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Tuesday 9 September 2014

Punjabi Chana Masala

(Serves: 4-5)


3,5 dl chickpeas
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
3 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste or coarsely ground ginger or grated ginger
½ tsp garam masala powder
½ to 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp amchur powder/dry mango powder
2 green chillies, slit
2 to 3 tbsp oil

Spices for the Punjabi chana masala

4-5 black cardamoms
2,5 cm cinnamon
5-6 peppercorns
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 and half tsp cumin seeds
1 and half tsp coriander seeds
1 and half tsp fennel seeds
2 dry red chillies


  1. Cook the chickpeas or use ready-cooked.
  2. Roast all the Punjabi chana masala spices in a dry pan. Don't let the spices burn and toss often. Once the spice mix is cooled, grind it into a fine powder.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions. Fry the onions until they become transparent.
  4. Now add the ginger paste. 
  5. Once the raw smell of the ginger disappears, add the chopped tomatoes. Add a little salt. Saute the tomatoes till the oil starts to leave the sides of the mixture.
  6. Add the Punjabi chana masala with the red chili powder, garam masala powder and green chilies to the onion-ginger-tomato mixture. Saute for a minute.
  7. Add the chickpeas with a little quantity of stock or water. Add more stock if you want more gravy.
  8. Check the salt and simmer for 8-10 minutes on a low to medium flame till the gravy thickens a bit and becomes quite smooth.
  9. Finally, add the amchur powder.
  10. Garnish the Masala with chopped onions and cilantro leaves.

Monday 31 March 2014

Courgette Carbonara

Courgette Carbonara

sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 medium green and yellow courgettes
500 g penne
4 large free-range egg yolks
100 ml single cream
1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
olive oil
6 slices higher-welfare back bacon, cut into chunky lardons
1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped, flowers reserved (if you can get hold of flowering thyme)
a few courgette flowers, optional


Carbonara is a classic pasta sauce made with cream, bacon and Parmesan and is absolutely delicious. Try to buy the best ingredients you can, as that's what really helps to make this dish amazing. I'm using a flowering variety of thyme but normal thyme is fine to use. When it comes to the type of pasta, you can serve carbonara with spaghetti or linguine, but I've been told by Italian mammas (who I don't argue with!) that penne is the original, so that's what I'm using in this recipe. Before you start cooking, it's important to get yourself a very large pan, or use a high-sided roasting tray so you can give the pasta a good toss.

  • Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. 
  • Halve and then quarter any larger courgettes lengthways. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the courgettes at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne. Smaller courgettes can simply be sliced finely. 
  • Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions.
  • To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly and put to one side.
  • Heat a very large frying pan (a 35cm one is a good start – every house should have one!), add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp. Add the courgette slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the courgettes become coated with all the lovely bacon-flavoured oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.
  • It's very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the courgettes, bacon and lovely flavours, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you'll scramble the eggs.)
  • Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straight away. While you're tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. If you've managed to get any courgette flowers, tear them over the top, then serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long.

Orange-roasted carrots with rocket and ricotta

Orange-roasted carrots with rocket and ricotta

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1½ tsp cumin seeds, roasted
1½ tsp picked thyme leaves
¼ tsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
90ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1kg carrots, peeled and sliced into long batons about 8cm x 2cm
½ large orange
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp runny honey
150g ricotta
½ tsp grated orange zest
20g rocket
10g fresh basil leaves, torn


  • Heat the oven to 200C. Put the garlic, cumin, thyme, chilli, vinegar and 60ml of olive oil in the small bowl of a food processor, with a teaspoon and a half each of salt and ground black pepper. Blend for a minute, until smooth.
  • Spread out the carrots on a medium baking tray (about 22cm x 32cm) and pour on the marinade. Put the orange half cut side down on top of the carrots, then roast for 40 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through and starting to caramelise. Set aside to cool.
  • For the dressing, squeeze the juice from the roast orange half into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, honey, remaining olive oil and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, whisk to combine, then set aside.
  • Put the ricotta and orange zest in a small bowl with an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Mix well, then tip into the centre of a clean J-Cloth. Draw up the sides of the cloth and squeeze out some of the moisture. Return the cheese to the bowl (discard the cloth) and put in the fridge until needed.
  • To serve, spread half the rocket on a large serving plate, top with half the carrots and half the basil, then repeat. Dot spoonfuls of ricotta all over the salad, pour the dressing on top and tuck in.

Sunday 2 February 2014

The 10 best curry recipes

Fenugreek, tomato and okra curry

To stop the okra becoming too slimy, prepare it a day in advance as below.

Serves 4
800g okra
175ml sunflower oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
400g tin of peeledplum tomatoes, finely chopped or blended
1¼ tsp salt
1¼ tsp turmeric
2–4 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
2 handfuls of fresh coriander, finely chopped

For the masala
3–4 fresh green chillies, seeds left in
3–4 garlic cloves
A pinch of salt

1 Wash and dry the okra. Dice into 1cm chunks, spread on a baking tray and leave uncovered to oxidize and dry for 24 hours.

2 For the masala: crush or blend the chillies and garlic together with a pinch of salt using a pestle and mortar (or blender) to make a fine paste.

3 Heat 150ml of the oil in a large lidded frying pan for about 1 minute over a high heat, then add the okra; fry for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the okra to the baking tray a spoonful at a time, squeezing against the side of the pan to drain off the oil.

4 Gently heat the remaining oil in a pan, then add the fenugreek and mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop, add the asafoetida and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the masala paste, salt, turmeric, ground coriander and cumin and half the fresh coriander. Cook uncovered for about 3 minutes.

5 Return the okra to the sauce, taking care not to break it up. Cover and simmer for about 4 minutes over a medium heat, then remove and rest for 10 mins to infuse the flavours.

6 Gently reheat, sprinkle with the remaining coriander and serve with rice.
Prashad: Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel (Saltyard)

Beef rendang

You need to let this cook a long time to reach its optimum level of sticky, dark richness.

Serves 6-8
2 red onions, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp grated ginger
6 large, red chillies, 3 deseeded and roughly chopped, 3 roughly chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, roughlychopped
3 tbsp light-flavoured oil
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
2kg stewing steak, diced
400ml tin coconut milk
400ml water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp tamarind paste or lime juice
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 Place onion, garlic, ginger, chillies and lemongrass in a food processor and pulse to a paste. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the paste and the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until fragrant.

2 Add the stewing steak and cook over high heat for 4-5 minutes until the beef is just sealed. Add the coconut milk, 400ml water, cinnamon sticks, tamarind paste, salt and sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2-2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally, or until the meat starts to break up and most of the liquid evaporates. Serve with steamed rice and steamed Asian greens.

Bill's Everyday Asian by Bill Granger (Quadrille)

Prawn and pineapple curry

Macadamia nuts add a rich sweetness to this dish from Malaysia.

Serves 4–6
3 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
Flesh from ½ small pineapple, peeled and diced
2 tbsp palm sugar
400ml water

500g raw prawns, peeled but with tails on
3 small tomatoes, cut into quarters
300ml coconut milk
A small bunch of spring onions, chopped into 2½ cm lengths to garnish

For the paste
2 thick lemongrass stalks, thinly sliced
3 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 red chillies, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
4–6 macadamia nuts
2–3 tbsp water

1 Pound or blend together all the paste ingredients until smooth.

2 Heat the oil in a wok and fry the paste over a medium heat for 5–8 minutes. Add the pineapple and fry for 2–3 minutes. Add the sugar, some salt and the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3–5 minutes until the pineapple softens.

3 Add the prawns and simmer for 4–5 minutes till they turn pink and opaque. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, then add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, stirring well. Simmer gently for a further 3–5 minutes. Serve with the spring onions.

Atul's Curries of the World by Atul Kochhar (Absolute Press)

Phaldari kofta ruby

Time is crucial for this dish – the koftas are delicate and might fall apart if left too long.

Serves 4
For the koftas
300g cauliflower, cut into florets
100g peas
200g carrots
200g french or green beans
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp garam masala
100g plain flour
150g potatoes, boiled and grated
A generous pinch of salt

For the stuffing
100g paneer
50g mild cheddar cheese, grated
20g sunflower seeds
20g cashew nuts
10g raisins
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
A handful of fresh coriander
Oil, for frying

For the 'ruby' sauce
100ml vegetable oil
300g onion, chopped very finely or minced
80g minced ginger
90g minced garlic
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
150g tomato puree
60ml double cream

1 For the koftas, grate the veg and squeeze out the excess moisture. Mix in the spices, flour, potatoes and seasoning to a doughy texture.

2 For the stuffing, combine the paneer, cheddar, sunflower seeds, cashews and raisins with the chillies and coriander. Roll the kofta mixture into golf-ball-sized dumplings then stuff with a generous tsp of the paneer mix.

3 Fry the dumplings in 2cm hot oil till golden brown.

4 For the sauce, fry the onions in oil until golden brown. Add the minced ginger and garlic and cook until coloured. Add the red chilli powder, cumin and garam masala. Sprinkle in a little water and continue to fry.

5 Add the tomato puree and cook for 4-5 minutes until the sauce is smooth and a rich red colour. Finish by stirring through the cream, and serve together.

Recipe by Dishoom restaurant

Massaman lamb curry

The name of this curry means "Muslim", as the Thais used Muslim traders' spices to add depth and enrich its flavour.

Serves 4
3 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp white peppercorns
Seeds from 5 cardamom pods (about ¼ tsp)
1 tsp salt
½ red onion, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat of a knife
1 lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander roots
3 tbsp light-flavoured oil
4 French-trimmed lamb shanks (about 1.3kg)
400ml tin coconut milk
400ml water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
400g new potatoes, halved
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
A large handful of coriander leaves

1 Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/gas mark 2-3. Combine the chilli flakes, ground ginger, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom and salt with the onion, garlic, lemongrass, coriander roots and 1 tbsp of oil in a blender and blend as finely as possible.

2 On a medium-high heat, brown the lamb shanks in the remaining oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Take them out and add the curry paste mix and stir for 2 minutes or till fragrant. Return the lamb to the dish, add coconut milk, 400ml water, the sugar and fish sauce and bring to boil, then remove.

3 Add the potatoes and put in the oven for 1¾-2 hours, turning the lamb 2-3 times while cooking, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone and the sauce has reduced. Skim any fat off the surface and discard. Stir in the lime juice and scatter with peanuts. Serve with coriander leaves and steamed rice.

Bill's Everyday Asian by Bill Granger (Quadrille)

Garlicky black chickpea and potato curry

If you can't find black chickpeas, this works very well with ordinary tinned chickpeas too.

Serves 4
1 large red-skinned (or other waxy) potato
150ml sunflower oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
1¼ tsp salt
2–4 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
1½ tsp turmeric
3 x 400g tins of desi chana (black chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 lemon, quartered, to serve

For the masala
3–5 fresh green chillies, seeds left in
4–6 garlic cloves
3cm root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
A pinch of salt

1 Boil the potato in its skin until a knife tip will slide in easily, leave to cool, then peel and cut into 2cm cubes and leave to cool.

2 For the masala, crush or blend the chillies, garlic and ginger with salt to a paste.

3 Fry the cumin seeds in medium-hot oil till they start to brown – less than a minute – then reduce the heat to low.

4 Add the masala paste, fresh and ground coriander, salt, ground cumin, garam masala and turmeric; cook for 2 minutes. Add the desi chana and cook covered for 5 minutes so the spices infuse the chickpeas.

5 Fold in the potato without breaking it up. Cover, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with lemon and rice.

Prashad: Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel (Saltyard)

Creamy pistachio curry

This is a lovely delicate, pale curry where you can taste all the vegetables.

Serves 4
100g butternut squash or sweet potato, cubed
100g cauliflower, cut into 3-4cm florets
100g broccoli, cut into 3-4cm florets
50g mangetout, trimmed (or other beans or peas)

For the curry sauce
60g pistachios
4 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cloves
6 green cardamom pods
5cm cassia bark or cinnamon stick
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 smallish onion, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, whole but pierced
20g root ginger, peeled weight, grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1¼ tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
5 tbsp yoghurt
A large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
5 tbsp single cream
1 tbsp dried mint, crumbled

1 Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and salt lightly. Add the vegetables in order of cooking time: starchier vegetables first (here squash), then the cauliflower 5 minutes later then the broccoli and mangetout 2 minutes later. Cook until they are tender. Drain, saving the cooking water.

2 Soak the pistachios for 5 minutes in boiling water. Rub in a clean tea towel to remove the skins. Roughly chop a third of the nuts. Blend the rest until smooth, adding a little water.

3 In a large nonstick saucepan heat the oil and add the cloves, cardamom, cassia and caraway seeds, then the onion and green chillies. Cook until the edges of the onion are golden. Add the ginger and garlic and fry till golden.

4 Add the cumin, coriander and yoghurt, bring to the boil, then cook and stir until the masala thickens and releases oil back into the pan – around 5-8 minutes. Taste; if it does not seem harmonious cook for another minute.

5 Add the veg, some of the cooking water, the black pepper, cream and bothblended and chopped pistachios. Cook for another 2 minutesuntil everything comes together. The sauce should be creamy but not too thick. Check the seasoning, crumble the mint on top, and serve.

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast by Anjum Anand (Quadrille)

Bengal tiger lentil curry

A classic north Indian dish, great with rice or Indian breads.

Serves 4–5
20g root ginger, peeled weight, half of it sliced into fine julienne
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 small-ish tomatoes, quartered
175g Bengal gram (chana dhal)
75g split black gram (dhuli hui ma dhal)
½ tsp turmeric
Salt, to taste
4 tbsp vegetable oil (or half oil, half ghee)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp garam masala
¼–½ tsp chilli powder
A handful of chopped coriander leaves
10–20g unsalted butter, to serve (optional)

1 Blend the ginger and garlic with a little water until smooth. Separately blend the tomatoes until smooth. Wash the lentils in several changes of water till the water runs clear and tip them into a large pot with enough water to cover by 7cm. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface froth. Add turmeric and some salt. Cook partially covered till the lentils start to break down a little. Stir more often as they become tender.

2 After about 40 minutes start the tarka (keep stirring the lentils) heat the oil or ghee in a small non-stick saucepan. Add the cumin seeds till they sizzle and darken. Add the onion and cook till it colours at the edges. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook till extra moisture evaporates and the garlic colours. Add the tomatoes and remaining spices and cook downfor 10–15 minutes until it releases oil.

3 Add the tarka to the lentils, adding water from the kettle if too thick; it should be a lovely unctuous mass (if not, cook a little longer, adding water if necessary). Taste; adjust the seasoning. Stir in coriander and butter, if using, and serve.

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast by Anjum Anand (Quadrille)

Black pepper chicken curry

This curry demonstrates the different levels of flavour that pepper can bring to a dish.

Serves 4
4 tsp freshly cracked Kampot peppercorns
1 tsp turmeric
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp salt
1.5kg chicken, skinned and jointed, or 8 skinned chicken thighs
3 onions, half thinly sliced, half roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece root ginger, peeled and grated
Olive oil
Steamed rice and chapatis, to serve

1 Combine ¼ of the black pepper, turmeric, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, and rub over the chicken. Marinate, covered in a large dish, for a few hours.

2 Blend the roughly chopped onions with the garlic and ginger to make a paste.

3 Toast the remaining pepper in a hot, dry pan till there's a delicious, nutty scent andit begins to smoke. Shake the pan to avoid burning.

4 Heat the oil in a heavy-based lidded frying pan. Fry the sliced onions till soft and golden. Add the onion paste and fry till the liquid evaporates and it starts to brown. Add the pepper (save a pinch for later) and marinated chicken with its juices, the water and ½ tsp salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through – add water if the curry is too thick.

5 Serve the curry sprinkled with the reserved toasted pepper, with rice and chapatis.

Spice Trip by Stevie Parle and Emma Grazette (Square Peg)

Rogan josh shepherd's pie

This dish combines two of Britain's dearest culinary loves: curry and shepherd's pies!

Serves 6
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 green cardamom pods, 1 black cardamom pod
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 onions, 2 finely chopped and 1 sliced
1 tsp salt
500g boned leg of lamb, diced
1½ tbsp ginger and garlic paste
200ml stock or water

2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
700g lean lamb mince
2 tbsp tomato purée
25g plain yoghurt
½ sweet potato, finely diced
100g celeriac, finely diced
100g turnip, finely diced
2 tsp chopped fresh coriander leaves and stalks

For the potato topping
200g floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
½ tsp ground turmeric
A pinch of salt
25g butter
15g cheddar, grated

For the spice mix
3 green cardamom pods
2 star anise
2cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 tsp fennel seeds

1 For the potato topping, add the potatoes to a pan of boiling water with the turmeric and salt. Cook until tender. Drain, then mash them with the butter and cheddar cheese.

2 Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and add the cloves, bay leaves, the three cardamom pods, chillies and cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the garlic. Cook till golden, then add the onion and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring, on a medium heat for 4–6 minutes, until translucent. Add the dicedlamb, ginger and garlic paste and cook, stirring, on a medium-high heat for 4–5 minutes, until lightly browned. Reduce the heat, add 200ml stock and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

3 For the spice mix, toast the whole spices and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes till the aromas are released. Remove from the pan and grind or pound them to a fine powder. Set aside.

4 After the lamb has cooked for 30 minutes, add the chilli powder and ground coriander and cumin and stir for 5 minutes on a medium-low heat. Add the minced lamb and tomato purée and stir in the yoghurt.

5 Cook for another 20 minutes till the meat is tender. Add sweet potato, celeriac, turnip, sliced onion and the spice mix and cook for a further 5–8 minutes until the veg is tender. Check seasoning and add fresh coriander.

6 Transfer to a pie dish and top with potato. Transfer to an oven preheated to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and bake for 10–12 minutes until golden on top. Serve with a green salad.

Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook by Vivek Singh (Absolute)

Sunday 22 December 2013

Trout and apple tartare

A crisp, light and fresh-tasting starter for the Christmas meal or for serving as canapés. Add crunch with radishes or the larger, milder mooli. Failing that, use a chunk of cucumber, lightly peeled to keep some of its colour.

Serves 2-4

trout 2, fresh, filleted, pin boned and skinned
apple 1
mooli or radish 50g , peeled and cubed
yuzu juice 1 tbsp
chopped dill 2 tbsp

Skin the trout fillets. Make sure that the trout has been thoroughly boned and any trace of tiny pin-bones removed. This is a really important step and one that shouldn't be missed.

Slice the fish into very fine dice, each piece about the size of a pea, then put it in a mixing bowl and chill in the fridge. Cut the apple into similar-sized dice and place in a separate bowl together with the yuzu juice.

Peel the mooli, then cut into small pieces. If you are using radishes then dice them without peeling and add to the apple. Finely chop the dill then toss it with the apple and radish.

At the last moment before serving, add the diced trout to the apple mixture, toss gently and serve.

Sunday 30 June 2013