Tag Archives: indian

favourite thing

I love eggplant very much. I also love Indian food very much. Baingan bharta combines these two loves and is one of my favourite things to eat.

– 2 med eggplants

– 1 diced onion, 2-3 minced  garlic cloves and 1 tsp of minced ginger

– diced fresh red chiles (optional)

– 1 tsp each of red chili powder, tumeric, ground/crushed cumin seeds

– 2 tsp garam masala

– equivalent of 2 med tomatoes (I used canned but you could use fresh)

– approx 1/2 cup plain yogurt

– fresh coriander leaves and lime wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 450F. Cut eggplants in half, rub with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place eggplant in oven and bake until skin is browned and flesh is totally softened. Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add onion and fry until beginning to soften, add garlic and all spices except for the garam masala. Lower heat to medium and fry stirring frequently, until onion is well softened and translucent but not browned (5-10 mins).

Meanwhile, scrape pulp from the eggplant and into a bowl. Mash it up a bit with a fork and set aside (I include some skin in here because I like it but it is optional).

Add chiles and either crushed or chopped tomatoes, fry and stir for a couple mins. Add yogurt and stir thoroughly.

Add eggplant and garam masala. Allow to cook for a while. You can cook it covered or uncovered if you’d like a thicker texture.

When serving stir in and/or garnish with fresh cilantro to your liking. I served the eggplant with a chickpea pulao, raita and mango pickle.


warm days, colder nights


The weather is turning and the idea of soup is re-entering my mind/cravings. In the words of Nigel Slater who I lifted this recipe from, “this is a bowl of soup that both whips and kisses”.

Dal and pumpkin soup

  • a small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • walnut-sized knob of ginger
  • 225 g split red lentils
  • tablespoon ground tumeric
  • tablespoon ground chili
  • 250g squash
  • bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • some greens (arugula, spinach or chard will all word)

Peel the onion and chop it roughly. Peel and crush the garlic and put it with the onion into a medium heavy-based saucepan. Peel the ginger, cut it into thin shreds and stir that in too. Add the lentils and pour in one and a half litres of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to an enthusiastic simmer. Stir in the ground tumeric and chili, season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer, covered, for 20 mins.

While the lentils are cooking, bring a medium-sized pan of water to a boil. Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds and fibre, then cut the flesh into fat, even chunks. Boil the pieces until they are tender enough to take a skewer without much pressure. Drain and set aside.

Remove the lid from the lentils and turn up the heat, boiling hard for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the drained squash. I use a hand blender to blend the whole thing but if you like things chunky/rustic, or are lacking a hand blender, you can use a masher to mash the squash into the lentils. Stir in cilantro and as much greens as you’d like. Also check seasoning at this point, as more may be necessary once squash, herbs and greens are added.

I top mine with some yogurt and eat it with cucumber water. It would be nice with some toasted bread or naan for dipping. I’ve presented the recipe as it is in my Nigel Slater book. I tend to beef up all flavourings and use more garlic, ginger, tumeric and chili than what I’ve listed above.


indian family dinner


My mother is here for a visit and she and Chris made a lovely indian dinner. We had chicken curry, rice, daal, tomato sambal, dry okra curry, parathas and some indian sweets for dessert.

The recipe is from my great-aunt Cynthia who just turned 86. The measurements are definitely approximate as my mother “cooks by taste and eye”.

chicken curry

  • 2 serious glugs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 19 oz. chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 lbs (approx 1 kg) bone in chicken, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp garam masala

for the masala spice paste (all spices should be ground)

  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 3 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp red chili powder

Heat vegetable oil in large heavy pan on high heat. Sear individual chicken pieces until browned. Set aside on a plate. You may have to do this in small batches, it is important to not overcrowd the pan.

Heat oil in large heavy pot on medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook approx 5 mins. Meanwhile, mix masala paste with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water.

When onions are translucent add masala paste and fry until water evaporates and oil comes to the surface (this will look red/orange-ish and glossy). Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water and repeat until oil comes to surface again. Then do it again (that’s right, do it 3 times).

Add canned tomatoes and sugar. Feel free to ‘mush’ together with spices. Simmer for about 10 mins, if you like you can turn the heat down.

Add yogurt and coconut milk and put chicken in (don’t be scared of the chicken juices on the plate – pour them in too). Give the whole thing a good stir and add chopped cilantro and curry leaves. Turn the pot down to a slow simmer, sprinkle in garam masala.

Let the whole thing cook covered for about 30 minutes. If the curry is looking runny, leave the lid off until the sauce has thickened.

Serve with chopped, fresh coriander and lime wedges. You are welcome.