Author: Sanjana

About Sanjana

Food photographer, digital producer and dreamer of all things delicious. This blog on Indian and East African vegetarian food is my place of reflection and retreat.

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Pull-Apart Samosa Bread

Pull-Apart Samosa Bread

Today’s the day I finally get to say hello to you all! I’ve spent this sunny Saturday filming my third YouTube video and it’s the first time I’m actually in it, albeit for just a few moments before you get to the best bit – the recipe. Can you believe I’ve been sharing my favourite recipes with you for seven whole years?! Neither can I. This pull-apart/tear ‘n’ share/whatever you want to call it bread has a little secret. It’s not harbouring cheese and garlic like you’d expect. It’s packed with spicy samosa filling instead. If you’re craving those ever-popular Indian snacks, but want something a little out of the box for your next party, this is the recipe for you. Rustle up two trays, put them into the middle of the table and watch them disappear in the blink of an eye. You can serve them hot, as they are or with individual pots of garlic butter for each guest. Either way, I promise everyone will be smiling with a belly full of samosa …

Mini Kenya-Style Packed Potatoes with Coconut and Coriander Chutney

Mini Kenya-Style Packed Potatoes with Coconut and Coriander Chutney

During my lifetime, I’ve been lucky enough to be extremely close to so many wonderful food cultures. The Gujarati cuisine made by my mother’s hands was the stuff that put the skin on my bones, next were my dad’s favourite East African dishes inspired by his childhood in Mombasa. Later came various recipes from other parts of India I couldn’t help but experiment with once I got a taste for cooking. Running through it all the while is the amazing food culture of Britain – a diverse mix of true classics like Cornish pasties and Yorkshire puddings, to dishes from international cuisines we’ve somehow adopted. There’s nothing quite like eating Taiwanese Bao in Kings Cross or Vietnamese Summer Rolls in Shoreditch for lunch and going home to true Gujarati daal-bhaat, shaak and rotli, followed by Mombasa-style mogo chips as a cheeky midnight snack. See, I told you… totally spoilt. These little packed potatoes are a take on the snacks loved by Asian people all over East Africa. Here, I’ve used British New Potatoes sandwiched together …

Eggless Dark Chocolate, Almond and Roasted White Chocolate Tart

Eggless Dark Chocolate, Almond and Roasted White Chocolate Tart

I’m a sucker for something sweet after dinner. Like my dad, tell me you’ve got hot Gulab Jambu and ice cream for dessert and I’ll be like putty in your hands. This chocolate tart makes me feel that way too. A crumbly, sweet shortcrust pastry base (without eggs, might I add), ridiculously smooth and rich chocolate filling with the most incredible roasted white chocolate swirl which takes me back to the days of sitting on the steps of our family shop eating Caramacs… except there’s loads more chocolate involved. If you’ve never roasted your white chocolate, you’ve been missing out. Gone will be the days you insist dark chocolate is superior to white. This whole time you had forgotten one amazing detail… it is that white chocolate can be transformed into the most beautiful caramel you ever tasted.  Inspired by the baking guru that is David Lebovitz, I set to work making the roasted white chocolate, following his brilliant instructions to the letter – and you should too.     One tweak I made was that …

Chilli Lime and Garlic Mogo

Chilli, Lime and Garlic Mogo

My favourite Sunday afternoon snacks consist of anything that goes with with a cup of masala chai. Whether it’s something deep fried and delicious like samosa or kachori, or a pile of fluffy steamed dhokra, I’m a sucker for savoury snacks. These East African-style Mogo Chips are a childhood favourite. It’s the kind of food we’d prepare if we have guests coming over because it’s so simple to throw together. I’ve also never met anyone who doesn’t love fluffy mogo. Mogo (a.k.a Cassava) is a staple carb in Africa, in many parts of South America where it is known as Yucca and of course, in my house. Countless Indian restaurants all over the UK serve it up in all kinds of ways, popular choices being Tandoori and Indo-Chinese style (with soy sauce). Personally, I think the simpler it is, the better. What I love about mogo is its earthy flavour, which truly comes to life when it’s gently steamed or boiled. It’s so distinct, you’d know within a split second that someone is making ‘bafelo …

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

I’m so obsessed with vegan meringue right now. I never thought that it would be possible to create light, fluffy whipped meringue that becomes so beautiful and melt-in-the-mouth after a couple of very patient hours in the oven. You might have already seen my previous recipe for Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests which I did a YouTube video for and still, I’m raving about the endless possibilities aqua faba or ‘bean water’ holds for the future of vegan baking. No longer do I waste and drain away the water from cans of chickpeas, butter beans and pinto beans. Rather, I save them and whip them in to the fluffiest meringue peaks you’ve ever seen. Just like egg whites, this bean water is packed with protein and when it’s whipped with sugar, becomes glossier than that expensive French manicure you just got. It’s this that makes glorious desserts like pavlova, eton mess and meringue cakes possible and it’s this that’s lit me up from inside. I’m so hungry to experiment with magic aqua faba …

Spaghetti with Nigella-Roasted Onions Herbed Breadcrumbs and Burrata

Spaghetti with Nigella-Roasted Onions, Herbed Breadcrumbs and Burrata

I fell in love with the creamy, stringy deliciousness of Burrata ever since I had my first bite of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Burrata with Clementines and Coriander Seeds at Nopi in Soho, London. With just a hint of orange blossom water, this dish was sweet, fresh and beyond perfection. You could say it hit the spot but if I’m honest, it hit spots I didn’t even know existed. As a lover of fresh buffalo mozzarella, I wondered how it was possible that I’d been missing out on burrata my whole life. All of a sudden I had Boyz II Men’s Pass You By on repeat ringing in my flippin’ ears. Damn. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of sinking your teeth in to burrata, let me paint you a little picture… A lip-smacking mozzarella with a soft centre of hand-torn mozzarella and cream called stracciatella (“a little shred” in Italian). Cut it open and a river of the most unctuous cream filling you’ve ever seen oozes out like a molten lake of happiness. It’s an …

Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies

Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies

I’m obsessed with brownies; rich, chocolatey, fudgy, incredible brownies. I’ve also got a soft spot for peanut butter and in case you hadn’t noticed, I cannot possibly go a day without eating cardamom. It’s not often I go in to the kitchen completely sure of what I’m going to produce. I’ll have something in the fridge or cupboard I know I want, then I forage about until I find the perfect partners for what I fancy and they could be totally bizarre combinations I’ve never tried before. If I’ve learned anything from all my years of experimental cooking is that you have to be fearless. FEARLESS. Yeah sure, sometimes things don’t turn out the way you plan but that’s what takeaway pizza is there for. I’ve rescued even the most disastrous of dinners and 98% of the time, the antidote consists of lemon, salt and sugar. They are like magic for repairing even the spiciest of curries. Baking is different. As sweet as it can be, baking can also be very cruel – especially eggless …

Stuffed and Baked Baby Kolhapuri Aubergines

Stuffed and Baked Baby Kolhapuri Aubergines

If you’re a fan of vegetarian Indian main courses that pack enough punch to trounce any meaty curry, look no further. These gorgeous aubergines might be small but the smooth-as-velvet sauce and filling make it an unforgettable veggie curry you’ll want to make over and over again. Stuffed with rich coconut, pistachios and paneer before being baked in a tomato masala containing no fewer than eleven incredible spices (important: in small amounts) to create a beautifully balanced, aromatic aubergine experience. You’ve probably worked out by now that I’m a total aubergine fiend, always thinking about where my next fix is coming from. Whether it’s Slow Cooker Aubergine Makhani or the love of my life, Burnt Aubergine and Spinach Curry, I’m obsessed. Kolhapuri Vegetables and Kolhapuri Chicken are popular dishes from, you guessed it, Kolhapur, Maharashtra in India. These curries are notoriously spicy and almost always contain a killer combo of crimson Kashmiri chillies, black pepper and poppy seeds. I’ve played about with the masala recipe to come up with my own blend, which I think …

Vegan Saffron Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests 1

Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated by meringues. There’s something so magical about those white, fluffy clouds of sweet vanilla. The chewy goodness of pavlovas, with their marshmallow-like middles and cratered tops that are begging to be dolloped with whipped cream and crowned with berries. So beautiful, yet nigh on impossible without egg whites which somehow, when whipped up, have more volume than Claudia Schiffer’s barnet in a L’Oréal Elnett ad. Well that’s what I always thought… until now. The protein in egg whites allows the air bubbles created by lots of whipping to be held. Sugar dissolves into these proteins and bonds with them. The water in sugar helps increases their strength and elasticity, allowing even more air to be trapped and held sturdy. There’s nothing quite like a stiff peak. Without the strong proteins present in egg whites to kick the meringue process off, all you’re left with is sugar. What can vegans and those who abstain from eating eggs use instead? Fear not, we no longer need to be oblivious …

Aloo Stuffed Thepla K.O Rasoi

Aloo Stuffed Thepla

The love child of Gujarati Thepla and Aloo Paratha. If you’re looking for a flatbread with big, bold flavours, you’ve come to the right place. The traditional Thepla of my childhood are unstuffed and served spread with butter or ghee. Paired with Sukha Bateta nu Shaak (dry potato and cashew curry), it’s family comfort food at its best. My memories of eating Thepla made by the expert hands of my mum are ones I still treasure today. They would be smoking hot off the tawa, rolled up like a cigar and dripping with golden butter – and first thing in the morning too. Thepla are the ultimate breakfast bread and waking up to the smell of them toasting on a hot pan outweigh the feeling of hitting snooze on Sunday morning. Trust me. Packed with the smoky, slightly-bitter caramel notes of fresh fenugreek leaves, these turmeric-hued discs of fluffy bread are one of the most iconic recipes of Gujarat. Traditional Thepla are as I said, eaten with potato curry, masala chai, pickles and chutneys. Here, …

Best-Ever Bombay Sandwiches

Best-Ever Bombay Sandwiches

Triple-decker toasted sandwiches filled with potatoes, spicy coriander and mint chutney, red onions, grilled paneer and tomatoes are what makes these pimped-up Bombay sandwiches the ultimate Indian-inspired snack. With Indian street food vendors popping up all over the UK, selling everything from Kati Rolls to Pau Bhaji, and Masala Dosa to Samosas, we’re becoming accustomed to having delicious Indian street food on tap… and we want it fast. Not only that; but it better be damn perfect too. Believe it or not, but I’ve heard students in King’s Cross complain there’s far too much tadka on top of their dosa chutney and ajwain in their samosa pastry. We’ve become a nation of Indian street food connoisseurs and it’s bloody brilliant. Re-creating street food classics like these Bombay Sandwiches at home is so simple. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s a sandwich. But not just any sandwich. Traditional Bombay sandwiches consist of two pieces of bread with slices of boiled potato, mint and coriander chutney, onions, cucumber and tomatoes on sliced white bread, I’ve taken it a …

Slow Cooker Aubergine Makhani

Slow Cooker Aubergine Makhani

Beautiful, butter-soft aubergines simmered in a rich makhani sauce for three hours are what you’ll be dreaming about tonight. It’s velvety smooth and perfect with basmati rice and fluffy Garlic and Coriander Naan. I’ve recently fallen in love with my slow cooker and have been batch cooking soya mince and black bean chilli, spicy coconut daal and this delicious Aubergine Makhani. The basis my sauce is an irresistible combo of butter (it’s not a makhani without butter!), tomatoes, selective spicing and a touch of cream to finish. It makes for a perfectly-balanced sauce to coat juicy aubergine pieces. Slow cooking is a great way of making sure your aubergines remain chunky and don’t fall apart. If you’re looking for an equally delicious aubergine recipe where they are first blackened, then mashed, head this way. One of my favourite dishes to eat in Indian restaurants is Paneer Makhani or Paneer Butter Masala. If it’s on the menu, there’s a 99% chance I’ll be all over it. After trying it in a number of different restaurants, I …