It’s the custom in the Bengal region of north-east India to start a meal with a bitter dish. Shukto achieves this through the use of karela, a bitter gourd readily available from most Asian grocers. If bitter isn’t your thing you can simply omit this vegetable and use any of your favourite ones.
Two other flavours are common in Bengali dishes, mustard in the form of seed, the oil or kasundi and panch phoran or five spice. This dish combines all these flavours for a traditionally sweet dish with a mild bitterness – or leave out the bitter and keep it sweet. Continue reading “Shukto – Bengali Mixed Vegetable Curry”
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”
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”
Yoga & Mindful Walking Menus – 7
A new walk today to the old XIX century public laundry and on to ancient rocks where it is said there are Visigoth steps carved into one of the monoliths. We didn’t find them. But the view from the rocks was great. We’ll keep looking for the steps.
Today, a selection of veggie Indian dishes to round off a marvellous week of yoga, walking and eating Continue reading “Lunch: Full Indian”
This is my first mention of Indian cuisine – not curry, which is a more British invention and I will talk about later. Why the reticence? I think Indian cuisines are so sublime I needed to feel ready to share something SO close to my heart. But enough sentimentality! Let’s get on with the show. Continue reading “Karela Sabzi – Indian Spiced Bitter Gourd”