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Uncategorized – Monica's Spice Diary – Indian Food Blog

Quorn Shahi Kofta Masala

So here’s a fun fact for you – I am vegetarian every single Tuesday. It’s a discipline I’ve maintained since I was 13 and it’s just become habit now!

I have recently started to generally cut down on my consumption of meat throughout the week too and Indian cuisine tends to be my “go to”. There is such an incredible variety of veggie dishes so it’s not something I find particularly difficult to do. But sometimes I can’t lie; I do crave the “meat factor” and I’ve found Quorn an easy and tasty swap in my favourite recipes.

As part of National Curry Week (even though every week is curry week at mine), I have collaborated with Quorn and used their Swedish Style Balls to create a delicious Shahi Kofta Masala dish. The word “Shahi” means royal and this is a decadent dish. It’s a celebratory North Indian recipe that is and rich and creamy – yet still healthy! I’ve used absolutely no cream and instead a combination of a smooth, nutty cashew paste & Greek yoghurt. 

The Quorn Swedish Style Balls work really well in the masala and work as a great tasting, nutritious and easy to cook vegetarian protein.

I hope you like this recipe! You can also view it on the Quorn website here, along with plenty more Quorn curry recipes. Let me know how it goes down in your own kitchens.

Quorn Shahi Kofta Masala


  • 300 g Quorn Swedish Style Balls
  • 14 unsalted & unroasted cashews soaked in 1/4cup (60mls) of hot water for 15 minutes
  • 6 tbsp oil – any variety
  • 2 green cardamom crushed open (optional)
  • 3 cms cinnamon stick optional
  • 2 cloves optional
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion -150g cut into small chunks
  • 2 cms ginger cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp double concentrate tomato purée
  • 1-2 chillies (depending on your heat
  • preference) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar/honey
  • 1 tsp paprika – plain
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder optional
  • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp peas –fresh or defrosted
  • 6-7 stems fresh coriander roughly chopped (stems & leaves)
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves optional


  • Pre-heat oven at 200c. Place a wire tray on top of a baking tray and pop the Quorn Swedish Style Balls on it. Once the oven is hot, place tray on middle shelf of oven for 10 minutes. Turn the Swedish Style Balls over and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Whilst the Swedish Style Balls are cooking, prepare the masala by placing the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Grind until you have a coarse looking paste.
  • Now heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and cumin followed by the ground paste.
  • Mix well, then add ½ tsp salt and cook for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, reduce the heat slightly and place a lid on top. Cook for 6-7 minutes mixing every 2 minutes or so. (If you find the masala is catching at any point, add a splash of water and reduce the heat slightly).
  • Whilst the masala is cooking, place the soaked cashews as well as the water it was soaked in, into a food processor. Grind for 30-40 seconds until a thick cashew paste forms. Keep aside.
  • Once the masala looks caramelised golden brown in colour, add the tomato purée, chilli and ½ cup (120mls) of water. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the masala thickens. Then reduce the heat and add the remaining salt (¾ tsp), sugar, paprika, garam masala, turmeric, coriander powder & chilli powder. Mix well.
  • At this point, add the cashew paste along with 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt and 1 ½ cups water (355ml). Mix well and increase the heat allowing the masala to come to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and add the Quorn Swedish Style Balls, along with the peas to the pan.
  • Using your fingertips to rub the fenugreek leaves into a powder then sprinkle in.
  • Add the fresh coriander and place a lid on the pan. Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. Serve with rice or your favourite Indian bread.

Chicken Dum Biryani

Making a Biryani from scratch is a real labour of love. There is an art to perfecting each component – layering them before sealing, then allowing them to steam under the “dum” to then reveal perfectly cooked, tender chicken and pillowy grains of infused rice. Ahhhh I can smell the aromas as I type this!

Biryani comes in all shapes and sizes depending on what part of India you are in. This Chicken Dum Biryani is a fairly straight forward one and cooks quite quickly. It’s a recipe that I have modified to work in the modern kitchen (puff pastry to replace a whole wheat dough, steaming in the oven instead of on the stove etc) but it still works an absolute treat and tastes absolutely delicious!

I taught this at my live cookery class yesterday – thank you to everyone who joined me! If you missed the class, you can catch up here. You will also hear all about the big reveal which I made about SHIKSHAK (aka #spiceclubtopscret which I have been teasing for months!). SHIKSHAK is an online Indian cookery membership platform that allows you to master Indian cookery from your own kitchen. I am so excited that I can now share this with you all. It’s been months in the making through lockdown and we are nearly there. I just need your help to get us over the finish line and make SHIKSHAK a reality. Our CROWDFUNDER IS NOW LIVE: We have some amazing rewards on offer. Please pledge your support and spread the word.

Once you’ve done that, you can enjoy the biryani! Do let me know on how it turns out for you. Monica x

Chicken Dum Biryani & Pomegranate Raita


For the Chicken Marinade Paste

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cms ginger
  • 2 chilies
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 5 stems coriander & leaves
  • 2 ½ tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 20 g crunchy golden fried onions

Additional Ingredients for Chicken:

  • 350 g boneless chicken thighs skinned and cut into 3cms chunks
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¾ tsp cumin powder
  • ¾ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 1 ½ tbsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp oil any

To Prepare the Rice

  • 300 g Basmati rice ideally extra long grain basmati washed 3-4 times.
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 chilli
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp kewra water/screw pine essence or use rose water optional

To Prepare the Saffron Milk

  • Saffron Milk
  • 60 ml milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 10 strands saffron
  • 2 tbsp kewra/screw pine water or rose water optional
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • You will also need:
  • Small saucepan

For Garnishing

  • 3-4 tbsp crunchy golden fried onions roughly chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs mint de-stemmed & roughly chopped
  • 3-4 stems of coriander roughly chopped
  • 1 x rolled out Puff Pastry sheet 375g, at room temperature optional, If you are not using puff pastry, ensure your ovenware has a tight fitting lid.

Pomegranate Raita

  • 300 g Greek Yoghurt
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • ¼ cucumber
  • ½ pomegranate deseeded
  • 1 sprig of mint
  • 4 stems coriander
  • ½ red onion 50g
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp roasted cumin powder


  • Pre-heat oven at 200c on the roast/baking setting.
  • Add all of the "Chicken Marinade Paste" ingredients to a food processor and grind together. Empty into a bowl.
  • Now add all of the "Additional Ingredients for Chicken" to this bowl and mix well. Allow to marinade – anywhere from 2 hours up to 24 hours ahead ideal. Remove from fridge an hour before cooking to allow it to get to room temperature.
  • To make the rice, bring a large pot of water to boil (Approx 4litres). Drain the soaked rice. When the water comes to a boil, carefully add all of the remaining "For the Rice" ingredients to the water.
  • Mix well and allow the water to come back up to the boil. Reduce to a rolling simmer and mix the rice every minute or so. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the rice is par cooked. It should be al dente and you be able to just break a grain of rice with your nail.
  • Be careful not to overcook the rice – it should be about 50% cooked. Drain immediately in a colander. Keep the drained rice covered to ensure it stays warm and then keep aside.
  • To make the saffron milk, bring the milk and cream along with the salt and turmeric to boil in a small sauce pan. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat. Add the saffron strands along with the kewra water. Allow the saffron to infuse well (you should see the milk turn yellow). Keep aside.
  • Now it's time to layer! Tip in the marinaded chicken to your ovenware – make sure it is spread out nice and flat so the base is not overcrowded. Then add the rice to cover (there should be about 50% rice and 50% chicken ratio). Then sprinkle over the mint, coriander and crunchy golden onions.
  • Finally, evenly drizzle the saffron milk all over the biryani.
  • Now cover the biryani with your puff pastry sheet. Make sure you spend some time to seal the pastry around the edges – this is really important. There should be some overhang but if there is a lot of excess around the sides, you can cut some off.
  • If you are not using pastry, ensure that your ovenware has a tight fitting lid.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 180c and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • When you remove the biryani from the oven, the puff pastry should be crisp and golden. Use a serving spoon to cut a hole around the edge of the pastry lid.
  • Then using the spoon, mix together all of the layers. Serve onto a platter. If you like, you can garnish with some more crunchy fried onions and coriander.

To make the Pomegranate Raita:

  • Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Decanter into a serving bowl and garnish with roasted cumin powder, pomegranate seeds and some fresh mint leaves.

Egg Dopiaza

This is a much loved dish in so many Indian homes. The word “dopiaza” actually translates as double onions – they’re cooked until they’re beautifully caramelised and golden. Paired with the boiled eggs (my preference is jammy soft boiled eggs!) and scooped up with buttery parathas, this dish is an absolute treat.

I taught this recipe at a recent Facebook live cookery class and it was so much fun.. You can catch up on it here (Mum even makes a guest appearance!). Let me know how it goes down in your kitchen!

Egg Dopiaza


  • 6 medium eggs boiled and peeled. I like mine soft boiled so I bring to boil & then simmer for 6 minutes. Then run under a cold tap until room temp.
  • 8-10 tbsp oil
  • 2 x cloves optional
  • 2 green cardamom pods crushed open, optional
  • 2 cm cinnamon stick optional
  • 2 bay leaves optional
  • 2 x large onions 500g, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 2 cms ginger grated
  • 1 small tomato 70g, finely diced
  • 1-2 chillies finely chopped
  • 1/ 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Handful fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • Water
  • Pan with lid & a wooden spoon


  • Heat oil in the pan. When hot, add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaves
  • Now add the onions a little at a time and begin to separate the slices using your wooden spoon. Once all of the onions are in the pan, add the salt and mix. Cook on a medium/high heat.
  • Place a lid on the pan and allow the onions to soften completely. Mix the onions every 2 minutes and then place the lid back on.
  • After 5-6 minutes, the onions should be soft and translucent . At this point add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes & chilli.
  • Continue to cook for a further 10 minutes on a medium heat with the lid on ( mixing every 2-3 minutes), until everything looks deep golden in colour. If you ever find anything is catching, add a couple of tbsp of water to help release or you can add a little more oil.
  • Once golden, reduce the heat and add the spice powders, sugar and the remaining salt. Cook for a minute until the oil begins to release around the edges. Taste for salt/chilli/sweetness and adjust accordingly. Now add the cooked eggs and carefully mix. Finish with fresh coriander. Enjoy with hot parathas or chapatis.