Nino Khan’s love for food stems from her roots and Pakistani culture.
“Food is always a huge part of any gathering with friends and family,” Nino says. “So I’m always experimenting with different spices and ingredients.
“You should see my spice cupboard, it’s overflowing with options.”
It’s no secret that the 57-year-old adores cooking, so after toying with the idea for some time, she decided to start selling her authentic masala sauce to the north-east public.
This was back in the early 2000s and the business – Nino’s Masala – has evolved a great deal since then.
Nino, who resides in the centre of Aberdeen, has over 20 years of experience in lecturing Indian cuisine.
She used to lecture at Aberdeen College and offer adult classes in Westhill and Aberdeen Grammar School, and currently offers private cooking lessons.
A family of ‘passionate foodies’
Nino’s Masala was known as Masala Sauce up until Taste of Grampian 2021. This is when Nino revealed her rebrand.
“At first I used to package the sauce in plastic tubs and sell it at local school fairs and a couple of shops in Aberdeen,” she added.
“In 2016, I developed my korma paste in collaboration with the nutrition department at the University of Abertay.
“And in the last few years, my son Omar has come onboard to help with the marketing and sales side of the business. We are a tight-knit family who are passionate foodies.
“My husband has been a huge help and is quite the cook himself, winning the World Porridge Making Championship in 2014.”
Despite the changes that have occurred in the business over the past few years in particular, something that has remained consistent is where the products are made – in Nino’s home kitchen in Ferryhill.
The product portfolio comprises a masala sauce and a korma paste. The sauce comes in a 370g jar while the paste comes in a 180g jar.
Both products are gluten-free, vegan-friendly and made with natural ingredients. They have a six-month shelf life and each jar feeds a family of four.
Nino believes they are “a much healthier and affordable alternative to your weekend takeaway”.
She went on to say: “The problem with most sauces you’ll find in supermarkets is that it’s not an authentic taste.
“Many of them have artificial flavourings, additives, and preservatives which I never use.
“I want more people to try my sauces to taste the difference for themselves. It’s what I use at home for the family.”
The cook produces fresh batches of 20 to 40 jars at a time when an order is received and takes care to ensure the quality is consistent.
For larger events such as Taste of Grampian, which she has attended for the past decade as an exhibitor, she has taken along roughly 500 jars.
They have sold out on every occasion and Nino is hoping this year at the one-day food and drink festival will be no exception.
“Nino’s Masala Sauce is used to make your own curry by simply add any meat or vegetables and cooking it all in one pan,” Nino said.
“Nino’s Korma Paste has a more mild and aromatic flavour. Just add any meat or vegetables along with either Greek yogurt or coconut milk to make your own korma.”
New products for 2023
Both products are available on the Nino’s Masala website for UK wide delivery and collection.
They are also stocked at several local stores including JK Fine Foods, Hammerton Store, Mains of Drum and Finzean Farm Shop to name a few.
However, Nino and Omar are currently working on increasing the stockists list. And it is hoped that some new products will be launched in the near future.
“I regularly upload recipes and new ideas to my website and on my Instagram page – @ninosmasala – so keep an eye out.”