Spice Kitchen has hit upon the recipe for success - selling from a Walsall kitchen

November 15, 2016

Spice Kitchen has hit upon the recipe for success - selling from a Walsall kitchen

Mother and son use a 100-year-old grinder to hand make the spice blends

Using a 100-year-old grinder and recipes passed down through the generations, Spice Kitchen is a real family business.

The kitchen in question is in an ordinary suburban house in Walsall – but it’s sending out orders of handmade spice blends around the world.

Sanjay Aggarwal, 32, decided to set up the company to keep his mother Shashi busy when she retired.

He says: “We never really set out to make money, it was just an idea for my mum to stop her twiddling her thumbs.

“I thought it would be a part-time hobby and we’d just sell a few spices to friends and family. I had no idea it would take off so well.”

 

The Walsall kitchen of Spice Kitchen, run by mother and son Sanjay and Shashi Aggarwal

 

They have now converted part of their house into a base for Spice Kitchen, with one room being turned into an enormous spice larder.

They process up to 50 online orders a day from more than 2,000 customers as far afield as America.

They started selling on eBay two years ago but now they also sell on 12 other online platforms, including Amazon and Not on the High Street.

They use a 100-year-old grinder that has been in the family since Sanjay’s grandmother bought it.

It has travelled with the family and down through the generations, from Kenya where his parents were born to Birmingham where he arrived.

“It works better than a commercial machine because it doesn’t generate too much heat,” says Sanjay, who also has his own recruitment company.

 

The ancient pestle and mortar in the Walsall kitchen of Spice Kitchen, run by mother and son Sanjay and Shashi Aggarwal

 

“Similarly we use an ancient pestle, carved from a single rock in Africa which weighs 10 kilos. And we have a wooden stick as a mortar.

“My mum is an amazing cook and has a great palate for spices. It’s a real family business as my dad Ashok helps with distribution.

“We use UK and overseas suppliers, sourcing the best quality ingredients, and everything is made fresh in small batches within a week or so of the order, unlike the stuff in shops which has been hanging around for a long time and gone stale.

“We get the spices in their raw state, like cloves, curry leaves and cardamom pods, then we roast and grind them by hand.

“We specialise in Indian, African and Moroccan spices and we also have Chinese, Mexican, Jerk, barbecue and Baharat mixes.

 

Shashi Aggarwal sewing old saris into covers for the spice tins sold by Spice Kitchen in Walsall

 

“We won a Great Taste Award for our Garam Masala mix, a family recipe of a dozen ingredients which has been handed down through the generations.

“I’ve also been chosen by eBay to go to the European Parliament in October to talk about the digital economy.”

Shashi, 64, uses old saris and Kenyan Masai material to sew the covers of the spice tins or Masala dabba.

It’s a traditional container with seven different compartments and is sold with the cover for £25.95, or the spices alone for £9.95.

The Spice Kitchen slogan is ‘Sold with love’ and the logo is three elephants, because Shashi remembers seeing elephants pass by her house in Kenya and it’s an animal which links Africa and India.

Spice Kitchen is appearing at the second Birmingham International Food Fair on September 12-13.