Monday, 28 January 2013

Potatoes with Greens and Radish

Potatoes with Greens and Radish

This dish takes me back some 40 years to my Mausi’s (Aunt’s) house. India like other tropical countries enjoys an array of vegetables. This is just as well as my Mausi, like so many other Indians, was a vegetarian. Despite the huge variety of vegetables available she used every bit of the vegetable to create her own new recipes.

 In India the most popular type of radish (Mooli) is the long thin white variety. This is used in a salad rather than as a vegetable, however, the green top shoots and leaves which usually end up in the bin in most homes, were created in yet another side dish at my Mausi’s house. She made this slightly bitter dish, the taste of which once acquired, was difficult not to like. 

When I arrived in the UK in the 1970’s I was surprised at the paucity of vegetables in the markets. Though it had fewer vegetables available, it easily made up for this by the abundance of greens on the shelves. I think Indian vegetarians have made the most of these greens. I have used the red radish to give this dish that bitter taste and have used spinach or greens instead of the green tops from white radish which are still not available here.   


  • 200 gms Spring Greens and Spinach chopped.
  • 3-4 Small Potatoes cut in to small pieces.
  • 5-6 Red Radish sliced.
  • 1 inch fresh Ginger chopped.
  • 3 Garlic pods chopped
  • Pinch of Hing (Asafetida)
  • 1 tsf Mustard seeds
  • 2 whole dried red Chillies
  • 1 tsf coarsely ground Coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsf Chilli coarsely ground
  • 1 tsf Salt
  • Oil for cooking


  1. Heat the oil in a wok.
  2. When the oil is hot put, hing, broken dried red chilli and mustard seeds. Let them brown.
  3. Add the coarsely ground chilli, coarsely ground coriander seeds and mix well.
  4. Add the potatoes and cook them for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped greens and sliced radish and mix well.
  6. Cover the wok and cook on lowered heat for another 10-15 minutes or till potatoes are cooked. 
It goes well as a side dish with the main meal.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

This is another of the street foods which is finding its rightful place in decent Restaurants both in India and the true Indian places in London. Though the recipe for most tikka style food is similar but I think the bone in the chops gives that added marrow flavour to the meat. I cook this dish in an oven but it can equally be done over a BBQ or a griddle.


  • 1/2 kg Lamb chops prick the meat.
  • 150 gms Yogurt
  • 2 tsf Garlic paste
  • 2 tsf crushed Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsf Garam Masala
  • 1 tsf Salt (to taste)
  • 2 Green Chillies finely chopped
  • 1 medium Onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium Onion sliced
  • 4 whole Garlic pods
  • 2 tbsf Oil
  • Handful of fresh Coriander chopped


  1. In a large bowl mix garlic, onion, green chilli, crushed coriander, garam masala and salt with the yogurt. 
  2. Add the lamb pieces and rub the marinade thoroughly and leave it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
  3. On an oven tray lay the chops in a single row. 
  4. Add the sliced onion and whole garlic around in the tray.
  5. Put any left over marinade evenly and spray or brush the chops with oil. 
  6. Cover the tray with foil.
  7. Put the tray of chops in a pre-heated oven at 190⁰ C. Cook for 45-60 minutes or till the chops are done. Need to turn a couple of times.
Serve as starters
Can be done over the BBQ time would vary.

Chole Bhature - Pahar Ganj Style

Chole - Pahar Ganj Style
(Chick peas)

Chole Bhature for Delhites is equivalent to Fish and Chips for Britishers. There are so many different recipes of Chole, each one with a distinctive taste. My favourite is from a small take away place in Pahar Ganj, a locality of Delhi. This shop reminds me of Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip take away in Guiseley, West Yorkshire. Like Harry Ramsden’s place this started in early 50’s as a small business and today they serve several thousand helping each lunchtime. Their premises remain very small but instead of 2 cooks making the bhaturas there are probably 8, the maximum its space would allow! The service remains fast and no one waits for longer than 20 minutes, time enough for a sale of a glass of lassi! 

The recipe for the chole is a family secret. Many people have tried in vain to produce the same quality of chole. Like others I have attempted and I think this version is as close as I will get. For friends who haven't been initiated to the real thing this recipe is well worth, for chole bhature enthusiasts.  

I must confess it is by mistake I get the credit for this dish, it should really go to a friend’s wife Ramal, who inadvertently prepared this style of Chole while I was overlooking.... Though I have put down the various ingredients separately one cold use Shan's Chole masala powder.

Ingredients for Chole:

  • 2 tins Chick Peas (800gms with water)
  • 1 pinch Hing (Asafoetida) 
  • 1 tsf Coriander powder
  • ¼ tsf Chilli powder
  • ½ Salt (may need more if not using tinned Chick Peas)
  • 1 tsf Cumin powder
  • ½ tsf Black pepper corns
  • 10 Cloves
  • 6 Black Cardamoms
  • 2 inch Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Nutmeg
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ½ tsf Turmeric
  • 1 tsf Garlic powder
  • 1 pinch of Soda powder
  • 2 teabags
  • 4 tbsf Oil
  1. Grind cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and nutmeg. 
  2. Heat the oil in a wok.
  3. Add hing as soon as it starts to sizzle add the above ground cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and nutmeg as well as turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powders. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add all the chick peas along with its water.
  5. Add the salt, tea bags and soda powder.
  6. Bring it to a boil, ensuring that it doesn’t spill over by continuously stirring.
  7. Lower the heat and cover the wok and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours intermittently stirring so that it doesn't catch at the bottom.
  8. Serve with Bhaturas or as a side dish with main meal.

Ingredients for the Bhatura recipe:

  • 150 gms of plain yoghurt.
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder or 1/4 tsp baking soda.
  • 1½ cup (450 gm) White flour.
  • 1 tsp Salt.
  • 1 tsf Sugar.
  • 1 tbsp butter.
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water.
  • 200 gms of Paneer crumbled.
  • ghee or vegetable oil for deep frying.


  1. In a bowl mix yogurt, sugar, salt, flour, butter and baking powder into a dough and cover with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place overnight.
  2. Next day the dough should be ready, just knead it again with hand so it becomes smooth. You may need to add a bit more flour if it is too soft.
  3. In a wok heat some oil for deep frying. 
  4. Take a small amount of the dough shape it into golf ball shape and size.
  5. Flatten it and stuff a small amount of crumbled paneer and reshape back into a ball then roll it into a 6-7 inch circle. At the Pahar Ganj shop they do this step by hand.
  6. Put the flattened pancake in the deep fryer (ensure the oil is hot). Cook till the bhatura is slightly golden and puffed up.

Handi Goosht - Lamb Curry Slow Cooked

Lamb Curry cooked in a Slow Cooker

Slow cooking is not new in India however, unfortunately it is a dying method because of the demise of the old charcoal cookers (Anghethi). These angheties often had two cookers ends, the main cooker was for normal high heat cooking and the other on the side was for slow cooking or just keeping the cooked dishes warm. I remember my maternal grandfather’s house where they had two kitchens one for the vegetarian and the other, outside the house for non-vegetarian cooking. No utensils from one kitchen could enter the other, the vegetarian kitchen being the main with more anghethis and utensils. The outside kitchen would mainly be used for visitors like my dad. They had  one male servant who was responsible for cooking only the meat dishes. The meat dishes he prepared depended on the availability of ingredients. Though the exact recipes would be difficult to obtain but here I have tried to replicate one of his dishes, which is simple in terms of ingredients but the taste is out of the world! He made this in a Handi on the slow cooker of his anghethi. Of courseI have made this dish in the modern slow cooker.

Most of the spices for this dish are better crushed or ground crudely. More importantly crush the spices just before cooking. This gives the finished dish that fresh spicy taste.


  • 1/2 kg Lamb cut to 1 inch cubes 
  • 150 gms Yogurt
  • 1 tsf Garlic paste
  • 1 tsf Ginger paste
  • 3 tsf crushed Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsf crushed Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsf Garam Masala
  • 1 tsf Salt (to taste)
  • 2 Whole dried red Chillies
  • 1 medium Onion sliced
  • 3 tbsf Oil
  • 1 Tomato chopped
  • Handful of fresh Coriander chopped


  1. In a large bowl mix ginger, garlic, crushed coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt with the yogurt. Add the lamb pieces and rub the marinade thoroughly and leave it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
  2. In a wok heat the oil over high heat, when the oil is hot put the whole red chillies but just crush them with hand.
  3. When the red chillies have charred add the sliced onion and brown so these are crispy.
  4. While the oil is hot add the lamb along with the marinade and keep stirring ensuring that the yogurt doesn't curdles. Stir for 3-4 minutes or till the yogurt changes colour to brownish.
  5. Pour all the ingredients of the wok in a pre-heated slow cooker. 
  6. Add chopped tomato and fresh coriander. Leave it for at least 5-6 hours. You may spoon off the excess fat. Serve with nan bread.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lamb Tikka

This is one of those dishes which was mainly available in the bazaars served at roadside cafes, but now even the Five Star Hotels in Delhi are serving Tikkas. In India it would be prepared in a Tandoor (Indian clay oven) but one can do this in an ovens or on a barbecue.  


  • 1Kg Lamb leg/shoulder cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 100 gms Yogurt
  • 2 tsf Garlic paste
  • 2 tsf Ginger paste
  • 3 tsf Coriander powder
  • 1 tsf Garam Masala
  • 1 tsf Salt
  • 1/4 Chilli powder 
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Handful of fresh Coriander
  • 3 tbsf Oil
  • 1 Onion sliced (Optional)
  • 1 Red/green peppers


  1. In a large mixing bowl mix garlic, ginger, coriander powder, garam masala, salt and lime juice with the yogurt.
  2. Add the lamb pieces in the marinade, coat them throughly. Cover and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours (I generally leave it overnight).
  3. Thread the lamb on skewers (soaked in water). One can add pieces of onion and pepper for added flavour.
  4. Coat the lamb with oil generously.
  5. Get the BBQ going well before laying the skewers for cooking. (One can also do it in an oven, heat the oven at 200⁰ C and lay the lamb pieces in a single row in a oven tray and cook till lamb is tender, will need to turn and baste halfway). 
  6. Garnish the lamb with fresh coriander leaves and serve with mint raita.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Matter Paneer

Matter Paneer
(Indian Cheese and Peas Curry)

After Independence in the North India, middle class families started to party and invite friends and family at the smallest excuse. At that time Indian Hindus were still predominantly Vegetarians with only a few eating meat. So for parties many families started to cook a meat curry, a sign of affluence and modernisation, but for the majority vegetarians one still needed to prepare something equivalent elegant. I believe Matter Paneer filled that void and started appearing regularly for parties, at least in our family. I very rarely saw it make an appearance in homes where no non vegetarian dish was being served as was the case at my mother’s family.

Paneer is referred in the Vedas dating back 6000 BC. The use of paneer in Indian dishes is due to the abundance of milk used in Indian cooking and India being a predominantly a Vegetarian culture. It is a very versatile ingredient as not only can it be cooked as a curry, but it is also used for making various starters and sweet dishes.  

  • 200 gms of frozen Peas (soaked in warm water)
  • 200 gms of Paneer(see below)
  • 1 medium Onion finely chopped
  • 2 pods of Garlic finely chopped
  • 1 inch Ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tsf Coriander powder
  • 1/3 tsf Turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsf Chilli powder
  • 1 tsf garam Masala
  • 3 tbsf Yogurt
  • 3 tbsf Oil for curry
  • Oil for deep frying
For Paneer
  • 4 tbsf Vinegar for making paneer
  • 4 pints of Milk
  1. If you want to make your own paneer, boil 4 pints of full cream milk and just as it is boiling add a 4 spoonful of vinegar. The milk will curdle and the water will separate. Strain the water off in a muslin cloth. Dip it in cold water for 2-3 hours. Keeping it in the muslin cloth put a flat board and a heavy weight for the paneer to flatten (½ inch thick) and leave it overnight for all the water to drain.
  2. Cut the flattened paneer into ½ inch cubes.
  3. Deep fry the paneer very slightly, take them out and keep aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy pan.
  5. Put the chopped onions and fry till lightly brown.
  6. Add chopped tomatoes, garlic and ginger fry till browned and water separates.
  7. Add coriander, turmeric, salt, chilli powder and garam masala and fry for 3-4 mins.
  8. Add yogurt spoonful at a time and mix well.
  9. Now add the paneer and peas. Mix well with masala then add 2 cups of water.
  10. Bring to a boil cover the pan and lower the heat for it to cook for 20-30 mins.

Aloo Methi

Aloo Methi
(Potatoes with fresh Fenugreek)

I would recommend this dish as a quick and easy one, which could be make at short notice for the unexpected guests – which was a common occurrence in our home. It goes well with Dal and roti or paratha. Ma often made this for picnics because it is a dry dish so easy to carry and for the same reasons we also found this in our school lunch boxes. Despite being given as lunch so often I don’t remember ever getting bored of it and if I ever did, my friends would easily demolish my luncheon for me.

In India we would use fresh Methi but as it was not available in the 1970-80’s I started using the dried Kasuri methi instead which seems to do the trick, however, it is definitely better tasting with the fresh leaves.

  • ½ Kg small Potatoes
  • Pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1 Dried Red Chilli
  • 1 ¼ tsf Salt
  • ¼ tsf Chilli powder
  • ½ tsf Haldi (Turmeric)
  • 1 Bunch of Fresh Methi (Fenugreek)
  • 3 tbsf Oil
  1. Pick the leaves off the methi (if you are lazy like me soak the dry methi, approx 1 cup full) and wash off any dust. 
  2. Cut the potatoes keeping the skin in to halves or quarter pieces.
  3. In a wok heat the oil over medium heat.
  4. When the oil is hot put the hing which will start to sizzle straight away.
  5. Break the dried chilli into 2-3 pieces and add it to the oil, wait till the chilli has browned.
  6. Add haldi and chilli powder and cook it for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes and slightly fry for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the washed methi leaves, mix well.
  9. Add the salt. Lower the lid and cook till the potatoes are soft. You may need to stir a few times ensuring the potatoes don’t catch at the bottom.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Lamb Kofta Curry

Lamb Kofta Curry
(Lamb Meatballs Curry)

The word Kofta comes from Persian word Kuftan which means ‘‘to beat’’. Therefore the Koftas are made of beaten or ground meat and then forming into a meatball. Every country has its own recipe. The Kofta arrived on the Indian cuisine like other Mughlai dishes with the Mughal emperors some 500 years ago.

I remember tagging along with my father to the local butcher to get the best meat beaten for Koftas. Others would take the onion, ginger, garlic and fresh coriander, to be mixed with the meat at the time it is being beaten or ground, which lets the meat marinate before cooking. As my dad was not found of onions in our house the meatballs didn’t have onion. One can make Koftas not only from lamb, but use chicken, beef and as it is in South India Fish as well. In Indian vegetarian homes they use Vegetable to make Koftas.

Ingredients for meatballs:

·        ½ kg minced Lamb
·        1 tsf Cumin powder
·        ½ tsf Salt
·        1 tsf Coriander powder
·        ¼ tsf Garam masala
·        1/8 tsf Chilli powder
·        2-3 tbsf finely chopped fresh Coriander
·        3 tbsf Yogurt

Ingredients for sauce:

·        1 tsf garlic paste
·        1 tsf Ginger paste
·        ½ tsf salt
·        1 tsf Cumin powder
·        1 tsf Coriander powder
·        ½ Chilli powder
·        5 tbsf vegetable oil
·        1 inch Cinnamon stick
·        6 Cardamom green
·        6 Cloves
·        2 small chopped Onions
·        ½ tin chopped tomatoes
·        4 tbsf plain Yogurt


1.     Mix all the meatball ingredients and make 25-30 meatball the size of a golf ball, put them aside.(You can add finely chopped onion, garlic, ginger if you wish)
2.     In a heavy pot heat the oil on high heat.
3.     When the oil is hot add the cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves, stir them for 3-4 minutes or till they sizzle.
4.     Add finely chopped onion and brown these on medium heat.
5.     Add the garlic, ginger and all the spices, mixing them well for 2-3 minutes.
6.     Then add the chopped tomatoes and keep frying till the oil starts to separate.
7.     Start adding the yogurt a spoonful at a time and keep mixing it into the masala.
8.     Add 400mls of water and bring it to a boil.
9.     Now add the meat balls one at a time in a single row. Bring it to a boil.
10. Cover the pan and lower the heat to low. Cook for another 50mins or till the koftas are done.
11. Can garnish with fresh coriander.

Coriander Chutney

Coriander Chutney

Chutney originates from the Sanskrit word catni which means to lick. The first chutneys were fruit based sweet and sour but now there are so many varieties all of them finger licking! The coriander chutney is very popular in the North India. It is quite spicy and hot. It goes well with starters, chaats and the main food.


·        1 Bunch of Coriander
·        10 Green Chillies
·        6 Garlic pods
·        1 ½ Salt (to taste)
·        1 ½ tsf Mango powder (amchur)


  1. Cut the stacks of the fresh coriander.
  2. Put all the ingredients as well as a couple of spoon full of water in a small blender and blend it till it becomes paste consistency.
  3. It is ready to be served as an  accompaniment for snacks or with the main food.

Aloo Tikki

Aloo Tikki
(Potato Burger)

Aloo Tikki (like a small burger) is usually served in India by the Chaatwalas, who serve sweet and sour Indian snacks called chaat.  In olden days Chaatwalas would come to the middle of each locality and set up their stall which included a angeethi (burner) with a very large tava (griddle) and people would impatiently, as most Indians are impatient, wait for their turn.  These days of course it is often served as a starter or nibbles with drinks. Tikki without the chutney seems lonely, so it is often served with a sauce which could be coriander or imli chutney. Often it is the quality of the chutney which is equally important to bring out the taste.


·        1/2 Kg Potatoes
·        2 slices of white bread
·        1 small onion
·        2 Green chillies
·        1 inch Ginger
·        small bunch of Coriander leaves
·        1 tsf Salt (to taste)
·        1 tsf Powdered roasted cumin seeds
·        ½ tsf Garam masala


1.     Boil the potatoes and peel and let them cool down, then coarsely mash them.
2.     In a processor blend the ginger, onion and green chilli. Again these should be coarse.
3.      Again in the blender coarsely chop the bread.
4.     Mix all ingredients with the potatoes and add the salt, roasted and powdered cumin and garam masala.
5.      Divide the mix into 12 small portions and make a small ball first before flattening the ball into a burger shaped tikki. (these are smaller then the burger)
6.     Heat small amount of oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the tikkis till both sides are brown and crispy.
7.     Serve hot with Coriander chutney or raita.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Rasedar Jeere Wale Aloo

Rasedar Jeere Wale Aloo
(Potato Curry with Cumin Seeds)

This dish is very popular in UP and Old Delhi, as not only is it very simple to make but you can not spoil it - every time it tastes fantastic. You can be certain that this will be served whenever anyone has invited several families especially on days when it is primarily a Vegetarian meal like Puja days (it is quite common in Hindu families to hold religious ceremonies - Puja at home and invite friends and family). One would serve it with Puris which is just perfect. I recollect specialist roadside restaurants especially near the Coach and Railway stations just serving this dish with Puris and doing a roaring business.   


·        ½ Kg Potatoes
·        1/2 tin of chopped Tomatoes
·        2 tsf Jeera seeds (Cumin seeds)
·        1 Green Chilli chopped finely.
·        1 ¼ tsf Salt (to taste)
·        ½ tsf Turmeric powder
·        1 tsf Coriander powder
·        ¼ tsf Chilli Powder
·        ½ tsf Garam masala
·        4 tbsf Oil


1.      Boil potatoes and let them cool.
2.      When cool enough to handle, peel and break them with hand so you are about ½ inch in size.
3.     Heat the oil in a wok on medium heat.
4.     Add the jeera seeds in hot oil and wait for them to start sizzling.
5.     Add the tomatoes, green chilli, salt, coriander powder turmeric and chilli powder, fry for 5 minutes or till the mix is brown and the oil separates.
6.     Add the potatoes and 250 mls of water.
7.     Bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat to low and cover the wok leaving a small space for the steam to escape. Cook for 15 – 30 minutes or till the gravy is slightly thick.