Rosewater and Honey Yogurt with Apricots and Pomegranate Seeds

Tip: You can create this dessert with any seasonal fruit.

150g Hunza apricots, soaked in water overnight
450g full-fat Greek yogurt
2-3 tsp honey
1 tsp rosewater
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp chopped apricot kernels or almonds

Begin by squeezing out the stones from the soaked Hunza apricots – they should slide out and the apricotshould retain its shape. Place stoned apricots back in the soaking liquid while preparing the rest of the dish.

In a bowl, combine the chilled Greek yogurt with the
honey and rosewater and mix until combined. Chill for a few minutes while toasting nuts.

Toast the apricot kernels or almonds in a hot, dry pan
and then keep aside.

To assemble, spoon out equal amount of flavoured
yogurt into three bowls, top each with Hunza apricots (without liquid), then toasted apricot kernels/almonds and pomegranate seeds. Serve chilled.

Fig, Honey, and Pistachio Kulfi

1 litre whole milk
1 can sweet condensed milk
50 g dried whole milk powder
300 g ricotta
1 tbsp Acacia honey
1 tbsp cornflour, made into a thin paste with water
50 g chopped pistachios
60 g soft figs, chopped. (either fresh or preserved)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch saffron
1 tsp ground cardamom

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and boil the litre of whole milk until it reduces a bit (15-20) minutes. Add the can of condensed milk, stir for a while until dissolved.

Now add the ricotta, powdered milk , honey and stir continuously until dissolved. Finally add the cornflour paste and stir until the milk mixture is thick. Add saffron, vanilla, figs and pistachios and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Take off heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Pour into Kulfi moulds or parchment paper cones with a stick and allow to rest for 10 minutes – pop into a freezer for 7-8 hours or overnight.

To serve, if using Kulfi moulds, leave outside for a few minutes then warm with hands and allow Kulfi to slip out, sprinkle with a chopped pistachio and serve immediately.

Walnut, Cardmom, and Rosebud Kulfi

225 ml whole milk
50 grams caster sugar
225 ml double cream
1 tbsp rose buds, petal separated from leaves
1 1/2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp rose water

Additional rosebuds and chopped walnuts, for garnish

Heat milk and sugar until dissolved, do not allow to boil. Cool.

Stir in cream, rose water and cardamom.

Start the ice cream maker and pour in milk mixture.

When the mixture starts to freeze, add rose and walnuts.

Freeze until desired consistency is reached.

Garnish with extra rose buds and chopped walnuts.

Serve on chilled himalayan salt blocks.

Kalay Chanay (Black Chickpeas with Poppy Seeds and Onions)

500 grams uncooked dry black chickpeas
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp white poppy seeds
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1 -2 red onions, cut into fine rings
100 ml tamarind chutney – you can use ready made tamarind chutney, or make your own, combine tamarind pulp, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp dry roasted cumin, 1/2 tsp black salt (kalanamak) or chaat masala

To garnish:

Coriander leaves
Chopped green chillis
1 chopped tomato
Raw red onion rings

Soak the black chickpeas overnight in tap water. Drain and boil in water (enough to cover them) until soft – note these don’t get as soft as regular chickpeas and retain a slight texture.

In a saucepan, heat the oil, add the cumin, nigella and poppy seeds for about 1 minute until they pop. Now add half the red onions and cook until just slightly soft, allow them to retain a little crunch. Now add the boiled black chickpeas and stir through.

Turn off heat and add the tamarind chutney and garnish. Serve warm or cold. Keeps well in fridge covered for unto 7 days.

Aloo Bhujia with Halloumi and Egg

3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 red onion, finely chopped

1cm (1/2 inch) piece ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp kalonji (nigella seeds)

2 tbsp dried methi (fenugreek leaves)

3 medium tomatoes,roughly chopped

3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp red chilli powder
250g new potatoes,peeled and cut into 1cm(1/2-inch) squares
250ml water
1/2 tbsp ghee
2 eggs
1/2 packed halloumi cheese, chopped into inch–size pieces, pan–fried until brown
1 tsp chaat masala

To garnish:

A handful coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp dill, chopped

First make the aloo bhujia:

Heat the oil in a saucepan (with the lid on). When hot, add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook over a high heat for 5–7 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown.

Add the cumin, kalonji, dried methi leaves,tomatoes, salt, turmeric and chilli powder, then reduce the heat. Mix well and keep stirring as you cook for about 10 minutes, or until the oil rises to the surface and the tomatoes are soft.

Add the potatoes and water, stir and increase the heat to medium. Cover the pan with the lid and cook for 10–12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the water has evaporated. Turn off heat and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE:

In a cast iron frying pan (big enough to fit the potatoes), place the potatoes together with the ghee. Heat and let the ghee melt. Mix in the browned halloumi cheese cubes.

Crack eggs on top of the potatoes and halloumi and place under the hot grill. Let this cook for about 3-5 minutes on high, until the eggs set.

Serve hot with a garnishing of sprinkled chaat masala and chopped coriander leaves.

Swat Valley Varjaley: Wild Garlic, Dill and Spinach Rice

1 1/2 tbsp. ghee or 1 tbsp. unsalted butter and 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp black cumin seeds or cumin seeds
½ large red onion, chopped finely
2 handfuls of baby spinach
2 sprigs of fresh dill
1 large handful of ramson/wild garlic
200g basmati rice, rinsed and soaked in tap water for 1 hour

To serve:

100 g natural full fat yoghurt

Rinse and soak the basmati rice in water for about 1 hour maximum and drain.

Heat a saucepan (lidded). Once hot add ghee (or butter and oil). When melted, add cumin. Allow it to pop and add the red onions.

Chop the greens, (if using garlic instead of wild garlic leaves chop finely).

When the onions are light brown from the edges add all the greens (or garlic with greens) and toss until wilted. Add the drained rice and stir through until all combined.

Top with a little water (enough to lightly cover the rice, but not cover it totally). Place the lid on and turn the heat to low. Cook for 5-7 minutes, check if rice had absorbed the liquid, if still raw, add a few more splashes of water, cover and cook until done. Puff up the rice using a fork. There should be no liquid remaining.

Serve with plain natural full fat yogurt.

Balochi Chicken: Piquant Spiced Roast Chicken with Anardana Spiced Sweet Potato Mash

For the sajji masala, grind together:

2 tbsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
6 green cardamom pods
3 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp each kalanamak (black salt), optional, and sea salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice or 1 tbsp. amchoor (dried mango powder, if available)
1 tbsp. whole fennel seeds

For the chicken:

5kg/3¼lb whole chicken
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. sajji masala (as above)

For the mash, combine:

3 sweet potatoes, cooked in an oven until soft, peeled and mashed
2 tsp chaat masala
1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
10 mint leaves, chopped
1 green chili, chopped
squeeze of 1/2-lime

Rub the whole chicken with the salt, pepper, 1 tbsp. of sajji masala and crushed garlic.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Put the chicken into a roasting tin and loosely cover with foil. Roast in the oven, basting the chicken with the oil until it is cooked through, the top is golden and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the meat is pierced with a skewer.

Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes then cut into quarters. Sprinkle leftover ground sajji and lemon juice over the chicken and serve with the spiced sweet potato mash.

Potato and Dill Chaat

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
150g full fat Greek yoghurt
1/2 clove garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp freshly dry roasted cumin seeds, ground by hand
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp chopped dill
2 largepotatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch squares, boiled until cooked
1 tin chickpeas, drained
Handful of sev
Handful of chopped cilantro
1 sliced red chilli

Start by fermenting the red onions, in a non-metallic bowl. Add thinly sliced red onions, red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and sugar and toss. Keep aside but keep mixing every few minutes until the onions turn bright pink.

In another bowl, mix all the yoghurt, tahini, paprika, salt, dill, cumin and add half a garlic clove (to add a hint of garlic flavouring, remove later when mixing together).

Now, add the boiled potatoes, chickpeas and all the spiced yoghurt together and mix. Top with chopped coriander, crushed sev, red chilli, and fermented red onions. Serve at room temperature.

Green Masala Chicken Curry

Make the masala paste by combining the following in a blender and make into a paste:
1/2 large bunch of coriander leaves
15 mint leaves
1 thin green chilli
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp brown sugar or jaggery
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp crushed garlic

Other ingredients:
500 g full fat natural yoghurt
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, diced into bite-size pieces

Whole spices:
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 black peppercorns
2-3 green cardamoms, bruised
7-8 cloves

Whip the yogurt and add the green masala paste.

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan on medium head and once oil is hot, put in the whole spices and stir and cook until an aroma builds. Now add the green masala paste and fry until the oil starts to rise on the top of the yogurty mixutre.

Now add the chicken and stir, turn the heat low and leave covered to cook until chicken is done. You may need to give the chicken a stir every now until done. Add a bit of water to the curry if you think it is drying out a little.

Serve hot with some pillau rice or plain boiled basmati rice.

Keema

2 tbsp vegetable oil (don’t use olive)
1 chopped red onion
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic paste
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ kilo beef mine
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried Kasuri Methi
Water at hand in a jug

Whole garam masalas:
5- 6 black pepper, whole
6 cloves
1 black cardamom
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
A tiny piece of cinnamon
1 tsp coriander seeds

Garnish with:
Chopped coriander, tiny chopped tomatoes and chopped spring onions, lemon juice, ginger julienne, garam masala powder.

Heat oil in saucepan and add all whole garam masalas only to a hot pan and allow to splutter.

Once garam masalas are fragrant, add onions and fry until light brown, add ginger garlic and cook until the raw smell leaves the pan.

Add chopped tomatoes and a splash of water and cook until tomatoes soft and oil rises to the top, add all the powder masalas and salt.

Add mince meat and cook and stir continuously until moisture leaves the pan.

Add methi leaves and cover on medium low heat and cook until water runs dry and meat is cooked through. Should be dark brown and dry. Top with all the garnishes.

Khagina (Spiced Scrambled Eggs)

2 tsp ghee – or substitute with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 eggs
Salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
6-7 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 green chillis, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper

Whisk the eggs with tomatoes, coriander and green chillis

In a frying pan, heat the ghee or butter and oil and once hot, add the cumin until it splutters.

Next add the garlic and allow it to get lightly browned. Now add the egg mixture and scramble until done.

Serve immediately with a freshly ground black pepper

Stir-fried Paneer with Tamarind and Coconut

1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups of Indian Paneer cheese cut into small chunks (or tofu/firm cottage cheese)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 pinch asafodetia (hing)
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 inch ginger, crushed
1 tsp salt, or to taste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tamarind paste (can be bought prepared, but best to buy raw dried tamarind, soak for an hour in hot water, then squeeze and strain the tamarind paste
10-12 fresh curry leaves, if not available, dried could do (in which case use about 6-7)
1 tbsp jaggery, available from most supermarket’s ethnic counters or Indian stores
3/4 inch cup fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut if fresh in not available
handful of chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Fry the panner off in a frying pan with a little oil until brown on all sides. Set aside. Put a little more oil in a wok style pan and heat under medium heat. Now add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and once they start to pop add the pinch of hing and then the ginger and garlic paste and fry quickly not allowing the contents to burn. Add salt to taste.

Once the raw smell of garlic leaves the pan add the tomatoes and cook until soft, you may need to add a little water to ensure that the sauce doesn’t burn. Add the tamarind, curry leaves and jaggery and once the sauce is cooked, and the oil starts to rise up, add the coconut and turn off the heat. Pop in the fried paneer and top with more coconut and coriander leaves.

Carrot Halwa with Pistachios

500 g carrots, peeled and grated
400 ml double cream
100 ml fresh milk
100 g caster sugar
5 cardamom pods
5-6 cloves
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp roughly ground pistachios
to garnish – coconut, pistachios, silver leaf (optional)
red food colour (optional)

Boil the milk and cream together, add the grated carrots, cloves and cardamom seeds. Cook on low heat and keep stirring occasionally and keep an eye on the pan. Cook this until the milk/cream gets absorbed into the carrot (takes about 25-30 minutes on medium low heat). Now add the sugar and keep stirring until it is all mixed in well. Add the coconut and ground pistachios.

Once the halva is thick, deep red (you could add a little red food colour if the carrots are a bit pale) and all the cream/milk and sugar is absorbed, pour into a serving dish, decorate and either serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream or serve cold.

Coriander and Mint Pullao

2 cups basmati rice
1 cinnamon stick
4-6 cardamoms
4-6 cloves
1 bay leaf
7-8 peppercorns
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
salt to taste
For the chutney BLEND together:
A bunch of fresh coriander
2-4 green chillis
5-7 mint leaves

A handful pomegranate to garnish and add texture and a sweet sour pungency.

Serves about 4 and takes about 25-30 minutes to cook (excluding rice soaking time)

Wash and soak the rice in water for at least 1/2 hour to an hour.

Heat the oil and ‘bhagar’ – (temper) the cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom until you can smell them. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook till the raw smell disappears, dont let them burn. Immediately pour a blended chutney and cook for a few minutes

Pour in the rice and fry it in the chutney mixture. The pour just enough water to cover the rice, less is better. Add some salt. Cover and cook on very low heat.

Check every now and then to see if rice is cooked. The liquid should be absorbed and the rice should be fluffy and cooked though. Try not to move around the rice with a spoon too much as the rice may break. Use a fork to move it around so as to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Keep the rice covered under low heat, until it is cooked though and all the water is absorbed. Don’t over cook it as you are after each grain being separate.

Cinnamon and Coconut Rice

1 – 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice, which has been soaked for up to a minimum of 1/2 an hour
1 cup of coconut milk
water
salt to taste
11/2 tsp of nigella seeds (kalongi seeds)
rind of one large lemon
1 tbsp of lemon juice
a medium piece of a cinnamon stick
oil

In a little hot oil fry the cinnamon stick until an aroma develops. Pour in he drained rice and fry for a few seconds. Now add enough water to just cover the rice and add the coconut water now as well, and turn the heat low and cover the saucepan and cook on ‘dam’.

Check the rice after a few minutes to ensure that the rice has not stuck to the bottom of the pan. Use a small teaspoon to move around the rice so as to avoid breaking the grains. If you feel the rice is burning at the bottom place a ‘tava’ – flat Asian pan used to make chappatti breads etc, under the pan and keep on low heat, or place in over (if using oven safe saucepan).

In a small fry pan heat up a little oil and fry the nigella seeds until they splutter and then pour these, the lemon rind and juice on to the rice and stir.

Serve with any fish dish.

Mince Biryani

5 tomatoes (chopped)
1 teaspoon each of coriander powder, cumin powder and red chilli powder
Whole garam masala consisting of: 1 star anise, 1 stick of cinnamon, 1 black cardamom, 4-5 small green cardamom(crush)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander seeds, aniseed,black pepper and cloves
1 green chilli
fresh coriander and mint (chopped)
lemon and lime slices
1 pinch saffron (soaked in hot milk for 20 mins)
1 tablespoon rose water
1 1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup green lentils
1kg lean chicken/turkey/beef mince
1 onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger/garlic paste
Directions

Soak rice and lentil separately in tap water for about 30 minutes prior to cooking, then par boil both separately and strain and keep aside.

In a saucepan heat oil under medium heat and fry the whole garam masalas until you can smell them. Now add the ginger/garlic paste, onions and allow to brown, but not burn. Add the salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fry with a splash of water to avoid it from burning.

At this stage add the tomatoes and fry until quite thick and the oil comes up to the top. Add the mince meat and fry constantly until the meat is cooked and dry and all you can see is the oil at the sides on the pan – hence no tomato sauce should be moving around the pan. Add fresh coriander and stir.

Once this is done, in the same saucepan layer the lentil and then the rice over the mince, pour the ghee and then the saffron and milk and rose water and place a few lemons and lime slices inside and sprinkle fried onions, mint and fresh coriander and a green chilli on top. Cover the saucepan and place in a medium pre- heated oven for about 20 minutes.

Check to see if rice and lentil cooked through, if not then leave in oven longer. By leaving it in the oven you won’t’ be a risk of burning the rice at the bottom even on low heat on the stove. When it’s done give the biryani a good stir serve with greek yogurt or a mint raita.

Shahi Biryani with Fenugreek and Vegetables

300 g rice, washed and soaked in tap water for 30 minutes, then par-boiled in hot boiling salty water for only 2-3 minutes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp Ghee
2 large onions, peeled and cut into half moons
1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
4 tomatoes, chopped
300 g natural yoghurt
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 bunch fresh methi (fenugreek), washed and chopped (you can substitute with dried methi, but only use about 2-3 tsp)
A handful of green beans, cut into two pieces,
1 potato, peeled and chopped into small squares
100 g shelled peas
200 g chopped spinach
1 large green capsicum/pepper, de-seeded and chopped into medium squares
salt to taste

For adding when layering:
1 bunch or coriander leaves, chopped
10-12 mint leaves
1 lemon sliced thinly
1 pinch of saffron, soak in hot water for 15 minutes
3-5 green chillis, chopped finely

Whole Garam Masalas:
1 cinnamon quill
10-12 cloves
10 green cardamoms
1 large black cardamom
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp peppercorn

Garnish:
A handful of pistachios, pomegranate, coriander leaves and rose petals

Method:

Heat vegetable oil and 2 tbsp ghee in a saucepan with the tight fitting lid add all the whole garam masalas until fragrant, be sure not to burn. The add onions and cook until translucent.

Add ginger and garlic and fry until the raw smell of ginger and garlic leaves the pan (about 2-4 minutes) Do not allow to get brown. Add a splash of water to ensure that nothing gets burned and keep on medium heat.

Add tomatoes and fry until they cook down. Add yoghurt and keep stirring until the oil leaves the curry. Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.

Now add all the vegetables and cook until mixed well.

Top the vegetable curry with coriander leaves; mint and green chilli and then layer par-boiled rice on top of the vegetable curry spread evenly. Top with coriander, mint and green chili again and also pour the 1 tbsp of ghee (melted), shove in some lemon slices, pour over saffron and cover tightly with foil and then the pan’s lid.

Keep on very low heat, and allow to cook in it’s own steam for 20-30 minutes.

Once done, open up the biryani, serve in a dish and sprinkle the garnish! Serve hot with raita

Aaloo ki Tehri (Cumin and Turmeric Scented Rice Pullao with Potatoes)

150 g Basmati rice, washed and soaked for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to cooking
1 red onion, peeled, cut into thin rings and fried in vegetable oil until golden brown, drained and kept to cool
vegetable oil
1/2 stick cinnamon
4-5 green cardamom pods, bashed open
6-7 cloves
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp ginger paste
Salt to taste
Water at hand

Nuts and dry fruit:
A handful of shelled unsalted pistachios
A handful of skinned whole almonds
A handful of sultanas
(save a bit for garnish)
ghee to fry

Garnish:
A few mint leaves
1/2 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
2-4 whole thin green chills
1 generous pinch of saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water

Equipment:
A saucepan with a tight fitting lid
Foil

Begin with par-boiling the soaked then drained rice, strain and then set rice aside until later. Fry the nuts and then the sultanas in a little ghee and also fry your onions are explained above. Set all this aside for now.

Heat about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in the saucepan over medium heat and once hot, throw in all the whole spices, once the start to splutter, add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry stirring continuously, do not let this brown. Once the raw smell of the garlic and ginger evaporates, add the par-boiled rice and fry for a minute or two. Turn the heat to medium low. Add the fried nuts (safe a few for garnishing) and mix with the rice.

Now pour over the saffron, shove the lemon slices and a few mint leaves into the rice, sprinkle the fried onions. Add a little water to the pan, about 2-4 tbsp. Place a piece of foil to cover the top the pan, tightly fit the lid and turn heat to low.

Leave to infuse and cook for about 15-20 minutes, not longer. Turn heat off and lift off lid and foil. The rice should be steaming and aromas should now be developed! After a gentle stir, serve immediately.

Saffron and Nut Biryani

150 g Basmati rice, washed and soaked for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to cooking
1 red onion, peeled, cut into thin rings and fried in vegetable oil until golden brown, drained and kept to cool
vegetable oil
1/2 stick cinnamon
4-5 green cardamom pods, bashed open
6-7 cloves
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp ginger paste
Salt to taste
Water at hand

Nuts and dry fruit:
A handful of shelled unsalted pistachios
A handful of skinned whole almonds
A handful of sultanas
(save a bit for garnish)
ghee to fry

Garnish:
A few mint leaves
1/2 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
2-4 whole thin green chills
1 generous pinch of saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water

Equipment:
A saucepan with a tight fitting lid
Foil

Begin with par-boiling the soaked then drained rice, strain and then set rice aside until later. Fry the nuts and then the sultanas in a little ghee and also fry your onions are explained above. Set all this aside for now.

Heat about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in the saucepan over medium heat and once hot, throw in all the whole spices, once the start to splutter, add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry stirring continuously, do not let this brown. Once the raw smell of the garlic and ginger evaporates, add the par-boiled rice and fry for a minute or two. Turn the heat to medium low. Add the fried nuts (safe a few for garnishing) and mix with the rice.

Now pour over the saffron, shove the lemon slices and a few mint leaves into the rice, sprinkle the fried onions. Add a little water to the pan, about 2-4 tbsp. Place a piece of foil to cover the top the pan, tightly fit the lid and turn heat to low.

Leave to infuse and cook for about 15-20 minutes, not longer. Turn heat off and lift off lid and foil. The rice should be steaming and aromas should now be developed! After a gentle stir, serve immediately.

Kathi Daal (Tamarind Lentil Soup)

1 cup mung lentils
a few cups water
salt, red chilli – to taste
1/2 tsb turmeric
2-3 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp sambar masala

Temper with:
a few dry red chills, 1 tsb mustard seeds, 2 garlics slivered and a few curry leaves

Boil the lentil with water, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and water until quite mushy and squash down with the lentil with a spoon, and once you find it is quite cooked, you can use a hand held blender, I swear by Dualit Hand Held Blender kit. The lentil should be not too thick but rather a bit watery.

Once ready, add an equal amount of tamarind, sugar and chill to balance out the flavours. What you are after is an equal flavour of each coming through.

Now heat oil in a small deep saucepan and heat oil in it once very hot temper the mustard seeds, garlic, curry leaves and red dried chilli. Don’t over brown. Pour over the lentil (which should now be in a serving dish).

Enjoy own its on as a soup or with plain boiled basmati rice.