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/

Spicy Urad Dal Lentil Pakoras

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“The World is much smaller than what it used to be”… or so I keep hearing.  The number of conversations that seem to start with “Back in MY day…. blah blah blah”, seems to be growing daily… and even my brother (he’s only 18 months older than me) is getting in on the act.  What prompted this morning’s historic lamenting was the hour-long conversation I had with my Grandma in Jaipur on Skype! That’s right… I have a techno-Gran! No “Telegram” (what is that?) or faded blue-paper air-mail to keep in touch for us. My Gran is getting younger by the day, and is mos-def moving with the times!
 
Having said that… somethings never change. It still takes half an hour to get a decent connection, and the conversation still starts with the obligatory, and reassuringly loud “Haaalllllloooooo Monnneeeeee. Kaise hi tu? Vot time izit in UK?”
 
We caught up. She told me how her neighbour’s younglings were stealing mangos from the tree in the garden (as I said… some things never change-this is one of my favourite pastimes too!), and I relayed my trials of love, life and of course…food.
 
What a great way to start the day-what could top that? Well, very little in my book, but I did go on to make myself some Dal Pakoras and some cardamom chai. Bliss. If you haven’t tried them yet, well… get it sorted! Moreish, spiced and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside…yep, I’m going to eat some more before my brother gets hold of them!
 
 
Enjoy the recipe, and let me know what you think!
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Spicy Urad Dal Pakoras
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup of urad lentils ("split white washed urad" is the variety you will need)
  2. 4 tbsp water
  3. 3 green chillis (can vary according to your personal preference), roughly chopped
  4. 2" ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  5. Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  6. 1 small onion, finely diced
  7. 3/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  9. 1tsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  10. Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  11. Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Soak urad lentils for 3-4 hours. Then wash well and rinse.
  2. Add ginger & chilli to a food processor and grind briefly until coarsely ground. Remove and place into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Now add the urad lentils to the food processor along with the water. Grind for a good 2-3 minutes until a thick, smooth paste forms. It should be similar to the consistency of humous. Empty into the mixing bowl containing the chills & ginger.
  4. To the bowl, add the fresh coriander, onions, salt, paprika, coriander seeds and asafoetida.
  5. Using one hand, mix the mixture for 2-3 minutes until all of the ingredients are well combined
  6. Heat oil in a pan on low/medium heat. Once hot, using your hand, drop medium sized balls of the mixture about 3" wide into the oil. If you prefer, you may use a tablespoon. Ensure you leave a little room between each pakora and that the pan is not too overcrowded.
  7. Once all of the pakoras rise to the top of the pan, turn them over using a metal slotted spoon. Allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. You should now begin to see the colour of the pakoras change so they are golden. Once you see this, turn each pakora over an continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  8. Once the pakoras are golden all the way around, remove from oil and drain on a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  9. Serve hot with tamarind chutney or tomato ketchup!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

 

 

Easy Paneer, Peppers & Cabbage Masala

cabbage paneer capsicum

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (I definitely have) but I love paneer! The beauty of this traditional Indian cheese is its sheer versatility. It’s mild in flavour and as a result absorbs spices particularly well. This recipe is an extremely quick and easy way of making a delicious and satisfying meal in minutes. It’s colourful, flavourful and filling and the crunchiness of the vegetables perfectly compliments the creaminess of the paneer…in essence this dish works! Give it a try and do share your thoughts with me.

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Serves 4-6

What we need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
250g paneer, cut into 1″ cubes
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 green & 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp ground ginger powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Handful fresh coriander

How we do:

  • Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and when they begin to splatter, add the garlic and cook until slightly golden. Now add the paneer and cook for 2-3 minutes , stirring constantly until it turns golden brown.
  • Now add the capsicum, onion, cabbage and cheese. Mix well for 1-2 minutes. Now add the tomato puree, salt, ground ginger powder, chilli powder. Mix and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle on fresh coriander and serve with chapatis or stuff with salad into a wrap.