Gift shop: Spicy shopping at Prashad Café, Cape Town – hot meals, spices, dry plant based ingredients, spice containers, and table ware, frozen prepared foods, incense

What: Prashad Café- vegan and vegetarian cuisine – North and South Indian food- with South African curry influences

Where: Three venues in Cape Town-  as of Feb 2021

Constantia Village Old Courtyard: Shop 3- opposite Mugg & Bean, phone 072 402 6735
Rondebosch: Fountain Square – off the Main Road, phone 021 685 7891
Kloof Street:  Shop 11b, Palmhof Centre, phone 021 422 0264

Eat in and delivery: Eat on-site or take away – by own pick up or delivery service [extra charge applies]
Information: E-mail Tereena Naidoo

*Theresa Peters and family operate the Baxter Restaurant at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, serving vegan vegetarian and food: “The Baxter Restaurant works according to the shows at the  theatre due to them not currently open to the public [because of the pandemic], the restaurant facilities are also closed.” Check with one of the phone numbers above for updates.  

The Prashad Café group of restaurants, Cape Town, is headed up by Theresa Peters and operated with her partners – son Krishan Peters and daughter Tereena Naidoo. Prashad means ‘blessed’. Tereena: “Prashad means ‘gracious gift.’ “Tereena adds that it signifies “anything” and may take the form of “an edible food, that is offered to a deity, saint, Perfect Master or an avatār, and then distributed in His or Her name to their followers or others as a good sign.” Prashad is strictly vegan and vegetarian. There are influences of Durban curry and South African curry but if you want a tag, Theresa Peters terms its fare as North and South Indian food. Food is regarded as a ‘blessing’ by the family. Good karma is core to their cooking. Prashad was formerly called Maharajah Vegetarian but the name was changed to avoid confusion with Maharajah, a meat restaurant (two branches), operated in Cape Town, by relatives of the Peters family. Maharajah serves meat and Prashad does not.

At the beginning of November 2021, Prashad Café, opened up a new eatery in Constantia Village, Old Courtyard (opposite Mugg & Bean). The new site combines Prashad’s fragrantly delicious hot prepared foods as well as a spice emporium. The emporium – my term – not theirs – is stocked with provisions to make curry dishes. Spices include curry leaves, saffron, curry mixes. There is dried soya mince, rice, pappadums. It is not easy to find curry ingredients in small quantities in Cape Town. Prashad has packaged everything beautifully and brings convenience into shopping for ingredients which may be difficult to source.  A fridge holds base ingredients like firm tofu (not the soft stuff in a box on supermarket shelf). New with Prashad is its range of frozen meals. The full range is launching this month [February 2021] but one can already find samoosas (potato and mince). [Note for non-South African readers- in South Africa- we say ‘samoosas’, whereas in the rest of the world, the moniker is samosas- one ‘o’.] They also stock the best incense I have ever used: Spiritual Aura. Zaps out the bad vibes, during Covid. Try it.

When I started eating at Prashad over a decade ago [called Maharajah Vegetarian at the time]– I constantly got push-back from people questioning my non-meat eating dietary habits. I eat fish- but no shell fish. I am a pescatarian but I lean towards vegetarian. Since Covid and global lockdowns, there has been a huge swing to plant based foods. I no longer have to justify why I choose plant based food. I do like a nice piece of ethically sourced fish – scroll down for Yellowtail curry recipe.

I was thrilled to find Prashad in the new Constantia venue- with a sleek and buff looking shop: Clean lines, excellent quality stainless steel curry bowls, platters and trays. The interesting thing is that my experience of Prashad has always been take-out at its Rondebosch store. The family also operates the restaurant at The Baxter Theatre, where the food is served buffet style. One takes a plate and food is served onto a plate. The Baxter is currently not open to the public because of lockdown. Tereena explains: “The Baxter Restaurant works according to the shows at the  theatre due to them not currently open to the public [because of lockdown] the restaurant facilities are also closed.”

For now, I am thrilled to be able to dine outside in the courtyard [outdoors] at Prashad Constantia or get take away of the potato samoosas. Before the Constantia branch opened, my experience of Prashad has been in take-away containers or on a plate at the Baxter so I was delighted to be served out of a range of stainless steel curry bowls and thali platters- a whole new experience. The table ware is available for sale at Prashad Constantia. I was interested to find out that many customers bring in stainless steel tiffin containers and get those filled with curries of their choice. This cuts down on plastic and is very much part of Prashad’s commitment to the environment. The stainless steel tiffin containers are currently sold out [February 2021] but more are on the way.

Another revelation for me is the Spice Box. This is a stainless steel container with a glass lid. Inside the container are small stainless steel bowls. One stores one’s spices in the Spice Box. Theresa says that every curry restaurant has a Spice Box in the kitchen. I have heaps of little packets in my kitchen, sealed with elastic bands – bay leaves, curry leaves, mustard seeds and now I can put them all in, under one lid. Ask for a bespoke spice box hamper– with or without the round container and you can put in what you like – for around R495- depending on what you select and the current exchange rate of the Rand versus foreign currency – as most of the goodies are imported from India. The Spice Box hamper makes a wonderful gift and delivery can be arranged, at an extra cost.

It is great way to put the spice back into cooking in lockdown. Conjure up a sense of eating in an Indian restaurant- in your home. It has been difficult to source spices during lockdown. Let us not get into the price and fresh ginger at the moment – if you can get it. Get a good dried or paste version at Prashad. Check out Prashad’s special paste. It includes turmeric, garam masala, roasted masala, ginger and garlic and curry leaves. The prices of Prashad spices, hot foods and frozen foods are very reasonable- in relation to similar offerings in the open market. The food is amazing and you can read more in my food review (coming soon on this site). The focus of this article is the spices and the range of offerings at Prashad–stainless steel table ware, frozen goods, soya mince, rice, incense. The spice box hampers are wonderful care packages for people who are at home. Many people have lost their sense of taste and smell, after a bout with Covid.  Prashad is a potent way of re-awakening the senses.

Prashad Café: Theresa Peters – innovator of The Prashad Café group of restaurants, photographed at the Constantia branch, which opened November 2020. In addition to hot food foods which are available as eat-in or take out, Prashad carries a range of its own spices and other ingredients for curries. This month, February 2021, Prashad is launching frozen foods and meals, suitable for home preparation such as its famous samoosas. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.

Spice box: “Every Indian restaurant has spice box in its kitchen,” says Theresa Peters of Prashad Café. See photo- stainless steel container with glass lid. Inside are small bowls and one stores spices in the bowls. Lid on and it all stays fresh. Make up your own bespoke Spice Box hamper for a gift at Prashad Café- with the spice box, spices and other curry must-haves such as curry leaves and saffron- not always easy to purchase in Cape Town. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen
Environmentally friendly: Save on plastic containers, when doing take-out and buy Tiffin containers (stacked lunch boxes) from Prashad Café. Stainless steel Tiffin containers are out of stock [Feb 2021] but are on order. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.
Spiritual Aura: Incense, spices and curry ingredients in a gift box from Prashad Café. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.
Courtyard dining: Prashad Café in Constantia has some courtyard [outdoor seating]. The interior space is open to the courtyard. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.

Fish curry recipe:  

1 kg Yellowtail

Wash fish and pat dry with paper towel. Make sure it is dry.
Marinate fish with 200ml plain yoghurt, freshly squeezed lemon salt and some Prashad paste (according to taste – for mild -2 tablespoons).

Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. Best to marinate overnight –in fridge- dish covered – to soak in all the flavours.

Put marinaded fish aside and make the sauce:

Fish Curry Sauce:  

1/2 onion, fresh curry leaves or dried- from Prashad
1-2 green chillies chopped finely
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole cumin 1 tsp crushed garlic  

Fry the above on medium heat in 1/2 cup oil until onions slightly brown. Then add 1/2 tablespoon Prashad paste and 1/2 tsp of Prashad Seafood Masala then add approximately 1/2 kg blended tomatoes (fresh or tinned or a combo).

Allow to cook for 10 minutes, add salt and tamarind (optional). Cook for another 10 minutes.   Finally add the marinated fish and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked properly.   Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.

*Recipe supplied by Tereena Naidoo of Prashad Café. Note: Prashad is a vegan and vegetarian establishment. This dish is not on the menu but you can make it at home-using ingredients from Prashad- except the fish- which is obviously not on sale at a plant based eatery. TheCapeRobyn tested this recipe at home, using ethically sourced Yellowtail. Verdict: Excellent. Tastes like restaurant fare.

Soya Mince Curry:  

Ingredients: 1/4 onions 200g, Prashad Marinated soya mince, 1/2 x tomato grated, 3 x tbsps oil, 1 x tbsp prashad curry paste, 2 x potatoes cut into small cubes 2 x tbsps green peas Fresh coriander 1/2 tsp Salt  

Method: Heat 3 tablespoons oil, add onions and fry once slightly brown add 1 tablespoon of Prashad curry paste and mix.   Add potatoes and 1/2 cup of water and cook for 10 minutes then add the marinated soya mince, salt, green peas and 1 grated tomato, 1/4 cup water and cook for a further 10-15minutes on a medium heat until the potatoes start to melt. Garnish with fresh coriander ?

*Recipe supplied by Tereena Naidoo of Prashad Café. Delicious soya mince curries are sold at Prashad. Ready-to-use marinated soya mince used in this recipe, is also available to purchase.  

TheCapeRobyn was hosted by Prashad Café.