Spicy Aubergine Stew

Last night I was ‘Desperately Seeking Spice’ and discovered a plump aubergine hiding out in my refrigerator 😊 I had 45 minutes to present something palatable and suitably spicy before it was time to break my fast. So I decided to cut out the elaborate prep and just throw it all into one of my dinky little woks and hey presto!

Prep time: 3 mins

Cooking time: 25 mins

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large aubergine, cubed
  • 1/2 bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp roasted ground cumin
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Salt to taste

How to prepare

  1. Place all the ingredients, except the oil, into the wok and mix well.
  2. Drizzle the oil and stir in.
  3. Cover and allow to cook until the aubergine is tender.

Word of caution: Those normally adverse to aubergine may just be tempted to delve in so keep the dish by your side and only offer to share at the risk of missing out 😜

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Chickpea & Rocket Salad

I just love this salad as a healthy, high protein, low-fat zingy variation of a desi chaat. Completely versatile as either a quick lunch or a starter dish, you can be as imaginative with the ingredients as you wish!

Prep time: 10 mins

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 480g chick peas (2×400 tins, drained)
  • 1 medium or large tomato, diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Large handful of rocket leaves
  • 1 tsp amchur (mango powder)
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

How to prepare

Simply mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Chill if desired and serve!

Achari Chicken

Good to be back here! It’s a long shift in my kitchen tonight as I prep for a private catering event later today. Christmas parties everywhere! The biriyani masala mix is well under way, wafting its aromas at this rather ungodly hour 😳

While I wait, having of course done all my chopping, I thought a bit of blogging wouldn’t go amiss given it has been a while…

Last week I cooked this flavoursome traditional dish which, as the name suggests, does not use archar (pickle) in the recipe at all! No, no no. The achari tanginess is created with my favourite good old Bengali ‘five spice’ mix. I still remember the flavour created by this incredible concoction of five seeds when my grandma made her delectable chicken curry during our rare visits to see her in Bangladesh.

So this is how it goes:

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • img_27091 medium chicken or 2 chicken breasts cut into curry pieces
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon panch phoron (five spice mix)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger purée
  • 1 tbsp garlic purée
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 200g chopped tinned tomato
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp roasted ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 hot cup water
  • 2 green chillies (optional)
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped (optional)

How to cook

  1. Wash and drain the chicken well (although it’s best not to wash the chicken to prevent campylobacter cells from spreading – the most common cause of food poisoning; cooking the chicken thoroughly will remove this as well as other bacteria – read NHS article here).
  2. Heat the oil gently and add the five spice mix. Wait until the seeds sizzle.
  3. Add the onions and cook over a medium flame until golden brown (up to 10 minutes).
  4. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes, cover and cook until soft and pulpy.
  6. Mash down the tomato mixture with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, chilli powder, salt and garam masala. Add a splash of water if the mixture becomes dry. Stir well and allow to ‘bhuna’ (i.e. the oil should separate from the spices and float to the top).
  7. Stir in the the chicken pieces ensuring they are well coated with the spice mixture. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium-high flame, ensuring the spices do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add the water and bring to boil. Simmer for 2 mins, then drop in the green chillies, if using.
  9. Cover and  cook on a low flame until the chicken is thoroughly done.
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves, if using, just before serving.

Enjoy 😊

 

Fish Kofte


These super healthy, gluten-free Fish Kofte taste delicious with a fresh mint raita and can be served either as an appetiser or a side dish with any meal.

Prior to cooking, the fish balls were rolled in rice flour and then coated very liberally with olive oil to give a light golden and slightly crispy outer finish. They were then cooked in my air-fryer for 15 minutes. Equally they can be oven-baked at 180 degrees.

Here is the recipe, but feel free to try combining any vegetables – just steam and mash first before mixing into the fish and spices.

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

Serves: 4-5 (makes approx. 18 golf-sized kofte)

Ingredients

160g tuna chunks in brine, drained

6-8 new baby potatoes, steamed and mashed

2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 rice flour + 3 tbsp more for coating

1 medium onion, finely chopped or minced

1 heaped tsp garlic granules

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp roasted ground cumin

1 tsp coriander powder

1 heaped tsp paprika

1 tsp anchor (mango powder)

1 level tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped or 1 tsp dried mint

1 tsp salt or to taste

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients, except the oil and the 3 tbsp rice flour, in a medium bowl and mix well.
  2. Knead until it all comes together into a smooth mixture.
  3. Work 1/2 tsp of the olive oil well into the mixture.
  4. Take a small bowl of warm water and moisten the palms; divide the mixture into the desired size and shape (I made golf-sized balls). Keep moistening the palms to prevent the mixture from sticking.
  5. Place the remaining rice flour on tray or large platter and roll the fish balls in the flour until evenly coated.
  6. Place the remaining oil in another bigger bowl; transfer the fish balls into this bowl and swirl the bowl until they are all coated in the oil.
  7. Cook in an air-fryer or heated oven for 15 mins at 180 degrees.
  8. Serve with your preferred dip with pride 😊

Mattar Pulao (Peas Pilau)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 35 mins
Serves: 4


IngredientsMattar Pulao

  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1″ root ginger, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1″ stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cups hot water
  • salt to taste

How to cook

  1. Rinse the rise and drain thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium flame and the cook the onions until softened and only slightly browned.
  3. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon and cumin seeds; allow the seeds to change colour.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 2 mins or until slightly browned.
  5. Stir in the peas and cook for 3-4 mins.
  6. Add the rice and stir fry for 20-30 secs.
  7. Add the water with the salt and bring to boil.
  8. Seal the pan with foil and cover with the lid and cook on low heat for 25 mins (use a heat diffuser beneath the pan if it is not a non-stick pan).
  9. Remove from the heat and allow to settle for 5 mins before serving.

New Indian Cookery Class in Ewell!

Last year, I took on the role as a school Cook where I thoroughly enjoyed feeding over 200 young children and members of staff. It was a brief but most fascinating experience; one which I would not have foresaken if I had been provided with a fully functional team….but that’s another story…

From Lasagne’s to Butter Chicken Curry, the responses from the children ranged from, “These are the best school dinners ever!” to “I hate curry, yuk!” Each day was a welcome challenge I still miss today.

I have always believed though that all things happen for a reason. Since the first day I started at the school, I had eyed up the Food Tech building at the site where I trained. And much to my satisfaction, this is the venue I have secured to hold this exclusive class where we will be preparing a two course Indian meal.

Date: Friday, 6th Feb 2015
Time: 7-8.30pm
Venue: Glyn School, The Kingsway, Ewell, KT17 1NB

There are only 8 places available so do head on to Eventbrite to book your place as early as possible!

Eventbrite - Indian Cookery Class in Ewell

Spiced Lentil & Carrot Soup

Following a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean missing out on a good old bit of spice. You can always add some punch to the simplest of recipes by dry roasting some basic spices to bring out the flavours without the use of oil.

Spiced Lentil & Carrot Soup

Here’s a very simple soup recipe which I threw together for my family one evening, based on the ‘Tadka Dal’ recipe I teach in class but minus the ‘tadka’. It makes a completely healthy meal in its own right, low in fat whilst high in fiber and protein.

Cooking Time: 30-40 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240ml) split red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 1 medium tomato, cubed
  • 3 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1″ piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp dry ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 cups water
  • sprig of fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

How to cook

  1. In a small frying pan or karahi, dry roast the cumin and chilli powder until the aromas are released (2-3 mins). Set aside.
  2. In a larger vessel combine all the other ingredients, except the coriander leaves along with the water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 30-40 mins, until the lentils and vegetables have softened.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and run a hand blender through the mixture until smooth.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add another 1/2 cup water if the soup appears too thick. Bring back to boil.
  5. Lower the heat and stir in the roasted spices.
  6. Simmer for 3-4 mins until the desired consistency is reached.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves just before serving.