Cooking

Asian Beef Short Rib…Sugar & Spice recipes

Sugar & Spice with Yudhika - Asian Beef Short Rib served with Coconut Rice

Sugar & Spice with Yudhika – Asian Beef Short Rib served with Coconut Rice

I have a big heart for South East Asian flavors….lemongrass, coriander, coconut and chilli. On Sugar & Spice last week, I showcased these flavors dedicating an entire episode to highlight the delicious cuisine.

On the menu, a slow cooked Asian Beef Short Rib with a fragrant home-made paste, slowly simmered in coconut milk and to go with that a lightly scented coconut rice, dotted with peas. If you are short on time, the beef rib can be prepared in an AMC Speedcooker but remember to reduce the liquid to prevent the sauce turning into a soup….during the show, I used a normal pot…when I say normal I mean I use a fabulous AMC pot for this and not a pressure cooker.

Don’t forget to catch the show on Dstv’s Home Channel 176 or you can tune into Mela on Sundays on SABC 2 for a weekly dose of delicious too!

Asian Style Beef Short Rib by Yudhika Sujanani  cooked with lemongrass, chilli, garlic and coconut milk

Asian Style Beef Short Rib by Yudhika Sujanani cooked with lemongrass, chilli, garlic and coconut milk

Asian Beef Short Rib

Ingredients

1kg beef short rib

For the paste:
2 inch piece of ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped (white parts only)
4 – 6 green chillies, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
5 cloves
45ml sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped

50ml sunflower oil
1 – 2 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
30ml red chilli powder
2,5ml turmeric
10ml coarse salt

8 lime leaves

500 – 600ml coconut milk
Coriander, to garnish

Place the cloves, chillies, onion, garlic, and ginger into a blender.
Process until smooth.

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Pan.
Add the cinnamon sticks and bay leaf.
Once the whole spices are fragrant, add the fragrant paste.
Saute until the moisture evaporates.
Add the red chilli powder and turmeric.
Stir for 3 – 5 seconds, then add the beef short rib.
Coat the rib with the fried paste, scraping the pan to prevent burning.
Add the salt and stir well.
Pour in the coconut milk, add the lime leaves and loosen the spices that are stuck to the base of the pan.
Lower the heat and simmer until the beef is tender.
Once the beef is cooked through, simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens.
Place on a serving platter and garnish with fresh coriander.

Pea and Coconut Rice by Yudhika Sujanani

Pea and Coconut Rice by Yudhika Sujanani

Pea and Coconut Rice

Ingredients

50ml sunflower oil
45ml desiccated coconut
375ml basmati rice
600ml water
150ml coconut milk
Salt to season
250ml frozen peas
Coriander, to garnish

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC pot until warm (not hot).
Add the desiccated coconut and stir to heat.
Add the curry leaves and stir for a few seconds.
Stir the basmati rice into the fried coconut.
Add the water, coconut milk and salt.
Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Once the rice has steamed through, add the frozen peas and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Check the rice, ensuring it does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
Leave to stand for 2 – 3 minutes until heated through.
Garnish with fresh coriander.

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Sugar & Spice with Yudhika: Almond Crusted Paneer

Yudhika prepares Almond Crusted Paneer on the Home Channel's  Sugar & Spice

Yudhika prepares Almond Crusted Paneer on the Home Channel’s Sugar & Spice

Caught up in the whirlwind of cooking classes, tv shoots and just amazing times, blogging sometimes takes a bit of a beating! I am back on track and please stay tuned to the blog, social media and the Home Channel to catch up on the latest episodes of Sugar & Spice on DSTV’s 176.

Here is a recipe from last week’s show, focusing on vegetarian meals! I marinated paneer in a tandoori style paste and patted on a handful of flaked almonds to form a crust…bake in a hot oven and serve with mint chutney! You have the perfect and quite unusual oven baked paneer.

Marinated Paneer crusted with flaked almonds ready for the oven....Sugar & Spice with Yudhika on the Home Channel

Marinated Paneer crusted with flaked almonds ready for the oven….Sugar & Spice with Yudhika on the Home Channel

Almond Crusted Paneer

Ingredients

4 litres full Cream Milk, preferably Clover
180ml white vinegar

Boil milk in a thick bottomed pot and stir continuously to prevent the milk from sticking.
Once the milk comes up to the boil, remove from the heat.
Pour the white vinegar around the pot and gently move the milk – do not stir.
If the mixture still looks milky, add a little more vinegar.
Leave aside for 30 minutes.
The curd should float to the top and form a thick layer.
Place the curd in a strainer and use the back of a spoon to press out the excess whey.
Tip the curd into a muslin cloth and mould it into a ‘cake’.
Place the paneer on a chopping board and place a large pot filled with water on top.
This will help the excess moisture drain away.
Leave to drain for 2 hours.
Place the paneer in a zip seal bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Yudhika’s tips:
Always use full cream milk when making paneer.
Leave the paneer on the draining board while it is being pressed – the whey can cause a mess.
If the paneer is too soft, leave it unwrapped in the refrigerator to firm up.

For the marinade

60ml chickpea flour
10ml Curry me Home Magic Masala or Indian Rub
20ml red chilli powder
2,5ml turmeric
5ml ajwain seeds (carom or lovage)
10ml garam masala
5ml ground black pepper
60ml fresh cream
50ml yoghurt

50g flaked almonds
Salt, to season
Sunflower oil, to drizzle

Place the spices, chickpea flour, yoghurt and cream into a bowl.
Stir well until the marinade is smooth.

Place a piece of baking paper onto a roasting pan or baking tray.
Drizzle with a little sunflower oil and spread two tablespoons of the marinade over the paper.
Place the paneer on top and coat in the remaining marinade.
Season with salt and gently press the flaked almonds over the marinade.
Drizzle with sunflower oil.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius for 12 minutes or until the paneer is golden brown.
Serve with mint chutney.

Feast, Pray, Love…#1 Persian Pleasures in Kensington

Yudhika's Feast Pray Love in Kensington at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Yudhika’s Feast Pray Love in Kensington at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Feast, Pray, Love are three words that best describe what my life is all about…I celebrate through feasting and when I pray, it isn’t with a long list of things I need or want, it’s to be thankful…taking time to count every one of my blessings which makes me love life more everyday. Love…the most beautiful gift of all, what would life be without those we love and treasure!

Whether I am working, doing a show, or just being with my family…I feast, I pray and I love fiercely! The idea of putting together the ‘FPL’ section to my blog has been on my mind for ages, like coffee…my ideas keep percolating! Through my journey, highs and lows….I am learning to be kind to myself and forgiving too.

I love to travel, see new places and experience different cultures…on the 15th May this year, just a stroke past midnight, I was tapped lightly on my shoulder by an air hostess on SAA, waking me up to my birthday and a bottle of Taittinger Rose…it was a toast to new beginnings and what better way to kick off a new year with an adventure in London…with an exciting new project on the cards, the city was my oyster. I threw back my champagne and fell into the most delicious sleep.

The Iranian/Persian influenced stores on Kensington's High Street with Yudhika Sujanani

The Iranian/Persian influenced stores on Kensington’s High Street with Yudhika Sujanani

I had a bit of free time and took a walk down Kensington’s High Street which led me to a little pocket of Iranian supermarkets, green grocers and restaurants. I love Iranian food and Jozi seems to have lost Apadana, the only place I knew that made a good Fesenjun…which is chicken cooked in pomegranate molasses and walnuts. There is also an Apadana restaurant in Kensington. I popped into Zaman, the Iranian Supermarket…the store is crammed with everything from fresh and dried fruit, Persian sweets like cashew nut baklava, macaroons and something that looks like Indian jalebi to Iranian caviar…and spices. The Iranian community are pedantic about the quality of dried fruit, nuts and the saffron is fabulous.

Pomegranates...a persian must have ingredient

Pomegranates…a persian must have ingredient

Brightly coloured, juicy pomegranate rubies...the perfect walkabout snack on High Street #yudhikayumyum

Brightly coloured, juicy pomegranate rubies…the perfect walkabout snack on High Street #yudhikayumyum

Persian peaches....at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Persian peaches….at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Iranian Caviar...sights and sounds on High Street, Kensington with Yudhika Sujanani

Iranian Caviar…sights and sounds on High Street, Kensington with Yudhika Sujanani

The Iranian stores seem to be more like old-fashioned family run businesses. The fresh fruit display outside the store is inviting, colourful and very old school….bright pomegranate rubies are sold in little cups which make the perfect walkabout snack. There are also persian peaches, glossy deep coloured cherries, fresh herbs and veggies. For a Persian experience outside Iran, I recommend taking a stroll through this part of Kensington, it’s not only a feast for food explorers but for the eyes too!

The end of a High Street adventure...Yudhika Sujanani - May 2015

The end of a High Street adventure…Yudhika Sujanani – May 2015

I have been working on recipes for the Post Newspaper’s with Ramadan in mind and it’s the perfect opportunity to splash out with my saffron…here is my version of a Persian dish called Koresht-e-Mast which is chicken cooked with yoghurt and saffron. How can I best describe this dish…it’s almost a curry and also described as a Persian stew…a stew??? This is way too exotic and fragrant to be compared to stew…cumin, coriander, red chilli, teamed with fresh orange juice and finished with yoghurt. The dish is lightly spiced, aromatic and creamy. I used the Spar branded double thick yoghurt for this recipe as I find this one doesn’t split or curdle.

Yudhika's version of Persian style Koresht-e-Mast

Yudhika’s version of Persian style Koresht-e-Mast

Persian style Chicken – Koresht-e Mast

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

2,5ml saffron strands
50ml boiled water
1,6kg chicken thighs and drumsticks
45ml sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
2 onions, finely sliced
2,5ml salt
3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
10ml crushed ginger
10ml crushed garlic
10ml red chilli powder
10ml ground cumin
10ml ground coriander
2,5ml ground cardamom
500ml boiled water
2 stock cubes
Juice of 1 orange
6 sprigs fresh thyme
200ml Spar Double Thick Greek yoghurt
1 egg
30ml cold water
20ml Magic Masala, if you have…this is from my Curry Me Home range of spice

Sunflower oil, to brown chicken
Black pepper, to season
Fresh thyme to garnish

Here’s how:

Heat the saffron strands in a dry pan or microwave for a few seconds.
Crush the saffron using your fingertips and place in a little bowl.
Pour the boiled water over the saffron and leave aside to infuse.
Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC Gourmet Roaster.
Add the bay leaf and fry until fragrant.
Add the sliced onions with the salt and saute until pale golden in colour.
Stir the celery sticks into the fried onion and saute until they soften.
Add the crushed ginger and garlic.
Place the chicken into the fried onion and stir well to coat.
Sprinkle the red chilli, ground cumin, coriander and cardamom over the chicken pieces.
Stir well to coat, pour in the boiled water and crumble the stock cubes into the pot.
Pour in the orange juice, add the fresh sprigs of thyme and saffron liquid.
Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken from the pan.
Heat an AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan and grease with non stick spray.
Place the cooked chicken in the pan with the skin side down, turning them often to ensure they brown evenly.
Remove from the pan once they are golden brown.

Whisk the yoghurt with egg and water.
Important step: Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the yoghurt mixture while whisking the sauce continuously – this prevents the sauce from splitting.
Add the Magic Masala – if you have some!
Simmer on low until the sauce thickens and then return the brown chicken to the pot.
Once the chicken heats through, season with black pepper and garnish with fresh thyme.
Serve with steamed basmati or pilau rice.

To knead or not to need?

Need this??? Yudhika's delicous Naan Bread!

Need this??? Yudhika’s delicous Naan Bread!

Knead reminds me of ‘need’ and being caught in the negative ‘need’ cycle. Wherever we are in life, no matter what we accomplish, we are bombarded by society that ‘needs this’ or ‘needs that’. We are also bombarded by clever marketing convincing us that our wants are needs, and this creates much confusion. Telling the two apart is sometimes impossible.

I can’t speak for others but I have always needed to prove that I could and would rise above adversity. In my mind I made up a black list, remembering every nasty comment and dig…thinking, ‘ONE DAY, ONE DAY…! As the years passed, the list grew longer…and I know that this is an unique situation. Most of us have been in this place at some point in our lives. And my ‘ONE DAY’ has come and gone several times…but there is always a new villain on the list or am I that villain that keeps pushing myself harder?

The negative side was the need to prove myself led to me being a workaholic and becoming a bit of a magpie, collecting trinkets and material possessions along my journey. The positive side, I turned my frustration into something constructive, working toward a career that has given me enormous joy and fulfillment. I had the fancy homes and the bad marriages that came with it, unbreakable credit cards, a wardrobe to die for and the shoes….let’s not go there!

I have worked through a particularly difficult phase in my life, thinking I was going mad at times, doubting my own intuition and recovering from years of feeling like I still needed to try harder to prove myself. Sometimes it was about feeding my ego. I couldn’t let the past go or the constant nagging that came from a partner who clearly had his own axe to grind…for my own selfish reasons but also because I was put under pressure by being told that I wasn’t good enough…make more money, be thinner, eat less, try harder, be more funny, perform and complaints that I wasn’t subservient like Indian women were supposed to be. When did I stop being a woman and at what point did I become the circus horse??

Stupidly believing that I was being ‘encouraged’ for my ‘own good’ only to realize that the more I performed, I become easier to validate as my partner’s choice. Who knows what his issues were? But he pushed me hard into being a trophy to save himself from looking the fool. The worst is that this sort of treatment comes from the people closest to us which makes it even harder to deal with and it leads to un-natural desires and needs, creating stress and frustration. This is not a whine session, but thoughts shared which create awareness and different thought processes. I was a victim once, but that was a long time ago…I am not feeling sorry for myself, or an emotional refugee either…I am a just a person who was lucky enough to work it out.

I have reached a beautiful place in my life and here are my thoughts…after having experienced soul-destroying unhappiness, nothing material can ever be more valuable than feeling a true sense of joy. I have reached a beautiful place that is free from want….I am free from chasing unrealistic goals, pressure and ego. Materially, I want for nothing…not the latest car upgrade or fancy house, shopping sprees and five-star meals! This doesn’t mean that I have lost my drive and positivity…I love my work, family and have a life that is brimming with the most amazing opportunities. I have everything that is important and the rest will sort itself out. I have probably never felt better, more relaxed or happier.

I confused my needs with my wants, venturing down a damaging path to prove to others that I was worthy and capable. I had proven myself worthy repeatedly without realizing it. Take a look at life and ask yourself who you are doing it for…do it for the right reasons. Work hard, play hard, feast and be merry…live, love and rejoice! The lesson is to learn to draw a line between when adversity becomes a positive driver and when it becomes an obsession.

To the people who have been nasty, I can’t thank you enough for the role you played in me being who I am today. What was said and done to break my spirit became that which makes me unbreakable. The process did not come without hitches. I worked through them, and have come through it bigger (and curvier), better and stronger. I am thankful for the adversity that has built character and resilience, and it plays a lead role in my script.

 

This is how I roll…Rocking the Roti!

Roti by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti by Yudhika Sujanani

Every culture, every society, every country has superstitions. Whether we believe them or not, they play some part in our everyday lives. Some of them are based on religion, some based on folk legends but if you are Indian, there are more than a few superstitions about roti and most of them are about finding a husband or keeping your mother in law happy.

Here are some of the roti superstitions I grew up with…

1.The roti dough always needs to be made by hand and not a mixer – shows your mother in law that you are capable and if you do use an electric mixer, you will always have hard roti, not to mention the embarrassment and shame your mother will have to live with.

2. I used to cut out my roti using an AMC pot lid to save my mother the social embarrassment of having rather odd-shaped roti served at the table. I was told that this would also make the roti hard and biscuity…how??? Is there a scientific reason? Mrs Anne Bramdeo, who is just so dear to me convinced me that I needed to break my pot lid habit and gave me some lessons. The pot lid is now used for the rightful purpose.

3. It is bad luck to take the ‘roti pan’ off the heat while you are cooking them…you should cook off the roti without commercial breaks…in today’s world that means you don’t have time for selfies!

4. The first roti should never be eaten…it is for the birds! I say it is for the Mother in Law! The first roti is much like the first pancake, it never turns out right.

5. ‘Save the last roti’…I always got busted for this. Apparently, the last roti was saved to ‘save the family’ from starving but also in case God visited. Why waste a perfectly good roti? In the shloks or religious verses, it states ‘Treat your guests as God’ and if there was an unexpected guest, they should have at least one roti. I would happily cook up a batch at anytime, a fresh roti is a delicious treat.

6. If the roti puffs up, your mother in law is going to love you…I can safely say that this one is just a con to get women trying harder at roti…mine puff beautifully and I can swear there isn’t a loving mother in law in sight! I have had two, the first was never the loving type but the second….tjo tjo tjo! We all have those stories, don’t we?

7. If you don’t make good roti, you won’t find a husband…I know women who have no desire to make two minute noodles, but have found amazing husbands, women who laugh about their flying saucer style roti, wonky rotis, dry ones and maps of Africa.

I am going to be bold and brave, declaring that none of these superstitions ring true in my case, that is….I make a pretty mean roti, haven’t found lasting love, a loving mother in law or an amazing husband but I am having the time of my life! Roti superstitions were craftily conjured to keep women in the kitchen and trying harder! If you have any roti superstitions, please share them in the comments section…I am sure I missed a few!  While you are visiting this blog site, click follow to get the recipes sent to you via email.

The first attempt can always be a bit of a disaster…remember it only gets better each time you try. Every batch becomes less messy and your ‘roti lap time’ improves!

Ready to Roll...

Ready to Roll…

Here is my simple recipe, but before you get started here are 3 tips to remember!

Make sure the boiled water is not recently boiled or left to cool slightly, it needs to be bubbling when poured into the flour.

I use sunflower oil instead of butter, as this keeps the roti softer for longer. Butter gives the roti a more shortcrust like texture.

Work quickly with bringing the dough together, this makes it much easier.

Roti squiggles by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti squiggles by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti

Makes 12

Ingredients

750ml cake flour

5ml fine salt

375ml boiled water…I mean hot hot hot

90ml sunflower oil

Melted butter, to cook roti

Here’s how:

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

Pour the boiled water over the dry ingredients.

Mix the water into the flour.

Add the sunflower oil and knead the dough until smooth.

Roll the dough into a ‘log’ and slice into 12 pieces.

Roll each piece into a length and curl up half .

Curl up the other half in the opposite direction.

Ready to Roll...part 2

Ready to Roll…part 2

Fold one curled section over the other and flatten the dough slightly.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth.

Roll each piece into a round ensuring that the work surface is dusted with flour.

Repeat until all the dough has been rolled out.

Place the roti on a hot pan, when small bubbles appear, flip the roti over.

Drizzle with melted butter, then flip the roti again, drizzle again and then flip the roti.

Brown the roti, and remove from the pan.

Yudhika’s Tips:

Pile the rotis and leave to cool before storing them away.

Store rotis in a cake tin lined with wax paper.

Reheat in a microwave for 10 – 20 seconds.

Flavor the dough with 2,5ml cumin seeds.

The sardine run….

The sardine run...Spicy Sardines by Yudhika Sujanani

The sardine run…Spicy Sardines by Yudhika Sujanani

I haven’t eaten a sardine in about thirty years. The sardine run was always a much awaited event on the Durban calendar. Somewhere in the 80’s there were huge shoals of fish that washed up on the shores in Durban and there were people actually scooping them up in buckets.

Firstly, it was quite a sight…I was amazed by the piles of fish heaped on the shore and the locals seemed to be in a trance as they went about collecting their sardine stash. A few days later, I was sure that I overdosed on freshly fried spicy sardines! There were sardines everywhere and every home that visited also served sardines…I do see them on the menu at Portuguese restaurants but haven’t eaten one since!

There have been a few Facebook posts about the sardines in Durban and here is one of my Spicy Sardine recipes….I serve them with a spicy tomato chutney that coats the sardines keeping them moist and delicious!

I’m ready to give sardines a bash again…if only I could find one in Jozi and have it prepared the old fashioned Durban way! I really do miss Durban and all it’s beautiful people and treats!

Sardines in a Spicy Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

12 sardines
10ml red chilli powder
2,5ml turmeric
5ml salt
Sunflower oil to shallow fry

For the Spicy Tomato Sauce

30ml sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs of curry leaves
15ml red chilli powder
6 tomatoes
5ml coarse salt
10ml roasted coriander powder (dhania powder)
5ml roasted cumin powder (jeera powder)
2,5ml turmeric
Handful of fresh coriander

Here’s how:

Slice a cross into the base of each tomato and place them in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and leave aside for 3 minutes. Remove the skins and chop the tomatoes.
Sprinkle turmeric, salt and red chilli powder over the sardines and gently rub the spices over. Place the sardines in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat the sunflower oil in a pot. Fry the finely chopped onion until light golden brown. Add the crushed
garlic and curry leaves. Stir for a few seconds and then add the red chili powder.
Stir the red chilli powder for 5 seconds and then add the chopped tomatoes.
Season with salt and keep stirring until the tomatoes soften slightly.
Add the roasted ground cumin, coriander and the turmeric. Lower the heat and continue stirring until the tomatoes dissolve and form a thick sauce.
Heat the sunflower oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the sardines in batches until crispy.
Remove from the heat and gently dab the sardines with paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat this process until all the sardines are fried.
Spoon some of the tomato sauce over the base of a casserole dish and then spoon the remaining sauce over the sardines and sprinkle the chopped coriander over. Garnish with a few curry leaves.

Yudhika’s Tips

To clean the sardines: Scale sardines and make a cut along the bottom of the fish. Remove the intestines and entrails. Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry using absorbent paper towels.
Handle the sardines gently as they do tend to break up when handled roughly.

Five tips to perfect pilau…Spicy Brinjal Pilau!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

The first pilau I made was from a recipe that I took out of the Indian Delights. I thought I would surprise my mom but it turned into a rather bad surprise…it wasn’t a recipe, it was my cooking skills! I was in high school at the time and without much patience! I cooked the pilau on a high heat and burnt it, the rice turned to mush and it was a complete mess! I am thankful to my creator for blessing me with determination….but still not sure whether it was determination or my ego that kept me cooking after the weeks of being teased about my kitchen disaster!

A good pilau is the perfect dish that turns meals into feasts. This is recipe that is perfect for Ramadan or it could make an appearance at your table served with roast chicken or lamb, curries and stews! For the vegetarians out there, it is a meal on it’s own, served with a salad and a creamy dollop of raita!

Here are a five of my tips to making a fabulous pilau…

Firstly, use a good quality rice. The broken grains in the cheaper brands cause the rice to cook unevenly and turn to mush.

Secondly, always cook the rice in advance and leave it to cool before adding it to the pilau. Rice that has chilled in the refrigerator works best and your pilau will be flop proof with fluffy steamed grains.

Third tip….slow and steady wins the race….pilau should be steamed gently to prevent it from sticking and burning.

Fourth tip….use a good quality pot with a thick base to prevent the pilau from steaming unevenly. I use AMC cookware without a hassle!

Fifth tip…back to the rice rice rice….I personally stick to basmati rice…avoid Jasmine and white rice as they are quite sticky….you can use long grain rice if you prefer but basmati for me is best!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

2 large brinjals
Fine salt, to sweat brinjals
Sunflower oil, to grill or fry brinjals

45ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
10ml crushed garlic
10ml paprika or red chilli powder
400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
10ml roasted ground coriander
5ml ground cumin
1 x 400g tin butter beans
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
1 400g tin lentils
50ml fresh cream, optional
1000ml cooked Basmati Rice
125ml boiling water
10ml chilli flakes, to garnish
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Slice the brinjals into wedges and place them in a colander.
Sprinkle fine salt over the brinjals and leave to sweat for 20 minutes.
Use paper towel to dab the excess moisture off the brinjal wedges.
Heat the sunflower oil and fry/grill the brinjals.
Gently pat the excess oil of the brinjals and leave aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a thick bottomed pot.
Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf until fragrant.
Add the cumin seeds and when they begin to splutter add the chopped onion.
Sprinkle the coarse salt over the onion and fry until they turn light golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and stir for a few seconds.
Add the paprika and then stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for a minute before adding the ground coriander and cumin.
When the tomatoes soften completely, add the drained butter beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Pour in the fresh cream and layer the cooked basmati rice over.
Pour the boiling water over the rice and then reduce the temperature.
Simmer the pilau on the lowest heat setting until the rice has steamed through.
Place the brinjal wedges over the rice.
Garnish with chilli flakes and fresh coriander.

Yudhika’s Tips:
Fry the brinjals while the pilau is steaming though so that the wedges are hot when serving.
Par-cooked potatoes can be added to this recipe.

Ready for Ramadan…Moroccan Lamb Harira

Yudhika's Moroccan Inspired Lamb Harira

Yudhika’s Moroccan Inspired Lamb Harira

Time does fly and it’s already Ramadan. Most of my Muslim friends and colleagues will be fasting without food or water from dawn to dusk. I have always been completely amazed by the fast and how no matter where you were or who you were with, my Muslim friends stick to it! I envy this dedication and commitment. The month of fasting is not a hunger strike but a month of prayer and reflection. It’s a time that Muslims come together and re-connect over spirituality and end the day with a home cooked feast. I didn’t know much about Ramadan when I was a kid except knowing that my friends at school were not eating all day, but every year, I have learnt a little more about Islam while developing new recipes for Ramadan and Eid too! Here is one of those recipes perfect for the fasting month…I took some inspiration from Morocco for this one! This can be served as a soup or a stew. The temperature has plummeted and this hearty Moroccan Inspired Harira will definitely warm you up! To all my Muslim friends and followers, Ramadan Mubarak! Moroccan Lamb Harira Serves 4 Ingredients 700g lamb loin chops 50ml sunflower oil 1 bay leaf 1 stick cinnamon 5ml cumin seeds 2 onions, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, crushed 10ml crushed ginger 10ml paprika or red chilli powder Pinch of tumeric 2 stock cubes 400g tinned tomatoes, chopped 400g tin lentils, drained 400g tin chickpeas, drained Salt to season, optional Fresh coriander, to garnish Here’s how: Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC pot. Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Add the cumin and fry until the seeds begin to sizzle. Add the chopped onion and saute until light golden brown. Add the lamb pieces and seal the meat while stirring. When the meat is sealed, add the garlic and ginger. Stir for a few seconds and then add the paprika or red chilli powder. When the spices start to stick, pour in boiling water to cover the lamb. Add the stock cubes and turmeric. Simmer until the meat is tender. Stir the tomatoes into the lamb and cook until they soften. Add the lentils and chickpeas. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly. Check the seasoning and add more salt only if necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander. Yudhika’s Tips: Butter beans can also be added to this dish. Stock cubes contain salt so always check the seasoning before adding more.

Meat Free Monday…Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Meat Free Monday with Yudhika Sujanani - Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Meat Free Monday with Yudhika Sujanani – Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Another Meatless Monday…and today is also World No Meat Day! This is a quick and easy recipe that is absolutely delicious. You can serve it as a meal on it’s own or as a side dish. Mushrooms taste better when cooked in advance and absorb the spices from the sauce. Prepare the mushrooms and add the spinach just before serving, taking care not to over cook it.

Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Ingredients

50ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
10ml crushed garlic
10ml red chill powder
400g chopped tomatoes, fresh or tinned
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
400g mushrooms, sliced
400g baby spinach, chopped
Fresh curry leaves or coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Paella Pan.
Add the mustard seeds and when the pop, add the cumin seeds.
Add the chopped onion and salt.
Saute until the onion is golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds.
Stir the red chilli powder and mix for 5 seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes and stir in the remaining spices.
Add the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Simmer the sauce and use the back of a spoon to break down the lumps.
Once the sauce resembles tomato paste, add the chopped mushrooms.
Simmer until the mushrooms soften, add 125ml boiling water if the sauce is too thick.
Once the mushrooms are cooked through, add the chopped spinach and simmer uncover for a minute or two.
Garnish with fresh curry leaves and coriander.

Masala Chicken Casserole….

Yudhika's Masala Chicken Casserole....

Yudhika’s Masala Chicken Casserole….

Did somebody press the freeze button? I spent a few days in Cape Town and it seemed like the weather gods have been creating havoc….snow, rain and the worst part…the wind. The weather was awful but I still love Cape Town…and not even the weather could dampen my spirits. My colleague and GIBS Goldman Sachs graduate, Dudu Mofokeng and I were asked to join the UN Women and Facebook as panelists on the ‘Boost Your Business’ workshop! I was and am truly humbled to be a part of this initiative and will be posting more information about it in my next blogs.

Competition time...The AMC 30cm Skillet worth R3200

Competition time…The AMC 30cm Skillet worth R3200

There is some other news too…today we announce the winner of the fabulous AMC skillet…just another way that AMC Cookware and I share our happiness and love for food! The prize is worth R3200 and will be a beautiful addition to an existing set of pots or as the first one in your AMC collection….and the winner is…..ta daaaaa….YAAVNA MOODLEY! Congratulations, Yaavna…we will be in touch to arrange the delivery! I would like to thank all of you who entered the competition and follow the blog…stay tuned for the next competition!

With the weather being this awful, I thought I should also share a recipe that is slightly different to our usual curries….stock cubes and tinned tomatoes are not standard ingredients in the Indian pantry but have become part of my kitchen must-haves. I suggest serving this casserole with mashed potatoes and bread too. The bread is great for mopping up the spicy sauce.

Happy cooking, everyone….stay warm and hearty!

Masala Chicken Casserole

1,4kg chicken portions, thighs and drumsticks
15ml sunflower oil

30ml sunflower oil
1large onion, thinly sliced
4 green chillies, sliced
10ml cumin seeds
20ml coriander seeds
4 cardamom pods
10ml black pepper
25ml crushed ginger and garlic
20ml red chilli powder
2ml turmeric
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200ml boiled water
1 stock cube
Salt, to season
50ml full fat yoghurt, optional
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Heat a 28cm AMC Chef’s Pan and pour in the sunflower oil.
Seal the chicken skin side down in batches until deep golden in colour.
Remove the chicken from the pan and leave aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC Gourmet Pan.
Saute the sliced onion until pale golden in colour.
While the onion is cooking, place the cumin, coriander, cardamom and black pepper in a mortar.
Ensure the cardamom is finely pounded and leave aside.
Once the onions are golden, add the green chillies.
Stir the ginger and garlic into the onions and fry for a few seconds.
Add the red chilli powder and turmeric, mix to heat the spices for a few seconds.
Place the sealed chicken into the pan and stir to coat in the red chilli.
Add the pounded spices and stir well, taking care not to burn them.
Add the chopped tinned tomatoes and boiled water.
Crumble the stock cube into the pan and season very lightly with salt.
Simmer on a low heat until the chicken is tender.
Dilute the yoghurt in 30ml cold water and add to the chicken.
Once the sauce thickens and coats the chicken pieces, garnish with fresh coriander.