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/

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.

photo 2

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.

Keema Aloo Mattar Masala (Spicy Minced Lamb, Potato & Peas)

keema mattar

When I got home from work on Sunday night (that’s right I work on Sundays booo), I was starving. And of course when you’re particularly hungry you never have anything in the fridge. Well, technically I did, but the only thing I was really in the mood for making was…a reservation so I didn’t even bother to look. As my id and super-ego battled out my dinner options, it suddenly dawned on me that I had bought home some fresh lamb mince the day before. I was then overcome with a massive craving for Keema Aloo Matter Masala (a classic Punjabi spicy minced lamb, potato & peas dish). It’s an amazingly simple yet flavourful dish and tastes so good with accompanying fresh chapatis or bread to soak up all the deliciousness. If there any vegetarians reading, this recipe is great as the lamb can be replaced with minced soya. Never wanting to leave anyone out-how sweet am I? 🙂

Enjoy the recipe and please do comment or tweet me your thoughts!

Serves 4-6

What we need:

4-5tbsp Olive oil
1kg minced lamb
4 medium sized potatoes, boiled and quartered
1 cup peas
3 bay leaves
1/4 cinnamon stick
2 black cardamoms (optional)
5-6 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 onions, finely chopped
2 green chillis, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
3″ fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
2-3 tsp salt or according to taste
1.5 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika powder
Handful fresh coriander

How we do:
– Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wide open pan. Once hot add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamoms, peppercorns and cumin seeds. When they begin to splatter, add the mince and mix well. -Add 1 tsp of salt and cook for 4-6 minutes stirring continuously. Place a lid on the pan and let it cook for a further 5-10 minutes and mix every couple of minutes. As the mince begins to cook it will change colour and will begin to darken. Once any excess moisture has been fully absorbed and the mince is fully cooked, turn off the heat.
-In a separate pan, heat 2-3 tbsp of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions, green chillis and 1 tsp salt. Cook the onions until they become semi golden/translucent. At this point add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
-Now add the garam masala, turmeric powder and paprika and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes at this point and mash well into the masala. When the oil begins to separate add the fresh coriander and add the mince with it and add 2 cups of water. Add the potatoes and peas at this point.
-Place a lid and bring it to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let it cook for a good 10-15 minutes stirring every few minutes.
-Check for salt and adjust accordingly to your taste.
-You are officially done! Serve with hot chapatis.