Month: October 2013

Fong Kong Breyani with Fish and Prawn

Fish and Prawn Breyani

Fish and Prawn Breyani

I don’t eat enough fish…sad but true! So this is me making an attempt…

This is my latest quick and easy breyani recipe – it’s also become known as the FONG KONG Breyani!!! The old-fashioned way was to steam the raw fish with the rice…sometimes it’s perfect and sometimes the fish turns into mush….this FONG KONG style ensures that it will be perfect…aromatic, appetizing and beautifully presented.

Most of my favourite fish choices are either on the red or orange list. Check the SASSI website for more details…you will be surprised to find some of our old favourites like Englishman, Red Roman and Mussel Cracker on the list! So buy fish on the ‘Green List’! I have opted to use fresh hake….it is seriously good, reasonably priced and always available! To ‘tart up’ the hake, I ‘shoshen’ sauteed prawns over just before serving.

Nothing beats a good pot for making breyani…a FONG KONG pot just won’t do. That would be asking for trouble. For me, I haul out a rather large AMC pot, to cook up a super large batch…we sometimes have neighbors to feed!

Here is the recipe:

Fish and Prawn Breyani

1kg linefish steaks
15ml red chilli powder
Salt to season
1kg prawn tails
Sunflower oil to fry fish and prawns
4 potatoes, sliced into rounds and fried
65ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
20ml crushed garlic
30ml red chilli powder
400g chopped tomatoes
10ml ground cumin
10ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
125ml fresh cream
250ml cooked lentils
900ml cooked basmati rice, cooled
100g butter, melted
250ml boiling water
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Rub the red chilli and salt over the fish steaks and leave to marinate in the refrigerator.
Heat the sunflower oil, add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
When the spices are fragrant, add the cumin seeds.
Once the seeds splutter, add the onion and salt.
Saute until the onion is light golden brown.
Stir in the crushed garlic, stir for a few seconds, then add the red chilli powder.
Add the chopped tomatoes followed by ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften.
Add the fresh cream, layer the potatoes and halt the lentils over the tomatoes.
Next add the cold basmati rice and the remaining lentils.
Drizzle in the melted butter and pour the boiling water over the rice.
Steam on low until the rice heats through.
Heat the sunflower oil and fry the fish until golden brown.
Place the fish steaks over the rice and cover.
Lastly heat 30ml sunflower oil and saute the prawn tails for a minute just before serving.
Season the prawns with salt and scatter them over the rice.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and leave to infuse for a minute.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve immediately.


Idiot proof Burfee…

Idiot's Burfee.....

Idiot’s Burfee…..

It’s not that you are an idiot..but Mani Govindsami just asked for a bloke’s version that even an idiot could do!

Here is a simple recipe for Burfee…

Almond Burfee


Whole almonds
Red food colouring, to tint almonds
Gold dust, to tint almonds

500g Spar milk powder
175ml tinned dessert cream
375ml Spar castor sugar
250ml cold water
2,5ml ground cardamom
25ml butter
100ml finely ground almonds

Tint the almonds with red food colouring and roast in a hot oven until dry.
Leave aside to cool and then sprinkle the gold dust over.
Gently rub the gold dust over the almonds.
Grease a 20 x 25cm pyrex dish or baking tray with butter.
Line the tray with plastic wrap ensuring the sides are also lined.
Grease the plastic wrap with butter.
In a mixing bowl, rub the dessert cream into the milk powder until it resembles bread crumbs.
Leave this aside for an hour to dry out.
Place the milk powder mixture into a Kenwood food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until the crumbs are fine.
Combine the sugar and water in an 24cm AMC pot and boil until a thick sticky syrup forms.
Add the cardamom and butter to the syrup.
Mix the ground almonds into the milk powder and pour the syrup in.
Stir well to combine and working quickly press the mixture down into the prepared dish or baking tray.
Once the mixture cools, garnish with the tinted almonds.
Refrigerate the burfee until firm and slice into blocks or diamonds.

Gulab Jamun – Sugar ‘n Spice

Sugar 'n Spice with Yudhika Sujanani - Gulab Jamun...

Sugar ‘n Spice with Yudhika Sujanani – Gulab Jamun…

Oops…this recipe was lost in translation! Apologies to those Sugar ‘n Spice fans who have been looking for it!

I will keep this story short….It was my first husband who first introduced me to these delightful treats! After all these years, I still hear the mumblings about how he taught me everything I know! That said, I tasted these at his cousin’s house and asked for the recipe – in a way that would make him responsible for introducing me to this treat!

I was given the usual run around when I asked for the recipe and it flopped on numerous occasions. It was back to the drawing board for me and I was determined to get it right.

A few costly and frustrating disasters later, my trial and error mission paid off! Finally….just for the record…I don’t have anyone to thank for this recipe….I did this one all by myself!

Just a word on milk powder…I use KLIM for burfee but it does not work in this recipe…Nespray works perfectly for this one!

For the more traditional South African Gulab Jamun…click here:

The gulab jamun....

The gulab jamun….

Gulab Jamun


450ml full cream milk powder (NESPRAY PLEASE)
45ml self raising flour
7,5ml baking powder
45ml pure butter
150ml warm milk
5ml ground cardamom
Sunflower oil to fry

For the rose syrup

750ml sugar
750ml water
30ml pure distilled rose-water
Few strands of saffron

Here’s how:

Heat saffron strands on a dry pan for a thirty seconds. Leave to cool and then slightly crush them using your fingertips. Place the sugar and water in a thick bottomed pot and stir on a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the syrup to the boil. Simmer for five minutes or until the syrup is sticky but not thick. Add the rose-water and saffron strands. Leave aside to infuse. Mix the full cream milk powder, ground cardamom and self-raising flour in a mixing bowl. Divide mixture into three equal portions. Combine the pure butter ghee and the warm milk in a jug. Mix the warm milk into the milk powder mixture and stir until a sticky paste is formed. Use your fingertips to mix into a soft and pliable dough. Rinse your hands and grease them with a layer of oil or warm butter ghee. Work quickly and roll the dough into little balls. Place them onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat until all the milk powder has been moulded into balls. Heat sunflower oil on a low heat in an 30cm AMC pot. Gently drop the balls into the warm oil and shake the pan to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. The milk balls need to be constantly stirred to ensure that they brown evenly. They should be golden brown when cooked. If you are unsure, remove one of the balls from the oil and drop it into the warm syrup. If it shrinks or deflates, the balls need to be cooked for a few more minutes. Steep the balls into warm syrup and leave to soak for 2 hours before serving.

Yudhika’s Tips:

It is important to always divide the milk powder into portions as the dough dries out very quickly.
The milk balls need to be cooked on a very low temperature as they burn quite easily.

Wanted: Yudhika Sujanani – FED or ALIVE

The Diwali Burfee Macaron!

The Diwali Burfee Macaron!

It might be paranoia but I am beginning to feel that I am ‘wanted’! I hope been posting full fat Diwali recipes for the last week and judging by my depleted ‘SPAR BUTTER STOCK’, the calories count is rising rapidly! With the whole Diwali weekend to go, my daughter’s birthday and a ‘BOLLYWOOD DIWALI PARTY’ next weekend…the calorie count shows no signs of dropping!

I am going to grin and bear it! The way I cook on-screen is the way I cook off-screen and that is the ‘Sugar n Spice’ secret of my show! A splash of butter here and a drizzle of cream there…it’s all good as long as it’s in MODERATION! I have never eaten a salad as a meal – I just can’t!

Diwali is a time where splashes and drizzles becomes chunks and large glugs! And yes, I do wish there were low-fat versions but sadly not!!! I hope that the Heart Foundation, Weightwatchers and Weighless are not looking out for me….I am beginning to think that I am public enemy No 1!

I am not a heart specialist, dietician or a nutritionist – just a happy hearty cook with a sparkle in my eye and a love for food! In other words, I plead not guilty!

Shabnum Moosa from the Daily News said I just make something to tickle her dessert loving taste buds…and this is how the Diwali Macaron was born….bright red to symbolise a happy occasion and good fortune, filled with white chocolate and leftover burfee bits and a hint of cardamom to zhoosh them up! In other words, to die for!

After I submitted this recipe to Jenny Kay from The Star Newspaper, we met for coffee at Tasha’s in Hyde Park…she explained that Macarons are a pretty ambitious dessert to make and I was quite surprised…I have always just popped into the kitchen and banged up a batch…she tested the recipe and I got a late night sms with a picture saying they worked…for those of you who don’t know….Jenny Kay is ‘Angela Day’ from the Verve section of the newspaper! I have worked with her for a few years and have to admit that she is our very own ‘recipe guru’! For more recipes from her, log onto

Here is another recipe perfect for a Diwali treat!



Diwali Burfee Macarons

Makes 18


100g ground almonds
180g Spar icing sugar
Pinch of salt
90g egg whites
25g sugar
Pinch of cardamom
Red gel food colouring

60ml fresh cream
100g white chocolate, chopped
60g burfee, finely chopped

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.
Draw 4cm circles on silicone baking paper and turn it onto a baking sheet.
Place the almonds in a coffee grinder and process until fine.
Sift the icing sugar with the ground almonds into a bowl, then add salt.
Whisk the egg whites until foamy and gradually add the sugar.
When stiff peaks form, add the cardamom and red colouring – brighter colours work best!
Gently fold the almond mixture into the egg whites.
Pipe the mixture onto the baking paper.
Gently tap the tray to remove air bubbles.

The macarons...fingers crossed!

The macarons…fingers crossed!

Leave aside for an hour so that the macarons set.
Bake for 12 15 minutes and then leave the oven door ajar for 5 minutes.
Leave to cool and then remove from the baking paper.

For the filling:
Heat the cream and then add the chocolate.
Whisk until the mixture is smooth, then add the chopped burfee.
Stir the mixture until smooth and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours.

...and now for the tasting....

…and now for the tasting….

Sandwich the macarons together with the filling.
Serve at room temperature once the filling has set.

Soji – I remember, I remember…

Yudhika's Decadent Soji

Yudhika’s Decadent Soji

I am sure most of us walked into a dark room when we were kids and whispered, ‘There is no such thing as ghosts’. I still whisper that after I watch horror movies! Now that I am all grown up, I whisper at weddings, ‘There is no such thing as lite SOJI!!! I wish people would stop asking me for the low-fat version – there simply isn’t one! Eating a skinny version defeats the purpose…it’s all that buttery goodness that got you hooked in the first place.

Soji brings back lots of memories….for me, it’s mostly around weddings. Not the modern versions of weddings…I am talking about the ‘paper plate’ ones. Let me explain…this is when marriages were made to last unlike paper plates….no fancy stuff! The garlands were made with fresh yellow carnations…and burgundy Benares saries were the rage! So was Kruger coin jewellery and Bally shoes!

The Soji was served on the SAME paper plate as the breyani – little bits of curry spices would soak into the sweet butter semolina – Heavenly, I tell you! No cutlery in sight….I would just squish little bits into my mouth and feel the warm comfort of those calories in each bite. And then there were the ‘Rich People’s Weddings’ – in my tiny world that meant that the Soji had lots of almonds!

Soji is served at weddings, birthdays, tea time and even at funerals….let’s just say that you can tell how a person feels by what goes into a soji…funeral soji is generally the unhappy, lite version! Definitely not my favourite!

By the end of today, I am sure that someone is going to report me to the Heart Foundation for this recipe…but Diwali is just once a year! So, I will just have to take my chances…make up a batch of this Soji, dish up a luscious helping, and while you suck on a scoop of buttery decadence, think of your best memory….post your comments!

Here is the recipe:


This makes about 1,6kg


3 large cinnamon sticks
350g Taystee Wheat
400g butter
200g dessert cream
250g evaporated milk
90g condensed milk
250ml milk
300ml cold water
2,5ml egg yellow food colouring
7ml ground cardamom
100g sugar
100g tinted almonds

Here’s how:

Getting set....with AMC cookware!

Getting set….with AMC cookware!

Place the Taystee Wheat and cinnamon sticks into a 30cm AMC pot.
Toast the semolina on medium heat until the grains brown slightly.

Which piece of butter should I use???

Which piece of butter should I use???

Add the butter and continue stirring, until the semolina changes colour.
Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble....

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble….

CAUTION – Take care when adding the liquid…it does splutter and can cause a nasty burn! Add the dessert cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk and water to the pot.
Add egg yellow, add more colouring if necessary.
Stir the mixture until it thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan.
Continue stirring and then add sugar.
Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
Once the butter start to ‘float’ around the side of the pan, remove from the heat.
Place in a serving dish and garnish with brightly tinted almonds.
Call the Heart Foundation or your nearest hospital if you have any problems!

Rose and Pistachio Burfee

Diwali recipes: Rose and Pistachio Burfee

Diwali recipes: Rose and Pistachio Burfee

Diwali would not be Diwali without a chunk of decadent home-made burfee….I grew up in Isipingo and it always seemed to me as a child that the Muslim aunties who lived on our road made the best burfee. They just seemed to have a knack for it….and also for butter biscuits and pastries too!

I decided to give the Burfee recipe a bash a seriously long time ago…the first thing I needed was a food processor and I had to break my piggy bank (and my heart) to get a Kenwood! Armed with a copy of the Indian delights and a lot of courage, I prepared my first batch…it wasn’t too memorable…I guess, we all know first times generally aren’t!

Diwali baking takes practice…and it certainly isn’t a one day game…more like a test series or something in cricketing terms. The sooner you start practicing, the better….there will be tears, regret and embarrassment but it certain does pay good dividends!

Once I perfected the basic recipe, I began experimenting with different flavours and textures. For a more decadent burfee which I call the ‘Calorie Blocker’ Burfee which I prepared on ‘Sugar n Spice’ Feast of Eid, click here:

I love the Kuhestan rose essence…it is not a synthetic product and adds a delicate perfume to this Diwali treat! It’s almost like a hint of Turkish Delight which brings a new twist to an old favourite.

Rose and Pistachio Burfee


500g Klim
175ml tinned dessert cream
375ml Spar castor sugar
250ml cold water
7,5ml rose essence
2,5ml ground cardamom
25ml butter
Few drops of red food colouring
50g ground pistachios
Whole pistachios, to garnish
Gold leaf, to garnish

Use non stick spray to grease a silicone mould.
In a mixing bowl, rub the dessert cream into the milk powder until it resembles bread crumbs.
Leave this aside for an hour to dry out.
Place the milk powder mixture into a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until the crumbs are fine.
Bring the sugar and water to boil in an AMC pot until thick.
Add the rose essence, cardamom and butter to the syrup.
Mix the ground pistachios into the milk powder, then add the syrup.
Stir well to combine and working quickly press the mixture into the moulds.
Refrigerate the burfee until firm and unmould.
Garnish with gold leaf and pistachios.

Coconut Fudgy Squares – Kopra Pak

Kopra Pak...fudgy coconut squares

Kopra Pak…fudgy coconut squares

Fudgy coconut squares take most of us on a trip down memory lane! Making up a batch of these takes a few minutes…store them in the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before serving. I am a lover of anything with coconut…coconut ice, coconut clusters…coconut creme brulees and coconut THESE squares.

Click on the link here for the eggless coconut cupcakes:

Click here for the coconut and lemongrass creme brulee recipe:

Kopra Pak

300g sugar
200ml cold water
5ml freshly ground cardamom
260g desiccated coconut
200g Klim milk powder
Pistachios and gold leaf, to decorate

Line a square casserole with butter, and a layer of plastic wrap.
Let the plastic wrap drape over the sides of the dish.
Grease the top of the plastic with butter.
Place the sugar and water in an AMC pot on medium heat.
Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves and bring to the boil for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the ground cardamom, desiccated coconut and milk powder.
Stir well until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan and form a ball.
Press the warm mixture into the greased dish. Fold the plastic wrap over the surface.
Use your fingertips to smooth the surface.
Once the mixture has cooled, cut into squares.
Decorate with pistachios and gold leaf.

Eggless Faker…Pecan Shortbread

Pecan Shortbread

Pecan Shortbread

Around this time of year, I am inundated with recipe requests. As a result, I tend to indulge more and have very little time for the gym. I made a batch of these on Sunday….and it reminded me of how special good home-made biscuits are. These super light biscuits are ‘oh so yum’ buttery, super light AND eggless!

Butter, pecan nuts and milk chocolate…another perfect combo…the nuts take on a slightly toasted flavor and add a moreishly crunchy texture to these buttery babes!

If you love buttery biscuits as much as I do, click on this link for the traditional Cardamom and Almond Biscuits – Naan Khatay:

And now for the recipe….

Pecan Shortbread


300g soft butter
150ml castor sugar
5ml vanilla essence
125ml finely chopped pecan nuts
475ml cake flour
250ml cornflour

50g milk chocolate, (I used Lindt)
15ml hot cream

Here’s how:

Cream the butter (I used the Kenwood for this) until light and gradually add the sugar.
Continue beating until very pale and creamy.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
Add the vanilla essence and beat for a minute.
Sprinkle the nuts into the mixture, and swop to the dough hook attachment.
Sift the dry ingredients into the butter.
Work the mixture very lightly into a soft dough.
Roll the dough into a log using plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until slightly firm.
Slice into rounds, place on a greased baking tray.
Bake at 160 degrees celsius for 15 – 20 minutes depending on the thickness.
These biscuits should be very pale in colour – not golden brown.
Leave to cool for a few minutes on a baking tray.
Move the biscuits to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Chop the milk chocolate and stir into the hot cream.
Continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth and has cooled down.
Drizzle the chocolate over the biscuits and leave to set before storing in a baking tin!

Diwali on a plate….

With Diwali just around the corner, I spend a fair bit of time trying to decide what to prepare and which recipes to share on the blog…after many years of feeling sad around festive occasions, my daughter…the lovely Tanvi, was born on this auspicious day…so it become a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Diwali and it’s never without a feast!

I have been looking back at pics and recipes that I prepared recently and stumbled upon this set from the Garden and Home magazine. I meant to blog it ages ago…and almost forgot…I solemnly swear to blog more often. Lyn Woodward from G and H did an entertainment feature at my home earlier this year. I had just arrived back from Thailand and Vietnam – and went straight into this shoot. Looking at the pictures, I realized that Diwali and Christmas are celebrated a few times a year in my home.

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you plan…what was supposed to be lunch in the under our beautiful willow tree, turned out to be a muddy garden slush puppy…it rained and rained….on the up side…it was perfect curry weather. I tossed out my summery frock and hauled out a ‘Maggie Thatcher’ sort of dress…gotta love that Pringle store in Sandton City!

On the guest list…we had our fabulous neighbors, Neil and Natalie Andrews, and one of my old-time friends…aka the 702 traffic man…the one and only Aki Anastasiou! Never a dull moment with these three around….fabulous company and boy, and enthusiastic about food…definitely my kind of people! By this I mean…not the salad and low-fat dressing sort! Throw in Lyn Woodward…and its the perfect recipe for a bit of lunch time trouble!

The Crew…

The Cook - Yudhika Sujanani

The Cook – Yudhika Sujanani

The Rob....

The Rob….

Natalie Andrews

Natalie Andrews


Aki Anastasiou and Natalie Andrews...

Aki Anastasiou and Natalie Andrews…

Lyn Woodward....and the Diwali princess, Tanvi Sujanani

Lyn Woodward….and the Diwali princess, Tanvi Sujanani

A sit down meal is becoming quite rare since most people opt to entertain at restaurants. I am a bit old fashioned about this and prefer a home cooked meal…bangers to breyani….anything will do. And planning the table design can be so much fun! I get my kids to help out with this and they are fast becoming little experts.

Kids adding a few special touches to the table...

Kids adding a few special touches to the table…

Menus are somewhat challenging for me…I have a rule…I serve only what I love! A good hot snack gets the party off to a good start. And, once the snacky bits are served, you can take a deep breath…and relax.

My favourite dish of the day was the Masala Lamb which I served with Aloo Parathas, Pomegranate Raita and Mint and Coriander Chutney! Click on this link for the Aloo Paratha recipe:

I use my very own Curry Me Home range of spices…email me at for the mail order details or click here to find your nearest Spar outlet:

Here is another recipes that will spice up your Diwali entertaining…

Yudhika's Masala Lamb

Yudhika’s Masala Lamb

Masala Lamb

Serves 4 – 6

1.2kg lamb knuckles
62.5ml sunflower oil
2 onions, finely chopped
7,5ml coarse salt
15ml crushed ginger
15ml crushed garlic
30ml Curry Me Home Red Chilli Powder
10ml Curry Me Home Ground Coriander
5ml Curry Me Home Ground Cumin
5ml Curry Me Home Garam Masala
2,5ml Tumeric
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
15ml Curry Me Home Magic Masala
30g fresh coriander, chopped

Here’s how I do it:

Heat the sunflower oil on medium in a large AMC pot.

Add the onion and salt. Then sauté until the onions are golden brown.

Add ginger and garlic paste and stir before add the red chilli powder.

Place the lamb in the spice paste and stir well to coat the knuckles.

Remove from heat if necessary while you do this.

Stir the meat ensuring that the spices and lamb do not stick or burn.

When the mixture does begin to stick, add boiling water and leave to simmer for about 30 – 45 minutes.

Sprinkle the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric over the lamb knuckles.

Stir well and leave to simmer until the lamb is tender.

Add the chopped tomato and simmer until they soften and form a thick sauce.

Sprinkle the magic masala over the lamb and simmer for a minute.

Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander.

Oh dear…forgot to post the chutney recipe!

Just dunk....

Just dunk….

The aloo paratha was only half the story….here is the mint chutney recipe and boy, is it good!

I serve this with most starters, chicken tikka, chilli bites, onion bhaji and also lamb chops. It keeps for a few days in the refrigerator so give it a bash. You can even slap it onto a toasted cheese sandwich to liven it up.

Serve this with these aloo parathas…for the recipe, click here:

Mint and Cashew Pesto/Chutney

1 onion, roughly chopped
30ml cold water
200ml fresh mint leaves
200ml fresh coriander
2 green chillies, chopped
1 clove garlic
5ml cumin seeds
40ml fresh lemon juice
Salt, to season
2,5ml sugar
45ml cashew nuts, chopped
30ml olive oil

Place the onion and cold water into a Kenwood blender.
Process until the onion is smooth.
Add the mint leaves, coriander, green chillies and garlic.
Process for a few seconds and them push the mixture down with a spatula.
Add a little more cold water if necessary.
Once the mixture resembles a rough pesto, add the cumin seeds, lemon juice, salt and sugar.
Add the chopped cashews and process until it resembles a thick paste.
Lastly drizzle in the olive oil and blend for a few seconds.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Yudhika’s TIps:
A little lemon juice works magic in this pesto – if the pesto darkens, add a little lemon juice to bring back the fresh green colour!