Recipe… Handi Chicken

Handi Chicken.jpg

Handi Chicken
Serves 4

What you need
• 3 tsp ghee
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
• 3 whole chillies
• 3 onions sliced
• 2 tsp ginger paste
• 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 1 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• 1 tsp dried fenugreek
• salt to taste
• 750g chicken cut into bite-sized chunks
• 5-6 tomatoes chopped
• 1½ cup plain yoghurt
• 1 cup cream
• Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

How you cook it
1. Heat ghee in a pan.
2. Add the cumin seeds, crushed coriander, whole chillies and fry for 20 seconds (to test if ghee is hot enough put in one cumin seed. It should sizzle immediately).
3. Add the onions and fry until they are golden brown.
4. Add the ginger paste, chopped garlic, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, dried fenugreek, salt and stir well.
5. Add in the chicken and cook until all the pieces are white (but not fully cooked). This should take about five minutes.
6. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
7. Add in the yoghurt, cream and most of the fresh coriander (keep a small bit for the garnish), stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Ensure that the chicken is cooked through.
8. Once ready put into a serving bowl and garnish with the remainder of the fresh coriander.
9. Serve with rice, chapati and a yoghurt and tomato raita.

Recipe by Kedar Chandra, chef at Pakbo restaurant in Flic en Flac, Mauritius.



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Recipe… Gateaux Piment (Chilli Cakes)


Gato Piment 4 Low Res

Gateaux Piment (Chilli Cakes)
This is a popular street-food snack in Mauritius, which is sold in small shops or from homes of people looking to earn a bit of extra income. It is particularly popular at breakfast time. You may also see these advertised as Gato Pima, which is the Creole spelling of the snack.

Enough for about 15 pieces

What you need
• Half a cup of yellow split peas (soak in water overnight and drained)
• 1 onion finely chopped
• 2 spring onions chopped
• Pinch of cumin powder
• 1 or 2 chopped chillies (to your taste)
• 1 tsp salt
• 4 tbls cooking oil

How you cook it
1. Grind split peas to a paste. Use a little water if necessary.
2. Add all the other ingredients (except the oil) to the peas and mix.
3. Form the mixture into small (about 2cm diameter) flat pancakes. Use a little water in order to bind the pancakes, if necessary.
4. Heat oil on a medium heat.
5. Add the pancakes, turning occasionally, and cook until golden brown.
6. Drain the pancakes and remove any excess oil with kitchen paper. Serve with bread and butter or your favourite chutney.

Gato Piment 1Gato Piment 2

Gato Piment 3


The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Recipe… Kashmiri Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh Kashmiri by Purabi Naha 1

Just like Biryani, this is another royal Indian dish, believed to be introduced in India by the Mughals. In Persian, the word “Rogan Josh” means something which is boiling, hot and red in colour. Rogan Josh is a signature dish in Kashmiri (Wazwani) cuisine and probably, one of the finest meat dishes in India.

Kashmir takes its cuisine very seriously. In fact, I have heard many Kashmiris saying that they regard cooking as a form of art and it is almost like their second religion.

Rogan Josh: Nuances in the Making
The authentic Kashmiri cooks (called wazas) have perfected signature Kashmiri dishes, such as Rogan Josh, with their skills and experience. For them, Rogan Josh is not just a dish, but an extension of their culinary skills in its epitome!

· The oil to be used in making an authentic Rogan Josh is mustard oil. You can replace mustard oil with a mixture of plain oil and ghee if mustard oil is not available.
· Use the freshest and best-quality mutton (meat of a male goat) for this dish. The shank or the shoulder of a male goat have the most succulent meat and are preferred highly in many Indian mutton preparations. The size of the meat pieces should be medium (chopped roughly into two-inch-sized pieces), so that the flavours percolate down the meat very well. Mutton can be replaced with lamb meat. Please note that the meat is never marinated in the traditional Rogan Josh preparation.
· Tomatoes should not be used to prepare Rogan Josh. The rich red colour is from the addition of an indispensable ingredient in this authentic Wazwani (Kashmiri) dish: Kashmiri red chilli powder, which imparts a gorgeous red colour and is mildly hot compared to other red chilli powder varieties. To reduce the hotness even further and still get the same, rich colour in your Rogan Josh, you can mix equal quantities of Kashmiri red chilli powder and paprika.
· The Hindus of Kashmir do not use any onion or garlic in this dish, but use yogurt or curd, fennel powder and asafoetida to impart richness. For the same curry, the Kashmiri Muslims, however, use onions and a special ingredient called maval/mawal, described next.

· An ingredient called rattan jyot/ratan jot ormaval/mawal, which is actually dried cockscomb flower, is traditionally added to the dish (for its deep red colour) at the end by boiling it with equal quantity of water. In addition, saffron dissolved in a little milk is added to give it a subtle enrichment in its flavour. But don’t worry if you don’t get these ingredients: your Rogan Josh will still taste very good without them.

A word about Indian chillies
Just like Mexican and Korean cuisines, Indian cuisine also involves extensive use of chillies. Interestingly, some kinds of chillies are not hot, but just add flavor and colour to a particular dish. Indian cooking makes use of chillies in varied ways to impart distinct tastes and colours. There are a number of dry red chilli (sookhi laal/lal mirch) varieties used in Indian cooking, the prominent ones being the Kashmiri red chillies, the ‘fake’ Kashmiri red chillies (called dubby), single reshampatti, double reshampatti, yellowish red chillies, byadgi, Goan small and pointed red chillies, Guntur red chillies and Nellore red chillies. The good news is that, rogan josh demands the use of Kashmiri red chilli powder, which is just mildly hot!

The traditional Kashmiri Muslim banquet: Wazwan
A feast fit for kings, Wazwan is a grandiose of different kinds of meat preparations and delicacies (prepared traditionally by master chefs called waza). Comprising of almost 36 courses (salute to the royal Kashmiri appetite!), more than half of the Wazwan dishes are meat-based. A traditional Wazwan meal is generally served in group of four, where people sit together and eat from one huge plate. Wazwan, which involves hours of hard work, is an example of Kashmiri hospitality, in which the guest in the house is the first to be served with an array of delicacies

A traditional Wazwani dinner at a Kashmiri household or restaurant involves cleaning the hands with warm water (in a traditional vessel) before anything else. The delicacies include popular names, such as tabak maazrogan josh and rista, along with an assortment of kebabs and vegetable preparations. Finally, another unparalleled meat dish called gushtaba is served, before moving on to the dessert. Phirni is the common dessert cooked here, with rice and milk as the main ingredients. Last but not the least, the Wazwan is never complete without a cup of warm kahwah tea!

In Kashmiri cuisine, the use of curd or unsweetened yogurt (dahi) is very common, as are asafoetida (hing), aniseed (saunf), Kashmiri red chillies, saffron, dry fruits, nuts and dry ginger (saunth).

Kashmiri Rogan Josh
Note: This recipe is an amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim ways of cooking traditional Rogan Josh. That is why, both onion and curd are used together. Also, exotic ingredients, such as ratan jot, have been replaced to make it compliant with the global palate.

What you need
• Mutton of a young goat (cut into two-inch-sized pieces, along with bones): 1 kg
• Garlic cloves (finely chopped): 4
• Kashmiri chilli powder: 2.5 tsp
• Curd or unsweetened yogurt: ½ cup
• Shallots (chopped): 250 g
• Mustard oil or a 1:1 combination of any light oil (except olive oil and groundnut oil) and ghee: ¼ cup
• Cloves: 4
• Large, black cardamoms: 2
• Green cardamoms: 5
• Cinnamon: 1-inch stick
• Bay leaf (dried): 1
• Mace: 1 blade
• Coriander powder: 1 tsp
• Fennel powder: 1 tsp
• Dry ginger powder: 1 tsp
• Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
• Salt (according to taste): 1.5 tsp
• Water: 4.5 cups
• Warm milk: 4 tbsp
• Saffron strands: 8
• Garam masala powder: ½ tsp
• Coriander leaves (chopped): to garnish

How to cook it
1. Boil the mutton (along with the bones) with the garlic, half the salt and water, until the mutton is half done. Remove from heat and strain the stock. Keep the boiled meat aside.
2. Whisk the curd properly with 3 tbsp water and set aside.
3. Mix the saffron with warm milk and keep aside.
4. Fry the shallots in oil, until they are just light brown. Add cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms and the mace and fry for 1 min.
5. Add the coriander, ginger, fennel and turmeric powders dissolved in a little (around 5 tbsp) of the reserved mutton broth. Lower the heat and add the curd to this and stir continuously to avoid the curd getting lumpy (that is why, while whisking, water is always added to the curd).
6. After 5 min, add the boiled meat. Sauté for about 15 min, until the liquid almost evaporates and the sauce coats the mutton well. Add the remaining salt, garam masala powder and the mutton stock and stir thoroughly.
7. Add the chilli powder, cover and boil for 15 more minutes, or till the mutton is soft, yet chewy and the gravy looks thick and creamy. Add the saffron-milk mixture and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well.
8. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve with pilau, steamed rice, roti or naan.

Courtesy of Cosmopolitan Currymania

Recipe… Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken (Flicr).jpg

Butter Chicken
Serves 4

What you need
• 1 cup thick yoghurt
• 1 tbsp peeled, grated ginger
• 1 tbsp peeled, grated garlic
• 2 tbsp Tandoori Masala
• 1/4 canned tomato puree (I used tomato paste)
• 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
• 2 tbsp melted butter/ghee
• 1 whole chicken, cut into 14 pcs. Slit the pieces to allow the marinade to penetrate.

For the sauce
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp peeled, grated ginger
• 1 tbsp peeled, minced garlic
• 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
• Salt to taste
• 1 green chilli, snipped fine
• 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
• 1/2 cup cream

How you cook it
1. Mix together all the ingredients including the chicken. Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for 1.5 hours.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake the chicken (along with the left over marinade) for 30 mins or until the juices run clear.
3. During the last 15 mins of cooking you can start with the sauce.
4. In a large pan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 30 secs.
5. Add in the chopped tomato and cook for 10 mins, mashing it up with the back of your spoon as you go. By the end of 10 mins you should have an orange sauce with hardly any pieces of tomatoes to be seen.
6. By now the chicken would have been cooked to perfection.
7. Add the chicken, the remaining marinade, salt, chilli and fenugreek leaves. Simmer, covered, for 10 mins
8. Add the cream and simmer for a minute then serve hot!

Recipe courtesy of Indian Tiffin, the site for spice tins, organic spices and teas, roti kits and other curry utensils.

Photo: stu_spivack (Flickr)

Mushroom pilau

• 1 cup basmati rice
• 1tbs groundnut oil
• 1tsp cumin seeds.
• 1 large clove garlic crushed
• 1/2 inch ginger grated
• 1 medium onion chopped into small pieces
• 1 stick cinnamon
• 10/15 closed cap mushrooms
• 1/4tsp tumeric
• 1/4tsp salt
• 3 cups water

1. Wash the basmati rice until water comes out clean. Soak rice in cold water for half an hour.
2. Warm the oil in a pan over medium heat.
3. Add the cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle then throw in the garlic and ginger. Let it cook for 1 min.
4. Add cinnamon stick.
5. Add onions and cook until they start to go brown at edges
6. Add rice and make sure it is fully coated with onion/oil mix.
7. Add salt and tumeric and stir well.
8. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes continually stirring so rice does not stick to the pan.
9. Add the water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until water is absorbed.
10. Check the rice is fully cooked, if not then add a bit more water and simmer.

Courtesy of Plummy Mummy

Whisky and curry

Mandeep Grewal, Johnnie Walker brand ambassador, pairs his whiskies with some classic Indian dishes.

• Chicken Tikka Masala (tandoor-cooked chicken in a creamy tomato sauce)
A classic dish deserves a classic like Johnnie Walker Black Label. Although Chicken Tikka Masala seems a fairly simple dish the preparation is very complex: from marinating the chicken with selected balanced spices to putting it on charcoal fire and then using a number of natural flavours like tomatoes, nuts, spices and fresh cream. There is a lot that goes behind the scenes. In a similar way the natural flavours of Scotch whiskies present in Black Label make it a complex but a very balanced whisky, using whiskies from all the regions of Scotland. There are creamy vanilla notes from the Lowland Grain whiskies, fresh fruit and citrus notes from the Speyside malts, rich and dried fruits from the Highlands and a hint of smoke or barbecue from the Islands and Islay. Also, just like the slow marination and slow cooking process of Chicken Tikka Masala, nothing is rushed to produce Black Label. Only whiskies aged in oak casks for 12 years or over are selected for the blend. Try the whisky on rocks or with a splash of spring water.

• Lamb Vindaloo (very hot with a little vinegar)
This robust classic deserves a robust beauty such as Lagavulin 16 year old malt from Islay. It is the only whisky that can tame the fiery nature of this dish. Also Lagavulin has a meaty body that complemnets the red meat in the dish. Try this whisky with a splash of mineral water.

• Prawn Dhansak (sweet and sour with vegetables and lentils)
Fairly hot, sweet and sour prepared with lentils this is a great sea dish that would be complemented by the only whisky from the Isle of Skye – Talisker 10 year old malt. The flavours of the sea in the prawns are further enhanced by the sea weed, salty notes and a warm peppery finish of Talisker. Try this whisky with a single cube of ice or a splash of chilled mineral water.

• Chicken Korma (mild, aromatic and creamy)
This extremely pleasant and mild creamy dish can be lifted up by the balanced flavours of the sea, forest and fruit present in the blended malt Johnnie Walker Green Label. The four signature single malts in this blended malt – Cragganmore (Speyside), Talisker (Isle of Skye), Caolila (Islay) and Linkwood (Speyside) – are subtly apparent but work in harmony to form a smooth flavour that changes each time you pick up a glass. Each of the single malts in the blend are matured for a minimum of 15 years in oak casks. The smoothness of Green Label complements the smooth and nutty flavour in Chicken Korma. Try this whisky with just 2-3 ice cubes and let the ice melt slowly while sipping it.

• Onion bhaji (spicy onion in batter)
This spicy and herby starter is balanced with the robust blend Johnnie Walker Red Label. These Indian dumplings are fried with flavour and work just right with the younger whiskies present in Johnnie Walker Red Label. As it is a starter I would recommend to enjoy Red Label with lots of ice topped up with either soda water or dry ginger ale. It’s a great refresher that would complement this classic starter.

• Kulfi (Indian ice cream)
Finally the dessert whisky. My choice would be frozen Johnnie Walker Gold Label or frozen Clynelish 14 year old. Gold Label is a blend of whiskies aged 18 years or more and is the lightest blend in the range. The malt whisky that sits at the heart of this blend is Clynelish whose distillery’s water prospectors once panned for gold deposits released from the red granite rock. When frozen these whiskies give a honey heather flavour that finishes with some dark chocolate notes, making it a unique dessert or after dinner drink. Serve from the freezer and sip from a frozen shot glass along with the creamy kulfi.

This article first appeared in the SA Whisky Handbook 2009

Sag paneer

Every time I go to an Indian restaurant, I order this dish as I enjoy it.  The best version in London that I have had is the one from the Punjab in Neal Street.  The vagar (sauce it is cooked in) is similar to many of my shaks but hey, it works so why not stick with it!

It is possible to make paneer at home which has a nicer consistency in my view than the shop bought ones. However, I have had some luck with versions bought in Sainsbury and Tesco. It is normally found in the cheese section. Indian groceries will often sell paneer in their chiller sections too.

If you have time, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves and cardamon in a flat pan. Dry roasting means you don’t put in any oil you just add the stuff and let it cook. Cook until you see vapour coming off the ingredients then take off heat. This helps release the flavours.

A general note about the spices – the quantities are not set in stone. You should amend them to fit your taste. The only thing I would watch is the salt as spinach tends to become quite salty. But if you are not a fan of a particular ingredient then leave it out!


  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large dried bayleaf
  • 1 large white onion – diced very finely
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 1 – 2 chillies chopped finely
  • 2 sticks cinnamon (about 5 cm long each)
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 green cardamon
  • 1tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes chopped into very small dice. Get very red tomatoes that are fresh.
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 pack paneer – open and chop into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 pack baby spinach – wash out all grit
  • Squeeze of lemon juice1


1. Heat oil in a pan and add bayleaf. Heat should be set to medium – you don’t want to burn anything!

2. Add cumin seeds and wait for them to start to sizzle.

3. Add the onion and let them cook until they start to caramelise/brown.

4. Add garlic, ginger and chillis and allow to cook for a few seconds.

5. Add cinammon, cloves and cardamon – again let cook for a few seconds. Keep stirring all these ingredients as you add spices.

6. When spices have had time to cook out (a few minutes), add the tomatoes and curry leaves. Up to this stage, you are making what is known as vagar. It’s the sauce you will put your main ingredients into. The intention is to let the tomatoes reduce.

7. Add the paneer and ensure it is well coated with the vagar.

8. Add the spinach and let it wilt down.

9. Add a little water and turn down the heat to a simmer. Let this cook for about 20 minutes. The paneer should be soft and have absorbed much of the vagar. The spinach should be completely wilted

10. Squeeze in the lemon juice, stir, cook for another 2 minutes, then turn off to heat


I personally think this should be cooked at least 1 hour before it is needed to allow the ingredients to combine. When you are ready to eat it, then you can heat it through gently then garnish with coriander and serve with rice.

Courtesy of Chili Paper Chains