Urad & Chana Dal Masala (Spicy Punjabi Dal)

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Urad & Chana Dal Masala otherwise known as “Maa Chole ki Dal” is one that is commonly relished in Punjabi households. Made from tempering a combination of split urad dal and chana dal (split bengal gram) lentils in a typical Punjabi masala, this dish never fails to satisfy at dinner time! This is a favourite of my Pops, especially when served with red onion, raw mango pickle and fresh hot tandoori chappatis. Creamy in texture and spicy in flavour, it’s not hard to see why it tops his list (well..he doesn’t actually have a list..but if he did, it would!). Check out the recipe below. Comments/tweets are always appreciated!


Serves 4

What we need:
1/2 cup split urad dal lentils
1/2 cup chana dal lentils (aka split bengal gram)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 onion, finely chopped
2″ ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes plus 3 tbsp juice (from tin)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
Handful fresh coriander

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How to: 

  • Soak both lentils in water overnight. Wash well and rinse.
  • Add the washed lentils to a pressure cooker. Add approx 4 cups of water, 1 tsp of salt and the turmeric powder. When the first whistle goes, cook for a further 20-25 minutes. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook lentils in a pan with approx 5-6 cups of water. Cook them until they are tender and slightly mushy in texture.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the seeds begin to splatter, add the onions. Now add 1 tsp of salt and mix continuously until the onions begin to brown slightly. Once light golden, add the ginger, garlic and chilli. Mix well.
  • Now add the garam masala, paprika and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes at this point and mash them well with a wooden spoon. Continue to mix and cook for 2 minutes.
  • When you begin to see the oil separate from the masala, add the coriander and mix. You are now ready to add the masala to the cooked lentils. Once you have added the masala to the dal, mix well and add approx 1 cup water (or according to how thin/thick you would like your dal to be).
  • Bring to boil on high heat, mixing every 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  • Serve with fresh chapatis and salad.

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Indian BBQ Masala Chicken Recipe & Sainsburys Magazine Front Cover Feature

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Earlier this year, I was approached by the lovely people at Sainsburys Magazine in regards to a feature on spice inspired recipes for the Summer barbeque season for their July issue. I decided to write a recipe inspired from my Punjabi roots and created a Barbeque Masala Chicken recipe that is packed full of flavour and spice and is great cooked on the barbeque or on the grill. This recipe features a marinade made from yoghurt, fragrant Indian spices and pureed deep fried golden onion to add delicious depth. Sound like your kind of thing? Then, check out the recipe below. I also made a recipe for a simple yet satisfying Indian salsa made from radish and red onions which is refreshing and light and serves as a great accompaniment to the spicy masala chicken.

I am delighted to announce that my recipe was featured on the front cover of the magazine which I am thrilled about! The feature also included mouth watering recipes by last years Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo, Private Chef and Indian food writer, Maunika Gowardhan and Persian food writer and Supper Club host, Sabrina Ghayour so be sure to grab yourself a copy of this month’s issue!

high res 2The sun is supposed to be making an appearance this weekend so all the more reason to haul out the BBQ and get grilling. Check out my recipe below and facebook or tweet me your thoughts.

Serves 4

What we need

For the Masala Chicken:
250ml vegetable oil for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced4 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
50g root ginger, peeled & grated
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled & grated
1 whole green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sea salt
4 skinless chicken breasts
For the Salsa:
200g radishes, finely sliced
1  small red onion, thinly sliced
2 large ripe vine tomatoes, finely diced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

How to:

1) Pour the oil into a wok so it’s 3-4 cms deep and heat. Deep fry the onions on a medium-high heat for 6/7 minutes or until they  turn golden brown. Turn off the heat and leave to cook until fully golden. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Leave to cool.
2) Put the onions, olive oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic, green chilli, tomato puree and coriander into a food processor. Blitz until thick paste forms and transfer to a mixing bowl.
3) Stir in the yoghurt, paprika, turmeric, garam masala and sea salt.
4) Add the chicken breasts and turn in the marinade until well coated. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
5) Light the barbeque. For the salsa, put the radishes, tomatoes, onion, black pepper, lime juice and coriander in a bowl. Season with salt to taste and toss together.
6) Barbeque the chicken for 20-25 minutes, turning regularly, until cooked through. Serve with  the Indian salsa.

Rajasthani Spicy Potatoes

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I feel pretty blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to India so much whilst growing up. Up to the age of 16, my family and I made an annual trip to the motherland without fail! I’m also lucky that I have family that live all over India from Delhi in the north all the way to Pondicherry in the south. For those of you have visited this amazing, cultured and vibrant, country you will know how vast of a nation it is and how much everything can change as you travel from state to state. From the language to the culture and most importantly (to me anyway!) the cuisine, every region has its own stamp which marks it identity. If asked to answer, I don’t know if I could declare a favorite type of Indian cuisine of mine but with the frequency we travelled to Rajasthan (my Mum’s home state) I can safely say I have grown very found of the flavours and style of cooking this beautiful and majestic region has created! This Rajasthani potato dish is a favourite of my Mum’s and has now become one of mine too. Using fragrant ingredients such as curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin, this dish is so deliciously satisfying served with chappatis, naan or puris. Try it out and as always, comments are appreciated :).

Serves 4-6

What we need:
3 tbsp Olive oil
6 medium sized potatoes, boiled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coriander seeds, crushed
Pinch of Asafoetida powder
3″ fresh ginger, grated
1 Green chilli, finely chopped
1/2 cup Yoghurt
1.5 tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Paprika powder
2 tbsp Tomato puree
Handful fresh coriander

How we do:

  • Place the yoghurt in a bowl. Now add the salt, garam masala, turmeric and paprika powder and mix well.
  • Heat the oil in a wide open non stick pan. Once hot, add the curry leaves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida.
  • Once they begin to splatter slightly, add the ginger and chilli. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the ginger begins to brown.
  • Once fully golden, add the yoghurt paste gradually, a little bit at a time. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously on a low-medium heat.
  • Now add mix in the tomato puree. Once mixed, add the potatoes , fresh coriander and 3 cups of water. Place a lid on the pan and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Check for salt and adjust according to your taste.
  • You’re all done! Tastes amazingly good with hot puris or chappatis. Enjoy.
  • m3