Spicy Kalonji Sweet Potato Salad

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Hello I’m back! Did you miss me? You’re more than welcome to leave a comment if you did (if you didn’t…it was a rhetorical question). Yes there has been a slight hiatus but fear not, I have returned and have so much to share with you all. What have I been doing? Well, even the word epic is not effective enough of an adjective to describe how the last 18 months have been for me….

It began when I got engaged-yay! This naturally led to a ridiculous amount of “wedding preparation” (spending hours on Pinterest followed by hours of crying after receiving extortionate wedding supplier quotes). I was told by our newly-wed friends that wedding planning is an exciting and fun time for the couple and how we should enjoy the process. My other half and I rarely have serious quarrels but I remember some major disagreements along the way…there was even a full blown argument about whether the name place cards should be heart shaped and pink or dove shaped and white. We went with something completely different in the end! A lesson for any newly weds to be out there – don’t stress over the little things because when the day comes, nothing like that even matters.The big day finally came. Yes we had the Big Fat Indian Wedding and yes it was amazing!

To top it all off, immediately after the wedding, I moved out of my family home and shifted to a completely different city. That’s right I’m living with a boy now-yack! And so that brings me back to where I am today…phew.

I’m excited to share today’s recipe. Although I do most of the cooking at home, hubby does two things in the kitchen very well. Salads and cakes. Granted, they are two extremes on the health spectrum but I eat both, so it works for me! Salads have always been more of a side dish for me but thanks to him I have discovered how tasty and satisfying they can be as a main dish. My Spicy Kalonji Sweet Potato Salad is a great dish and perfect to make as a quick and healthy lunch. Satisfying, fresh, flavoursome & full of complimenting textures  – your salads need not be boring from now on!

Spicy Kalonji Sweet Potato Salad
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium sweet potatoes
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp kalonji seeds
  4. 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  5. 1/4 tsp paprika
  6. 1/4 tsp amchur/mango powder (if you don't have this use a squeeze of lemon)
  7. 2 tbsp fresh bread crumbs (optional)
  8. 1/2 bag mixed salad leaves, washed
  9. small handful of rocket leaves
  10. 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped roughly
  11. 3" cucumber, diced
  12. 1 small sweet chilli pepper, diced
  13. 7-8 olives of your choice
  14. 2 tbsp crumbled feta
  15. 1 cooked beetroot, diced
  16. 1 tsp olive oil for dressing
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes inside a plastic carrier bag and tie a knot. Pierce a hole with your finger and cook in a microwave for approximately 7 minutes. (The exact time may vary depending on your microwave and size of potatoes so cook until you can easily place a knife through them).
  2. Allow to cool then peel the skin off (you can easily peel with your fingers) and cut into bitesize chunks.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the kalonji seeds. You will begin to see them sizzle slightly. At this point, add the potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt, paprika, amchur and mix well. Sauté for a couple of minutes and add the bread crumbs and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and place potatoes on a plate and allow to cool.
  5. In a bowl, place salad leaves, sun dried tomatoes, cucumber, chilli pepper, olives and beetroot. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss. Place the tossed salad on a plate/wide bowl and add the cooled sweet potatoes on top. Sprinkle on the crumbled feta and serve!
Notes
  1. Optional: Add a little drizzle of balsamic glaze at the very end - adds a lovely sweetness & sharpness to the salad!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Punjabi Chicken & Spinach Curry

curry

As the weather begins to cool, try out this hearty and spicy Punjabi chicken and spinach curry recipe. Disclaimer: Aromas from cooking this dish may result in random hungry neighbours knocking at your door (answer at your own risk).

Punjabi Chicken & Spinach Curry
Serves 2
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For the marinade
  1. 275g chicken breast, cut into 2” chunks
  2. 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  3. 1” ginger, grated
  4. 1/2 clove ginger, grated
  5. ½ tsp salt
For the masala
  1. 1 small white onion, peeled
  2. 2” ginger
  3. 1 clove garlic
  4. 3 tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  6. 3” cinnamon stick
  7. 2 cloves
  8. 3 peppercorns
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 black cardamom
  11. 1 tsp salt
  12. 1 tsp garam masala
  13. ½ tsp paprika
  14. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  15. 2 tbsp chopped tomatoes & juice
  16. 2 tsp tomato puree
  17. ¼ cup fresh spinach leaves
  18. 1 green chilli
Instructions
  1. Turn your grill on or pre-heat your oven on the highest temperature
  2. Place all "marinade" ingredients into a bowl and mix together
  3. Place the marinated chicken on a foil lined oven tray. Grill or roast for 5-6 minutes until cooked (the chicken should be white all the way through once fully cooked)
  4. Remove from heat and cover with foil
  5. To make the masala, coarsely grind onions, ginger and garlic in a food processer
  6. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Once hot add the cumin alongside the cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf and black cardamom
  7. When they begin to sizzle in the oil, add the ground onion, ginger and garlic mixture. Add salt and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously
  8. When they turn slightly golden, add the garam masala, paprika and turmeric powder and mix well. Now add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and mash into the masala.
  9. At this point, add the grilled chicken to the masala and mix together
  10. Using a food processor, grind together the spinach and green chilli. Now add this paste to the chicken masala.
  11. Add 1/4 cup of water and cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes
  12. Serve hot with delicious chapatis. Enjoy!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Vegetarian Shahi Kofta Masala Recipe

Since The Spice Club’s feature on the Hairy Bikers, we have been inundated with requests for our Shahi Kofta Masala recipe which was shown on the episode. This is a delicious vegetarian dish that is made from fresh lotus root kofta balls cooked in a Punjabi masala and peas. You can also add paneer which adds a lovely texture and takes the dish to the another level! Fresh lotus root is usually available at most Indian and Chinese grocery shops. (If you can’t get fresh you can also get it in a tin). We have made this dish at a few of our supper clubs and we always receive rave reviews. Many guests comment on the “meaty” texture of the koftas and are surprised that it is actually vegetarian! So without further a do, check out the recipe below. Comments are always appreciated and if you make it, tweet a pic to @thespiceclub!

Serves 4

What we need: –

For the koftas:
1 lotus root (they usually come pre-packed and are about 10-12″ long)
2 tbsp gram flour (or enough to bind)
1 tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
handful fresh coriander
Oil for frying

For the paneer (optional):
1 block of paneer (approx 250g), cut into 1 inch cubes
Olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp salt (or according to taste)

For the masala:
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 green chilli, finely chopped
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen, thaw in water and strain)
Water
2 tbsp cream (optional)

How we do:

  • To make the koftas, you can follow along the video clip starting at 4.53 onwards. Peel the lotus root and grate. Transfer it onto on a clean tea towel and wrap it up. Squeeze out the excess water and place the grated lotus root into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the spices and coriander (written in the kofta ingredient list above) to the grated lotus root and gradually add the gram flour until it binds into a mixture. If you require more gram flour to bind, sprinkle in some more as you go along. Roll into balls and deep fry until light golden in colour and set aside.
  • If you want to add paneer to the dish, (this is optional), heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non stick frying pan. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add the salt and turmeric powder. Lightly fry until paneer turns golden on both sides. Remove from heat.
  • To make the masala, In a food processer, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and fresh coriander. Blitz until a coarse paste has been formed. Now heat olive oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and allow them to start sizzling. Now add the ground masala paste. Cook on medium heat until it turn, golden brown, stirring continuously. When you see the masala paste is nice and golden, add the plum tomatoes and mash well so it blends with the masala. Keep stirring and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the koftas and peas to the masala. (If you have made paneer you can add it to the masala now too).
  • Boil some water in a kettle. Add 4 cups of water to the kofta masala. Mix well. Place a lid on the pan and let it simmer for 8-12 minutes, stirring constantly. Check the salt and adjust accordingly. Drizzle the cream in just before serving and you’re done.
  • Here’s the final result. Best served with basmati rice or hot chappatis. Enjoy!