Punjab Pakora Parliamentary Review


As a little boy, I was often found helping my granny in the kitchen where I learned traditional skills and recipes used by my family. At the age of eighteen, I was invited to Dubai by my uncle to work at his Indian restaurant where I honed my culinary skills further. Having gained further experience in the family business, I became the chef to some of the wealthiest sheikhs in Dubai. I then travelled extensively in Europe and the Middle East working in top restaurants, learning and perfecting new cuisines. I met Vinita and asked for her hand in marriage, then after we decided to move to Scotland in 2004.

In 2007, we opened own Indian takeaway in Mossblown and two years later bought a fish and chip shop in the centre of Ayr. Vinita worked in Asda, providing her with retail experience that would later prove invaluable in their dealings with major supermarkets. The fish and chip shop operated for four years. During this, time it became evident that there was a demand for authentic Indian snacks. We both felt that Indian food available locally was not authentic and were keen to introduce authentic North Indian, Punjabi recipes. In 2013, Punjab Pakora was born with the production of a limited range of pakoras. Shortly after, we decided to move to a food manufacturing unit in Waggon Road, Ayr and to sell the fish and chip business in order to concentrate on the production of pakoras, with a view to extending their range of authentic Indian snacks

punjab-pakora-mixed-platterThe company was established to provide authentic Indian cuisine, snacks, savouries and pakoras to retail customers. The business has gone from strength to strength and has proved to be very successful, allowing us to continually expand and provide employment to the local community. Punjab Pakora pride themselves on being the leading Scottish supplier of authentic Indian pakoras and other snacks. These are handmade using fresh, natural ingredients and which – with the exception of Black Pudding and the Haggis Pakoras – are gluten free

Our workforce has steadily increased in number following our continued success. The company now employ twenty-five people, and will add twenty to thirty more employees soon. We take immense pride in looking after our workforce which has resulted in a low turnover of staff, many of whom have been with the company since it started.

We are very hands on with the business, working 7 days a week to meet demand. Central to our success is our appreciation of the importance of our staff in achieving our goals of providing high quality, Indian food manufactured to consistent standards in a hygienic and controlled environment to ensure a safe product. Staff are paid a fair wage, are provided with the relevant training required to carry out their duties competently, work in a safe environment ,and are opportunities are provided for those members of staff that show a real commitment.

One distinct feature of the business is healthier options for snacks. We do not use any artificial colours, flavours, additives, preservatives or hydrogenated fats. Our products have been tested and have been given the food green light as an indicator of their healthy quality

Having supplied local companies initially, we wanted to work towards providing our products to the major supermarkets. We initially made contact with Asda to ascertain the requirements for supplying products and as a result decided to aim to achieve SALSA certification. The SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Assurance) scheme requires documented procedures and systems to be operational in order to demonstrate a safe manufacturing process.

Companies are audited on an annual basis to ensure continued compliance and a certificate is re-issued each year. Major supermarkets require this certificate to give them the confidence that the products they buy for resale are manufactured under strict controls to produce a safe product. SALSA certification is only granted to suppliers who can demonstrate to an auditor that they are able to produce safe and legal food and are committed to continually meeting the requirements of the SALSA Standard. We achieved our SALSA certification in 2013. This has given the major supermarkets confidence in our ability to that manufacture to the high standards. We began to supply Asda and Aldi in 2013, Spar in 2015 and Iceland in 2016, and continue to work towards selling to other supermarkets by continually developing and improving our operation

Our current range of products includes a varieties of chicken pakoras such as spicy and red chicken pakora and traditional chicken pakora; vegetable pakoras; haggis pakoras and black pudding pakoras; onion bhajis; a range of meat and vegetable samosas; meat spring rolls and vegetable spring rolls; and mixed pakora platters, with spiced onions and spicy and mild dips.

We have just moved into larger premises to produce Punjabi curries under the certification of SALSA. The increased space will give us the capacity to increase the output and develop a broader range of authentic Indian offerings to local, retail and wholesale customers. We also plan to provide curries to catering functions and we have already received enquiries in this area.

Punjab Pakora has gone from strength to strength due to our personal commitment to our family, and our constant drive to improve and expand our business – we have worked hard for our success, and hope for even greater things to come in the future