Thursday, 31 May 2012

Gujarati sambharo

This is one of the best side dishes there is!!
I first savoured this dish when I was younger, from a restaurant in Leicester. It was a really hot summers day and we had been shopping down the "golden mile". This is an area in Leicester which is dripping in beautiful jewellery shops, saree shops and sweet marts. For me it is such and amazing place to shops. Anyway back to what I was saying!! I was shopping down Belgrave road and we stopped at one of the sweet marts to get some savoury snacks and they gave us two little pots with the snacks. In one was an amazing green chutney and in the other one was some sambharo. I loved it from the first mouthful. The lady who I was with noticed how I had woffed the whole lot down in one nearly, so she told me about her family recipe and wrote me a copy. When I cooked this recipe for the first time I did not follow her instruction to draw out the water from the vegetables with salt and the end result was still nice, but it did not taste anything like the real thing so I really do recommend that you follow that step, otherwise you will end up with a stir-fry!


1/2 white cabbage, stem removed, or 1 whole small cabbage
2 carrots peeled,
1 small onion or 1/2 large, peeled,
2-3 fat green chillies,
1 tsp
3 tbs oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds,
a pinch of cumin seeds,
1/4-1/2tsp asafoetida ( hing )
5-7 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbs lemon juice,
fresh coriander.


1) Shred all of the vegetables separately in an electric chopper.

2) Put the carrots and the cabbage into a large bowl and set aside for at least 1/2 hour.

3) After 1/2 hour, pick up large handfuls of the cabbage and carrots and squeeze out as much of the water as you can and put aside in a dry bowl. Continue this process until all the veg have been squeezed.

4) Heat a wok over a medium to high heat with the oil and add the mustard seed. Wait until they pop and then add a pinch of cumin seeds and the asafoetida.

5) Take the pan off the heat and add the curry leaves.

6) Add the onion and the chillies and return to the heat. Fry until the onions turn translucent.

7) Turn the heat down to low and add the turmeric and the lemon juice.

8) Add the vegetables and mix in on a low- medium heat for a few minutes.

Garnish with coriander and serve hot or cold. This recipe is really nice with mixed vegetable pakora's, or aloo paratha and yoghurt.

Please feel free to post your opinions or advice. Thanks!! :-) :-) :-)


Poori recipe (Yummy puffed up bread)

Poori's are one of my all time favourite breads in the world! They really do go with everything and they are a definite winner at any good party or festival! In fact they are the BEST breads for making on masses because you can roll out the disc's and lay them on a plate in a single layer so that they are fast when it comes to frying them all up.

Like chapati's there are a few factors that make the perfect poori. I really do find that you need the dough to be HARD! Otherwise the wont puff up properly and they will be oil soaked. I ALWAYS use some course semolina to help them crisp up. The last important thing you have to do is do NOT let the dough rest! It is always better to fry them as soon as you can after making the dough. I hope I haven't made it sound to hard to make because these breads are really good fun to cook and your kids will be so exited when the watch them puff up like a balloon. So go on... give my recipe a go and tell me what you think, because this way works for me every time!! :-) :-) :-)


to make about 6 poori's

1/2 cup chapati flour,
1 tbs course semolina,
a large pinch of salt,
about 1 1/2 tsp of oil,
enough water to make a hard/firm dough.

Directions:- Pre heat a small pan of oil on a medium heat. You need a few inches deep of oil.

1) Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add all of the ingredients except for the oil and mix well.

2) Add the water SLOWLY and knead the dough together until it forms a hard dough. It needs to be hard because you don't want to use any extra flour when you are rolling them out.

3) Roll out the dough to be a few millimetres thick. They need to be thicker than chapati's.

4) Test the oil with a small piece of dough and if the dough floats to the top when you put it in the oil should be ready. Teat the sample to see what you think.

5) Slide the poori gently into the oil, lightly pressing the poori to encourage it to puff up. When it is fully puffed, after a second gently turn over the poori to fry the other side.

6) Fry on that side for a few moments before draining on kitchen paper and serve immediately with your favourite curry but goes especially nice with prawn curry or Gujarati aloo

Chora nu shaak recipe. (Black eye beans or Lobia)

This is a real comforting, but also a healthy dish to eat. When I cook this dish you can guarantee there will never be any scraps left because it is sooooo good!. It's also a really good dish for the kids to have to because if they like baked beans then they will definitely like this dish. Black eye bean are so so full of goodness to! They are low in calorie's, high in fibre, high in protein so they are excellent for vegetarians, mega high in potassium which is good for the heart and a massive amount of zinc and iron, making them power houses for nutrition! It is also Very delicious so go on! give it a go and let me know what you think. :-) :-) :-)

Ingredients:- Amounts can be doubled for a family.

1 tin of black eye beans,
2 tbs extra mild olive oil or sunflower oil,
1 medium onion - blended,
1 small tin of chopped tomato,
1 heaped tsp garlic paste- or to taste,
1 green chilli - or to taste,
1 tsp ginger paste,
5-6 curry leaves,
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds,
1/4 tsp cumin seeds,
a pinch of asafoetida (hing) - optional,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder or to taste,
1/4 tsp garam masala.
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Fresh coriander and spring onions for garnishing.


1) Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium to hot heat. Then add the mustard seeds and let them pop and crackle.

2) Then add the cumin seeds and asafoetida and let them sizzle.

3) Take off the heat for a moment and add the curry leaves. Give them a stir.

4) Add the onion, garlic, ginger and the green chilli and cook until the onions are just starting to brown.

5) Then add the tinned tomatoes and cook the mixture down until it is a thick paste.

6) Add the spice powders, the sugar and the beans and give it all a good mix to coat the beans well.

7) Add sufficient water and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, then check the seasoning and adjust if you need to.

Serve with rice and chapati's or poori's
Garnish with coriander and spring onions.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Aloo Paratha recipe

This is one of those dishes that i really get cravings for! and when i say cravings, I mean CRAVINGS!! it is sooo delicious. The filling recipe is not the usual potato filling so i think you should have a go and tell me what you think. :-)

For the filling:-

2-3 potatoes - Boiled and mashed
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbs oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red chilli powder or 1-2 fresh green chillies
2 tbs chopped fresh coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2-1 tsp amchoor powder ( dry mango powder) or 1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garam masala, ( this is traditional, but i use samosa garam masala)
chaat masala (optional)

About 1 1/2 cups of chapati flour,
water ( enough for a soft dough,)
1 tbs oil
a pinch of salt.


1) Make the dough, the same as you would for chapati's

2) Heat the oil and when the oils is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop.

3) then add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a second before adding the green chilli (if using) and the onion. Cook them until they are just starting to brown.

4) Add the potato's, spices and the coriander, check the seasoning and leave to cool.

5) When the mixture is cool enough to touch, roll it out into equal sized balls and set aside.

6) Divide the dough into the same amount of equal portions.

7) Roll the dough into circles, they need to be a bit thicker than a poori.

8) Place a ball of the stuffing into the centre of the dough and then start to gather up the sides of the dough until completely sealed. Pinch off the excess dough.

9) Flatten slightly with your hands and gently roll out to your desired thickness, but I prefer to keep them thick, almost like a pancake. Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients.

10) On a pre heated tawa or frying pan (medium heat) place one of the paratha's on to the heat and cook for about 40-60 seconds, then flip over and give it a quick spread of butter and fry for about the same time. Keep flipping and buttering until nicely cooked and quite crispy. You should only have to do it 3 or 4 times, or to your personal taste.

Garnish with coriander and serve with sambharo, yoghurt and pickles.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Green pea curry ( In a tomato a cashew nut sauce)

This recipe kind of happened by accident really. One day i was making mutter paneer and half way through, when the sauce was done and the pea's had cooked, I tasted some of the curry. I thought and so did my hasband that it was a good and satisfying dish all by it's self, so we disided to eat it as it was and save the paneer for something else. It really was delicious so give it a go yourself!!!!


1 1/2 cup of frozen green peas

To be blended together:-

3 tbs cashew nuts - soaked in boiling water 1/2 hour
1 small onion
1 inch fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves

2 tbs oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
3 bay leaves
3 tbs fenugreek leaves (methi)
3 tbs fresh coriander (hari dhania)
220g tin of tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2- 1 tsp Punjabi garam masala or normal.
1 tsp sugar (optional)
salt to taste
2 tbs butter
fresh coriander to garnish.


1)Heat the oil in a pan on a medium to high heat.

2)Add the cumin seeds and the hing and stir fry for a for second before adding the bay leaves. Fry for just a moment.

3)Add the onion paste and fry for about 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has turned a few shades darker.

4)Add the tomatoes and the leaves and cook until all of the tomatoes have mixed into a thick paste and the oil separates.

5)Add a splash of water and also all of the powdered spices. Cook for a minute or so.

6)Add the sugar and salt, mix well. Then add the green peas and cook for a couple of minutes with out a lid, making sure that you give it a little stir to prevent it from sticky.

7)Garnish with coriander.

Serve with naan or chapatis

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Mirchi Bhaji (Green chilli pakora)

This is one of those little delicious nibbles that you crave on cold winter evenings as a comforting, warming supper. It is also so versatile it is incredible! The first time i ever had this tasty little morsel, it was just served plain and just with some coriander and mint raita, so this is my favourite way of serving it and it is the quickest and most convenient way to serve them. Although, if you want something a little more exiting, you can split the chilli's and sprinkle your favourite spices inside....If you want something really exiting and tasty you can stuff them with a potato masala and sprinkled with onion, chutneys and chat masala!!! MMMMM my mouth is watering so much as I'm typing, I think I'm going to have to make some of this right now!! So here is what I did for a quick chilli hit tonight, but I will post a stuffed chilli recipe soon :-)


10-12 chilli's of your taste, personally I use the long green finger chillies that you use for pickling, or green banana chillies.Sliced but not cut in half.

1 cup sieved gram flour.
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
a pinch turmeric,
1/8 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste,

Completely optional:-
chaat masala,
garam masala,
cumin powder,
amchoor powder (dry mango powder)

Or aloo masala (spiced potato)

Directions:- pre heat a pan with enough oil to coat the chillies on a medium heat.

1) This step is optional, but if you prefer a milder taste, run your knife along the chilli ensuring that you don't slice the chilli in half (You should do this to all of the chillies even if you are not pre- boiling them,) boil the chillies in very salty water for 2-5 minutes and cool before dipping into the batter.

2) Mix all of the first 5 of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix in enough water to make a nice thick batter.

3) Dip the chillies into the batter and then fry on a medium heat for a few minutes, turning once and then drain onto kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining chillies.

serve with finely chopped raw onion and chutney's and pickles of your taste. ENJOY!! :-)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Mastering Chapati

This is an unleavened flat bread that is an absolute daily essential part to any home made curry! They go with EVERYTHING and can even make a nice healthy snack if you spice them up a little.

In India, chapati's replace the need of knives and forks. To eat with these, all you do is rip of a small part of the chapati, scoop up the delicious curry and shove it all in!! HEAVEN!!!

The say that it takes years and years to perfect the art of chapati making and I can certainly believe that tale! It has taken me years of practice to get to where I am now, but I am far from perfect. I think that the problem I have is that I don't have a gas cooker, so the puffing up can be a little inconsistent. If you have an electric cooker like myself, it is easier to make these puff up with a "dabba" which is in one of my pictures, or if you don't have one of these, you can use a damp cloth or a spatula, but a dabba works the best.

Ingredients:- for 3-4 people

1/2 a cup of Chapati flour ( I use the fine gold variety)
a pinch of salt
1 tbs oil
Enough warm water to make a soft but not sticky dough


1) Boil the kettle and let it cool slightly

2) While this is happening, sieve the flour into a large bowl and mix the salt and the oil in completely using your fingers to feel for any lumps.

3) Then slowly start to work in the water until it is a smooth dough. I always say the wetter, the better but not sticky!

4) Leave in a warm place covered with another bowl, or cling film for at least 1/2 hour. I usually make my dough before dinner and then make them all up at the end. This will just save your time but do what works best for you.

5)When the dough is ready it should have softened up, but if it is cold weather, i think it helps to just wizz the dough up in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds helps to soften up.

6) Pre heat a tawa, or a thick bottomed frying pan an a medium to hot heat while you are rolling the dough out. When you roll the dough out, don't worry to much about the shape, you just need to concentrate on getting the chapati dough absolutely level! no creases or slight uneven parts otherwise you bread will not puff up properly. so when I have finished rolling the dough out I always just go back over it with a regular rolling pin. This is only if you are using an Indian rolling pin. A good trick to see if it is completely level is to hold it up against the light quick.

7) When your bread is rolled out to be about 2mm thick and you are happy with the shape, ( traditionally circular ) slap it onto the heat and wait until it changes colour slightly and little bubbles start to appear.

8) Flip the chapati over and do the same thing but maybe just a few more second on this side than the other, so wait until you see larger bubbles forming.

9) Flip it over again and with your dabba, damp cloth or whatever you are using, kind of try and spread the air pockets around so that the whole thing puff's up like a balloon.

10) Place the chapati onto a piece of foil and spread lightly with butter.

11) Repeat the process with the rest of the dough, keeping the dough and the chapati's covered to prevent them from drying out.

Enjoy with your favourite curry.

Please comment and your advice is greatly appreciated. :-) :-)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Perfectly cooked Basmati rice

I'm sorry about the dodgy photo lol!!! I will change it soon, it was taken late at night! Anyway I thought I would post about plain and simple basmati rice, because surprisingly such a simple thing could be such a problem to cook for beginners. It took me so many attempts get to nice fluffy rice instead of either little pellets or sludge.

Once you know how to cook this delicious staple, you will be cooking it all of the time, as a side dish for everything.

Serve it plain, or spice it up for a special occasion. I will post some spicy rice dishes soon. SO WATCH THIS SPACE!!


Equal amounts of basmati rice and water,
A pinch of salt.


1) Wash the rice, in a colander really really well under cold running water until the water runs clear.

2) This step is not essential, but I think that you will end up with a better end result, is to now leave the rice in a colander on the draining board to dry out. It doesn't take as long as you think to dry and you can be getting on with the rest of the dinner while it dries.

3) When the rice is dry and the grains are not stuck together, put in to a small saucepan with the same quantity of water and bring to the boil adding a pinch of salt.

4) The moment it reaches boiling point, turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
Cook with a tight fitting lid until all of the water has evaporated.

Remember to taste the rice to see if it is cooked properly.
And serve with anything!!! :-)

Please leave your comments, as they are much appreciated. :-) :-) :-)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Tomato Rasam recipe

There really is no better and more comforting side dishes for me. I think the reason why is that it was one of the first REAL Indian dishes that i had tried. It was steaming hot, served on top of fluffy basmati rice with fresh green coriander sprinkled over the top. This was also the first time that i had ever tried fresh coriander too. I had fallen in love instantly with real Indian food and I just wanted more, but I was to polite and shy to ask, as their was a family of three boy's and two adults in the house to feed, so I think that at first they were being polite when they fed me, so I did not ask for more. The lady that cooked this meal for her family was an absolute genius and a complete inspiration to me. I really wish that I took up the many invitations to learn how to cook these spectacular dishes, but of course the situation at the time was difficult to say the least, so like a plum, I never did except the once in a life time opportunity and learn from the best, but we learn from our life experiences and we can only correct them when we realise that we can. Take every opportunity as you can and live life to the full, no mater what your passion is it is achievable even if you know nothing from the start. Here is my attempt of learning from scratch to absolute comfort.


4 tbs of red lentils - rinsed, boiled and puréed in a blender. (This is untraditional in this recipe but I think that it add extra flavour and health benefits.)
1 tbs oil and 1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dried red chilli's
4-6 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
1 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon or cassia bark
1 tsp ginger purée
3/4 tsp garlic purée
1 green chilli
about 10-13 curry leaves
1/4- 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
3 tbs freshly chopped coriander
3-4 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped finely
1/2 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of home-made rasam powder or to taste.
2 tsp of sugar, or 1 tsp of jaggery
1 tsp of tamarind paste or to taste


1) Heat the oil on a medium heat in a pan and add the mustard seed and wait until they pop.

2) Add the hing and let it sizzle,

2) Then add the cumin seeds, red chilli, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, green chilli, curry leaves and stir for about 30 seconds off the heat to make sure that the mixture does not burn.

3) Then add the fresh coriander and stir fry until the coriander wilts.

4) Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until all nice and pulpy and the oil separates.

5) Add the rest of the powdered spices and cook for another minute.

6) Add the sugar or jaggery and add your desired amount of water. Maybe around 1-2 pints depending on how you like it.

7) Add the tamarind and green coriander, mix and check the seasoning.

Serve as a soup or on top of rice.


This is a really traditional Gujarati recipe. It is probably one of the most popular snacks around.

The way that I would describe this dish to people that have never tasted it, well its one of the most delicious things that i have ever tasted! It is a moist, spongy, crumbly, savory, delicately spiced piece of heaven. This dish can take a lot of preparation if you are not used to Indian cooking, but i can assure you that is well worth the effort!

Again, but like most things, has taken me a bit of practice to get it right. There are definitively a few factors to the success of this dish, the size of the grain and the thickness of the batter i think, is the secret to this delicious dish. I also find that if there is not enough water and oil in the dish is dry, if there is too much water, the khaman will be dense and not enough air. Also another main factor is the fermentation process. You should really leave to ferment over night but it is ok if you only ferment for about 8 hours.

So here goes.....


1 cup of channa dal,
3 level tbs gram flour, or fine semolina,
2 tbs ground rice,
1/4 cup yogurt,
a few drops of lemon juice
2-3 tsp of sugar,
1 tsp of salt, or to taste,
1 green chilli,
1 tsp grated ginger,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3tbs oil.

To be added to the batter at the very last minute, 1 tsp of eno.

Seasoning ingredients:

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
a pinch of hing
1-2 green chilies either pureed or chopped finely.
about 10-12 curry leaves
1 tbs oil
dessicated coconut
fresh green coriander.

Directions :-

1) This step is optional, but really traditional and essential if you don't have some type of grinder.
Soak the dal in tepid water for about 4-6 hours and then grind to a coarse paste, adding some of the water from the soaking process into the food processor. You don't want to add too much water otherwise it will be hard to get the right consistency of the grain and the batter. The batter should be dropping consistency, but very nearly poring consistency. If you don't have time for this you can grind the channa dal into a coarse flour, a similar consistency to coarse semolina.

2) Add the flours with the salt, sugar, turmeric, ginger, yoghurt, green chilli and lemon juice, mix well ensuring that there are no lumps and transfer the paste into a metal bowl ( for some reason a metal bowl helps with the fermentation process) and cover with cling film, ensuring that you pop a couple of air holes into the cling film to allow a bit of air at the batter, but not too many as you don't want to dry the batter out.

3) Because i live in a cold climate, i put the bowl into my airing cupboard overnight to ferment. Or if you have a light in your oven you can leave it in there to ferment with the light on. If you can, leave the batter over night or for at least 8 hours.

4) When the batter is ready you should see tiny bubbles on the top. What i sometimes do if i am not to sure of the consistency of my batter i will check it after 5 hours and see if there are any bubbles starting to appear. If there isn't any and the batter looks to thick, I add a splash of boiling water, but be careful of how much you add as you don't want a watery batter. Then i will leave it for a few more hours to finish fermenting.

5) Make sure that you have a deep pan of water on the ready, and maybe use something to balance your cake tin on, if you are using one instead of a dhokla steamer. If you have a dhokla steamer, lightly grease, but if you don't you can use a small round cake tin lightly greased.

6) Gently but quickly mix in the eno, then immediately put into the pan for steaming.

7) If your dhokla's are done in shallow dhokla trays then I would steam for about 10-15 minutes.
If you have steamed the dhokla in a cake tin then probably steam for 15-20 minutes. To check if the dhokla is done, stick a knife into the centre and if it comes out clean then the dhokla is cooked.

For the seasoning:-

1) Heat a pan with the oil and when it is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. Let them pop

2) Add the hing (asafoetida) and let it sizzle for a second and then add the curry leaves, chillies and the sesame seed and give it a stir for about 20 seconds or until the sesame seeds look slightly toasted.

3) Pour evenly over the dhokla's and spread about.

4) Sprinkle over some coconut and coriander. And serve with coriander chutney or tamarind chutney.

ENJOY!!! :-))))))

Please give you comments and advice on my recipes as this would make me soooooooo happy!!!!