Month: November 2014

Up to a R100 Mela challenge…


Shoot the shop.....with Harry at the Broadacres Spar for Mela

Shoot the shop…..with Harry at the Broadacres Spar for Mela


Every now and then, we are challenged by the Mela producer to take up a challenge of sorts….this one got me thinking and shopping on high alert at our local supermarket, the Broadacres Superspar.  The challenge to prepare a three course meal for 4 people with R100.  It may sound impossible at first but a little cash can go a long way with some clever and creative shopping!  Just a quick word on costing….measure everything and weigh everything!


Shop shop shop at Broadacres Superspar.....special thanks to Mrs Pat Tarr and the team!

Shop shop shop at Broadacres Superspar…..special thanks to Mrs Pat Tarr and the team!


I headed off to the supermarket and checked out the specials and found some frozen hake fillets for just over R30 per box…I love hake but the price made this ingredient a winner….I also opted to make a little batch of choc cakes and spotted the little brinjals on special at R12 per punnet!  Another winner…a walk around Spar and the menu was already created.


Herbs can be pretty expensive, sometimes costing between R10 and R15 per pack.  With everyday cost-effective cooking, you need to get a little creative and I did the same a while ago by turning a sunny patch at Holi Cow into a herb garden…you have no idea how much fresh herbs and lettuce needs to be thrown out…it’s expensive and quite wasteful.



I opted to use fresh herbs from the garden…mint, coriander and spring onions were freshly picked to cut down on the costs and add oomph to the marinated brinjal starter.  I always have glace cherries in my  refrigerator…these are often left lying in there for a while so I decided to use them in the dessert…’s a shame really because they are so pretty.  Another tip for cost-effective cooking, is use up what you already have!!!


On the Mela menu today….Marinated Brinjals, Spicy Fish Masala and Mini Chocolate Cakes!  If you missed the episode, click here:


Marinated brinjals by Yudhika on Mela's R100 challenge...

Marinated brinjals by Yudhika on Mela’s R100 challenge…

Marinated Brinjals

3 – 4 small brinjals (i picked up a little punnet)

Fine salt, to sweat brinjals

Sunflower or olive oil, to grill brinjals

Half a lemon

15ml olive oil

2 spring onions, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

Fresh mint sprigs, chopped

Fresh coriander, chopped

Thinly slice the brinjals and place them in a colander.

Wipe off the excess moisture using paper towels.

Heat a frying pan or a grill.

Brush the brinjal slices with oil and grill on a high heat until cooked through and slightly charred.

Place the brinjal slices onto a platter and squeeze over the lemon juice, then add 15ml olive oil

Season lightly with salt.

Sprinkle over the chopped spring and red onion.

Garnish with chopped mint and coriander.

Serve with crusty bread



Yudhika prepares a Spicy Fish Masala on SABC 2's Mela

Yudhika prepares a Spicy Fish Masala on SABC 2’s Mela


Spicy Fish Masala

50ml sunflower oil

5ml ajwain

4 sprigs on coriander with roots and stalks

1,5cm piece ginger

15ml crushed garlic

15ml mixed masala

4 ripe tomatoes, blanched and chopped

Salt to season

600g frozen fish

Chop the coriander stalks, roots and leaves into a mortar.  Add the ginger and garlic and pound into a rough paste.

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC paella pan on a low heat.

Add the ajwain or carom seeds to the oil and fry until they sizzle.

Add the rough ginger and garlic paste and fry until fragrant.

Stir the mixed masala into the oil and heat for 3 seconds.

Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer until the tomato thickens.

Season with salt and stir well.

Add 250ml boiled water and then gently place the fish into the pan.

Lower the heat and simmer until the fish is cooked through.

Garnish with fresh coriander.


Mini Chocolate cakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Mini Chocolate cakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Mini Chocolate Cake


40ml cocoa powder

50ml boiling water

2 eggs

90ml sugar

2ml vanilla essence

100ml cake flour

5ml baking powder

Pinch of salt

60ml sunflower oil

Apricot Jam

100g milk chocolate, chopped

30ml milk

Cherries, to garnish

Mint sprigs, to garnish



Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.

Grease and line 4 – 6 ramekins.

Dissolve the cocoa in boiling water and leave aside to cool.

Sift the cake flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and then add salt.

Beat the eggs in an electric mixer and gradually add sugar.

Continue beating until thick and creamy – the mixture should leave a trail on the surface for  3 seconds.

Fold the flour into the egg mixture.

Fold the cocoa and sunflower oil into the mixture and pour into prepared ramekins.

Bake for 12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.

Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

Heat the apricot jam with water and glaze the cake.

Boil the milk, remove from heat and add the chocolate – whisk until the chocolate is smooth.

Pour the chocolate over the cake and serve.

Garnish with fresh mint and a cherry




Yudhika’s Tips:

Make sure the mixing bowl is oil free before whisking the eggs – oil prevents the eggs from incorporating air.

Back to Basics…

Yudhika..behind the scenes on Mela with AMC cookware

Yudhika..behind the scenes on Mela with AMC cookware



I simply love leftovers and even taking a few  lonely ingredients and turning them into a deliciously spicy meal.  South Africans are braai fanatics and like most homes there are always a few sausages, grilled steak and chops in the refrigerator.


Sausages and baked beans used to be a childhood favourite.  I am quite the ‘can fan’ and always have a well stocked pantry.  There are beans of all shapes and sizes in the cupboard….butter, baked, kidney, three beans and….my love for beans even earned me the name, ‘Bean Bomber’!


On Sundays episode of Mela, it was back to basics…taking a few store cupboard staples and turning them into an easy meal to deal with that nagging question, ‘What’s for Sunday Supper?’  If you missed the last episode of Mela on SABC 2, click here:


This is a one pot meal that will definitely become a Sunday night fave.  The sausages soak up the lovely tomato gravy, keeping them moist and spicing them up at the same time.  As I said on the show, allow two sausages for a greedy portion but even one would do nicely!



A big thanks to the AMC cookware team in Cape Town who keep the Holi Cow kitchen well equipped with the latest cookware!  Also a very big thanks to Mrs Pat Tarr and the Broadacres Superspar team for sponsoring the ingredients for my blog.


Before we move onto the recipe, just a quick update on the competitions.  The winner for the AMC competition will be drawn on Sunday, 3oth November after Mela!  Please stay tuned on twitter and Facebook for the announcement.  The KitchenAid stand mixer competition will be drawn on Sunday 13th December.


Yudhika's Sausage and Bean Pasta...back to basics on Mela

Sausage and Kidney Bean Pasta


Serves 4




600g cooked sausages

40ml sunflower oil

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

5ml cumin seeds

1 large onion, finely chopped

5ml coarse salt

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, crushed

10 -15ml Curry Me Home Nan’s Lazy Day Masala

1 x 400g tin tomatoes, chopped

1 x400g tin red kidney beans

500g penne pasta, cooked and cooled

75ml fresh cream

Fresh coriander or curry leaves, to garnish

Here’s how:


Heat the sunflower oil in a AMC paella pan.

Fry the bay leaf and the cinnamon stick for few seconds.

Once the bay leaves turn a shade darker, add the cumin seeds.

Fry until the seeds begin to splutter and then saute the onion with salt until pale golden in colour.

Add the crushed garlic and stir for a few seconds, then stir in the mixed masala.

Add the tomatoes and cook until the sauce thickens – the tomatoes should break down completely.

Add the drained red kidney beans and  pour in 250ml boiled water.

Break the sausages into the sauce and simmer for another 2 – 3 minutes.

Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is heated through – add more water if the sauce is too dry.  Pour the fresh cream into the pasta sauce and stir.

Garnish with fresh coriander or curry leaves.


To crush a bunny chow….


Ready to bunny....Yudhika Sujanani on Mela

Ready to bunny….Yudhika Sujanani on Mela – Wardrobe: Sun Goddess


For heaven’s sake, we are not cooking up a bunny rabbit! It’s a  Bunny Chows and almost like traveling back in time…you have to take a trip down memory lane….so how do you describe eating a bunny….is it to eat a bunny?  No!  Everyone has their own terminology…to kill a bunny….to crush a bunny or to slay a bunny but there is never any cutlery!


Indian fast foods have a story behind them….and bunny chow was a way of serving curry in hollowed out bread that didn’t need a plate or cutlery…it was borne in times of hardship, racism and apartheid.  The best ‘Durban fast food’ was the result of those difficult times so yes, while we now live in a generation of born free’s, the bunny chow movement is still going strong!


When I think bunny chow, I think Island Hotel in Isipingo Beach!  My Nan’s sister, Phyllis owned the Island Hotel…well, it was owned by the ‘B V Naidoo’ clan that owned the hotel.  Strangely enough, the Andhrite community still speak of clans!  I do find it quite amusing…what if you just don’t have a clan or fit into one either?  I was never a fan of the chicken bunny….give me a good old bean bunny  or my other bestie, the famous lamb bunny.


We loved visiting Granny Phill!  She was always feed us…making sure that we were over fed and cheerful when we left….and definitely in need of an arvie nap!  She would cook up large batches of curries in massive pots…the cooking gene runs deep in our family!


Granny Phyllis passed away a few years ago…but she has left some beautiful food memories behind….we would smell the curry in the car park of the hotel and we knew that she was around!  She cooked with love and hearty…a larger than life personal with a sense of humor that just made us giggle!


Today, on SABC 2’s Mela, we are celebrating our ‘South African’ess’ on the show!  An iconic South African dish…should we call it a dish?  Dish or not…it’s really a feast!  This is a basic recipe….you can play around with it….for me personally, a Bunny Chow should have some of my favourite Durban flaves…, spicy and it screams out for pickle!  I always have bits of pickle masala left in bottles in the refrigerator….and it’s just too delicious to throw out so we live with the irritation of the oily rings they leave in cupboards, shelves and counter tops!  If you missed today’s food Mela episode, click here to take a look:


There is just something about pickle…it has a magical ability to get out of the bottle! Maybe, it’s just too delicious to stay in a bottle!  So, here is a great way to use of those delicious bits of pickle masala….just pop a few scoops into your curries…it works well with paneer, chicken, seafood and lamb….my favourite is the lamb curry!  I also add some ‘home made fat chips’ to my bunny.  I squish the chips on top of the curry and then spoon more of that pickle masala sauce on top just to make it a super treat!


It’s also one of my favourite fix it ingredients….if the curry just needs a bit of ooooommph, add a scoop and it will remedy a bland curry transforming it into a magical one!

And the ingredients are....

I use lamb shanks or knuckles for this curry…I don’t enjoy the texture or flavour…maybe, I should say lack of flavour in leg of lamb so although it is boneless, it falls short on flavour!  I pop up to our local….the Broadacres Superspar and get Mr Pat to prepare the lamb cuts for me!  He is brilliant and one of those old school ‘blockman’ or butchers!  On his recommendation, I have tried a combination of knuckles and shoulder which I must say resulted in the tastiest curry ever!  Shoulder would be just a little too bony for a bunny.


If a bone finds its way into your bunny chow….just keep going!  Your fingers are going to get messy anyway so it’s not a train smash!


Rules for eating a bunny…just a quick lesson on bunny chow etiquette:


1. No cutlery

2. Only share a bunny with someone you know….it would just be weird to eat a bunny with someone you didn’t!

3. No bunny chows on first dates – save that for maybe the second!

4. Soft drinks work best with a bunny…I mean really, who ever drank red wine or champagne with a bunny…and fruit juice is just as bad!

5. If you love someone, let them have the soft bread on top!  You can also let them have the only potato or the last one!  That’s really saying, ‘I love you…big time!’

6. Need to rinse your fingers after an ‘outdoor’ bunny feast….use the windscreen washer….works perfectly every time!

The Bunny Yudhika SujananiLamb Bunny Chow


Makes 4 quarter bunnies!


4 lamb shanks, each weighing around 350 – 400g

60ml sunflower oil

2 cinnamon sticks

2 bay leaves

1 onion, finely chopped

7,5ml coarse salt

60ml crushed ginger and garlic

45ml red chilli powder

10ml ground coriander

5ml ground cumin

5ml garam masala

2ml turmeric

2 tomatoes, blanched and chopped

30ml pickle masala, optional


Home-made potato chips, to serve



Heat the oil in a large AMC pot. Fry the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.

Add the onion, sprinkle in the salt and sauté until the onion is light golden brown.

Add the ginger and garlic, stir for a few seconds, then add the red chilli powder.

Place the lamb shanks into the pot and coat in the spice mix.

Pour 500ml boiled water into the pan, then add coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric.

Simmer until the meat is tender and starts to leave the bone – you may need to add more water if necessary.

Remove the shanks from the pan, and place on a chopping board. Leave to cool slightly, and debone the shanks. Discard the bones.

Add the tomatoes to the sauce and once they soften, add the deboned lamb. Stir the pickle masala into the lamb and simmer for a few minutes.

Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.


To serve:


Slice a loaf of bread in half and hollow out the soft inner, leaving the crust intact.

Spoon the lamb into the bread and then top with coriander and freshly made potato chips. Spoon more sauce over the chips and serve.





Shah Rukh in the bag….


Behind the scenes on SABC 2's Mela

Behind the scenes on SABC 2’s Mela

I got to see Shah Rukh Khan up close and personal about  15 years ago when he first performed in South Africa….he was a great performer then but didn’t really catch my eye….well, now he is sporting an eight pack and has definitely got my attention!  He has clearly earned his title as the ‘Badshah of Bollywood’!


Shah Rukh’s favourite meal is Tandoori Chicken and I prepared this with my very own spin for Mela!   I love tandoori anything, the only problem is that it does tend to dry out….so I worked my way around this to prepare an all in one Tandoori Chicken Traybake that is deliciously moist and tender!


It’s a simple recipe…all you need to do is introduce the ingredients, leave to marinate and they spices do the rest!  It’s also one of those dishes that is a complete crowd pleaser so if you are looking for a spicy chicken meal without the fuss, this one is for you!  If you missed the episode, click here…


It's in the bag.....marinated chicken for the tandoori tray bakeI pop the chicken into a Glad bag and pour the marinade ingredients in to make it as mess free as possible.  This works really well, saves on the washing up and also the bag goes straight into the refrigerator to marinate.  I have added magic masala to this recipe which is a spice from my own brand.  You can leave it out or use an unsalted chicken spice to replace it.  The marinade can be done a day in advance but always bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting.


A big thank you to the Mrs Pat Tarr and her team at the Broadacres Superspar with all the behind the scenes help in getting the ingredients sourced and delivered!

Tandoori Chicken Traybake by Yudhika SujananiTandoori Chicken Traybake




2 whole chickens

8 cloves garlic, crushed

30ml crushed ginger

25ml red chilli powder

15ml ground coriander

10ml ground cumin

10ml garam masala

15ml Magic Masala

Pinch of turmeric

125ml double thick yoghurt

Juice of 1 lemon

125ml water

5ml coarse salt

2 stock cubes, crumbled

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 large onions, sliced into wedges

50ml fresh cream

Fresh coriander, to garnish


Here’s how:


To flattie the chicken, lay the chicken on a chopping board with the breast side facing up. Press down hard on the breastbone twice. Turn the chicken over and use poultry shears to cut alongside the backbone of the chicken. Repeat on the other side and discard the backbone.


Remove the tip of the wing, excess fat and skin. Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with absorbent paper towel.


Place all the remaining ingredients except the tinned tomatoes and sliced onion into a non-reactive mixing bowl. Whisk until the marinade is smooth.


Smear the marinade over the chicken flatties and leave to marinate for a few hours.


Place the chickens in a deep roasting pan with the skin side facing up. Roast the chicken in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 45 – 50 minutes, basting every 15 minutes.


Stir the chopped tomatoes and onion wedges into the pan juices and return the chicken to the oven for 15 minutes. The juices should run clear when the chicken is tested with a skewer.


Pour the cream into the roasting pan and stir into the sauce. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.






Blog down….

Yudhika on SABC 2's Mela....preparing a Gandhi inspired Thali

Yudhika on SABC 2’s Mela….preparing a Gandhi inspired Thali




I have been blogging my heart out and then things have quieted down and so did the blog…I needed a little time to catch my breath and fix a few techno glitches.  To end this crazy busy spell, I have just completed a whole new series of ‘Food Mela’ – I was absolutely delighted to be cooking on the show!



I haven’t blogged for a while and was quite surprised after receiving messages from my blog friends requesting my return to the blogosphere!  Heartwarming is the best word to describe it!


Okra on the menu....

On last weeks food insert, I featured a Gandhi inspired thali concentrating on frugal food. A thali is a metal plate that has a few different dishes served in little bowls or Katoris on it…this is the best way to enjoy Indian food and you can try a selection of different dishes in smaller quantities.  I have grown up loving frugal food like a simple potato curry, dhal and okra!  Gandhi’s food philosophy was around not just filling your tummy, it was about nourishing the soul too! If you missed the step by step food Mela video, click here…



On the Mela menu, was Potato Curry with Methi and Tempered Okra  – Gandhi’s favourites!  Potato Curry is one of those stock standard favourites in any Indian home and I love a little leftover potato smushed into fresh bread almost like a potato buttie!  Paired with a cup of good coffee, it’s the best hangover treatment…not that I get hangovers!



The potato is simple enough to make – just remember to use Up to date potatoes for this recipe….they are available in Fruit and Veg City and in Indian Green Grocers!  These potatoes have a floury texture like the English Maris Piper and King Edwards – they work like a charm! Here are a few tips to getting the okra right!  Firstly, always slice the okra and leave it to dry out for a while to get rid of the sticky gooey liquid.  Add salt after the okra is cooked…salt draws out the moisture from the okra and will turn your dish into a sticky mess…if you are cooking up a large amount of okra, fry them off in batches to prevent them from stewing….and for heaven’s sake, use a really good pan or skillet like the AMC 28cm Chef’s pan to fry off the okra….if you have a ‘crack pot’, the okra will stew!  With an AMC pan, the solid base heats up evenly and retains the temperature!  Now, on with the recipe!


Potato and Methi by Yudhika SujananiPotato and Methi

50ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml salt
10ml red chilli powder
3 medium sized potatoes, cubed
Pinch of turmeric
200g fresh methi, washed and chopped
Here’s how:
Heat oil in a 30cm AMC pot and add the mustard seeds.
When they begin to splutter, add the cumin seeds.

Fry until the cumin seeds turn a shade darker.

Add the chopped onion, then the salt and saute until light golden brown.

Add the red chilli powder and stir for a few seconds.
Add the cubed potatoes, then pour in boiled water – I add a little at a time so that the potatoes don’t turn mushy….potatoes can be pretty unpredictable!
Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Sprinkle the fresh methi over and simmer for a minute or two until the methi wilts.
 Tempered Okra by Yudhika Sujanani
Tempered Okra
500g okra
60ml sunflower oil
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, sliced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Salt to season
Fresh coriander, chopped
Lightly rinse the okra and wipe dry with absorbent paper towel.
Slice the okra into rings and leave to dry for an hour.
Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Chef’s skillet.
Add the okra and fry until light golden brown.
Remove the okra from the pan and reheat the oil.
Add the onion and fry until light golden brown.
Add the okra and green chilli.
Toss the okra lightly and add salt.
Add the chopped coriander and stir lightly.