Ugandan Rolex: East African Breakfast Wraps Rolled with a Vegan Omelette Inside

I’ve always been slightly bitter that I could never appreciate the beauty of a breakfast burrito. Don’t worry, I most certainly haven’t fallen off the vegetarian bandwagon. For me, the idea of something so filling, flavoursome and not to mention, gigantic for breakfast makes me weak at the knees. I’m that person who gives breakfast burrito street stalls serious side eye as I pass by. Jealousy.

All of this was true up until the point of discovering the ‘Rolex’. Nope, we’re not chowing down on eye-wateringly expensive watches for breakfast; We’re eating spicy omelettes with onions, chillies, shredded cabbage and tomatoes, all wrapped in hot, flaky flatbread.

Ugandan Rolex - East African Breakfast Wraps Rolled with a Vegan Omelette Inside

Found on the bustling, buzzing streets of Kampala, Masaka and dozens more towns and cities in Uganda, Rolex is one of the most delicious and underrated street foods you’ll come across in East Africa. A beautiful combination of textures and flavours, in a portable roll for eating on the go. It’s so popular, there’s an entire festival dedicated to it. Any festival dedicated to something that resembles a burrito is my kind of festival.

One day we’ll all go there and stuff our faces. Deal?

Like many words in the Swahili language, this dish is named after the way it sounds. The term ‘Rolex’ comes from ‘rolled eggs’. If you say it as quickly as you would eat it, it all makes perfect sense. This is what I love about listening to people speak in Swahili.

Growing up, much of the Gujarati we spoke at home was influenced by the Swahili language. It was woven so deep into our vocabulary that if you asked me now what the Gujarati words for everyday things are, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. That’s because I’ve been replacing them with the Swahili words my whole life.

Ugandan Rolex - East African Breakfast Wraps Rolled with a Vegan Omelette Inside

How cute is this little giraffe I bagged during my last trip to Mombasa?

In our family, we mash up Gujarati and Swahili words left, right and centre, creating a sort of pidgin Gujarati peppered with the Swahili nuances and colloquialisms our parents and grandparents once embraced.

Here are some of my favourite Gujarati-Swahili words that have made it into our everyday conversations:

Sufariyu (Bowl)
Fhangusa (To mop the floor)
Sahani (plate)
Pasi (Iron)
Kata (to cut) – we use this to refer to thorns on plants. For example, Bharti ben ne kejje ke laal phool nahi adhe, boh kata che.”

It works the other way, too. Gujarati words have been adopted by the Swahili language. The word, ‘goti’ meaning ‘knee’ has been adapted to ‘gotli’ to refer to the stone inside a mango, because it literally resembles a small kneecap. Gujarati convention simply inserts an ‘L’ to indicate the diminutive. So to Gujaratis in East Africa, ‘Gotli’ = mango stone/little knee.

Ugandan Rolex - East African Breakfast Wraps Rolled with a Vegan Omelette Inside

You’ll notice that a tonne of these hybrid words relate to eating and sleeping; the favourite pastimes of every Gujarati.

Let’s get cracking with the omelettes, shall we? Sorry, but I love a pun. My omelettes have been veganized using super-healthy tofu, blended up with chickpea flour, spices and then laced with veggies. The result is soft and light with just the right kind of wobble and texture you’d expect from a traditional omelette. They also hold their shape like a dream. Each vegan omelette is then wrapped in a Kenyan-style Chipati (flaky flatbread) and rolled into a cigar. You could also use a tortilla wrap or paratha if you like. I stuffed them with a rainbow of shredded vegetables which isn’t entirely traditional but it’s good for you and tastes divine.

Kenya-style chipati is a version of Indian chapattis. They’re made with plain flour and rolled thinly for a slightly chewier texture in comparison to Indian chappatis. Make them first and the omelettes second before rolling up the Rolex. The Kenya-style chipati are delicious with dishes like Sukuma Wiki and are perfect for rolling up with these tofu omelettes inside. If you’re not up for making your own chipatis, you could also use the frozen chappatis or paratha you get in your local Indian supermarket. I’ve tried this recipe with this brand before and it works a treat.

And there you have it – a crazy-delicious breakfast or brunch treat to go along with masala chai. Serve them with chips for a tea-time treat you’ll crave at least once a week.

P.S. Breakfast burritos, I’m over you.

Ugandan Rolex - East African Breakfast Wraps Rolled with a Vegan Omelette Inside

Ugandan Rolex – East African Breakfast Wraps Rolled with a Vegan Omelette Inside
Makes 6-8

Ingredients

For the vegan omelettes
500g medium firm tofu, pressed
80g chickpea flour
1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black salt
2 green chillies, chopped finely
2 inch ginger, grated
Pinch of salt
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 tomato, chopped finely
100g cabbage, chopped finely and cooked
100ml aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)

To roll inside the rolex
½ small red cabbage, shredded
200g spinach leaves
3 carrots, grated
100g radishes, sliced finely

Method

1. To make the omelettes: Blend the tofu until smooth.

2. Place the chickpea flour, cornflour, aquafaba, turmeric, black salt, green chillies, salt and ginger in a large bowl. Add the tofu and whisk until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes.

3. Grease a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat the pan over a medium/low flame.

4. Place a ladle full of vegan omelette batter in to the pan. Scatter with chopped onion, cabbage and tomatoes. Cook until the top of the vegan omelette sets lightly but still has a little bit of a wobble. The base should be golden.

5. Flip and cook the other side for 20-30 seconds.

6. Place a chipati directly on top of the cooked vegan omelette while it’s still in the pan. Remove the chipati and omelette stack and place on a board. Fill with shredded red cabbage, spinach, carrots and radishes. Roll tightly and wrap in foil. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. This ensures the wrap doesn’t fall apart.

7. Repeat for the rest of the rolex.

For the Kenya-style Chipati

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus more for rolling
40ml sunflower oil
125ml boiling water, or enough to make a soft dough

Method

1. Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the middle.

2. Pour the oil into the well and top up with the boiling water.

3. Use a spoon to mix the dough until it’s cool enough to handle. Use your hands to bring the dough together. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and soft.

4. Make small ping pong ball-sized pieces with the dough. Keep some flour on a plate for rolling.

5. Get another plate lined with kitchen paper and keep your butter handy.

6. Place the cast iron hot plate or a frying pan on a medium heat. Leave it for 5 minutes.

7. Get your rolling board and rolling pin ready. Keep a wet sponge under the board so it doesn’t move.

8. To start rolling, take a piece of dough and roll it between your palms, flattening it slightly. Dip each side in flour.

9. Roll it once up and down with the rolling pin and then take a pinch of flour. Place it in the middle of the dough and then use your index fingers and thumb to pinch it closed, starting from the outer edges. This step isn’t something everyone traditionally does but is what my mum taught me for soft chipati that rise.

10. Next, flatten the dough using your palm and again, dip each side in flour. Now, begin rolling the dough in a circular motion, teasing the dough to move around with your rolling. If you can’t do this, pick the chipati up with one hand and move it around yourself. The aim is to create a perfectly round, even surface and a flatbread that’s around 2mm in thickness and 6-7-inches in diameter.

11. Place the chipati on the cast iron hotplate and cook until little bubbles appear on the surface – around 10 seconds. Flip it.

12. Cook it on the second side until small, even brown spots appear all over the bottom of the chipati – around 30 seconds. Flip it.

13. Now, this is the rising side. Don’t worry if your chipati don’t rise the first few times you try it. It comes with practice. They’ll still taste delicious. Cook until darker, less evenly-spread patches appear on the bottom. Around 15-20 seconds. Flip it and place it this side up on your kitchen paper-lined plate.

14. Repeat this process for all of your chipati until you have a stack.

Ugandan Rolex - East African Breakfast Wraps Rolled with a Vegan Omelette Inside

Love Sanjana

 

 

 

 

 

 




Dhai Ke Kebab Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Onion Drizzle

I’ll always be a fan of a really good veggie burger but when it’s hot outside and I’m feeling too lazy to cook, lettuce wraps with something a little bit different inside are the like a dream. I love using lettuce to wrap up spicy noodles, quinoa salad, tandoori tofu and these totally delicious Dhai Ke Kebabs.

Dhai Ke Kebab Lettuce Wraps

These kebabs are made with thick, creamy yogurt that’s been hung for 24 hours, paneer, fresh mint, coriander, ginger and chilli – hardly health food but when a lettuce-wrapped kebab with crunchy veggies and sweet onion sauce tastes this fresh, you won’t care. I promise.

The Dhai Ke Kebabs themselves have a golden, crunchy exterior from a combination of breadcrumbs and semolina – the audible ‘crunch’ when you bite into it is SO satisfying. The inside is soft, surprisingly light and lemony with the freshness of mint, coriander and a touch of ginger. The delicate combo of flavours will dance on your palate as if you were partaking in a groom’s dhol procession at an Indian wedding, midsummer.

Dhai Ke Kebab Lettuce Wraps

Inspired by the rich, spicy Mughlai feasts of kings and queens in Medieval India, this alternative take on Dhai Ke Kebabs is definitely a far cry from how they would have been eaten in ornate palaces. They would have probably made up part of a larger feast of biryani, slow-cooked curries laden with dried fruits and cream and fluffy tandoor-cooked bread – all served on a lavish dining table decked with the finest gold dinnerware.

Dhai Ke Kebab Lettuce Wraps

Well I’m no Mughlai rani.

While the essence of indulgence remains with the Dhai Ke Kebabs, the rest of the dish is light, fresh, crunchy and colourful. Perfect for modern-day feasting and our busy lifestyles.

This is one of those dishes that was made for sharing. Crown your table with all the different components; Dhai Ke Kebabs, lettuce leaves, sliced carrots, cucumbers, sweet onion drizzle, toasted cashews, pomegranate, mint leaves, coriander and a few bottles of cold beer and you’re good to go. Assemble as you eat. That way, you can add more or less of whatever you like. The only problem you might have is fitting everything into the one lettuce wrap.

Word of advice… Eat with your hands – cutlery will only slow you down.

This is one of the most mouth watering dishes you can cook when you’re craving something fresh, inspired and just that little bit different from the usual veggie burgers or falafel.

Dhai Ke Kebab Lettuce Wraps

Dhai Ke Kebab Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Onion Drizzle
Serves 6-8

For the Dhai Ke Kebabs:

350g hung yoghurt (try using Greek yoghurt, hung in a cheesecloth for 24 hours)
220g crumbled paneer
100g fresh breadcrumbs
4 fresh chillies, chopped finely
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp dry-roasted chickpeas, ground (daria)
1 tsp cracked black pepper
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
Juice ½ lemon
Salt to taste

For the kebab coating:
100ml milk
100g fresh breadcrumbs
30g coarse semolina

Oil to deep fry

To serve:
2 heads Cos lettuce, leaves separated
Pomegranate seeds
1 cucumber, sliced finely
4 carrots, sliced finely
Handful toasted cashews
Fresh coriander
Fresh mint

For the sweet onion drizzle:
180g brown sugar
80ml apple cider vinegar
1 red onion, chopped finely
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
2 red chillies
1 tsp English mustard
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water

Method

1. First, make the sweet onion drizzle. Combine all the ingredients except the fennel seeds and cornflour in a pan. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring often for 20 minutes until slightly thick and syrupy. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the head and stir in the ground fennel seeds and cornflour. Stir until thick, adding a little bit of water if necessary. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. You should have a sticky-sweet and spicy sauce.

2. To make the kebabs, combine all the ingredients apart from the coating ingredients in a large bowl and combine. You should have a dough-like consistency. Knead it for a minute.

3. Make golf ball-sized balls and shape the kebabs as you wish – you can do little slider-type tikki shapes or longer kofta-style kebabs. I did both just to mix it up a bit. Place onto baking sheets.

4. Combine the breadcrumbs and semolina for the coating. Roll each kebab into the coating and arrange on the baking tray. Once you’ve done them all, briefly dip each one into a bowl of milk and back into the coating mix. This will ensure your coating is substantial for a crispy outside.

5. Arrange each one on a baking tray and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

6. Fill a pan with enough oil to deep fry the kebabs. Heat to 160C. You could bake them with a spray of oil but they won’t be as crispy, evenly brown or delicious. Deep fry them – I promise you it’s worth it.

7. Remove the kebabs from the freezer and fry three or four at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding the pan will result in the temperature of the oil dropping. Nobody wants greasy kebabs.

8. Fry until golden all over. Drain the kebabs on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. You could also freeze them for baking later.

9. Place all the filling ingredients on a platter and serve in the middle of the table, allowing everybody to dig in and build their own lettuce wraps.

Dhai Ke Kebab Lettuce Wraps

 

Enjoy watching everyone fight over the Dhai Ke Kebabs.

Love Sanjana




Chilli-Garlic Tofu Noodle Bowls with Crispy Okra

One of my favourite weeknight dinners is stir-fried tofu with colourful veggies, noodles and heaps of chilli. This is a twist on Chilli Paneer – that Indian vegetarian restaurant favourite that has found its way onto wedding menus and dinner tables at home. As much as I love paneer, I find it a little too heavy to have with noodles or rice – this is where tofu noodle bowls come to the rescue.

They might look quite ordinary but the sauce packs a real punch, seasoning the golden tofu and noodles perfectly. It’s made using large red chillies, garlic, spring onions, soy sauce, star anise and brown sugar. A combo of ingredients I always have in the house. I throw in any vegetables I have in the fridge – usually a mix of broccoli, mushrooms, beansprouts, mange tout or French beans.

Chilli-Garlic Tofu Noodle Bowls with Crispy Fried Okra

My special touch to these is to add crispy okra strips and fried Thai basil leaves. They add the most beautiful crunch and are a delicious way of getting your okra fix as part of a dish that’s not curry. To make them, slice okra into long, thin strips, toss in a little cornflour and allow to sit for five minutes. Plunge them into hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until crispy and slightly golden. Try not to move them too much in the first minute to give the cornflour time to set on the okra.

To achieve a pretty red colour, I add in a couple of tablespoons of Sriracha (Thai chilli sauce made with dried red chillies and garlic). If you haven’t tried it before – where have you been? It’s the ultimate intense chilli sauce for adding instant flavour. I add it to mac and cheese, toasties, masala chips and even potato curry. It’s almost like Gujarati lasan vari chutney but in sauce form; A squidge of it in plain natural yoghurt will give you the fastest ever sauce for bhajia and samosa chaat. You can buy it in the Asian section of most supermarkets now. Look for the squeezy bottle with a rooster on the front. Even my parents, who are life-long advocates of Tabasco now prefer it.

I used Shanghai noodles here but you could just as easily use rice noodles, udon or even fresh ramen noodles. If noodles aren’t your thing, skip them and serve the stir-fried tofu and veggies with steamed jasmine rice. Garnish with the fried okra and Thai basil, then devour.

Chilli-Garlic Tofu Noodle Bowls with Crispy Fried Okra

Chilli-Garlic Tofu Noodle Bowls with Crispy Okra

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the chilli paste:
1 large red chilli
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
3 large spring onions, trimmed and quartered
3 tbsp Sriracha
2 tbsp brown sugar
Juice and zest 1 lime

For the stir fry:
1 tbsp oil
1 star anise
100g broccoli florets
Handful mushrooms, sliced
40g mange tout
50g beansprouts
1 large red chilli
4 tbsp light soy sauce
200g golden tofu puffs
3 tbsp Sriracha
200g cooked noodles
Salt to taste

For the crispy okra:
100g okra, sliced into long thin strips
1 tsp cornflour

Method

1. First make the crispy okra and thai basil. Cut the okra into long, thing strips, place onto a plate and dust over the cornflour. Stir to combine and set aside for 5 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, turn the heat down and very carefully add in the Thai basil. It will crackle and spit in the first 30 seconds so stand right back. Be super careful even once it stops crackling. Fry until deep green and crispy. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place onto a place lined with kitchen paper.

3. Next, turn the heat up on the oil again and add in the okra. Don’t move them around in the first minute in order to let the cornflour set. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove and place onto the kitchen paper with the Thai basil. Set aside.

4. Blend together all the ingredients for the chilli paste.

5. Heat the oil in the wok, add the chilli paste and star anise. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring all the time.

6. Add in the broccoli, soy sauce and extra Sriracha. Next, add the rest of the vegetables except the beansprouts and chilli. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes on a high heat. Add the tofu puffs and sauté for another few minutes, adding a little water if it seems dry.

7. Add the cooked noodles, beansprouts and chilli, stirring to combine. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes and remove from the heat.

8. Serve immediately, topped with crispy okra and Thai basil.

Chilli-Garlic Tofu Noodle Bowls with Crispy Fried Okra

Love Sanjana




Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

In my book, anything served on a stick is a winner. It seals the deal if what’s on the stick is smothered in a charred tandoori paste, restaurant style.

Here’s my take on a British-‘Indian’ dish. It’s loaded with homemade tandoori spices, garlic, lemon, ground almonds and coconut cream. The best thing about it is that it’s 100% vegan. That’s got to get me extra brownie points, right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s not an ‘authentic Indian recipe’ and have heard far too many times, ‘Ask any Indian what tikka masala is and they won’t know.’ To this I say, ‘Whatevs’. For me, this started out as a guilty pleasure dish I’ve grown to love and adapt to my own tastes, incorporating my love for tandoori dishes. I’ve gotten over it and I promise once you’ve tried it yourself, you will too!

Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

I’ve been obsessed with tofu puffs for as long as I can remember. I like to think of them as sailboats for any sauce or spice you add. They soak in flavours like there’s no tomorrow and you don’t have to marinate them for hours. A lot of the time, we make our weeknight stir fries in a matter of minutes and thanks to these spongy little fellas, they’re filling and seriously flavoursome. In this recipe, tofu puffs the perfect carriers for my homemade tandoori paste and creamy vegan tikka masala sauce. If you like a mild curry that still packs a punch in terms of being aromatic, this one’s for you.

As compromised as I feel for not owning my own tandoor (I keep telling myself it will happen one day), this works just as well in the oven. Whack the temperature up as high as it goes and cook your skewers for about 8-10 minutes or until slightly charred. It’s also worth noting that while it’s not exactly authentic to add tomato puree to a tandoori masala paste, I do because I don’t like adding red food colouring. It’s tandoori paste, not red velvet cake. However, if you don’t like tomatoes, go ahead and add some red food colouring. This is your dish.

Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

If you can’t get tofu puffs (I get mine from our local Chinese supermarket), try this with cooked cauliflower florets, baby potatoes, paneer, mushrooms, idli pieces or anything else that will hold its own on a skewer. If you still want to use tofu but can’t get the puffed kind, try using firm tofu, weighted and pressed for a few hours to remove excess water, cubed and lightly pan-fried. I’m afraid that medium or silken tofu won’t cut it on the kebab skewer for this recipe.

Also, an FYI that I used metal kebab skewers – they get really hot so be careful if you’re using them too. If you can only get wooden skewers, soak them in cold water overnight to ensure they don’t burn in the oven.

Serve with flaky paratha, rice and lime wedges. It’s also delicious with garlic and coriander naan.

Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

Serves 4

Ingredients

300g tofu puffs
Fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish
Lime or lemon wedges, to garnish
Paratha or naan, to serve
Rice, to serve

For the homemade tandoori paste:
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
8 black peppercorns
2 dried red chillies (or fresh if you like)
2 inch stick cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise
4 cloves
Seeds of 4 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom (optional)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
2 tbsp coconut cream
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the sauce:
1 tbsp oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 red chillies, chopped (or to taste)
1 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
400g passata
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp ground almonds
2 tsp ground green cardamom seeds
2 tsp ground fennel seeds
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp kasoori methi (optional)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Salt, to taste

Method

1. To make the tandoori paste, heat a dry frying pan until hot. Add all the spices apart from the coconut cream, lemon juice, salt and concentrated tomato puree. Toast until aromatic, a couple of minutes but don’t leave it unattended because it can burn very easily.

2. Place all the spices in a high-powered blender or coffee grinder. I use my NutriBullet. Once ground to a fine powder, stir in the lemon juice, coconut cream, tomato puree and salt.

3. Add the tofu puffs to the paste and give them a good mix, taking care not to break the tofu pieces up. Set aside while you make the vegan tikka masala sauce.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

5. To make the vegan tikka masala sauce, heat the oil in a medium, non-stick pan. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies. Sauté for a few moments before adding the concentrated tomato puree. Cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat, stirring all the time. Add the passata, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good whisk, cover and cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring often.

6. Lightly grease a non-stick oven tray. Skewer the tofu pieces onto your kebab sticks. Arrange on the baking tray and pop into the oven for 8-10 minutes, turning them halfway to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven.

7. Serve immediately, bringing the kebabs and sauce to the table, letting everyone mix their own sauce and tofu pieces for a bit of fun and drama. Garnish with chopped coriander, lime or lemon wedges and extra coconut cream. Serve with jalebi paratha or garlic and coriander naan and rice.

Love Sanjana

Click the image above to Pin this recipe for later.

Click the image above to Pin this recipe for later.




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.

Best Ever Bombay Sandwich

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 step further by adding a slice of flavour-packed toast slathered in green pistachio chutney to the middle, grilled paneer (because why the hell not), sliced gherkins (because I can’t deal with warm cucumbers, sorry) and then griddled the whole thing. It’s quite a mouthful but I reckon that’s the beauty of it.

I’ve never met another Indian who hasn’t used up leftover potato curry in toasted sandwiches the next day – it’s a no brainer. I like to think of it as the ultimate ‘Dad meal’. Quick, easy and perfect with green chutney on the inside or for dipping on the outside. Of course, a slice of cheese is optional but for me, that isn’t even worth thinking about.

Trust me when I tell you this is three layers of awesome you don’t want to miss out on.

Best Ever Bombay Sandwich 2

Best Ever Bombay Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches

6 slices bloomer bread – whole wheat or white
2 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and sliced thinly
2 x 60g paneer slices, try to cut them wide
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 large pickled gherkins, thinly sliced
60g grated Cheddar
1 large avocado, sliced (optional)
Melted butter, for brushing the outsides of the bread

For the Coriander, Mint and Pistachio Chutney:

100g coriander
30g mint
2 small green chillies
6 shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
50ml groundnut oil

Method

1. Blitz all the ingredients for the chutney in a blender until smooth. Add a drop of water if necessary. The chutney should be the consistency of pesto.

2. Toast two slices of bread. Griddle the paneer on both sides.

3. Butter the outside of the bread and place buttered-side-down on a cold griddle. Spread some of the chutney on the top, lay over potato slices, red onions, tomatoes gherkins and a little bit of Cheddar.

4. Spread green chutney over both sides of one of the slices of toast. Place on top of your sandwich and repeat the layering process, this time adding the paneer. Take the final bread slice and spread green chutney on the inside and place chutney-side-down on the sandwich. Butter the outside of the top slice.

5. Repeat to make the other sandwich.

6. Griddle on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes.

Serve with crisps or masala chips, chai, limeade or beer and prepare to take the biggest bite of your life.

Love Sanjana




Paneer Bhurji Kati Rolls

Paneer Bhurji Kati Rolls

This is not just any old wrap. This is a flavoursome, satisfying chapatti wrap filled with rich paneer, tangy lemon and mouth-watering spices. Seriously, M&S would be proud. These kati rolls are simple, filling and perfect for lunch or dinner. You can stuff them with anything you like, from scrambled paneer to Bombay potatoes.

Traditional kati rolls come from Kolkata where they are essentially a kebab wrapped in paratha. Just like sandwiches and wraps you’ll find all over the world, from gyros to banh mi, kati rolls are a street food favourite because they lend themselves to eating on-the-go – a must in any bustling city.

Paneer Bhurji Kati Rolls (2)

My take on kati rolls combines my passion for paneer bhurji (North Indian-style spiced, scrambled paneer) and hot chapattis. I figured if I was going to fill something with pure paneer and vegetables, I’d better use a chapatti rather than ghee-filled paratha. If you’re not bothered about the extra calories, I’d recommend you go the whole hog and wrap your bhurji in hot, buttery paratha. There’s nothing quite like it.

One of my favourite places to eat in London is at Payal Saha’s The Kati Roll Company which opened after the first store in New York City's eclectic Greenwich Village was such a success. If you’ve never been to the London shop, here’s the lowdown; it’s a tiny little café-style restaurant with no more than eight tables. The walls are plastered with vintage Bollywood posters and they play filmi hits you’re more likely to bop away to at a family wedding rather than the UK’s busiest shopping hotspot. My point is that I love the Achaari Paneer Kati Rolls here – it is where the inspiration for my Paneer Bhurji Kati Rolls came from. 

If you’re up for it, try making your own Homemade Paneer. It will make a huge difference to the final texture of the paneer. However, if you’re short of time, just use shop bought – all you need to do is mash it up with a fork.

I love to cook my Paneer Bhurji in butter – it adds a delicious richness to the juicy paneer and vegetables. A squeeze of lemon juice at the end plumps up the paneer and provides the perfectly-balanced tang you’re looking for in any good paneer dish.

Paneer Bhurji Kati Rolls (4)

Paneer Bhurji Kati Rolls
(Makes 8 rolls)

450g paneer, crumbled
50g butter
1 large red onion, diced finely
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp freshly-grated ginger
2 hot red chillies, chopped finely
½  green pepper, diced finely
Handful shredded red cabbage
Handful petits pois or peas
3 spring onions, sliced at an angle
½ tsp amchur powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
Juice of half a lemon
Fresh coriander, to garnish

8 chapattis or paratha
Salad leaves, to serve

Method

1. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Allow to sizzle a little bit, and then add the chopped red onions and red cabbage. Cook on a medium heat, stirring frequently until soft.

2. Next, add the ginger, chillies, pepper, petits pois, amchur powder, garam masala, turmeric powder and salt. Allow to cook for 5 minutes on a low heat.

3. Finish by adding the paneer and lemon juice. Cook this on a medium heat for around 5 minutes, stirring often. Don’t let this become too dry – you want the paneer to stay juicy for your kati rolls.

4. Garnish with fresh coriander and spring onions.

5. You can either serve the bhurji like a curry with hot chapattis or naan or you can make perfectly-portable kati rolls.

6. To make kati rolls, take a hot chapatti or paratha and put some filling inside. You can also add some fresh salad and chutney at this stage (I love Sriracha and green coriander chutney in these). Roll them up tightly and wrap with greaseproof paper.

Serve hot with cold lassi, beer or a steaming cuppa chai. 

Paneer Bhurji Kati Rolls (3)

Love Sanjana




Stuffed Naan Pockets with Spicy Pizza Dip

Stuffed Naan Pockets with Spicy Pizza Dip (2)

Two of my favourite things in the world are naan and pizza. I love them in all shapes and forms from classic peshwari naan to hybrid naan pizzas – especially when they involve cheese, green veggies and lashings of garlic. I’ll be honest, getting home from a long day at work and sitting down to a naan pizza made with shop-bought garlic and coriander naan and leftover paneer butter masala is one of the most incredible dinners ever! Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.

Here’s a simple recipe that celebrates my love of naan and pizza in an easy-to-eat fashion. My recipe for naan pockets uses crumbled paneer and crushed peas as a stuffing for the deliciously-light and buttery naan envelopes. They’re folded into the classic teardrop shape, brushed with a mixture of butter and turmeric, sprinkled with kalonji seeds, and then baked in a hot oven until golden.

If you’re not a fan of paneer, these are also great with a filling of grated broccoli and spinach, steamed sweet potato, and cauliflower and green chilli cooked in the exact same way as I do the paneer and peas filling.

Stuffed Naan Pockets with Spicy Pizza Dip (3)

To serve, slice the pockets in half and serve with a bowl of my spicy pizza dip which is infused with a touch of garam masala, green chillies and ground coriander.

These are the perfect party nibbles, starters for an Indian meal and a sure-fire hit with kids. I even love them for dinner, served with both the spicy pizza dip and a cooling cucumber raita.

Stuffed Naan Pockets with Spicy Pizza Dip

Stuffed Naan Pockets with Spicy Pizza Dip
Makes 18-20 mini pockets

Ingredients

For the naan dough:
310g strong white bread flour
7g fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp kalonji (nigella seeds)
1 small clove garlic
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
135ml warm water

For the peas and paneer stuffing:
250g shop-bought paneer, cubed
130g frozen peas, thawed
1 clove garlic
2 green chillies
1 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp crème fraiche
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped finely
2 tbsp sunflower oil

To brush the pockets:
Melted butter
¼ tsp turmeric
Kalonji seeds

For the spicy pizza dip:
2 large tomatoes
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
1 clove garlic
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Method
First, make the naan dough. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt kalonji seeds and garlic. In a separate jug, whisk together the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil and yoghurt. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Bring together using a spoon and then your hands. Knead for 10 minutes. The mixture may seem stick at first, but keep kneading and it’ll come together. Grease the bowl with come oil, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend together all the ingredients for the spicy pizza dip in a food processor. Add the mixture to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.

To make the stuffing: in a food processor, blend the garlic, chillies and ginger. Remove and set aside. Next, pulse the peas a few times until coarsely chopped. Remove and set aside. Repeat the same process with the paneer. Bring the peas and paneer mixture together in a bowl. Heat a saucepan and add the oil. Sauté cumin seeds and the garlic, ginger and chilli mixture until aromatic. Add the peas and paneer mixture, black pepper, salt, crème fraiche and coriander and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a few baking trays with greaseproof paper and spritz with non-stick cooking spray.

To fold the pockets: take the risen naan dough and knock out all of the air. Take a ping pong ball-sized amount and roll into a ball. Use and rolling pin to roll into 3-inch in diameter round. Don’t add any extra flour – the oil in the dough should stop it from sticking too much. Take a tablespoon full of the cooled stuffing mix and place into the middle of the dough. Starting with the top and bottom of the dough, pull the dough around the filling, pinching the dough to seal until you get to the outer edges. Ensure the dough is well sealed without any cracks by pinching it all together until smooth.

Roll the dough gently until around 3 inches in diameter. Then use your hands to gently pull the top of the dough into a teardrop shape. Place the other side up on the greased and lined baking tray and repeat for the rest of the pockets.

Use a sharp knife to make small holes (not all the way through) in the naan pockets. Melt the butter and whisk in the turmeric – this will give them a lovely golden colour. Brush the pockets generously with the butter mixture and sprinkle on the kalonji seeds.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden all over.

Stuffed Naan Pockets with Spicy Pizza Dip (2)

Serve hot from the oven with the warm spicy pizza dip.

Love Sanjana




Tamarind-Glazed Tofu Sliders with Kachumbar Slaw

Tamarind Glazed Tofu SlidersYes, I’m back. After a week in Mombasa, six weeks of family time and a week of tech issues, I felt it was time I blogged again.

I offer you a summer spread of these mini burgers filled with tamarind-glazed grilled tofu, masala potato wedges and spicy Indian slaw (kachumbar). When I was young, my dad would call me from work at 6.30pm to ask me to quickly make his favourite kachumbar before he arrived home in time for one of mum’s gorgeous home-cooked dinners. It was always a pleasure and allowed me to perfect the recipe – one which now has a very special place in my heart.

Kachumbar Slaw

Even though kachumbar means ‘cucumber’ but I often make it without. I often just crave the simplicity of juicy tomatoes, red onions and mixed spices. For this recipe, I’ve added grated carrots, cucumbers and spring onions to create a kachumbar-inspired slaw to offer a delicious crunch to these tofu sliders.

Masala wedges are a staple at home and are usually made with either sweet potatoes or cassava – a tribute to our East African roots. Here, I’ve made them with Maris Pipers because that’s what I had in the kitchen but you can use any floury potatoes you like. Toss them in oil, salt and your favourite garam masala, and then leave them to do their thing in the oven whilst you get on with the rest of the recipe.

Tamarind Glazed Tofu Sliders (3)

Tamarind-Glazed Tofu Sliders with Kachumbar Slaw and Masala Wedges

Ingredients

6 slider buns
Mixed green salad

For the tofu:
600g firm tofu, pressed and cut into steaks
1 tbsp concentrated tamarind paste (I use shop-bought – life’s too short!)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
6 tbsp brown sugar
75ml water
1 tsp grated ginger
½ tsp ground fennel seeds

For the kachumbar slaw:
2 large carrots, grated
¼ small cucumber, seeds removed and grated
1 large red onion, diced finely
2 tomatoes, seeds removed and diced finely
3 spring onions, sliced finely
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp groundnut oil
½ tsp toasted cumin, ground
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sesame seeds

For the masala wedges:
4 large potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp garam masala
½ tsp salt

Method

First, cut the potatoes into small wedges and toss with oil, garam masala and salt. Bake at 200C for 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Next, make the slaw by combining together all the ingredients and mixing well. Allow to chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the sliders.

Now, make the tamarind glaze by mixing together the tamarind paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and water. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce by half. Add the ground fennel and set aside.

Grill the tofu on both sides until a crisp skin forms on the outside. This will take about 10 minutes each side in a domestic oven – less on a barbecue. Remove from the oven and brush the glaze all over the tofu steaks. Return to the grill until just bubbling.

Slice the buns in half and toast. Build the sliders with the glazed tofu, chilled slaw and your favourite hot sauce. Serve with the masala wedges and a cold beer.

Tamarind Glazed Tofu Sliders (2)

Love Sanjana




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 perfect for adding rich flavour to paneer. I make my own at home using my recipe below, however, you can buy it if you’re short of time. I won’t lie, shop-bought won’t be as good.

I use concentrated tomato puree to give my tandoori paste a rich red colour and also to add some of that traditional sourness which characterises good tandoori masala. Not a drop of food colour in sight.

You can also make these using fresh, homemade paneer but to be honest, I didn’t have the patience to press it long enough for it to be sliceable. Another thing worth mentioning is that traditionally, tandoori paste has yogurt in it to tenderise the paneer. Instead of doing that for this recipe, I add some cottage cheese to give it that yoghurt flavour and help bind the filling together (because of the little nuggets of cheese).

A handful of chopped spring onions and coriander gives the filling a hint of green colour and a burst of fresh flavour.

I serve these with sweet and sour tamarind chutney to cut through the richness of the paneer filling. My recipe for the chutney takes just 10 minutes and is delicious will lots of Indian starters. I’ll post a recipe for the chutney later this week. For now, here’s my recipe for the samosas.

Tandoori Paneer Samosas

Tandoori Paneer Samosas
(Makes 16)

Ingredients

For the tandoori paste:
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
8 black peppercorns
2 dried Kashmiri chillies
2 inches cinnamon
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise
4 cloves
Seeds of 4 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom
1 tsp fennel seeds

3 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tbsp ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

To cook the filling:
1 tbsp oil
2 small onions, minced very finely
475g firm paneer, cut into 1/2cm pieces (I did it in rough pieces of various shapes for a more interesting texture than just cubed)
3 tbsp low-fat cottage cheese
150ml water

5 spring onions, chopped finely
Handful fresh coriander, chopped finely

For the pastry:
320g flour
160ml cold water
5 tbsp oil
½ tsp salt

Method

1. Toast the dry spices in a dry pan until lightly aromatic. Tip into a pestle and mortar and grind to a very fine powder. Mix in the tomato puree, lemon juice, sugar, salt, ginger and garlic.

2. To make the filling: heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the onions. Cook on a medium heat for five minutes. Add the tandoori paste and 150ml hot water. Cook through for 15 minutes, stirring all the time. If the mixture becomes dry, add a splash more water and continue to cook.

3. Add the cubed paneer and cottage cheese. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and then stir through chopped spring onions and coriander. Set aside.

4. To make the pastry: in a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dough. Knead until firm and non-sticky.

5. Get to work rolling out and lightly cooking your fresh pastry sheets (I rolled mine to around 4 inches- step 2). Use my step by step below as a guide. I cook my pastry sheets on a dry frying pan (step 7) making sure they do not brown. You just want them sealed enough so that you can work with them.

How to Make Samosa Pastry

6. Sandwiching two circles of dough together with oil and flour and lightly rolling over the top of them (steps 3, 4, 5 and 6) makes the pastry thinner and the whole process a little quicker. When they are cooked, carefully peel them away from each other (step 8), then half the circles into semi-circles (step 9). Wrap these in a tea towel until you need to use them to prevent them drying out.

7. Next, in a small bowl, make a sticky paste from flour and cold water. You will need this to seal the edges of the samosas when you fold them.

8. See my tutorial for folding samosas from homemade pastry below. Ensure the filling is cool before filling the samosas.

Folding Samosa Pastry

9. Heat enough oil in a deep pan to deep fry the samosas on a medium heat until they are golden brown all over. Place on kitchen paper to drain away any excess oil.

Tamarind Chutney

Serve with Tamarind Chutney and lemon wedges.

Love Sanjana

 




Paneer Gua Bao – Taiwanese Folded Buns

Paneer Gua Bao

I first fell in love with the spongy, cloud-like morsels that are Taiwanese folded buns when I sampled them from popular London street vendors, Yum Bun (introduced to me by my friend Cheaper by the Oven). After hearing all the Momofuku hype, these little burger-like buns had finally reached the streets of Britain. My first folded bun was filled with juicy Portabello mushrooms and crunchy, miso-glazed walnuts and they stirred one question in me. Gua Bao, where have you been all my life?!

Re-creating the buns at home has been my mission for the last few months and putting an Indo-vegetarian twist on them was essential. Can you guess what’s coming? I couldn’t imagine anything but replacing the traditional pork belly filling with meaty slices of spicy paneer.

My paneer slices are first marinated in a sticky-sweet soy and 5 spice sauce, then grilled until golden. Stuff the slices into homemade Taiwanese buns, along with wafer-thin cucumber, shredded spring onions, roasted peanuts and a squirt of Sriracha, a fiery Asian chilli sauce.

If paneer doesn’t float your boat, you could also follow in the inspiring footsteps of food blogger and cookbook author, Andrea Nguyen and stuff them with fried tofu.

Funnily enough, many recipes for Gua Bao call for readymade folded buns (fresh or thawed from frozen), but I had trouble finding them in my local Chinese supermarket. Luckily, I don’t give up that easily and hunted down a great family recipe from a friend. If you’re vegetarian and do manage to find readymade buns, double check the ingredients because some may contain lard.

These buns are not to be compared to any old sandwich or burger – they take fast food to the next level. McDonald’s, you’re missing a trick.

Paneer Gua Bao (2)

Paneer Gua Bao – Taiwanese Folded Buns
Makes 8 buns, serves 4

Ingredients

For the buns:

180ml water
285g plain flour, plus more for rolling
7g dried fast-action yeast
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Sunflower oil, for brushing

For the filling:

320g paneer, sliced into ‘steaks’, about 5cm x 3cm
60ml dark soy sauce
130ml water
65g dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground Chinese 5 spice

To serve:

Cucumber, sliced thinly
Spring onions, sliced thinly
Red chillies, sliced (optional)
Handful roasted peanuts, crushed roughly
Sriracha chilli sauce

Method

1. First make the bun dough. Mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Bring the water to hand hot temperature (not too hot as this will kill the yeast) and add to the flour. Bring together with a spoon, then your hands. Knead on a floured surface for around 5 minutes until smooth, soft and elastic. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover loosely with cling film. Allow to rise in a warm place for about two hours.

2. Next, make the marinade for the paneer. In a small saucepan, bring the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and 5 spice to the boil and allow to reduce by half – between 5-8 minutes.

3. Place the paneer steaks in a shallow dish and cover with the hot marinade. Allow to sit until you’ve finished making the buns.

4. Once the dough for the buns has risen, knock all the air out and knead in the baking powder. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and cover 7 with cling film whilst you roll out the first bun.

5. Dust a floured surface with flour and roll the first ball of dough into an oval, about 10cm x 6cm. Using a pastry brush, brush half with oil and fold half the dough over the other half from the shortest side to get a half-moon bun shape like in my pictures. Place on a piece of greased parchment paper and cover loosely with cling film. Repeat this for the remaining 7 pieces of dough. Allow the formed buns to rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes.

6. Set up your steamer. I used a bamboo steamer inside a wok but if you have an electric steamer or a couple of pans with a steaming basket inside one another, use them. Place each bun dough (still on its parchment paper) inside the steamer (do not stack them). Allow to steam for 10-12 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the steamer and set aside.

7. Lift the paneer steaks from the marinade and grill until slightly crusty on the outside.

8. Brush the inside of the buns with some remaining marinade or Sriracha, stuff with a slice of paneer, cucumber, spring onions, chillies, roasted peanuts and a squirt of Sriracha.

I promise you this – once you sink your teeth into one of these buns, you’ll forever think about them every time you crave a burger or sandwich. Enjoy.

 




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 that are so characteristic of the spice, to a simple curry. They are the shining stars of this dish.

Somewhat unconventionally, I adopted the western method of infusing single cream with the spices to get out of them, the most subtle flavours possible. I then strained the lightly crushed spices out of the cream with a tea strainer, leaving behind a perfectly smooth cardamom-scented cream to add to my luxurious tomato sauce.

Balance

Everyone knows tofu can’t be classed as real food unless it’s drowned in something mouth-wateringly flavourful (sorry, it’s true). In this curry, intense black cardamoms impart a smoky base flavour to hold up the fragrant menthol notes of the more liberally used green cardamoms. Equilibrium. Is. Everything.

I thought about adding vegetables to this but why ruin a perfectly balanced dish with something that would only be there for the sake of it. Forget it; all this mild, creamy, tangy tofu curry needs is the crunch of finely sliced, sweet spring onions to bring it to life.

You won’t even miss the paneer.

Cardamom Tofu Curry

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

600g firm tofu, pressed to remove water and deep fried until golden
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, chopped very finely
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green chillies, chopped finely
-inch piece ginger, minced
4 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
250ml water
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced finely at an angle
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

For the cream infusion:

300ml single cream
9 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 black cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 dried red Kashmiri chilli, lightly crushed

Method

1. For the cream infusion, pour the single cream into a small saucepan and add the lightly crushed green and black cardamom pods and Kashmiri chilli. Gently bring the mixture to the boil and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely and then pass through a tea strainer to remove the cardamoms and chilli. Set the infused cream aside.
 

2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and add the onions, chilli, garlic and ginger. Sauté until aromatic, about five minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 4 minutes, stirring all the time. Pour in 250ml hot water, garam masala, salt and sugar and stir through. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on a medium heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
 

3. Remove the lid from the pan and quickly whisk in the infused cream mixture, ensuring it does not separate. Add the tofu, spring onions and chopped coriander. Stir for a final time and serve hot with pilau rice and naan.

 




Curried Coconut Noodle Soup

  

I’ve always been one to get excited when a great big parcel gets delivered to the house. Itching to get my paws on the contents, I rip at packages, chipping nail varnish and not batting an eyelid over it – very strange behaviour.

Recently, the lovely people over at Pataks sent me some sample jars of their curry sauces – Tikka Masala, Phal and Vindaloo (which had unfortunately broken during transit even though they had packaged them up well). Spying the package on the doorstep, I pounced on it, desperate to find out what was inside.
 
I don’t usually use store-bought curry pastes or sauces, especially Indian ones but I was intrigued to find out how they worked, anticipating that I’d have to make many alterations to suit my taste. This was definitely not the case.
 
Phal, the jar which I was most drawn to, was adorned with several chilli images indicating it was going to be super spicy – just how I like it. And of course, there’s no better way to use a spicy curry paste than with mild, creamy coconut milk and plenty of crunchy veggies.

It had been decided, I was to make a deliciously spicy Curried Coconut Noodle Soup, packed with vegetables from baby corn to exotic mushrooms and light rice noodles. A shower of crunchy beanspouts scattered on top finishes the dish off perfectly.

 
I popped open the lid, had a little taste and cockily sniggered that it was far from spicy. After heating the sauce in my wok, I tasted again and pretty much ate my words. I won’t lie to you; I was close to tears. The chilli was brought alive by the heat from cooking and unless you’re hardcore, you will need plenty of coconut milk to douse the flames.
 
There are no heroes when it comes to Phal.
 
Curried Coconut Noodle Soup
(Serves 4)
 
Ingredients
 
70g green beans, trimmed and halved
70g baby corn, sliced lengthways
70g cabbage, finely sliced
150g fried tofu, sliced into strips
50g mixed mushrooms, (I used chestnut, Enoki and Honshimeji)
50 beansprouts
175g Pataks Phal curry sauce (1/2 jar)
800ml light coconut milk
300g rice noodles, cooked
4 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
1 star anise
2 tsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
 
 
Method
 
1. Heat the curry sauce in a large wok until bubbling – about 5 minutes. Add the lime leaves, star anise, sugar, salt and tamarind.
 
2. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add the green beans, baby corn, tofu and mushrooms. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add the cabbage, beansprouts and rice noodles. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
 
3. Remove from the heat, pile into bowls and garnish with more beansprouts and tofu strips.
 
Pataks products can be bought in all good supermarkets, Indian food shops and online.
 

Enjoy this light and spicy dish for lunch, dinner or if you’re a spice addict like me – devour it for breakfast.

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I have not been paid for creating this recipe or writing this post. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced by the brand or any other factors.