The Punjabi Kitchen

Two Punjabi cooks and their evolving journey in the kitchen.

Broad bean and mint raita — June 17, 2019

Broad bean and mint raita

PHOTO-2019-06-08-21-20-12 - Copy.jpgIngredients 

200g Greek/plain yogurt (I always buy Yeo Valley Organic yogurt)

Small handful of broad beans (with/without outer layer removed)

A few sprigs of mint leaves

Paprika – to dust

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Method

  1. Place the yogurt onto a plate, mix most of the broad beans into the yogurt, save some to sprinkle on top. Add a couple of finely chopped mint leaves into the raita as well.
  2. Put the remaining beans and mint leaves on the top of the raita, dust with some paprika.

 

 

Punjabi vegetable pasties —

Punjabi vegetable pasties

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Makes 8 large pasties or approximately 16 smaller ones

Vegetarian

Freezing – suitable

There are days when I really fancy something English to eat, but with an Indian twist. These pasties satisfied those cravings; I made them with the season’s fresh broad beans that have just come to Osterley Park Farm shop. Whenever I buy them frozen, I usually tend to remove the outer layer, however, found there was no need to do this as it was still quite tender. Also, it’s less time-consuming unless of course you consider it be quite therapeutic!

The double cheese pastry recipe is from the legend Dan Lepard (see the recipe in Dan Lepard’s sausage, sage and onion pasty with cheese crust recipe at theguardian.com). Or you could use readymade shortcrust pastry. I only used 25g of grated cheese in the recipe, it calls for a whopping 225g!) The result is still a delicious light and crusty pastry, with a nuttiness due to the addition of the spelt flour. These pasties make a great lunch with any of our delicious raitas and a side salad. These pasties freeze beautifully, re-heat them in a moderate oven until the centre of the pasty is piping hot.

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Ingredients for the filling

175 broad beans (cooked and cooled – buy fresh if possible)

1 small onion, finely diced

Handful of green garlic – finely chopped (use the greens of a spring onion if unavailable)

350g potatoes – boiled, cooled and cut into small pieces (this can be done a day ahead)

I tablespoon rapeseed oil

I heaped teaspoon cumin seeds

¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chilli powder (depends on how fiery you want it)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin powder

½ teaspoon ground coriander powder

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Method

  1. Make the pastry. This can be done in advance and even frozen. I tend to freeze in in the amount I am likely to use – see pic. It means there is no wastage.

Make the filling.

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan (preferably non-stick), add the onion and then the cumin seeds, sauté on a medium heat for about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the broad beans and the rest of the spices, cook for a few minutes. Then add the diced potatoes, adjust seasoning if necessary.

To make the pasties.

Please note that the mixture will need to be cooled before you can make the patties. (It can be made ahead).

  1. For a large pasty use about 140g. (I made mine half the size). Once you have sealed the filling inside, fold the ends in to make the pasties oblong, and place seam-side down on a baking tray.
  2. Brush the pasties with beaten egg, sprinkle them with poppy seeds and slash deeply with a sharp knife. Then bake at 200C/180C fan/390F/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 15 minutes until golden.

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Rice and couscous cutlets — June 5, 2019

Rice and couscous cutlets

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I come from a family that very, very rarely throws away any food. Hate is a strong word but I think it’s very fair to say we hate waste. Leftovers are frozen, eaten on another day or converted into some sort of concoction, this being one. What to do with left over rice and couscous? Add a few store cupboard ingredients, throw in some herbs/spices/veg, and within minutes you have a tasty snack.

Serves 2- 3

Vegan

Freezing – suitable

These cutlets are delicious served on toasted bread, topped with a handful of fresh salad leaves and dollops of the punchy green garlic and chive raita. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

250g cooked couscous

150g plain rice (mine was white)

½ teaspoon chilli flakes (you could use powder/cayenne pepper/1/2 green chilli instead)

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon coriander powder

½ teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)

2 heaped tablespoons finely chopped coriander

1 tablespoon gram flour

3 spring onions, finely chopped

50g peas, cooked and slightly crushed

50 ml rapeseed oil

You will need a medium/large frying pan

Method

  1. Place a single layer of kitchen towel on a large plate, set aside.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl, mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Make small cutlets with all of the mixture. (Put these on a large plate/tray. I find it’s much easier to have them all of the cutlets ready in advance. You could also do this ahead and place them in the fridge).
  4. Heat the oil in a pan, place a few cutlets into the pan, and cook gently on both sides until golden brown. Drain on the kitchen towel. Repeat the process with the rest of the cutlets.
  5. These cutlets freeze well, layer them between pieces of cereal packet paper. Defrost, and re-heat gently in a pan, until warmed through.

 

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Green garlic and chive raita

Ingredients

200g Greek/plain yogurt (I always buy Yeo valley organic yogurt)

Small handful of green garlic and chives, finely chopped

Method

  1. Place the yogurt onto a plate, mix most of the chives and green garlic into the yogurt, save  some to sprinkle on top.
  2. Dust with some crushed pink peppercorns.
‘Scraper’ pakoras with rainbow chard raita — May 16, 2019

‘Scraper’ pakoras with rainbow chard raita

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My daughter, who is currently studying for her finals, returned home unexpectedly last weekend, agitated, unable to revise in peace as her pesky neighbours have been creating a lot of noise at unearthly hours for a number of weeks.  Time for some quick comfort food, I thought. I had some pre-boiled “scrapers” (small new potatoes from Osterley Park farmshop) in the fridge, I simply sliced them, then gave them a good coating of gram flour, salt and chilli powder. Gram flour is a key ingredient in a lot of Indian cooking (both sweet and savoury), it’s very healthy as it’s made from ground chick peas, and does not contain any gluten. These pakoras took minutes to prepare, with minimal effort and fuss. The verdict from my daughter – “To be honest they’re not very Indian and I have tasted something similar at Leon’s, but they are still really delicious!” I was not certain whether I should be flattered or dismayed. But hopefully the taste will speak for itself.

I also visited Twickenham Farmers Market for a change and greater selection of produce. I was immediately drawn to the rainbow chard. This has got to be one of the most beautiful vegetables, the colours are  staggeringly vibrant and I bought 2 large bunches.

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(See tip below)

‘Scraper’ pakoras

Preparation – 10 – 12 minutes

Cooking – 10 minutes

Vegan (buy alternative yoghurt

Gluten free

Freezing – not suitable

Ingredients

500g new potatoes – boiled and cooled (this can be done a day in advance)

40g gram flour

¼ teaspoon turmeric

¾ teaspoon salt

Just under ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chilli powder

100ml vegetable oil

You will need a large frying pan

 

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Method

  1. Slice the potatoes (thickness of a £1 coin), place in a bowl. Sift the gram flour onto the potatoes. Then add the salt and cayenne pepper/chilli powder. Mix these well, I found the best way was to toss them in the bowl. Be gentle, otherwise the potatoes will break. You basically want to ensure that the potatoes have a coating of the flour mixture.
  2. Place a piece of kitchen roll on a plate. Set aside. Put the oil into the pan, once heated place the potatoes, don’t over crowd the pan, and gently fry on both sides until they are a beautiful golden colour. You will need to do this is in a few batches, depending on the size of your pan. Place the pakoras on the plate lined with kitchen towel. If eating immediately, store them in a warm place.

 

 

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Rainbow chard raita with a tangy tamarind topping

Ingredients

200g – Greek yogurt (I always buy Yeo valley organic yogurt)

Handful of rainbow swiss chard, very finely chopped (you can substitute this for spinach or rocket if you prefer)

Chaat masala (available in supermarkets)

Method

  1. Place the yogurt onto a plate, top with the yoghurt, then the rainbow chard and a good sprinkling of chaat masala.

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Tips

I had bought 2 large bunches of rainbow chard, however, was not going to use it all. One of the things that I learnt from my mother and aunty was the benefits of freezing food. It has saved me a lot of time in the kitchen and often been a saving factor for a last minute meal. This is why frozen food is so good for you, some of this information has been extracted from Sue Quinn’s article in BBC Good Food magazine, April 2019 issue:

  • Frozen food can be equally or even more nutritious than some fresh produce (Research by Chester University’s Institute of Food Science and Innovation found the vitamin C levels in frozen and just-picked blueberries stored in the fridge for 3 days showed a significant decrease in vitamin C)
  • Convenient for a last minute meal
  • Enables you to eat food that is not in season
  • Portion control  – enables you to freeze portions in accordance with amount required
  • Reduces food wastage
  • Saves preparation time

 

Finally, if you fancy something a bit healthier than the  ‘scraper pakoras’ this raita also pairs wonderfully with our tofu pilau recipe!

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Tofu and spinach pakoras — May 6, 2019

Tofu and spinach pakoras

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I’m really hoping that the inclusion of yet another recipe with tofu will not lead some to say I am a “one trick pony” but of late I have started experimenting more with tofu, given its health properties and low calories. Pakoras are delectable, morsels of deep fried crispy bites, usually made of potato spinach, onion and spices. I wanted to get all of the taste of a pakora but make a healthier version. It’s not very often that I am pleased with a recipe at its first attempt, but I was really delighted with this!

Freezing – suitable

Vegan

Serve with a sweet and sour tamarind chutney

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Ingredients 

300g firm tofu (drained of water – see recipe for tofu and purple sprouting broccoli) – cut into 1 cm cubes (I really like the texture of the Marks and Spencer version)

140g gram flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

60g spinach – finely chopped (freeze the rest)

½ heaped teaspoon minced garlic

½ heaped teaspoon minced ginger

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chilli powder or fresh minced green chilli

1 teaspoon chaat masala (available in supermarkets)

½ teaspoon carom seeds (optional)

1 small onion – chopped into thin slices

200ml warm water

125 ml vegetable oil

You will need a large frying pan, a sieve and medium-sized mixing bowl

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Method

1. Place a single layer of kitchen towel on a large plate, set aside.

2. Place all of the ingredients save the tofu and water in the mixing bowl, ensure all of the gram flour is evenly distributed and does not contain any lumps. This is best done with just the fingertips of one hand, alternatively you can use a large metal spoon.

3. Then add the tofu pieces, mix slowly and carefully – be very gentle, you don’t want the tofu pieces to break. Finally add the water, mix carefully again. You will end up with a pancake-like batter.

4. Place 100ml of the oil in the frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once the oil has heated (this should take no more than a couple of minutes at the most), slowly place a tablespoon of the mixture into the frying pan. Don’t worry about the shape – these pakoras have a rustic charm! I find it best to use my fingertips to do this, but you may prefer to do this with a spoon. Once the underside is a nice golden brown, turn them over. You want to ensure that all of the sides of the pakora are cooked. You may wish to only cook one pakora at first, and then taste it in case you want to add more spices or seasoning. Each batch should take a few minutes at the most. Drain well and place on the plate with the kitchen towel. Store in a warm place if eating them immediately.

5. You will probably need to do this in 3- 4 batches, depending on the size of your pan. Discard any stray small pieces of the pakora in the pan before you cook your next batch. You may need to add the remaining oil before you cook your third batch.

6. These pakoras freeze well, layer them between pieces of cereal packet paper. Defrost, and re-heat gently in a pan, until warmed through.

Tamarind chutney

this can be made well in advance, it keeps well for weeks in a jar in the fridge.

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3 tablespoons of tamarind paste (available in supermarkets)

3 tablespoons of sugar

Salt and cayenne pepper/chilli powder to taste

60 ml water

Method

Place all of the ingredients into a small pan, on a high heat. Stir so that the sugar is dissolved. Then remove from the heat. Add a pinch of salt and chilli powder, adjust seasoning to taste. Let it cool.

Fragrant new potato curry — April 25, 2019

Fragrant new potato curry

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One of the drawbacks I have noticed about seasonal cooking, as I bemoaned earlier in the year to my dear farmer friend, Liz, who has been guiding me about what is in season, was that it was all rather the same. And to be honest, coming from my Punjabi/East African background, where we are used to a plethora of exotic vegetables, I was finding it bit of a constraint/challenge. However, as time has gone on, I am now really relishing and indeed enjoying the challenge of having to think outside the box and coming up with alternative recipes of equally delicious seasonal food that I hope you will enjoy.

Liz, together with her husband, Rob, run Glebe farm, and an award -winning farm shop that was featured as one of Britain’s top 50 farm shops in the South West in The Daily Telegraph in 2009. They were also featured last year in an exhibition organised by global farming initiative The Gaia Foundation at the Oxo Tower entitled “We Feed The World.” Little did I know that smallholder farmers provide food for 70 per cent of the world’s population. The exhibition featured more than 400 images by 40 award-winning photographers, and nearly 50 farming communities from six continents were included in the exhibition, with the show aiming to challenge the idea that larger-scale industry and “quick-fix” technologies are the route to feeding the world’s growing population. Liz and Rob were featured in this superb exhibition.

Two weeks ago, after my park run, I made my usual trip to Osterley Park Farm Shop. I was delighted to see these new potatoes –  “scrapers” (so called because the skin of the potato can quite literally be scraped with your fingers/nails). You will also find these new potatoes keep their shape once cut and cooked. As these new potatoes are so flavoursome, in my opinion to enjoy them at their optimum, they require little by way of spices and seasoning, hence only ground fenugreek is used. My mum makes these, often for a sumptuous meal with chick pea curry and crisp, fluffy puris.

Fenugreek is reported to reduce blood sugar levels. Please note that it is a pungent spice, so do stick to the quantity I have specified. If you wish to decrease the carb level in this recipe, throw in a handful of frozen peas/broad beans.

These potatoes are also delicious with plain parontahs , yogurt and pickles.

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Serves 4 – 6

Preparation time: 5 plus minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Freezing – not suitable

Vegan/gluten-free

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Ingredients

1kg new potatoes (washed and cut into small, even-sized pieces)

3 tablespoons rapeseed oil

¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek (available in supermarkets)

¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chilli powder or 1 fresh green chilli, sliced in half

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

You will need a large frying pan with a lid

Method

Place the oil in the pan, once heated, add the ground fenugreek, stir until it is a light brown. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and lower the heat to medium-low. Place the lid on the pan. Stir after every 4 – 5 minutes, if any pieces are sticking to the bottom of the pan, just add a splash of water. It will take approximately 15 – 20 minutes to cook (depends on the size of your potato cubes – the smaller they are, the quicker they will cook). The final result will be a dish of potatoes that are a beautiful golden colour, and a delicate flavour.

NB – I had some left over spring onions, which I added at the last minute as a garnish, however, that’s purely optional.  

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Tofu and kale pilau with kale and yogurt raita — April 6, 2019

Tofu and kale pilau with kale and yogurt raita

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Here is another invention of clever aunty and her fusion cooking. She uses tofu as a substitute for paneer in a lot of recipes. In the summer the kale can be substituted for peppers, red and green add a nice contrast of colours. However, I have adapted the recipe ever so slightly by lightly frying the tofu in a mixture of chilli and sesame seeds. I created the raita with the leftover kale. I had bought a 150g pack of Pentland Brig kale from Waitrose as I wanted to purchase kale grown here in the UK. You may wish to check the packaging. My mum will often use spinach to make a raita, and as we hate waste, I thought it would be a good idea to use it immediately as a raita always makes a nice accompaniment. You can also serve the pilau with any pickles of your choice and a side of finely sliced onions drizzled in some lemon/vinegar.

 

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: approx. 12 – 14 minutes

Freezing – not suitable

Vegan

As with most of our recipes containing tofu, this can be substituted for paneer if desired.

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Ingredients

300g tofu (drain water – see tofu bhurji recipe), cut into large cubes, I had bought this tofu from Marks and Spencer and found it had a really good texture

100g kale (thick stalks removed and roughly shredded)

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chilli powder

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1 medium onion – roughly chopped

4 black cardamoms (bash these with a rolling pin so that you also get the seeds)

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

8-10 cloves

1 level teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chilli powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

5 tablespoons of mild salsa (if you want a kick use hot salsa)

2 – 3 cinnamon sticks (should be about 1 inch in length)

1 cup rice (we use the American cup size, weighs 210g – you can use any cup/small mug, and just use that to measure the water)

3 – 3.5 tablespoons of sunflower oil

A large non-stick frying pan is ideal

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Method

1. Place the cayenne pepper/chilli powder and the sesame seeds on a large plate, mix. Lightly coat the tofu pieces in this mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan and gently fry the tofu pieces, ensuring all of the sides of the tofu are a nice golden colour. You may need to do this in 2 batches, and you may need to top up with a little more oil for the second batch. Drain on a piece of kitchen paper. Wipe the plan clean. This stage can be done a day in advance or omitted if you prefer.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil on a medium heat, add the spices. They will sizzle and release a lovely aroma. Please note that the roasting of spices should always be on a low to medium heat, otherwise they will burn and result in a bitter flavour.

3. Add the onions and kale, salt, turmeric and cayenne/chilli powder – sauté for about 5 minutes. Whilst this is sautéing, wash the rice several times in cold water until the water runs clear.

4. Add the salsa to the mixture, and then the tofu. Stir gently, otherwise the tofu will break. Add the rice and 2 cups of water. Stir and dip a spoon into the liquid, taste to check you are happy with the seasoning. Add more salt/chilli if desired.

5. Cover with a lid, bring the rice to a rapid boil, and then turn the heat down to low-medium. After a further 5 minutes turn the heat down to its lowest setting.

6. Stir gently after about 10 minutes. Tip – if you place a flat frying pan/tawa under the frying pan, your rice will never stick! The rice should be cooked after approximately 12 – 14 minutes; it should be nice and fluffy and the grains should be separate.

NB – remember do not eat the whole spices.

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Kale and apple raita

300ml plain yogurt (I always use Yeo valley organic yoghurt) – substitute alternative if vegan

50g kale (remove tough stalks)

1 small apple, tart if possible (cut into very small pieces)

Roasted coriander seeds to garnish – optional (dry roast these in a small frying pan)

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Method

1. Steam the kale for no more than a minute, pat dry on kitchen towel/clean tea-towel to remove excess moisture. Cut finely once cooled.

2. Place the kale, apple and yogurt in a bowl, mix, add salt to taste. Chill before serving.

If you wish, dry roast some coriander seeds in a small pan, and when cool, sprinkle over the yoghurt.

NB – I had run out of yoghurt, and so this was a really thick raita! You can always add more yoghurt if you like though, there are no hard and fast rules. Whatever takes your fancy.

Omelette – Punjabi style — March 13, 2019

Omelette – Punjabi style

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We strongly recommend that these omelettes are served with our delicious parontahs!

Serves 4 (will make 8 small omelettes)

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

Freezing – not suitable

Vegetarian

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Ingredients

7 large eggs (preferably free range or organic)

I small onion, finely chopped

2 heaped tablespoons coriander, finely chopped (available in pots which are grown in the UK, in the summer I have also thrown in some chives from the garden)

¾ teaspoon of salt

1 green chilli – finely chopped/1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (depend on how fiery you want it to be)

½ teaspoon of coriander powder

½ teaspoon of cumin powder

You will need a small frying pan and spatula, a ladle, as well as oil to cook them

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Method

1. Line a plate with a sheet of kitchen towel. Set aside.

2. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Whisk well, add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.

3. Heat just under ½ a teaspoon oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add 1 small ladle of the omelette mixture into the pan, tilt it gently from one side to another so that the base of the pan is coated with the omelette mixture. Let the mixture cook for about 30 – 40 seconds, then, using a spatula or ladle, very gently flip it onto the other side. Cook for a further 30 – 40 seconds. Transfer gently onto the lined plate.

4. Repeat the process with the rest of the mixture. Place in a warm oven if eating straightaway.

NB – the first omelette is often a bit tricky, and may stick to the pan, but don’t worry after that it should be fine.

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To serve

Place each omelette onto a warmed parontah. Fold it in half.

Serve with a pickle/chutney of your choice and a steaming mug of chai masala tea.

Plain parontahs —

Plain parontahs

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We very much recommend that these are served in conjunction with our Punjabi omelette!

A few weeks ago I was admonished by my lovely niece; she said that the blog was not “Punjabi enough.” I differed, and explained the purpose/ethos of the blog and the range of recipes published thus far – an equal balance of non-Indian and Indian. She still disagreed. So, in order to pacify her, I am sharing a recipe that are highly popular in our Punjabi kitchen. It’s a staple food in Indian cuisine, and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I defy anyone to resist these crispy layered flatbreads, delicious eaten with a knob of butter that gently melts and oozes onto the parontah. They can be eaten with any of the curries we have published and a pickle. Or even with some jam; that was a childhood favourite, perhaps not entirely confined to childhood though……….

Parontahs, whether they are plain or stuffed, are also an absolute favourite of my daughter. The combination of a parontah and omelette is a good old family tradition. Any journey – whether it be abroad or in the UK, (even to the Midlands to take your child to university!) calls for these delicious morsels, along with a piping hot flask of chai masala. Simply wrap them in a sheet of kitchen roll, which is then placed on a similar-sized square of foil, and hey presto, you will be hooked and never want to pack a sandwich again. Please don’t be daunted by the recipe, I have set them out in steps that are easy to follow.

Serves 4 (if having 2 parontahs each and 2 to spare for another day!)

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 35 minutes

Vegan – use suitable alternative to butter

Freezing – suitable, parontahs only. Layer them between sheets of cut cereal bags/parchment paper and they will last for up to 3 months

You will need a medium-sized frying pan, preferably non-stick or a heavy coated or a tava (an Indian frying pan), rolling pin, spatula or tongs and a pastry brush.

Ingredients

400g flour – I use medium brown which is available from Indian stores/large supermarkets, or use a mixture of half wholemeal and half plain flour – plus extra flour for rolling the parontahs

1 level teaspoon salt

I tablespoon sunflower oil, plus more for cooking (you can use olive or rapeseed oil)

260-270 ml warm water to bind the dough

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

Method

1. Put the flour/flours in a large bowl, sprinkle the salt evenly. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and mix it with your fingertips so the oil has incorporated into the flour. Gradually add enough water to bind the mixture – you will need approximately 260-270ml, it really will depend on the type of flour that you are using. The dough should come together, and the sides of your bowl should be clean with a minimal trace of flour. Knead in the bowl for a few minutes so that you have a soft and pliable dough. Set aside for 10 minutes. Cover with a clean tea-towel .(In Punjabi we say that is for the dough “to set”).

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2. Make space on your counter so that you can roll the parontahs and have easy access to the rest of the ingredients . You will need to do the following:

a. Place 5 -6 heaped tablespoons of flour onto a plate.

b. Place 3 tablespoons of oil into a bowl.

c. Have the softened butter ready in a bowl.

d. Place a sheet of kitchen roll onto a large plate. (To stack your parontahs)

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3. Dust your fingertips of both hands with a little flour. Roll out the dough into a long baguette shape, cut it into even sizes. You should get 10 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball, and lightly dip this on both sides in a little bit of flour; set aside on one side of your counter. (I had a GBBO moment and placed the balls onto weighing scales – they should be around 65 – 68g in weight if you want to be really precise!

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4. Dust your counter and fingertips lightly with some more flour. Lightly dust your counter with some more flour as well. Flatten the ball by pressing it into the palm of your hand so that you have a circle. Place this on the counter and roll the circle evenly so that it is approximately 19 – 20cm. Don’t worry if it’s smaller. Using the tip of a knife/small spatula, lightly spread the circle with the softened butter, then sprinkle some flour onto this.

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5. Working your way from the top of the circle, roll it into a long tube and twist it (so that it almost resembles a breadstick), and then roll it into a tight coil, ensuring that the end piece is firmly tucked into the middle of the coil. Set aside on the side of the counter, again lightly dusting each side. Repeat the process for the remaining balls.

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6. Place a further light dusting of flour onto the counter. Roll the coil evenly as possible, you want to end up with a circle approximately 18cm in diameter. Don’t worry if the circle is not as round as you would like. Practice really does make perfect, and as I jokingly tell my daughter, don’t worry if it resembles the Indian/African continent, that’s part of their charm!

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7. If making these for the first time, I would suggest having a couple of the parontahs ready, as the actual cooking process does not take long.

8. Heat the frying pan on a medium – high heat, lower to medium when the pan is hot. Gently place the parontah into the pan. After a short while you will soon see the underside is cooking, it will puff up and the parontah will have changed colour. Flip over gently using a spatula/tongs. Cook until the underside has also changed colour, say another 40 seconds or so. Now brush the upper side lightly with oil, flip over. Repeat the process with the other side. Both sides should have an even coat of oil. You may need to flip them again a couple of times on both sides to ensure it is cooked properly on both sides; your parontah is ready when both sides are a light golden colour, with specks of brown.

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9. Transfer onto a plate, and keep it in a warm place if eating immediately.

Tips

The dough can be prepared in advance for 1 day, store it in a sealed container in the fridge, or it can be frozen. If it has been in the fridge, take it out 10 – 15 mins before cooking. Ideally it should be at room temperature; that makes the dough pliable and easier to roll.

The recipe can be doubled if you want to make an extra batch.

If your dough looks dry, gradually add some more water. If it has become sticky, add a little bit of extra flour and knead again.

Purple sprouting broccoli and tofu curry — March 4, 2019

Purple sprouting broccoli and tofu curry

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This week it’s back to further seasonal cooking and time to enjoy some purple sprouting broccoli!

Tofu is a strange ingredient, and to be honest I compare it to Marmite. You either love it or hate it, and to date that is the reaction I have come across from most people. However, its health properties and low calories should not be ignored. So I have devised a recipe that I hope will place you in the latter category.

One of the things I have noticed is that although the vegetables I cook with are seasonal in the UK, (and I am able to purchase it from my local farm shop), when I went to some of the larger supermarkets I was really surprised to see that despite being in season here, they are either from Spain or Morocco. So please do try and look at the packaging whenever possible.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Freezing – not suitable

Gluten free – be sure to buy a suitable alternative to chapatti or naan, or serve with plain boiled rice
Please note that in all my tofu recipes, the tofu can easily be swapped for paneer instead.

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Ingredients

200 – 250g purple sprouting broccoli (discard the thick/woody stems, cut into even-sized pieces and keep the leaves if they look fresh)

I pack of paneer or tofu

1 – ½ tablespoons of rapeseed oil
For the tomato sauce

1 tin of tomatoes

1 – 2 tablespoons of tomato puree (crushed or I blitz them with a hand blender)

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 inch ginger – finely chopped/minced (please note that it is perfectly accepted to use ready minced – there are some good quality ones available, especially if it will mean there will be no wastage

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped/minced (please see comments above)

½ green chilli or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 level teaspoon cumin seeds

1 – 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice – optional

A large non-stick frying pan is ideal to prepare the curry, you will need another saucepan and a steamer to steam the broccoli

Method

Prepare the tofu/paneer

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1. Heat the oil into a frying pan on a medium – high heat. If using tofu, pat it with a clean tea-towel or kitchen roll to remove any excess moisture. Cut into even –sized pieces. Once the oil is hot, gently put in the tofu/paneer pieces. You will need to turn them reasonably frequently so that they are a nice golden brown colour on all sides. You will need to do this in two batches, and may need to add a little more oil for the second batch. Drain on some kitchen towel.

Make the tomato sauce.

2. Wipe the pan clean. On a medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. After 20 seconds or so add the garlic and ginger. Stir constantly so that it does not burn, say for about 30 seconds. Add the cumin seeds, fry for a further 30 seconds or so. There will be a lovely aroma by now. Then add the blended tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, turmeric and green chilli/cayenne pepper and stir well. Turn the heat up, and once it starts to bubble, reduce the heat. Cover. Cook for a few minutes until you achieve a fairly thick sauce. Take it off the heat, adjust seasoning to taste.

Prepare the broccoli

3. Put some water to boil in a kettle. Once boiled, pour it into the pan with the steamer. Add the broccoli. Cover and keep the heat medium. Watch it like a hawk, the last thing you want is mushy broccoli! I steam mine for 2 minutes only – (it will cook further once you add the sauce). Remove from the steamer and set out on a large plate/tray.

4. Just before serving, heat the tomato sauce. Add the tofu/paneer, stir gently so that it is coated with the sauce otherwise the pieces may break. Add the broccoli and give it even more TLC as it is very tender. Heat through until it is hot. If desired, sprinkle some fresh lemon juice at the end.

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Tips

The tomato sauce can be prepared 2 – 3 days in advance or frozen. Just defrost before use. The tofu/paneer can also be fried beforehand and frozen if desired, although I would not recommend freezing the tofu.