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Saturday, 13 March 2021

Balti Dhal Fry

 

Balti Dhal Fry
Balti Dhal Fry

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 2 chillies, finely chopped (remove the seeds for less heat)
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
  • Handful of chopped coriander stalks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 200g of cooked chana dhal (refer to packet for instructions)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves to garnish

For the tarka
  • 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed oil
  • 3 dried chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Small pinch of asafoetida

Method
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan.  When hot, add the cloves and cinnamon stick and let them fry for 30 seconds before adding the chopped onion.  Fry for 3 minutes until the onion softens then add the chillies, tomato, coriander stalks, garlic and spices, stir well before adding the cooked lentils, simmer over a low heat whilst you make the tarka.

To make the tarka, heat the ghee or oil in a small pan. When hot add the chillies, cumin seeds and asafoetida and let it sizzle for 30 seconds before pouring over the dhal.  Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of coriander.

We enjoyed this dish alongside some basmati rice and chilli paneer with some spicy naan bread, it was so tasty, I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Chicken Masala Curry

 

Chicken Masala Curry
Chicken Masala Curry

  • 3 chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1” piece of cinnamon
  • 10 curry leaves (if you have them)
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 chillies, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400 ml base curry sauce (add link to recipe)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Handful of finely chopped coriander
Method
Heat the oil in a large pan, when hot add the mustard seeds and cinnamon stick and fry until the mustard seeds start to pop, add the curry leaves (if you have them) and fry for 30 seconds or so.  Mix in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a couple of minutes until it starts to sizzle.  Add the curry powder, tomato purée and half of the base curry sauce, stir through and bring to a simmer, add the chicken and the remainder of the base curry sauce and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  Next add the coconut milk, soy sauce and coriander and cook for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper and serve.

This is a nice creamy curry with just a bit of heat, I served this with rice, poppadum's, pickles and chutney, a really tasty fakeaway to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.  The sauce can be made in advance and just finish off with the chicken once you are wanting to eat, the chicken will cook in minutes!  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.


Sunday, 14 February 2021

Chicken Chaat

 

Chicken Chaat
Chicken Chaat

There are two stages to this curry, the first is to make the base curry sauce, this base can be used to make a number of different curries but for this recipe we will be using it to make chicken chaat.

Base curry
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 litre of water

Heat the oil in large pan over a medium heat.  Add the onions and peppers and sauté until softened and then add the remaining ingredients but not the water.  Stir everything well and fry for a minute or so before adding a quarter of the water.  Turn the heat up and let the sauce simmer until the water has evaporated by around half.  Add another quarter of the water and then blend the sauce with a stick blender or transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.  Add the remaining water and that pretty much is it, the sauce should be quite thin at this stage which is how it should be.  This recipe will make 3 portions of base curry sauce, so you can freeze the other two portions (1 and 3/4 cups per portion).

Now on to make the chicken chaat

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp good quality curry powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp chaat masala
  • Third of a tube of tomato purée
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of base curry sauce
  • 800g of cooked chicken
  • 1/3 cucumber, peeled and deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 150g drained chickpeas
  • 1 large tomato cut into wedges
  • Big pinch of salt
  • Handful of chopped coriander

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry until softened.  Add the garlic/ginger paste and stir through and allow to sizzle for a minute.  Next mix in the curry powder, chilli powder, chaat masala and the tomato purée.  Let this sizzle for another minute before adding the base curry sauce and let it simmer for 5 minutes before adding the chicken and let it cook for 10 minutes before adding the cucumber, chickpeas, pepper and tomato wedges and a good pinch of salt, stir through and cook for a further couple of minutes before serving with a sprinkle of the coriander on top.

I served the curry with basmati rice, naan bread, pickles and tomato, onion, coriander chutney and a selection of bhajis and samosas and boy was it good.  This recipe will serve 4 comfortably and more if you are making additional dishes to accompany the chaat.  

This is so quick and easy to make, I made the base sauce earlier in the day and then it took no time at all to make the chicken chaat.  Watch this space for other curry recipes to make using the base curry sauce!


Sunday, 7 February 2021

Rajma - Red Kidney Bean Curry

 

Rajma - Red kidney bean curry
Rajma - Red kidney bean curry

  • 1 cup (240ml) dried red kidney beans
  • 5 cups (1 litre 250ml) water to soak the beans in
  • 2 large tomatoes, blitzed in the food processor
  • 1 tsp tomato purée, mix in small amount of water to dilute down
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder (available in supermarkets)
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tbsp Katsura methi powder (or dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Large handful of finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • Salt to taste

Method:
Rinse the kidney beans and leave to soak overnight in 5 cups of water, for a minimum of 8 hours.

Switch on your Ninja foodi, add the kidney beans and water, switch lids to pressure cooker, make sure the valve is set to seal and pressure cook on high for 7 minutes.  Once the timer beeps, turn off the keep warm setting and leave for 10 minutes and then do a slow release of pressure.  At this stage the beans will be partially cooked, drain them and keep the water as this will be used later.

Now switch the Ninja to sauté and set it to medium.  Heat the oil, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, chillies and the asafoetida and leave to sizzle for a minute or so.  Add the ginger/garlic paste and fry off for another minute or so(turn the heat down if getting too hot).  Add your blitzed tomatoes and mix through, add the turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, paprika, chilli powder and good pinch of salt, stir and leave to sauté for another minute.

In the next step, add the diluted tomato purée and the kidney beans, give a good mix then add the coriander leaves, kasturi methi and the garam masala, stir through and leave to sauté for around 5 minutes.  Next add the reserved water to the pan, mix well then return to pressure cooker mode (switching lids) and cook on high for 30 minutes.  Once the time is up do a quick release of steam and check the consistency of the curry, if a bit thin for your liking sauté until it thickens up or if too thick add some water to thin out.

This was my first proper recipe I had tried in my Ninja and I have to say it was so straight forward and the end result was fantastic.  The house was filled with amazing aromas and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!  We are big chilli fiends in this house so the heat wasn’t a problem for us but if you like your curry a bit milder adjust the ingredients accordingly.

I served the curry with basmati rice, naan breads, coriander and mint sauce, onion bhaji, vegetable pakoras and pickles. 
Dinner was a huge hit, the flavours were amazing, I will definitely been doing this again, the recipe serves 4 comfortably.  I hope you enjoy as much as we did, now what to cook next!

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Kala Chana Curry

 

Kala Chana curry
Kala Chana Curry

  • 200g kala chana (yellow chana), soaked overnight in 625ml water.
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp garlic and chilli paste
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
  • 200g coconut milk
  • Large pinch of salt

Method:
Pour the soaked kala chana with the water into a large saucepan, add the baking soda, simmer over a medium heat for around 30 minutes or until tender.  Don’t worry about any foam that rises to the top, just skim this off.  Once cooked, set aside.

Heat the ghee or oil in a large frying pan over a high heat.  When hot add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop turn down the heat and stir in the curry leaves.  Once you get hit with the aromas stir in the asafoetida, ground coriander, chilli powder, cumin and turmeric.  Let this sizzle for a minute then add the onions and fry until soft and translucent.  Stir through the garlic and ginger paste along with the chillies (leave these whole) then add the tomatoes, mix well then add the coconut milk along with the kala chana and any remaining cooking water, let this simmer for 10 minutes or so until it thickens slightly, add salt to taste then serve.

All of the above ingredients are available in most supermarkets or your local Indian supermarket.  I have to say I had never heard of asafoetida but I found this online with Ocado.  It doesn’t smell very nice but once fried it improves, trust me!

We had this alongside my chilli paneer, rice and papadams and my mint and coriander sauce, mango chutney and a selection of pickles I picked up from the Indian supermarket.  This was a huge hit, so tasty and full of flavour, the aromas were amazing, give it a go and let me know what you think!

Kala Chana Curry, Chilli paneer, mint and coriander sauce with mango chutney



Sunday, 24 January 2021

Chilli Paneer

 

Chilli Paneer

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 200g cubed paneer
  • 2 bell peppers cut into chunks
  • 3 spring onions roughly chopped
  • 1 chilli finely chopped
For the sauce
  • 250ml tomato ketchup
  • 3 tbsp hot sauce (of choice)
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Big pinch of salt
  • Good few grinds of fresh black pepper
This is a great dish to prepare ahead, firstly put all of the ingredients for the sauce into a measuring jug/bowl and whisk together, it’s as simple as that!  Leave to one side until ready to cook the rest of the dish.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the paneer and cook until browned.  Add the peppers, spring onions and chilli and fry until cooked through but still retaining some crispness.  Add the sauce, stir through and cook until heated through. 

If you are not a fan of too much chilli you can leave out the chilli and reduce the amount of hot sauce or add more if you are a heat fiend! 

 This is a great dish to have with rice, it makes enough for 2 people or more if serving alongside other dishes.  This dish is quick and easy and a great meat free Monday dish. 

Chilli Paneer



Saturday, 16 January 2021

Homemade Doner Kebab

 

Homemade Doner Kebab
Homemade Doner Kebab

  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • Ground black pepper
  • Large pinch of salt

Method:
Place the mince meat into a large bowl, add the yoghurt, milk, onion, spices and seasoning and mix together until fully combined.  Put the mixture into a loaf tin and leave to sit in the fridge for at least an hour (longer if you have the time). 

Homemade Doner Kebab
Homemade Doner Kebab

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, put the loaf tin onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes before thinly slicing.

I served my kebab on flatbreads with salad, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and homemade tzatziki.  Pittas are also great for this dish, giving you that real takeaway feel.  You can leave out the chilli flakes if you don’t want a spicy kick or put more in if you prefer it hotter!  

Likewise you can drizzle over your hot sauce of choice if you really want to add the heat.  This is a great fakeaway for the weekend and pretty healthy too if using lean mince (not too lean though as you need some fat in the kebab).  Hope you enjoy as much as we did.


Sunday, 6 December 2020

Season by R food review

 

Season by R food review
Season by R

I was contacted yesterday evening by the lovely Vish from Season by R, a new local Crawley business, providing simple, authentic, Indian cuisine, all freshly cooked by his lovely wife. Vish wanted to know if I would like to sample some of their food, silly question, anyone who knows me will know I love Indian food, and most recently I’m getting a real passion for vegetarian Indian food, so I of course jumped at the chance.

Season by R food review
Season by R

This afternoon Vish dropped off portions of vegetable kebabs, matar mushroom, saag aloo, rice and mint chutney for us to try, these dishes being featured on today’s menu.  


The dishes were packed in a brown paper bag with a hand written note attached, "Enjoy Your Meal, Best Wishes, Team Season by R", a nice little touch.

Vegetable kebabs from Season by R
Vegetable kebabs from Season by R

Straight away on unpacking the cartons you were hit by the amazing aromas which gave a promise of what was to come.  I’m the first to admit I wouldn’t ordinarily order vegetarian dishes but of late I am growing to love the variety of vegetarian Indian cuisine I have been lucky enough to try and boy this did not disappoint.  

Vegetable kebabs from Season by R
Vegetable kebabs from Season by R

The vegetable kebabs were packed full of flavour, bit spicy but not enough to put off anyone who isn’t a spice fiend, dipped in the mint chutney, they went down very well.  

Saag Aloo from Season by R
Saag Aloo from Season by R

The saag aloo had a good few flavours going on and I have to say outside of India this was by far the best I have tasted.  

Matar mushroom from Season by R
 Matar mushroom from Season by R

The real star of the show was the matar mushroom, a dish I have never tried before but one I will certainly be having time and time again.  Packed full of flavour and a good hit of spice, my mouth was tingling a good while afterwards, wow, the flavours were awesome, I really can’t rave enough about this dish, even if you are not a lover of mushrooms, you won’t even notice they are there, I had at first thought this was some sort of spicy pea dish, I hadn’t even realised there were mushrooms!

Season by R provide a daily menu which changes with each day and for the bargain price of £6.99 per meal, you get to enjoy some freshly cooked, delicious and authentic Indian cuisine.  The portion sizes are good so you won’t be left hungry by any means.  

Check them out, support local and give them a go, you won’t be disappointed -  Season by R on Facebook

Whilst the meal was provided by Season by R, all views are my own.


Sunday, 18 October 2020

Apple Cake

Apple Cake
Apple Cake

  • 115g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 115g golden caster sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 10 tbsp milk
  • 2 large Bradley cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • Large handful of sultanas
  • 2 tbsp Demerara sugar

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 180c/160c fan. 
Butter and line a 20cm deep cake tin with baking paper.  Mix the flour and cinnamon together in a large bowl, add the butter and rub into the mix using your fingers until you have fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the caster sugar and the beaten egg followed by the milk, add it gradually until you have a smooth, thick batter (add more milk if needed).
Add the apples and sultanas and mix to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and gently level out. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake for 30-40 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 15 mins and then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool further. 

Apple Cake

The smell alone of this cake cooking will give you a good idea of how yummy it will be, eaten slightly warm with some custard or ice cream and you will be wondering why you didn’t make this sooner!



Sunday, 27 September 2020

The Pod Street Food Review

 

The Pod Street Food Maidenbower, Crawley
The Pod Street Food in Maidenbower, Crawley

Chef Dave Blunt from Centre Catering has introduced The Pod to the streets of Crawley.  The Pod launched six weeks ago and has been a resounding hit in Crawley Down and Forge Wood,  and today The Pod came to Maidenbower and already the orders are coming in thick and fast for tonight’s service. 

 We were lucky enough to pop along ahead of service for a chat with Dave and to check out The Pod and then to sample his tasty burgers!

The Pod Street Food in Maidenbower, Crawley

On the menu tonight we tried The Veggie Beast, The BBQ Brisket Burger, Maple Smoked Pulled Pork Burger, skinny fries, ranch slaw followed by a slice of Biscoff Millionaires. All the burgers are served in a nice light brioche bun.

The Pod Veggie Burger
The Pod Veggie Burger
The Pod Veggie Beast

The Veggie Beast is a homemade chickpea, chilli and ginger burger, topped with cheese, ranch slaw and pickles.  As a meat eater I wouldn’t usually opt for a veggie option but I have to say this was pretty darn tasty, with a nice bit of gentle heat from the chilli and ginger. It was really fresh tasting, something I would definitely order again. I do however like a bit of bite so perhaps something with a bit of crunch to the texture would enhance it a bit, but that’s just my personal preference.

The Pod BBQ Brisket Burger
The Pod BBQ Brisket Burger
The Pod BBQ Brisket Burger

Next up was the BBQ Brisket Burger, a 6oz steak patty made by Dave’s fair hands, topped with cheese, hickory smoked brisket, ranch slaw and pickles.  A really nice juicy burger topped with tasty brisket, this definitely had the bite and went down well, a big hit with us all.  

The Pod Maple Smoked Pulled Pork Burger
The Pod Maple Smoked Pulled Pork Burger
The Pod Maple Smoked Pulled Pork Burger

Last but not least on this burger fest was The Maple Smoked Pulled Pork Burger, this was my favourite, you could really taste the maple, it infused the burger which again was a 6oz steak patty topped with smoked pork blade, cheese and homemade ranch slaw and pickles.  

The Pod Ranch Slaw
The Pod Ranch Slaw


Nice crunchy fries and fresh ranch slaw set off each of the burgers, I have yet to taste the Scotch Bonnet Burger but this leaves me something to look forward to on my next visit.

The Pod Biscoff Millionaires Dessert
The Pod Biscoff Millionaires Dessert


Dessert was a stroke of genius, Biscoff Millionaires slice, I love the biscuits so was looking forward to this, nice layer of chocolate, gooey caramel centre and a crumbly biscuit base, this topped off our meal nicely.

The chefs at The Pod
The chefs at The Pod

Other than the brioche buns everything is homemade and you can certainly taste it, fresh and tasty, just what the folk of Maidenbower have been waiting for, I have no doubt The Pod will be a huge hit with the residents.

The Pod Street Food  Maidenbower Crawley
The Pod Street Food at  Maidenbower, Crawley


The Pod is at Forge Wood on Thursday, Crawley Down on Friday and Maidenbower Square on Saturday between 5pm-8:30pm.  You can either grab and go or order ahead on 07395 101 201, check them out on Facebook and Instagram for their latest specials and locations.

The Pod Street Food

Remember to support local and pay Dave and his team a visit at one of the above venues, you won’t be disappointed, the meal deals are great value for money, especially the family pack, any 4 burgers, 4 sides and 4 drinks for £30, you can also add 4 cheeky desserts for an additional £5, what’s not to love!