After moving to the UK and marrying Rani, he settled in Kent where she continued her work as an art teacher and Paul entered the civil service.
Within two years of marriage, Paul and Rani had started a small business supplying chilled takeaway curry to a wholefoods store in Canterbury. With bestsellers including Chana Masala, Bombay Aloo and Tarka Dal, Paul and Rani demonstrated that vegetarian food could taste sensational.
In 1997 Paul and Rani dipped their toes into outdoor events, selling curries, chutneys and savouries at a Canterbury music festival in the Dane John Gardens. Their food, coupled with their infectious enthusiasm, meant that they quickly developed quite a following, and they have participated in every Canterbury food festival since. In 2001 Paul established the Canterbury Curry Club as a way of offering home-cooked delicacies to people in and around the city. Monthly events were held in restaurants and halls, with the Lord Mayor of Canterbury as patron. The Club proved most popular and through word-of-mouth Paul and Rani soon found themselves catering for private parties and functions as well. In 2011, Paul took early retirement from the civil service, launching his Paul Babra range of chutneys in 2013 using flavours and spices which are truly evocative of his childhood in India. In Paul’s view, it’s not just about taste - he believes that the spice mixes also have medicinal benefits. Turmeric, for example, is widely used in India as an anti-bacterial, antioxidant and as an aid to digestion.
Paul and Rani have complemented their range of chutneys with dry spice mixes and savouries, all of which can be found at farmers’ markets across Kent most weekends and direct from their website (www.paulbabra.co.uk). A recent development is their collaboration with Faversham’s Brogdale Collections to create special spiced juices, including Pear & Rosewater, and Zingy Apple Juice.
If you fancy a taste of their curries, you'll find them every third Sunday of the month at Westgate Hall in Canterbury in the run-up to Christmas (18th Sept, 16th Oct, 20th Nov & 18th Dec from 11am to 4pm)
For the most up to date info on where else they'll be, follow them on Instagram.
Karara are available for larger events, weddings and more - check out their website for more details!
These are some of our recent awards and accreditations
14th December 2021