Category Archives: Desi

Winter Warmers 4: Srilankan style “Puttu & Kuzhambu”

In this 4th post for the Winter Warmers Series, I wanted to share with you two recipes close to my heart. It’s actually the food that I crave when I return home after a long holiday or time away from home. You can’t beat the comfort that comes with this meal and the flavour and texture combination of these together are just divine!

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So the first is for ‘Puttu’ or ‘Pittu’. This is a healthy but really delicious main dish made with steamed rice flour and is found very commonly in Sri Lanka and Kerala. It’s usually the centre of the meal around which sits various other accompanying dishes and the Puttu soaks up all the flavours from each and is filling too!

The second recipe is for ‘Kuzhambu’ or ‘Kulambu’. This is accompanying dish to the Puttu and is made with a tamarind gravy into which sits sauteed vegetables. My favourite type of Kuzhambu to go with Puttu is ‘Kathrikkai’ (Aubergine) Kuzhambu as the aubergine just melts in the mouth and this vegetable absorbs the tamarind and spices so well to give this amazing aroma….yummm!

So I hope you enjoy these recipes and do let me know if you try them out yourselves or eat them at a Sri Lankan restaurant near you ūüôā

Suji x

Puttu

(serves about 2 – 4 people)

What you need:

  • 2 cups steamed red rice flour
  • 1 cup shredded/grated coconut (0r dessicated coconut soaked in 1/2 cup water)
  • Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
  • Hot water – keep about 4 cups aside but you may need more or less depending on the consistency

How to make it:

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and make into a loose dough (but you don’t have to knead it like bread). Then, flour your hands and then roll the dough between your fingers so the dough looks like large¬†breadcrumbs.

I quite like this You Tube video showing a Puttu technique using your hands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8JZC1vQikA

OR

1. Put the ingredients into a food processor and pulse, adding the water a little at a time to get the same consistency.

If either method makes the dough too wet then you can just mix in a little rice flour.

2. Mix in the coconut and then place in a steamer. I usually cover the bottom of my steamer with a thin & damp cloth/muslin. The cloth must be big enough to then wrap¬†up the Puttu mixture. You don’t need to tie the ends of the cloth, just place it over the mixture.

3. Steam until the Puttu is cooked fully, approximately 10 Р15 minutes (the aroma will be so nice and you will start to smell the fragrance of the coconut too!), and serve with a delicious curry like Kathrikkai Kuzhambu (see recipe below) or Soya Chunks & Beans curry.

If you have roasted moong dal flour, then you can add about a tablespoon of this with the red rice flour to give an even more aromatic Puttu ¬†ūüôā

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Kathrikkai Kuzhambu (Aubergine in a Tamarind Gravy)

Aubergine is called “Kathrikkai” in Tamil and is a great vegetable to use in this kind of tamarind gravy or “Kuzhambu” as we call it. It¬†is a comforting¬†dish served with hot steamed Pittu or Rice. Chickpeas are not traditionally added but I think they compliment the Aubergine and provides a good portion of protein. The Aubergine is also traditionally deep fried, which obviously tastes yummy, but not healthy. So roasting the aubergine is a great way of still keeping the flavour and texture without a great amount of oil. The only thing with roasting is that you need a little more time, but it will be worth it in the end, I promise you!

This dish tastes great the day after cooking it, as it gives the aubergine time to soak in all the flavours. This is one¬†time¬†when I think Srilankan curry powder is a must and I, personally, think it really doesn’t taste the same with other masala’s.

What you need:

For roasting:

  • 3 medium aubergines¬†(about 500-600g)¬†

  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder

  • 1-2 teaspoons salt¬†

  • Oil – enough to coat all the aubergine

For the curry:

  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil¬†

  • 1 large¬†onion , diced¬†

  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced or chopped

  • 2 sprigs curry leaves¬†

  • 2-3 green¬†chilies, slit lengthways¬†

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds

  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (alternatively, the juice of a lemon sized tamarind soaked in water)¬†

  • 2 teaspoon¬†Srilankan curry powder

  • 2 teaspoon chilli powder¬†(or more if you like it quite spicy)

  • 200ml thick coconut milk¬†

  • 250 ml water¬†

  • Salt to taste (approx 1 – 2 teaspoons)

How to make it:

1. Cut the Aubergine into strips of about 1 inch in width and about 3 inches in length. Be careful not to cut the¬†aubergine smaller than this as they may burn. At this point you can place the aubergine in a microwaveable dish and heat in the microwave for about 3 minutes. This is so they won’t absorb too much oil in the oven.

2. ¬†Add the salt and enough oil so all the aubergine is coated well. Place in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes, turning them over half way through and adding a little more oil if they look too dry. You may need to adjust the timing of this according to your oven and you need to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn too much.

3. In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoon of oil. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters add the green chillies, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Add the sliced garlic¬†and saut√© for about a¬†minute. Then add the diced onions and¬†cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and cooked through. They may turn brown¬†at the sides but that’s ok – it adds to the taste!

4. Add the salt, curry powder, red chilli powder and mix well. Then add the tamarind paste and simmer for about 5 minutes. Now add the coconut milk and¬†water. Cover and cook until it thickens. Add the pinch of asafoetida and the roasted aubergine, chickpeas¬†and combine gently. At this stage, if you are not vegan, then a splash of double cream makes a really yummy, rich taste. ūüôā

5.  Cook for another 5 minutes and serve with hot Pittu or rice.

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Filed under brunch, Desi, Dinner, Food, indian, Kerala, Lunch, mykitchenadventures, recipe, south India, south indian, Sri Lanka, Srilankan, sujiskitchen, TamBrahm, tamil, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Brussels the South Indian way :-)

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The Yuletide festivities are upon us and there are so many delicious seasonal Winter produce in the markets and Supermarkets out there. A typical seasonal veg here that our family loves is Brussels Sprouts. But I wanted to share with you a way to use them instead of the usual steaming or roasting, which is definitely a great way to get the full flavour of Brussel Sprouts, but you can also bring them alive with some gentle spices ūüôā

This is my favourite way of using Brussel Sprouts and using South Indian spices to make a light stir fry, or Poriyal as called in Tamil Nadu. It’s visually pleasing when you pair the Brussels with bright yellow Sweetcorn and garnished with coconut. I love the way this curry is not too fiery¬†as it uses gentle spices and so if you don’t like hot curries all the time, then this is perfect for you! You can leave out the dried red chillies completely if you are serving it to children.

A non-stick or ceramic pan is best for making this ‘Poriyal’ so the Brussels don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

If you are in a rush you can steam the chopped Brussel Sprouts in the microwave with a tablespoon of water. This will reduce the time needed for them to cook in the pan.

What you need:

  • Brussels Sprouts – 4 cups, finely chopped
  • Sweetcorn – 1 cup (defrosted if frozen)
  • Coconut – 1/2 cup – freshly grated or the unsweetened desiccated coconut¬†is fine
  • Ginger – 3 inch piece – finely grated
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Oil (flavourless) – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1 tsp or to taste

To Temper:

  • Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds -1 tsp
  • Split Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Whole dried chillies – x2
  • Asafoetida – a pinch

How to make it:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the black mustard seeds. As soon as they start popping add the other ingredients under the ‘To Temper’ list above.
  2. Add the chopped Brussels Sprouts, sweetcorn and stir fry for 5 – 10 minutes until the Brussels are cooked (you will need less time if the Brussels Sprouts have already been steamed in advance)
  3. Finally add the salt, coconut and lemon juice and mix well. Check seasoning and serve ūüôā

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Baked (Punjabi Style) Samosa’s

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On damp and dreary days, you can’t beat the comfort of some delicious Samosa’s and Chai! Here’s my way of getting that yummy taste of spiced potatoes and peas encrusted in a delicious buttery, crumbly pastry – without deep frying.

These Punjabi-style samosa’s are made with a hot crust pastry recipe which is so lovely and crumbly and is perfect to eat at home fresh from the oven or as a takeaway snack on a day out! You can reduce the spices to make it more child friendly and as they are baked they will be healthier than the usual deep fried samosa’s. I have no issues with treating yourself once in a while with deep fried stuff, but at least this recipe gives one the option of perhaps indulging in this delicious snack more often without worrying about cholesterol ūüôā

I hope you give these a try and do let me know if you try any different fillings. These would be great with alternative fillings like paneer, chickpeas or cauliflower. Enjoy!

S x

Baked Samosa’s

(Makes about 20)

What you need:

For the hot crust pastry:

  • Plain flour – 225g
  • Strong white bread flour – 50g
  • Butter – cold and chopped into small cubes – 40g
  • Ajwain/Carom seeds – 1.5 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Hot water – 120ml
  • Vegetarian Lard (I used the Cookeen brand but you can use any others e.g.¬†Trex) – 50g

For the filling:

  • Butter-¬†3 tsp
  • Cumin seeds / jeera-¬†1 tsp
  • Potatoes – approx 700g
  • Green peas – ¬†100g
  • Red chili powder-¬Ĺ tsp
  • Ginger, 2¬†inch, chopped or grated finely
  • Dried mango powder / amchur -¬Ĺ tsp
  • Garam masala-¬†¬Ĺ tsp
  • Roasted and crushed coriander seeds –¬†1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste

How to make it:

1.Peel the potatoes, cut them into small cubes and cook in a saucepan of¬†boiling water. Take care not to overcook them as otherwise they will be too mushy when filling the Samosa’s. They need to be a little firm or ‘al dente’ in texture’ after cooking.

2. In a large frying pan heat some oil then add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start to splutter add chopped ginger and saute for few seconds.

3. Lightly mash the potatoes with your hand and add to the pan and then add all the other spices. Mix well so the spices and potatoes are combined.

4. Add the peas and cook the filling mixture for a further 2 Р3 minutes and then keep the mixture aside.

5.Make the pastry by combining both flours and salt into a large bowl. Then add the cubed butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour so the whole mixture eventually looks like breadcrumbs.

6. In a small saucepan add the water, salt and the lard and gently heat until the lard is dissolved. Then pour all the liquid into the flour&butter mixture and use a wooden spoon to combine the wet and dry ingredients into a dough.

7. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently using your hands for about 3 minutes. It does not have to be well kneaded like if you were making bread, it’s just so that it’s all well combined.

8. Roll out a portion of the dough in oval shape. Now cut it horizontally using a knife, diving into 2 equal portions. Lightly dampen the edges of the rolled out dough with water and make cone.

9. Stuff a tbsp of prepared potato & peas filling into the cone. Pull back and fold the cone and seal tightly by pressing the edges firmly together (you can crimp it if you like)

10. Once you have repeated this to finish all the dough and filling, place in the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes or until the samosa’s are browned. ¬†Keep an eye on them as not all ovens are the same and you may have to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Serve these with a refreshing coriander chutney, or a tangy tamarind chutney – or both. And don’t forget your coffee of chai with this! YUMMMM!

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GBBO week 8 – Tudor inspired food

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Week 7 of The Great British Bake Off The Great British Bake Off has been an educational one for me as I was fascinated by the historical facts about how the Tudors ate and how different foods indicated status. I like marzipan, but I think the way that the Tudor’s made Marchpane was ‘OTT’ and it seemed like they really went all out to show off their wealth in those days. ¬†I wasn’t too inspired by the GBBO contestants bakes either to be honest and apart from Jane’s lovely cake and Candice’s awesome Peacock, the others seem to really struggle.

The savoury pies was the part that really interested me, being more of a savoury person myself. But although I wasn’t too sure about Benjamina’s mexican pie, I was really shocked she had to leave. I honestly thought she would make it to the final and she had lots more to give. ¬†But that’s Bake Off for you, and from previous statistics it looks like Jane has the odds to win at the moment.

So…. I went off to research some flavours I could use for a savoury pie and I thought of using seasonal ingredients and I thought of what would be lovely to eat on a cosy Autumnal evening. Pumpkin of course!¬†Paired with some flavour packed spices without too much heat, pumpkin seemed like the perfect choice for a wholesome pie. I decided to choose Garam Masala to spice up this pie as it offers heaps of flavour without an overpowering heat which would take over the other ingredients. ¬†As some of the contestants in GBBO used a hot crust pastry recipe with animal lard, I have tried a ¬†vegetarian version and it’s way easier than I had imagined it would be!

I know it seems like a lot of steps, but I would not lie and I assure it is simpler than it looks. But as always, I would love any constructive feedback so please do comment below. Thank you!

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Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Makes an 8 inch Pie

What you need

For the hot crust pastry:

  • Plain flour – 225g
  • Strong white bread flour – 50g
  • Butter – cold and chopped into small cubes – 40g
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Hot water – 120ml
  • Vegetarian Lard (I used the Cookeen brand but you can use any others e.g.¬†Trex) – 50g
  • An 8 inch round Springform Baking Tin

For the filling:

  • Pumpkin –¬†approx 200g¬†chopped into cubes
  • Chickpeas – 1 tin (400g)
  • White Onion – x1 large onion, chopped finely
  • Garlic – x1 clove, grated/chopped finely
  • Halloumi (leave out if you want to keep it vegan) – 100g,¬†finely diced
  • Spinach – a handful, chopped roughly
  • Salt, to taste (i put in about 1/2 tsp)
  • Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric, 1/3 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • OPTIONAL – if you like things spicier¬†then you can add 1 tsp of red chilli powder with the Garam Masala (Step 1)

How to make it:

1.Heat oven to 200 deg C and lightly grease an 8 inch springform round tin.¬†Heat the oil in a pan and then add the cumin seeds and then the onions. When the onions have softened (don’t wait til the brown), add the garlic, pumpkin, chickpeas, garam masala and salt. Put a lid on the pan and keep on a low flame until the pumpkin is cooked, stirring occasionally. You can add a little water if the pumpkin starts sticking to the bottom of the pan and this did happen to me.

2. Mash the Pumpkin Chickpea mixture a little with the back of a wooden spoon, then add the cubed halloumi,spinach and mix well. The mashing just helps create a nice texture and helps bind things together in the pie. Check for seasoning and then turn off the heat and let the filling mixture cool while you make the pastry.

3.Make the pastry by combining both flours and salt into a large bowl. Then add the cubed butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour so the whole mixture eventually looks like breadcrumbs.

4.In a small saucepan add the water, salt and the lard and gently heat until the lard is dissolved. Then pour all the liquid into the flour&butter mixture and use a wooden spoon to combine the wet and dry ingredients into a dough.

5.Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently using your hands for about 3 minutes. It does not have to be well kneaded like if you were making bread, it’s just so that it’s all well combined.

6. Roll out the dough so it’s about 2cm in depth and then place gently into your greased tin. Trim the edges and then roll the remaining dough into a circle for the pie lid and keep aside.

7. Add the Pumpkin filling to the pastry case, and press the mixture in lightly so you fill the pastry case. Take care not to press down too much otherwise you may split the pastry case.

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8 Place the pastry lid and press the edges of the lid and case together and you can crimp it if you prefer. Use any remaining pastry dough to cut/make a design to decorate the top of the pie and make some slits on the lid to help the steam escape.

9. Brush over some milk on the top of the pie and then place in the oven for 1 hour or until the pastry is a medium brown colour.

10. Leave to cool for about 10 mins before taking it out of the tin and serving. It maybe really hot inside the pie, so I know you will be excited to eat it but take care not to burn your mouth!

This keeps well in the fridge so you can make it in advance and then just re-heat in the Oven when you want to eat the next day ūüôā

You can also use firm Paneer or Tofu instead of the Halloumi

 

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GBBO is back! It’s CAKE WEEK!

Many of you UK peeps who love baking or love watching baking programmes, must be excited that The Great British Bake Off is back! ¬†Yipppeeee!! I am definitely one of those people who have set the whole series on record and has told the whole household that Wednesdays from 8.00 – 9.00pm are booked out for GBBO excitement! ūüôā

All the contestants this year look very interesting but I am liking Rav Bansal already how likes Vegan Baking. Yeyyy!

Well the first week’s theme is just simply cakes and this year I thought I would try and bake along and also contribute to the themes with my own versions. ¬†So to start here is my recipe for¬†eggless Lemon Drizzle cakes/muffins. I love this recipe, especially during these summer months as they are light and refreshing and easy to take on days out and picnics. ¬†

Love Suji x

#CookEatInspire #sujiskitchen

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Sometimes it’s just easier making smaller portions to ensure everyone has a piece or if you are short on time (the latter is usually what happens with me!). So muffins are an easy way to make your favourite cake in a cute package and this lemon drizzle flavour is a really simple one!

These can be Vegan if you are using Soya Milk, but you need to keep these in an air tight container to keep them soft and moist.

Makes 10 – 12 standard size muffins

What you need:

  • Plain Flour – 280g ¬†/ 2.5 cups (you can use Self raising flour but leave out the baking powder)
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Bicarb of soda – 1/2 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Caster sugar – 110g /1 cup
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
  • Soya milk (or any other milk you prefer) – 150ml / 3/4 cup
  • Water – 90ml / 1/2 cup water
  • Vegetable oil – 90ml / 1/2 cup

For the drizzle:

  • Icing sugar – 60g / 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice – 3 teaspoons
  • Grated lemon zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Optional: poppy seeds/chocolate chips

How to make it:

  1. Line your muffin tin with cases or oil & pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the poppy seeds or chocolate chips if using
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together all the wet ingredients adding the lemon juice & zest at the end.
  4. Pour all of the wet ingredients in with the dry and combine well with wooden spoon. The batter should have a loose dropping consistency and you can add more milk if needed and don’t worry about any lumps in the batter.
  5. Fill the muffin cups 3/4’s full and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown and spring back when pressed gently. Stir glaze ingredients together and drizzle over the hot muffins.

I’m drooling as I type out this recipe…..no joke!

lemon muffin

Next week’s theme is Biscuits, so happy baking until then!

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Summertime eats

Here’s a what I have been up to lately with my #CookEatInspire post. Thanks for reading all!

Suji x


COOK

During the summertime I tend to cook food that involves less time by the hob and more easy, light and refreshing dishes that suit the milder weather.  Although vegetable pulao is mostly cooked on the hob, I have used a good selection of veg here that can be pre-cooked in the microwave/steamer before adding to the pan, to make cooking time even quicker.  You can also use a Pressure Cooker, and I have mentioned the cooking times for that method below.

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The first veg pulao was named ‘Rainbow Rice’ by niece and I have decided to name it this in honour of her and let’s face it, it sounds much more fun! The ‘Rainbow Rice’ recipe was one made for my niece and nephew so has little spice, but the other ‘Bulgar Pulao’ was made for adults and you will find a more typical Pulao recipe but replacing the traditional rice with Bulgar. ¬†The cracked Bulgar wheat I find gives the dish different nutrients and more diabetic-friendly and I have tried this with other millets and quinoa too, which all give different textures.

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Rainbow Rice (veg pulao for children)

Serves 2

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I used a¬†of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn) – you need to use veg with different bright colours¬†ūüôā
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely (I sometimes use¬†spring onions instead, for a milder flavour)
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter – ¬†1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Soak the Basmati rice for at least an hour to ensure you get the correct texture. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped¬†onions and sautee until¬†transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then drain the rice and add to the pan and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about¬†12 ‚Äď 14 mins until the rice and veg are cooked through.¬†If using a pressure cooker you can cook for 2 whistles instead.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using).  You could garnish with purple cabbage (cooked and chopped) for a further flurry of colour!

Enjoy seeing the faces on the children when you announce this as “Rainbow Rice”! ūüôā ¬†Ok, so maybe the older children¬†won’t be that excited… haa haa! ¬†It will perfect to take away¬†for picnics or other day outs and you won’t have to worry that your little ones haven’t had a good meal.

Try adding some cococnut milk when cooking the rice to give extra flavour and richness to the Pulao ūüôā

rainbow rice

Bulgar Wheat Pulao

I don’t use the pressure cooker for bulgar wheat as it can easily be overcooked so I find it easier to keep an eye on it

Serves 2

  • Bulgar wheat¬†– 1 cup (I used the coarsely cracked bulgar wheat¬†)
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I usecoarse cracked bulgar wheatd a mixture of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)- I also add roasted tofu/seitan¬†instead of chickpeas
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter – ¬†1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped¬†onions and sautee until¬†transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then add the Bulgar wheat and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about¬†12 ‚Äď 14 mins until the Bulgar and veg are cooked through.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using) and you can also garnish with chopped coriander leaves and spring onions.

Bulgar Pulao


EAT

Want to try authentic Sri Lankan home cooked food? Then you NEED to follow Virundhu Supperclub! I was fortunate to finally make it to their third supperclub and I sure am glad I didn’t miss it this time! It was held in the very trendy,¬†easily commutable, Docklands area and the venue had a gorgeous view of the Thames.

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The Supperclub is curated by the effervescent Ashanti Omkar who has done such an amazing job at coordinating the event and is a well known in the London Foodie circles¬†! The very talented Suhanya is the Chef who hails from such an interesting family of Keralan and Srilankan heritage and her passion for food definitely showed in the dishes she cooked for us! Her husband also helps behind the scenes and Suhanya’s¬†sister, Veena, was the Host and Mixologist for the evening and is also a passionate foodie herself.

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There were about 10 guests in total and all were fabulous company, including the wonderful Chef Kanthi and his business partner from The Curry Leaf Cafe in Brighton (one of the next stops on my Food Bucket List!).  It was a hot day and the Cocktails (and the mocktail version) served by Veena were such a welcome refreshment! The passionfruit really stood out and frankly, I could have drunk a bucketful. Sluuuuurp!

To start off the Supperclub we were served some very moorish ‘Gundu Dosa’s’ which are just like the South Indian ‘Kuzhi Paniyaaram’. It was impressive to eat these with homemade tomato ketchup and¬†Sambal (a typical Srilankan coconut chutney). ¬†There were also some yummy cutlets which reminded me of one of my Aunties from Sri Lanka who often bought these to picnics when we were younger. You will definitely find cutlets of some sort in a Sri Lankan Picnic Basket!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!

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I am not sure where to start with the main meal, as it was a typical Sri Lankan feast with so many curries to accompany the rice, as opposed to the rice being the star of the show. ¬†Sri Lanka has amazing produce and Chef Suhanya had gone to great lengths to ensure the Virundhu Supperclub menu had fresh, good quality ingredients in all the dishes. Being a vegetarian, I cannot comment on the meat dishes that were served but the other guests definitely ‘ooed’ and ‘aaahed’ at all the non veg items and especially the fresh fish that Suhanya had sourced. ¬†The highlights of our vegetarian feast were the Batu Moju (fried Aubergine) , the¬†Mallung (Sri Lankan Kale, which is also known a ‘Ponnaangkaani Keerai’ ¬†in Tamil) and not forgetting the Del (Breadfruit) curry which in Tamil is ‘Eerapilaakkai’ and which I haven’t tasted in years! It’s not easy to¬†buy really fresh Breadfruit in the Sri Lankan shops near me, so it was such a treat to taste this vegetable and Suhanya has prepared in such a delicate way so as not to overcook it and lose the amazing texture it has. ¬†You can tell when the food is so delicious, when all of the guests become silent all of a sudden and you can just sense the pleasure that this food gives ūüôā

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I’m drooling as type this and revisit the photos, as I just want to have this meal all over again! There were SO many items on the menu and my photos and descriptions do not do them justice. Some tastes you just have to find out for yourself.¬†You can tell the food is¬†made from the heart and for me it was such a warm experience and I felt transported to one of our family homes in Sri Lanka. ¬†The beautiful music collection chosen by Ashanti added to the lovely ambiance and my husband and I couldn’t help singing along to some of the classic Illayaraja tracks during the evening ūüôā¬† If you do get a chance to taste the food at Virundhu Supperclub , then I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. It will be a ‘Virundhu’ (feast)¬†for ALL your senses!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!


INSPIRE

I am very excited to write about a very very talented person who is a continual inspiration to me both as a great food photographer and as a beautiful human being. She is the lovely Nessy Samuel.

 

 

For over a year her photography has dazzled me and continues to do so. As a food photographer and stylist Nessy has a great eye for beauty and can capture a view that you or I could have also seen, but not really focused on and so missed it’s highlight. ¬†She definitely doesn’t miss the highlights and as a wonderful¬†cook herself, she uses her own dishes as well as simple ingredients or lovely props¬†in¬†her shots. ¬†Her website holds pictures of Still Life, Floral as well as Food.¬†Simplicity in it’s most elegant form, is what I like to think of her style but in order to really see Nessy’s awesome work¬†check out her stunning portfolio: ¬†www.¬†nessysamuelphotography.com/index.html

Nessy’s use of light, angles and composition of the photo’s are really awe-inspiring and it really brings out the best in what she is trying to capture. This photo below of Romanesco cauliflower is just stunning and you can get a great feel for the textures and colours with the background she’s chosen.

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Her talent does not stop here! She also has a great eye for¬†the sights she experiences on her travels and her passion for natural beauty is what I admire most. ¬†Nessy’s frames often look like¬†famous¬†paintings and I often feel like I am right there in the shot as well. ¬†Nessy’s travel photography can be viewed here:¬†https://www.instagram.com/wanderingoyster/ ¬†You will¬†see what I mean¬†and I hope she inspires you as much as she does me¬†ūüôā

 

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This is a snapshot of Nessy’s inspiring Travel Instagram profile: ¬†Wandering Oyster

 

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Filed under brunch, Desi, Dinner, Food, Lunch, supperclub, Travel, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

The Tilda¬ģ Basmati Supperclub by Mallika Basu

I was very honoured to have been invited to a Tilda¬ģ Basmati Supper Club earlier this year hosted by the¬†very talented chef¬†Mallika Basu. It was a wonderful evening at The Little Yellow Door venue in Notting Hill and it was great to meet some fabulous foodies to share the food made by the awesome Mallika Basu.

The wonderful decor at The Little Yellow Door

The wonderful decor at The Little Yellow Door

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I was very inspired by Mallika’s menu which included a¬†Chana Dal Khichri made with Brown Basmati. The brown rice gave it a lovely nutty flavour and I always enjoy the texture that Brown Basmati gives to a dish.

Delicious Khichri with Tilda Brown Basmati

Delicious Khichri with Tilda Brown Basmati

I enjoyed the Khichri with a fragrant and creamy paneer dish, a fabulous aubergine curry which used peanut butter (amazing!!) and a tangy, bright beetroot Raita. It was a feast for the eyes aswell as the tummy! ūüôā

The other vegetarian rice dishes which were all made using different varieties of Tilda¬ģ¬†Basmati Rice were South Indian Uthappams and Saffron Cardomum Kheer. Mallika was very clever in her use of¬†rice and lentils (Urad Dal) for a short soak instead of the long fermentation process that is usually adopted for traditional Uthappam recipes. ¬†The Kheer also made excellent use of Saffron and Cardomum to give this dish a traditional taste but in half the time if you use a pack of readymade¬†Tilda¬ģ Steamed Basmati Rice. ¬†Genius! The desserts were¬†a sweet end to the supper and hats off to Mallika for all her inspired dishes!

Sweet and decadent Phirni and Kheer...yummm!

Sweet and decadent Phirni and Kheer…yummm!

It was so nice to meet other foodie friends¬†Binny, Gayatri¬†,Chintal and Suchismita¬†and you can read a great account of the evening and how Mallika inspired all the guests with her recipes¬†at¬†Binny’s Kitchen and Mummy & Me.

The wonderful food made by Mallika really inspired me to try out some of the yummy bags of rice we were given to experiment with by¬†Tilda¬ģ Basmati and I wanted to try out a stir fry recipe using the new Tilda¬ģ Limited Edition
Firecracker Steamed Basmati Rice. I could’nt think of a better way than adding crunchy vegetables to a flavour packed pouch of this Firecracker rice and I hope you like it as much as I did!

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What you need:

  • 1 pack of Tilda¬ģ Limited Edition Firecracker Steamed Basmati Rice
  • 1tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 50g mushrooms, sliced
  • 50g Broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, the white section sliced finely and the green section sliced lengthways for garnish
  • Soy sauce, to season
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • OPTIONAL: dried red chilli flakes or ground Szechuan pepper

How you make it:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan or a wok and then add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 2 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms, broccoli and peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly so all the veg are cooked through.
  3. Add any optional spice (Chinese 5 spice, red chillies or Szechuan pepper) and then the pack of Tilda¬ģ Limited Edition Firecracker Steamed Basmati Rice and cook for four minutes.
  4. Drizzle with soy sauce and garnish with sliced spring onion.

Best enjoyed if you gobble it up immediately!

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Filed under Chinese, Desi, Dinner, Food, indian, Lunch, recipe, vegetarian