All posts filed under: Gujarati Cooking

image_pdfimage_print
Peanut Masala Stuffed Aubergines

Baby Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut Masala

Stuffing baby vegetables with spicy, nutty masala can be a beautiful thing. It’s nothing new, Gujaratis have been popping a tray of them onto their dinner party tables for years. Stuffed vegetables are, and always have been the ultimate show-off dish – the more extensive the variety of veggies you manage to wangle into the dish, the more fabulous you are. I remember when I was little it was just aubergines, potatoes and onions in our family kitchen. As I grew, we became more and more adventurous with what we put in; it all began with bananas (my granddad used to add these back in Mombasa), then we added peas to the sauce, stuffed baby courgettes, okra, paneer (you didn’t really think I’d miss that one out did you?) and no matter what it was, it still tasted amazing. Go ahead, be fabulous and experiment with your stuffed veggie curry. Today I’m downsizing. Not because I can’t be bothered, but because I know these fresh baby aubergines I got from the market (no lie, I …

Crispy Potato Bhajia

Served in paper cones with fried green chillies for that ‘bhajia on the beach’ feel I’ve always been a sucker for ordering too many starters in restaurants, especially when it involves Crispy Potato Bhajia (paper-thin potato slices coated in a bespoke spice blend), Hara Bara Kebabs (pea and cauliflower cakes) and Daal Kachori (spiced daal in semolina pastry). I’m told my eyes are bigger than my belly and I’ve never been one to argue with legitimate allegations. Although I love eating out as much as I love home cooking, there’s always one question lingering on my lips as I attempt to make a choice of which restaurant to spend my Friday evening in  – do they serve decent starters? In all honesty, I think I can judge an Indian restaurant menu by the starters they have to offer. If the vegetarian appetisers are limited to samosas and onion bhajis (to this day, I still don’t understand onion bhajis – what are they and where did they come from?) I know I’m not going to be …

Dudhi Na Muthiya (Steamed Bottlegourd Dumplings)

The prospect of an Indian breakfast is sometimes just the kick I need to pull myself from my cosy bed. This usually only ever takes place on weekends or during time-off from the day job, so it’s always a welcome treat. Along with a spicy breakfast, there’s nothing more satisfying than using up leftovers. This recipe for Dudhi Na Muthyia hits both of those spots. They’re made using grated bottlegourd (doodhi/lauki), cold leftover rice, chickpea flour and a medley of subtle spices. The dumplings are then formed into log-shapes and gently steamed to lock in plenty of flavour and moisture. Once cooled, the cooked muthiya are quickly sautéed with sesame seeds and curry leaves to add that final dimension of flavour and a gorgeously crisp, golden texture. So many people prefer them straight from the steamer without sautéing them first – perhaps a consequence of impatience more than anything else. I have been known to finish them off before I actually finish off the recipe, not that I should actually be admitting to this. I …

Khaman

Guess who’s back? Over the next four weeks I’ll be running a series called Indian Cooking Step-by-Step in which I’ll be exploring classic recipes from a handful of Indian regions. Join me as I prepare Khaman – a Gujarati favourite in under 50 minutes. I’m not too proud to admit that I’m a terrible teacher, but when it comes to cooking Indian food, I can’t help but put my two pence in. I become a wannabe Gujarati (hailing from the state of Gujarat in western India) Mary Poppins who’s full of the old-school tips I picked up watching various female family members squabble over how much ginger to put in the daal. Khaman are fluffy, steamed, savoury cakes made with chickpea flour and a divine topping of tempered mustard seeds, sesame seeds, curry leaves, shredded coconut and coriander. The tempered topping is the most magical part of the recipe, as hot oil with sizzling spices is (very carefully) splashed with water, and then drizzled over the top of the delicately-spicy savoury cake. The result is …

Potato and Cashew Nut Curry (Sukha Bateta Nu Shaak)

Let me introduce you to the first part of one of the most amazing brunches known to man (and woman) – Potato and Cashew Nut Curry with Little Deep Fried Breads, also known as Sukha Bateta Nu Shaak and Masala Poori. My heart just did a little somersault. My fondest memories of eating this dish lie with the time I lived with my parents. Waking up on sleepy Sunday mornings (or to be more accurate, Sunday midday in my case) to the smell of aromatic curry leaves, fresh ginger and freshly fried spicy dough permeated my nostrils, coaxing me out of bed and into the kitchen to witness exactly what everyone needs to experience at least once in life – Bateta Nu Shaak and Masala Poori for brunch. The whole shebang was like a starved bear waking up from hibernation to the smell of honey-drenched baklava. Well, something like that anyway. This dry curry epitomises Gujarati cooking with its fluffy potatoes, crunchy cashews and light spicing, complimented by a squeeze of zingy lemon juice. Garnish …

Classic Shrikhand and Eggless Red Velvet Cupcakes

In case you hadn’t noticed, I have been MIA for a week – but thankfully, I have a great excuse. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I’ve been spending most of time baking for a lovely little party I attended last weekend. On the entirely eggless dessert menu were Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Vanilla & Cherry Sponge Cake, Chocolate & Coconut Cake Pops and Shrikhand Cheesecake. Speaking of shrikhand, here’s my very classic (and simple) recipe for one of my favourite Gujarati desserts. I’m adding this to the royal wedding banquet menu not because it’s an authentic Mughlai dish, but because it’s rich, opulent and incredibly well-suited to that particular style of cooking. Three spices I never fail to add to this dessert are green cardamom seeds, saffron and just a pinch of mace – these aromatic flavours are what make shrikhand, well shrikhand really. An acquired taste for many, this thick tangy yogurt is the perfect way to end an indulgent meal on a warm …

Quick Sev and Tomato Curry (Sev Tameta nu Shaak)

  Firstly, I’m going to make an attempt at guessing what you’re thinking; “What the heck are sev and where do I get them from?” These are great questions, great questions to which I don’t have great answers. I know that’s not very helpful however, I’ll do my best to explain the deliciousness of this mysterious ingredient. Because you need to know. Sev are a Gujarati snack, closely related to ‘gathia’ in the way they’re made from chickpea flour and fried. They come in all different sizes and are classed as a ‘farsan’ or savoury snack. They’re best described as crunchy, nutty and great for sprinkling on top of cassava dishes and spiced yogurts. In this classic Gujarati recipe I’ve re-created à la KO I’ve used jinni (small) sev which is very traditional and also very cute. The tiny little strands soak up the sweet, tangy and spicy flavours of the rich tomato base.   I used cherry tomatoes because that’s what I had, but you can use any variety of fresh tomatoes you have. …

Gujarati Mung Bhaat- Mung Bean and Rice Soup

Join me in a moment of nostalgia with my recipe for a classic Gujarati Mung Bean Soup. This is nothing like my playful recipe for Spinach and Mung Bean Soup – it’s an untweaked and deliciously traditional soup loved by the Gujarati peoples. Can you believe I didn’t stray from the recipe?   Did you know? Many Indians consider the mung bean to bring luck and so it is used in rituals and offered to the Gods along with grains of raw rice. Like most Gujarati recipes, every family has its own secret version of this mung bean soup, with probably the only similarity across all variations being that it’s always, always served with rice. The rice is boiled separately from the mung bean soup and usually mixed in just before serving. Check out my tips on how to cook perfect basmati rice. I topped mine with sweet, golden onions and fresh coriander. You can also stir in a spoonful of creamy natural yogurt for a mild tang. If you’re feeling lazy and are craving …

Whole Chillies in a Zingy Mustard Yogurt

Once upon a time I made the mortal mistake of slicing a chilli and then rubbing my itchy eye. I propose that the pain factor is on par with a stinging nettle thrust into the eyeball. Coming from a chilli-mad family I was almost as irritated as my weeping red eye that I hadn’t been forewarned to never ever let this happen. And never will it happen again (I hope). Other activities to avoid after handling chillies: Blowing your nose Cutting your nails Scratching any sort of itch on your body, nor anyone else’s for that matter Petting the dog/cat/bird/domestic rodent Squeezing your spots- you shouldn’t be doing this one anyway Going to the bathroom- you really don’t want to do that What I don’t understand is when recipes call for de-seeded chillies. What’s that all about? Throwing away the seeds of a chilli is like throwing away the juice of a lemon, or the soul of a sadhu. It just defeats the object.  Your fingers will be glad to hear (?) that with this …

Sizzlingly Hot Garlic Chutney

I always think carefully before I indulge in a dish chock-full of garlic. What am I doing tomorrow? Am I going anywhere? Who am I meeting with? I love it when the answers are, ‘nothing’, ‘no’ and ‘nobody’. Controversially, I think that gobbling garlic swamped dishes should only really be done in the privacy of one’s own home; curtains shut tightly, chain on the door and phone off the hook. We don’t want any disturbances. I admire this almost ritualistic way of paying homage to the humble garlic by eating it privately, behind closed doors. I suppose it’s just human nature to enjoy doing something that makes you ask yourself whether you should really be doing it at all. Did you know that garlic is slightly toxic and even if you are just preparing it, your breath and pores will take on that love it/hate it garlic smell. It is also a top blood purifier. Isn’t it great when the pros outweigh the cons? To get that garlic smell off your hands, wash them with washing …

Gujarati Potatoes and Spring Onions Sautéed in Chickpea Flour

      Fresh flavoured, dry curries are done so well by Gujaratis. It’s all about taking simple ingredients and packing in as much flavour as possible. From thalis (3 course meal plates), to dhokras (steamed savoury cakes) and mistan (Indian sweets), the simplicity and variety of Gujarati cuisine is a huge attraction for vegetarians. Around three-quarters of the population of Gujarat are vegetarian for an assortment of reasons. Among religious, economical and health reasons, many Gujarati’s believe that the abundance of nuts, beans and leafy greens available in their region neutralises the need to eat meat. Having said this, Gujarati food is simple, family cooking which can coax the most radical meat-eaters into enjoying a vegetarian meal. This dish is just one of those typical Gujarati specialities which can be adapted according to what produce is in season and available at the time. Chickpea flour curries are great with okra, fresh fenugreek leaves and even whole chilli peppers! That is if you’re feeling brave enough. Why not check out my recipe for Turnip and …

Fresh Field Beans (Vaal) in a Peanut and Yogurt Sauce

Graduation was fantastic! Thank you for all of the congratulations and good luck wishes you left for me. As always, your support is invaluable. Time to start a fresh, new chapter of my life, and the only way to fire up such chapters is with fresh, innovative food. This dish combines firm field beans with a creamy, clean tasting yogurt sauce. Perfect for those who like subtly spiced dishes or those who simply fancy a change from heavily perfumed concoctions.   You can buy field beans from all good Indian grocery or health food shops; they can be found fresh, dried and frozen so keep your beans eyes peeled. Their texture is best described as a cross between white soya beans and cannellini beans. Delicious in soups and stews, they are more popularly added to curries in Gujarati cuisine. The famous young field bean (whole) and aubergine curry (vaalore ringdra) is evidence of its popularity; it has dominated wedding menus for years. And I ain’t gonna question that! Vaal- Mature field beans with the pod removed …