Tuesday, 31 December 2013

neer dosa

YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!!! One of my fantastic customers had in invited me over for tea one day, after a day in the salon. Masala dosa has always been an all time winner for me, but I just couldn't emagine what she was she was trying to explain to me during that day. She explained that these dosa are REALLY something special! They are soft and lacy, with a delicate flavour, made from rice and a hint of coconut. "I will cook them for you later". Because I have turned down a few offers before I thought to myself that I must try this time. I suppose that I have turned down offers to learn how to cook authentic food before out of shyness and not wanting to put people out, but she insisted and I knew that it would make her happy. Well once I had tried these little folded pieces of joy, I was just hooked instantly!

We had a lovely chat and a catch up while we were waiting for the rice to soak. She dressed me up in her sarees and jewellery and I have never felt like such a princess before! This has been a regular treat for me when I go to visit her, but I wont bore you with that story now lol :-)

the picture above shows the true colour of the dosa. The picture below is a good close up of the lacy texture, but they look yellow because I took that picture in my kitchen late at night and the light wasn't very good :-S

1 cup of sona masuri rice, but any medium grain will do. I have even used basmati and it works fine.
1/4 cup of grated coconut,
in total, approximately 1 1/4 cups of water. more or less may be needed.
3/4 tsp salt or to taste.


1) Wash and soak the rice in enough cold water. My friend on the day soaked the rice for an hour in warm water, but for best results soak in cool water for at least 4 hours, or even over night.

2) Drain the rice and grind with the coconut and some fresh water in a blender until very, very smooth..you will just need to add a little water at a time and also remember to give you blender a rest in between grinding, otherwise it might over heat and go into meltdown! :) To test if you have the batter thin enough and fine enough, check on the back of a spoon. if the batter clings to the spoon, it is too thick. If you batter has grit in it, it hasn't been ground enough. Add the salt. The Picture below shows how the batter doesn't cling to the spoon at all. That is why the dosa is called "neer dosa" It translates into "water dosa"

3) To cook the dosa, you will need a relatively  new non-stick pan, with a tight fitting lid. heat the pan over a medium to low heat. splash a few drops of water, just to check if the pan is hot enough. If it sizzles and evaporates straight the way, then the pan is ready.

4) Pour a few drops of oil onto the pan and grease the pan with some kitchen paper and drop some of the batter onto the frying pan, but you need to kind of tilt the pan to spread a thin even layer.

5) With the back of a teaspoon, drop a few drops of oil in and around the dosa, paying particular attention to the edges. Put the lid on the pan and cook for 1-3 minutes. You don't want the dosa to be burned, but you need the dosa to be cooked.

6) Once the dosa is cooked, using a spatula, loosen the edges and fold into quarters.

Serve this melt in you mouth dish as an an accompaniment to curry with a sauce like sambhar, or enjoy plain with chutney or pickle. In the top picture, I have had it with chole. Enjoy and let me know what you think?    :-)

Sunday, 29 December 2013

King Prawn Cheong Fun with photo tutorial

mmmm cheong fun................ im sure that it is one of your must haves at the dim sum restaurant? Well, it definitely is mine!!

Indian food is my all time favourite, but sometimes you need a break from all of the complex  flavours and just need something nice and plain and simple. Cheong fun is one of those dishes that I crave at times like this! I have had this dish many times in restaurants, but if you have the time, then it is well worth making it yourself.

If you are not familiar with this dish, I could best explain it as a noodle roll with whatever filling is on offer, but my favourite filling is king prawn by far!!!!

It has taken me many attempts to make cheong fun with a smooth and silky texture, but if you follow my recipe, you will be sure to get some success!! Let me know what you think?

I forgot to mention how healthy it is too. It is steamed and the only oil you will need is some oil to grease your trays and a few drops of sesame oil in the sauce for flavour. And not forgetting how nutritious prawns are anyway.


165g rice flour,
3 tbs wheat starch,
2 tbs tapioca starch,
200 ml cold water,
300 ml boiling water,
just a touch over 1/2tsp salt
25/35 fresh king prawns or gambas.
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

sauce ingredients:-

5tbs light soy sauce,
1/4 tsp sesame oil,
2 tbs water,
2 tbs sugar


If you know that you are starting to get a craving for some cheong fun, then I would do this part ahead of time like the day before, or that morning.

1) Prepare a steamer for the rice flour. The rice flour needs to be cooked before hand. this gives the cheong fun a nice silky texture.

2) Sieve the rice flour into a heat proof bowl ( preferably metal ) and cover tightly with cling film as so that the flour keeps completely dry during the steaming process. Steam the flour with a lid, on a medium heat for about 45 minutes.

3) Once the time has gone, remove the flour and let it cool slightly, before you sift the flour again. Once the rice flour is cooked, it should be quite hard.

4) While the rice flour is cooking, de-vein and butterfly the prawns, thoroughly dry them and put them in a container or a non metallic bowl and sprinkle on the soda bicarb. massage in thoroughly. leave to marinate, in the fridge for at least an hour. the longer that you do this, the more tender but crisp the prawns turn out.

5) At this point, boil the kettle for the boiling water and mix all of the other ingredients for the batter thoroughly. Add the cold water slowly ensuring that there are no lumps. Then slowly mix in the boiling water and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour-1,1/2 hours.

6) Set up the largest sauce pan that you have and if you have a steamer then great, but just make sure that you have enough trays that fit into your steamer. my trays don't fit inside my steamer, so this is why I do it this way. First, fill up your large pan or wok even and place it on to boil on a medium to high heat. Place a steamer stand or a metal bowl or something in the middle of the sauce pan. This is to act as an elevation stand or platform for your tray. Grease your trays.

7) Once the water is boiling, place one of the trays onto the platform to get hot, stir the batter well again, because rice flour has a tendency to settle at the bottom. Thoroughly rinse and dry the prawns.

8)Once the tray is hot, ladle a small amount onto it and tilt the tray around as to spread a thin even layer of the batter.

9) Steam for 3 minutes and then remove the lid and place 3 prawns slightly to the side. Steam for another 2 minutes. Leave the tray to cool completely before trying to roll.

10) Repeat the process for the rest of the batter in rotation.

11) Take a spoon or a spatula and loosen the sides of the cheong fun away from the edge of the tray. Very gently roll the noodle sheet over the prawns once, then fold in the edges, then continue to roll.  Place the finished roll to one side on a plate and continue to roll the other rolls.

For the sauce:-

Mix all of the ingredients together ensuring that all of the sugar has dissolved. Taste to test the balance of the sugar salt and sesame oil.

Serve the cheong fun hot with the sauce pored over the top.

Please, let me know what you think? 

Thursday, 17 October 2013


At last!!!! I very proudly enter this blog. This really is one of my all time favourite recipes. It is also a really good recipe to be premiering the new look on my blog! Like it eh? Well I definitely think that it suits my blog better and I really am starting to feel like I have started to accomplish something, with this blog :-)

I feel so proud of myself for finally perfecting this recipe, as I live in a cold climate, it has been a real challenge for me to get the fermentation right and also the right ratio of ingredients.

There are many, many different types of dosas, fillings, chutneys, the list just goes on and on! I must say that i find masala dosas absolutely irresistible. They are filled with creamy masala potatoes and spices. I also quite like to add a red pepper and fried onions to the mixture.

I have had this dish many times at restaurants, but I will never forget the first time I tried these miracles! It was at a very large buffet restaurant, you like one of those all you can eat places, so I wasn't really expecting this place to be as good as it was. In this restaurant, you kinda get lots of tiny little open kitchens and I suppose this was one of those things that completed the whole experience. I walked up the the tiny street vendor style kitchen and asked for just a small masala dosa to try and the chef was more than obliging. I watched in utter amazement as he slapped some white batter onto the hot griddle and in a circular motion, he made the dosa, slapped on some chutney, smeared it around and then slapped on some potato masala, rolled it up and handed me some chutneys and sambar. VOILA!!! The finished dish was utterly amazing!

So for some time now i have been trying to recreate the dish that he cooked for me. So here we go, THE most popular dish in south india........... DOSA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

In this photo, there is the masala dosa,south indian coriander chutney, garlic chutney, "gunpowder masala" and carrot and chilli pickle. I will write the recipe for the rest of the chutneys very soon. :-)

Lots of planning and time needs to go into the dosa batter, but please dont let this put you off as they are actually really easy to make with the right equipment and the right instruction, so go on..... give it a go and let me know how you get on and what you think. :-) ;-)

The above photo shows what the fermented dosa batter should look like.

Ingredients for the batter, to be soaked:-

2 cups of plain long grain rice,
1/2 cup of parboiled easy cook rice,
2 1/2 tbs channa dal,
1 cup white urad dal,
1 tsp fenugreek seeds,
water- as required. 

To be added after fermentation:-

a pinch of bicarbonate of soda,
1-2 tsp salt- to taste.ly

1) Wash the dals with the fenugreek seed and the rice separately, but just a brief rinse. I have learned that there must be wild yeast already on the dals, which is very important for the fermentation. Leave them to soak separately in bowls of water over night. be sure to use plenty of water to soak, as the will grow in size. I have also found that you really do need to soak the rice and dals for at least 12 hours, but you can even go as long as 24 hours if it is a cold day. sometimes, the longer the better.

2) The next morning, drain the rice and the dals and reserve the water that it has been soaked in.

3) Firstly, blend the dal and the fenugreek seeds as finely as you can, gradually adding the reserved water. This is very important as the water helps with the fermentation. If you use water straight from the tap, your batter may not ferment. You should add enough water for the dals to grind properly and so it is not too hard on your blender. you will need approx 1- 1 1/2 cups of the reserved water for the dals. After blending properly, you batter should be light and fluffy.

4) leave a small amount of the liquidized dal batter in the blender and add the rice. blend this mixture with the same principle of adding just a small amount of water at a time. Again you should be left with a thick, lump free batter with just a few gritty bits in it.

5) In an overly large metal bowl or stock pot, add the batters and mix very well. In most recipes, at this point the ask you to add the salt. Where I live i find it impossible to find non iodized salt, or kosher salt, so I never add the salt until the very end, otherwize your batter will probably not ferment at all.

6) As I live in a cold climate, it can be a real challenge to find a good place in the house to ferment my batters. Some people use the oven with just the light on, but that never seems to work properly for me. It always works best for me if I put the batter into the airing cupboard for me, so I pop the batter in there and leave it until it is fully fermented. around 12/24 hours for where I live. see photo for reference.

7) Once the batter is well fermented, add the salt. You can actually taste the batter at this point for checking the salt levels are to your taste. Pre-heat a heavy based towa or a good and preferably new large frying pan onto a medium heat. Dont ask me why, but for some reason if you have used a pan for chapattis or anything of the sorts, then your dosa will stick and become a mess. So please chose your pan wisely.

8) Once the pan is hot and you can check by splashing a few drops of water onto the pan. If it sizzles straight the way, then the pan is hot enough to use. If you pan is too cold, then you will not be able to spread the dosa around the pan properly.

9) For this next step, you will need something with a flat bottom or something very close to flat. I use one of my metal measuring cups. Just before you need to use the batter, ladle a few spoons into a separate bowl and mix a tiny pinch of the soda and mix thoroughly.

10) So then next, starting from the center, ladle a good dollop of the batter and spread, using a circular movement until you have a thin even circular shape.

11) Wait for a few moments or until it is starting to look as though it is starting to dry out. At this point you need to splash a few drops of oil around the edge of the dosa and a few dotted randomly around. spread the oil a little if you can.

12) You now need to let it cook for a minute or so, or until you start to see brown spots. It should hopefully start to curl up at the edges too, so with the back of a spatula, loosen the dosa off the bottom of the pan and then gently flatten the edges until you have a nice even golden colour on the bottom.

13) At this point, if you are making masala dosa, place some of the potato masala into the center of the dosa and spread it around slightly.

14) With the spatula, curl or fold the dosa and gently slide onto a plate, which already had all of the extras served onto it. The most famous side dishes are sambar, coconut chutney, gunpowder chutney, coriander chutney etc.

ENJOY!!!!! :)
 Any feed back always leaves me eternally grateful. especially if you start to follow :-) 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Chilli Fundamentals "MELTDOWN" sauce

I'm going to blog about something different today, but first of all, I would like to apologise for the length of time it has been since I have updated my blog. I have just been so busy with my little family, enjoying the summer and attending lots of gatherings and festivals.

One of those festivals was held in the town of Melton Mowbray. " The Country Fair is definitely one of the nicest little country fairs that you can go to. There are many different types of stalls from fast food, games, crafts and of course there are many delicious specialist food, jams, pickles, preserves and sauces.

Well, this is what leads me to my new type of blogging. I am still always going to blog about all of my favourite recipes, but there was one particular stall that just blew me away.......literally! www.chillifundamentals.co.uk Have held a stall at a few food festivals now in the town of Melton Mowbray and I would say they definately stood out of the crowd with their amazing array of pickles and sauces. I can guarantee, that once you have taken a look or a taste, you will absolutely come back to buy more.

The sauce that I came away with, really is the most incredible sauce ever!!! It's called "MELTDOWN"  http://www.chillifundamentals.co.uk/store/meltdown-chilli-sauce.html. This sauce is a fantastic combination of onions, carrots and of course the amazing "Ghost chilli" The Ghost chilli really does have an amazing flavour and perfectly balanced acidity.

The sauce is endlessly versatile. We have used it to spice up mexican dishes like chilli con carne, used as a marinade mixed with yogurt for lamb, great for b-b-q's and as a dip with chips! The list goes on................

So go on, please buy some chilli fundamentals and do your taste buds a flavour.... oh I mean favour! :-)

Friday, 22 March 2013

channa masala ( Chole )

Oh chole!!! This has to be one of the most all time favourite curries in our house hold. Whenever I am cooking this, I know that my husband will come home a happy man.

Before I carry on, I must apologise for the lack of updates onto my page, but we have had a hectic time over the last few months. First of all was Christmas and my sons 5th birthday, then I had a painting to commission. Also my son, who believe it or not has a food phobia!!! BUT..... He really has been coming on leaps and bounds just recently and is really trying hard to eat. It breaks my heart when my child doesn't eat, so with him making such good progress, you can imagine how busy I have been with cooking and trying out some new recipes that I think that he will eat. All of this on top of my usual stuff to do has just taken up all of my time, so now I have a few days off to relax and catch up on all of my hobbies.

I thought that this would be a really good recipe to kick start my blog again. I'm afraid that there isn't many photographs yet, but I will upload some more at a later date. The trouble is with the photography side is, I just get too hungry!! lol so I promise that I will start to cook earlier so that I have the chance and also I am sure that the lighting will be improved if I take the photo's earlier in the day too.

In this recipe I have added potatoes, but you don't have to add them if you don't want to. Also in this photo, I have paired it up with neer dosa's, but usually you can serve it with just rice or any type of Indian bread. Enjoy!! :) :) :)


1 can chickpea's, (the fat boiled one's taste much better in this.)
1 large potato, cubed and boiled,
2 tbs oil,
1/2 tsp mustard seeds,
a pinch hing ( asafoetida)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
1 bay leaf (optional)
4 cloves,
a small piece of cinnamon,
1 small tin of chopped tomatoes, or 1/2 large can,
1-2 tbs fenugreek leaves,
1/4 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
1 large tsp garlic paste,
1 large tsp ginger paste,
1 green chilli chopped ( optional )
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
2 tsp chole or channa masala,
1-2 tsp sugar,
salt to taste.


1) Drain the chick pea's, give them a good rinse and them microwave them on full power with 2 tbs of water for a few minutes.

2) Heat a large pan over a medium heat and add the oil. Once it is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop and then add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, asafoetida, cloves and cinnamon. Stir fry for about 10 seconds.

3) Add the tomato, ginger, garlic and the chilli and cook this down to a thick paste and you can see the oil.

4) Add the fenugreek leaf if you are using and mix well into the paste, cooking it down for another minute or so.

5) Take off the heat and add the powdered spices. Mix well and then return to a low heat and add the drained chick pea's. Saute them in the spices for 2 or 3 minutes.

6) Add sufficient water, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for around 10-20 minutes.

7) Add the salt, sugar and potatoes and mix in gently. Taste to check the seasoning and adjust to your taste. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes to let the flavours develop.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with your choice of rice and bread....... ENJOY!!! :) :) :)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Simple egg fried rice recipe

I thought that I would share a few different recipes that I cook at home on regular basis. Even though Indian food is my first love, I am just simply head over heels for all Asian cuisine. I suppose if I was to have some sort of order, of cause my favourite would be Indian, then Chinese (e.g dim sum,) then a very close third would be Thai food, then again very close would be Japanese food. If I have ever been to a restaurant and really enjoyed the food (practically every time :-) I love to try and re-create the food that I have enjoyed. I suppose it is almost like a quest to cook all of my favourite food. I'm sure that I will never complete my quest because there are just too many of my favourite dishes!

Any way I thought that I would share this simple recipe with you all, because it brings back lots of happy memories for me.
When I was a young girl, my Mum would take me down to the local video shop and we would hire out a video to watch over the weekend. I used to love going down to this shop as the man who worked in there had been on the telly staring in a program called countdown. I used to think that because he had been on the telly, that he was a real famous person that we actually knew! Hahaha! God things were so different then!! His shop was nothing like the dvd shops that you get these days. I was a small shop, but the walls were covered with videos. My mum used to let me pick the ones that I wanted to watch, so it is a real simple but fond memory.
My Mum and my Dad would get a Chinese take-away on the Saturday night. I would already of had lots to eat, but I used to lay there in bed, awake and the fabulous smells from downstairs would travel up to my room. I would sneak onto the upstairs landing and listen to their conversation and listening in on the telly. I When the amazing smells were just too mush for me to handle, I would slowly creep downstairs to my parents in the front room. I'm sure they must of told me to get back up stares but I cant remember that bit. I can just remember going round to both of my parents and pinching food off their plate.

When I was a bit older my Mum would go out to the bingo and my dad would babysit for me. As a treat, he use to either cook for me, or we would get a take away!
Eating egg fried rice to me is like having a big comforting hug on a plate.

When cooking egg, fried rice, there are a few things to remember. It is always best to use old rice that has been in the fridge, at least overnight, so it is a really good recipe to use up your leftover rice.

In this recipe I have just kept it simple for everyday use, but feel completely free to add what ever you like. Sometimes I will add sweetcorn, pea's, onion, prawns, pork, chicken, well in fact, anything.......

Ingredients:- serves 4-5

2 cups of uncooked rice,
2-3 tbs sunflower oil,
3 eggs,
a handful of frozen peas, boiled.
soy sauce 1-3 tbs - to taste
2-3 spring onions for garnishing.


Great if you have left over rice and if you have you use all of the ingredients above, so if you do, you need to adjust the above ingredients.

1) Wash the rice under the tap until the water runs clear. Drain and leave the rice in a warm place for the rice to dry out. this will probably take about 1 hour.

2) In the meantime, you can be preparing all of the other vegetables or meat that you want to use.

3) Once the rice is dry and the rest of the ingredients are prepared. Heat up a wok on a very hot heat.

4) Add some oil and scramble the egg. If you are using cooked meat, you will need to add it now. (Tip. if you are using raw meat, then fry it and keep it to one side until now)

5) Add the peas's and stir fry for a moment.

6) Add the rice and fry on a high heat for 2-3 minutes

7) Sprinkle the soy sauce and mix in well.

Sprinkle the spring onions and serve hot with your favourite stir fry.

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