Chef Sunil Kumar Sinha is keen to dispel the myth that authntic Indian food is calorie laden or fattening.
“How often do you see an over weight Indian chef?” asked Sunil, adding, “The truth is real Indian food is incredibly wholesome and many spices have health benefits, stimulating the body’s metabolism and promote weight loss.”
Massala is no ordinary high street curry house. Located in the prosperous commuter village of Cobham, where the average house prices is in excess of £1.5 million, the restaurant has been named one of the three top Indian restaurants in the UK by the Cobra Good Curry Guide 2013.
The menu includes such starters of Pan Fried Goan Scallops tempered with mustard seeds, priced at £6.95, and the Massala Platter of exquisite chicken, lamb, seafood and paneer dishes for £9.95. Mains feature Patrani Machchi – a whole sea bass prepared in traditional Parsi fashion – steam cooked with coconut, sesame seeds, coriander and mint for £16.95. Also on offer is Lobster Massala – a fresh whole Lobster in its shell cooked with lime and turmeric in a pepper Massala sauce with fresh curry leaves, which costs £28.95.
The area is not just home to Chelsea’s multimillionaire footballers. Many international sporting and show biz figures also live nearby including; Freddie Flintoff who is a regular as is PR Guru Max Clifford. Chef Sinha is unphased by the illustrious clientele that come through his doors, having cooked for Princes Charles and the late Princess of Wales.
The restaurant also offers a five star wine list to complement the outstanding food. Created by Massala’s Sommelier Maria Rodriguez, who previously worked with Gordon Ramsay and Terence Conran. The list includes a Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Rollin 1998 at £133 and the Dom Pérignon 1999 Champagne which costs £200 a bottle.
Quizzed as to how his WAG clients keep their figures Chef Sunil said; “Our cooking is light – unlike some, we don’t go mad with ghee, cream or oil.
Sunil’s WAG clientele tend to opt for dry dishes such as oil-free Ajwiani Jhinga, (prawns) grilled in a clay oven and steamed Pastrani Macch (fish). Many stick to vegetarian dishes at lunchtime, including the tasty Khumb Hara Pyaz (mushrooms and spring onions), Paneer Mirch Massala (cottage cheese with peppers in onion and tomato sauce), Sukhi Meloni Subzi (peas, carrots, broccoli, corn and beans in a spicy tamarind sauce) and Okra Kumuri (ladies’ fingers with onion and garlic).
Those watching the carbs tend to avoid rice and breads or go for boiled, rather than pilau rice – which is fried. Different regions of Indian eat rice or bread, not both.
The diet in village subcontinent will largely consist of pulses such as lentils, curried vegetables and plain rice or wheat-based bread such as chapatti, said Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide, who added, “Village India rarely eats meat because it is expensive – locals obtain all the protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins they need from such a diet.”
Sunil blames the reputation of Indian food being fattening on traditional high street curry houses which have anglicised dishes on which many diners gorge themselves. By ordering deep-fried popadums, sweet chutneys, a starter, several main course curries, with rich, oil-laden sauces, pilau and copious amounts of booze, it not uncommon for a diner to consume 5,000 calories in a sitting.
For those that cannot get to the Surrey restaurant, but want to follow its healthy eating regime, Chef Sinha has devised a 7-day WAG diet featuring their favourite dishes, which is available to download from the website:
Editors’ Notes: Menus, recipes and hi res photos available.
As recognition of the outstanding food, wine and service, Massala was awarded the Top 30 best in Britain award for Indian restaurants in 2011, and winner of the best signature dish in 2010 and 2011 for its Monkfish Malabar Massala is named one of the top three in the country by the Cobra Good Curry Guide 2013.
Massala serves ancient traditional Indian food, with every dish prepared and cooked fresh daily, using only the best locally sourced ingredients. Chef Sinah re introduced some long forgotten recipes of rural India, which are regularly recognised at the National Curry awards in London.
Massala is a unique Indian Restaurant that specialises in cooking authentic Indian cuisine using ancient Indian recipes, prepared fresh every day, using prime locally sourced produce – all to create the finest Indian dishes.
The limited choice of dishes is to ensure that each meal is freshly cooked to order ensuring the finest quality Indian food. Unlike most Indian restaurants in the UK, the dishes and breads are cooked using a special charcoal burning clay Tandoor oven. This imparts a unique taste and flavour, whilst ensuring the food remains succulent and tender.
The kitchen employs a charcoal tandoor, which is use for slow roasting mutton overnight.
Massala, 19 Anyards Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 2LW
T: 01932 865005 Tw: @MassalaCobham E: firstname.lastname@example.org