Authentic curry, made by you: Rafi's Spicebox

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You heard me; finally you can eat curry that doesn’t come from an over-priced jar. The personnel at Rafi’s Spicebox mix spices and sauces right in front of your eyes, then properly seal it in a plastic bag at a good price.

You cannot avoid looking in the window when you walk past the shop in Goodramgate. You might even already have done so without having realised what was going on in there. It looks like most other takeaway shops, displaying the food in their windows, but nothing is already prepared – that is your job. I was drawn to the colourful window on a depressing and rainy Saturday afternoon, and then lured in when someone opened the door. The smell is amazing; all the spices you can think of mixed together in an oriental wind of delight.

Rafi’s Spicebox is a family run business, currently consisting of two shops; one in York (hooray!) and one in Suffolk. In the shop you can find almost any type of spice and different interesting additions to your cooking cabinet. They also have a considerable amount of spiciness in every shape or form - how about five different types of chilli chocolate?

I tried the Moghlai Masala (I’d never heard of it either, but by the description it promised a luxorious Moghul dish and I was not disappointed). Most types of curry are to be found in this shop – Balti, Biryani, Jalfrezi, Madras, Pasanda, Tikka, Vindaloo etc.

The cost for all the curry mixes is £3.95 (while the side curry mixes are between £1-£1.50). All you need to do is add 300 ml of water, plus chicken or vegetables. However, the mix is meant for 1 kilo of chicken. So technically you’ll get several dinners out of it. What I did was buy chicken fillets on offer from Tesco Express (3 x 479 grams) for £10. I used two packs, and overall this has left me with six dinners for an individual or three for a couple. I just froze the rest.

The curry mix gives you a great illusion of having created a lovely curry dinner from scratch. Good quality at a good price, but by all means, you can go back to the oily curry you can buy from jars if you prefer.

Located in 17 Goodramgate (the street with all the charity shops behind the Minster).You can also order the spices online



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