Tag Archives: indian

Recipe: Chilli Tofu

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Chilli Tofu

This is based on the recipe of Chilli Panner from
Meera Sodha’s Made in India: Cooked in Britain book. The recipe is delicious but it had one great failing as far as I’m concerned – there wasn’t enough of it. Meera’s dish is a snack, I wanted something to use as part of a main course, so I have added more tomatoes to carry the wonderful flavour on for a little longer.

You need to try this recipe. It has bags of flavour and cooks in less than 20 minutes (apart from pressing the tofu). And, considering the amount of garlic in it, it might be my new favourite way of dealing with a snuffly cold!

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Ingredients
400g tofu, drained & pressed, cut into 2cm cubes
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 tsp cumin powder
1 green chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
Lemon wedges, to serve

Heat a little oil in a large saucepan and add the tofu. Fry the tofu until lightly browned on all sides. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.
Add all the tofu back into the pan and stir in the garlic, cumin and chilli.
Saute on a low heat for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced a little.
Season with salt & pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Serves 4

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Book Review: Made in India Cooked In Britain

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An Indian kitchen can be anywhere in the world. Mine just happens to be in London.

I had decided that I wasn’t going to buy any more recipe books that included meat recipes. I was sick of having to skip over so many pages that I couldn’t use. I was going to stick to buying only vegetarian recipe books. And then I was listening to the Woman’s Hour Cook the Perfect podcast on the way to work one morning. I listened to Meera Sodha cook her Daily Dal recipe and talk about cooking Indian family food in Britain.

Meera’s family (originally from Gujarat in India) had been expelled from Uganda in 1972 and had ended up Lincolnshire. Meera’s mother had continued to cook Gujarati food but with British ingredients. This cookbook is based around those recipes.

It’s a lovely warm hug of a book. It’s full of fresh flavours and recipes that encourage rather than intimidate. There are some specialist ingredients, but most of these recipes only need a trip to the average supermarket, not an hour spent online tracking down obscure spices.

The book is divided into:
Starters and snacks
Vegetables
Meat
Fish
Eggs
Pulses and grains
Sides
Breads
Chutneys and pickles
Puddings
Drinks
Housekeeping: Make your own and Leftovers

There’s a Menu Ideas section with menus for 2, 4, 6 and 8 vegetarians. There’s an Alternative Contents section with ideas for 1st Timer Recipes, Midweek Meals, Get the Kids Involved, Gluten Free and other options.

The recipes are clear, one to a page with plenty of full page colour photographs. While there are meat recipes there, they are restricted to two chapters and make up less than a quarter of the book. The tone of the book is chatty and cheerful, mixed in with a few family stories, like a good conversation between foodie friends.

I have tried the Daily Dal and it is excellent. There is also a recipe for 100 Garlic-Clove Curry. I might have to give that one a try sometime soon!

Title: Made in India Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
Author: Meera Sodha
Publisher: Penguin Fig Tree
Year: 2014
Pages: 319
Recipes: 133 (including 47 vegetarian and 49 vegan)
Price: £20 hardback
ISBN: 9780241146330

Runner Beans with Mustard Seeds and Ginger

Beans with ginger and mustard seed photo DSCN1690_zpsf24d0372.jpg

The recipe in the book calls for French beans, but with runner beans being in season I decided to use them.

This is a lovely, gently spiced dish. It’s not hot, but warming from the ginger. It can be served as a side dish safe in the knowledge that it won’t overpower whatever it’s served with.

Ingredients
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
250g runner beans, topped, tailed and sliced into cm lengths
2 cm ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp tomato puree
1/4 tsp turmeric

Add a little oil to a large frying pan on a medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds and sesame seeds.
When they start to pop add the beans and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the ginger and stir for another two minutes.
Add the tomato puree, turmeric and a splash of water.
Cover with a lid, turn the heat down and simmer for a couple of minutes.
When the beans are tender, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 2 as a side dish

Book Review: Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel

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Prashad is a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Bradford that got to the finals of the 2010 TV show (Gordon) Ramsay’s Best Restaurant. This is their recipe book, including some dishes from the restaurant and some from their home.

The recipes are divided into: Starters; Street Snacks and Nasto; Main Dishes; Rice and Breads; Soups, Pickles, Side Dishes, Chutneys and Dips; Drinks, Desserts and Sweets.
There are also sections to explain the spices and ingredients that may be unfamiliar to the average reader.

The book is well laid out, with clear instructions and many full page, colour pictures of the finished dishes. The recipes are about evenly split between the sections, which means the rice and breads section is a bit overbalanced for me. I can’t see me making many of breads, so I would have preferred more recipes in the soups side. There are only three soups listed, which is a bit disappointing, but I suppose soups don’t sell that well in restaurants.

And this is my main comment about the book. It is clearly written by someone who runs a restaurant. I always find there is a different feel to recipe books written by chefs to those written by cooks. The chef books always seem to have more complicated recipes with more ingredients, more steps and more utensils needed (someone else does the washing up!) This book definitely falls into that category. There’s also an unwillingness to compromise over ingredients. There are many specialist ingredients in this book some of which you will be able to find in the world food shelves of a big supermarket and some you’re going to have to track down an Indian grocer for. Having said that, the book does explain what you need, what it looks like and how to prepare it.

Grumbles aside, there are some great recipes in this book. There are dhals and vegetable curries a plenty, with rice dishes and pickles to serve with them. The recipe I made below, corn on the cob curry, is delicious hot and spicy with the sweetness of the corn coming through. I will certainly be making it again.

Title: Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Author: Kaushy Patel
Publisher: Saltyard Bookes
Year: 2012
Pages: 263
Recipes: 110 all vegetarian (including 66 vegan)
Price: £25 hardback
ISBN: 9781444734713

Corn on the Cob Curry

Corn on the cob curry photo DSCN1698_zps200fd885.jpg

Ingredients
4 corn on the cobs, cut into four pieces each
2 medium onions, 1 blended to a fine paste, the other chopped
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp medium red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
2-4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp garam masala

For the masala
2-4 green chillies, seeds left in
8cm root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Pinch of salt

Make the masala paste by blending the chillies, ginger and salt in a blender.
Heat some oil in a large pan and add the onion paste.
Cover and leave to fry gently for 3 minutes until the paste is starting to brown.
Stir in the chopped onion.
Cover the pan and fry for two minutes and then stir.
Repeat until the onions have turned a rich dark brown.
Add the masala paste, tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and half the fresh coriander.
Stir thoroughly and then cover and leave to simmer for 2 minutes.
Add 175ml of boiling water and the corn on the cob pieces.
Make sure the corn pieces are covered in the sauce, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
When the corn is tender, remove from the heat.
Stir in the garam masala and the rest of the fresh coriander.
Cover and let sit for 20 minutes to let the flavours develop (and for the corn to cool down to be held by fingers!)
Serve with flat bread to hold the corn and mop up the juices.

Serves 4

Recipe: Vegan Tofu Kedgeree

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When you think about it kedgeree is one of the stranger products of the British Empire. It’s one of the original ‘fusion foods’, although I do have to wonder about the thought processes that came up with smoked haddock as a suitable substitute for lentils and vegetables. I was going to try to make the original authentic khichri but then I found this Taifun Smoked Tofu and thought it would be a good substitute for smoked haddock.

The tofu works well here. It has a light smoked taste that lets the flavour of the basmati rice shine even with spice of the curry. This is also one of the few recipes where curry powder is the correct ingredient to use so you can relax and enjoy being authentically inauthentic! And don’t use too much of it either, you don’t want to excite the memsahib!

Vegan kedgeree photo DSCN0699_zpse59d739f.jpg

Ingredients
150g basmati rice
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp curry powder/paste
200g smoked tofu
50g frozen peas
fresh coriander, chopped

Wash the rice thoroughly to get rid of as much of the starch as possible.
Put it in a saucepan and pour on enough water to cover it to a depth of 2cm.
Boil until the water is no longer visible and there are deep pits in the surface of the rice.
Cover with a damp cloth and put the saucepan lid on.
Turn the heat down low and cook for 10 minutes.
Then turn the heat off and leave for 5 for minutes.
After that remove the lid and cloth and fluff the rice up with a fork.

While the rice is cooking, fry the onion in a little oil until it is golden brown.
Remove half the onion and reserve for later.
Add the curry powder to the onion in the pan and cook for about a minute.
Add the tofu and the peas and heat through until both are cooked. If the mixture gets dry add some water to moisten it.

When the tofu and peas are cooked add them to the cooked basmati rice and stir thoroughly to combine them.
Serve with the reserved onion and chopped coriander sprinkled on top.

Serves 2 as a hearty meal

Recipe: Tikka Mushrooms

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I’m making no apology for posting another mushroom recipe. These are so good with a satisfying kick of chilli. I had them first at Woodlands Restaurant. There are two version of this – an ovo-lacto version and a vegan one. They both taste great. I suggest serving them with the Asian Spiced Coleslaw I posted a while back.

Mushroom tikka - vegan photo IMG_0370_zps7b3335b9.jpg

Ovo-Lacto Ingredients
Small pot of natural yoghurt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 closed cup mushrooms

Vegan Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 closed cup mushrooms

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the mushrooms and stir until they are well coated in the spice paste.
Leave for at least 30 minutes.
Put them on a foil-lined tray and grill them under a hot flame for 5 minutes each side.

Serves 2 as a starter

Recipe: Pickled Aubergine Salad

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One of the first restaurant reviews I did for this blog was Bangalore Express at Waterloo. One of the highlights of that visit was their Pickled Aubergine Salad. I’ve been back many times since then and that salad has always been one of the selections.

I went back last week to find that they have changed the menu. And, horror of horrors, the pickled aubergine salad has gone!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!

But did I panic? I did not. I Googled. And lo and behold! I found a recipe for it online.

I don’t think this is quite the same as the restaurant version, but it is just as silky, gently spiced and much less oily!

Pickled aubergine salad

Ingredients
1 aubergine, cut into 3cm long, thinnish strips
1 red onions
1 small tin chopped tomatoes
2cm fresh ginger
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder

Put the sliced aubergine in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 30 minutes for water to drain out.
Blend the onions, tomatoes and ginger until you have a smooth paste.
When the aubergines have drained, rinse them with water.
Fry the aubergines in about 3 tbsp of vegetable oil until softened and golden brown.
Put them back in the colander and let the excess oil drain off them.
Heat a small amount of oil in the pan and add the fennel and nigella seeds.
When the seeds pop add the tomato and onion paste to the pan.
Stir and add the rest of the spices.
Simmer this for 5 minutes until it is thickened.
Add the aubergines and fold them in carefully, trying not to break them up too much.
Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 10-15 minutes.
Check that the aubergine is meltingly tender.
Season with salt.
Turn the heat off, put the lid back on the pan and let it cool to room temperature.
Serve with chopped fresh coriander as a garnish.