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.