All posts filed under: Rice/Grains/Pasta

Saffron Rice Pudding with Brulee Bananas (2)

Saffron Rice Pudding with Banana Brûlée

I’ve been rushing around like a mad woman on too many jalebis this month. Developing recipes (which I’ll show you later), catching up with friends I haven’t seen since our wedding and generally thinking about what to blog about next. Sifting through my mum’s handwritten recipes, clippings and annotations on pudding recipes, I once again became a tubby eight year old. Making Indian sweets like white chocolate penda, butterfly burfi (milk fudge with almond ‘butterfly wings’ like the buns we used to make at school) with mum was what made me so passionate about playing with food. She fuelled my curiosity for learning about how flavours really work and our shared enthusiasm for putting an Indian spin on everything. It is something I try to practice every single day.  We’d always make enough to feed the five thousand so quite often, the puddings would be taken to our temple for prashad – food which has been offered to the gods. Once it has been ‘blessed’ the food can be shared.  Unashamedly, this was my favourite …

15 Minute Saffron and Courgette Pasta

15 Minute Saffron and Courgette Pasta

  Never will I be a girl who orders a salad in a restaurant. I may be vegetarian but my appetite longs for more than a few pesky leaves. I’m usually the one who eats around the salad that comes with a meal, pushing it to the edge of the plate after it’s been wilted to mulch from the heat of the real food. Often, I need nothing more than carbs in a creamy sauce. Fast. The simplicity of this pasta is exactly what makes it so special – take just seven ingredients and fifteen minutes and you’ll have an indulgent dinner with a touch of class. Your date, friends or family will believe you really pushed the boat out for them. For best results, don’t admit the truth. Without a doubt, the star of the recipe is the saffron; simmered in double cream until the cream becomes a pale yellow with a delicate flavour. You’ll only need a tiny pinch for a heap of deep muskiness. It’s important not to go overboard with the …

Sizzling Chilli Idli (F)

Sizzling Chilli Idli

There’s nothing more OTT than being the table that orders the ‘sizzler’ in a restaurant; the loud crackling noise, the aromatic waft of spices and the annoyingly smug smiles on the diners’ faces. It immediately reminds me of how it feels to be on the receiving end as I sit there with my lacklustre Aloo Chaat, thinking, ‘Sizzlers are so overrated and tacky… but I’ll get one next time. It’s a love/hate thing. Whether it’s crowned with vegetables, paneer, cassava or meat, sizzlers are notorious for their sticky, spicy sauces made with plenty of chilli and garlic. It’s not something you’d order on a first date. I’m not ashamed to admit I own a sizzler (purely for showing-off purposes) and although you know my first love in life is paneer, I’m sizzling up something more unusual this time. Idli or South Indian rice cakes are made with ground rice and split urad daal which have been gently steamed. Because idli are so perfect fresh from the steamer, leftovers are often overlooked (at my house, anyway). …

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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 …

Classic Vegetable Biryani

Classic Vegetable Biryani

There is a word in Indian cooking that used to send a chill down my spine every time it was uttered – biryani. I was never suspicious of the biryani because it’s difficult to cook, but because it’s typically served as a main course. As a little girl, rice had always been a side dish for me – something to go with the daal or to soak up a sauce. It didn’t matter if the rice was bland because there were other dishes on the table to perk it up. But when I discovered the world of biryani, there was a shift in balance – the rice had become the star of the show and everything it was cooked with had to taste good. If it didn’t, the whole dinner went to pot. But now I’m a fully-fledged member of the biryani lovers club, I’m here to offer a lesson in how easy preparing it can really be, provided you know the basics. Spice notes Spice mixtures for biryanis tend to vary depending on the …

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Chilli and Sesame Vermicelli

Chilli and Sesame Vermicelli     Love noodles? So do I. This quick and easy recipe for spicy vegetable noodles is something I recently made for breakfast. You know I love a hearty breakfast. I needed something warming and flavourful and the chilli heat from these stir-fried noodles really hit the spot.   Vermicelli is a thin pasta I usually use to make Indian sweet dishes like Doodh Vari Sev (vermicelli in sweetened milk). A heap of crackling mustard seeds and aromatic sesame seeds spike the dish with light spice and a pinch of turmeric gives the finished dish a beautiful golden yellow colour.    Feel free to add any vegetables you like to this, as I just used what I had in the fridge. A handful of finely shredded strips of carrot make for a fresh and crunchy topping which is a lovely contrast from the soft noodles.    I also added some frozen peas for a little burst of sweetness, but you could also use sweetcorn. And obviously, there’s always room for paneer. …

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Spicy Spinach Lasagne

Spicy Spinach Lasagne Guess what I did this weekend? I made my first wedding cake! 300 cupcakes consisting of both Red Velvet and Lemon. Finished with a swirl of vanilla buttercream and the cutest handmade Indian elephants and peacock feathers. The display was crowned with a vanilla buttercream cake and a giant peacock feather. Thankfully, there were no real disasters and I think everyone enjoyed the bite-sized cakes. Plus, I don’t have the skill to pull off a traditional tiered wedding cake… yet! I’ll be posting up images from the event tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled for a whole load of cupcakes and lots of diabetic, drooling Modhas. Some of you will know that it’s Italy Month at Food Network UK and all throughout July they’re featuring delicious pasta recipes. This week, my Spicy Spinach Lasagne made the featured spot in the newsletter. And just between me and you, KO Rasoi reader – Lasagne Indian-style is so much better! I layered up a very basic spicy spinach puree in the same way I would …

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Mughlai Banquet Menu

  Saffron and Lemon Shrikhand Doughnuts – a recipe for my new Food Network UK chef page – they’re perfect for finishing off a grandiose banquet. After a good few weeks of cooking deliciously rich and decadent dinners (it’s been hell having to eat them all by myself, I tell you), I’m finally ready to compile a menu of the best Mughlai-inspired dishes from KO Rasoi. The aim of the game was to put together something truly majestic – something which will leave your guests speechless (partly because their mouths will be preoccupied devouring the meal). Mughlai cuisine is one of my new favourites, with its use of only the most aromatic spices, flowers and nuts. Indeed, it’s no wonder it was reserved for only kings and queens of the Mughal Empire. Shahi Paneer Stuffed Okra   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 sultanas and heady fennel. …

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Mughlai Apricot Biryani

The past few days have been spent planning an elaborate baking mission composed of sweet treats to make your heart cry out for a detox – though I’m not yet ready for said detox. In honour of all things royal wedding, I’m creating a banquet fit for kings and queens. Our party spread will be formed of rich, sweet and spicy dishes for us to present to our family and guests so they can ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ over it while we take all the credit for such an extravagant and mouth watering menu. Biryani is a bit like a newborn kitten – except you don’t cook nor eat newborn kittens. It requires heaps of concentration, patience and love. Each individual component needs to be prepared to just the right level before the ingredients can be assembled in a harmonious fashion, and then gently steamed to create an insanely delicious smelling and tasting dish to fight over at the dinner table.   Swollen soaked saffron strands   In the last post we discussed the origins of …

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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 …

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Rose & Pistachio Baklava

Fresh baklava has to be one of the most famous sweets across the globe. Throughout the Middle East and across Mediterranean lands it is king. Boy, do those people have good taste. Nutty, chewy and ultimately calorific, baklava sticks to your teeth and your thighs. My philosophy is to enjoy devilishly sweet treats in moderation and occasionally in excess.* This take on one of my favourite sweets was inspired by baklava I ate at an odd little Turkish cafe I visited in London not so long ago. It was very dark and very greasy. The cafe, not the baklava. In fact, the baklava was amazing. It had all of the super flavours of traditional baklava with a wonderfully textured twist. I love me some twists. Sweet rice and the traditional spiced nuts were enveloped in thin, crisp filo pastry layers, then drenched in sugar syrup and left to absorb until chewy and divine. Pouring the hot sugar syrup on when the baklava is fresh from the oven makes it easier for it to absorb into the …

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Coriander and Lime Paneer Kebabs and Summer Quinoa Salad

  My Facebook fans wanted it, so my Facebook fans are getting it; introducing the KO Rasoi BBQ Season 2010. Over the next few posts I will be showcasing some of my very own delicious vegetarian barbecue ideas for these beautiful, long summer days. Kicking off our series are recipes for Coriander and Lime Paneer Kebabs with a cooling Summer Quinoa Salad. Drool. Spicy, refreshing and full of punchy flavours, this tag-team delivers flavour combinations from barbecue heaven. Overreacting I am not.   A drizzle of yogurt is always good. Always. This takes hardly and time to prepare and the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled according to how many guests you have over… Or indeed halved if you’re planning to devour your barbecued deliciousness all by yourself. So please, please get your barbecues out, slap on some sunscreen and cook with me during the KO Rasoi BBQ Season 2010! Coriander and Lime Paneer Kebabs (serves 4-5) Ingredients For the Marinade Blend together: 160g/2 cups fresh coriander Zest and juice of two zingy limes 5 …