Nisha Katona is a cookbook author, businesswoman, and TV personality. She is also a barrister for child protection. Nisha is a British national, but she is of Indian descent. She is known for her curry recipes as well as other Indian cuisines.
Who is Nisha Katona?
Nisha Katona was born on October 23, 1971, in Ormskirk, United Kingdom. Her parents were both doctors, and as a child, she was expected to become a doctor herself. But Nisha had other plans for her future career. Nisha has always had an interest in cooking, but she just considered it a hobby.
The young Nisha never really thought that she would have a career as a chef and restaurateur in the future. Her dream was to become a lawyer, so she studied Law at the John Moores University in Liverpool.
She worked as a Barrister for 20 Years
After Nisha graduated from Law, she took the bar examination in 1996. She passed the bar with flying colors and became a licensed barrister. She was affiliated with the Inns of Court Law School and the Lincoln Inn.
As a full-fledged barrister, she took a job at the Chavasse Court Chambers in Liverpool. In 2008, she was appointed as the audit and marketing trustee of the National Museum of Liverpool by the Department of Culture, Media and Sports.
And in 2009, she was appointed as the Ambassador of Diversity in Public Appointments. She worked in Law for several years until she had an urge to shift careers. In 2014, she retired from her 20-year career as a barrister and decided to go into the food business.
That same year she opened the first branch of her Mowgli Street Food Restaurant in Liverpool. Within that year, she was able to open another branch of her successful restaurant. Through the years, the popularity of her restaurants has grown, so she was able to open more branches in various locations.
Additionally, she also founded The Mowgli Trust, which is the charity foundation of her restaurant chain. Her charity foundation donates £500,000 each year to various local and international causes.
She is also a cookbook author and a television host.
Nisha Katona Early Life
Nisha spent most of her childhood in Skelmersdale, and her family was one of the few Indian nationals living in the area. She and were brother were subjected to racism and bullying in school. The racial hate grew worse, and it came to a point where their house was vandalized.
Her parents were very kind-hearted and would still treat patients who did not even like them because of the color of their skin. Her parents believed that racism would end if the people in the community would just get to know them.
So her parents came up with the idea to bring the community closer through good food. They introduced Indian cuisine to their neighbors so that they have an idea of their culture. After a long day at the clinic, her mother would cook up a banquet and invite all their neighbors.
Soon enough, their neighbors learned to accept them, which put an end to racism and hate. This became an inspiration for Nisha, that food can bridge gaps and bring people closer together.
She is Married to Her Husband Zoltan Katona
Nisha is married to Zoltan, who she met while she was still a student. Zoltan Katana is a renowned classical guitarist from Hungary. After passing her bar exams, Nisha and Zoltan moved to Liverpool, where they start started building their family. The couple has two daughters named India and Tia. Nisha juggled raising two kids and working as a barrister during their early days in Liverpool.
Zoltan Katona Wiki, Biography
Zoltan Katona was born in 1968 in Budapest, Hungary. He has an identical twin brother named Peter. Together they formed the guitar duo called Katona Twins. Zoltan and his twin brother studied music at an early age. They were ten years old when they entered the Béla Bartók Conservatory of Music.
From then on, they were given the privilege to study in various prominent music schools. The classical guitarists Zoltan and Peter have performed all over the world. The music of Zoltan and his twin are also highly acclaimed, and they are considered to be one of the best classical guitarists of their time.
Nisha Katona Restaurant and Locations
Nisha Katona opened her first restaurant in 2014 at Bold Street, Liverpool. She did this after quitting her job as a barrister. Nisha took a gamble and left her high-paying and secure position to open a restaurant. She invested all her savings and took a bank loan to fulfill her dream of opening her restaurant.
The aspiring restaurateur then took a 2-year lease on a vacant property in Bold Street. At that time, she did not want a long-term lease because she was afraid her restaurant would not last that long. Next, she came up with the name Mowgli which she got from a famous children’s movie. Mowgli meant “wild child,” was a pet name that she gave her two daughters when they were unruly at home.
.@Mowglistfood signs for its debut #London site, on Charlotte St in #Fitzrovia, secured by @ShelleySandzer – https://t.co/vv5U22srbO pic.twitter.com/SeG25A0rmQ
— Dine Out (@DineOutMagazine) August 7, 2021
Her inspiration for opening her restaurant was to introduce Indian cuisine to the Liverpool restaurant scene. She wanted to show how healthy and delicious curry can be. Once the doors restaurant opened, the customers kept pouring in, and so the following year, she was able to open another branch in Corn Exchange, Manchester.
In 2016 and 2017, she opened in Water Street, Liverpool, and Grand Central, Birmingham. And in 2018, she was able to open two branches in just one year, one in Westgate, Oxford, and one in Stoney Street, Nottingham.
Nisha opened four more branches in 2019 located in Manchester, Sheffield, Cardiff, and Leicester. The following year she opened in Boar Lane, Leeds. Today, she is set to open more Mowgli branches at Ellesmere Port, Cheltenham, Bristol, Glasgow, and Edinburgh by 2021 and 2022.
Nisha Katona Net Worth
Nisha has an estimated net worth of $5 million which comes mainly from the success of her chain of restaurants. Since she first opened doors, her restaurants in various locations have gained a considerable following. Nisha and her team of executive chefs make it a point to develop innovative recipes to keep their customers interested.
Mowgli has successfully introduced curry to the dining public as something delicious and healthy. Another source of revenue for Nisha Katona is her published cookbooks. The barrister turned chef has three cookbooks under her name.
She is set to release her fourth and latest cookbook in the last quarter of 2021. In addition, she also has radio and TV shows. Her TV shows include Secret Chef, My Spice Kitchen, Sunday Brunch, and Lorraine. She is also the regular guest chef of the show This Morning on ITV.
Celebrity chef Nisha Katona has published four acclaimed cookbooks.
Nisha Katona First Cookbook Mowgli Street Food
Her first cookbook is entitled Mowgli Street Food. This book contained some of Nisha’s beloved family recipes. Some of these heirloom recipes have been tweaked to make them appeal to the health-conscious crowd.
Her book also features vegan Indian recipes. Her next cookbook is entitled The Spice Tree, which also features authentic Indian recipes that are simple and easy to follow. This book teaches about the basic spices used in Indian cooking. Most of the featured ingredients and spices have been since ancient times.
The featured recipes are straightforward, and any home cook can easily replicate them. Nisha will teach you how to cook an authentic Indian meal in just four easy steps.
Some of the featured recipes in this cookbook are Steamed Trout with Mustard, Lamb Raan, Garam Masala with Ginger, and Butter Chicken, to name just a few.
Nisha’s Third Cookbook
Her third cookbook is Pimp My Rice which, as the title suggests, is mainly about rice.
This book contains more than 100 rice recipes. The recipes are from all over the world, and some are from the family recipes passed down from Nisha’s mother. Examples of the recipes featured in the book are Bibimbap, Piri Piri, and Black Rice. Nisha also gives her readers some tips on how to cook rice perfectly.
Rice is not a staple in other cultures, so some are afraid of cooking rice. Nisha Kotana provides techniques on the fool-proof way of cooking rice. She also aims to educate her readers on the many ways to cook rice. It can be a meal in itself, which saves a lot of time.
Nisha released her fourth book in 2021. It is entitled 30-Minute Mowgli, which features quick and easy recipes.
These are the recipes that Nisha cooks for her own family. They are simple but packed with flavor. The ingredients are also simple, so there is no need to spend a lot of time chopping and dicing. As the title suggests, anybody can cook these meals in half an hour.
Her featured recipes are mostly made from pantry staples. The 2020 lockdown inspired her to create recipes that anyone can put together with what was available in the fridge or pantry. Her latest cookbook features recipes for all meals of the day.
You can pair them with a side dish or some rice and noodles to create a light but delicious meal for any time of the day. This is the perfect cookbook for the working moms out there.
Nisha Katona Butter Chicken Recipe
The Butter Chicken is one of Nisha’s signature recipes. It is easy to make and has the unique flavor of the tandoori dressing. This dish is perfect for dinner parties.
5 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large white onions, sliced thinly
1 thumb-sized ginger, grated
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp fenugreek
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp chili powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
400 g canned tomatoes
5 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tbsp tandoori masala
500 g boneless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
80 g butter
Saute the onions, garlic, and ginger in preheated oil for about 5 minutes or until light brown. Lower the heat to medium and add all the spices. After a minute, pour in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and Greek yogurt. Cook for 5 minutes while constantly stirring so the sauce does not burn.
Use a hand-held stick blender to puree the cooked sauce and then set it aside. Prepare the chicken by rubbing it with the tandoori masala and then pan fry it in a small amount of oil. Cook the chicken for more or less 10 minutes or until light brown.
Heat the pureed sauce in a pan and then add the cooked chicken. Add 2 cups of water to dilute the sauce. Season with salt and a sprinkling of sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer for 20 minutes or until fully tender and cooked. Turn off the heat and add the butter.
Nisha Katona Chicken Curry Recipe
The Chicken Curry is one of Nisha’s childhood favorites. It was always served when they had guests, or there was a special occasion.
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1½ tsp mustard seeds (black)
2 large white onions, diced
1 thumb-sized ginger, grated
6 garlic cloves, minced
5 pcs fresh curry leaves
4 pods green cardamom
500 g boneless chicken breasts (no skin), cubed
2 tbsp almonds (ground)
100g coconut cream
1 cup coconut milk
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp chili powder
1½ tbsp garam masala
1½ tbsp powdered coriander
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
2 green chilies, diced and seeds removed
¾ cup plain yogurt
½ small bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
Cook the mustard seeds in preheated oil until they pop. Then sauté the garlic, ginger, and onions until slightly toasted. Add the cardamom, curry leaves, and cubed chicken. Cook for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and pour in the coconut cream, coconut milk, almonds, and the rest of the spices.
Add ½ cup water to dilute the sauce. Season with salt and sugar. Place the lid and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. Lastly, add the yogurt and chili. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves after plating.
Nisha’s Biryani Recipe
Chicken Biryani is also another dish that is popular in Nisha’s restaurants and even in her own home. This is an easy dish that you can cook in just 30 minutes. A perfect meal for any occasion.
5 tbsp oil
2 large onions, minced
1 thumb-sized ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
600g chicken cubed
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 stick cinnamon
3 green cardamom pods
100g dried apricots, chopped
600ml cold water
400g basmati rice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
Onions Side Dish Ingredients:
5 tbsp oil
3 large onions, chopped
1 tsp salt
Saffron Pour Ingredients:
1 tsp saffron soaked in 100ml warm milk (20 minutes)
120g chapati flour
2 tsp vegetable oil
Heat oil in a deep, large pan and sauté garlic, onions, and ginger until lightly toasted. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in all the dry spices and the rest of the ingredients. Add water and then simmer for 30 minutes.
In another pot, cook the rice in water, turmeric, and salt. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. In another pan, fry the onions until brown and season lightly with salt. While the chicken is slowly cooking, preheat the oven to 200 Celsius. In a baking dish, layer the rice, onions, and chicken alternately.
Lastly, pour the saffron and milk mixture over the top. Make the dough by simply putting together all the components and allowing it to rest. Place the dough on the sides of the baking dish and then place the lid. When cooked, sprinkle coriander and pomegranate seeds on top.
Racism and gender bias have been Nisha’s struggles when she was just starting out both in her career as a barrister and as a chef. While she was still starting as a barrister, most of her peers were men, and they did not believe that she had what it takes to succeed in her career.
But she proved them all wrong. As a child, she and her whole family were also subjected to racism because their community did not know their culture. However, her physician parents reciprocated their neighbor’s hatred with kindness.
And in the end, their community was able to welcome them despite the cultural differences. When she gave up her career as a barrister, she decided to invest her life savings but found it lacking. So she needed to apply for a bank loan. The banks were not willing to grant her a loan since they had doubts.
They doubted that a woman with no previous experience would make it in the very competitive restaurant business. Finally, she was able to find a bank that trusted that she had a fighting chance to make her business succeed. The restaurant business was dominated chiefly by men, and she had difficulty penetrating it at first.
The Beginnings of Nisha Katona’s Restaurant Mowgli
Nisha Katona conceptualized Mowgli one evening while she was having a cozy dinner with her family. They were eating their usual home-cooked Indian dinner, and she came to realize that there are only a few Indian restaurants in Liverpool.
The idea kept bugging her for several days after that. She had the urge to introduce the simple home-cooked meals of a typical Indian family. Nisha wanted to share the delicious and straightforward Indian meals that she loved as a child with the public.
These are the meals that she serves her husband and two daughters being a busy mom and career woman. At that time, Nisha was already in her 40s, but she quit her barrister job and pursued her dream of opening a restaurant of her own.
Her first option was to get a small stall at the mall and sell her food there. She still had doubts about her idea, and she wanted to start small just in case her business venture fails. However, even the mall managements were hesitant about her business venture.
After several attempts at getting a bank loan, she finally succeeded, but it was only a tiny amount. Nisha was forced to use all her savings and the bank loan to open her first restaurant in Liverpool. She risked everything, but it was all worth it. One year after, she was able to open another Mowgli restaurant. From then on, she has opened several more branches in different locations.
The Greatest Achievement of Nisha Katona
It may seem that the success of her business is the most outstanding achievement of Nisha Katona, but according to the restaurateur, it is not. It is undeniable that her business is a huge success that she never even expected when she started.
But since she opened her first restaurant, people have been lining up to have a taste of their delectable but healthy dishes. Her success has also earned her recognition. In 2019, Nisha was given an honorary doctorate at Edge Hill University.
She was also awarded an MBE at the New Years Honors for the food industry in 2019. For Nisha, her success is not measured by these awards or the amount of money she is making.
The successful barrister turned restaurateur is proud to say that her most outstanding achievement is providing 500 jobs since she opened her first restaurant. Nisha plans on opening more restaurants to provide more jobs.
This is a very noble goal, especially during a time like this when many people are in need of employment. The sharp businesswoman is not just looking out for her business but for her employees as well. She wants to make sure that they have a secure job especially in a time of uncertainty.