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What’s your favourite ingredient?

Javentry-mace, the dried shell of the nutmeg, gives the perfect aroma to fried pilau rice. 

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

I love shatkora chicken, which is named after the fruit which tastes a bit like lime. The sauce provides a contrast to the meat and is great with Bombay potatoes. Even though I eat curry twice a day I can’t get over the taste. In Bangladesh, shatkora’s thick fleshy rind is eaten as a vegetable, while the pulp is usually discarded because of its bitter-sour taste. The thick rind is cut into small pieces and cooked, either green or ripe, in curries. The fruit is also a main ingredient in pickles.

Tell us about your first food memory?

Gosh, it was many years ago but with a Bangladeshi background it must have been chicken curry and rice as part of my first solid food.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?

The Restoration Yard in Dalkeith Country Park. It’s a wonderful place to chill out and enjoy amazing food and service at The Kitchen restaurant. Just like The Radhuni it’s family-friendly. I love seeing mums and dads teaching their kids about new foods and flavours. It’s easy for youngsters (and their parents) to get into a food rut. Indian-type dishes are NOT boring.

What would be your last supper?

Curry of some kind. I could write a book about it.

Starter or pudding? 

Both. I love to try out things. Innovation is one of my keywords.

Do you have any food hates?

Blue cheese. I also love the fragrance of cardamom but hate it when I bite into one.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

We’d eat fuchka (panipuri), whish is often listed as among the tastiest street foods in Asia. It’s made from flour, spiced seawater, onions, potatoes and chickpeas. Then we’d have waffles and ice-cream.

I’d invite a spice seller from Zanzibar, which is often referred to as one of the Spice Islands. Among its trademarks are cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper. I’d like to chat to them about what more of their wares we can bring to Scotland.

I’d ask Rami Malek, who played Queen singer Freddie Mercury in the film Bohemian Rhapsody. Mercury was born in Stonetown, Zanzibar, where there’s a plaque above the house where he lived. Also, a female chef, maybe Scotland’s only Michelin starred female chef Lorna McNee from Cail Bruich in Glasgow. Although we’re firmly focused on Indian-Bangladeshi food we’re always looking for inspiration from elsewhere. Females are under-represented in top Scottish restaurants. A senior official from the UK Home Office so I can encourage him/her to make it easier to get visas for expert chefs and front of house staff from the Indian sub-continent. It’s a continuing problem for our industry sector.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

Any street food market in Bangladesh.

The Radhuni in Loanhead was voted Scotland’s Curry Restaurant of the Year in 2020 and 2021. In July it became one of just three Indian restaurants in Scotland to be awarded an AA Rosette.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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