Posts Tagged ‘Indian food’

May 2010 Food Blog Round Up

Friday, June 4th, 2010

This month definitely has a seasonal theme of Spring to it.  Everyone has recipes for rhubarb, all of which are so much more inspiring than the classic Rhubarb Crumble that I blogged about this month and the rhubarb compote that we have been living on.  The Rhubarb Raspberry Betty from The Wednesday Chef will probably even get an outing in the next few days.

CookSister is a fusion blog from a South African living in London, so this month has seen her start series on restaurants and other things in South Africa to celebrate the upcoming South African FIFA World Cup 2010; something we’re all very excited about here in our household with every type of Panini card and sticker book being collected (yes Panini is not just a type of bread).  What caught my eye, though, was a recipe for Rhubarb, Strawberry and Ginger Tarts.  I love rhubarb and, being English, don’t see that it would be a fruit/vegetable devised by Terry Pratchett etc etc but will live with being laughed at.

David Liebovitz has two delicious looking recipes – one for tomatoes and the other an Ottlolenghi recipe.  I was drawn most to the colours and earthy tastes that I anticipate from the French Tomato Tart, which would be a great summer sun or picnic food, or round a long table at a family gathering and cool glasses of white wine.  The Ottolenghi recipe is Fried Beans With Sorrel and Sumac which is a great sounding recipe and uses delicious sumac; for those who might be struggling to find sumac or zaatar, Steenbergs sells both and the zaatar was rehashed recently with help from Yotam Ottolenghi.

Mahanandi is a beautiful blog full of Indian recipes that make your mouth water and inspire you to make delicious Indian cuisine, as well as some amazingly gorgeous garden and flower inspiration.  There is a fantastic set of photos of gardenias from Mahanandi’s American garden that are so pure and beautifully formed.  I love their recipe for Zucchini Zunka and will definitely trying to do this myself – I am always struggling to inspire the rest of the family to enjoy zucchini / courgettes here, and this will just be perfect.  I think I will, also, combine it with the healthy green colours of her Green Bean and Green Peas masala.

At Smitten Kitchen, I once again found a rhubarb recipe and this time loved the Rustic Rhubarb Tarts, which I will definitely file away in my mind as something to try this year/next year.  However, it’s the Carrot Salad With Harissa that I am going to do first; I love carrots as a vegetable and in carrot cake, but have always struggled with it sitting insipidly, shredded in a salad.  This recipe, with its bite and kick from harissa, might just lift the chore of eating a healthy salad to something acceptable.  And to round it all off, I am a sucker for cakes and baking so the Pecan Cornmeal Butter Cake will soon get an outing.

In New York, The Wednesday Chef has the exotic sounding recipe for a biscuit that’s made like bread with the long Greek name, Paximathakia Portokaliou, but I don’t think I will ever get around to making these.  And then it’s got to be her Rhubarb Raspberry Betty recipe that I think I’ll make this week when my parents come down from Northumberland; my father loves a good pudding and adores rhubarb.

Recipe For Kulfi – The Perfect Indian Pudding

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Of course, you need a pudding/sweet to round off the indulgence of a delicious, groaning table of delicately spiced Indian food.  Kulfi (Indian ice cream) has been made for ages and was served to the Moghul Emperors at their hedonistic courts in Delhi and Fatehpur Sikri. 

It is harder than the soft texture of British ice creams, but then they do pump them full of air to bulk them out (and so increase profits but add value as “soft scoop”).  And I love their flavours, eucalyptus cardamom, nutty pistachio and almond and tropical mango.

2.25l (4 pints) full cream milk
150g (5½ oz) Fairtrade caster sugar
4 drops Fairtrade organic vanilla essence (Steenbergs is best, but I am very biased)
2 pinches ground organic green cardamom
10g (½ oz) flaked almonds
10g (½ oz) chopped unsalted pistachios
50ml (2 fl oz) single cream

1.  Bring the milk to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat, stirring all the time and until it has reduced down to one-third of its volume.  It is important to keep stirring to stop it sticking or burning; whenever a film forms on the top, just stir it in.

2.  Add the Fairtrade caster sugar, Fairtrade vanilla essence, ground cardamom powder and almonds, and stir until everything is well combined.  Simmer like this for 2 minutes.

3.  Transfer to a bowl, add the pistachios and stir in, then let it cool down completely, which will take about 30 minutes.  Stir in the cream and pour into kulfi moulds or yoghurt pots. 

4.  Put in the freezer until solid, preferably overnight.  Get it out of its mould by running under a hot water tap for a few seconds.  When serving, sprinkle liberally with a few more flaked almonds and chopped pistachios.

Recipe for Lamb Curry for a Diwali Feast

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

We are in the middle of the diwali festival, the Festival of Lights.  This is a 5 day festival with the main celebration being on the 17 October this year.  I love diwaali, even though we are not Hindus here.

I love what it stands for, its legends and the idea of having a fun festival rather than the sobre festivals of British christianity (even if we all go home after church and indulge a bit).  I love the practicality of being able to pray for wealth and making puja to Lakshmi, rather than the embarassed about wanting to pray and hope for profit.

We always celebrate diwaali with friends – none of us are Hindu – but we like the smells and the food and the music of India.  We have got some traditional Indian decorations including icons of my favourite Ganesha with his large tummy and his delight in the finer things of life.  My granny gave me an old ivory Ganesha from colonial India as well as a buxom Lakshmi, both of which I treasure.  My maternal grandmother, Gromi as I called her, was German and the Lakshmi was the only item that she retrieved from her bombed house after the war; the Russian troops had used it as a candle stick and it was covered all over in wax, so the looters had thought it of no worth.

Then we have the wall hangings, door hangings and bells and lights and candles and lamps and so on.  And there is the food.

I have been cooking every evening this week.  We will be having Keralan fish and prawn curry, homemade chicken tikka, Punjabi lamb curry, dhal, saag aloo, Gujerati green beans, as well as breads, samosas, bhajis and sweets galore.

But the best part is friends.  They are the flowers in the garden of life.  We are celebrating with our dearest friends in our village, and we can all let the light, food and light shine in and home the gold will glister our futures.  It is a time to forget the hassles of life, throw off the stresses and strains of the daily grind and overindulge and believe that love conquers all.

Thank you and praise to Rama and Sita, and Hanuman, Ganesha and Lakshmi.

Here’s how I made the lamb curry:

20g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
8 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped finely)
3tbsp organic vegetable oil
2 whole organic green cardamoms
2 whole black cardamoms (optional as a bit harder to get, but see
5 curry leaves (or 1 bay leaf)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely
750-800g diced lamb
½tsp organic Fairtrade turmeric powder
1tbsp organic coriander powder
1tsp Fairtrade organic garam masala
½ tsp sea salt
4 medium tomatoes, pureed, or a tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml water
Handful of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped finely

Put the ginger and garlic in a pestle, with a teaspoon of water and mash to  a paste with a mortar.  Alternatively, you can use a small coffee grinder.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add the cardamoms, curry leaves (or bay leaf) and stir fry for 15 seconds, then add in the onion.  Turn the heat down a bit and fry the onions until translucent and just turning brown at the edges; this will take about 7 minutes.

Now add the lamb cubes and stir fry for 3 or so minutes, then add the ginger-garlic paste, spices and salt.  Cook until the mixture is dry; this takes about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the water, bring to the boil, then lower the heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally to ensure it does not stick, and add any water if you need to.

Just before serving, add the chopped coriander leaves and stir in.

Recipes – An Indian Feast of Food

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

This is an Indian feast that I first put together as a demonstration for Yorkshire Ladies.  It requires a bit of preparation but is surprisingly quick to finish off.  The key is to make the Masala Gravy beforehand, divide it into smaller amounts and then to freeze it, and to marinade and pre-cook the Tandoori chicken bites the day before or in the morning.  We make a quick version of the Meen Papas regularly which I will explain in a subsequent post.

Masala gravy


110g ghee (sunflower oil, if cannot get this)

 150g garlic cloves, finely chopped

110g ginger, finely chopped

1kg strong onions, chopped

600ml water

250g masala paste, using Steenbergs organic Madras Curry Powder 


1.       Add 50ml water to 200g of Steenbergs curry powder and stir to thick paste.  Add a little more water if you want to.

2.       Heat ghee in a wok and stir fry the garlic and ginger for 2 minutes.  Lower the heat and add onions.  Don’t add all onions at once as they will reduce down in size as they cook.  Continue stir-frying until the onions become caramelized.

3.       Add the water, then using a hand blender or in a blender mash up the mixture to a smooth puree.

4.       Add the curry paste to the gravy and stir in.  Boil for about 10 minutes on a gentle simmer. 

5.       Take off the heat and put into 3 pots of equal size and freeze.


Red marinade


150g natural yoghurt

2tbsp vegetable oil

2tbsp lime juice

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 fresh red chillies (or fewer if you’re feeling nervous)

2tbsp fresh coriander leaves

1tsp organic cumin seeds, roasted

1tsp organic garam masala, roasted

2tbsp organic tandoori powder

½tsp organic chaat masala 


1.       Add a little water to the Steenbergs garam masala and tandoori powder and mix to paste.

2.       Put the paste and all ingredients into a blender and puree


Marinaded chicken


20 4cm cubes of skinned chicken breast

200g red marinade (½ the mixture above) 


1.       Put the chicken breasts into a non-metallic bowl and pour over the red marinade.  Mix well and leave in fridge for 24 hours.

2.       Preheat grill to medium (or ideally use a barbecue).  Skewer the chicken cubes and put on grill pan.  Grill for 5 minutes on each side.  Check that the meat has cooked through.  If it hasn’t grill for a little longer.


Chicken tikka masala


20 cooked chicken tikka pieces

2tbsp ghee

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

225g onions, very finely chopped

2 ladles curry masala gravy

1½tbsp organic tandoori masala paste

6 canned tomatoes

1tbsp white vinegar

1tbsp tomato ketchup

175ml canned tomato soup

½ green bell pepper

4 green chillies, chopped

100ml single cream

1tbsp garam masala

1tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

½ tsp chaat masala


1.       Heat oil in wok and stir fry garlic and onions until golden brown.

2.       Add pastes and gravy and cook for 2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients and cook for 5 minutes.  Add chicken pieces and cook for a further 5 minutes.


Meen pappas


400g white fish

2 tomatoes, quartered

1 onion, sliced

20 curry leaves

2 green chillis

2.5cm ginger sliced

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp chilli powder

400ml coconut milk

1tbsp lemon juice

1tbsp vinegar

½ tsp salt


1.       Cut fish into cubes 

2.       Heat oil in frying pan.  Add tomatoes, onion, curry leaves, green chillis and ginger.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add turmeric and chilli powder.  Add coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

3.       Add fish and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

4.       Add lemon juice and vinegar.


French beans with cumin and tomatoes


2tbsp oil

3 – 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1tsp cumin seeds, lightly roasted and crushed

¼ tsp chilli powder

250g slender French beans, trimmed

2 tomatoes, chopped

1tbsp fresh coriander leaves

1tsp chaat masala


1.       Heat oil in a wok.  Add garlic, onion and cumin and cook for 2 minutes.  Add chilli powder.  Cook until onions start going opaque.  Add beans and stir fry.  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add some salt and the tomatoes.  Checked if cooked.  Sprinkle over with Steenbergs chaat masala.

2.       Beans should be crunchy but you can add some water and make softer.