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.

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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.

Life’s a peach….

Yudhika Sujanani, getting ready for a new season of Sugar 'n Spice on The Home Channel

Yudhika Sujanani, getting ready for a new season of Sugar ‘n Spice on DSTV’s The Home Channel

Life can be many things but for me it’s a peach….It isn’t always the case but sometimes we can choose for it to be! Last week, I finished shooting the last episode of ‘Sugar ‘n Spice’ which will be airing on DSTv’s Home Channel on the 29th June. The show took over three months to shoot and we have had many fabulous but long days on set…early morning kick offs and late nights! I am pinching myself…still thinking of the days when I promised myself I would get my very own show! Stay tuned for more details! This cake reminds me so much of my days in Durban and when life is a peach, I have to celebrate.

When I was a kid, our trusted Defy oven would blow a fuse and we would be left without my mom’s famous cakes for months. Tinned peaches were always on standby when we were cash flush that is…they were served with chilled dessert cream and it was simply delicious. I love the distinct flavour of dessert cream and my kids think that it is a real treat when I haul out a large tin of peaches!

I made up this recipe which takes me back in time and I hope you enjoy it! A light sponge cake topped with luscious whipped cream and syrup soaked peaches! It might even be the perfect dessert making an appearance for Father’s Day on Sunday. I found a way of working around the sub standard fresh cream that just flops or won’t whip up successfully. Pick up a tub of Woolies or Weleda Double Thick Cream…you cant whip it on it’s own because it is too thick but add fresh cream or Nestle dessert cream to create a decadent topping!

Peaches and Cream Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Peaches and Cream Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Peaches and Cream Cake

Ingredients
4 eggs
200ml sugar
5ml vanilla essence
250ml cake flour
10ml baking powder
Pinch of salt
65ml cold water
125ml sunflower oil

For the cream topping:

250ml double thick cream
150ml Nestle dessert cream
60ml icing sugar
Drop of vanilla essence

400g tinned peach slices
Fresh mint sprigs, to garnish

Here’s how:
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Grease and line 1 x 10 inch round cake tin.
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, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture.
Add the water and oil, fold mixture again.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the topping:
Place the double thick cream, dessert cream, sugar and vanilla essence into a mixing bowl.
Whip until the cream thickens.
Scoop the cream onto the top of the cake and use a spatula to make little peaks.
Drain the peaches and discard the syrup.
Chop the peach slices into little pieces and sprinkle over the cake.
Garnish with mint leaves.

Yudhika’s Tips:
Make sure the mixing bowl is oil and grease free before whisking the eggs – oil prevents the eggs from incorporating air.

Sorry is…such a sorry word!

Yudhika's Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

Yudhika’s Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

Is it just me or does the word sorry irritate anyone else? My thoughts and feelings percolate over time. This is not something new or a revelation of sorts and no, I haven’t had my heart-broken over the weekend…the word just irritates me! I can’t remember when it first struck me. Perhaps it was when my kids were little and bashing each other in a fight over a toy but I can still remember my son, Rushil, saying, ‘Sorry doesn’t even help!’ Over the past few years and somewhere in the midst of my latest ugly divorce, the dreadful word ‘sorry’ has been thrown carelessly into life changing conversations. Sometimes ‘Sorry’ comes only after years of someone forcing you to accept that an apology wasn’t necessary and by then, it is too late.

Sorry isn’t enough…the word has made the world a worse place to live in. People have become careless with those most dear to them. People take chances knowing that when the cracks appear all they need to do is say sorry. Think back to being a child at school and playing with your friends…if you hurt or wronged anyone on the playground, we apologized by saying, ‘Sorry’…how many times did you say it without real emotion, regret and remorse? It has always been a mindless almost insincere response.

Human beings are flawed….we all are and mistakes are a part of life and us growing emotionally. In this modern tech savvy world we live in, is it not possible that we have become emotionally unintelligent? Whether you are ill, being cheated on, just lost your job or experienced some sort of tragedy…it’s met with the same generic response, ‘I am sorry!’ How can such a small word possibly become the ‘one size fits all’ plaster for life’s wounds, whatever they might be? I was in a relationship once and my partner dated his ex girlfriend…he said, ‘It was no big deal’. If it was no big deal, why was it not mentioned when I made him dinner the next evening or when he chatted to me for hours the next day? Why did he actually do it? He took the chance and me for granted is the short answer thinking that all he had to do is say, ‘Sorry’ and that would come only if I found out, of course! Well, he didn’t anticipate that it would not be enough to fill in the cracks it left in the relationship….and the one thing about cracks is that they often expand and distort our feelings. My question is was he really sorry or sorry that I found out?

Is this me moaning about my relationship experiences….absolutely not! I have been lied to, cheated on and emotionally distraught at different stages of my life. It is wretched and the most important thing I have to share is that at no point was ‘sorry’ ever enough to take the pain away. When I have been left feeling wretched, I often heard the same thing which is, ‘Well, I said I was sorry…Didn’t I…What more do you want?’ and it simply wasn’t enough. I have been soul searching, wondering what was wrong with me and why an apology wasn’t the plaster I thought it would be. I realize that these apologies lack sincerity. Why isn’t it good enough? What do we want? More than words….once the trust is broken, it’s a long hard road back. Maybe it is a women thing…I wanted to know why and deal with the underlying issues and was met by the, ‘Sorry, can we sweep this under the rug now?’

Over the last while, I have had my share of generic sorries…but it’s taught me a lesson too. I would like to share my advice, if I may that is…I have been thinking, agonizing over the apologies I have not accepted and going forward ask you to live your life after erasing the word ‘Sorry’ from your vocabulary. Imagine making decisions and considering the people around you knowing that if you messed up, sorry would not be an option. I know that this would not erase any chance of making mistakes but we have become careless….maybe it would get us to think for a moment about everything that is precious and taken for granted.

When we are wrong, we have to work harder than just an apology…we have to work harder than ‘Sorry’ to find a remedy, support the person we are apologizing to and put the ‘no big deal’ mentality aside! ‘Sorry’ is not an apology…it’s a word and it has no magical powers!

Sorry is a sorry word….it is one of the most useless words in the dictionary. I have yet to write a blog about my carelessness and the things that I have been sorry about and apologies I’ve made….coming soon!

It’s been cold over the past few days and all I want to do is tuck into some comfort food. It could be the weather but my guess is that my thoughts have also been keeping me busy and craving the comfort of Wintery bakes…I am endlessly entertained in my own company…with some comfort food of course! Here is a recipe for a deliciously spicy lamb rosti bake! I love a traditional Cottage Pie but with the weather playing up, I spiced this recipe up along the lines of Keema Masala or Curried Mince. It is delicious, quick to prepare and comforting! I used the spices from my Curry Me Home range and at first glance it looks like there is lots of red chilli…keep in mind that lamb and beef ‘hold’ a lot more chilli and it is the base spice of the dish. Mince tends to often be flavorless and bland so you have to spice it up a fair bit!

Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

750g lamb mince
50ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
30ml ginger and garlic, crushed
30 – 45ml red chilli powder
10ml ground coriander
5ml garam masala
2ml turmeric
200g chopped tomatoes

700g potatoes, boiled in skins – I used Up To Date variety
Salt, to season potatoes
100g butter

Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Paella Pan.
Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf until fragrant, add the cumin seeds.
When the seeds start to splutter, add the onion and salt.
Salute the onion until light golden.
Add the crushed ginger and garlic and fry for a few seconds.
Add the red chilli powder and warm through for 3 – 5 seconds.
Stir the lamb mince into the red chilli and fry until it changes colour.
Add the ground coriander, garam masala and turmeric.
Stir for a few minutes and add the tomatoes.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften.
Place the lamb mince into a casserole dish.
Peel the potatoes and grate them over the mince.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Melt the butter and pour it over the potatoes.
Bake the lamb in the oven at 180 degrees celsius until the potatoes are golden brown which would take about 35 -45 minutes.

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.

Take it easy….Greek Inspired Lamb Shanks

Yudhika's Greek Inspired Lamb Shanks....

Yudhika’s Greek Inspired Lamb Shanks….

The weekend is here again and I have a action packed one ahead of me! I will be cooking up an absolute storm at the Grand Design Live show at the Coca Cola Dome. If you are popping in, come over to the Curry Me Home stand where we will be hosting quick and easy cooking demos with AMC Cookware…the best part is the tasting! The revised and limited edition of my second recipe book, Curry Me Home, Again will be on sale!

Some people have been commenting and asking, ‘Where is Winter’? I say it is here already…most mornings I look like the Oros Man with layers of flannel and fleece not to mention those chunky socks. As the temperature takes a nose dive, my food cravings rocket and there is a whole lot of cooking going on at Holi Cow! Having my mom around means that I get home cooked goodness everyday. My kids and I are super lucky to have her around.

Every now and then we take a curry break…we love love love our Indian food but a change is as good as a holiday….and I was dreaming of a Greek holiday when I prepared this recipe. Comfort food is always popular and a slow cooked lamb shank is the perfect fit! I often read through recipes and have to remind myself that not every recipe needs a myriad of spices. Perhaps, it is preparing Asian food that uses many spice combinations…my fingers itch to reach into my spice box.

This is a simple recipe and remember to cook the shanks slowly which brings out the flavour of the meat and also improves the texture. You can toss in a few green chillies to spice it up if you like! I gave in to my spice obsession and added two tablespoons of Magic Masala to the shanks…Magic Masala is one of my special blends and the Rolls Royce spice of the Curry Me Home range. This is not a curry spice but a ‘global blend’…whether you are cooking Moroccan, Greek, Middle Eastern or Indian…a little Magic Masala goes a long way…the combination of cumin, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon make this blend hard to live without…it is best described as ‘bottled gold’.

Get the shanks on and kick back to enjoy your weekend…serve the shanks with a heap of buttery mashed potato!

Leave a comment so I know you popped past my blog!

Greek Inspired Lamb Shanks

Ingredients

4 lamb shanks, each weighing about 400g
60ml sunflower
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
30ml tomato paste
250ml wine, white or red
2 stock cubes
250ml water
400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
Salt, to season
Black pepper, to season
30ml Curry Me Home Magic Masala
Fresh rosemary, to garnish

Here’s how:

Heat a large AMC pot and pour in the sunflower oil.
Seal the lamb shanks in a single layer until golden brown.
Remove the shanks from the oil, then add the onion and saute until pale golden in colour.
Add the carrot, celery and saute until the vegetables soften.
Stir in the garlic and fresh thyme.
Saute until fragrant, add the tomato paste, wine, stock cubes and water.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Simmer on a low heat for 3 – 5 minutes, then place the lamb shanks into the pan in a single layer.
Cook on a low heat until the lamb is tender – this should take about 2 hours on a low heat setting.
Add more water if necessary.
Remove the shanks from the pan and leave aside.
Pass the sauce through a strainer and use the back of a spoon to press out the liquid.
Return the shanks to the pan with the strained sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens.
Check the season and add salt only if necessary.
Season with black pepper.
Garnish with fresh rosemary.

The Hunger Games….

I wrote this blog a while ago…it still makes me want to pinch myself for two reasons. One being that I have grown enough as a person to share my experience and the second, I can’t believe that it actually happened and how my life has changed.

Some may read this and look down upon me…that is just fine by me. I am what I am and what I am today is largely because of where I come from. I share it not to shock, but to inspire somebody out there who perhaps is going through a similar experience.

It’s World Hunger Day….reach out if you can because every little bit counts and you can make a difference!

Thanks for stopping by!

yudhikayumyum

This is an uncomfortable blog to write….it takes me back to a rather sad and unpleasant time in my life….fortunately, I have had many ‘happy endings’ which makes writing this much easier!

I have experienced hunger a few times….my family were not wealthy and putting a meal on the tables at times was just not possible. Growing up in an Indian community meant that everything was ‘hush-hush’ – I did not speak about it…actually nobody spoke about it! It was a game we played…pretending that everything was fine!

A packed school lunch was a luxury – my dad tried, I suppose but it just wasn’t enough. I cried sometimes…just feeling so overwhelmed by such poverty, helplessness and embarrassment. Don’t get me wrong, there were good times too but every now and then, our lives were punctuated with hunger! I did not starve, but I sure know what it feels like…

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The Great Idli Revival…

Yudhika's Durban tea party at Holi Cow...with Joanne Joseph.

Yudhika’s Durban tea party at Holi Cow…with Joanne Joseph.

There’s been a wave of enthusiasm about Idli…and some people have been asking what is this thing that makes everyone go a little dippy. A description doesn’t do them justice…they are steamed semolina cakes made with rice flour and fresh coconut. It’s a humble treat but an irresistible one!

I shared my recipe in the Post Newspaper a few weeks ago…I had been reminiscing about my childhood and the specialities that ‘oldies’ used to make….and I say ‘oldies’ fondly. I miss that feeling…eating and indulging in the food these ladies prepared could only leave you feeling loved in that very special way!

There’s been an overwhelming response to this recipe and a similar one to the snowball blog too…I was surprised that so many people shared the same sentiments about growing up in Durban and snowballs too! You can find the recipe here,

I had a group of phenomenal women around for a little Durban style tea party recently. We feasted on curry pies, samosas, idli and snowballs…what a treat to be in such great company but also to reconnect over the treasures that we relished from our childhood in Durban. Devi Sankaree, Joanne Joseph, Aasra Bramdeo, Krivani Pillay and Uveka Rangappa…thanks so much for a delightful afternoon at Holi Cow with loads of giggles!

Phenomenal women...Krivani Pillay SAFM, Devi Sankaree Govender - Carte Blanche, and Koo Govender - Phakama Women's Academy  enjoying the treats at Holi Cow!

Phenomenal women…Krivani Pillay SAFM, Devi Sankaree Govender – Carte Blanche, and Koo Govender – Phakama Women’s Academy…enjoying the treats at Holi Cow!

I have been making idli flat out since and there seems to be a bit of a revival…some people have rocked up at Holi Cow desperately seeking one, and others brought their kids over to give it a try…some have sent their kids to urgently collect! It gladdens my heart to know that there is so much love that can be shared through food.

I used fresh yeast for this recipe…you can use half the quantity of dried yeast if you prefer. I prefer the fresh yeast though….might be my imagination but I think there is a difference. I have to say that I can be quite superstitious and old fashioned with baking. There’s also been quite a few queries about where to get fresh yeast…it used to be available and kept in the refrigerated dairy section in supermarkets. With so few people baking, fresh yeast isn’t always available.

You can pop through to your local supermarket and get some from the bakery section. It is inexpensive and good supermarkets are happy to share…I normally get my yeast over the counter at the Broadacres Superspar or Hobart Superspar…I don’t think you would have much luck at Woolies or Checkers but the Spars are individually owned and there is a good chance they would help you out…you could also try your local bakery…it sounds like a schlep but it is worth the effort!

Steaming the idli in an AMC pan using the egg poacher

Steaming the idli in an AMC pan using the egg poacher

Now, you don’t have to run out and get an idli pot…I have one that I bought from India and it is nothing to hoo haa about. The pot is quite thin and rattles around on the hob….also the stacked idli stand leaves some of the dumplings squashed. I use an AMC egg poacher for this and it works perfectly. You do not need a fancy pot just for steaming them. It’s also better to steam them in one layer as they cook evenly and in the same time. If you are looking to start your AMC collection or adding to the existing one, click here for the latest AMC competition, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2015/05/04/cookware-for-queens-and-a-few-kings-too-the-amc-cookware-competition/

Take a browse through the blog….I love hearing from you and your comments point me in the right direction…so feel free to drop me a line or two!

Sweet Idli by Yudhika Sujanani

Sweet Idli by Yudhika Sujanani

Sweet Idli

Makes 18 – 24

Ingredients

10ml sugar
20g fresh yeast
500ml tepid water

250ml self raising flour
125ml rice flour
125ml semolina
250ml maize meal
2,5ml salt

225ml sugar
185ml desiccated coconut
125g melted butter

Here’s how

Place the sugar in a jug, add the fresh yeast and the water.
Stir well to dissolve and leave in a warm place.
Bubbles should appear on the surface – if not it means that the yeast is inactive.
Place the self raising flour in a mixing bowl.
Add the rice flour, semolina, maize meal and salt.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture.
Stir well to combine and ensure the mixture is smooth.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 3 – 4 hours or until the mixture has doubled in volume.
The batter should have large bubbles on the surface.
Stir the sugar, desiccated coconut and melted butter into the batter
Bring 500ml water to boil in a 24cm AMC pot.
Place an insert ring with a 6 egg poacher on the pot.
Grease the poaching cups with non stick spray.
Spoon the batter into the cups – it should be about 3/4 full.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam for 12 – 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean with the idli is tested.
Serve hot with butter and syrup.

Busting my chops…

Chop Chutney by Yudhika Sujanani

Chop Chutney by Yudhika Sujanani

Success is not a destination…it is a journey. And I can truthfully say, that the road is not paved with success. There are gravel roads, highways and cobbled paths but there are more failures and disappointments than victories. I have never opted for the easier routes. It doesn’t sit comfortably but there are times that the road was clearly the wrong one. If we made all the right choices, we would definitely not work as hard. The lessons we learn often come from failure. There is so much we learn about our ‘inner circle’ only when we experience dismal failure…suddenly our good friends disappear and some of them stay close, encouraging and guiding us through the darkness. I am thankful for all the lessons…good, bad and ugly.

Looking back over the past decade, I have been busting my chops…learning lessons on my journey and persevering through. I started out in the food world when I was 14 years old…buttering bread and rolling cutlery in paper serviettes. I started out by just lending a hand in the kitchen…running errands and always assisting the weakest link in the food chain. But as I climbed the ladder, every rung came with it’s own lessons and a better view too. I eventually opened a restaurant and that also came with it’s lessons. I loved food but hated the restaurant admin that kept me out of the kitchen. I paid my school fees and learnt very quickly that if I wanted to serve delicious food, I would have to work on the admin in the day and chef during the dinner service. Welcome to the life of a restaurateur…seven years of double shifts and three kids I wasn’t putting to bed later, I sold Salaam Bombay to concentrate on the career I have now.

I started doing live cooking demos and became the brand ambassador to a large food corporate…I was still working double shifts but from home. I made samosas, thousands of them, for the Broadacres Superspar to fill up the financial gaps in my bank balance. The financial shortfalls was what led me to launch a range of spices called Curry Me Home at the same Spar. My first recipe book followed a few months later. Through this time, there was rejection, a few bad surprises and the road had been bumpy at the best of times.

I have busted my chops since I was 14, and there are people out there that assume that a strategic marriage is behind my success. Frankly, my marriages have been the failure that has fueled much of my drive to succeed. I have experienced my fair share of divorce ugliness but will not be a casualty of the process or ugliness that comes with it. Marriage to a wealthy man can provide financial stability but it will not provide you with knowledge and wisdom to succeed as an independent woman. The men that claim that their wives had married for money lack good common sense. Imagine the foolishness of a man who does this, raising questions about his wisdom and intelligence. There have been a few murmurs going around and either way, whatever people believe, I am going to take it a a compliment…because I am that resilient, smart and business savvy to succeed. And if I ever decide to become that gold digger, I am sure that I will be successful at that too.

As adults, we often speak of our sacrifices…quite recently and increasingly often, I watch my kids and think of how much they have sacrificed by not having me around as much as they would have liked. They complain sometimes but most often understand, accept and tolerate the workload that comes with the lifestyle we enjoy. But the lifestyle doesn’t come from what Indians refer to as ‘being a sponge’ or gold digger. If I opted in as a ‘sponge’, my kids would have had more time with me and definitely little respect!

I have worked double triple time and still do, never turning down work and being an entrepreneur 24/7. I am a cook, teacher, author, TV presenter, PR lady and manufacturer! I have always known that no matter how hard you work, there are always ‘those people’ who just love busting your chops! The petty, mindless comments and stupidity of the gossip, leaves me asking questions about the lack of education and imbecility! When the fits of giggles subside, I recognize that lives can be that empty!

All of this and I throw my hands in the air and declare, ‘To each chop, his own!’, I suppose! Which brings me back to the chops….here is my recipe for a golden oldie from Durban….Chop Chutney! This is a Sunday favourite but also a great way to recycle lamb chops after a weekend braai.

Chops Chutney

Serves 4

Ingredients

1,4kg lamb chops
250ml water
15ml crushed ginger and garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Salt to season

50ml sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml salt
1 sprig curry leaves
3 – 4 green chillies
10ml crushed ginger and garlic
5ml – 10ml red chilli powder
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2,5ml ground cumin
2,5ml ground coriander
2,5ml garam masala
1ml turmeric
Pinch of sugar
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Pour the water into a 30cm AMC gourmet roaster, then add the ginger and garlic.
Arrange the lamb chops in a single layer.
Add a cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
Simmer the chops until the water has evaporated and the meat is tender.
The fat from the chops should be left in the pan.
Fry the chops until golden brown and season with salt.
Pour off the excess oil.

Heat the sunflower oil in a 24cm AMC pot and fry the onions with salt until light golden brown.
Add the curry leaves and chillies, saute for a few seconds.
Stir the ginger and garlic into the pot and then add the red chilli powder.
Add the tomatoes, then the remaining spices.
Simmer until the sauce thickens and the tomatoes soften.
Sprinkle in the sugar and pour the cooked tomatoes into the pot with the lamb chops.
Toss the lamb chops in the tomato chutney to coat.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.