Sunday, 28 July 2013

Cumin rice

This is a quick way of adding a tasty twist to boiled rice. It's great for when you want rice, but plain just won't cut it, and may not have all the essentials for traditional Pilau. The simplicity of this recipe is what I think actually makes it so moreish 

It goes great with most daal dishes as lentils and cumin are just a beautiful combination, or even just a drizzle of natural yogurt !

This will easily serve 4-6 people and you may even have enough for the next day :

4 cups of rice
2 tablespoons cumin
1 large onion
1 tbsp salt
7 cups water
125g butter
1 fl oz vegetable / olive oil

  • Melt the butter in a heavy based pan, and add in the oil. Finely slice the onion and add to the pan. Fry the onions on a high heat till the are dark brown in colour. You will need to keep stirring to stop the onions from catching at the bottom of the pan.
  • When the onions have browned, add in the cumin, and slightly lower the heat, stir the cumin with the onions for a couple of minutes. The cumin should brown and their aroma should come through
  • Pour the water into the pan & bring back to a high heat. When the water reaches boiling point, add in the rice & salt.
  • Boil the rice until the water has almost completely been absorbed. Remember to keep a close eye as the rice will can stick and burn at this point
  • Lower the heat completley under the pan, place the lid on the pan* and leave for about 10-15 minutes on the low heat
  • Fluff the rice through with a fork and serve

*cover the lid with a tea towel first as this helps absorb the excess moisture in the rice and gives them their fluffiness

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Split chick pea daal & bottle gourd curry

I'm starting this post with a confession, I have made this dish on countless occasions but never blogged it,  I made this for Iftar last night, (breaking of fast at sunset) as I thought of sharing this recipe I realised that although I knew in Urdu the name of the vegetable in question for this dish  .. but what of the English name ? Well I was totally clueless

How could I possibly post a recipe without knowing what i was referring to ? So I asked for help from my fellow Tweeters, thankfully the mystery was solved. This particular beauty is whats known as bottle gourd and looks like this , it's a much milder version of bitter gourd which is an acquired taste. The slight sweetness of bottle gourd works extremely well with the spice in a curry.

So here we go Channa Daal & Thoriyaah: (pronounced tho-ree-yah)

1 cup/ 125g channa lentils ( split chick pea lentils)
1 large bottle gourd
4 medium onions
1 tbsp garlic paste / 6-8 crushed cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
125g butter

  • Start by washing the lentils till the water runs clear. Soak the lentils in a bowl with warm water*, whilst the lentils are soaking, roughly chop your onions and fry in a large non stick pan with butter
  • When the onions have softened, add in the garlic, salt & green chillies. Stir on a medium heat and  when the onions are golden brown, add in the tomatoes & curry powder. Add a splash of water, cover the pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for the tomato to soften 
  • Peel your gourd, chop of the stalk and bottom and give it a quick rinse under water. Cut the gourd in half lengthways, and then slice the 2 halves. Place to a side
  • Check back on your masala in the pan, if the onions have softened, then drain the water from the daal, add the daal to the pan.
  • Let the daal simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, it should almost double in volume as the lentils cook through.Check that the lentils have softened by taking a few between your fingers and squashing. They should break easily without too much pressure. If they still feel raw, add a little water and leave to simmer on a low heat for a little longer.
  • When the lentils have softened** add in the sliced gourd & stir together. If most of the water has evaporated, and the daal is looking dry, add just enough water to cover the daal, cover the pan & leave to simmer on a low heat once more for about 20 minutes.***
  • Check back on the daal, the gourd by now should have softened & cooked through. The way to check this is that the colour of the gourd will have changed from white to them becoming see through, as well as being soft in texture. You can do the finger test with a slice of the gourd just as with the lentils earlier. 
  • When your gourd has cooked and softened, depending on the consistency, you can add a little water if it loos too dry. Serve with either plain boiled rice or my cumin rice

*pre soaking the lentils helps speed up the cooking, even if they are left for just half and hour it's a bonus 
** the lentils should be soft but not mushed, you want to try and keep the lentils whole
***whenever you cover up the pan, do remember to keep an eye on it so your daal doesn't end up sticking to the pan

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Garlic Naan

My last post was a recipe for Peshwari Naan a delicious twist on the staple plain naan. Tonight it's another naan recipe which is very much loved amongst not only family members but pretty much all my friends.

I know that whenever I'm out for a meal with my friends, without fail, garlic naan has to be ordered, no matter if we've ordered other varieties, and there's always a battle for the last piece !

This recipe will make 4-6 naan and they literally will go with any curry whatsoever:

2 fl oz warm water
pinch of sugar
1 tsp dried active yeast
500g plain/bread flour
whole bulb of garlic (crush the cloves)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
50g melted butter

  • In a small bowl mix the yeast sugar and warm water together, leave for about 10 minutes for the yeast water to become frothy
  • In another bowl, put together the flour, salt and crushed garlic cloves, add in the yeast mix and enough warm water to make a soft dough
  • turn out onto floured surface and knead it together for about 10 minutes
  • Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave to rise for about 2 hours. If you're a bit short of time, you can add in a pinch of baking powder to speed up the process
  • Put a non stick pan on your hob to a medium heat and turn your grill on full
  • In a small pan, melt the butter on a low heat and stir in the garlic powder 
  • Divide and roll out your dough into 4 balls, roll one out into a circle about a quarter of an inch thick
  • Place onto your non stick pan and cook, just as in step 7 for Peshwari Naan
  • Place the naan under the grill, to lightly brown the top, when you take the naan off the grill, lightly brush the top with the melted garlic butter and serve 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Peshwari Naan

Naan's are a real favourite of mine.. wether it's the staple plain, the moreish garlic or keema filled. Naan's to me always add that bit of decadence to any meal compared to your everyday chapati. 

I can remember growing up  whenever we would have guests over for dinner, mum would always get out her tandoor out and I'd know that naan's were on the menu. 

Peshwari naan are a real twist on the basic recipe .. this one has sultanas  added in for a sweet bite, Granny Smiths for added tang which goes quite well with a fiery curry, and flaked almonds for added crunch. I could happily eat this with nothing but a good helping of a hot pickle !

This is a recipe for 4-6 naans, 1 per person:

2 fl oz warm water
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp active dried yeast
500g bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 fl oz natural yogurt
2 oz raisins
2 granny smith apples (grated)
2 tbsp desiccated or grated coconut
1/4 pint tepid water

  • Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and leave for about 10-15 minutes for the mixture to become frothy
  • In another bowl, place the flour, salt, grated apple, raisins & coconut and make a well in the centre. Add the yogurt to the yeast mixture, then into the flour till combined. Add the tepid water in slowly (you may not use all of it) and mix to form a soft dough
  • Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes till it's soft and elastic.
  • place back into a slightly oiled bowl, (the oil prevents the dough from sticking) cover and leave to prove in a warm place for about 2 hours or till it's doubled in size
  • Next, switch your grill on, full whack to heat, and on your hob,on a medium heat, heat up a non stick pan up while you roll out your naan
  • Divide your dough into 4-6 balls on a floured surface,roll one ball out to about 20 cm or 1/4 inch thickness and pull one end gently, your naan should resemble a tear drop shape.
  • Prick the naan gently with a fork, brush lightly with melted butter and place into the non stick pan. The top side of the naan should begin to form bubbles as the underside is cooked
  • Next place the naan under your grill till the top begins to bubble and lightly brown, you should get brown 'spots' this should take no more than a couple of minutes. Brush lightly with a little melted butter & serve
  • Repeat steps 6 + 7 for the rest of the dough, garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve 

Mango Lassi

I've made it very well known that I'm no fan of cold weather, so with the last few days of stunning weather, I've been a very happy bunny. Hot weather doesn't just mean a happy Foody Mama, it also means it's the perfect time to indulge in copious amounts of mango lassi; Let's be honest drinking lassi on a cold wet miserable day just doesn't go does it ?

For those of you that may not be familiar, lassi is the Asian take on the British smoothie. In Asian cuisine, there are a few variants, from the salted *pulls face at thought* version to fruit based ones  .. Fruit sounds more like it .. I hear you !

So I thought since it's made a rather regular appearance in our fridge over the last few days, it just had to be blogged about

This recipe will easily give you 5-6 rather generous servings and will need an electric whisk or liquidizer jug :

1x 454g tub natural yogurt
1 x 850g tin mango puree
250 ml cold water
6 tbsp sugar

  • place all the ingredients into your liquidizer or in a large jug if using an electric whisk
  • whisk/ blend till all the ingredients have combined together, leave to chill in the fridge
  • serve in tall sundae style glasses 

That is really all there is to it. For a bit of a twist, you can always add in a few chunks of mango for a bit of texture and dive in with a spoon. For a slightly naughtier version, top up with squirty cream ! If like me you've got a weak spot for strawberries, swap the mango puree for a punnet of strawberries and wizz up in the exact same way.

I'll leave you with a rather brilliant advert for mango lassi by HSBC ..