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Industry mourns the pioneer who brought curry to Carlisle

One of the curry industry’s great pioneers, Mr Rafique Uddin, who opened the first Indian restaurant in Carlisle, has died at the age of 84. Mr Uddin arrived in London in 1958 at the age of 27 unable to speak English. His first job was as a kitchen porter at Waterloo Railway Station’s staff kitchen. Working his way up from London, he eventually settled in Carlisle in the north where he opened The Meghna. The restaurant on Botchergate was, at first, something of a novelty with locals but soon proved to be a crowd puller and paved the way for many other curry entrepreneurs in the city. One year later Mr Uddin opened The Shaha restaurant on Tait Street, named after his newly born son. He was also the man behind the first takeaway in Cumbria, The Botchergate Tandoori. In 2011 his two sons opened Rafik’s, named in honour of their father, a 65-seat restaurant in the Stanley Hall development complex. In later years, Mr Uddin who ran his businesses with his wife, Anwar Ara Begum, enjoyed spending his free time gardening on his allotment. Throughout his life he was a well loved and respected member of the local community in Carlisle. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Curry Life award for Lifetime Achievement. Sadly, Mr Uddin was diagnosed with lung cancer a week before his death and passed away with his close and extended family around him in the Cumberland Infirmary on 17th February. He was buried at Carlisle Cemetery after an Islamic service. Prayers were also said at the mosque on Brook Street.

Rafique Uddin with his children recieving Curry Life Life Time Achievement Award from Business Minister Matthew Hancock in 2012

Mr Uddin leaves his wife, two sons, Shah Alom, 40, and Kawsar, 33, and 36-year-old daughter, Manwara Begum.

Is jackfruit the new meat?

Jackfruit, found extensively in Southeast Asia, is gaining attention as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians. The drought-resistant tree bears a fig-like nutritious fruit that bears a surprising resemblance to meat when cooked. It is now becoming increasingly popular in the US where

it is usually available in canned form. Recently restaurants and brands have started to market it as “vegan pulled pork.” In fact, the fruit has long been used as a meat substitute. Although it is grown in many countries, it has only been used as a food source in southern India where jackfruit is

used in curries and stir fries as well as the popular dish called kathal ki biryania. The Bengal word for the fruit translates as “tree mutton” or “the meat which grows on a tree”. In northern India jackfruit is known as “Brahmin’s meat” and is the new trendy ingredient at wedding feasts. Its comparative obscurity in the West may well be down to the pungent aroma of the fully-

ripe fruit. In the US, it is now being marketed as a source of protein for vegans and is used to make an all-American barbeque jackfruit sandwich as well as featuring in many Indian restaurants.


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