The ultimate British curry is on its way
ASDA has launched a daring campaign to grow all of the ingredients needed for a good curry â€“ here, in the UK.
It is testing new growing techniques and setting aside land in the hope of producing the UKâ€™s first commercial crops of plants and spices normally only found in much hotter climates.
If successful the move could cut food imports dramatically, reducing air miles and transport costs â€“ while providing British growers with a huge new market.
Said ASDA fresh produce technologist Chris Wibberley: â€œWe are on the verge of producing the ultimate home grown curry.
â€œInstead, of going for an Indian, people will genuinely be able to say that theyâ€™re going for a British.â€
The move is part of the supermarketâ€™s continuing programme to help British growers expand into new areas.
Initial trials will concentrate on growing Doodhi, Mooli, baby aubergines and Karela in temperature-controlled glass houses in Lancashire and Lincolnshire.
However, plans are also underway to produce okra, a key ingredient for curry dish Bhindi Bhaji and mustard leaf, used in Sag.
Baby plants, with varieties carefully chosen to enable the crop to thrive in Britainâ€™s colder climate will be planted within the next few weeks.
Herbs such as coriander can already be grown in the UK as well as a wide variety of hot chillies â€“ including one of the hottest chillies in the world.
If successful, ASDAâ€™s campaign would mean that every element in a chicken tikka massala â€“ the most popular curry dish â€“ would be produced in the UK.
Said ASDAâ€™s Chris Wibberley: â€œHundreds of thousands of curries are eaten across the country every week â€“ itâ€™s the official British dish.
â€œDeveloping home grown ingredients makes perfect economic sense. It would finally give us true ownership of our favourite food – and may even help create new uniquely British flavours in the process.
â€œIf successful, it wonâ€™t be long before we hear characters from the radio soap opera The Archers talking about harvesting crops of okra and chillies around Ambridge.â€
Experts expect ASDAâ€™s campaign to produce results within the next three years.
Only adapting ginger to grow cost effectively in the British climate has so far proved challenging for plant scientists. A wide variety of rice can already be grown all over Europe.