So I have been taking you through my journey from Eatwithmeshrimoyee to Calcutta Street. I have been doing Pop-ups at restaurants for the last few months but this time I decided to take up the challenge of doing a food stall at a festival. It is a great opportunity for marketing your brand and reaching out to a wide range of people but it definitely has a lot of challenges. A lot of people have been asking me about the challenges of having a food stall, the first one would be getting all the licences and certificates including – HACCP, Food and Hygiene licence and certification with the local council. Once you overcome these you can have a food stall but then comes the challenges on the day, in order to maintain quality you need to be extremely organised and be prepared with everything including washing up liquid because you have no guarantee of a proper kitchen with a sink. And finally it’s always tricky to estimate the amount of food you should buy, so my suggestion would be to have clear idea of how much you need to sell to make a profit and just buy that amount otherwise you might just land up with a ton of extra food – no one can guarantee foot fall in a festival.
My experience at Bollywood Fever at South bank was great over all as I got fabulous response from the people who came, I also added an element of photobooth which people love at festivals and also brilliant for my branding! The dishes I made were extremely simple – Doi Phuchka, Doi Aam and Churmur. All these dishes except doi aam come from the streets of Calcutta and I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone loved them as much as I do and the Indian’s said it reminded them of home.
Here is the Doi Phuchka recipe for you.
Ingredients (One plate)
Pani Puri (6) You can find them at any Indian store, try Bangla Town in Brick Lane.
Chaat Masala (You can find this at any Indian Store too)
Bhujiya (It’s similar to a bombay mix)
Fresh Coriander and Green chillies
Dry fry the cumin seeds, coriander powder and chilli flakes in a pan, don’t use any oil. After about 2-3 minutes you will start getting a beautiful aromatic smell from them and it will turn slightly red. Keep it aside.
Beat the yogurt to a fine consistency
Mash the potatoes add the dry fried spice mix to it, lemon juice, fresh coriander and chillies,kala channa and a tea spoon of tamarind paste. Then mash it all together.
Make holes in the pani puri’s and add the potato mix
Then arrange all 6 of them in a plate and add yogurt on top (1/2 spoon for each puri)
Then sprinkle the bhujiya and chaat masala on top
Finally add the tamarind sauce on top (1/2 tea spoon for each puri)
1. Saffron – This is an ingredient which I am a big fan of, because it can magically turn a plain boring plate of rice to look royal and majestic. Persian’s love to use saffron in abundance in most of their dishes. So if you intend to make a delicious Persian meal at home, better stock your shelf up with these beautiful strands. Saffron is also used very often in tea or chai in India and Middle east.
2. Rice – Persian meals are never complete without a plate full (or bowl) of thin grained, saffron infused steaming rice. But this is not the regular rice we boil at home, they make their rice with a lot of love and care. They first boil the rice, drain the excess water and then prepare a pan with oil, saffron and even yoghurt and then add the rice to it and let it steam in extremely low heat for about 40 minutes. Yes m’dear that is how much effort they put behind rice – Phew!
3. Herbs – Just like the Indians and Italians even the Persians love herbs, I mean it’s hard not to. They tend to use a lot of Coriander (My favourite), Parsley, Chive, Fenugreek, Mint and the most special one – Dill. The last one is very unique to this cuisine but you might just find it in one of those exquisite super markets, my bet is whole foods!
4. Advieh – It’s not some random ingredient, Persians use this rather exotic term to describe spices. I was impressed with myself when I realised I have most of the spices they use at home. Advieh is extremely similar to Garam Masala, so compositions vary but the basic spices are the same. The most common composition is – Corriander seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Ginger and Turmeric. The other one which is more similar to Garam Masala is – Cumin, Nutmeg and Cinnamon.
5. Dried Lime – Fresh lime has a very tangy and refreshing taste to it but dried lime can create magic too. It is used very often in Khoresh, which is a type of casserole dish with meat to balance the smell and taste of meat.
You must be wondering how did I suddenly become an expert in Persian cuisine? Ah I happened to speak to this wonderful lady Jila Dala -Haeri, who just wrote a new cook book called – From a Persian Kitchen.
She will be talking in details about Iranian and Persian cuisine and her book atAsia Houseon Friday, 14 November along with some light snacks from a Persian bakery!
If you liked this post, then you will LOVE the event, so come along and it will be a lot of fun and you can impress your weekend guests with your newly acquired Persian cooking skills! I’ll be there too, so don’t forget to say hello! 🙂
Here is a special recipe from her book just for my readers 😀
Khoreshts are an essential element of Persian cuisine. The nearest equivalent in the West would be a casserole, a rich dish with plenty of sauce. Khoreshts may be made from meat, chicken or fish combined with vegetables, herbs, fruits or pulses. A khoresht is always served with plain rice (chelo); neither dish is secondary or subservient to the other. Serve a couple of large spoonfuls of rice with one large spoonful of khoresht; eat the rice and khoresht together.
The following recipe is a variation on one of the most popular khoreshes cooked all over Iran.
Chicken and aubergine khoresh with cherry tomatoes and sour grapes
The combination of saffron, sour grapes and cherry tomatoes with aubergine adds layers of aroma and flavour to the plain chicken.I used fresh sour grapes but you can also use the pickled unripe grapes available from Middle Eastern or Persian food stores. I prefer chicken thighs to breast as they are more flavoursome and easier to cook; you can use breast if you prefer.
This dish takes approximately 1 ¼ hour to 1 ½ hour to prepare and cook.
2 medium aubergine
1 medium onion
6 skinless, boned chicken thigh fillets
10 – 12 cherry tomatoes
250 g chopped canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 table spoon tomato puree
3 table spoon lemon juice
3 table spoon sour grapes
2 table spoon liquid saffron
500 ml chicken stock
3 table spoon vegetable oil ( plus extra amount, enough for frying the aubergines)
Preparation and cooking
Peel the aubergines and cut each lengthwise to three slices. Wash and put them in a colander, sprinkle I teaspoon salt and leave them to stand for about 15 minutes.
Peel and finely chop the onion. Wash the chicken high fillets and trim any extra fat. Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes.
In a medium size heavy based sauce pan heat 3 table spoon of vegetable oil and fry the onions until golden. Add ½ a teaspoon of turmeric, stir and then add the chicken fillets, salt, pepper and the rest of turmeric. Stir well and fry for about 8-10 minutes, until the chicken pieces are golden and sealed. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and the stock, stir well, bring to boil and then reduce the heat. Cover the pan and simmer for 40 – 45 minutes.
The sauce should be reduced by now to half.
While the chicken is cooking, fry the aubergines. In a frying pan, preferably non-stick, heat 50 ml vegetable oil and fry the aubergine slices until golden. Aubergine absorbs a lot of oil, so add more if necessary. Remove the slices with a slotted spoon and pat dry on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
In the same frying pan, fry the cherry tomatoes in a table spoon of oil for a couple of minute. Remove from heat. Return the aubergine slices to the frying pan, sprinkle1 table spoon of liquid saffron and a table spoon of lemon juice over the aubergine slices and cherry tomatoes and set aside.
When the chicken is cooked, carefully arrange the aubergine slices and then the cherry tomatoes in the sauce pan on top of the chicken. Reduce the heat to low, add the sour grapes, the rest of the saffron and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer very gently for about 10 15 minutes. Make sure that the sauce mix is not boiling vigorously because the aubergine and tomatoes will disintegrate.
Serve in a shallow bowl, carefully arranging the aubergine and cherry tomatoes on top of the chicken pieces.
Asia House Literature festival is packed with really interesting events and one of them was the launch of a Vietnamese Market Cook Book. I feel the best way to learn cooking is to watch and learn and that is exactly what I did because the two lovely women Van Tran and Anh Vu gave us a live demonstration of how to make some really simple Vietnamese Food.
A lot of people usually tend to have a mental block about cooking ‘exotic’ cuisines because they tend to think most of the dishes will need some kind of magic ingredients which they won’t be able to find in England. The truth on the other hand ladies and gentlemen is – You can literally find everything in London and to cook Vietnamese or any Asian cuisine for that matter you don’t necessarily need ‘out of the world’ ingredients. The ladies demonstrated how to make fresh summer spring rolls and how to make a basic Vietnamese sauce. These are super simple to make.
Drench Rice Paper wraps used for rolls in water (You can find them at super markets)
Chop some fresh herbs along with chicken or fish which ever you prefer
Roll them all up together (Make sure you roll them very tight)
Serve them with a dip (see below for the recipe) or sweet chilli sauce
After realising how simple it is to make the sauce I had to go home and try it out myself, so instead of using Salmon (they used it) I tried it with Lamb and it definitely was worth the effort. I obviously added my slight twist to it.
Noodles with Spring Onions
2 Fillets of Lamb cutlets (chopped into pieces)
3 Red finger chilli
1 tea spoon Fish Sauce
1 tea spoon of freshly grated ginger
1 tea spoon sugar
1 table spoon soya sauce
1 table spoon oil (vegetable oil or sesame oil or olive oil)
Let’s get cooking
For the sauce – Squeeze the lemon juice and then mix it with sugar, chilli, ginger – beat it properly. Add the fish sauce (depending on your taste, add more if you like it or add less if you are not too fond of the smell. I promise the fish sauce tastes great after its cooked.
Marinade the lamb with some salt and pepper.
Cook the lamb for about 5 minutes in high heat and then add the sauce and soya sauce.
Cook for 5 more minutes in the sauce.
Serve it with some noodles or boiled rice.
If you want to try out their food you should visit their restaurant Bánhmì11 in London.
Every time I go to an Indian restaurant with my friends, the first thing they order is a plate of bhaji’s. I have seen peoples eyes brighten up with happiness the minute they see a plate full of warm crunchy bhajis (or bhajias – thats the real Indian term) and rightly so because they are absolutely delicious. This is one of the main reasons why I always make different types of bhajis (onion, coriander, potato, bread, okra) whenever I have guests at home for tea. It is ridiculously simple to make – I mean literally you can make them in less than 10 minutes time!
Lets look at the ingredients:
Gram Flower (Chick Pea Flower) – You can get this at any asian super market
Vegetable of your choice – Onion, Coriander, Spinach, Potato, Okra (literally anything you want)
So there are 3 simple steps to making a Bhaji/ Bhajia –
Chop – Chop the vegetable you want to use, make sure you don’t chop them too much because you want it to be chunky and a good size. For example for potatoes, make thin round slices; for okra keep them about an inch long; onions could be chunky too and same with anything else.
Mix – Mix the gram flower, lemon juice, garam masala together , add some water to it to get a batter which is similar consistency like the pancake mix. Then add the vegetable to it.
Fry – Add a generous amount of oil to a pan which is wide spread (I usually shallow fry as its healthier) and then pick up a spoon full of the batter and just add it to the pan to fry it. Turn it the other way round and make sure both sides are cooked and it looks crispy and golden (slightly deep golden/ brownish).
Your hot, crispy, delicious bhaji is ready to be served with some chutney (whichever you want) and a steaming cup of tea!
Whenever I feel like eating something simple and fresh or when I miss home too much this is what I resort to. This dish is not just extremely simple to make but it is as real as it gets when we think of Indian food. And for all you health conscious folks who like eating non-bland food this could be your next favorite dish.
Ingredients you need for one person:
One breast of Chicken chopped into chunks (you can also use chicken with bones, if you like to chew on them later like me)
One table spoon Coriander Powder
I tea spoon salt
2 tea spoon turmeric powder
1 tea spoon chilly powder
3 chopped green chillies
One small chopped red onion (you can also use white onion but red has a bit more flavor)
3 baby potatoes cut into halves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger and garlic paste (I prefer more ginger as it gives the fresh taste)
1 fresh red chopped Tomato
2 tablespoon of mustard oil/ vegetable oil/ sunflower oil (either is good but mustard gives the best taste)
Let’s start cooking :
Marinade the chicken with ginger- garlic paste, turmeric, chilly powder and salt and leave it while you chop the onions and make other arrangements. Its good if you keep it for 30 minutes but not set in stone.
Heat Oil in a pan and fry the onions, green chilly and potatoes for about 4-5 minutes till the onions start getting brown.
Add the chicken (which you kept aside) and let it all cook while you stir it occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and half a cup of water and let the whole thing cook in medium heat till you get a really thick gravy. It should not take more than 7 minutes.
And then believe it or not your chicken curry is ready to be devoured! 😀
Yes you don’t need any yogurt, cream or anything fancy! This recipe is as simple as that…serve it with hot boiled rice or even fresh chapati (indian bread). Btw you could add fresh coriander if you wanted to but this one tastes good even without it!
Let me know if you liked it by sharing this post or even dropping me a line, always love a good conversation about food!
Firstly Merry Christmas to everyone, I didnt quite have a merry christmas as I was coughing and popping antibiotics all through and my plan of cooking great food everyday hence was kind of ruined! I finally started feeling better yesterday so thought of making some healthy treat for myself and making those nasty greens taste good (yes I am not a massive fan of the greens) :p
Palak Paneer or Spinach with cottage cheese is definitely a superb invention by the Indians cuz it is not just healthy Indian Food but super yummy at the same time!
I am a total sucker for red meat, be it lamb, beef or mutton I love them all! But one thing that puts me off cooking red meat is the amount of time it takes to cook the meat. Hence I came up with an alternative idea of making minced lamb/ beef when I am in a rush to satifsfy my taste buds, because it not only cooks super fast but also saves me the hassle of chopping the meat! 😀
Minced Lamb curry has always been an instant hit not just for me but also my office colleagues and friends, they all love it when I make that for lunch! But the secret is it just takes me 20 mins to make that.
500 gm Minced Lamb
4 Tbs Yogurt
2 tbs garam masala powder
1 green chilly chopped
2 fresh tomatos (chopped)
1 tea spoon of salt
2 boiled potatoes (chopped)
3 tbs sunflower oil/ vegetable oil/ olive oil
1/2 tea spoon chilly powder
1 onion chopped/grated
1 tbs garlic and ginger paste
Handfull of chopped corriander
Marinate the minced lamb with Yogurt, Garam Masala and Salt
Heat oil in a pan and saute the ginger, garlic and onions
Add the marinated minced lamb mix to this now and cook it for about 5 minutes
Then add the tomatoes, potatoes and chilly powder
Fry the egg and scramble in a separate pan with a bit of oil and then add the egg into the main curry with the lamb and mix it.
Finally add the chopped corriander to garnish it and serve it hot with boiled rice/ bread/ naan.
Hope you will try it yourself and let me know your thoughts! I am a massive chatter box and always love to talk about food! 🙂 Do drop me a line and if you like the post dont forget to share it with your friends on FB/Twitter/Pinterest! 🙂
After a weekend of heavy drinking and loads of food I decided to make something simple and light for dinner last night. I wanted something light yet spicy ( yes I do love my spices). This is the simplest yet the tastiest random dish I have ever made!
A pack of rice noodles/ regular noodles
300 gms of chicken breast thinly sliced
3 Green chillies
1/2 Lemon juice
6 strands of spring onions
Lettuce ( 3- 4 leaves)
Fresh ginger and garlic finely chopped or pasted
Handful of Coriander leaves ( chopped)
3 Tbs light soya sauce
1 Tsp black pepper grounded
1 Tsp sesame seed oil/ sunflower oil/ olive oil
2 cubes of chicken stock
Stir fry the chicken in the oil for about 5-6 mins and then add the mushrooms, spring onions, green chillies and ginger garlic paste
Add 3 cups of water in the whole mix
Add the chicken stalk, lettuce, soya sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring it to boil
Finally add the pre-boiled noodles into the soup and then add the chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Isnt this the simplest recipe ever, but trust me it is extremely tasty and healthy at the same time. Hope you enjoy making this one lazy evening.
P.S For all the men who think, you cant cook, try this and your girl friend/ potential girl friend is surely going to get impressed! 🙂