All posts filed under: Snacks and Munchies

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Mombasa-style Kachori

Mombasa-style Daal Kachori

Spiced Daal and Green Mango in Flaky Pastry Deep fried starters; once you eat one, you’ll always go back for a second. Fact. Kachori are like the forgotten little sister of samosa – the underdog starter that accidently slipped through the fingers of Western restaurateurs. I cannot emphasise enough how good lentils are with sweet, hot and sour flavours. The addition of sour green mango cuts through the richness of the daal and spices and balances the deep heat of the chillies, ginger and cinnamon perfectly. These kachori are inspired by those sold at the famous Bhagwanjis sweet mart in Mombasa, Kenya. My entire family raves about Kenya-style kachori and these, along with Bateta Vada, are guaranteed to put a smile on my dad’s face. And I can vouch that he has great taste. Kachori come in all flavours, shapes and sizes. You can stuff the classic flaky pastry with crushed green peas, urad daal or even potatoes. They can be made into UFO-like patties and topped with yoghurt, chopped onions and tomatoes to make …

Paneer Gua Bao

Paneer Gua Bao – Taiwanese Folded Buns

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 …

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). …

Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda

  Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you’re in a restaurant and your waiter or waitress appears from the kitchen with your order? And also hate it when you think it’s yours but it’s really for the table next to you? I guess it just affirms that we’re all big kids just waiting to be fed at heart. When I think of Falooda I think of my dad and the big smile that emerges on his face whenever he rumbles the fact there’s something sweet on the menu. We’re two peas in a pod. When I was little he used to take the whole family to a favourite restaurant in either Leicester or Bradford on a Sunday afternoon and we’d have the most memorable family meals. Mum would order something classy and simple, Dad would get the thali and my brother and I would squabble over whether they put coriander in the daal or not. Regardless of what Ravi and I were arguing about, Dad would always diffuse the situation by asking …

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 …

Chilli Lemon Cauliflower

It’s the simple pleasures in life I’ve always appreciated the most; chapattis with mango pickle, paratha dipped in raita and from time to time, maybe peanut butter and banana sandwiches (let’s keep that one between us). From sitting on a Mombasa beach nibbling on maize, smothered with lemon and red chilli powder, to scoffing cassava fries doused in citrus hot sauce in university halls, these flavours are an integral part of my food memories. I think it reason this combination works so well is because the chilli heat is mellowed out with the sharp acidity of fragrant lemon. Indeed, it’s not only Indian and East African dishes which take full advantage of this mouth-watering duo – just think about your favourite Mexican salsas and Thai salads made with the native lime. I never remove seeds or membrane from fresh chillies – I don’t see the point. However, if you prefer to remove them for a mild flavour then remember to adjust your use of lemon accordingly. A general rule of thumb is that the hotter …

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 …

Eggless Chocolate and Rose Cupcakes

 Eggless Chocolate and Rose Cupcake recipe   I’ll always hold eggless baking close to my heart. The level of science involved in baking, eggless baking in particular, is beyond me.  These eggless Chocolate and Rose Cupcakes were made especially for Food Network UK’s month of cupcakes – the most delicious tribute imaginable.   They’re light, airy and not to sweet. I added a little bit of plain yogurt to keep them moist inside because dry chocolate cupcakes are a big no no in my book. This eggless cupcake recipe has never failed me and the addition of rose syrup gives it that exotic twist I crave so often. You however, can use any flavours to like.   My frosting is chocolate cream cheese and rose cream cheese, swirled together using a piping bag filled with both flavours. It’s super simple and give you a perfectly pretty finish. Get the recipe    >> Get my top tips for eggless baking  So how have you been? The new site is coming along nicely and I’m hoping to …

Butter Pau Bhaji

All Butter Pau Bhaji Recipe If you love Pau Bhaji with heaps of creamy butter as much as I do, I hope you’ll love my article for FN UK’s blog in honour of all things street food. You discover what happened when I cooked up some Pau Bhaji in their test kitchen and my experience eating Pau Bhaji on the street in one of my most favourite Indian food cities, Leicester.  I was sitting on a burning wall devouring £3.50 worth of hot, spicy Pau Bhaji. It was heavily spiced but not with chillies – the intense heat came from a medley of ground cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds. The bread was hot, buttery and perfect for scooping up the delicious bhaji. Now, I’ve tasted great Pau Bhajis in the past and I’ve also made good Pau Bhajis, but the truth is that I much prefer it when someone else makes the effort to sizzle some up for me. Any takers? Read the article here. Get the recipe here. FYI, my …

Eggless Saffron and Lemon Shrikhand Doughnuts

Just a speedy note before I round up all of the dishes from our Mughlai season this weekend (for your eating pleasure). This is going to include all of the royal-inspired recipes plus more, so stick around for some really yummy dishes so you can create a banquet fit for kings and queens. Yesterday, a KO Rasoi recipe for Saffron and Lemon Shrikhand Doughnuts was featured in the Food Network UK Month of Doughnuts calendar in support of National Doughnut Week (7th-14th May). In addition to this, the recipe also went out in their fabulous food newsletter which you can sign up to here: Sign up to the Food Network UK newsletter in order to get my new Food Network UK recipes delivered to your inbox fresh from the kitchen. I thought I would join in the fun and go dough-nuts too – and so my recipe for Saffron and Lemon Shrikhand Doughnuts was born. Please visit the site to take a peek at how I created this recipe and as always, have a go …

Mini Masala Dosa

I’m yet to meet a person who doesn’t love masala dosas. A light, healthy meal full of nutrients and flavour, dosas are widely popular on restaurant menus and in roadside cafés. Ever since I was a little girl I have always associated these crispy rolls of spicy potato with family outings to a nearby vegetarian restaurant which serves ‘monster dosas’. If you hadn’t already guessed, these are gigantic versions of the South Indian speciality. When I say gigantic I’m talking over a ft long. We didn’t always go out to eat moster dosas, sometimes we were treated to the special type of masala dosas – homemade ones. Fresh curry leaves On strained tiptoes, I used to peek over the stove top to watch my mother swirl the thinnest sheet of batter you’ve ever laid eyes on, as glorious mix of anxiety and hunger slowly took over my pot belly. As soon as I saw the faintest tinge of golden brown through the pancake, I’d run to pick up one of our very Indian Pyrex plates …

Carrot and Swede Fritters with Coriander and Lime Chutney

  I wish we all had three day weekends. One night to recuperate from the long week we just had, one night to party hard and another to recover from the partying – in that order. Don’t get me wrong, I love work, but three day weekends would make me a very happy bunny indeed. Speaking of bunnies… In this week’s recipe, grated carrots, swede and sweet potatoes are bound together with nutty chickpea flour and spices to create these light and crispy fritters. Dip them in a spicy coriander and lime chutney and the flavours come alive. I wanted these fritters to remain a beautiful orange colour, keeping the filling grated and not mashed. In order to do this, I blanched the whole carrots, swede and sweet potatoes for around 6 minutes, refreshed in iced water and then grated them. This way, the vegetables became bright coloured and part-cooked, yet still held their shape. These would make a great starter as part of an Indian or international menu and are perfect for lunch or …