Traditionally served with greens, kasundi ( कसूंदी ) is a perfect accompaniment to dry vegetable snacks such as pakora and samosa. Added to pasta it’s a marriage made in heaven.
Though available commercially, kasundi is easy to make at home. No vinegar or other acids, no additives, no cooking even. Just natural fermentation of raw materials for a condiment bursting with pro-biotic goodness and umami deliciousness. Continue reading “Aam Kasundi – Bengali Mustard & Green Mango Relish”
This is my earliest memory of making curry. 1981, the London Sivananda Yoga Ashram, my home at the time, is hosting a distinguished group of Indian scholars for a week of lectures on Vedanta philosophy. Declaring European fare as “bland” our guests have brought their own cook who is promptly dispatched to the kitchen.
A Brahmin, the highest of the Hindu casts, Rita handles food exclusively with her right hand, her left dedicated to supporting a long, shimmering fold of silken sari. She requests assistance. My luck is in. Continue reading “Aloo Gobi – Potato & Cauliflower Curry”
Ginger and garlic make a perfect pairing and the paste is much used in dishes throughout India and south-east Asia
Garlic-ginger paste can be bought ready-prepared or made in bulk and stored in the fridge. Continue reading “Garlic – Ginger Paste”
The third in our set of classic Indian spice-mixes or masalas, sambhar powder is the basis of the south Indian “curry” of the same name. Sambhar most likely originated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Did you know the word curry is an Anglicisation of the Tamil word kari, meaning with sauce? This may be the closest we get to “real” curry! Continue reading “South Indian Sambhar Powder”
Five-spice is used in charchari and other dishes other from Bengal in north-west India. The spice-blend (masala) also makes a great aromatic coating for roasting vegetables.
The original uses lovage, or wild celery (radhuni). You can buy these from larger Asian supermarkets. Otherwise black mustard seeds are a common replacement. Panch phoran is normally used whole.
Mix equal quantities of Continue reading “Indian 5-Spice: Panch Phoran”
Indian cooks tend to use use individual spices in dishes then add spice-blends to create extra layers of flavour. Garam masala and Panch Phoran are often used this way. Sometimes it’s the other way around: the masala forms the basic structure, other spices being added for individuality and regional variation. Sambhar powder, used to make a south Indian dish of the same name is used this way. Continue reading “Warming Garam Masala – Your Top-Note”
A member of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and others, aubergine’s popularity derives largely from its great abosrbency. They are masters at mopping up flavour – and also oil. As with potato, they’re no good raw. But while potatoes can be steamed or boiled, aubergines are at their best cooked in oil. Or are they?
Continue reading “Spiced Smoked Aubergine Curry – Began Bharta”
I’m noticing a trend towards “healthy” Indian restaurants in London. I’m delighted, of course. The likes of Sonita’s Kitchen , Healthy indian Cooking in London’s Camden Lock certainly deserves every one of its 4.5 Google-stars.
The marketing, however, implies that normal Indian food is less than healthy. But India is a country of half a billion vegetarians. A country where through Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing tradition, ordinary folk are intimately familiar with the medicinal properties of their food. And Indian food is regional and as varied as anything accross any two European countries. No, the trouble is exclusively with the British curry’s heavy-handed use of oil. Continue reading “The Secret To The Great Taste Of The British Restaurant Curry”
When’s a curry not a curry?
An Anglicisation of Indian dishes containing spices in a sauce, curry has evolved into a by-word for Indian food. Indian food developed in the UK by Bangladeshi cooks into the British restaurant curry, a unique cuisine at the heart of which is a very special onion “gravy”.
Our simply spiced vegetable dish has no sauce, is not based on the restaurant gravy, and is not even Indian – or cricket – or curry. Continue reading “Sri Lankan Sweetcorn & Cauliflower Mallung”
Vegan Sour Tamales – Corn At Its Best!
The usual thing with tamal dough is to chill it, something which greatly helps it pass the float-test, a sure sign that the end result will be light and fluffy. Sour tamales, on the contrary, are allowed to rest in warm place to ferment.
Nixtamalization, or lime-treatment of corn has great nutritional benefits. The alkaline lime (calcium hydroxide) breaks down the indigestible outer husk releasing essential amino acids and vitamins. Enter fermentation to fully open the door to nutrients not otherwise available. This is maize at its very best. Continue reading “Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling”