durban recipes

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.

 

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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.

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.

Mela’s Diwali Episode…..

 

Behind the scenes....Yudhika Sujanani on Mela SABC 2

Behind the scenes….Yudhika Sujanani on Mela SABC 2

Eggless baking can be quite stressful…some of my attempts have led to my worst cooking disasters…so embarrassing that I could not bear to share the pics…red velvet cakes that look like melted plastic, cakes that look like biscuits and horrid tasting ‘bicarby’ ones too.

This recipe is one of my best…..quick, easy and simple to prepare…it will have you baking like a star!

I added this recipe to my Diwali episode on Mela….play around with it….spice it up with cinnamon or nutmeg…or add a little leftover burfee crumbs to zhoosh it up!

 

Just a thought….I do get quite a few questions about my big red dot….well, I just got tired of those fancy ones and thought I would go back to the dots or ‘botus’ that my gran used to wear…I love them and yes, they are traditional and some say ‘old fashioned’!  Some say it is a brave choice of dot…well, I like them and will keep wearing them!

 

Mela lights up my Sunday….don’t forget to tune in next week and in the meanwhile enter the KitchenAid competition here….https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/blog-party-kitchenaid-giveaway/ to win a KitchenAid stand mixer worth R6990 and then click here if you love love love AMC cookware as much as I do to win a 24cm Gourmet roaster worth over R3000, https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/amc-giveaway/…..

 

While we were working on the chana magaj shoot, our pan with the cooked chickpea flour vanished…turns out the lovely Mark Corlett left the pan in the prep kitchen and the cleaner ‘chucked’ out the mixture…so it was back to square one for us on the prep….it was quite a giggle!  There are always fun times with the Mela team….if you missed the Diwali episode, click here….https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/mela-diwali-chana-magaj-and-eggless-cake/ – as you can see from my little clips…I love AMC cookware and for a recipe like magaj a good pot is a must!

 

 

For the Chana Magaj recipe, click here… https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/11/01/pecan-chana-magaj/

 

 

 

The Eggless Coconut Cake....by Yudhika

 

Eggless Coconut Cake

Ingredients

125g butter, at room temperature…please!

125g sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

125ml desiccated coconut

60ml Double Thick Greek Yoghurt

250ml full cream milk, at room temperature

375ml cake flour

10ml baking powder

5ml bicarbonate of soda

5ml vanilla paste

For the Lemon Frosting:

125g butter – at room temperature

375ml icing Sugar

45ml fresh cream

30ml fresh lemon juice

Strawberry jam, to sandwich cakes

Strawberries, to garnish

 

Some KitchenAid love....with Yudhika Sujanani

 

Here’s how:

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.

Grease and line a 2 x tins with paper cases.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Scrape down the bowl often and then add the lemon zest.

Add the coconut and beat for a few seconds.

Combine the yoghurt, full cream milk and vanilla paste in a jug.

Sift the dry ingredients and add them to the creamed butter.

Pour in half the milk and yoghurt and beat on low, gradually adding the remaining liquid.

Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and continue beating until the ingredients are well combined.

Divide the batter into the 2 prepared tins.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when the cakes are tested.

Leave to cool slightly before placing the cakes on a wire rack.

Prepare the frosting:

Cream the butter and add the icing sugar gradually.

When the butter is very light in colour, add the fresh cream.

Continue beating for a few seconds, then add the fresh lemon juice.

Beat until the frosting is fluffy.

Sandwich the cakes with jam and then frost the top and sides using a palette knife.

Garnish with strawberries and coconut shaving