We cook authentic vegetarian Indian food, mainly from the region of Gujarat. This region is very fertile and is known for its vegetarian cuisine. The recipes stem back many generations and are normally passed from mother to daughter. My father passed away when I was 12 so to bring money into the family, I was taught to cook by my mother. At the age of 14, I was cooking around 35 tiffins a day. I truly believe food brings families and communities together!
I was born in 1936 in Gujarat but moved to Uganda when I was very little. In 1972, I was expelled alongside all Asians by dictator Idi Amin and arrived in the Uk with two very little boys. We settled in London but moved to Brighton in 2002.
When I was little I’d be sent to get milk from the dairy. I’d carry a metal container and they’d pour the milk out. I’d take it home and my mother and I would make yummy desserts such as Kulfi from it.
My two boys bought a business in Brighton and moved here. Initially I was still in London but would commute to Brighton most weeks. As the grandkids came along my sons suggested that I should move here. So I did and I absolutely love it.
Ah, this was one of the best moments in my life! I always wanted to open a restaurant but as you can imagine, things were very difficult. When I arrived in the UK, I had only £12 in my pocket. I went to work in a factory and stayed there until I retired.
One day, I was picked up by my sons and taken to a restaurant that had my name above the door! They had bought a restaurant as a surprise for me!!! My dream had come true at the age of 80! Now we work together as a family, which is lovely!
I love to read and still enjoy learning about things.
That has to be cooking alongside my mother! She taught me everything she knows. She knew most Gujarati recipes and I’m lucky to have been taught them.
It was a Saturday night and the restaurant was full. We were mid service and all of a sudden, the lights went. The electricity had blown and we couldn’t get it to work. We serve sharing plates which come out as and when they’re ready, so most guests were half way through their meals. Thankfully, we have wonderful guests and they were very understanding.
Vaghareli Rotli – it’s a fried chapati dish which uses leftover chapati. The rotli is shredded and a lovely, warm spicy sauce is made. This is lovely on a wintery evening.
Well, I worked in a factory for 30 years as a machine operator. Running a restaurant is the hardest thing to do but it’s certainly the most fun. I don’t think I could NOT work in food anymore!
I’m a very fussy eater! I’ve never eaten meat, fish or eggs and I’ve never consumed tea. I can’t stand most cheeses either.
The move to more natural foods is going to continue to gather pace. People will eat more healthily and we’ll continue to see more innovative plant based alternatives to hit the shelves.
At Manju’s we have a lovely intimate restaurant and we don’t want to bet bigger or open another place. I’m 85 now so very happy with what I’ve got.
I believe everyone should be able to cook healthy, nutritious meals from scratch. You can’t go wrong with a good dhal dish.
My mother wrote recipes down in a book which I have kept and will pass on to my granddaughter.
My family and I were on holiday in North India. We visited a dhaba (a roadside shaak) in the mountains where they cooked food on an open fire. The food was absolutely amazing and so was the setting. We still talk about that place, and this happened 20 years ago.
I’d love to go back to that dhaba again.
Far too many to list! Brighton’s food scene is fantastic.
Published: 1st February 2022