16
Feb
2015

Pancake Day

Besan Chilla

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Chilla 550

Every Sunday is Pancake Day. The kids start scaling the kitchen cupboards as soon as they wake up, racing to the dining table clutching a barrel of Nutella and a cask of local bee honey. No matter how fast I go, I can’t get the darned things flipped and plated fast enough. And then from Monday, the question reappears for six more sleeps: Is it Pancake Day today?

Are you ready for university yet?

This Pancake Day I’ll be plating up a family breakfast favourite: crispy Besan Chilla steeped in fresh coriander, onions and green chillies. My nan made this savoury pancake recipe on a flat Tawa when I was little for weekend breakfasts and after school tea time treats. I love them dunked in my favourite mango pickle. But they taste so good, they need nothing more than eager hands and a hungry belly. Go ahead and make them in a mini egg frying pan for an American Pancake vibe.

I also made the Gujarati version of Besan Chilla, called Pudla, which was featured on The Kitchn. Enjoy!
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    13
    Feb
    2015

    Strictly Vegetarian

    Navratan Korma

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    Navratan Korma 550

    If I had to turn vegetarian, I’d happily live on Indian food forever. Even my man, a strict meatarian, doesn’t notice the absence of his beloved ingredients when faced with a vegetarian Indian meal. This Navratan Korma recipe is a case in point. The nine key ingredients (Nine gems or Navratan) include Paneer, Cashewnuts and Almonds, with a moveable feast of other ingredients of your choice. This creamy, wholesome Navratan Korma is versatile enough to form the centrepiece of your dinner when you’re trying to impress, or as a rescue operation for leftover vegetables in the fridge. Replace the milk and yoghurt with coconut milk for a delicious, vegan alternative from the South of India.

    This recipe first featured in my book. A lovely and very patient reader got in touch to say the milk kept splitting in her attempts. When Indian dishes use milk and yoghurt, it’s very important to get them to room temperature first. Hot oil + cold milk = Split milk. Also, I woud always recommend Greek yoghurt or hung curd owing to its thicker texture and weight. Also, don’t be put off by the splitting. The curry reconsitutes as it cooks and the the end result is irresistibly delicious.
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      09
      Feb
      2015

      Two in one

      Baked Salmon curry with tomato, tamarind and coconut glaze

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      Baked salmon

      Fish curry usually calls for meaty-textured fins that won’t disintegrate in masala. This often leaves me wondering what in the world to do with the endless salmon fillets in my freezer. I whipped up this baked salmon curry, with a spicy sweet and tangy tomato, tamarind and coconut glaze. It was an evening after a long, hard day’s work and a near empty fridge, and the recipe was the centrepiece for a casual dinner and drink with my neighbour. It was such an instant hit, that I made it twice in the same week. And that too as a special request from the fish-hating husband! Now there’s a sign… Try it spooned over steaming hot Brown Basmati rice for a guilt free weekday meal.
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        09
        Feb
        2015

        Introduction to Indian Cooking – learn with Miss Masala!

        New Indian Cookery Class

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        menu-4 550

        No rest for the wicked! Now the dust has settled on Christmas and the little sister’s big fat Indian wedding, I have a new event to look forward to.

        On 3rd March, at 7:00pm, I will be sharing tips, tricks and know how for time starved lovelies along with a three-course meal complete with crispy onion pakoras, hand rolled chappattis, lamb-on-the-bone Korma and perfectly matched wine. The venue is Maida Hill Place, London’s premier food venue in Westbourne Park, W9.

        This is an Indian cookery class with a difference. If you’d love an informal introduction to cooking and eating Indian food the authentic way, you’d be mad to miss it.

        Read all about it here, do book tickets to come along and if you’re not in London, share with your friends who are. Hope to see you there!

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          06
          Feb
          2015

          Cold Day Hot dal

          Simple Dal Amritsari

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          Punjabi dal 550

          Not to give away away my heritage or anything, but I’m rubbish with cold weather. This winter has been as much fun as any. I’ve spent the long, cold, dark days freezing my buttocks off, staring into a tissue, while cradling a bottle of vitamin C with zinc. Bar a brief respite at my sister’s wedding.

          If it’s not me, it’s the offspring. There is no better place for breeding germs than the classroom. And no better place for sending them packing than a parent’s arms, preferably in the middle of the night.

          In these difficult times, medication is best served warm with pickle. There are three things I swear by for instant warmth following by near miraculous mood lifts. The first is Chicken Curry, our very own comfort food and spice-infused version of the Chicken soup. The second is Rasam, with enough chillies to send your sinus on a one way trip to Mars. And the third, is nothing more complicated than a simple Dal recipe.

          Dal, for those of you not in the know, is stewed lentils. But if this makes you think about the tasteless stuff you were forced to eat at school, think again. Dal (sometimes spelt daal or dhal) is lentils lovingly mixed with a tempering of whole and ground spices, herbs, and wet masalas like ginger, garlic, tomato and onion. Add a dash of ghee and it’s just the ticket spooned over steaming hot rice or scooped into pieces of warm bread. Pickle not optional.

          There are three ways to make dal. The dal in tadka method involves mixing the cooked lentils into the tempered spices. The tadka in dal method is about pouring the sizzling tadka into the lentils. And of course, you could just do away with the tadka altogether and simply cook the lentils with flavoursome ingredients. Job done.

          This recipe is a thick, wholesome and simple Dal Amritsari for when you crave healthy dinner ideas. I took the recipe off the lovely chef at Kolkata Hyatt in December, and have made it several times since. The hing and ghee give it a velvety smooth taste that tickles the taste buds when you need it the most. There are another 28 recipes here.

          I’ll take a hot dal any cold day.
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            29
            Jan
            2015

            Breaking bad… habits

            Easy Badam Doodh

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            Doodh badam 550

            January marks a most important day for me. And each year it arrives with the same dramatic series of events.

            First, I sulk at the prospect of ageing. Woe is me. There’s another wrinkle. Bother. Bother. Bother.

            Then, as if by magic, I realise that this is yet another excellent excuse for a big celebration. After all, this only keep getting better, right? I hand my man an impossible wishlist of presents right before d-day and table my highest expectations for the soiree.

            This year, the man was genuinely baffled. And kids tried their best to help. Miss Basu asked if I wanted a Frozen party. And Micro Mini Basu wondered if I’d be happy with a new toy car.

            The soiree did eventually materialise, along with the far more exciting new kitchen gadget: The Vitamix. I’ve been on healthy green smoothies ever since, some soup dinners and have started attempting various Indian recipes.

            The very first is an easy Badam Doodh, almond milk laced with gorgeous aromatic spices and sweetened with scrapings of gur, or jaggery. I remember this drink well from our winter holidays in mother’s family home in Delhi. Our uncles would drink a pint of it at a time, gently warmed to provide comfort on chilly days. I also remember the grainy texture as I drank it. Grains didn’t stand a chance in my Vitamix. And you can use any good blender, as you’ll see in the recipe.

            I tossed in a centimetre piece of raw turmeric into this easy Badam Doodh too for good measure. Recently given some quality airtime, my earliest memories of this powerhouse root was mother making me swallow a raw piece dunked in honey every morning. Good for collagen supplies in old age, she used to say.

            The perfect drink when age is on the mind. Here’s to breaking bad habits for good.
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