Fry’s Vegetarian Durban Curry Cook-Off (Recipe Included)

Trishna Pillay, winner at Phoenix Cook-Off with Tim Hedges, MD of Fry's
Trishna Pillay, winner at Phoenix Cook-Off with Tim Hedges, MD of Fry’s

Durbanites have been cooking, tasting and getting some serious foodie entertaining in the month of June…..

Fry’s Vegetarian hosted its first Fry’s Curry Cook-Off and it was carried out at the two shopping centres, Chatsworth Centre and Phoenix Plaza.   Twelve eager Durbanites were in the running for the title of Fry’s Curry King or Queen.

We all watched him preparing his curries with so much passion and diligence and that earned him the title of “king of curries.  I’m talking about none other than our current SA Masterchef, Deena Naidoo.  He was the head judge throughout the competition.  He worked together with Fry’s product specialists to hand pick the twelve finalists from more than 100 entries submitted by the public.  The recipes that made the final cut were selected on the basis of creativity with wich they used Fry’s products to create interesting vegetarian Indian dishes.  The meat free dishes that made it to the finals were: Butter Chicken, Mince Lasagna, Chicken Strips Kayla, Mince & Methi Bhaji, Lanieres De Poulet, Asian Spiced Burger Curry, Chicken Korma, Kharhai Chicken, Chicken Biryani, Fish Curry, Spicy Sweet & Sour Chicken Chutney and last but not least, Egg Plant and Chicken Curry.

“These recipes went beyond the mainstream Indian dishes to incorporate the “retro-modern” flavour to so typifies traditional Indian food in Durban. Our local food culture derives from India but is very different from the foods typically found in that country” , says Naidoo.   He continued “South Africans have become more food conscious and experimental and this was reflected in the high calibre of the final selection which went beyond the typical Chicken Biryani to something more boundary crossing”.

Consumers also took part by trying out or rather tasting the recipes from the finalists and they voted the four semi- finalists.  Chatsworth Centre consumers voted for Trisha Pillay’s Meat Free Sweet & Spicy Chicken Chutney and Anjeni Rajkoomer’s Meat Free Lasagne.  Consumers at Phoenix Plaza loved Anita Roopnarain’s Meat Free Butter Chicken and Mark Naiker’s Meat Free Lanieres De Poulet.  The four semi- finalists had to compete at a live-cook off stage and each had 90 minutes to impress the audience and the judges.  At this stage of the competition Deena Naidoo was joined by the following panel of judges:

  • Celebrity Chef Asha Maharaj
  • CEO of Fry’s Family Foods, Wally Fry
  • East Coast Radio Presenter, Ramona Kasavan
  • Lotus FM Presenter, Mala Lutchmana
  • Radio Hindvani Presenter, Madhusan Singh
  • The Rising Sun Management

The finals took place at Phoenix Plaza and Chatsworths Centre on the 29th and 30th June respectively.   The winning recipes were Trisha Pillay’s Meat Free Sweet & Spicy Chicken Chutney and Anita Roopmarain’s Meat Free Butter Chicken.

“The cook-off has demonstrated how meat free cooking can offer a delicious alternative with a touch of culinary creativity”, said Wally Fry.  I’ll be sharing the two winning recipes starting off with Trishna Pillay’s Meat Free Sweet & Spicy Chicken Chutney.  Hope you also get to try them out!

Trisha Pillay's Meat Free Sweet & Spicy Chicken Curry
Trisha Pillay’s Meat Free Sweet & Spicy Chicken Curry

Meat Free Spicy Sweet & Sour Chicken Chutney by Trisha Pillay

Serves: 4


1 box Fry’s Meat Free Chicken-Style Strips

½ teaspoons ginger paste

3 teaspoons fennel powder

½ teaspoon each clove powder & pepper

1 teaspoon yellow food colouring

100g butter & 1 teaspoon oil

30g butter

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 cup onions, grated

4 fresh chillies

6 cloves garlic, mashed

410g tomato puree

1 can evaporated milk

½ teaspoon elachi (cardamom)

½ teaspoon pepper


  1. Place Fry’s Chicken-Style Strips in a bowl.
  2. Add ginger paste, fennel and clove powder, food colouring and pepper.
  3. Rub spices lightly into Fry’s strips, and then fry in butter & oil.
  4. Remove Fry’s strips and add extra 30g butter to the pan.
  5. Stir in fennel seeds and onions until soft. Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  6. Stir through tomato puree and bring to the boil. Add Fry’s strips and salt to taste.
  7. Stir in evaporated milk. Sprinkle elachi and pepper over Fry’s strips.
  8. Heat through before serving.
  9. Serve with hot soft parathas, butter naan or basmati rice.

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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