Thursday, 24 October 2019

Diwali recipes

Diwali has become far better known in the UK and celebrated outside the Indian community and beyond that one afternoon in primary schools where children would participate in a play about Rama and Sita. as the only Indian girl at my primary school I automatically won the prestige of playing Sita with no competition which would become the only time I played a leading role in a dramatic production.

This is a repost of a previous Diwali celebration rather than 2019 as I wanted to post this before the day to offer some ideas! 

It was mainly a table full of north Indian fare such but with some south Indian flavours included with the salmon curry. and I must admit I ran out of steam by the time it got to pudding but there were more than enough Indian sweets and tarts provided by guests to finish off the meal.

The salmon curry was a slight adjustment to the baked salmon recipe but rather than baking it the sauce was cooked on the stove as per this recipe with 2 can of coconut milk and curry leaves added to the sauce. The salmon was marinated overnight then baked in a foil parcel and gently stirred into the sauce.

The chicken biryani was my tried and tested recipe and was a good complement to the curry and the naan bought from the amazing shop in finsbury park that only sells naan (Bakhtiar's Naan) and acted as the mop for any remaining sauce. 

The aloo tikki was topped with melt in the mouth chick peas (chaat) and the recipe for both is posted here. I also made a simpler version of the chicken saag, with just spinach which was a rich and creamy side dish that went very well with the salmon and biryani. Another variation was that I stirred in a generous amount of butter near the of end of cooking process. I wanted to do something different with some paneer rather than the usual saag paneer so I made some paneer kebabs which was a great snack and accompaniment to the richer curries. 

Everything was washed down with a mango lassi (recipe here) and for those who needed a cooling affect, some dahi bhalla - a yoghurt dish with fried and cooled lentil dumplings, lashings of yoghurt and topped with chopped tomato, onions, a masala mix and tamarind chutney. Recipe for that coming soon. 

I hope you enjoy trying out some of these dishes over the festive period! 

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Spicy baked salmon

The salmon and coconut milk in this dish makes for an extraordinarily indulgent meal with a unique, smoky, spicy flavour from the curry leaves. These curry leaves can be tricky to find but you can usually get fresh ones in most larIndianian shops and in larger supermarkets. If you can't fresh ones, dried curry leaves are easier to get a hold of. Don't substitute with alternatives such as bay leaves as the flavour of the curry leaves is very different.  

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Masala lamb cutlets and turmeric cauliflower puree

I won't pretend that this lamb does justice to the infamous ones at Tayyabs or Needoo Grill whose sizzling chops lie on a bed made of cast-iron hotplates rather than a puree. They do however provide a good homemade alternative and easy to put together and throw on a griddle pan, grill, or perhaps a barbecue during that balmy fortnight that usually constitutes the British summer. The turmeric in the puree adds a colourful dimension to the dish. Turmeric also seems to be the health food community's flavour of the month, so here is a way of experiencing it without resorting to a questionable, overpriced turmeric latte from a hipster cafe in London. The texture and flavour of the cauliflower with the milk and butter adds a dense creaminess to the puree so you are not assaulted by the bitter taste of the turmeric.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Lamb biryani

Very much for sharing, lamb biryani is a regal dish, apparently invented by Mughal emperors. It is a complex balance of flavours and textures - rich marinated lamb is layered among sweet, crispy, caramelised onions and cardamom and clove infused rice. This isn't a dish to opt in for if you want to knock up something quick and easy for guests. Be prepared to prepare for this one. You really will get a more flavoursome dish with wonderful textures if you rinse, and rinse, and rinse and soak the rice, keep frying those onions within a second of being completely burnt, marinate the lamb for hours, and perhaps get your spices in order before the full performance. 

Biryani is often the centrepiece of a wider assembly of dishes and I served mine with a rich black dahl and some yoghurt. This recipe makes for a very full-flavoured dish and if you would rather go for a more modest meat, such as chicken, try out this recipe.

Lamb biryani 

Ingredients (serves four generously):

for the lamb:
400g of diced lamb (i used neck fillet)
2 tbsp of natural yoghurt
1 heaped tsp of each of these: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric and paprika
1 tsp of black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp of salt
2 fresh green finger chillies, chopped
juice of half a lemon

for the rice:
220g white basmati rice
a generous knob of butter
600ml of vegetable or lamb stock
10 cardamom pods 
8 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
a pinch of saffron strands, soaked in some warm milk

other ingredients:
rapeseed oil for frying the onions and lamb
3 large onions, sliced length-ways  (i.e. don't finely chop them)
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
about 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
generous handful of fresh mint and coriander, finely chopped
handful of pomegranate seeds

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Vegan coconut daal

I've yet to fully commit to it, but, I am making an effort to make most of my meals vegan so here is a go-to recipe at the moment which is rich and full of flavour, whether you're vegan or not. 

Recipe (serves 4) 
300g red lentils
Rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon of black mustard seeds 
1 white onion finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped 
Some ginger, finely sliced
3 green finger chillies, chopped
1 heaped teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric
Half teaspoon of paprika 
1 tsp of salt or to taste
1 can coconut milk 
Handful of fresh chopped coriander
2 red onions, sliced (make sure these are sliced lengthways, not finely chopped)