Our awareness of Boom Kitchen® came about during one of our many food event visits. We both love curries and make them from scratch occasionally at home, but no one can deny that it is easier to keep a sauce in the cupboard.
What initially caught our eye was the Lady Naga kit as my husband is a serious chilli head who likes to enjoy the flavour of a product and not just the heat. One of his pitfalls is that he hates cooked onions – something you cannot avoid in most pre-prepared food products, especially in a jar of sauce from the supermarket. With the kits there are only spices and so this dilemma is avoided as you can add whatever veg you want.
All curry kits include:
- Boom Base™ (a curry stock made from over 17 natural ingredients)
- a freshly ground spice mix
- another recipe component or 2 depending on the kit
The instructions on the pack are clear to follow for anyone, no matter what level of cooking experience you are. The spices are packaged in minimal plastic packets and the outer packaging is cardboard and recyclable.
Each kit contains Boom Base™ , the finest fresh spices and all the curry essentials you need to knock up a restaurant beating curry in under 30 mins. They only use natural ingredients, no artificial colours or preservatives and the kits are suitable to vegetarians, vegans and people on gluten free diets. All made by hand in Devon.
The guys love tweets from customers all over, telling them about their tweaks or additions to the base instructions. My husband loves cooking his cauliflower first, saving the cauli water, and using that to infuse his chillis for a fuller, sweeter flavour.
This year, for the 3rd year running, they have won a Taste of the West award for one of their products – the new Sri-Lankan curry kit that is yet to be released on the public; we can’t wait to try it!
I asked Boom Kitchen® 10 questions so we, and you, can find out more about them and their award winning products. These guys are passionate about what they do and have a great sense of humour…here goes:
1. Who is behind Boom Kitchen®?
Carl and Jim. We married a couple of Devon Maids who happened to be friends. Shortly after we met we discovered a mutual respect for craft beer and all things spicy.
2. Where is the business based and when did it start?
Today Boom HQ is at Mullacott Business Park, 10 mins from our homes in Braunton near the stunning North Devon coastline. As industrial estates go it’s pretty stunning with panoramic views across to South Wales and Lundy Island.
It all started around Christmas time 2012. It was Claire (Carl’s wife and packaging designer extraordinaire www.buffdesign.co.uk) who was the catalyst for Boom.
Claire was pregnant at the time and craving spices. Carl obliged by cooking curries and spicy dishes in large quantities and to keep up the variety he revisited some of the many recipes he’d gathered from his globetrotting (previously thought to be misspent!) youth. I (Jim) was lucky enough to sample some of Carl’s recipes and was blown away buy how fresh and tasty they all were.
At the time the craft beer scene was exploding and we thought if you can get people passionate about the craft of beer making you could do the same with curry.
3. Why curry kits?
While I can’t remember the exact Eureka moment we’d just started watching Breaking Bad which is all about ‘entrepreneruail cooking’. I’m convinced it was Walter White’s exploits that inspired Carl to get all scientific with his recipe formulas.
There are a few of reasons why we settled on the kit format…
The first is we wanted to put the spices centre stage and pass the enjoyment of cooking with fresh spices over to the home cook. Why fill Lloyd Grossman’s factory with aromas when you could have those in your own kitchen!
The second is the kit format allows people to make the curry their own. You’d be surprised how many people buy our kits because of the stuff we leave out. We provide the building blocks for curry flavour (spices, chillies, coconut etc) but we leave you to add the oil, salt, sugar, meat, veg, dairy or dairy -free alternative.
The third is the kit makes it fast and fresh. No more grinding and measuring out the spices and watching the lesser used spices on your spice rack collect dust!
The final reason is we don’t have to add any nasties. We looked into supplying a wet sauce then realised all the nasties we’d have to pump into it to make it shelf safe – no thanks.
4. How long does it take you to perfect a recipe/kit?
It took about 9 months to get the first 3 kits off the ground from a standing start. We now have 5 with a 6th coming soon!
The recipes aren’t the difficult bit, it’s giving them the Boom treatment that takes the time. Once we’re happy with the flavours from the recipe it’s about getting the blend right and by that we don’t just mean the spices. It’s about the…
*healthiness of the dish and the ability for the customer to keep it healthy if they want (or indulgent if they don’t!)
*speed of cooking – has to be sub 30 minutes prep and cook or else it’s not Boom!
*sense of craft our customers get when making the dish – has their involvement been instrumental?
*the quality of the ingredients we can source and their availability year round
5.What happens on a typical day?
All sorts! Although we only have 5 kits we have 12 curry building blocks made up from about 50 different ingredient and packaging components.
All it takes is for you to run out of methi or a Boom whole spices sticker for the entire operation to grind to a halt. So there’s a lot of stock checking and planning / reacting!
Our production cycles between making and packing the inner building blocks (blending spices for the mixes, sourcing coconut, chillies and whole spices etc) then bringing the 3-4 different components together to make-up the final kits.
It really is different every day with the added excitement of having to get all the online, retail and food service orders out. No matter how busy we are the perk is we can always have curry for tea. We have it about 3 nights a week in my house and more if we’re testing!
6. We have seen on your social media, about large packs that pubs are using to do curry nights – what a great idea! How did that come about?
We have the Bell Inn at Chittlehampton to thank for that. Mark and Lyns’s son Matthew loved our curries and wanted us to do bigger packs so they could put Boom Kitchen® on the menu.
We’re also using the large kits to help a charity called Frank Water who provide fresh drinking water to some of the most marginalised communities in India. If you want to get involved and host your own Karma Korma charity night for Frank or a charity of your choosing get in touch via our website to request a fund raiser kit. We’ll give you everything you need to host a curry night for friends and family and put good curry towards a good cause of your choice!
7. What are your plans for the future?
We’ve got a new Sri Lankan recipe coming out later this year which we’re really excited about. It’s going to be a zero sugar recipe – we don’t add sugar to any of our kits but advise the home cook to add some in line with our instructions to replicate the flavours you’d get in a restaurant or to add to taste.
Our new Sri Lankan kit doesn’t need a grain of sugar and i think it’s our tastiest recipe to date. With all the recent controversy with the amount of sugar in Dolmio sauces we think our healthy Sri Lankan will go down a storm.
8. Where can people buy your products – outlets, food festivals?
It used to be mainly in the South West and independent farm shops and delis but now we’re starting to branch out across the country with stockists in London the North of England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.
We also sell direct from our website and through a number of gifting sites like Not on the High Street. We tend to do local food festivals like Exeter, Dartmouth, Powderham and support the monthly Barnstaple Real Food Market which is right on our doorstep.
9. You have collaborated with Okemoor pies as well – how did that happen?
We met them at the Darts Farm producer banquet (amazing annual event where you get to meet producers and eat all their food). We got chatting and they mentioned they’d tried making a curry pie before but found it hard to get the curry consistent. We said we might be able to help and have been supplying them with humungous curry kits for about a year now. They’re going really well and have even picked up a few awards from Taste of the West so we’re thrilled. Chuck steak and Lady Naga is my favourite.
10. And to finish off – tell us something funny, random or interesting!
Random? Russell Kane (off the telly) uses our Bhuna Curry Kit to curry omelettes.
And…We seem to have a bit of a following in the Shetlands – I suppose it’s a long round trip to a curry house!
Funny? I used to find it funny when I could smell Carl cooking from about 200 meters down the road. His entire house stank of curry and it took about a year after we moved into the unit for the smell of onions to completely go from his house and his clothes. He has very supportive neighbours!
How about a joke? Oh god?! Had a pelican curry the other night. Tasted OK but the bill was enormous. Awful.
Interesting? We can only pack our coconut when the weather is cool. If it gets too warm it clogs the nozzles on the machines!
Products can be bought on their website, direct from them at Barnstaple Market or from Darts Farm near Topsham. If you want to know if there is a stockist near you, visit http://boomkitchen.co.uk/pages/find-us for a current list or just tweet them, they are always happy to help!