sun goddess

Starry Starry Eyes…

Mela Episode 3: Keralan Fish and Spicy Wilted Spinach by Yudhika Sujanani...

Mela Episode 3: Keralan Fish and Spicy Wilted Spinach by Yudhika Sujanani…

It’s always a bit daunting to recreate someone else’s recipes…and for the 3rd episode of Mela, I was taken aback when my lovely producer asked me to re-create the recipes of Michelin Starred Chef, Atul Kocchar.

After reading through his recipe, I realized that we share a similar food philosophy – I keep it simple and so does he…Atul also seems to be a ‘old is gold’ chef….he uses simple techniques and makes use of fresh herbs like curry leaves and coriander….garlic and one of my favourites, coconut milk! I am sure that we both would disagree though on the pro’s of using frozen ‘box fish’ – it’s sometimes difficult to source fantastically fresh fish in Jozi so I use the convenient option….

I don’t enjoy fussy food and must declare, that after cooking up Chef Atul’s Keralan Fish and the Spicy Wilted Spinach, that I am starry eyed….I think I have a food crush on this chef!

I did change the recipes slightly…cutting down on the whole green chillies and also by adding tomatoes to the wilted spinach to suit my personal tastes! If you missed the episode, click on this link…

Just a quick tip…I met with Kaye and Tamsyn from AMC cookware. We discussed pots and pans….and I had to explain what a fish pot was….its a wide AMC pot that is not deep. The fish needs to be poached in the sauce in a single layer to prevent it from becoming an absolute mush!


Here is the recipe…

Keralan Fish
7ml salt
7ml turmeric
4 fish fillets, 600g
30ml coconut oil/sunflower oil
1 onion finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 green chillies, sliced lengthwise
5ml red chilli powder
Handful of curry leaves
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
Small bunch fresh coriander, chopped

Here’s how
Gently rub the fish fillets with 5ml turmeric and 5ml salt.
Heat the oil in a 30cm AMC pot, then sauté the onion with the 2,5ml salt until pale golden brown.
Add the chillies, half the curry leaves and garlic – sauté until fragrant.
Add the red chilli powder and remaining turmeric.
Pour in the coconut milk and simmer gently until the sauce begins to bubble.
Place the fish fillets into the sauce and simmer on a low heat setting until the dish is cooked through.
Heat a little sunflower oil in a pan.
Once the oil is hot, fry the remaining curry leaves until they splutter.
Garnish the fish with fresh coriander and fried curry leaves.

Spicy Wilted Spinach

15ml sunflower oil
2,5ml mustard seeds
2,5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
2 dried red chillies
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tomatoes, blanched and chopped
800g chopped spinach

Heat the sunflower oil.
Add the mustard seeds and once they begin to splutter add the cumin seeds.
Add the onion, salt and dried red chillies, then sauté until the onion is light golden brown.
Add the garlic and fry until fragrant.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the onion and simmer until they soften.
Add the chopped spinach and sauté until the spinach wilts.


Celebrating Spring with Mela Picnic…Coronation Chicken Wraps and Scones…

Yudhika shooting the Spring picnic at Holi cow with Rushil Sujanani

Yudhika shooting the Spring picnic at Holi cow with Rushil Sujanani

I love picnics and after a long Jozi Winter, the first Spring picnic is always something to look forward to. You don’t need to find a park…why not have a picnic in your garden at home? The trick with picnics is to make a treat or two and then just buy a few treats to bulk up the picnic offering! You don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen and miss a beautiful day – it shouldn’t feel like a mission!

Clowning around with Harry, the Mela Cameraman!

Clowning around with Harry, the Mela Cameraman!

I love the simplicity of a picnic..anything goes and everything is a treat! I picked up some cupcakes from the Fourways Farmer’s Market, some plain Haloumi and also my favourite, Chilli Haloumi as well. Soft cheeses like goats milk and cream cheese work well with biscuits! Don’t forget to pack a light wine for the day or if you are like me a bottle of pink champagne would do nicely! I absolutely love African fabrics and a African Spring celebration would not be possible without a dress, skirt or top from Sun Goddess! A big thanks to Vanya and Thando Mangaliso for adding that special sunshine to our shoots!

Curious about what I will be doing on SABC 2’s Mela…check out this little interview:

The Mela team….Mark, Herman and Dave had to tag along to the market with me for the shoot….I am so so lucky to work with such a fab team! Shoot days are hard work BUT they are magical at the same time….we laugh ourselves through the day and sometimes it’s difficult to keep a straight face in front of the camera….as you can see from the pictures…they are not pic perfect – they reflect what really goes on at Holi Cow and some of the clowning around too!

Coronation chicken…for many years, it just sounded so so boring and I would roll my eyeballs when I heard about it! Such a proper British dish, by default, it had to be boring! And yes, you always get the stock standard history 101 about the Queen’s coronation!

I am sharing my favourite version that Chris Smit generously shared with me…I did change the recipe slightly – I do find it impossible to follow recipes! This can be used as a filling for wraps, sandwiches and baked potatoes….in a salad or served in a heap with a poppadom on top!

Scone for the tasting...yum yum time!

Scone for the tasting…yum yum time!

For the best scone recipe from the show, click on this link… you can serve the scones with a raspberry cream or with whipped cream with a pinch of cardamom like I prepared on Mela. Although, you don’t need a fancy mixer to make up a batch of these scones, a KitchenAid is still one of my must haves….take a look at the competition which celebrates the launch of Mela here,

If you missed last week’s Mela…click here for the paneer and double bean curry..

Here is the recipe for the Raspberry and Rose Cream – a pinch of cardamom wouldn’t hurt here either….

Raspberry and Rose Cream

250ml double thick cream
50ml fresh cream
15ml castor sugar
Drop of vanilla
200g punnet fresh raspberries

Here’s how:

Place the thick cream and fresh cream in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and vanilla essence. Use a wire whisk to whip the cream until it is thick.

Back to the Coronation Chicken Wraps…

Coronation chicken wraps by Yudhika Sujanani...

Coronation chicken wraps by Yudhika Sujanani…

Coronation Chicken Wraps

1 Whole Roasted Chicken, skinned and de-boned
30ml sunflower oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
15ml crushed ginger
5ml red chilli powder
5ml ground coriander
5ml ground cumin
2,5ml turmeric
160ml yoghurt, plain
160ml. mayonnaise
30ml chutney – I used Mango Chutney
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Lemon Juice
Fresh Coriander Leaves, chopped
8 – 10 soft flour wraps
Fresh salad leaves


Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC pot – add the onion and saute until translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic.
Stir for a few seconds until fragrant.
Add the red chilli, cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Cook the spices for a few seconds.
Add the chicken and stir through – leave to cool.
Add the yoghurt, mayonnaise, chutney, and lemon juice.
Season lightly with salt (the chicken is seasoned already) and then a sprinkling of black pepper.
Add the coriander and stir gently.
Warm the wraps on a hot pan and then place one on a board.
Layer the salad leaves over the wraps and place a few scoops of coronation chicken on top. Roll the wrap up tightly and serve.

No Goats, No Glory – The Mela Debut…

Mela Magic with Yudhika Sujanani

Mela Magic with Yudhika Sujanani

The big day has finally arrived! I cannot believe that after months of shooting and flying around South Africa, Mela will be launching tomorrow on SABC2 at 10.30am! I have been celebrating the launch date and the KitchenAid Stand Mixer competition has been keeping me incredibly busy. More about the competition on this link,

Rina and I at Belnori Boutique Cheesery....

Rina and I at Belnori Boutique Cheesery….

My first episode took the team and I out to Bapsfontein to Belnori Boutique Cheesery and it was a real treat. I was set on making paneer and thought it would be a great idea to try it with goat’s milk. We were met by the owners, Rina and Norman Beicher – this couple is really passionate about goats and cheese, of course! They produce an extensive range of award-winning cheeses. I am an absolute fan of ‘Chevre Frais’ or the soft goats cheese so I didn’t need much coazing to get started on the tasting!

The stars of the show....The Goats of Belnori!

The stars of the show….The Goats of Belnori!



Goats…I do love them! I think I must have fallen in love with these creatures at the Fairview Estate! I absolutely love the curiosity that sparkles in their eyes, their animated silliness, and they are incredibly mischievous!

Rina was an absolute charm and took me through the range of from cottage cheese to semi hard varieties, camembert and even yoghurt! But it was the fresh goats milk that i was after! I have sometimes tasted goats milk and cheese that was pretty unpleasant. Rina explained that the ewes are kept away from the rams and bathed regularly….it all comes down to good animal husbandry, she said! Tasting the products, I realized that she had a point…there weren’t any ‘goaty’ flavours in the yoghurt or cheese! Belnori is a gem!

I picked up a bucket and then hustled back to Holi Cow to prepare a batch of paneer! Cow’s milk can be used instead in this recipe…but if you are feeling adventurous, give the goat’s milk a chance!

Yudhika preparing paneer in the AMC paella pan

Yudhika preparing paneer in the AMC paella pan

A word about paneer…it does take some time to prepare so please do use a good pot for the preparation. I used the AMC paella pan, which is wider at the top. Use a paddle spoon to stir the milk as it heats through to prevent the milk from scorching which gives the paneer a nasty burnt flavour. I also prefer making up a larger batch of paneer so you get thicker, chunkier pieces and it can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days or even frozen until needed.

In the first episode, we got through two recipes…the preparation of the paneer and a double bean curry with creamy paneer! Double beans can sometimes be found in Fruit and Veg City stores and almost always at Indian greengrocer. They are bright, colourful, and delicious.

Fresh double beans from the Indian green grocer.....

Fresh double beans from the Indian green grocer…..

4 litres Full Cream Milk, either goat’s or cow’s milk
180 – 200ml white vinegar

Here’s how:
Boil the full cream milk in an AMC pot.
Stir the milk to prevent a skin from forming.
Prevent the milk from burning by scraping the bottom of the pan.
Once the milk comes up to the boil, add the vinegar.
The curds will separate from the whey.
If the whey still looks milky, add a little more vinegar.
Do not stir the milk – this will break the curd that will be difficult to work with.
The curd will float to the top and form a thick layer.
Gently scoop the curd into a sieve using a large slotted spoon.
Gently press the curd down with a spoon to remove excess moisture.
Tip the curd into a clean dishtowel and mould into a round.
Wrap the curd tightly and place on a chopping board.
Fill a large pot with water and place this on top of the paneer to press out the whey.
Leave aside until firm.

Yudhika’s Tips:

If the paneer is too soft, unwrap the cheese and leave uncovered in the refrigerator.

Double Bean Curry with Paneer by Yudhika Sujanani

Double Bean Curry with Paneer by Yudhika Sujanani

Double Beans with Paneer


60ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
15ml ginger and garlic
15ml red chilli powder
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
Pinch of turmeric
1kg double beans, shelled
2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
7ml coarse salt
Fresh curry leaves and coriander, to garnish

Heat the sunflower oil, then add the mustard seeds and fry until they splutter.
Add the cumin seeds and fry until they turn a shade darker.
Add the onion and sauté until the onion turns light golden brown.
Stir the ginger and garlic paste into the onion, then add the red chilli powder, cumin, coriander and turmeric – stir for 3 – 5 seconds.
Drop the double beans into the pot and stir well to coat.
Cover the beans with boiling water and simmer until they soften.
Add the chopped tomatoes and salt.
Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.
Cut the paneer into chunks and place them over the cooked beans.
Lower the heat and simmer until the paneer heats through – add a more boiling water if the sauce is too thick.
Garnish with curry leaves and fresh coriander.

Adventures of Supermom….


Tanvi, my 11-year-old daughter, is the best assistant I could ask for! She packs up my paperwork at the end of the day, makes roti, frosts cakes. She even works the credit card machine when Holi Cow is busy and can work the La Sam Marco coffee machine…not perfectly, but nearly!

Most of my friends and colleagues have met little Tanvi – she is a pleasure and when I am just in need of a few extra nimble fingers, she is only too pleased to help out. We spend lots of time together, and when we are not working, we are most likely at Hyde Park shopping centre or maybe Sandton City…fashion watching! We both love clothing….and often talk about what we like/don’t like about designs. Tanvi often accompanies me to wardrobe fittings with Vanya and Thando Mangaliso at Sun Goddess, or obsesses over the dresses from Arwen Swan! It was only quite recently that I realized that I created a fashion monster!

Tanvi was invited to her first ever grade 6 Spring Dance (a little early, in my opinion) and she, had her very own idea of what she wanted to wear! The first step was to google the weather report….I confess, I google almost everything! Cold fronts, prediction of snow and icy wind and Tanvi still insisted that she wanted me to make her a party dress! I just couldn’t refuse her request…I had to make the dress and it needed to be perfect, poofy and a tulle underskirt was not negotiable…I have Arwen Swan to thank for the high expectations!

It was going to be pretty challenging to do a frock for Spring when the weather had turned nasty but I was determined to give it a bash! I chose the fabric (couldn’t resist the cherries), sketched out a pattern (it took lots of time since I have never been to a sewing class), and proceeded to cut and tack the pieces in place. Hetal, my 14-year-old daughter, was intrigued by this design and hauled out the sewing machine only to find the presser foot missing! I was devastated and completely distraught! The search for the missing presser foot ended up as a Spring cleaning operation which left everyone feeling tired and rather frustrated!

Still, the presser foot was not to be found! After finally tracking down the Husqvarna dealer in Jozi, I was promised they would ring back….its over a week later….still nothing! I rushed off to Bernina at Cedar Square….I had the most amazing experience! Great staff and service and the new machine was delivered to me in a couple of hours! I opted for a pretty basic one but it works like a charm!

Yudhika Sujanani - Foot down on the new Bernina sewing machine

Yudhika Sujanani – Foot down on the new Bernina sewing machine

The fitting....smiles and happiness

The fitting….smiles and happiness

It was time to get stitching….and it was an incredibly fun experience for us girls! I had fashion tips and suggestions from both girls and I became the seamstress and designer while Tanvi and Hetal argued with me endlessly on the hemline! ‘Shorter Mom….Shorter!!!!’ I can see that the next few years are going to be pretty bleak….’Knees are not beautiful things’, I argued! Eventually, we just compromised!

Big hair...big dress....Tanvi Sujanani

Big hair…big dress….Tanvi Sujanani

Party girl...Tanvi Sujanani.....the apple doesn't fall far from the tree....

Party girl…Tanvi Sujanani…..the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree….

Tanvi looked like a princess in her dress! She insisted on wearing my Lanvin shoes…I was inconsolable…my little girl fitting into my shoes! I am just not emotionally ready to share my shoes or to let her grow up!

We dropped her at the dance, her little bag was searched at the entrance, and then she dashed off with her friends…I felt sad and suddenly lonely! And yes, I did get a few comments about buying a shotgun! No need for that…I, like most Indian mothers, am certain that I will be able to turn any household object into a weapon….just like my mom and grandmother did! A regular bedroom slipper was something to be feared and so was the wooden spoon or clothes hanger!

My trusted rolling-pin...

My trusted rolling pin…

Here are the cupcakes we baked for Spring….creating more special memories with my family! Even after treating myself to a few of these delicious cakes, I am still not ready to share my shoe collection!

Spring Cupcakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Spring Cupcakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Carrot Cupcakes

3 eggs
250g brown sugar
275ml sunflower oil
5ml vanilla essence
300g cake flour
5ml baking powder
5ml bicarbonate of soda
5ml ground cinnamon
Large pinch of salt
300g grated carrots

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
Line cupcake tins with paper cups.

Beat eggs in a mixer until light and fluffly – they should triple in volume.
Add brown sugar gradually and continue beating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture leaves a trail on the surface.
Add the sunflower oil and vanilla essence, then beat until combined.
Sift the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold.
The mixture should be thick and free from lumps.
Add the grated carrots and stir well.
Scoop the mixture into paper cups.
Bake for 20 – 22 minutes – I use a skewer to check the cupcakes.
Leave to cool.

Spring cupcakes...deliciously light carrot and cream cheese frosted cupcakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Spring cupcakes…deliciously light carrot and cream cheese frosted cupcakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Cream cheese frosting
120g soft butter
375ml icing sugar
230g plain cream cheese (I used Spar Cream Cheese)
5ml Vanilla paste or extract
Pecan nuts , to garnish
Fresh edible flowers, to garnish (I used lavender from the Holi Cow herb garden)

For the frosting:
Cream butter and gradually add the icing sugar until light in colour.
Add the cream cheese and continue beating.
Add vanilla essence.
Continue beating until smooth – do not over-beat as the frosting can split.

To complete:
Spread the frosting over the cool cupcakes, top with pecan nuts and garnish with edible flowers.

This week’s lust haves…

Sun Goddess at Nelson Mandela Square

Sun Goddess at Nelson Mandela Square

With all the madness, I always find time to shop. Sometimes, it’s even when I am not even thinking about shopping. So this is my woeful story…My shopping this time started at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. I had popped in after my marketing block with Ricardo Machado. He was fabulously entertaining…born in Cuba, raised in the States and blessed with nine lives. I left the two day session with Ricardo feeling like I could start a revolution!

African Queen Handbag...

African Queen Handbag…

Back to the lust haves….I walked into Gibs to find that some of the 10000 Women delegates had set up displays of their products. And my eyes immediately fell on an Ostrich handbag….I just knew this was going to be trouble! Turned out this African Queen handbag was R8000.00. I was already reeling from the previous week’s shopping and then I spotted the most fabulous red patent handbag. I wanted it and then told the assistant that I would pop back to fetch. Imagine my horror, when I returned and found another delegate coveting my find…visions of KUNG FU FIGHTING from the HEAT advert popped up in my head. My opponent was taller than me and fitter too…so I did the cowardly thing and whipped out my credit card and instructed the assistant to put the transaction through immediately!

Nicola from African Queen is also part of the Goldman Sachs 10000 Women Program. Learning more about her business (I found this out on Facebook) made me feel fantastic about supporting her! One of the aims of African Queen is to support a feeding scheme – and also create much needed jobs. Handbags off to the African Queen Team! I do plan on visiting the store soon to view the bags and accessories…there is a Zebra print handbag that I have my eye on…and I would love to practice my shopping skills! Contact details: African Queen – Shop 9, The Parks, Cnr Jan Smuts & Wells Ave, Parkwood, 2193.

Next stop was Queen Street in Kensington. I roped my mom into coming along with promises of Trinchado and freshly baked Portuguese bread. But first, we needed to shop for props for my new recipe book. We headed off to ‘Ye Olde Collector’. Goodness Gracious!!! I think there is enough cutlery and crockery in this store for a few lifetimes…..Noritake, Royal Albert and Limoge….plus a hundred others that I have never heard off. Best you walk sideways in this store. There are plates, cups, saucers, ornaments, glasses and bowls everywhere! If you are shopping in Kensington…I would advise you to take your time and carry a Ventolin Pump…whether you have Asthma or not, you will surely need it. We left the store with a huge box of the antique platters, plates, bowls and some fine crystal ware too. After negotiating a good discount and then another discount after the discount…the haggling still went on a bit and when my mom started rolling her eyeballs at me, I knew it was time to wrap things up. I left the store feeling like I had done the owner a special favour by taking away at least some of his problems!

The 36 buck trinchado at Euro Cafe!

The 36 buck trinchado at Euro Cafe!

Next, it was Trinchado time at Euro Cafe on Queen Street. At 36 bucks a portion served with a bread roll plus a large plate of chips at R8.50…almost too good to be true but true! Now, these chips are worth a special mention….somewhere between edges and chunky chips, they are the home made sort that taste great when they are crammed into a bread roll and drowned in peri peri sauce. Two sodas and two starters, Portuguese rolls with a pretty price tag of R103.00! Oh, one more thing about Euro Cafe is they do sell those delicious red cakes that are dunked in a pinky red syrup and rolled in coconut.

Vanya Mangaliso's creations at Sun Goddess...Happy Spring Day!

Vanya Mangaliso’s creations at Sun Goddess…Happy Spring Day!

We finished off with a trip to Sandton Square for a quick whizz past the Antiques Fair. A few things that were interesting but lack of credit card facilities brought my antique shopping to an abrupt end. So, our weekend shopping ended with a stop at Vanya’s store, Sun Goddess at The Square. I think I must have tried on twenty different dresses and was coaxed into trying a few of her ‘SEE ME ON’ pieces…handbags, beaded earrings, shwe shwe (my favourite) dresses and even shoes!

Shopping can be so tiring...feet up after a long day!

Shopping can be so tiring…feet up after a long day!

I started my ‘lust have’ shopping at African Queen and it ended at Sun Goddess…two iconic South African brands…coincidence or is it just the way shopping should be?