tinned tomatoes

Rainy Day Recipes – Curried Fish

Curried Salmon

Curried Salmon

I have had loads of requests and queries about fish curries recently…with Lent and Easter coming up not to mention this crazy rainy spell, fish curry is just what the doctor ordered.

The weather has been pretty awful – in the curry world this means that fresh tomatoes are not at their best. I would recommend using tinned tomatoes for this recipe if like me, are in Jozi where we haven’t seen the sun in a while.

I grew up in Durban and most of us refer to the AMC pot of choice as the ‘flat fish pot’ since the fish is cooked in a single layer. Haul out your AMC flat pot and give this rainy day recipe a bash….

Curried Salmon

Serves 4


For the fish:
900g salmon fillet
2,5ml salt
5ml red chilli powder
2,5ml turmeric

For the Curry:
60ml sunflower oil
10ml mustard seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
10 – 15ml red chilli powder
6 tomatoes, blanched, skinned and grated
5ml ground roasted cumin
5ml ground roasted coriander
Pinch of turmeric
3 sprigs curry leaves
250ml boiling water
10ml Magic Masala

Here’s how:
Slice the salmon into pieces and season with salt.
Dust the salmon with red chilli powder an turmeric.
Rub the spices into the fish fillets.
Leave aside in a refrigerator.

For the Curry Sauce:
Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan.
When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds.
When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the chopped onion and coarse salt.
Saute until light the onions are a light golden brown.
Add the garlic and saute for a few seconds.
Stir in the red chilli powder.
Stir for 3 – 5 seconds taking care not to burn the spice.
Add the grated tomatoes and simmer for a minute.
Add the roasted cumin, coriander, turmeric and curry leaves.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften and then add the boiling water.
Reduce the heat until simmer until the tomatoes dissolve completely.
Place the fish into the sauce in a single layer.
Sprinkle the magic masala over the fish.
Simmer on a low heat for a few minutes and spoon the sauce over the fish.
Cook for 4 – 6 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Yudhika’s Tips:
The fish must be cooked in a single layer.
Any firm fish fillets can be used in this recipe.
Add green chillies for a spicier dish.
The sauce can be made in advance and the fish added just before serving.

Sugar ‘n Spice recipes: Peppered Crayfish Tails

Behind the scenes with Yudhika - Sugar 'n Spice

Behind the scenes with Yudhika – Sugar ‘n Spice

I awas delighted to find these fresh crayfish tails – the recipe was not on my list of dishes to prepare for the Sugar ‘n Spice ‘Feast of Eid’ show but I insisted on making a few last-minute changes to share my rare find with the viewers!

The tails are simmered in a fiery ‘South Indian’ style sauce, with aromatic curry leaves and a generous dose of black pepper! I add a little cream to soften the sharpness of the tomatoes – it’s not traditional but it works well. A note about tomatoes: I prefer using Spar tinned Italian tomatoes for this recipe – it gives you a consistently good sauce every time! I used a large AMC pot to prepare the tails and place them in a single layer so they cook evenly…remove the AMC pot from the heat once the tails start to curl – do not overcook the tails.

I prefer serving this with soft rotis or crusty bread. A pilau rice would also work nicely!

Sugar n Spice recipes with Yudhika - Peppered Crayfish tails!

Sugar n Spice recipes with Yudhika – Peppered Crayfish tails!

Peppered Crayfish

Serves 4

12 crayfish tails, shelled and de-veined
60ml sunflower oil or Spar light olive oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
2 sprigs of curry leaves
15ml crushed garlic
15ml red chilli powder
2 x 400g tins Spar chopped tomatoes
10ml roasted ground coriander
5ml roasted ground cumin
2,5ml turmeric
100ml fresh cream
5ml sugar
10ml dried kasori methi
15ml freshly ground black pepper
Curry leaves and fresh coriander to garnish

Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil in a 40cm AMC electric roaster.
Add the mustard seeds and when the begin to splutter, sprinkle in the cumin seeds.
When the cumin seeds turn golden brown, add the chopped onion, salt and curry leaves.
Saute until the onions are light golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and stir until fragrant taking care not to let it burn.
Add the red chilli powder and stir fry the onions for 3 – 5 seconds.
Add the tinned tomatoes, and stir well.
Sprinkle in the ground coriander, cumin and turmeric and simmer on a medium heat until the tomatoes soften.
Place the crayfish tails in the tomatoes and simmer until the tails change colour and start to coil up.
Add a little boiling water if the sauce is too thick.
Pour the fresh cream over the tails and add a pinch of sugar.
Use your fingertips to crush the kasori methi over the pan and simmer until the tails are cooked through.
Sprinkle the black pepper over the cooked tails and stir gently.
Garnish with curry leaves and coriander.

Yudhika’s tips:
Prawns can be used instead of crayfish.
Kasori methi can be found in Indian grocers.

A Freedom Day Feast

South Africans celebrate Freedom Day on the 27th April.  This year I will be celebrating Freedom Day by feasting with family and friends.  The idea of marking the day with a feast came to me while reading Anna Trapido’s book, Hunger for Freedom.  The book also reminded me of South Africa’s food heritage and particularly Madiba’s love of all things spicy – pickles, breyani and even crab curry are just some of the recipes featured in the book.  There are many stories that are beautifully written – stories that tell us about people, the food they prepared and the meals they shared.

Indian food has long played an important part in the development of a South African food culture.  Our nation’s love of strong spicy flavours and chilli is part of our heritage.  Everywhere you go in South Africa, there is Peri Peri, Garlic, Chutney, Dips and generally robust flavours.  Those of you who have travelled widely will know that this is not always the case in other countries.

Try to find a traditional Durban Curry in India – you can’t!  And don’t think that South African Indians grew up on Rogan Josh, Korma and Vindaloo – we grew up eating curry and rice!  Ever been to an Indian wedding – I just know that you were served breyani, breyani and more breyani cooked in the biggest pot you have ever seen.  My point is that South African food is not based on fancy schmancy recipes, but rather on good wholesome spicy food.

We grew up eating curry cooked in AMC pots every day, but every now and then one of the many great cooks in the neighbourhood would break out with something different for example Malva Pudding, Milk Tart and Bobotie.  It was always like a breath of fresh air, and although we might have immediately gone back to our Durban curries, the memory of those ‘adventures’ has always stayed with me.  I still try to relive those adventures in my cooking, although Durban Curry will always have a special place in my heart.

Here are two of recipes that I will be preparing for my Freedom Day Feast….

Crayfish Curry - perfect for the Freedom Day feast

One of Madiba’s favourites, Crayfish Curry – this is how I make it!


12 medium sized crayfish tails, deveined

50ml sunflower oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

7,5ml coarse salt

Curry leaves, if you have them

15ml freshly crushed garlic

30ml Curry Me Home Red Chilli Powder

6 – 8 ripe tomatoes (I used the 1 and a half tins of Spar Whole Peeled Tomatoes)

5ml Curry Me Home Ground Cumin

10ml Curry Me Home Ground Coriander

2,5ml turmeric

5ml sugar

2 sprigs of curry leaves

Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

If you are using fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water.  Remove the skins and chop.  I used the tinned variety for this recipe simply because I was out of ripe tomatoes and the ones in the veggie basket were too firm to make up a good sauce.  Chop the tinned tomatoes and remove the hard centre.

Heat the sunflower oil on medium.  Add the onions, salt and curry leaves.  Saute until the onion is light golden brown before adding the garlic.  Saute the garlic for a few seconds until fragrant and then add the red chilli powder.  Stir for 5 seconds and then add the tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes soften and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and sugar.  Reduce the heat and simmer for until the sauce thickens slightly.  Add the crayfish tails and simmer until the shells change colour.  When the tails curl slightly and the meat is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and add curry leaves.  Add the fresh coriander and serve with basmati rice.

Yudhika’s tips:

I leave the crayfish in the shell – it adds more flavour to the sauce.

A sweet ending...

Yum Yum Malva Pudding

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients2 eggs
200ml castor sugar
250ml cake flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
2ml salt
20ml butter, melted
100ml full cream milk
50ml fresh cream
15ml apricot jam
5ml vinegarMalva Sauce
250ml cream
125g butter
125ml castor sugar
125ml boiling waterIce cream or custard, to serveHere’s how:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Grease an oven proof dish with non stick spray.  Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda twice.  Stir the salt into the sifted dry ingredients.  Combine the melted butter, full cream milk and the cream.  Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl.  Use a hand held beater, and beat the eggs while gradually adding the castor sugar.  Continue beating the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and cream mixture.  Lastly add the apricot jam and the vinegar.  Beat well ensuring the mixture is smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and set.

For the sauce:
Combine the cream, butter, castor sugar and boiling water.  Simmer the sauce on low for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens slightly.  Pour the hot sauce over the baked pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.

To serve:
Serve the malva pudding warm and topped with ice cream or custard.

Yudhika’s tips
Use 150ml full cream milk instead of a combination of full cream milk and fresh cream for the pudding.
Whipped cream can be served with the pudding.

Trouble with Tomatoes


Trouble follows me….My workload has been growing and my troubles have also been growing…more about that some other time.  The growing workload and not having a day off in about two months has made me a little grumpy – I sometimes think if it wasn’t for my fabulous speedy dinners, I wouldn’t have any fans at home!  


On a positive note, I was asked to be the guest chef at the Hobart Superspar in Bryanston.  I go into the store three times a week and cook up exciting new dishes.  Its been a blast.  Its also reminded me how much I love the buzz of a commercial kitchen.  Boy, do I miss my happy restaurant days at Salaam Bombay where everyday was a new adventure!  The best part of being a guest chef is I get to try loads of new products and experiment with them too. One of these products has been tinned tomatoes.  I have never been a fan of the tinned tomato but have been using them at the Spar due to a shortage of good, ripe fresh tomatoes.  Tomatoes are obviously one of the most important ingredients in preparing a delicious curry and I was pleasantly surprised that the Spar tinned variety works really well.  


Its no secret that I have become a Spar shopper as I am usually in store about four times a week to either promote my range of spices, Curry Me Home, or as the guest chef.  I grew up in a home where we never experimented with new foods and new brands.  We bought what we knew and what everyone else was buying.  But only buying what you are familiar with can deprive you of many new opportunities.  One thing I have learned from my travels is that South African consumers are not only spoilt for choice, but the choices are often great quality at reasonable prices.  Maybe we don’t realise this because we have been brain washed by the generations before us.  Yes, we are a Sunlight Liquid, Handy Andy and Lux Soap society!  Is it time for a change?  Look around!  Try new products!! 

Anyway, back to the troublesome tomatoes…even the local Fruit and Veg City only had the greener under- ripe firm tomatoes, so my assistant, the lovely Nothando, picked up a few tins of the Spar brand ‘Whole Peeled Tomatoes’ when she was doing my shopping.        

I got home really late and only had about fifteen minutes to prepare dinner. I rummaged through the refrigerator and found a leftover chicken which needed some rescuing.  Being short on time and without fresh tomatoes, I reluctantly opted for the tinned variety instead –my happy learning experience for the day!  Also, I am trying to make fewer creamy sauces these days –  I do get the evil eye from Rob when I use cream…he says its his cholesterol trouble.  I think its more likely a lot to do with my curvy new look!


Here’s how I made a speedy dinner in ten minutes….


40ml sunflower oil

1 onion, finely chopped

5ml coarse salt

5ml crushed garlic

1 tin Spar Whole Peeled Tomatoes, roughly chopped

125ml white wine

500g roasted deboned chicken

15ml Curry Me Home Magic Masala

Handful of fresh coriander


And if you want to spice things up…..


Grown Ups Drizzle – Optional

4 chopped chillies

50ml olive oil

Pinch of salt


Here’s how you do it:


Heat the sunflower oil in a thick bottomed pot.  Add the onions and coarse salt.  Saute until the onions are translucent.  Add the crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds until fragrant.  Add the chopped tomatoes and stir for a few seconds.  Use a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes down.  When the tomatoes soften, pour in the wine and simmer for a 2 minutes.  Add the deboned chicken and the Magic Masala.  Simmer until the chicken is heated and the wine has evaporated. Chop the fresh coriander and sprinkle it over the chicken.  Place the chopped chillies, olive oil and salt in a little bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Leave aside to infuse for a few minutes.  Serve the chicken on a bed of pasta or rice (I used macaroni – this was my only option).  Spoon some of the ‘Grown Ups Drizzle’ over if you want to spice the chicken up.  




This is what I learnt: 

I think Nothando is an angel for picking up the Spar tinned tomatoes…I am thankful that she puts up with me.  

When in doubt, add tinned tomatoes rather than cream – it works and its so much better for you. 

Old is not gold in the foodie world so give some new brands a bash.