All posts filed under: All about Spices

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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 …

Tandoori Paneer Samosas

Tandoori Paneer Samosas

  Attention all paneer lovers! There’s nothing more satisfying than taking a big bite out of a crispy, spicy samosa with a fabulous filling. Whether it’s soft potato and pea, hearty mung daal or juicy tandoori paneer, these little triangles of heaven are an iconic element of Indian cuisine. Let’s be honest, making samosas from scratch is a labour of love and well worth the effort once you’re finally able to take a spicy bite. My advice? Enlist the help of a slave to help with the rolling and folding. I love nothing more than fresh samosa pastry made with chapatti dough. The hearty texture of homemade dough surpasses unsatisfying filo pastry samosas by a mile. Reminiscent of the samosas made by street vendors in the heart of Mumbai, and the kind Indian mothers make for their families, the roti dough pastry gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. A good tandoori paste is deeply aromatic, hot and sour. The combination of Kashmiri chillies, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and peppercorns makes this paste intensely flavourful and …

cardamom-tofu-curry-featured-ko-rasoi

Cardamom Tofu Curry

I stuffed myself with Palak Paneer last night. I feel terrible about it and actually had a bit of trouble sleeping. I think it’s time to give that beautiful cheese a break (at least for a little while, anyway). On The Rebound What’s a girl to do when she’s decided to cut the one true love out of her life? Then it dawned on me; I’m going to replace paneer with something similar, something I won’t feel as guilty about. Hi tofu, remember me? We used to have a healthy relationship before I lost all my inhibitions to full-fat Indian cottage cheese. Simple Infusions If you ever asked me what my favourite spice was, I think I’d probably cry. There are so many to choose from and limitless possibilities in terms of creating breathtaking new flavours. Cardamom is one of those spices that’s never really at the forefront of a curry. Well let me tell you something, it really should be given the chance. A combination of both green and black cardamoms impart musky flavours …

paan-ice-cream

Paan Ice Cream

Paan Ice Cream One of my most magical childhood memories is sitting in the back seat of my parents’ red VW Golf during the mid-nineties, slowly peeling back the red-stained paper from a little bundle of ‘Special Meetha Paan’: Areca nuts, fennel seeds, shredded coconut and rose paste, smothered in a ‘secret’ syrup, then tightly wrapped in a peppery betel leaf.   Freshly prepared Sweet Paan from R. P. Barot and Sons ‘Pan Ghar’, Leicester   My last trip to everyone’s favourite paan house got me thinking; I was missing a trick. I’ve always loved the fresh flavours, but all that chewing can be terribly hard work. Then suddenly it dawned on me, why had I never made my own Paan Ice Cream? It’s swelteringly hot over here (in comparison to last week’s pesky rain) and so I let myself go, forgot the diet for an evening and decided to finally give it a go. The first batch curdled on me because the milk I had steeped betel leaves in was too hot to add …

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 …

Unveiling Asafoetida

Anyone in the mood for some ‘devils dung’? Of course not, why would you be? Asafoetida (a.k.a ‘hing’) has an ‘unpleasant smell when uncooked’ which is obviously why it’s called worse names than the bullied kid at school. Personally I would like to stand up for this poor, tormented and viciously labelled spice. I really don’t know where the name asafoetida originated but I’m taking a damn good guess in thinking that the person who came up with it, thought it smelled super funky. Otherwise it wouldn’t contain the word ‘foetid’, right?Legend has it that it helps with digestion and upset stomachs which I have believed to be true all my life. However like with a lot of Aryuvedic treatments, I am unaware of any scientific research having proved this theory. Maybe I should start making like a guinea pig and testing them on myself. Or maybe not. Some Indians believe that by mixing a little asafoetida and water then filling your bellybutton up with it will cure indigestion. Sounds mental, huh? My friend and I …

Unveiling The KO Rasoi Spice Box Series: Turmeric

Welcome to the first instalment of The KO Rasoi Spice Box Series. Over several weeks I hope to bring you little snippets of the wonders that are in my spice boxes, why they are in there and what they are used for. I’m glad I’ve finally got around to doing this as I’m sure many of you are wondering what some of the strange spices I use in my recipes actually are! I also hope to showcase these spices in the recipes which make the best use out of them. So stay tuned for the follow up recipes after the initial spice lesson (okay this is beginning to sound like school now, so I’ll shut up about it). Next time you add spices to your dishes, remember that they are also in there for reasons other than adding flavour. So without further a due… I’m beginning with one of the most used spices used in Indian cooking which is turmeric a.k.a. haldi or hurdhar (in Gujarati). I’m sure you’ve all heard of this one as …