A British curry house has sent a special order of meals 4,000 miles away to the CONGO – for a handful of United Nations troops.
Chefs were set the unusual challenge of making dishes to be flown by helicopter to the Democratic Republic of Congo to feed up to 70 soldiers stationed there.
The Monsoon restaurant in South Shields, South Tyneside, was set the colossal task to drum up 10 mirch masalas, 10 achargola curries and five butternut squashtong curries for the journey.
Restaurant owner Showkoth Choudhoury, 42, started the endeavour after receiving an email from businessman Mohammed Kabir asking if he could create the dishes.
Mr Kabir – a multi-millionaire working on football projects in the Congo – had visited the restaurant last month and was so impressed that he set Showkoth the strange request.
Showkoth said: ”I couldn’t believe it when I received the email though – I had to call him [Mr Kabir] to get him to confirm it was true, and to my delight it was.
“Hopefully the troops will enjoy what we have prepared as much as he did.”
The helicopter transport for the delicious grub touched down behind in South Shields on Monday lunchtime – despite having to battle the strong winds.
Showkoth and other Monsoon staff loaded the food on to the helicopter which also boasted an array of accompaniments and side dishes.
Speaking about the task, Showkoth said: “We prepared four big containers of food, which is enough to feed up to 70 people, easily.
”I was delighted to agree to this because it’s an absolute honour.
“It’s a massive compliment to me and my staff, and it was fantastic to set the food on it’s journey.
“Hopefully all will go to plan and the troops will be enjoying the food tonight.”Mr Chowdary originally toyed with the idea of sendin onion bharjis – but he said they would not be as enjoyable following the long-haul expedition.
Asked about the curries he had chosen, Showkoth, of South Shields, South Tynside, said: “The mirch masalas are a very hot dish, with lots of chillies, while the achargola has a lot of pickles in it, and children tend to like the butternut squash one more.”I use my wife’s recipe and have adapted it for the restaurant – I also made some accompaniments and side dishes too.
“Originally I was going to send onion bhajis, but because of the way they have to be stored, they wouldn’t be as nice if they weren’t enjoyed fresh.”
He added: ”It was an honour to be able to do this – because Mr Kabir had tasted the food himself when he was here and clearly liked it.”