Back in April 2009, long before food allergen labelling became law, my mum Rukhsana and I decided to try our hand at selling our fresh, homemade samosas and wheat and gluten free onion pakora (onion bhaji) at a local Farmers’ Market in Brindley Place, Birmingham. The immediate popularity of our yummy artisan treats took us both by surprise (we sold out!) - and Afia’s Samosas Shop was born. The weeks and months flew by, each one bringing back more and more customers, all hooked on the delicious layers of spicy taste and moreish texture of our lovingly made home recipes. We even started winning awards…
From those three humble samosas (veg, chicken and lamb) and a simple pakora recipe, we proudly became the UK’s first Wheat and Gluten Free Samosa range, which today includes a variety of traditional meat, vegetarian and vegan fillings. Using customer feedback the range has expanded to include homemade flatbreads, curries and Indian pickles (Achar), as well as the traditional artisan pastry samosa, now available in 11 tasty fillings to suit every palate. All our range (with the exceptional of the traditional wheat flour pastry samosas) is wheat and gluten free.
Inspiration for researching and developing our Wheat and Gluten Free Samosa pastry came from Mum. She has coeliac disease, meaning she is intolerant to the protein gluten, which is found in most grains including wheat, barley and rye and used to make a wide variety of foods from bread and biscuits to cakes and pastry. Samosas – a staple of Indian cooking - are traditionally made with wheat flour pastry, which naturally contains the protein gluten. So, for Mum to be able to enjoy her traditional diet we had to come up with an alternative; one that looked and tasted just as good but without the gluten (and which wouldn’t simply crumble when left in the fridge for a few days either!). With our delicious wheat and gluten free pastry, she could eat delicious samosas cooked using exactly the same traditional method, with no compromise on taste, texture and authenticity.
Our Wheat and Gluten Free Samosas are made from a secret recipe pastry that closely mimics the taste and behaviour of traditional wheat flour pastry. It can be rolled out really thin, deep fried at high temperatures without burning, frozen, reheated in the microwave or cooked in the oven to eat hot or cold. The pastry is delightfully light, crispy and crunchy - neither crumbly nor hard – which can be an issue with some free from pastries. In fact, many customers actually prefer the Wheat and Gluten Free pastry due to this very texture.
We remain close to our roots and wherever possible use locally sourced, quality ingredients from the Midlands. Everything is handmade, using traditional home cooking methods, staying true to the essence of our family recipes.
Go on, give us a try… I’m convinced you’ll be back for more!