Month: October 2013

Sunday Breakfast Blues…

Sunday blues...Aloo paratha and mint chutney

Sunday blues…Aloo paratha and mint chutney

It’s no secret…I have an ongoing love affair with food. I think about food almost all the time and I even dream about it! I woke up this morning craving one of my veggie favourites…aloo paratha and home-made mint chutney…this is what happens when there is leftover mashed potato from a steak dinner. Ahhh…mashed tatties are the best and only Up To Date Potatoes will do!

The craving was the good part…the downside was that I had to make the parathas…phew…the craving was serious enough for me to haul myself out of bed at an ungodly hour – in my world, any time before 9am on Sunday is still Saturday night.

I have not made these in ages but they are a treat…loved by all in my home and the fresh mint chutney scares off the Sunday blues…or a hangover as it is commonly known. These home-made ‘hotties’ served with a fiery mint chutney really fires up the metabolism.

I last cooked this about six months ago for the Garden and Home shoot with Lyn Woodward and Roelene Prinsloo…one of the fabulously enthusiastic kids did a video clip….click here to watch these being cooked:

I often use my very own Magic Masala in recipes…it’s my favorite spice and a must have…for a list of stockists, click here:

Here is the recipe…

Aloo Paratha



750ml cake flour
5ml fine salt
320ml boiling water
60ml sunflower oil
60ml butter, melted

For the filling:

3 medium UTD potatoes, boiled in the skin
15ml finely crushed fresh ginger
4 green chillies, finely chopped
45ml finely chopped coriander
5ml Curry me Home red chilli powder
15ml Curry me Home Magic Masala
Salt to season

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
Pour in the boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon.
Pour the sunflower oil in and mix well to combine.
Knead the dough while it is still hot until smooth.
Roll the dough into a ball until the cracks are no longer visible.
Slice the dough into eight pieces and roll into a smooth ball.
Leave the pieces in a mixing bowl and cover with a damp cloth.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling for the parathas.
Peel the skin off the potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl.
Mash the potatoes while they are still warm and leave to cool.
Pound the ginger and green chilli in a mortar.
Add the pounded mixture to the mashed potato.
Add the chopped coriander, red chilli powder and Magic Masala.
Season with salt.

To assemble the parathas:
Flatten each piece of dough and scoop the filling into the centre.
Gather the edges of the dough to the centre to enclose the filling.
Twist the centre and pinch of the excess dough.
Gently flatten the dough with a rolling-pin on a well floured work surface.
Roll the dough out into 15 – 17cm rounds.
Place the paratha on a heated tawa (indian griddle pan) and cook until freckles appear.
Turn the paratha over and drizzle a little melted butter over.
Turn again and drizzle a little butter over.
Remove from the pan when there are deep golden brown freckles on the parathas.
Serve hot with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Yudhika’s tips:
Smaller parathas are easier to handle especially if you are a beginner.
Adjust the green chilli if you would like a milder paratha.
Parathas can also be served with Mint Raita.

Paneer and Mushroom Pasties


You could take any spicy filling, wrap it in all butter puff pastry and know for sure that it will be a winner for me! I had a piece of paneer left in the refrigerator and some defrosted pastry. I rustled up this recipe in a flash. It’s a perfect veggie snack for tea time or can be served with cocktails!

Use all butter puff pastry for this recipe for the best flavour…a store bought one will do just fine! Click here if you would like to locate the nearest Curry Me Home stockists: or send me a message for the mail order details.

Paneer Pasties


2 x 500g ready-made puff pastry rolls
1 egg yolk
15ml Spar full cream milk


30ml sunflower oil
5ml crushed ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 – 4 green chillies, finely chopped
10ml Curry Me Home red chilli powder
1 x 400g tin Spar whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
5ml Curry Me Home ground cumin
5ml Curry Me Home ground coriander
1ml turmeric
250ml finely chopped button mushrooms
5ml coarse salt
200g paneer
100ml chopped fresh coriander

Place the ginger, garlic and chopped chilli in a mortar.
Pound until the ingredients are combined.
Pour the sunflower oil into an AMC 24cm pot and heat on medium.
Fry the pounded paste for a few seconds and then add the red chilli powder.
Stir for a few seconds and then add the chopped tomatoes.
Add the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Lower the heat and simmer until the tomatoes resemble a thick paste.
Stir the button mushrooms and salt into the sauce.
Simmer for a few minutes until excess moisture evaporates.
Crumble the paneer into the sauce and leave to cool.
Sprinkle the coriander over and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Gently roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface.
Cut out little discs and place a little filling on half of the pastry.
Use a little cold water to sandwich the discs.
Press down gently around the edges with a fork.
Place the pasties on a greased baking tray.
Refrigerate the pies until the pastry firms up.
Beat the egg yolk with milk and brush this over the pastry without letting it spill down the sides.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is golden brown in colour.

Yudhika’s tips:
The filling must be dry to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.
Puff pastry needs to be kept cool for best results when baking.

Banana-less Banana Puri???

Banana Puri

Banana Puri

Could someone please tell me why this is called Banana Puri??? I have no idea but these are actually banana-less puris! Someone once told me that they look sort of like a banana so I stared at them and quite honestly didn’t agree…back in the day, you just couldn’t disagree with the old ladies…so I remained silent. How things have changed?

These pastries remind me of Diwali in Isipingo…..there was a lady, Mrs Nowbuth, who made the best puris ever and it was the talk of our little town. Her husband, Mr Nowbuth, was a teacher at our primary school and he was quite the terror! The pastries were sent out in strict rations…one per household…placed on an flimsy paper plate. Slim pickings for the youngest kid and this meant that I never got to try them. It made me resentful…I really wanted to tuck into one and eyed them greedily! I promised that I would learn how to make these and eat them all on my own!

I first tried making these when I was in high school. Armed with the ‘Bible’ of traditional cooking, ‘The Indian Delights’. It wasn’t the recipe that was a problem…just lack of experience…how thin do I roll out the pastry…what should the syrup be like…how long should I boil it? The answer was mainly pure guess work and impatience.

What a disaster??? The pastry was soaked in oil and what was supposed to look like a rose, resembled a garden snail. This was definitely a lesson in ‘how not to find a good husband’ My first encounter did not deter me – in fact, they were so bad that I was determined to get them right. I persevered and am proud to say that I think I have perfected them…the secret is in resting the dough which I discovered by accident about fifteen years ago….I had been baking all day…and hit the wall. So, I wrapped up the puri dough in cling film and tossed it on the kitchen counter. I got up the next morning and rolled the dough out…the banana puris turned out perfect.

Getting these right takes practice…and the most important ingredient is a super dose of patience. Oh, and one more important lesson….perfecting these delicate pastries did not help me hook the perfect husband…not the first time round, ANYWAY!

I would love to hear about your Diwali memories…post a comment!

Banana Puri

500ml Spar cake flour, sifted
2,5ml ground cardamom
75ml Spar buter
Pinch of salt
2,5ml baking powder
5ml lemon juice
200ml iced water
200ml Spar butter, melted
Cornflour for sprinkling
Spar sunflower oil, to fry banana puri
Tinted roasted almonds, to garnish

For the sugar syrup:
250ml Spar sugar
200ml cold water
1 cinnamon stick
25ml rose syrup

Here’s how

Mix the sifted cake flour, ground cardamom, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Slice the butter into little cubes and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the lemon juice to the iced water.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add enough iced water to make a stiff dough.
Leave the dough to rest overnight (8 hours).
Divide the dough into eight portions and mould into smooth balls.
Use a rolling pin to work each portion into a paper thin round.
Dust the work surface with flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
Dust a large baking sheet with flour and place the first round on it.
Brush the round with melted butter ghee and then sift a tablespoon of cornflour over.
Pile the rounds on top of each other making sure that both sides of the rounds are brushed with butter ghee and dusted with cornflour except the top of the last round.
Gently roll out the pile and trim the edges.
Brush the top of the dough with melted butter ghee and then dust again with cornflour.
Roll up the dough tightly to form a swiss roll and slice the dough into 12 portions.
Place the sliced dough with the layers facing up and flatten at a 45 degree angle.
Roll the dough into an oval and fold the open edge over and press firmly to ensure its does not open when being fried.
Heat oil in a small pot on medium heat.
Fry the banana puri one at a time and gently spoon a little oil over the pastry. This helps to puff up the layers in the pastry.
Turn the pastry over and continue spooning oil over.
The banana puri should still be pale in colour when cooked.
Drain on a wire rack.

To make the syrup:
Combine the sugar, cold water and cinnamon stick in a pot. Cook on a medium heat stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves. Simmer until a thick syrup forms. Pour in the rose syrup and leave aside to cool slightly. Drizzle a little syrup over the banana puris and garnish with flaked almonds.

Yudhika’s Tips

The sugar must dissolve before it comes up to the boil as this would cause the syrup to crystallise.
If the puris start to open, use a slotted spoon to hold the pastry against the side of the pot. Once the pastry holds its shape it can be turned over.
Dust the banana puri with icing sugar instead of sugar syrup.

Butter Me Up, Baby!

Butter me up....

Butter me up….

I really need a bit of FLS – Food, Love and Shopping! Life around the Sujanani/L’Etang household has been hectic! After 5 months of working on my new project, ‘The Holi Cow’ – Cooking School and Deli, I need 100mg of something to calm myself and a few large G & T’s to wash them down!

Building renovations are not fun! I throw tantrums almost daily – what was supposed to be a three-week stint has turned into a five month nightmare! Well, the one good thing about all of this is that I cook way more than I used to relieve the stress. I am curvier for sure…but well fed and spending my quiet moments dreaming up recipes for a new book!

I have also taken a serious shine to disappearing off to the mall..These are just the commercial breaks a woman like me needs to keep focused…after all, who wants to come home to a grumpy wife??? So, I am doing my best to stay cheerful and that is exactly the sort of therapy I need…it’s a feast for the soul and trust me….enough to take away anyone’s building blues!

There are just some days though when nothing seems to add cheer to a tough day! These are the days when calories don’t count. So, when all else fails I tend to spoil myself up by preparing one of my best treats….Butter Chicken!

Here is the recipe:

Butter Chicken

Serves 4


For the chicken:
800g chicken thighs and drumsticks, skinned
Salt to season
20ml crushed ginger
20ml crushed garlic
15ml red chilli powder
5ml ground cumin
7,5ml ground coriander
2,5ml ground cardamom
2,5ml turmeric
60ml lemon juice
60ml fresh cream
40ml Spar sunflower oil

Place the chicken in a mixing bowl and season with salt.
Pound the ginger and garlic until smooth.
Rub the pounded mix over the chicken pieces.
Rub the spices over the chicken pieces.
Pour the lemon juice and fresh cream over the chicken.
Mix well to cover the chicken pieces with marinade.
Leave in the refrigerator to marinate for 4 – 6 hours.
Place the chicken on a roasting pan and drizzle the sunflower oil over.
Roast in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius for 20 minutes.
Check the chicken every 10 minutes and turn them over to brown evenly.
It must not be cooked through and the chicken slightly pink near the bone.
Once the chicken has cooled, debone the pieces and discard the bones.

For the sauce:

3 x 400g tins Spar whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
200ml boiling water
10ml crushed ginger
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
15ml Curry Me Home red chilli powder
45ml whole cashews
60ml boiling water
Salt to season
5ml Curry Me Home ground cumin
5ml Curry Me Home ground coriander
5ml Curry Me Home garam masala
100ml cold butter
2 green chillies, sliced
10ml dried kasori methi, optional
7,5ml sugar
60ml fresh cream

For the sauce:

Soak the cashew nuts in 60ml boiling water for 10 minutes.
Place the cashews in a liquidiser and process until smooth.
Place the tomatoes, boiling water, ginger, garlic, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon stick into an AMC pot and bring to the boil.
Simmer on a low heat until the tomatoes have broken down completely.
Use the back of a wooden spoon to press the tomatoes against the side of the pot.
Leave to cool slightly.
Place the tomatoes in a liquidiser and process until smooth.
Pass the tomatoes through a fine strainer using a wooden spoon once again to press down.
Discard the pulp and pour the smooth tomato sauce into a pot.
Add the cashew paste, red chilli powder, salt, cumin, coriander and garam masala.
Simmer on a low heat until the sauce thickens.
Add the green chilli and deboned chicken with the pan juices and simmer until cooked through.
Add the kasori methi and sugar.
Gently work the cold butter into the sauce – do not over cook as the sauce will split.
Stir in the cream and simmer for a minute.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Yudhika’s tips:
It’s best to marinate the chicken overnight for the best flavour.
The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor.
You could grill the chicken over charcoal braai to get the authentic smoky flavour.