The idea behind the Banjaraa Indian inspired food van started when I was running Snacks by AJ, an Indian comfort food start-up, serving local Peterborough homes and businesses.
In 2016, I took a stall at my kids’ school summer fete and sold 100 artisan handmade lamb samosas in about 20 minutes. The rest is history. I formed a Facebook private page and invited people to join who had tasted my handmade food. The page quickly gained a following of about 450 as the raving fans added their friends and family. Local businesses started ordering our snacks for their office meetings and we discovered there is a demand for authentic Indian street food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I took part in various local festivals in 2017 making fresh-to-order wraps with homestyle fillings, fresh salad and handmade chutneys. The festivals and Christmas fayres were a hit with Bretton selling more than 120 wraps in under 3 hours (we ran out of wraps!). I had 14 event bookings for our food in 2018.
I got thinking about a quirky food truck. I found what I was looking for in Colchester – a fully-fitted catering horsebox. It took me less than an hour to decide that this was to be the next step in my food journey.
Hence, Banjaraa was created.
What does Banjaraa mean? (pronounced – Bun-Ja-Raa)
Banjaraa means an 'Indian wanderer'. It so resonates with me and what I cook. It’s all about making simple, authentic food with Indian flavours – some in traditional form and others tweaked from my worldly travels over the last 20 years.
Our Indian inspired food served from a converted horsebox is both quirky and interesting. The Banjaraa horsebox is ideal for festivals, corporate events, and weddings, to name but a few.
As a passionate foodie, I see it as my duty to keep my friends and followers informed of the exciting developments here at Banjaraa. This week, we are sharing news of the imminent launch of our signature Coriander & Mint Relish. This incredibly versatile product can be used as a dip, a marinade, or even a curry base ingredient. But first, let’s talk a bit about the history of coriander and mint in the scope of authentic Indian cooking.
The History of Coriander and Mint in Indian Cooking
When it comes to rich culinary history, India is one of the first on the list. With its unmistakable and intense flavours travelling across the globe, Indian food is immediately recognisable anywhere you go. Home of the chutney, India is a country obsessed with delivering an eating experience that is enhanced by flavours that toy with the senses. The coriander and mint relish created at Banjaraa is a twisted edition based on a traditional Punjabi homemade recipe, and it too is made with love.
It is said that the original coriander and mint chutney recipe derives from the Northern regions of the Indian subcontinent. It has become world-famous as a non-negotiable accompaniment to Indian snacks (such as pakoras, popadoms and bhajis), and as the perfect attribute to curries. In all honesty, coriander and mint as a relish or chutney is one of the most versatilse and delicious condiments to have available.
Yoghurt and Coriander & Mint Relish
Traditionally, yogurt is not part of the recipe – but it is recommended as an ingredient for dip or marinade recipes alongside coriander and mint relish. Yogurt adds a whole new dimension of flavour to meals that is complimented by a good quality coriander and mint relish – from tikka masalas to sandwiches!
A major bonus of the Banjaraa Coriander & Mint Relish is how well it combines with yogurt to add the final touch to marinades, dips and sauces alike. While the relish alone can keep up to a year in the fridge, yogurt doesn’t hold a similar lifespan. As such, it’s more convenient to have the relish available for ad hoc use with yogurt – as and when the situation calls for it. Just make sure you add a pinch of salt before you serve it.
Using the Banjaraa Coriander & Mint Relish
The heartwarming, mouthwatering flavours of the Banjaraa Coriander & Mint Relish makes it the perfect attribute to dips, marinades or as a game-changing ingredient in a masala curry base.
Coriander & Mit Dip
Incorporate a a tablespoon (or 2) of relish with 5 – 6 tablespoons of natural yogurt to enjoy with your favourite Indian snacks.
Coriander & Mit Marinade
Combine a couple of tablespoons of relish with yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, and ground traditional Indian spices (such as cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cumin, nutmeg and mustard seeds). Marinade the meat or alternative for a few hours before BBQ’ing, grilling or oven-cooking.
Use the Relish in a Masala Curry Base
There are plenty of masala curry base recipes on the we, but the difference between a good one and a great one is the addition of Banjaraa’s Coriander & Mint Relish. Add a spoon or two at the same time as the garlic and ginger for an enhanced flavour.
In fact, if you would like tuition into the authentic techniques and methodologies involved in Indian cooking, why not book on to a Banjaraa Cooking Course with your host, Ajay?
Keep an Eye out for the Banjarra Coriander & Mint Relish
Banjaraa manufactures it’s relish in small batches in the UK, making every jar totally unique but always packed with a punch. Soon, we will be creating a video to show you how to use this versatile relish. It also gives you a chance to get to know us!
Keep an eye on our website, our social, and in your emails (subscribe today!) for the launch of the Banjaraa Coriander & Mint Relish in the next few weeks – we hope you are as excited as we are.
Here’s something to salivate on – one jar of relish will cost £4.60, and as a launch offer, we will be offering three jars of relish for £12 with FREE delivery in the Peterborough area. It will make a fantastic Christmas stocking filler for the foodie(s) in your life.
If you are a stockist, an online or local deli, garden centre or butcher, drop us a line! We would love to talk to you about distribution of our delicious coriander and mint relish.
Hope you are all staying safe. Looks like a lot of us will be staying put in the country. The ‘support local’ is definitely working. As a business we have to go out and let the customers know if and how are we following govt. guidelines and we ‘need’ to communicate and let the customers know that we are operating and truly appreciate their business
Banjaraa for one is truly grateful for the local support.
Here are some of the updates from the past month or so:
If anyone would like something different for your party, event and/or wedding – do email Ajay on firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk.
Thank you for being a part of our journey and see you soon with more updates!
Stay safe Banjaraas!
Apologies for not being able to update straight after the crowdfunder deadline date but here are some more updates from us:
Mind you Ajay has to stop tasting his food – the social pictures show he has put on some weight but then would you trust a skinny chef? (as they say!) J J.
We asked the Little Marketing Company to plan and support the marketing of our crowdfunding campaign during the lockdown. From which we have received incredible coverage and increased our brand awareness as a result of the six-week campaign.
We offer Awesome Indian Inspired wraps for Corporate & Event Catering from a Converted Horsebox. The business was created from a desire to share authentic Indian food that I always cooked for my family and friends—using simple with bold flavours, an awesome home-made taste and with no colouring.
In 3 years, I have grown Banjaraa from limited home delivery to a quirky horsebox. In 2019 through just sheer hard work and serving one awesome wrap at a time, I landed many key events from Burghley House Fine Food market to Oundle market. 2020 was due to be our best year with event bookings every weekend throughout the summer. With the lockdown, we were forced to close the business. As a result, we had no income for the unforeseeable future while in lockdown.
To see through these uncertain times, we launched a crowdfunding campaign called ‘Pay It Forward’ where people can buy services to use in the future. There were ten different rewards from donations, to corporate events, to private events, to vouchers to spend at public events, to virtual cooking lessons, with rewards at various prices from £5 up to £1000 something available for everyone.
I asked the Little Marketing Company to run a marketing campaign which included creating and running the campaign over the six weeks. This included: Social media plan and scheduling of posts, created social media ecards/tiles for each reward and thank you’s for supporters, Blog, Press release, PDF brochure and flyer, Emails to customers and leads, weekly update emails and update the website.
Raising over £2000 and increasing brand awareness throughout the six weeks, with 35 rewards purchased. I now feel more confident in pushing the business forward and raising my profile. We received some great local PR coverage, and social media stats increased massively over the six weeks. With an 82% increase in page views, a 164% increase in post reach, 106% increase in post engagement and 800% increase in actions.
“I loved working with Ajay and supporting him with his ‘Pay it Forward’ marketing campaign over the six weeks. Coming up with the plans, to preparing the marketing materials to implement and seeing it through. It’s to receive feedback from a client saying ‘we knew we chose the right company to support us with our campaign’ it just makes it all worthwhile. Thank you, Ajay, and look forward to continuing to work together going forward.” Natalie Brannigan – The Little Marketing Company
Thank you to everyone who has helped us with the campaign so far with buying #payitforward rewards/vouchers. Your likes, shares and comments have been very encouraging.
Here are some of the stats so far:
Total raised as of today £1010 from 19 supporters. i.e 16% of our target so far.
A few breakdowns so far:
Thank you again to each and every one who has supported us so far xx
Do send us a message if you have any questions at all!
Banjaraa owner Ajay Sabharwal, famous for his orange horsebox at local events has been forced to close his business during the lockdown. Along with many other event & outside catering businesses, it is heartbreaking to see all the hard work and determination put into their business to be forced to close overnight and many of their summer events cancelled.
Banjaraa now in its second full year of business was set to have the best year yet, fully booked throughout summer. Events included Burghley fine food markets, St Botolph’s on the green, Baston car show, Bourne festival, Langtoft music festival, Rockingham festival, Oundle food festival, Cambridge festival and private bookings for weddings and corporate events.
Ajay spent many hours researching the Crowdfunding initiative and whether it could work for his business to get him through the lockdown and help towards keeping the company afloat.
Crowdfunder is creating a new way of working for companies with 100% free crowdfunding during the coronavirus crisis as a part of their #payitforward campaign.
Ajay’s solution is to offer great rewards that people can use in the future, including fantastic offers on Banjaraa’s fat boy Indian wraps by rewarding people with savings on the regular price.
Ajay has also come up with a reward which can be used during this lockdown period where he will teach you how to make the perfect masala. There are some great options for prospective private and corporate clients too. Once this is all over, the corporates might want to thank their employees or customers. This is where Banjaraa can step in – bringing their horsebox to the workplace and serving awesome wraps and rice boxes.
Ajay said: “2020 was set to be our biggest year yet. We were fully booked across multiple events throughout the summer and had begun to scout locations for our new permanent base, the Banjaraa deli. The rapid spread and subsequent lockdown due to this crisis have decimated our income stream, and it’s just been heartbreaking! We are not looking for charity, but assistance to get us through this uncertain and difficult period. As soon as we are fully operational, we will share with you how we intend to pay forward the kindness we’ve received. This is going to be something extra from us and will involve food.”
So far, Banjaraa has had a great start with over 10% of the target already achieved on day one from his local fans and friends. May be crowdfunding with giving rewards is one of the solutions for small businesses who cannot get help exactly when it is needed and who have slipped through the support available.
Whichever reward people choose will directly contribute to Banjaraa weathering this storm. If people can help in purchasing rewards, this will help Ajay sustain Banjaraa over this period. There is no expiry date on the rewards Banjaraa will be paid forward.
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Please contact Ajay Sabharwal on 07557793973 or email: email@example.com
Banjaraa was created from a desire to share authentic Indian Street food with people. The food Ajay had always cooked for his family and friends. In 3 years, the business has grown from limited home delivery to the quirky horsebox. In 2019 through just sheer hard work and serving one awesome wrap at a time, Ajay landed many key events, including the Burghley House Fine Food market. Additionally, they were nominated by the local community for the Peterborough Small Business Awards, becoming finalists in the Hospitality category.
Mike from Cambridge contacted us for a summer event for his family & friends in early 2019. After some initial consultation, we invited him to do some mystery shopping at one of our festival events. Him and his wife did visit our stall at Raunds festival, ordered a wrap each and came back after 15 mins and confirmed their booking there and then.
For the party, we provided large 12 inch tortillas with a choice of the following fillings:
This is what Mike had to say about us:
Birthday Party in Glebe Way, Histon, Cambridge CB24 9HJ
"Great food, everyone loved it! 5*
Thanks to Ajay and his daughter for the great food and service at our party. He communicated well, was punctual, served delicious food including vegan. Everyone was complimentary about the food and he helped make this such a memorable event. Highly recommended."
Thanks Mike for having us!
Banjaraa is the Indian street food we grew up eating. It’s simple with bold flavours, an awesome homemade taste and no colouring. The kind of food I would feed my children! We serve our food from a converted horsebox. We are available for events, festivals, corporate gigs, weddings and private parties!
The date: 13th May. The time: 8:40AM
A usual morning making sure the kids are ready for school. All done and I open the emails to see this:
“The Peterborough Small Business Awards is delighted to confirm you are a finalist for …
The Peterborough food & hospitality small business of the year 2019
With over 1000 nominations and entries it is quite an achievement to get through to the finals so a huge well done!“
The first words in my mind and on social media from us were :
Was this some kind of joke? I knew it wasn’t fake as I had attended the #psba as a guest the year before. I just never thought Banjaraa would be one of the nominees! I didn’t think Banjaraa was ready for any award! It was too early! I was thinking “who voted anonymously for us?!” All these thoughts started to come to my mind and then I shared it on my personal Facebook page.
And boy was I so wrong in my thoughts! The amount of congratulations and personal messages/calls which followed were just amazing. I just wanted to provide some good food ‘1 wrap at a time’ but didn’t know I had touched and inspired so many people on our little journey.
The food & hospitality category had some great finalists. Some were new businesses like us and others have had a great reputation for years. A couple of them have become friends too who have helped/advised in our journey too.
The date came – 12th October and we were both excited and nervous. We attended as a table full of the Banjaraa tribe and I had a speech written down, just in case the nerves and emotion got the better of me!
Sadly we didn’t win, however, as far as I am concerned, Banjaraa had already won just by being a finalist in this category! It’s been a great exposure & recognition so far. Thank you to EVERYONE who has been a part of our journey and continues to do so. Thank you universe!
Just like any other new start-up, this year has had its ‘first’ in a lot of ways for our corporate and event catering business. Here are some of the firsts we would like to share with you:
Our first ever large-scale event was ‘Belton International Horse Trials’ at Belton house, Grantham. We met some fantastic people and served up plenty of our tasty Indian inspired wraps on a great day enjoyed by everyone.
We also served up some Banjaraa awesomeness at four different festivals around the Peterborough area. These were:
• St Botolph’s Festival on the Green
• Baston Car Show
• Baston in the Blitz
• Langtoft Music Festival
Thanks to the Baston and Langtoft teams for believing in us and booking us for their events!
We are already taking bookings for 2020, so please get in touch ASAP to ensure that we’ll be able to cater at your event.
We also took the horsebox to events around Peterborough, Sawtry, Wittering, and Raunds with the aim of reaching out to as many local small market towns and villages to spread some food love!
We catered for our first private party in Cambridge in the summer of 2019. Mike and his family truly enjoyed the food the Banjaraa way!
We served our first pop-up food with two awesome local micropubs; the Bumble Inn and the Wonky Donkey and it was an absolute hit at both venues.
Out first corporate event was with an awesome local Peterborough company – Coloplast for their family and friends fun day. We look forward to many more corporate gigs in the future. Contact us to receive our corporate leaflet!
Our first wedding catering was for Reshma and Justin at a beautiful location – Langar Hall. We catered a brunch menu with delicious fillings for them and their 70 guests. A new niche for us!
Our first wedding fayre was at ‘Hinwick Hall – Wellingborough’. We did something totally different with our mini taster bowls for the potential clients and wedding suppliers. What a location and great owners! Thanks Lavinia from ‘Events in a box’. Our next wedding fayre is at Grendon Lakes, Wellingborough!
We catered at our first fireworks night, Baston Fireworks, and there are a few other seasonal events coming soon, which we will share in due course!
Oh! And our first finalist entrance to a local award! We are honoured to have been shortlisted for an award at the Peterborough Small Business Awards.
It has been a good learning year, loving the process, building the brand ‘1 wrap at a time’! We shall do another ‘story so far’ end of this year…
Thank you for playing your part in our journey! It’s greatly appreciated!
Keeping our tribe informed. Served up stories of our Indian inspired food.