What do you do when you don’t look at the packet properly and buy a block of paneer instead of feta? Get creative – The Greek salad can wait!
Delicately spiced paneer and nut stuffed potato dumplings are simmered in a velvety smooth and creamy gravy in this malai kofta recipe. It has a few stages but is very simple and totally worth the effort. You can use shop bought garam masala but I highly recommend taking the time to make your own as the flavours are so much more alive and layered.
Serves 2-4 depending on your appetite
200g potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 Tbsp raisins (optional)
1 tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp corn flour
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
150g onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger, grated
1 Tbsp green chili paste
1/ 2 cup fresh cream (malai)
2 Tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
For making garam masala:
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 whole dry red chilies
1 large bay leaf
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Place the boiled and mashed potato in a mixing bowl and add the grated paneer into it. Now add all other ingredients and mix them well. Add some corn flour for binding so they don’t break up when frying.
Make small balls out of the mixture by rolling in your hands. Around 15 balls can be made.
Now coat the balls with a little more corn flour.
Heat the oil on medium heat and deep-fry all koftas until a dark golden brown colour.
To make the garam masala spice mix, take all dry spices and blend in a spice blender or pestle and mortar to make a fine powder.
Make a puree from the tomatoes. I use a stick blender but you could just use passata for time.
In a frying pan, heat the ghee, add chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes. Then add garlic, ginger and green chili paste.
Cook for another 3 minutes then add the homemade garam masala powder. Let it cook in ghee with onions. Cook it for 2 minutes.
Then add tomato puree and cook until the majority of the water contents evaporate. (If using passata, the water won’t evaporate so add less water in the next stage).
Now, add half a cup fresh cream or malai, and red chili powder (optional), salt and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
The gravy is ready. Add koftas to the sauce when ready to serve.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Indian roti or paratha.
Can you tell I have a lot of potatoes to use up at the moment? If I see another jacket potato any time soon, I might scream so this recipe jazzes up the humble spud with a bit of spice. Wrapped in a flavoured wholewheat dough, these tasty warming buns deliver on flavour and comfort.
For the dough:
1 cup Plain Flour
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour or Atta
1 tsp Salt
1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
1 7g packet instant dried Yeast
¼ cup Hot Water
¼ cup Milk
2 tsp Chilli Powder
½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
1 ½ tsp Oil, plus extra for preparing the dough
a few pickled Jalapenos
For Potato Filling:
4 Boiled Potatoes, crushed
1-2 Red Onions
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch Ginger, grated
1 Green Chilli, chopped
¼ tsp Asasoetida
½ tsp Turmeric
2 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp Fresh coriander, chopped
For preparing wet ingredients add salt, sugar and hot water in a bowl and mix for the salt and sugar to dissolve. Add milk to bring the liquid to room temperature and then add yeast and allow to sit until it foams. Then add oil.
For dry ingredients add the flours, chilli powder and coriander and mix them well. Add the liquid and mix to form a dough. Make a ball and then apply 1 tsp of oil to coat the dough and allow it to rest anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The dough has to double in size.
For the filling heat the oil in a wok. Add asafoetida, green chillies, garlic, onion and salt and cook until the onions are well done. Then add turmeric, potato and cilantro and mix well and cook it for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before making the buns.
Set the oven to 200 degrees C and when the dough is ready, take a little over a golf ball size dough and pat it. Place a heaped tablespoon of the prepared stuffing in the centre and cover up the filling with the dough. Place it on a baking tray and add jalapenos on top and bake for 14 -15 minutes.
When the buns are done brush them a little with melted ghee or butter for a lovely gloss and serve them hot with any chutney.
Aloo chaat is an Indian street food made by frying potatoes with spices and chutney. It is a versatile dish that has many regional variations. This particular recipe uses it as a filling for a baked snack that is comforting and delivers on fresh and vibrant flavours.
To make 4 Pockets
2 Boiled Potatoes, roughly broken by hand
1 can of chickpeas
1 tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
½ tsp Chaat Masala Powder
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch root Ginger, grated
1 Onion – 1 finely chopped
1 Green Chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds if you do not want extra spice)
¼ cup fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
Sweet Tamarind Chutney
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
A squeeze of Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Oil plus extra for coating the pockets
Dough for Pockets:
1 cup Bread Flour
½ tsp Ajwan Seeds
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp Ghee
A pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Water
Heat a frying pan with oil. Add turmeric, cumin seeds and chilli powder. When the cumin starts to toast add garlic, onion and ginger and give it a toss and allow for the onions to cook.
Add salt and chickpeas, mix well. Add 1/3 cup sweet tamarind chutney. Then add the mint, chillies, coriander and mix before adding the potatoes. Add the chaat masala powder and mix well. Allow for the mix to cook for a few minutes. Add some lemon juice. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda and ajwan seeds in a bowl.
Add oil and ghee, rub to blend them well with the flour. Then add the water and make a very hard dough. Divide the dough into 4 portions.
Roll each portion out into a round shape. Add a sufficient portion of the aloo stuffing to one half of the round.
Cover the stuffing with the other half. Tightly pinch the corners to seal the pocket. Pat them and try to shape into rectangular log.
Spread some oil all over the pocket and place in a foil lined baking tray. Bake the pockets for 20 – 25 minutes until the pockets look golden brown. Serve them hot with sweet tamarind chutney.
I made this as part of a vegan Indian feast for my brother who has an insatiable appetite and a shit recipe repertoire. This results in some gigantic mounds of instant mash flavoured with various dehydrated soup sachets or if you’re lucky, gravy granules. The fact that he was sat tucking into something I’d rather grout tiles with didn’t sit right with me so I took over his kitchen one day to show him how easy and delicious actual cooking can be. This recipe was by far both of our favourites and if you try it, I’m sure it will be yours too.
Baby aubergines are stuffed with a coconut and peanut spice mix and simmered slowly in a velvety sauce in a pan until meltingly soft. It is worth making the effort to seek out baby aubergines from an Indian grocers as they take less time to cook and you get a good ratio of filling to aubergine.
10-12 baby aubergines
60g desiccated or freshly grated coconut
120g roasted unsalted peanuts
40g fresh coriander
8 cloves garlic
1 green chili
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
½ – 1 carton passata
Cut each aubergine in half lengthways, but don’t cut through the stem. Roll each one over and cut lengthways again, still keeping the stem intact.
Put a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, toast the coconut and peanuts for 2-3 minutes, until the coconut is starting to brown. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Put the coriander, garlic, green chilli, tomato puree, coriander, turmeric and salt into a food processor, along with the cooled peanuts and coconut. Pulse until coarsely ground to a grainy paste. Add a little peanut butter to help it bind if you need but not too much.
Open each aubergine out like a flower and fill with the coconut mixture, using your hands. Roll the aubergine over, open and stuff again then press closed. Save any leftover stuffing to add it to the pan later when you cook the aubergines.
Next, put the oil into the frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion and fry until golden and soft. Add the remaining filling and ½ a carton of passata. Stir to combine and allow the sauce to bubble for a few minutes. Add the aubergines and a splash of water, turn the heat up high and cook for a couple of minutes, then put the lid on and turn the heat down. Cook for 10 minutes, then gently turn the aubergines and add a splash of water if they’re looking dry. Cook for a further 20 minutes, or until nice and tender. Serve with cucumber and mint raita, or with a salad, some yogurt and chapattis.
So my brother has recently decided to pursue the vegan diet as have many people recently for various reasons. While I could never give up meat myself, I don’t like to eat it all the time and vegetarian and vegan dishes can be just as satisfying if not more so. So to give my brother some inspiration and to showcase how tasty vegan food is, I’m posting a vegan series of recipes that do not require strange substitutes or try to be a vegan version of meat but that are simple and delicious in their own right.
The first of these is Dal Khichdi. It is an Indian style lentil and rice casserole recipe, an ultimate comfort food and super simple.
½ Cup Rice
¼ Cup yellow dal
¼ Cup red dal
½ onion, chopped
1 medium size tomato, chopped
1 medium size potato cut into small cubes
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, grated
1 inch root ginger, grated
1 green chili, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
1 tsp each coriander seeds, methi seeds, fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili power
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp ghee (oil if vegan)
½ onion, sliced
1 medium size tomato, finely chopped
2 – 3 sprig of coriander leaves roughly chopped
2 tbsp ghee (oil if vegan)
In a dry frying pan, gently toast the coriander, methi and fennel seeds over a medium heat until they just begin to crackle and smell nutty and aromatic. Remove from the heat and grind to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
In a large cast iron pot, heat ghee over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and as the seeds turn light brown, add the garlic and ginger and sauté until light brown in colour.
Next add the chopped onion and green chili. Stir and sauté for few minutes over medium heat or until onion become soft and golden.
Add the chopped potato along with the freshly ground spices, cinnamon sticksalt, turmeric powder and red chili powder. Stir to combine.
Ass the lentils and rice, stir to combine and sauté for a few minutes.
Add approximately 500ml of stock along with tomato. Stir to combine and seal the lid. Let Dal Khichdi cook over medium heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring every so often. You may need more stock so keep checking. Turn off the heat.
While the Dal Khichdi is cooking. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the sliced onion until golden. Drain and keep aside.
Serve Dal Khichdi warm topped with the caramelized onion, chopped tomato and fresh coriander leaves along with raita (if not vegan), salad and poppadoms.
A good moussaka is a joy to behold with cinnamon spiced lamb mingling with aubergines and a delicious creamy sauce. It is something I’ve always wanted to make but never have until my friends and I decided to have a Greek night. Perfect chance. I don’t know why I’ve not made one before. It’s extremely comforting and flavourful and well worth the effort.
2 large aubergines, cut into ¼” / ¾ cm thick slices
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
500 g lamb mince
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp plain flour
400g tinned plum tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 cup chicken or lamb broth/stock, or water + 1 stock cube
1 tsp dried mint
2 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp allspice (optional)
Lemon zest and juice (optional)
4 tbsp butter
5 tbsp plain flour
3 cups milk
¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
⅓ cup panko or fresh breadcrumbs
Sprinkle the aubergines with salt and place them (stacked) in a large colander. Leave to sweat for 30 minutes, then brush off excess salt and pat dry with a paper towel.
Preheat oven to 200C. Lay the aubergine onto 2 large baking trays, brush with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes or until just softened. Remove and set aside to cool.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat then cook the garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add the lamb and cook, using the wooden spoon to break up the mince as you go. Add the flour and herbs and stir. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, then cover, lower heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes.
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, using a whisk to keep it moving.
Add 1 cup of milk and whisk to combine. It will thicken quite quickly. Add the remaining milk. Whisk until smooth then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until it thickens so that it thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from the stove and whisk in cheese. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then whisk the eggs in.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place half the filling in the bottom of a baking dish then half of the aubergine in a layer on top. Repeat the process with the remaining filling and aubergine.
Pour over the béchamel sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a little extra grated cheese and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
I absolutely love rolling my sleeves up in the kitchen to undertake a big Indian feast. Nothing pleases me more than mixing the fresh spices, toasting and grinding them to create beautiful aromas and tastes. But sometimes, there isn’t always time in the day to get so hands on as less important tasks such as the day job get in the way. That doesn’t mean that a wonderful Indian meal is out of bounds though. With the help of a jar of curry paste, you can whip up a delicious curry in about 15 minutes.
I’d like to urge that this recipe uses a curry PASTE and not a curry SAUCE. Ready made curry sauces are full of sugar and additives and don’t taste anywhere near as good as a freshly prepared curry. Paste, on the other hand, is a perfectly selected blend of freshly ground spices with the addition of ginger and garlic which are immediately preserved in vegetable oil so that the air does not get to them and alter their flavour profile.
3 tablespoons oil
1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons Rogan Josh curry paste (or your choice)
450g raw peeled prawns
50g creamed coconut, roughly chopped
150ml hot water
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the curry paste and fry for a further 2 minutes until it looks like it is splitting from the oil.
Add the prawns to the pan and stir fry over a high heat for 3 minutes until pink. Add the creamed coconut and hot water and stir every now and then until the coconut had melted. Simmer for 1 minute.
Mix the coriander with the red chillies and spring onions. Stir into the prawns and serve immediately.
This is great served with rice and chapatis and even more fresh coriander.