13 December, 2019

Aviyal Recipe | Keralan Mixed Vegetable Curry With Coconut And Yogurt

Learn how to make Aviyal or Avial ~ Keralan mixed vegetable medley with coconut and yogurt

Heaven must be a bit like Kerala, an ancient strip of lush, tropical land that slithers sensuously down the coast of south-western India.
~ Madhur Jaffrey
Blessed with tropical, balmy weather and plentiful rain, Kerala is truly God’s own country. The land of sparkling backwater zigzagging the lush green landscape dotted with paddy fields, tea plantations and the majestic coconut trees swaying to the cool breeze of Arabian sea, Kerala is home to world’s most precious treasure – spices that have lured traders from antiquity, and then the invaders many centuries ago. At the end of 15th century the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama hitched up his sail and after circling the Cape of Good Hope landed in Kerala at the port of Calicut and soon the other Europeans – Dutch, French and English – followed his sea route. What started as a lucrative spice trade soon created a whirlwind of brutal violence and colonisation in the name of God, king and country leaving a trail of blood stained the map of India!

Ingredients for Aviyal

Black pepper, the king of spices and the most coveted spice was believed to be worth its weight in gold is still one of the most loved spices in the present day is grown abundantly in Kerala along with many other spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms etc. Keralan cuisine is loved for not just it’s balanced used of spices, but also inclusivity of local produce in everyday cooking. Sadya – a celebratory feast consisting of a variety of traditional vegetarian dishes usually served on banana leaves – showcases the beauty of Keralan vegetarian dishes cooked with a wide range of locally grown vegetables like gourds, green plantains, root vegetables, yams etc cooked with freshly grated coconut, coconut milk, yogurt, and lentils etc. Almost every savoury dish has two main ingredients – coconut oil and fresh curry leaves – and it is impossible to imagine Keralan cuisine without these two!

05 December, 2019

Achaari Aloo Gobi Recipe | Vegan Potato and Cauliflower Curry with Pickling Spices

Learn how to make Achaari Aloo Gobi ~ Vegan potato and cauliflower curry with pickling spices

My love for pickle is a talking point with my family and friends, so much so that I end up being a butt of their so-called ‘pickle’ jokes! I belong to the very rare group of species who can survive not tasting a piece of sugar-loaded sweetmeats for rest of their life but go berserk when a meal is served without a piece of pickle adorning the plate. So extending my love for pickle into a lip-smacking bowl of curry is one of the best ways to satisfy my never-ending cravings for something spicy and uplifting. Enter Achaari Aloo Gobi, a delicious and one of THE best vegan curries that you can make to jazz up even the most mundane meal.

The word ‘Achar’ means pickle in Hindi and this recipe of Achaari Aloo Gobi is built on the basic pickling spices; mustard, cumin, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, and red chilli which are prominently used in North Indian pickles. The touch of sourness comes from the amchur power which is a dried mango powder instead of vinegar which is used in most of the Punjabi pickles. This dish is how a pickle should be, spicy, astringent, and sour. Unlike the dry version of Achari Baingan or gravy based Achaari Paneer Curry, this Achaari Aloo Gobi Curry is semi-gravy based dish.

27 November, 2019

Vegetable Thai Red Curry Recipe | Vegan Thai Red Curry

Learn how to make Vegetable Thai Red Curry ~ Vegan Thai red curry with mixed vegetables and tofu

The season of a warm bowl of rice topped with a generous ladle full of fragrant curries is here. Frankly, who doesn’t like a bowl of fresh, aromatic and warm curries on a cold day?! Especially when it is deliciously fragrant and delicately flavoured curries like this Vegetable Thai Red Curry. One whiff of this steaming fragrance of spicy curry puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day and awakens the appetite.

Ingredients for Vegetable Thai Red Curry

The crunchy vegetables and soft tofu simmered in a highly fragrant coconut gravy flavoured with perfectly balanced homemade Thai red curry paste of fresh herbs and spices is what I am sharing with you all today. If you love the goodness of rainbow vegetables, creaminess of coconut milk and the heady aroma of fresh herbs and spices, then this is one of those recipes that you will love to cook every now and then.

13 November, 2019

Tilwale Aloo with Tenderstem Recipe | Spicy Indian Roast Potatoes with Tenderstem

Tilwale Aloo with Tenderstem Recipe ~ How to make spicy Indian roast potatoes with Tenderstem broccoli

Wrapped in many layers of clothing, knee-high boots and my nose buried in a warm woolly scarf, I walked on a slippery frost-covered path I welcomed the winter grudgingly when I had to cut short my walk due to heavy rain lashing around me. With no protection from trees that were decked up in autumn splendour, but now standing stark naked thanks to the sudden drop in temperature to freezing point and incessant rainfall which caused floods in neighbouring towns and cities, I came home soaking wet and in desperate need for something warm and comforting. The season of hot soups, hearty stews, spicy curries, warm salads and continuous supply of hot cup of joy is here!!! Hello, winter… Let me welcome you with something simple, spicy, hearty and delicious, like this Tilwale Aloo with Tenderstem broccoli.

Versatile, delicious and highly adaptable, Tenderstem broccoli takes just minutes to cook making it the perfect ingredient for a delicious and adventurous mid-week meal. Cook with any ingredient, pair it with any vegetables or spices and be amazed to see how it transforms into something irresistible. Add them to stir-fries or steam them with a pinch of salt, roast them in an oven or eat them raw, grill them with a little oil or batter fry until crisp. It can be added to cuisines from across the globe, from pasta and curries to stir-fries, tempura or ramen! Taking inspiration from my Indian roots, I use Tenderstem in simple Thoran (a quick stir fry tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves and garnished with fresh grated coconut), Rasedaar Aloo (Tenderstem and potatoes in spicy tomato curry) and Vegan Kurma (Tenderstem and mixed veg in coconut and fresh roasted masala gravy).

20 February, 2019

Sarson ka Saag Recipe | How to make Sarson da Saag

Learn how to make Sarson ka Saag ~ Mashed mustard green and spinach curry

The temperature outside is steadily rising and the latest weather forecast says that it will touch 18 deg C this weekend! The delicate snowdrops and colourful crocus are blooming everywhere and the daffodils are almost ready to spread their sunshiny cheer! It feels like the winter is at its teetering end in my neck of woods.

In the last 13 years of winters in the UK, this year has been the mildest and short winter ever. Last year, we were still buried under the blanket of snow until April, and this year I have seen more sunny days than in winter than all the winters in the last decade put together! Talk about global warming!

Ingredients for Sarson da Saag

Before we bid adios to winter and winter produces, especially winter greens, I am making the most of them by cooking all my winter favourite dishes from India. The ingredients you see here are used in making one of my most favourite winter dish from the land of 5 rivers. It’s Sarson ka Saag or in simple words, mashed mustard and winter greens. Saag is a generic name for cooked and pureed green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, spinach, fenugreek leaves, kale, spring greens, coriander and even mint leaves! Unlike spinach greens, which takes just few minutes to wilt and cook, saag takes much longer time as the greens usually have thick leaves and veins which take long time to break when cooking. I don’t call myself a patient cook, but once in a while when there is a special occasions like my loved one’s birthday, I pour my energy and every bit of me into making something special to celebrate the special days of my loved ones. Like every year, I cook something new which they have never tried before for birthday dinner and this year for my husband’s birthday I cooked this classic combination of Sarson ka Saag and Makki ki Roti.

05 February, 2019

Dal Makhani Recipe | How to make Dal Makhani

Learn how to make Dal Makhani ~ Rich and buttery lentil curry cooked in a mildly spiced creamy onion and tomato gravy

Bombay-Goa highway, few hungry students, time well past the lunch hours, speeding bikes at 100 kms per hour, hot and sizzling afternoon… With few ten rupees notes stuck in our pocket we obviously didn’t dare to enter some plush and expensive restaurants with swanky ambience and attentive maitre d’ to greet us with fake smile plastered on his face that didn’t reach his eyes.

We took a detour to one of the small eat-out joints where you can’t expect to see plush chairs and tables in an air conditioned room with soothing music playing in the background. Here you will hear blaring sound of Bollywood music and see one small shed which is a cooking area with tandoor (earthen oven half buried in ground) in one corner and huge gas burners with large cast iron sauce pans and kadai or woks bubbling delicious food with most amazing aroma that tickled your nose even from hundreds of meters away. In an open air, the coir woven wooden cots and a big wooden plank served as a seating and table arrangements. Then came our maitre d’, a small boy in a blue checks knickers and vest who greeted us by slapping a big steel tumbler of water on the rickety table. When we asked for the menu, the little boy started rattling off without pausing for breath… With some training the boy surely could give Shankar Mahadevan run for his money with his own album called ‘Dhaba Breathless’ ;) Within few minutes we were served tandoori roties, red onion and green chilli in a big Thali and array of curries filled in generous sized bowls. It didn’t take very long for us to lick the plate clean while the Daler Mehendi sang away ‘Bolo Ta Ra Ra’ in the background.