Meet the Owner - Chunu Miah, Red Chilli

Chunu Miah

Chunu Miah - Credit: Archant

Chunu Miah grew up in Bangladesh but moved to Derby as a teenager. He has since owned some of the county’s most popular Indian restaurants, including the award-winning Red Chilli in Littleover. Chunu shares his advice on choosing Indian dishes and making Indian desserts...

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I was born in Bangladesh and moved to Derby in 1978 when I was 14. Ever since I was a boy I’ve been involved in the restaurant industry. I started working for my uncle at Koh-i-Noor on London Road in Derby and eventually became the owner. I opened the Rajah Tandoori in Ashbourne in 1980, followed by The Derbyshire Tandoori in Allestree and the Ganges Brasserie in Belper. I opened Shobuj Bagan, which means ‘Green Garden’, on Osmaston Road in Derby in 1997. It won Best Curry House in Derby a few years later but in 2005 the building was demolished to pave the way for the Westfield shopping centre. I then purchased Red Chilli in Littleover. My proudest moment is when Red Chilli came runner up in the UK and Ireland Newby Teas Tiffin Festival of Curry in 2010.

What is your favourite food?

Fish bhuna. Fish dishes are a speciality in Bangladesh so I don’t eat a lot of other meat. If I’m eating at an Italian restaurant I would probably choose pasta and at an English restaurant I would always have seafood.

Which dishes would you recommend at Red Chilli?

For those who prefer milder dishes I would recommend the Karahi. It’s made from ginger, garlic, onions and green peppers and is served on a sizzling-hot cast-iron platter. If you prefer food with a medium heat, bhuna is ideal because of its lovely mellow flavour and its fresh herbs and spices. If you’re a fan of very hot food, our Lal Toofan is perfect – the name literally means red and ground chilli. It is cooked in a specially made hot and spicy sauce and the dish has the fantastic aroma of the Nagar chilli from Bangladesh.

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What about Indian dessert?

There isn’t a big demand for Indian desserts so they aren’t very well known, but if a customer asks we will always try to accommodate any requests. Rosogula is a fantastic Indian dessert. It has simple ingredients of condensed milk, fresh milk and sugar. Simply boil the milk until it thickens then add self-raising flour and cardamom seeds. It will form into blobs which you then roll into a ball and deep-fry. It’s served drizzled in golden syrup.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of opening a restaurant?

Start from the bottom and gain all the practical skills first. You should have experience in everything, from cooking and serving food to washing the plates.

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