Aloo Gobi

Cauliflower is so in right now. From pizza bases and buffalo wings to fried rice and nuggets, the humble cauliflower has been reinvented and is currently the trendiest vegetable around (move over kale). I’d like to point out I’ve been a fan from a young age (no bandwagon jumping here).

Cauliflower or gobi has been a regular part of my diet and in Indian cookery it’s used to make everything from curries and pakoras to pickles and paratha stuffings. Gobi Aloo is a quintessential Punjabi dish and ticks all of the boxes. With a super simple preparation and a limited number of spices, it’s unbelievably satisfying and really nutritious (without tasting like it!). Served up with some hot chapatis it’s a winner every time. Give it a go-bi! Sorry couldn’t resist…I’ll stop typing now. 

Gobi Aloo
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 5 tbsp oil
  2. 1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing (optional)
  3. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 2" ginger, grated
  5. 4 tbsp tomato passata
  6. 1 green chilli finely chopped
  7. 3 medium potatoes cut into bitesize chunks slightly smaller than cauliflower florets (I like to use red/desiree)
  8. 1 medium cauliflower cut into bitesize florets
  9. 1/4 cup peas
  10. 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  11. 1/4 tsp paprika
  12. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  13. 1 tsp garam masala
  14. 1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder
  15. Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Once hot add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. When they begin to splatter, add the ginger and cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden.
  2. Now add the pasata and chilli and cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the potatoes, mix and place a lid on the pan. Cook on a low/medium heat setting for approx 5 minutes.
  4. Now, add the cauliflower florets along with peas, salt, paprika and turmeric. Mix together and once again place lid on the pan.
  5. Cook on a low heat setting for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. (Keep an eye on the pan -if the vegetables are catching, you can add a little more oil or a splash of water).
  7. The vegetables should be completely tender once cooked. Now add the garam masala, amchur and fresh coriander and place a lid on the pan again. Allow the flavour of the spices and fresh coriander to infuse for 10 minutes and then mix before serving.
  8. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Finish with fresh coriander.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

INDIAN SCOTCH EGGS

When it comes to Diwali, I love to greet my guests with a table laden with finger food and snacks. The aim of the evening is to feed them until they’re so full they have to roll home, so I have to start in the night the right way!
As part of my Diwali feast this year, I will be making a fusion dish that brings a spicy twist to a quintessential British snack – the Scotch Egg. Replacing the traditional meat covering with spicy potatoes, the Indian scotch egg is a mouth watering variation on the classic. The first time I tried these was in Kolkata and it blew my mind. The flavour, the heat, the concept…I was transported to a place of pure bliss!

Though the list of ingredients runs slightly on the longer side, I thankfully have an Asda* near me where I can do all my shopping in one go. With all the ingredients in place, let’s get cooking.  Remember, you can make this simple yet sumptuous starter for Diwali in a jiffy and without spending a fortune. Just pop into your nearest Asda and make the most of their Diwali offers! 

*Although I have been sponsored to write this post, I am an actual Asda customer and can genuinely vouch for the variety of Indian products at their stores. 

Dimer Devil | Indian Scotch Eggs
Yields 5
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Ingredients
  1. 5 small/medium eggs
Potato coating
  1. 2 large potatoes (approx 450g potatoes), boiled, peeled & mashed with a fork
  2. Salt to taste
  3. ½ tsp chili powder
  4. ½ tsp garam masala
  5. ½ tsp coriander powder
  6. 1 birds eye green chilli, finely chopped
  7. Small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  8. 4 tbsp oil
  9. 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  10. 1 tsp garlic paste
  11. 1 tsp ginger paste
Coating
  1. 1 egg for egg wash, beaten with 2 tbsp of water
  2. 2 slices of bread made intro crumbs/100g panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt
You will also need
  1. Sunflower oil for deep frying
How to
  1. 1. Place eggs in pan full of water and bring to boil. Set timer for 7 minutes. Remove eggs from heat and immediately place in a bowl of cold water. Once cooled, carefully peel them.
  2. 2. Place the potatoes, dry spices, chilli and coriander in a bowl and mix well.
  3. 3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden. Now add the mashed potato and mix to incorporate everything.. Continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Taste for salt & adjust if you need to.
  4. 4. Once cool, divide mixture into 5 balls. Next, wrap each potato ball evenly around each egg.
  5. 5. Then place the eggs and breadcrumbs into 2 separate plates.
  6. 6. Dip a potato wrapped egg into the beaten egg, followed by the breadcrumbs.
  7. 7. Carefully place into a pan filled halfway with of oil at 160ºC (medium heat). Repeat with the next egg. Cook a couple at a time for 4-5 minutes or until crisp and golden all over. Remove and drain on a wire tray/kitchen paper.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

CHICKEN JALFREZI

Since I got married I have been learning my husband’s mother tongue of Bengali. I grew up speaking Hindi (and “Hinglish”); although both languages stem from the ancient language of Sanskrit, they are very different. My high school French teacher once told me I had a natural “flair for languages” but as an adult, it’s safe to say I have lost said flair!

It’s okay though. I have accepted that mastering the language is more of a long-term goal. I can say “I’m hungry” and “What’s for dinner?” – so important key phrases are in the bank. In the short-term, learning how to recreate my mother in law’s amazing Bengali dishes are more of a pressing matter (er priorities…hello?). 

Today’s recipe is not from her cookbook, but rather one that Jan, one of my cookery class students, asked me how to teach her. It’s a curry house fav in the UK and I found it fun to recreate at home. A dry, spicy chicken dish cooked with peppers and onions – it has crunch, colour and flavour all packed into one! Fun fact – the “jal” comes from the Bengali word “jhal” which means spicy (see I am learning!). Enjoy the recipe below lovely people.

 

Chicken Jalfrezi
Serves 4
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For the chicken marinade
  1. 500g skinned chicken thighs, cut into small bite-size pieces
  2. 2 heaped tbsp yoghurt
  3. 1 tbsp oil
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp garam masala
  6. ½ tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek (optional)
For the sauce
  1. 3 tbsp ghee or oil
  2. 2 green cardamoms crushed open (optional)
  3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 1 onion, thinly sliced
  5. 1 1/4tsp salt
  6. 3 garlic cloves peeled and grated
  7. 2” ginger, grated
  8. 2 green bird eye chillies, finely chopped
  9. 3 fresh tomatoes, finely diced
  10. 1 tbsp double concentrate tomato purée
  11. ½ tsp garam masala
  12. ½ tsp coriander powder
  13. ½ tsp paprika
  14. ½ tsp turmeric
  15. 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  16. ½ red pepper thinly sliced
  17. Handful fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your grill at the maximum temperature setting. Place all "marinade" ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Now, place the marinated chicken on a foil lined oven tray.
  2. Grill chicken for 10-12 minutes until cooked (the chicken should be white all the way through once fully cooked).
  3. Remove from grill and keep aside.
  4. Heat the ghee or oil in pan on a medium heat setting. Once hot add the crushed green cardamoms and cumin seeds. When they begin to sizzle in the oil, add the onion along with ¾ tsp salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
  5. Now add the garlic, ginger and chilli and mix. Continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and purée to the pan and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes allowing them to completely soften.
  7. Reduce heat slightly and add the garam masala, coriander powder, paprika, turmeric and the remaining salt and mix well. When you see the oil begin to separate from the masala paste, add the grilled chicken and the sliced peppers.
  8. Mix well on a medium/high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh coriander. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/