Indian curries have become popular in one of Auckland's aged-care homes, thereby pushing the envelope of food-diversity in an altogether new territory.
Auckland's Bupa David Lange Aged-Care Home in Mangere is excited about the growing popularity of Indian curries amongst its residents.
Trialling new plant-based, chicken, and egg curries have meant the care home cuisine is providing significantly healthier meal options for residents.
Currently, there are 89 residents at the care home, of which 22 are of Indian-descent, the care home manager Yvonne Kleyn told the Indian Weekender.
"The curry options are trendy with most of the residents (not just Indian residents), Usually more than half of the residents choose the curry but it varies from week to week but the curry option has gradually become the meal of choice,” Yvonne said.
"When it comes to curry dishes, the kitchen has found innovative new ways to provide variety and healthy alternatives at mealtimes," Yvonne added.
Speaking to the Indian Weekender, their Kitchen Manager Hakan Yuksel said, "The difference between the menu now, compared to three years ago is considerable."
"We have introduced vegetarian curry options that were never there before."
"We've also been able to widen the range from the normal red meat curries like pork and beef that were served by saying to ourselves 'why don't we mix it up'," Hakan said.
Each week Hakan sits down with his Sous-Chef Shalin Dixit to plan the menu a week in advance, sampling flavours and the feedback from residents and their families have helped immensely.
Recent feedback from a resident was a request for plain, healthier yoghurt to be served with their curries, to which the team was more than happy to oblige.
Hakan, who is celebrating four years in his role as kitchen manager, says not only has his Indian menu range expanded but also his knowledge of the Indian food.
"I've learnt that egg curries in India are considered to be meat and so are accepted as a dinner meal option and not just lunch," Hakan said.
David Lange Care Home, located in Mangere East, has a growing population of residents of Indian descent and is one of 48 Bupa care homes, 34 retirement villages, and seven rehabilitation sites across New Zealand.
Balkrishan Madan, a David Lange Care Home resident, told the Indian Weekender that he enjoyed the healthier curries.
"I really like the flavours and variety. Some are different to what I traditionally used to have, but I like the change because they taste good," Balkrishnan said.
It is important to note that the Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust and Bupa had partnered to bring out the first culturally appropriate South Asian Wing at the David Lange Aged Care home by the name of "Ashirwad" in 2015.