Steaming Elaichi Wala Chaa – Cardamom Tea

Tea

When I was a teenager, this was the one thing that I noticed most girls would get asked to make but they either didn’t know how to or had forgotten. As soon as anyone steps into an Indian or British Asian household, there are immediately cries of ‘chaa banaa!’ meaning ‘make tea!’, such is the love for our infamous, sweet, milky, fragrant, spiced brew.

So the following scene was very familiar for girls in the 1990’s…

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Ten-Second Yoghurt and Mint Chutney

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Given it is Easter weekend, I thought I would show you something you can make with any leftover dregs of mint sauce, the kind that you get in jars and is traditionally served alongside a good old English roast lamb lunch!

You will recognise this as the familiar chutney you are used to seeing accompany your poppadoms (which we call papads) in Indian restaurants. You can make it with fresh mint leaves too but this speedy version is highly popular and ubiquitous in both restaurants and homes alike.

It literally takes seconds to make, as all you do is stir. It looks very authentic served in little bowls, but little will people know how quickly you knocked it together!  Continue reading

Piquant and juicy Shimla Mirch Parkhe – Charred Stuffed Peppers

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This March weather with its broad streaks of sunshine but nippy winds are making me instictively want lighter, brighter flavours but also a touch of comfort. These fit the bill perfectly and are a firm favouite. They are also a great example of how not every Indian dish is smothered in sauce…

Whole juicy peppers, sometimes in a gem-like array of colours, are gently blistered on the outside to give a smoky char and filled with a piquant, silky mash that is just bursting with the flavours of ground pomegranate, cumin, chilli, ginger and coriander. The tartness of the filling contrasts perfectly with the blushing sweetness of the peppers… Continue reading

Fresh and wholesome Gobi di Sabji – Spiced Steamed Cauliflower

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No one gets as excited about cauliflower season as Indians, but that’s because we know how to make utterly scrumptious gobi di sabji out of them.

Banish any memories you have of this vegetable as soggy, malodorous and bland from school dinners, and embrace this delicious dish, a real Punjabi home classic, where the delicate sweetness of the cauliflower is enhanced by a whisper of subtle, earthy spices… Continue reading

Luxurious Saffron, Almond and Cracked Black Pepper Rice

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I’m definitely in the mood for a luxe fix for supper this evening and saffron, as we all know, is the most luxurious and expensive spice in the world, with the wispy fronds lending their unique flavour and golden hue to magically transform dishes…

With cracked black peppercorns adding muskiness and heat, and the creamy nuttiness of the almonds sidling up to the saffron, also known as zaffran, there’s a touch of both Moorish romance and Mughal opulence about this dish. I cook it all the time, particularly to accompany creamy dishes as it tastes decadent and looks impressive but is super simple and quick to prepare, so it is the perfect dinner party accompaniment… Continue reading

My indispensable Garam Masala spice blend

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Nothing better on a grizzly, cold and wet Sunday like today than to have spent it enveloped in the warmth and earthy perfume of fragrant whole spices roasting away in the kitchen…

Garam Masala is one of the most important, and authentic, Indian ground spice blends and is absolutely indispensable to Punjabi cookery. Growing up, it was, in fact, the only spice blend used in our home, and referred to as just masala. Made from coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, cassia bark, brown cardamom, bay leaves and cloves, it is used in so many of our dishes, even some desserts… Continue reading

Moreish and tangy Aloo Tikki Bites

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With it being Valentine’s, it is only fitting that I offer a recipe that inspires true devotion…These little love bites have been so popular with my friends over the years that they have even gone on to inspire their own themed nights, with mounds of these yummy treats – tangy potato patties flavoured with garam masala, coriander, chilli, cumin and ground pomegranate seeds then covered in a crispy gram flour coating – being the centre of attention…Once bitten, you’ll be smitten, as they will steal your heart… Continue reading