Curry cook to worlds’ elite becomes head chef in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 April 2011

New chef at Oasis Indian Restaurant in Norwich, Harish Kumar.

New chef at Oasis Indian Restaurant in Norwich, Harish Kumar.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

His high-class curries have been deemed fit for princes and prime ministers.

Harish Kumar’s favourite curry dish: Chicken Chettinad

Serves four people.


• Diced chicken breast: 400g

• Chopped onion: 150g

• Chopped ginger: 30g

• Chopped garlic: 30g

• Chopped fresh tomato: 125g

• Fresh curry leaves: 5g

• Fresh corriander leaves: 8g

• Coconut oil: 30ml

• Whole corriander: 5g

• Whole cumin seeds: 5g

•Whole red chilli

• Whole black pepper corn: 5g

• Salt: to taste

• Desiccated coconut: 20g

• Coconut cream: 30ml

• Turmeric power : 7g

• Hot red chilli powder - 5g

• Lemon juice - 10ml


Step one:

Roast together whole coriander, whole cumin seeds, whole red chilli, whole black pepper corns. Once roasted, leave in a cool place. Garnish the corriander with desiccated coconut and keep the mixture on a separate plate.

Step two:

Heat coconut oil in pan. Cook ginger, onion and garlic together. When cooked till golden, add coconut cream, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and curry leaves. Once cooked well through, add diced chicken until cooked.

Serve chicken chettinad hot garnished with coriander leaves and accompanied with boiled rice, rotis or tandoori naan

From Gordon Brown and Bill Clinton, to Prince Charles and Lady Diana, he has spent years feeding the worlds’ elite at top hotels across the globe.

Now, Indian chef Harish Kumar is bringing his curry cuisine to Norwich in his new role as head chef at the Oasis restaurant on Queens Road.

The experienced cook spent years working in fine-dining kitchens at the Radisson Edwardian in London, and the Indian Tourism Development Corporation.

Here, he produced Indian dishes for world leaders, including ex-prime minister Gordon Brown who heaped praise on the chef for the presentation of his buffet at a special business dinner.

But despite this success, the chef is seeking a fresh challenge in Norwich where he hopes to draw a new crowd of customers with his traditional recipes from Northern and Southern India.

Mr Kumar said he already feels at home in Norfolk and is hoping to move his family to Norwich in the next few weeks.

“The people are very nice and they have a great love of local Indian food. I have been really impressed by the atmosphere here at Oasis. This is not a bustling London restaurant, but a family place where people stay for hours after they have had their meals.

“I think it is important to offer people great presentation as well as tasty food. This is the difference between America and Britain- British people have a great deal of respect for the way food looks,” he said.

Since joining the restaurant two weeks ago, the head chef has already introduced a brand new menu, whilst plans are also in place to revamp the interior.

The concept behind his cooking is to offer something different, whilst still using seasonal produce and catering to customers with food allergies.

Plans are in place to introduce a new lunch buffet menu in a bid to capture the midday trade of workers leaving their desks to look for a light meal.

Customer Taz Mohammed claims he has spent years eating at the famous curry houses in Ealing Broadway, London, but believes Mr Rashid delivers genuine Indian food.

The key account manager for Lotus Cars, who works in London and Norwich, said: “If I want something Indian, I always come here. Nothing else compares to it.”

Meanwhile, restaurant manager Abdur Rashid is hoping this restaurant take will Indian cooking to the next level after spending 28 years in the hospitality industry.

He said he has been in charge of Indian takeaways in London, Essex and throughout Norfolk, but the fact that they roast all their spices on the premises is what makes the difference.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772 439 or email

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