Month: March 2011

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shahi-paneer-okra

Shahi Paneer Stuffed Okra

Coconut, dried fruits, nuts and rich spices are what make exotic Shahi cuisine fit for royalty – and for you and I.   Dishes created in imperial kitchens during the rise of the Mughal Empire (in the heart of northern India and on the now India-Pakistan border) echoed the deeply aromatic flavours of Persia.   The Mughals, known for their extravagance and majestic style, were no different to their eating habits. Rich sauces made with ground nuts, kebabs, koftas and kormas are some of the most delicious and popular bites to come from this era.   My recipe for Shahi Paneer Stuffed Okra is not a traditional Mughlai dish – it’s entirely my own creation cooked up during a 2am food fantasy. I’ve taken my inspiration from the delicious Shahi cuisine I love to indulge in a little too often.   By now you must know how I love contrasting flavours and textures, and if you do too, you need to try this. Juicy okra stuffed with homemade paneer which has been spiked with golden …

rhubarb-chutney

Rhubarb and Anise Chutney

  I’m stepping into rhubarb terriory. My motto concerning fruits and veggies unknown has always been: If all ideas fail, just chutney it. This week’s recipe challenge for Food Network UK: Create a recipe using a secret seasonal ingredient chosen by the FN UK HQ’s, Chopped style. My latest recipe for the Food Network UK blog is for Rhubarb and Anise Chutney. It was a ‘Chopped’ style challenge (if you’re an avid Food Network fan, you’ll know all about it. If not, you need to switch on the TV and start watching). Good old British rhubarb reminds me of the times I spent devouring crumbles made with ‘proper’ Yorkshire rhubarb while growing up. It also brings back the not-so fond memories of the hideous bellyaches I had after polishing off entire ‘quarter’ bags of rhubarb and custard sweets from my pa’s sweet shop. If you’re a chutney person you really need to bottle up a few jars of this to keep in the fridge. It’s great on toast, in sandwiches with cheese and spread on …

lassi

The Ultimate Savoury Lassis

Last week I ordered a salted lassi at an Indian restaurant and got it in a pint glass. I didn’t even get a straw. It was an entirely bizarre experience which I can’t say I’d like to try again – lassi moustaches really don’t suit me. Got lassi? Forget beer and wine, I think nothing compliments an Indian meal better than lassi. It’s a cooling, yogurt-based drink with palate cleansing properties that balance out a spicy Indian meal perfectly. You really couldn’t get a more traditional drink. The roots of lassi are firmly embedded in Punjabi cuisine from Northern India and parts of Pakistan. Many Indian and Pakistani regions have adapted the refreshing beverage to suit their individual cooking styles and tastes.    Tempered lassi with curry leaves and mustard seeds. A fragrant South Indian touch. There are so many variations of lassi out there that I had to limit myself to just four versions of salted lassi. In case you hadn’t noticed, I prefer salted over sweet. Sweet lassis are really popular equivalents to smoothies, in …

masala-dosa

Mini Masala Dosa

I’m yet to meet a person who doesn’t love masala dosas. A light, healthy meal full of nutrients and flavour, dosas are widely popular on restaurant menus and in roadside cafés. Ever since I was a little girl I have always associated these crispy rolls of spicy potato with family outings to a nearby vegetarian restaurant which serves ‘monster dosas’. If you hadn’t already guessed, these are gigantic versions of the South Indian speciality. When I say gigantic I’m talking over a ft long. We didn’t always go out to eat moster dosas, sometimes we were treated to the special type of masala dosas – homemade ones. Fresh curry leaves On strained tiptoes, I used to peek over the stove top to watch my mother swirl the thinnest sheet of batter you’ve ever laid eyes on, as glorious mix of anxiety and hunger slowly took over my pot belly. As soon as I saw the faintest tinge of golden brown through the pancake, I’d run to pick up one of our very Indian Pyrex plates …

gone-not-for-long

Eggless Polenta and Sweetcorn Pancakes

It’s Pancake Day this Tuesday 8th March which funnily enough, automatically makes it acceptable for us to stuff our faces with stacks of syrup-drenched pancakes. I’m never one to argue when it comes to traditions like these. These sweet/savoury pancakes are made with fine cornmeal and juicy kernels of sweetcorn and no eggs whatsoever. Instead, I used baking soda as a raising agent, which makes the pancakes light, fluffy and perfect for brunch. Don’t you just love waking up to the smell of warm pancakes on a duvet day? I really love sweet and savoury flavours together, although I don’t often play around with dishes to create them. I also added mature cheddar cheese to these because I like to live on the wild side, but you could add chopped spring onions, or both for that matter. Eggless Polenta and Sweetcorn Pancakes (makes 8-10) Ingredients 120g fine cornmeal 30g plain flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp oil 3 tbsp sour cream 140g sweetcorn 140g mature cheddar cheese, grated ½ tsp salt Pinch ground white …