Green Cabbage Curry

I usually use white cabbage for making sambharo, muthias and rasiya muthiyas but never make cabbage curry (kobi nu shak).  Whenever I think of Cabbage curry- I remember how my sister in law  who used to live in Mombasa (Kenya)  made the best  cabbage and potato curry.  No one can replicate that taste and for that reason – I  never made this curry.

Last week, I read about the goodness of green cabbage and I bought a cabbage to make stuffed cabbage leaves. However, I found that the cabbage leaves were so tough that I couldn’t use them for that recipe. The cabbage was lovely to use in salads and sandwiches and I made this plain and simple curry and I was amazed at how tasty it turned out.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

4 cups of shredded cabbage (I used Green cabbage but you can use any variety)
2-4 fresh green chillies
bunch of coriander
2 medium fresh tomatoes
1 -2 tsp of garlic paste
½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
1 tbp lemon juice
1 tsp splenda or sugar
1 tespoon mustard seeds>
1 tbs oil (I used sunflower oil)


1.  Shred the cabbage and cut the chillies into small circles.

2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Once they stop popping, add in the cabbage leaves.  Also add the salt, green chillies, turmeric and toss the cabbage leaves.  Cover and allow to cook for 7-8 minutes. The green cabbage does not contain as much moisture and the curry remains fairly dry and cooks almost like a stir fry.

3.  Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and add to the cabbage curry.  Using a garlic press add the garlic to the curry.  Add the lemon juice and splenda.  Mix well and cook for a further 5 minutes.


5. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with fresh chappatis


Vegetarian Tortilla Wraps with Quinoa and Nuts


I have seen a lot of recipes with Quinoa and I was keen to try some recipes with it as it is highly appreciated for its nutritional value;  its protein content is fairly high –though not as high as most beans and legumes. There is lots of information and recipes using Quinoa on the internet.  I found this article very interesting.

I found that Quinoa on its own didn’t taste much but adding some spicy vegetables and nuts to the quinoa made it a tasty meal.

Ingredients for 4-6 wraps:

6 tortilla wraps
½ cup Quinoa
1 medium sized potato
1-2 small onions
½ cup frozen peas
2 green chillies chopped finely (optional)
1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
1 cup mixture of chopped almonds and cashews
1 tsp salt (as per your taste)
½ tsp turmeric
2 -3 tbs sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup of cheddar cheese
some salsa , pepper, green chutney or red chutney for serving]


1.  Wash and cook the Quinoa as per the instructions on the packet.  Mine asked for one part of Quinoa to be cooked with 5 parts water.  I added a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oil to mine.  Once cooked I had quite a lot of cooked Quinoa and I kept the leftover Quinoa in the fridge to use in another recipe.

2.  Using a mandoline or grater, grate the potatoes, onions and carrots.

3.  Heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and add the cumin seeds to the oil.  Once they get a little brown, add the onions and green chillies allow them to soften.  Then add the nuts and toast them for a minute.

4. Add the grated potatoes, peas and ginger.  Add the spices – salt and turmeric and stir the mixture.  Cook until the potato feels soft.  It took me 3 minutes in my microwave.


5. Toast the tortilla on a griddle and layer it with the Quinoa.

6. Spread the cooked vegetables over the Quinoa.


7.  Roll the tortilla and arrange them on a greased baking tray.  To stop them from sticking to each other, rub some oil on the tortillas before arranging them next to each other.

8. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of water over the tortillas and cover them if foil and cook them in the oven for 15 minutes at 170 degrees F (or 75 Degrees C) .

9.  Remove the foil after 15 minutes and sprinkle the cheese over the tortillas and cook for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.


10. Serve the tortillas hot with some salsa and green chutney.  You can even serve it with Salad and crisps.


Spinach and Sesame Seed Parathas

These tasty parathas are perfect with curry, rice and yogurt.

Ingredients for 12-14  parathas:

2 cups of chappati flour
2 cups of leaf spinach (fresh or frozen)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger
2-3 green chillies (or less)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbs sesame seeds
2 cups of oil

1.  Add a cup of water plus garlic, ginger, green chillies, salt, turmeric to the spinach and allow it to boil for 6-8 minutes.
2.  Once the spinach softens – blend the mixture using a blender. Transfer this to a jug and allow to cool.
3.  Add 2 tablespoons of oil and the sesame seeds to the chappati flour.   Use the cooled spinach mixture to mix with the flour and knead  the thepla dough.  Don’t worry if you have some of the spinach mixture left over.  If you don’t have enough spinach mixture – use some warm water to make a pliable dough.

4.  Allow this dough to rest for 30 minutes.

5.  Divide the dough into 12-14 small balls.

6.  Roll out the balls into smallish circles.  Don’t make them too thin as they will get very crispy if you roll them out thin.

7.  Roast these parathas on a hot griddle/frying pan  turning them occasionally.

8.  Dip a tablespoon into the cooking oil and lightly rub the oil on both sides of the paratha and cook until golden brown.  The paratha will puff up so be careful not to press them too hard as the hot air in the paratha could scald you.

9.  Cook the parathas until they have little brown patches on both sides.  This proves that the parathas are cooked.

10.   Finish cooking all the parathas and serve them hot or cold with any curry, pickle or plain yogurt.


Kenyan Green Beans and Potato Curry

Years ago when on a business trip to Kenya – I was taken by the British High Commission in Nairobi, to see a vegetable packing plant where the Kenyan ladies were packing these freshly picked green beans, baby corn and mange tout for UK stores like Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco.  The best beans are picked very early in the morning, washed and prepared in three ways -either  left whole, left with just the top and bottom chopped or cut into tiny pieces.  This was being done under strict hygienic conditions.  They even had a British Airways Cargo container at the factory where the vegetable boxes would be labelled – showing which farm the crop came from and the date picked etc. before loading them in the container.  These beans were flown out the same evening from Kenya and they got to UK early morning for the market wholesalers to pick up.  It was an amazing visit and since that day I have always looked with wonder at the beans and other vegetables from abroad and appreciate the fact that the some of the best crops are exported to UK where people like me can enjoy cooking them.

These beans cook really fast and are so tasty that they don’t need much effort to prepare.


2 medium potatoes -washed and diced.
2 cups of chopped Kenyan beans
1 tablespoon
oil (Most cooking oils are fine but try and use one which is low in saturated
fats and trans fats)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chilly powder (or as required to your taste)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of ground cummin (jeera) powder.
Half cup of tinned tomatoes.
2 teaspoons lemon
1 teaspoons of brown sugar or jaggery.
small bunch of fresh coriander.


1. Dice the potatoes into cubes and the beans into very small pieces and soak them in cold water.

2.  Heat the oil in a saucepan.

3. Add the mustard seeds. They should start popping – if not, stir them with a wooden spoon and wait for them to pop.

4. Drain and add the diced potatoes and beans and add them to the saucepan.


5.  Add the salt, turmeric, chilly powder, cumin powder, garlic (small pieces or crushed) sugar or jaggery and stir well.


6. Transfer this mixture to a microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes

7.   Add only half a cup of water and cook for a further  5 minutes in the microwave. Check to see if the potatoes have softened.  If not give it another 2 minutes.  Everyone’s microwave is different so the timing could vary.


8 .  One the potatoes are soft soft, add the tomatoes and lemon juice and let it cook for 5 minutes.  Don’t add too many tomatoes to this curry and  make it dry.   The whole cooking process for me was 10 minutes in the microwave as the beans were so fresh and tender.

9. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with hot chappatis.


Nan Khatai – Indian Spiced Shortbread

This week, Jagruti Dhanecha presents her new recipe on City Connect. Nan Khatai (Nan-khat-aa-ee) eggless biscuits originate from South Asia. They are extremley popular in India and Pakistan.

Light, slightly crispy and nutty flavoured cookies; they just melt in your mouth and they are perfect with your tea or coffee.

Delicate enough that it just crumbles … and that’s the way I like it.


  • 500 g plain flour
  • 50g chickpea flour ( same as gram flour or Besan )
  • 70g Semolina
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 400g ghee (room temperature) or unsalted butter
  • a few threads of saffron
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • few pistachio and almond silvers


Beat the ghee and sugar in a big bowl until fluffy.

Now add Flour, semolina, baking powder and all the spices (except the nuts).

Subsequently, bind everything into a dough.Pre-heat the oven (if you have a gas oven to gas mark 4-5) and make small balls and flatten them slightly.

Place the uncooked cookies on a greased line baking tray and make sure that you leave enough space between them.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 7-8 minutes.

Take the cookies out and place almonds and pistachios in the centre, return them to the oven and bake for another 7-8 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool.

Once they have cooled down, store the biscuits in an completely air-tight container.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe. Many more recipes will follow soon and you can also visit my food blog at:

Pasta Bake

Penne pasta baked in a spicy tomato sauce with a delicious cheesy topping.

240 grams / 8 oz uncooked pasta penne
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 litres Water
Arrabbiata Sauce:
60 grams / 2 oz pre cooked sweet corn kernels
60 grams / 2 oz mixed peppers red /green / yellow diced
1 small onion finely diced
60 grams / 2 oz courgettes finely diced
250 ml passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried Italian spice (oregano)
½ teaspoon black pepper powder
2 chillies finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
 3 oz cheddar cheese
1. In a pan heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Sauté till translucent.
2. Add the passata and cook sauce for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the peppers, sweet corn, courgettes to the tomato sauce and cook till vegetables are tender.
4. Add the salt and pepper, Italian spice, chillies and sugar and simmer sauce on low heat till sauce thickens. Remove from heat and keep aside.
5. Heat water in a large saucepan when it comes to boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and the penne pasta.
6. Reduce heat to simmer and cook pasta until al dente.
7. Drain the pasta and return it to saucepan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and stir it into the pasta.Add the tomato sauce and mix well.
8. Transfer the pasta to an oven proof dish and top with the grated cheese. Place the dish under a preheated grill  for 3-4 minutes until cheese melts and starts to brown.
Serve pasta with salad.

Spaghetti in Marinara Sauce

Think ‘Italy’ and you are instantly your mind is flooded with images of well dressed Italians, the Collosseum,  the gondola   and of course  – pasta! What are the reasons that make Italian cuisine so popular and acceptable worldwide – the liberal use of olive oil? the freshly plucked tomatoes? the aromatic herbs used in cooking? Probably all of them and many more reasons make up the highly addictive Italian cuisine!

Under pasta alone you have bewildering variety of pasta available – spaghetti, penne, macaroni, fussili, lasagne, gnocchi, ravioli, fettuccine, tagliatelle (flavoured fettuccine) and so on.

And when it comes to sauces, you are spoilt for choices! You have simple garlic based aglio oglio or tomato based spicy sauce or basil flavoured or  béchamel sauce, pesto and so on. The key feature of all these sauces is the fresh produce and herbs that goes into making these delicious sauces.

Marinara sauce or the ‘mariner`s’ sauce is a Southern Italian tomato based sauce garlic, onions and few herbs. The flavourings may be varied to taste and so you may find some versions of marinara with olives or capers. Traditionally this sauce has been used to flavour pasta, pizza, rice. While tomato sauce alone in Italy is referred to as salsa di pomodoro, the term marinara is used only in association with other recipes in which the sauce is used.

For instance,  you have the spaghetti alla marinara which literally translates to “mariners wife spaghetti”.

The version given below is delicious and creamy yet low cal. Vegans can easily skip the cheese and yet enjoy a comforting and lip smacking version of Spaghetti in Marinara Sauce.


Type : vegetarian/ vegan ; Ethnicity : Italian

Serves : 6


[ Note : Quantity of uncooked spaghetti required per person is approximately how much you can hold in your fist.]

Spaghetti (uncooked) – 6 handfuls OR 300 gms (yields ~6 cups boiled)

Salt – to taste

Olive or cooking oil – 2 tbsp

For garnish (optional or select any of your choice) :

Extra virgin olive oil – to drizzle on top

Grated parmesan OR cheddar cheese

Chopped black olives

For Marinara sauce : (Makes ~ 3 cups)

Olive or vegetable oil – 2 tbsp

Onions – 2,  medium

Carrot – 1,  large

Green capsicum – 1, large

Garlic cloves – 5, medium

Tomatoes – 1 kg/ ~2 pounds

Tomato puree (tetrapack) – 3/4 cup

Jalapenos – 1.5 tbsp, chopped (optional)

Chopped cheddar or parmesan cheese – 2 tbsp (optional)

salt – to taste

sugar – to taste (optional)

black pepper, freshly ground – to taste

Mixed dry herbs/ pasta seasoning – 1 tbsp or to taste

Bay leaf – 1



1. To cook spaghetti, boil plenty of water in a deep saucepan. Add salt, 1 tbsp oil, pasta and cook/ boil. Stir in between. Cook for about 7 to 8 mins till al dente (almost soft but yet firm stage). Remove pan from heat and set aside for 2 mins. Drain. Refresh cooked pasta with some cold water. Drizzle 1 tbsp oil to prevent sticking and mix gently. Cover and set aside till required.


Cook the spaghetti as per instructions of the packet.

2. Wash and chop the onions, capsicum. Wash, peel and chop carrots. Peel and chop garlic.

Mark an ‘X’ in the bottom of tomatoes and blanch in hot water till skin peels off easily. Peel and chop the tomatoes.

3. To make the sauce , in a saucepan heat olive/vegetable oil, sauté onions, carrots, capsicum and garlic. Cook until vegetables turn tender.

4. Then add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, pepper, sugar if needed,  mixed herbs, bay leaf. Bring to boil. Simmer for about 15 mins or till required consistency. Lastly add the jalapenos and chopped cheese if adding.  Remove from  heat.

Discard bay leaf. Now you could either toss cooked pasta in this chunky sauce OR puree half of the sauce and mix with the remaining chunky sauce. Pureeing half of the sauce gives the sauce volume and yet has the bite from vegetables.

5. At serving time, reheat the sauce. Add the sauce to cooked spaghetti/ pasta just enough to coat or as per taste. Let warm through and garnish and serve immediately with some warm and crisp Garlic Bread!



1. In place of readymade tomato puree, you could add 3 to 4 tbsp tomato sauce/ ketchup.

2. For a vegan version, simply skip the cheese.

3. Replace spaghetti with any other pasta of your choice.

4. Adjust spice level, seasoning and cheese as per taste.





Tandoori Paneer Tikka

Paneer (a fresh cheese) is the most commonly used cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines. It is of Indian origin dating back to 3000 BC and is described in the old Sanskrit texts (The Vedas). It is widespread in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh; countries with a high portion of milk in their cuisine. Unlike many common cheeses, the production of paneer does not utilise rennet as a coagulation reagent. Thus, it is suitable for vegetarians and a major source of protein for Indian vegetarians. It is usually unsalted.

I myself am a vegetarian who does not eat eggs or fish and I use paneer quite often in my cooking. Here I present to you a new dish with this cheese: Tandoori Paneer Tikka.

This dish is a classic dish from the time of the Moguls in India. To achieve the characteristic smoky taste, the traditional way of preparation involves the usage of a clay oven but here in the United Kingdom restaurants usually use gas ovens and at home ovens or grills are used. Tandoor is the Indian word for oven. However, in summer you can use a barbecue to imitate the traditional way of preparing the dish. Tahndoori Paneer Tikka is very tasty and has a tangy and spicy flavour. it is often served with green salad and green chutney.

Ingredients and Tools needed:


300 g paneer (pierced with a fork, cut into cubes)
1 orange and green capsicum each, seeded and diced
10-12 cherry tomatoes
1 medium red onion, diced
Oil for brushing
Lemon Wedges and coriander for garnish

10-12 bamboo or metal scewers

Marinating Mix

3-4 tsp plain thick yogurt
1 tsp tandoori masala (barbecued flavoured masala- easily available in asian stores)
1 tsp red chilli powder or flakes
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp of any cooking oil


If you use bamboo scewers, soak them at least 3-4 hours in water.

Soak the cubed paneer in warm water seasoned with salt for 10-15 minutes. Once soaked, drain the water and pat the cheese dry with a paper towel. Combine the yogurt with the marinating ingredients and mix well. Now add the paneer to the marinating mix, toss gently and place it in fridge after covering the bowl with cling film for at least one hour. Add the vegetables to the mix 5 minutes before cooking.
Once marinated, thread the paneer and vegetables on soaked bamboo skewers. Brush them with oil on all sides.
Grill the skewers on high temperature for 4-5 minutes each side. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with green chutney.

Paneer is easily available in Indian stores and bigger supermarkets. Paneer can be replaced by extra firm Tofu or Halloumi or any cheese which can be grilled or roasting without melting.
You can use any vegetables of choice here –courgette,mushrooms work fine. Just ensure that the cooking times of vegetable don’t vary much.
For non veg- Can use boneless & cubed lamb, beef, chicken or shrimp.
If using red meat or chicken for making this recipe, marinate the meat overnight or at least 6-8 hours to get nice flavors.

Gulab Jamun

City Connect brings you another instalment of our popular cookery series, Taste of India with Mina Joshi. This time Mina shares her easy-to-follow recipe for gulab jamun with us.

Gulab jamun is an Indian sweet traditionally made out of powdered or evaporated milk blended with plain flour, fried & soaked in sugar syrup.  It is one of the most popular sweets ordered in an Indian restaurant.  There are lots of ready to cook packs of gulab jamuns now available in UK and they are great to have as a back up for the times you have any unexpected dinner guests you have to impress (e.g. the in laws or the Boss) .  But, I am sure you will agree with me that nothing beats the taste of freshly made home cooked gulab jamuns and they are not too difficult to make.

Ingredients for about 25 Gulab Jamuns
Cooking time 1 hour

1 cup milk powder (available in the World Food section of most supermarkets and most Indian grocery stores.)
¼ cup plain flour
1 litre cooking oil for frying (I used sunflower oil)
2 pinches of baking soda
A tiny pinch of Saffron
¼ teaspoon of cardamom seeds – slightly crushed if possible.
1 ¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup of milk (I used semi skimmed milk)
¼ cup of ghee or melted salt free butter


First prepare the sugar syrup:

1. Heat up one and ¼ cups of water and add in all the sugar in a saucepan. Stir and allow it to heat up. Add in the crushed cardamom and saffron.

2. Keep heating this mixture gently on medium heat until it forms a syrup. The syrup should be of one-thread consistency. To check this – take a drop of the syrup and rub it between your thumb and first finger. When you separate the thumb and finger, the syrup should be thick enough to form a thin string.

Whilst the sugar syrup is heating – prepare the gulab jamun balls.

3. Combine the milk powder, plain flour, ghee or butter and baking soda in a bowl.

4. Warm the milk slightly. Add a little of the milk at a time to bind and prepare the dough for the gulab jamun.

5. Cover the dough for 10 minutes and knead it again. If the dough feels dry – add more milk and knead it until it feels smooth and pliable.

6. Rub some ghee on your palms and form small balls the size of marbles. (The dough balls will become bigger when fried).

Fry 8-10 gulab jamun balls at a time in the oil till they become golden brown.

Tip: The oil should be on a low heat and each batch of gulab jamun could take upto 5 -6 minutes to cook. Cooking them on high or rushing the frying will spoil the gulab jamuns as they won’t puff up and therefore will not soak up the sugar syrup! Also be extra careful when turning them over during the frying as they can break.

8. Once all of the gulab jamun balls have been fried – allow them to cool for 10 minutes.

9. Once the syrup is ready, gently pour it over the gulab jamun and allow them to soak up the syrup for at least half an hour. The aroma of cardamom and saffron in these hot gulab jamuns is irresistible.

10. Transfer the gulab jamuns one at a time into a serving dish, sprinkle with sliced almonds and pistaccio. You can serve these hot or cold; with or without the syrup.

Tip: For an extra special taste, serve them warm with vanilla ice cream.

Images courtesy of Mina Joshi

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and spicy, tangy soup with wonderful garlic and ginger infusion making this soup a wonderful accompaniment to any Chinese meal

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 2


450 ml boiling water
1 vegetarian stock cube
240 grams / 8 oz mixed vegetables, carrots, beans, peas, sweet corn finely diced
2 small button mushrooms finely diced
One handful bean sprouts
60g/2 oz finely shredded white cabbage
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
60 g / 2 oz uncooked noodles
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon garlic chilli sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 red chilli finely sliced
2 spring onions thinly sliced on the slant
1 teaspoon cornflour


1. In a jug add the boiling water and add the stock cube to it. Stir until dissolved.

2. In a pan add the olive oil, when it is hot add the garlic and ginger and sauté until raw taste is gone.

3. Add all the vegetables except the bean sprouts and mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable stock and simmer the soup for 5 minutes until vegetables are almost tender.

5. Add the diced mushrooms, bean sprouts and the noodles, simmer the soup for a further 3 minutes until noodles are almost cooked.

6. Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons water to make a paste, add this to the soup and simmer for 2 more minutes.

7. Add the salt, soya sauce, chilli sauce and the white wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

8. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with sliced chillies and spring onions.

Serve hot.

Spinach Bread

Since my teenage days I have had a habit to scribble down any recipes that I like. I am not shy or afraid of asking people if I like their dish. I have many notebooks which I have filled with written recipes, rather than bought books. Most of the time I forget about recipes in my notebooks. While I was cleaning the house for spring, I found a few notebooks which are written in Gujarati!

In the United Kingdom, when summer is on it’s way, we get lots of fresh leafy vegetables and greens. In Indian shops greens like palak, methi and dhaniya become very cheap. Sometimes they cost less than 50 pence for 3-4 bunches. I love to get hold of such bargains and thus I bought a few bunches of spinach (palak) from the shop for 99 pence for 4 bunches. I made saag aloo from 3 bunches and one was left over. So the next day I thought that I would make Palak Puri, using a recipe from one of my notebooks.

My kids love to have something different all the time. It was very tasty but I cannot say this dish is particularly healthy, because after all it is deep fried. However, if your kids refuse to eat spinach, this is a good way to convince them otherwise.

Although I have a written recipe in my notebook, I made a few changes to this recipe. I did not add any ghee and I did not use blanched spinach leaves. Palak puri is served mainly for breakfast, although I could have it at any time. It is also good for travelling as deep fried food doesn’t go bad easily.

You will need:

Slotted spoon to fry puris.

  • 1 bunch or packet palak (spinach) – you can use baby spinach
  • Oil to deep fry + 3 tsp
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour or chapatti flour
  • 1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain) optional
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes or red chilli powder
  • 2-3 green chillies


Wash the spinach in cold water. Cook the spinach in microwave for 3-4 minutes with 2-3 tbsp water and then let it cool. Grind the spinach and green chillies in a grinder to make smooth paste. To a big bowl add flour, salt, chilli flakes, 3 tbp of oil and the spinach puree. Make sure there are no lumps in the spinach puree, otherwise the puri will not puff as it should. Mix everything well. I don’t think you’ll need any water to form a dough, but if you think then just add 1-2 tsp of water. Knead the mixture  into a soft dough. Cover the bowl with a cloth, give it a rest and knead again.

Then heat the oil in heavy bottom kadai or wok. Divide the dough into small lime size balls. Lightly oil the surface and roll the balls out into thin round shapes. Use a slotted spoon to gently immerse puris into the heated oil. Turn puri onto the other side and now it should puff. The moment it turns to a light brown colour, take it out and place it on absorbent paper.

Serve hot with tea, any pickle or yogurt. We had ours with homemade instant mango pickle.

Malaysian Pineapple and Cucumber Salad

A refreshing sweet and sour tangy salad that is a perfect side dish to a main meal.

Preparation time – 10 minutes
Chilling Time -30 minutes
Serves 2


1 cucumber, cut in half lengthways, seeds removed and sliced
1 red onion thinly diced
2 slices fresh pineapple, cubed
1 red chilli pepper thinly sliced
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon fresh coriander finely chopped


1. Add the cucumber, pineapple and onion to a bowl.
2. Add the salt, sugar, vinegar,lemon juice, red chilli and the red chilli flakes and toss the salad. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.
3. Transfer to serving dish. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Dry Roast Nuts: Cashews and Peanuts

Last week I bought lots of  snacky stuff like crisps,  peanuts and cashew nuts to munch on whilst we watched the Olympics. I was shocked to see the amount of oil and salt content in the snacks we were consuming plus the cost of some of these packets was also astronomical. I remember how my parents used to roast the nuts at home and decided to try my hand at doing the same but by using the microwave. The results were amazing and we didn’t feel so guilty as the products were low in salt and virtual fat free.


2 cups of  raw cashew nuts ( all available at most Supermarkets, Indian stores and health food stores)
2 cups of jumbo peanuts
2 Cups of blanched peanuts
Lo salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (Lo salt  tastes the same but contains 66% less sodium than regular salt)
1 tablespoon of olive oil



1.  Transfer the raw cashews to an ovenproof dish

2. Add one teaspoon of oil and sprinkle the lo salt and black pepper and mix well. The oil will help to coat the lo salt and pepper on the nuts.

3. Cook on high for 2 minutes, stir and cook again for 2 minutes and stir. Every microwave’s cooking time will vary depending on its size and speed.  My cashew nuts took 6 minutes to roast in the microwave.  Also remember that the nuts will be hot and still cooking for a few seconds until they cool.

4.  Transfer the nuts to a dish lined with kitchen paper and allow them to cool.

5.  Enjoy the guilt free nuts anytime.


1.  Mix the two varieties of peanuts and transfer them to a microwave dish.

2.  Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil with the lo salt and black pepper.  Stir well.

3. Like the cashews, roast them at 2 minute intervals stirring in between. It took the peanuts 8 minutes to roast in the microwave.

4. Again allow the peanuts to cool in a dish lined with kitchen paper.

5. You can either save the cooled nuts in different jars or mix them together  depending on your preference.

Tip: You can also use the same technique for roasting almonds.

You can also some make  potato crisps using a similar technique.   Here I added some rosemary, salt and a teaspoon of oil to sliced potatoes:

Snowflake Lemon Shortbread

Rich melt in the mouth lemon shortbread with a lovely citrus zing.


180 grams / 6 oz plain flour
60 grams / 2 oz sugar
120 grams /4 oz  butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon milk

4 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon water approx


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F
2. In a bowl cream together the sugar and butter.
3. Add the lemon zest, milk and flour and make a dough.
4. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
5. After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a dusted surface and cut out snowflake shaped short bread.
6. Place shortbread on baking tray and bake for 10-12 mins until slightly golden.
7. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
8. In a bowl sieve the icing sugar, add the lemon juice and little water to form a thick dropping consistency icing that holds shape when piped.(The amount of water to add is approx and make sure the icing is not too runny otherwise you won’t be able to pipe with it.)
9.Make  icing bag  from greaseproof paper.( See the video here.)
10.Fill the cones with prepared icing and ice the shortbread with the icing.

Allow the icing to set for few hours before wrapping the short bread in cellophane for gifts.


Sweet Potato Wedges

I never liked cooking the yellowy orange fleshed sweet potatoes as I always managed to get them soft and mushy.  The white flashed sweet potatoes are very similar to potatoes and I preferred those.   However, since my kids have started to cook them as sweet potatoes are healthier than potatoes,  I am learning to cook them too and have realised that they taste a lot better than the white flashed sweet potatoes.  Here’s a quick and easy recipe for making sweet potato wedges.  These can be enjoyed on their own  or with baked beans or toasted sandwiches.

Ingredients for 1 serving:

2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 tsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
dried oregano or basil to garnish (optional)
lemon juice to garnish (optional)


1.  Peel and wash the sweet potatoes.  Chop them into wedges.

2.  Transfer the potatoes to a plastic bag and add the salt and oil to the potatoes.  Close the bag and shake so that the oil coats the sweet potatoes.

3.  Transfer the sweet potatoes to a pizza tray.

4.   Using a sharp knife, prick any wedges that look a bit thick.  Cook for 8-10 minutes on 180 degrees (the timings may vary between ovens).

5.  After 10 minutes, the wedges should be ready to serve.

6.  Just sprinkle some pepper, dried oregano or basil and some lemon juice and serve hot.


Boondi Ladoo Recipe

Ladoos/ladus are a name for a lot of ball shaped Indian sweets. Most ladoos are made from either a mixture of flours such as chick pea flour, wheat flour or semolina , sugar and nuts. Boondi/Bundi na ladoo (ladu) or besan ke ladoo(ladu) are one of the most popular sweets in UK. These ladoos are popular at most celebrations and can be eaten warm or cold. Boond/bund means a droplet. Bundi na ladoo or Besan ke ladu is made by dropping little droplets of chick pea flour batter onto hot oil. This step by step recipe will enable you to make them easily.

Preparation time 20 minutes before and after cooking
Cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients for 20 small ladoos:
2 cups chick pea flour
3 cups sugar
Handful or more of almonds and pistachios
1 teaspoon of cardamon seeds
2-3 pinches of saffron
½ teaspoon of nutmeg powder
2-3 drops of yellow and red food colouring
Oil to fry


Please note that you will need a skimmer or perforated spoon (oten called Jaro) for making the boondi.

1. Crush the cardamom seeds coarsely using a pestle and mortar

2. Cut the almonds and pistachios into slices. If you like, you can use food colouring to colour some almond slices to decorate your ladoos.

3. Keep the sliced nuts, cardamom seeds, saffron and nutmeg ready on a small plate.

For the sugar syrup:-
4. Put the sugar in a saucepan and add 2 cups of water to 3 cups of sugar. Mix the sugar and water and bring to the boil. The sugar syrup needs to be half thread consistency. Once the syrup is ready, switch off the heat.

5. Whilst the sugar syrup is warming up, sieve the chick pea flour and add 1 cup of water to it.

6. Stir well and to test if the batter is right, take a spoon or ladle and try dropping the batter on the ladle on top of a dry plate. The batter needs to flow through at just the right rate to achieve the round droplets. If the batter is thick – add one tablespoon of water to thin it. If it’s too runny – you may have to add a tablespoon of chick pea flour to the batter.

7. Heat the oil. To test if it’s hot enough, just drop a tiny amount of batter in the oil. If it rises quickly, the oil is ready.

8. Lower the oil and hold your skimmer above the oil. Best position is about an inch to inch and a half over the oil.

9. Pour the batter on the skimmer. Just allow it to pour drop by drop into the oil. You will see tiny droplets of bundi forming.

10. Remove the skimmer and fry the bundis. Once fried, remove them using a different skimmer and transfer them straight into the sugar syrup.

11. Wash the skimmer you used for the batter and pour some more batter on to it and finish making the bundis. (Using a clean skimmer before pouring the batter stops the skimmer holes being clogged up).

12. Let the bundis soak up the sugar syrup for 10 to 15 minutes and remove them (using a skimmer or slotted spoon) on to a mixing bowl.

13. Now add the nuts (save a small amount of sliced almonds to decorate your ladoo), nutmeg, saffron and cardamon to the mixture. Mix this well with the bundis.

14. Some people like to eat the loose sweet bundi and it’s perfectly fine to serve it this way.

15. To make it in ladoo – try and make them as soon as you are able to handle the bundi. Take a small amount of bundi between your hands and compact them to form a tight ball.

16. Sprinkle some sliced almonds on it and lay in on a tray and start with the next ladoo.

17. To make these ladoos attractive to children try adding some chocolate chips to the Bundis before forming the ladoos.

18. I like to keep mine in little cake cases as it stops them sticking together and it’s easy to serve.

19. Your ladoos are ready to eat. You can have them hot or cold. They can be stored in an air tight container for a week. You can warm these for 20 seconds in the microwave if you like to eat warm ladoo.


Some of you might think that I am a regular viewer of the Indian soap opera “Iss pyar ko kya naam doo?” However, I have never watched this show. Have you ever seen this show? As for me, I sometimes just see glimpses of such shows when flickering through the channels.

The recipe I want to present today is a special Chutney I invented myself around three years ago. I made Aloo Bonda one Sunday evening – it was a rainy and windy day. We have this dish with various type of chutneys. On that very day I did not have any chutney in my fridge or freezer and the t kids were hungry and they wanted to eat.

I started to panic and offered my daughter to have aloo bonda with tomato ketchup. She was distressed and replied that it would taste like “having potato chips with ketchup” and was not very fond of my idea. She is a bog fan of fresh coriander chutney after inspecting the fridge I found a few leaves of fresh coriander, but not sufficient for preparing chutney.

Still, I took out the coriander and started crushing it with the pastle and morter. I was thinking about my aunt in law who makes chutney out of  anything and I thought why couldn’t I do the same thing?

I opened my fridge once more and bingo (!), I spotted a few things. Quickly I prepared a new recipe for chutney and I served it to my kids and husband. Praises came straight away and since this day we would never have our aloo bonda without this chutney. I still haven’t decided what name to give this chutney. If you have any ideas, please bring them forward and if we like the name, this chutney shall carry it.

Shall we now look at the recipe ?

You will need:

  1. 2-3 tbsp freshly chopped corinader
  2. 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  3. salt to taste
  4. 1 garlic clove
  5. 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  6. 3-4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  7. 3-4 tbsp chilli sauce
  8. 2-3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce


Place corinader, cumin seeds, garlic and salt (you don’t need much as all the sauces already contain some salt) in a mortar bowl and crush to create a coarse paste with the pastle. You can use a grinder if you want, but do not make it to a very fine paste. Transfer the corinader mixture into a big bowl. Add all the sauces to the corinader mix. Mix well, adjust the seasoning and serve with pakora or savoury pancakes.

The Ultimate Onion Bhajis

Onion bhajis are one of  Britain’s most popular and most frequently consumed Indian snacks. They have a unique and sensational flavour to them. Here in the United Kingdom they are eaten as starter or side dish in Indian restaurants along with poppadoms and chutney, pickle and mint sauce. In India, onion bhaji top the comfort food list when it comes to monsoon and rain season. They are generally relished with a hot coffee or tea.

In my family we adore onion bhajis, and here is my version of it .

You will need:

  • 4 medium onions sliced vertically and horizontally
  • 2 spring onions chopped
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2-3 fresh green chillies finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup gram flour (same as a chickpea flour or besan)
  • 2 tsp rice flour
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • oil for deep fry
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Mix all the ingredients except th oil, salt, water and bicarbonate of soda. Let it stand for 10 min.
In the meanwhile heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan on a medium heat or in a deep fat fryer. Once the oil reaches a temperature of around 180 C, turn the heat down.
Now add water, salt and bicarbonate of soda to the onion bhaji mix and mix it well. The bhaji batter should be thick at this stage. Now add 2 tsp of hot oil into the batter and mix with a spoon.

Make a loose dumpling and drop it into the hot oil. If the batter rises quickly, the oil is ready to make more bhajis. Start making dumplings and fry them over medium heat, turn them with a slotted spoon and allow them to cook well.
Pierce them with a knife a few times, so they cook very well inside and cook them until they turn golden brown. Remove the bhajis with a slotted spoon and drain the oil. Before frying the next batch, taste the bhajis and adjust seasoning accordingly. Make small dumplings with the remainder of the mixture and deep fry in batches until all the bhajis are cooked well.

Serve hot with mint raita and enjoy!

Sambharo – Spicy Cabbage Salad


Sambharo is rather like a spicy cooked salad always served up as a condiment to a main meal.   It’s usually made with carrots, white cabbage, raw mangoes, raw papaya and hot green chillies – stir fried in oil, mustard seeds and turmeric. It can be served hot or cold.    This kind of a salad is my favourite and any leftovers are used as sandwich fillers for my lunch.  A lot of Indian takeaways serve a small portion of sambharo with ganthia.  Most gujarati thali’s will have a serving of  sambharo. Sambharo is always made hot and spicy and served in a very small portion as it’s usually served  to give the main meal a hot spicy taste.  This is a simple version of the sambharo and it tastes great too.


4 cups white Cabbage -shredded finely
8-10 small hot green chillies (you can use peppers or jalapenos if you are not able to get the small chillies)
1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or any cooking oil)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teasppon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon


1.  Heat the oil in a saucepan.

2. Add the Mustard seeds.    When the mustard seeds stop popping, add the cabbage.

3.  Stir fry the  cabbage and allow it to be coated with the oil.

4.  Add the salt, turmeric and sugar (or not).

5.   Stir fry the cabbage and do not cover it with a lid as the cabbage should remine slightly el dante.

6.   Add the lemon, stir and transfer the sambharo to a serving dish.

Note:   You never add garlic or  ginger or chilly powder to this dish.  Nor do you  garnish it with coriander etc.

Tip:  You usually serve it as an extra with your main course or with certain Indian snacks such as lamba gathia.

Carrot Chutney (Microwave Version)


A couple of weeks ago I had a Wensleydale cheese and carrot chutney sandwich  which I really enjoyed. I looked at a few stores to see if this chutney was available to buy but alas no luck. My hubby suggested the following recipe and we rustled it up with just everyday ingredients I had in my cupboard. The chutney turned out fine.

Ingredients for 3 small bottles

  • 1200 grams of carrots (got reduced to 100 grams after peeling and cleaning)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chilly powder
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 5 tbs lemon juice


1.  Wash and grate the carrots.

2.   Add the salt and chilly powder to the carrots and stir the mixture.  Cover the dish and cook in the microwave at 750 watts for 12 minutes, stirring the mixture every 4 minutes.

3.  Once the carrots soften, add the sugar and cover the dish and cook in the microwave for 4 minutes.   The sugar will melt and the mixture will become runny but very hot.


4.  Stir the mixture, cover the dish and cook it for 4 minutes at a time.  Stir the mixture every 4 minutes.  Cook 10 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and chopped green chillies.

5.  Allow the mixture to cool.  Do not worry if the mixture feels a bit runny.  The sugar will cool down and the mixture will thicken.

6.  When cool transfer to sterilised bottles and keep the chutney in the fridge where it should be fine for a couple of weeks.





Beans & Mash Bake (or Pizza with a Difference)


I was going to have  mashed potatoes with beans and  other various toppings for my meal but changed it to this dish to make it a bit more interesting and made this dish which I have named Beans & Mash Bake but it could be called Pizza with a Difference too!! Let me know what you think I should name this dish?  The dish tasted nice with all the flavours blending in.  It looked like a pizza but had a potato base.  This would be perfect to serve to anyone with an allergy to yeast, bread or wheat.  Not sure about it being Gluten free as it’s not my area of expertise.  The ingredients for this dish are what everyone would have in their cupboard.

Ingredients to make 3 -4 servings (you can change the ingredients to your choice)

4-5 large boiled potatoes
1 tbsp butter
200 grams baked beans (half a can of baked beans)
250 gms a mixture of grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese (or 2-3 cups of grated cheese)
2-3 red and yellow peppers – sliced thinly
2-3 green chillies – chopped
2-3 small white onions – sliced thinly
7-8 small tomatoes – sliced thinly
200 gram of sweet corn (Half a can of sweet corn)
1 red onion and red pepper – grated together
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp oregano


1.  Cook and mash the potatoes by adding some butter, salt, pepper and oregano to them and layer them on a  greased flan dish

2.  Prepare all the vegetables as you prefer.  I sliced most of the vegetables for garnishing but also grated a red carrot and red pepper to stir fry. 

3.  Grate the red onion and red pepper and stir fry them in a tbsp of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Spread the baked beans on top of the mashed potato.


5.  Spread the stir-fried pepper and onion on top of the beans

6. Add the sweet corn on top of this layer. You can add any more vegetables (or pineapples etc.) if you like.


7.  Spread this layer with grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese (You can use any cheese you like)

8.  Finally garnish the dish with sliced peppers, tomatoes, onions and green chillies. Sprinkle salt and peppers and oregano on top.


9.  Bake this in a medium oven (170 degrees) for 20 minutes. (Fan ovens may take less time)

10.  Let it cool slightly for 5-6 minutes before serving.  It’s easier to slice this when it’s cooled down slightly.


Oatmeal Cookies

Healthy and delicious oatmeal cookies that are chewy and delicious with a glass of cold milk.

Preparation time – 30 minutes
Cooking time – 25 minutes
Chilling  time – 30 minutes


Dry Ingredients:

1 & ½ cups of rolled oats
1 cup wholewheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries or dried blueberries
1 tablespoon almond halves for garnish

Wet Ingredients:

1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup sunflower oil
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon flaxseed powder mixed with 2 tablespoons water (or 1 egg)
2 tablespoons golden syrup


1. In bowl add all the dry ingredients and mix together.
2. In another bowl add the honey, oil, golden syrup, vanilla essence and mix together.
3. Add 2 tablespoons water to the powdered flax and beat together. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet mixture. Mix together to make dough. Add a little more flour if the mixture becomes too wet.
5. Bring the dough into a ball and cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. After 30 minutes divide the dough into walnut sized balls and place them on an oiled baking tray.
7. Using the flat bottom of a glass, press the walnut sized balls down to flatten them into cookie shapes about 5 mm thick. Press an almond half in the centre of each cookie.
8. Preheat oven to 350 º F / 180 º C. Bake cookies for 25 minutes till golden brown.

Transfer to a baking tray and allow to cool. Cookies should be golden brown with a soft chewy centre.

Serve with a cold glass of milk.

Other ideas: Replace raisins with chocolate chips or 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut.

Cake Bites

Delectable little cake bites, coated in delicious milk chocolate.

Preparation  time – 60 minutes
Chilling time – 30 minutes
Makes approx 40


1 small chocolate cake loaf
4 tablespoons Nutella chocolate spread
1 large bag of chocolate melts
Edible cake sprinkles of choice.


1. Cut the cake into small pieces and add to a food processor.
2. Whizz the cake to form crumbs.
3. Add 4 tablespoons Nutella spread and whizz until cake crumbs are mixed with Nutella spread.
4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and pinch out small walnut sized balls of mixture. Roll the balls until smooth and crack free.
5. Place the balls on a baking tray and once all the balls are made place the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes.
6. Add the chocolate melts to a glass heatproof bowl, place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to melt the chocolate.
7. Once chocolate has melted, mix well to remove any lumps.
8. Remove the cake balls from freezer, dip each ball into the melted chocolate and place in a decorative cake case. Immediately sprinkle with sprinkles of choice before chocolate sets.

NB – Depending on the texture of the cake you may need to adjust the quantity of Nutella spread to get the correct consistency that will allow you to form the mixture into cake balls.

Summer Fruits Yoghurt

A burst of summer freshness folded into smooth creamy yoghurt.

Preparation Time – 10 minutes  (plus 2 hours draining time)
Serves 4


240 ml natural low fat yoghurt
240 grams mixed berries- raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.
2 tablespoon icing sugar or to taste


1. Place a muslin cloth in a colander and pour the yoghurt into it, leave to drain out the water for 1-2 hours. (This is called hung yoghurt)
2. Chop up half the berries and put them in a blender, coarse blend them.
3. Transfer the yoghurt to a bowl and add the icing sugar, fold in the blended berries.
4. Transfer to individual serving dishes and garnish with remaining berries.

Serve immediately.

Savoury Puffed Rice Snack

Savoury and crunchy puffed rice, a fast and speedy snack that can be made in minutes.

Preparation 5 minutes
Cooking time 3 minutes
Serves 2 people


120 grams / 4 oz puffed rice (mumra)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil


1. In a microwaveable bowl add the puffed rice.
2. Sprinkle the puffed rice with salt, oil and turmeric powder and mix well.
3. Place the bowl in the microwave and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring at 1 minute intervals.
4. Leave the puffed rice to cool slightly for 1 minute and check that it is crispy, if it appears a little soft microwave again for further 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Remove from microwave and sprinkle with chilli powder.
6. Serve as it is or as a topping on salad.

Spicy Sweet Potato Juliennes

A lot of health magazines are classing  sweet potatoes as one of the  most nutritious vegetables.  I will leave that debate to the experts.  I grew up eating sweet potatoes in curries, chips and crisps and enjoy them as they taste slightly better than the potato.   There are two varieties of sweet potatoes sold in most supermarkets – one with a slightly redder skin and white flesh and one with a lighter colour and yellow flesh. This recipe works with both varieties but the cooking time taken for the yellow flesh one is less. For this recipe, I used the white fleshed sweet potatoes.

Ingredients for 2 servings

2 medium to large sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 or 2 green chillies for garnishing


1. Wash and scrape the sweet potatoes

2. Cut them across into thick slices first and then cut  these slices into juliennes.

3. Heat the olive oil.

4. Add the sweet potatoes and season them with salt and pepper.

5.  Transfer to a microwave dish and cook for 5 minutes.

6.  Add lemon juice to the sweet potatoes and microwave for 2 more minutes.

7. Garnish them with green chillies and serve them as a side dish to any meal.

8.  For Hindus around the World the month of Shravan started last Saturday.  This is an auspicious month for Hindus and a lot of them will be fasting during this month. Some fast for the whole month eating only fruits, nuts, root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, milk and milk products and avoiding grains.  Sometimes a little innovation like this recipe can make the fasting foods more interesting.