However, she was disappointed with the conversations she was still having around Indian food, with people still only talking about their love of butter chicken or tikka masala.
Around the same time, along with her husband, they brought their first home and had children, and Patel said she found cooking after she came home from work difficult, so she started to make short-cut pastes.
After she started creating the pastes, she thought about it more, and realised if she wanted people to taste and explore Indian flavours, it had to be easy for them – and that’s when Dolly Mumma was born.
“I wanted to take people on this journey beyond butter chicken.”
Patel started her range of ready-to-cook pastes and spice in August 2020, just after a lockdown, and said they had been operating for just under a year.
When she moved to New Zealand at 15 years old, she said she had the same conversations most Indian kids did at school about curry being in her lunchbox.
But through her products, she was trying to encourage people to incorporate Indian flavours into all their meals.
An example of this was you could put tandoori paste in with your roast potatoes, she said, as well as using any of their products on pizza or pita bases, or as marinades and in your stir-fry.
Their first product was the coastal curry, which Patel said was her grandmother’s curry recipe and the one she grew up with. “To be able to recreate that and bring it into other people’s houses, that’s so special to me.”
For those just starting to venture away from butter chicken, Patel recommended starting with their cashew korma mix. “It’s great for kids.”
Prior to lockdown, Patel said they were mostly selling their products at farmers markets, and also online.