Thursday, 28 February 2013

Shahi Chicken Korma

Korma is the ultimate preparatory technique in the Mughlai cuisine. The origin of korma dates from the 16th century around the time of the Mughal Raj in Northern India (which included Pakistan and Bangladesh). Though the dish came with the Mughals from Persia, the word Korma is in fact derived from the Hindi and Urdu word for braise. The technique that is called braising in the West, is a way to tenderise tough meats. It involves first searing or browning of the meat on high heat, which is often referred to as locking of the juices by some modern chefs, then cooking slowly in juices with added acid in the form of tomatoes, wine or yogurt in a closed pot. The meat cooked in this way undergoes a chemical reaction called Maillard reaction, this locks in the flavours of the spices to the meat at the same time keeping it soft and tender.
When one speaks to local British Indian food enthusiasts, one gets the impression that Korma is some kind of a mild curry. This may well be true, as the yogurt does make the curry less spicy but Kormas don’t have to be.
In the Indian Korma dishes the general principle of searing the meat brown before cooking in the fluid in a closed pot is similar to what happens in the western braised food, but the fluids which we call gravy is livened up in Korma with the spices. Usually one uses yogurt for making the Korma but in my Shahi Korma I have used Cream to give it that rich flavour and colour, which Maharaja’s deserve!

  • 1/2 kg Chicken cut in to small portion 
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 6 Cloves
  • 4 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1small chopped Onion
  • 1/3 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tsf Garlic paste
  • 1 tsf Ginger paste
  • 2 tsf Coriander powder
  • 1 tsf Cumin powder
  • 1 tsf Garam Masala
  • 11/4 tsf Salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsf Chillies powder
  • 100 mls Cream
  • 3 tbsf Oil
  • Fresh Coriander chopped (optional)  
  1. In a heavy pan heat the oil on medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot add cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms and bay leaf and stir till the cardamom swells up usually 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add chopped onions and brown.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and mix well and brown or till the oil separates (see notes below).
  5. Add the rest of the spices and mix well
  6. Add the chicken pieces and mix well so that all the masala clings to the portions. Need to brown the chicken portions a bit.
  7. Add the cream and mix well.
  8. Add 150 mls water and bring to a boil then lower the heat. Now cover the pan and cook for 40 minutes or till the chicken has cooked. I tend to use a pressure cooker on which it cooks within 20 minutes.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (optional).

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Stuffed Whole Bhindi (Okra)

The whole bhindi just looks so elegant a vegetable that it is a shame to cut it into small pieces. This preparation keeps the elegant shape of such a wonderful vegetable adding to it a special tangy flavour of the tomatoes and mango powder. 

I haven’t seen this preparation other then in a Kayastha home, I am sure someone will correct me for implying that others don’t cook it like this. This dish is so tasty and I don’t believe that Kayastha’s could take all the credit, even though I would like to think so!

  • 500 gms Bhindi slit length wise
  • 2 Medium Onions cut length wise 
  • ¼ Tin chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tsf Salt
  • ¼ tsf Turmeric powder 
  • ¼ tsf Chilli powder
  • 1 tsf Coriander powder
  • 1½ tsf Amchur (Mango powder)
  • 4 tbsf Oil


Wash and cut the Bhindi and set aside to dry. In a karahi heat the oil and put the onion and lightly brown. Now add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder and brown the masala. Add amchur powder and mix. Take the masala out and carefully stuff the bhindi with this masala. Cook the stuffed bhindi on low/medium heat in the same karahi as the masala was made in a small amount of left over oil. (The bhindi takes only 5-10 minutes to cook!) 

This goes so well with Paranthas.

Fish Curry (North Indian Style)

In India the coastal areas are the biggest consumers of fish dishes and each region has put its mark by adding some local ingredient which is in plenty in the region e.g., coconut in the Goan cuisine. In the North India it is mainly the river fish is eaten. For some reason, fish is not eaten commonly, despite some big rivers flowing through the land. Fish has become more popular due to the migration of people from the coastal areas to the North.

When we were growing as children the only time fish was seen on the table would be that brought from a take away cafe. These days with air and good transport in places like Delhi one would see not only the fresh river fish but sea fish as well, otherwise how will our Bengali brethren survive in Delhi!

This particular dish I have acquired from a Indian family in the UK, and I can't give the real origins of it, however, it does taste good and is relatively easy to make. I use any filleted white fish but I suspect other fishes would be equally easy to make.


  • 0.5 kg Fish cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium sized chopped Onions 
  • 1/2 tsf Fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1/2 tsf Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsf Turmeric (haldi)
  • 1 tsf Salt to taste
  • 4-5 tbsf Yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp Oil (preferably mustard but any veggie oil will do)
  1. Heat the oil and add the fenugreek seeds, ensuring they don't get burnt
  2. Add the chopped onion and lightly brown them.
  3. Add yogurt spoonful at a time and keep mixing to the sauce.
  4. Add the spices and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add water to make a curry.
  6. Bring to a boil and add the fish.
  7. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or till the fish is done.
  8. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves. 

The perfect accompaniment would be plain boiled rice

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Creamy Mushroom Curry

People who like mushrooms will love this and people who don’t like need to start with this dish to change their mind. Cream and mushroom have been combined for ages. When I was growing up mushrooms were not really seen in the vegetable markets in India. We only tasted the tinned variety, Cream of mushroom soup, which became popular because of the British Raj. The middle classes who rubbed shoulders with the Brits in the colonial clubs started buying it. Now of course mushrooms are easily available in the cities and people have started experimenting. Unfortunately, we only get a few small variety. This dish is I guess a safe experiment which has come right!

It is quick and easy, I generally make this dish whenever there are a few mushrooms left over after my wife had used for sauces or vegetables with the roast. That is not to belittle this dish, but one only needs a few to make a side dish for 3-4 people.


  • 8-10 medium sized mushrooms
  • 1 tsf Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsf Ginger paste
  • 1 tsf Garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsf Turmeric (haldi)
  • 1/4 tsf Chilli powder
  • 1/3 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium sized chopped Onion
  • 1 tsf Salt
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh Coriander
  • 50 mls of Cream
  • 2-3 tbsf Oil 
  1. Chop the mushrooms and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy pan.
  3. Add mustard seeds when the oil is hot.
  4. Add chopped onions and lightly brown it.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add turmeric, chilli powder and tomatoes and brown the mix.
  7. Add mushrooms, mix well and cook for 10 minutes. 
  8. Add salt and fresh chopped coriander leaves and mix well. 
  9. Add cream and cook for 5 minutes till the mushrooms are done.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Arbi with Ajwain - Taro Root with Carom seeds

Arbi is not a widely known vegetable in the UK, but fortunately one has started to see it in the Indian shops. Indian are not the only ones who cook arbi, I believe it is also on the Japanese cuisines. Arbi is a root vegetable very much like potatoes only slimy when boiled, but with a lower Glycaemic index (in simple terms better for diabetic). It is also an excellent source of Potassium and other vitamins. Unfortunately, like all good things in life it has downside. It has been implicated with kidney stones and gout.

Ajwain is called Carom or in the UK, Bishop's weeds. Like arbi, Ajwain is full of goodness, in fact, in the Indian subcontinent, most homes keep it for its use in gastric colic and as an antibacterial agent.

I am not recommending this recipe for its medicinal qualities, but for its unique moorish  taste. I know very few individuals who haven't liked this particular recipe and would like to share it with you.


  • 400 gms Arbi 
  • 1/2 tsf Ajwain seeds
  • 1 whole Red Chilli
  • 1/4 tsf crushed Chilli Powder
  • 3/4 tsf Salt to taste
  • Pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
  • 1 tsf Amchur (Mango powder)
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh Coriander
  • 2-3 tbsf Oil 
  1. Boil the arbi (needs to over boil).
  2. Peel and slightly flatten the roots.
  3. In a frying pan heat some oil.
  4. When oil is hot add ajwain, whole red chillies and Asafoedida and brown, till the chillies are crisp and dark brown. 
  5. Add the flattened arbi and lightly brown it.
  6. Add salt, amchur and fresh coriander leaves and mix well then cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Need to stir the arbi a few times. At the end the arbi would be crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Cabbage Kofta Pakora

Cabbage in India doesn’t get the same status as some other vegetables, it is like “it also ran”. This recipe hopefully will raise its status, similar to what happened to brinjals in the 1990’s. This is a snack but later on I will also give a curry version of this delightful dish. When I served this as a starter for the first time, it was to very knowledgeable Indian friends. Not only did it go down very well, but my friends were pleasantly surprised that they were eating cabbage. They all wanted the recipe, therefore this posting should get some extra viewing.

Unlike other pakoras I have mixed the gram flour rather then dip the cabbage in the batter. This makes it easy for novices like me to work with! Good one for beginners who may find the chore of getting the batter mix right. 

  • 1 Small Cabbage
  • 1 cup (half volume of cabbage) Gram Flour
  • 3-4 Finely chopped Green Chillies
  • 1 Bunch chopped fresh Coriander
  • 1/2 tsf Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsf Salt to taste
  • 1 tsf Garam Masala
  • 1 tsf Roasted Cumin
  • 2 tsf Amchur (Mango powder)
  • Oil for frying  
  1. Grate the cabbage.
  2. Add gram flour, finely chopped green chillies, chilli powder, amchur, roasted cumin and chopped fresh coriander. Mix well to make into a dough mix, yes you do not add any water. 
  3. Add salt but just before frying otherwise will become watery once left with salt and very difficult to work with.
  4. Heat enough oil in a wok for deep frying.
  5. While oil is heating take a small amount of above mix and shape it into a sausage shaped kebab.
  6. When the oil is hot put and fry 4-5 six pakoras at a time to a golden brown colour. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms stuffed with Peppers

Now this is an inspired dish, which got polished up before the wonderful fried fish starters at the last party, this must be the first in our circle. Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this dish which goes to my nephew, who is amongst the new generation in India, who have taken some control of the kitchen. In our time men were just not allowed to enter the kitchen. Most of us who came to the UK in the 1970's were given a crash course to make a pot of tea before leaving the Indian shores, only to find that in the UK one made tea in a mug by tangling a PG Tips teabag in hot water! Tea pots found a well deserved place on the show cabinets in the drawing rooms.

In India one is seeing an emergence of young, usually middle class, IT literate men, working with or for the ferengi (term used for foreigners in India) multinationals. Their association with the Westerners has made them understand that it is cool to dwell in the art of cooking, in fact they are quite proud to say so - my father must be wondering where did he go wrong to produce such children who can't even get a servant, failing which a wife who could do all such creative stuff. In my father's books men had the harder part of tasting then enjoying the food. Well my nephew who originates from my sister's stable (a good stable to originate from, I must add), is one such young middle class, IT literate man, working with ferengi crowd.

I may be cruel with the description, as I really think this is one of the better takes in India. My nephew  works hard and occasional culinary skill must be therapeutic after a long hard day at the office. He informs me this version of mushrooms is his creation, here he is one step ahead of me as I haven't created anything yet and at best I am reviving old recipes.  

  • 250 gms of Mushrooms
  • 2 Red/Yellow Peppers
  • 10 cloves of Garlic
  • 75 gms Philadelphia cheese
  • Fresh Pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsf live oil   
  1. Remove the stalk of all you mushrooms.
  2. Finely chop the peppers, cloves and the stalks of the mushrooms.
  3. Lightly brown the garlic in a frying pan. Add freshly ground pepper and salt.
  4. Add the chopped pepper and mushroom stalk mix and lightly sauté it. 
  5. In a bowl add the above mix to the Philadelphia cheese. 
  6. Stuff the mix in the hollow's of mushroom and lay them in a single row in a oven tray.
  7. Place the stuffed mushrooms in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees, and cook for approx. 20 minutes. 
Serve as a starter or a snack.

Who is inspiring who!

This blog is in its second month and doing well. When I reflect why in the first place I wanted to develop a blog or as was my initial feeling, to write a recipe book (I am so glad that my children persuaded me to develop a blog instead), I think it was for several reasons. One of the reasons was to inspire, even the novices to try out their favourite dish. We are at an age when our children have left the nest, but still crave for that home cooked meal, which they can't get it in restaurants.

My daughter, like so many other things I have done in my life, is my inspiration for this blog . Once she left home to set up home in the big city of London, she started to entertain cooking for several friend. I suspect she always bragged about her dad's prowess in Indian cooking. Initially she would ring me asking for recipes or stay on the phone as she would prepare a meal, I on the other end giving step by step instructions. She even used some of my recipes to give to her bosses at work, I am sure there was no anticipation of a promotion! I am glad to say she has developed her own niche and is preparing cakes and afters. I hope to put some of her recipes later in this blog.

In the very first month my son rang me asking for the Lamb Kofta recipe. Instead of just telling him such a complicated recipe I put the recipe on the blog. I did warn him that it is not the easiest item to start cooking Indian food. Against my advice he went on and made it and his words were, "it tastes just like Koftas you make"! I don't believe there could be any better testimonial.

Last night I noticed that the blog was getting hits from Hong Kong! This turned out to be from another young man who is some 6000 miles away from his mum in the South Wales. He fancied some easy to do home food, so in these days of cheap telephone calls he rang his father, who told him about this blog. He I am reliably informed, went on to make the Prawn Curry! A first for him and wonderful it turned out to be.

Then I was sent a recipe of Mushroom starters by my nephew, which were a hit ahead of the fried fish at a dinner party at my place!

I guess these stories gives me immense pleasure and hopefully give the right incentive to continue to write. Unfortunately, this blog doesn't let viewers interact unless they have a gmail email account. I would request that viewers contact me at my email address which is

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Prawn Curry in Almond Sauce

Prawn Curry in Almond Sauce

If you want to impress someone and don’t really want to slave over the cooker for hours then this is the dish to make. I was introduced to this by my Badminton friend. I  believe he often has afternoon when he is not working and on one such I got a call from him. I had not seen him for some time so we were having our catch up chat when he casually asked me if I was free, which as it happened I was, so he asked me to come over for some lunch and added that he will cook something. I suggested that all this may take a long time and suggested having some sandwiches. But he promised me that by the time I reach his place the curry would be ready, and so it was!

I am having some guests and I needed certain dishes which I could make easily and quickly, so what better dish than Prawns, I will let you know how it went down with my friends.


  • 500 gms raw peeled Prawns.
  • 3 tbsf of oil
  • 2-3 medium sized Tomatoes
  • 100 gms of Almond crushed
  • 1 medium sized Onion
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1-2 green Chillies
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • ½ tsf Chilli powder
  • ¼ tsf Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsf Coriander powder
  • ½ tsf Salt
  • 1 tsf Garam masala
  • 25o mls of Milk


  1. In a heavy frying pan with a cover heat the oil.
  2. Add chopped onion and fry till they are very slightly golden colour (not brown).
  3. Add the green chilli cut length wise, grated ginger and finely chopped garlic and lightly fry these.
  4. Now add the powdered almonds and mix well
  5. Add the spices i.e., Turmeric, Coriander, Chilli powders, salt and Garam Masala and stir for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Now add the milk let it just come up to the boil. 
  7. Add chopped tomatoes and mix well, bring it to a boil.
  8. Lastly, add the prawns and cover the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve.
Warning: Please remember that this dish contains nuts, therefore it is not suitable for people with nut allergy. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

The word curry comes from the Tamil word kari (கறி) which means sauce. This word was adopted by the British in the 17th century when the East India Company which was trading with the Tamils at Fort St. George, which became Madras and in 1996 was renamed Chennai. I suspect that the Madras Curry so popular in the 1970’s originates from this link. Curry is basically a stew. It can be made with lamb, beef chicken or pork, but in India where there are more vegetarians than non vegetarians, one can also use vegetables for making a curry.

Chicken curry has so many recipes, so don't worry if the recipe you have is different from the one I have chosen. What is important is that the meat needs to simmer in a closed vessel with liquid and spices so that the spices are ingrained in every fibre of your meat, a process I am ashamed doesn't happen in most so called Indian Restaurants. I suspect when one looks at the emergence of Indian Restaurants in the UK, it was surprising that the first ones were opened not by Indians but Bangladeshis, most not in the cookery trade. They deservedly get the credit for the popularity of Indian curries, but unfortunately at the cost of introducing poor Indian curries. On the back of popularity of the Indian food, even some of the very well known British chefs in the 1970-80’s developed curry pastes and powders which can be added to the meat and get a "sort of a curry". I am glad to say that these days we are seeing some genuine Indian and Pakistani Restaurant which have raised the standard and methods of Indian cooking in the new Restaurants. 

Chicken Curry

  • 1/2 Kg Chicken portions      
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 6 Cloves
  • 4 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1small chopped Onion
  • 1/3 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • 3tbsf Yogurt
  • 1 tsf Garlic paste
  • 1 tsf Ginger paste
  • 2 tsf Coriander powder
  • 1 tsf Cumin powder
  • 1 tsf Garam Masala
  • 1 tsf Salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsf Chillies powder
  • 3 tbsf Oil
  • Fresh Coriander chopped

  1. In a heavy pan heat the oil on medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamons and bay leaf, stir it till the cardamons swell up, usually takes 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add chopped onions and brown by stirring them in the hot oil.
  4. Add tomatoes and mix well and brown the mix till oil separates (when the masala is browned enough you will see that the oil is separate from the sauce).
  5. Add the rest of the spices and mix well.
  6. Add the chicken portions and mix well with the masala. Slightly brown the chicken evenly on all sides.
  7. While the chicken is being browned add the yogurt a spoonful at a time and giving a stir ensuring that the yogurt doesn't curdles. Wait till the oil separates again.
  8. Add 150 mls of water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the pan and cook for approximately 40 minutes or till the chicken is nice and tender. I personally use a pressure cooker so need only about 20 minutes.
  9. Garnish with some fresh coriander leaves before serving.