Starters and Snacks
Prep: 10 Minutes, plus 20 minutes boiling potatoes Cook: 10 Minutes Serves: 4 Makes 15-20 patties Ingredients: 200g tapioca 400g white or fluffy potatoes, peeled and boiled 2 green chillies, finely chopped 1/2 tsp salt 12 whole peanuts, roasted and crushed (optional) 30g coriander leaves, washed and roughly chopped sunflower or groundnut oil for frying Method: Soak the tapioca in about 250ml cold water for about 10 minutes. It should swell and absorb all the water. Coarsely mash the potatoes, chillies, salt, peanuts, if using, and coriander together. Mix in the tapioca. Heat the oil in a fryer or wok to 180C/350F. To check that the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of the potato mixture into the oil: if it sizzles, the oil is ready. With wet hands, roll the potato mixture into spheres the size of a golf ball, then flatten the balls to make patties. Depending on the size of the fryer, place a few patties at a time in the oil. Fry on one side for 2 minutes, then turn them over and fry for another 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain them on kitchen paper. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.
A refreshing chunky dunking dip that can accompany nachos or become a side dish with some rice and Mexican style beans. Serves 4 2 ripe avocados 4 tomatoes, finely chopped Juice of 1 lime a few washed and finely chopped coriander leaves 1 red onion, finely chopped 1 red or green chilli, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed A pinch of sea salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper Halve and stone the avocados (saving a stone) and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into the bowl with the tomato. Tip the juice of the lime, the coriander, red onion, chilli, if using, and the garlic into the bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Use a whisk to roughly mash everything together. If not serving straight away, sit a stone in the guacamole (this helps to stop it going brown), cover with cling film and chill until needed.
Carrot Halwa, popularly known as gajar ka halwa is served during special occasions like celebrations and parties
Many Hindus eat sweet potatoes during religious festivals in the summer when the tubers are simply baked or boiled. At other times they are used in more flavoursome preparations such as this one.
Tapioca Patties (Sabudana Vada)
A chapizza is a modern twist on a traditional pizza, made using chapati flour on a curry paste base sauce. You can choose your own favourite toppings or keep it simple with a little cheese, mushroom and basil.
This is an easy dish to make with any leftover vegetables you have such as peas, and carrots 🥕. Poha is a type of rice that has been parboiled then rolled, flattened and dried to create flakes. Poha is also often known as chura and used to create savoury light snacks seasoned with spices such as this dish which can be eaten at breakfast or for a brunch or lunchbox meal. Make sure the potatoes are cut in equal sizes. Or you could boil the potatoes in advance and add them later. #Easy Indian Cookbook Serves 3-4 125g thick rice flakes (poha) 2 tbsp sunflower🌻 or olive oil 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds 1 onion, chopped 1 green chilli, chopped 1/4 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp ground cumin 100g potatoes 🥔, peeled, boiled and cut into 2cm pieces 1 tomato 🍅, chopped 2 tbsp crushed peanuts 🥜 (optional) Juice of half a lemon 🍋 A few washed and chopped coriander leaves, for garnish Place the rice flakes in a bowl and rinse them with cold water. Soak them in fresh cold water and set aside. Heat a pan on a medium heat and add the oil. Tip in a few of the mustard seeds. If they sizzle, the oil is ready. Add the remaining seeds and sauté for a few seconds. Mix in the onion and chilli and fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in the turmeric and ground cumin and cook for a minute. Add the potatoes continue frying for a further 5-7 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. Drain the rice flakes and add to the pan. Cook for a minute and then mix in the tomato. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Tip in the peanuts, if using, sprinkle over the lemon 🍋 juice and then garnish with the coriander leaves. Serve immediately.
Prep: - Cook: - Serves: 2-3 Ingredients: 150g poha flakes or flattened rice flakes 2 tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds 1 onion, chopped 1 green chilli, chopped 1/4 tsp turmeric 200g potatoes, peeled, boiled and cut into 2cm cubes Method: Rinse the flakes under a cold water tap, drain and set aside. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to sizzle and pop add the onion and chilli and fry for 2-3 minutes. Tip in the turmeric and the salt and mix. Add the potatoes and the poha continue frying for a further 2 minutes. Serve hot.
Prep: 15 Minutes Cook: 10 Minutes, plus 20 minutes boiling potatoes and chicken Serves: 4 Makes about 12-15 cutlets Ingredients: 500g boneless and skinless chicken pieces, cooked and shredded (see below) 1/4 tsp turmeric 1-2 fluffy potatoes, such as King Edward or Maris Piper (approximately 250g in weight) 3 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil 1 onion, finely chopped a few fresh curry leaves, shredded (optional) 1 or 2 green chillies, finely chopped 1 tbsp peeled and grated root ginger 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped 1/4 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tbsp curry powder (any brand will do - supermarket bought) 1/4 tsp salt (optional) 1 tsp lemon juice 6 tbsp breadcrumbs 1 egg, beaten Method: Boil the potatoes in water till tender. Mash them and set aside. Heat a pan on a medium heat and add 2 tbsp of the oil. Tip in the onion and fry for 5-7 minutes till lightly browned. Add the curry leaves, if using and allow them to fry for a minute. Tip in the green chillies, ginger and garlic. Add the chilli powder, ground coriander and curry powder and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the shredded chicken along with the salt, if using, and mix everything well. Sauté for around 5-7 minutes and then add the lemon juice. Set aside and allow the mixture to cool. Add the mashed potatoes to the seasoned chicken and mix until well combined. Wet your hands slightly and make lemon sized balls using your palms. Flatten them slightly. Place the beaten egg in a bowl and put the breadcrumbs on a plate. Take one cutlet at a time and first dip it in the egg and then roll it in the breadcrumbs until it’s fully coated. Repeat the process with the remaining cutlets. Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the remaining 1 tbsp of the oil. Place the cutlets carefully in the pan and fry each side on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Drain them on kitchen paper. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or a red onion salad. The cutlets can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days and then heated in an oven for 10 minutes at 140C. How to make shredded chicken Shredded chicken is an even healthier way of eating chicken. It is also used in various international dishes such as tacos and barbecue chicken and also makes a great sandwich filler. The method below is for chicken breasts. Place the chicken in a saucepan and cover it with cold water. You can add a few herbs or spices such as a bay leaf, 3 to 4 black peppercorns or tarragon for a little flavour. I’ve added a quarter teaspoon of turmeric to the mix. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a medium to low flame and allow the chicken to simmer for 7 to 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked all the way through. You can check that the chicken is cooked by cutting a piece in half. If the chicken is white on the inside, then it is cooked. If you can see pink colouring, the chicken needs to be cooked longer. If the water evaporates too quickly, you can add more water about a 1/4 cup or 60ml. With some tongs, carefully remove the chicken from the broth (water) and place it in a shallow pan to cool. It’s best to let the chicken cool thoroughly before you shred it as it will be too hot to handle. Use one fork to hold the chicken steady. With the other fork, scrape and tear the chicken apart. Using forks will make the pieces thinner. You could also use a food processor. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl, to use in your recipe. The shredded chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. If you don’t plan to use it in that time, freeze the chicken and then defrost it later when you need it.
Samosas are either stuffed with minced meat or potatoes which is the more popular of the two. They do take time to prepare with several stages involved so if you are planning to make some for a special event, they can be filled and shaped the night before and fried on the day.
Prep: 10 Minutes Cook: 15 Minutes Serves: Makes 8-10 Ingredients: 100g gram flour or besan 1/2 tsp salt 1 green chilli, finely chopped 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, crushed 1/4 tsp coriander seeds, crushed 8-10 olives Oil for deep frying Method: In a large bowl, tip in the gram flour with the salt, chilli, cumin and coriander seeds. Add approximately 4-5 tbsp of water and mix to make a thick clinging batter. Drop in the olives and coat them with the batter. Place the batter coated olives in the oil and deep fry for 30 seconds to a minute until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with tomato ketchup or a tomato chutney.
These are a vegetarian delight served in the street stalls of Kolkata. Most of these snacks are deep fried but I’ve created a ‘sauté’ version which tastes less greasy and if I may say, much better in flavour.
Makes about 12-15 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil 600g fluffy white or red potatoes, peeled, boiled and coarsely chopped ½ tsp each brown mustard seeds and turmeric and ¾ tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 2 green chillies, finely chopped 30g coriander leaves, washed and chopped ¼ tsp each ground cumin and baking powder 150g gram flour or besan Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep frying Heat 1tbsp oil in a heavy-based pan large enough to hold the potatoes. When the oil is hot enough, gently tip in the mustard seeds, then the turmeric, ½ tsp salt, the sugar, and chillies, and mix. Add the potatoes, coarsely mashing as you mix. Add the coriander and mash to make a lumpy mixture. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. In a bowl, mix the sifted gram flour with the remaining salt, the cumin and baking powder, 1tsp oil and about 130ml cold water to make a batter the consistency of runny honey. Wet your hands and roll the mash into pieces the size of golf balls. Heat the oil in a fryer or wok to 190C/375F. Drop a little batter into the oil: if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough. Dip a few potato balls into the batter and turn to coat them evenly. With a spoon, drop the coated balls into the hot oil and fry for 4 minutes, or until the outside of the balls is a deep golden brown. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Wrap in foil and keep warm while cooking all the potato balls. Serve hot with a coconut or tomato chutney or ketchup.
This is a favourite at most parties and also when you fancy a quick snack with friends.
200g tortilla chips
50g cheddar cheese or Red Leicester, grated
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 small red tomato, finely chopped or 4 tbsp salsa
2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped or 8-10 jalapeños
A few washed and chopped coriander leaves, to serve (optional)
6 tbsp sour cream, to serve (optional)
Cover a baking tray with tortilla chips and spread the cheese evenly on top. Sprinkle over the cumin, onion, tomato and chillies. Place under the grill for 6-7 minutes or bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C/gas 4.
Remove from the oven and garnish with the coriander leaves, if using.
This is a quick way to eat oily fish. The pâté can be used as a sandwich filler or spread on some toast, You can make this pâté with smoked mackerel or even sardines. Serves 4 88g can boneless and skinless mackerel fillets, drained 40g butter, softened 1 tsp lemon juice 1/4 tsp black pepper A few sprigs of washed and chopped flat leaf parsley Purée the fish, butter, cheese, lemon juice and black pepper in a food processor until almost smooth, then tip in the parsley and blend for a few seconds more. Divide the mixture among four small ramekins or bowls and level the surface. Cover the pâté and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled.
Serves 4 180g duck meat, such as breast 2 tsp olive oil Various cress such as Daikon, Shisho Green and Shisho purple, for dressing the salad, washed 2 tsp toasted pine nuts ½ shallot, peeled and cut into thin semi circles The seeds of half pomegranate seeds 10g grapefruit (about 4 small pieces) For the sauce: 1 tsp golden syrup 1 tsp rice vinegar 2 tbsp plum sauce 1 tsp light soy sauce Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180C. Score the skin of the duck meat with a knife. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add 1 tsp of the olive oil then add the duck, skin-side down, and cook for 4 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Turn over and quickly brown the underside, then transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Once cooled, slice the duck into thin strips. Using a kitchen metal ring, place in the middle of the plate and add the duck. Spread half of the duck salad sauce on top of the duck breast. In a mixing bowl, add the rest of the sauce, cress and the remaining 1 tsp olive oil Add the salad on top of the duck and then sprinkle the pine nuts and shallot on top. Add the pomegranate seeds and the grapefruit pieces around the plate for decoration. Remove the metal ring and serve.
Dhoklas are steamed savoury snacks from Gujarat in western India. They are made from fermented gram flour or besan which is available these days from most supermarkets. Serves 2-3 350g gram flour (besan) 250g yogurt, whipped 1 tsp salt 1 tsp peeled and grated root ginger or ginger paste 2 green chillies, very finely chopped or minced 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp groundnut or sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing 1 tsp lemon juice To serve 2 tsp groundnut or sunflower oil 1 tsp brown or black mustard seeds A few curry leaves (optional) A few coriander leaves, chopped 2-3 green chillies, slit lengthways In a bowl, whisk the gram flour and yogurt together to make a smooth thick batter. You can add a little water if the batter is too thick. Mix in the salt and set aside for 4 hours covered with a lid. Using a pestle and a mortar, crush the ginger and green chilies together into a coarse paste. Add this to the batter together with the turmeric and mix well. Mix the bicarbonate of soda, oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add this to the batter and combine well. Take a square baking dish (10x10x5cm or 4x4x2 inches) that will fit into a steamer or a pressure cooker and grease with a little oil. Pour the batter into the greased dish and steam for 15-20 minutes or until firm and spongy. Allow to cool. Carefully remove the cooked batter from the pan and cut into 5cm (2 inch) cubes or pieces. Place on a serving plate. To serve, heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves, if using, and heat until the seeds splutter. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the dhokla. Garnish with the coriander and green chillies. They can be served hot or cold with coconut chutney.
Serves 4 250g fine or medium semolina 2 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil 1/4 tsp brown or black mustard seeds 4-6 curry leaves (optional) 1 onion, sliced 2 green chillies, finely chopped 60g petit pois or peas, defrosted if frozen 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tomato, washed and chopped 1 tbsp desiccated coconut (optional) A few washed and chopped coriander leaves Heat a saucepan and put in the semolina. Stir well for about 5 minutes to roast it, But don’t let it burn. Its colour should darken only a little. Take it off the heat and set it aside. In another saucepan, heat the oil and add a few of the mustard seeds. If they start to crackle, the oil is hot enough so add the remaining seeds. Tip in the curry leaves if using and stir to combine. Add the onion and the chillies and sauté for about 4-5 minutes. Add the peas and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Mix in the salt. Then add 500ml of water to the mixture and then tip in the semolina and cook for a further 5 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice, tomato and the desiccated coconut, if using. and sprinkle over the coriander leaves. Serve with lime pickle.
Samosa Chaat is a street food sold in eateries predominantly in northern India. It is made up of crushed samosas served with a generous topping of a chickpea preparation and garnished with a selection of chutneys and a crunchy scattering of Bombay mix. This recipe uses shop bought samosas but you could make your own for an even more personal touch. For the Amritsari Chole - Northern Indian Chick peas Serves 4 3 tbsp sunflower oil 2 bay leaves 4 black cardamoms 2 onions, finely chopped 1 tsp ginger paste 2 tsp ground cumin 1.5 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground fennel 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp mango powder or ground pomegranate seeds 1/4 tsp chilli powder 1.5 tsp garam masala 1 x 450g can of chopped tomatoes 1 tea bag 2 x 450g cans of chick peas 2-3 green chillies, slit lengthways Julienned fresh root ginger 8 cooked samosas For garnishes: Sev or Bombay mix Green chutney Red chutney (can be shop bought garlic and chilli sauce) Red onions, finely chopped Natural yogurt Tamarind sauce Washed and chopped coriander leaves Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bay leaves and the black cardamons and fry, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds, or until they splutter. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Add the onions and fry, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes until they are golden brown. Add the ginger to the pan with the cumin, coriander, fennel, salt, mango powder or ground pomegranate seeds, chilli powder and garam masala and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and mix well till the mixture becomes thick. Bring 500ml or 2 cups of water to the boil. Put the tea bag in a heatproof bowl, pour over the water and set aside to brew. Tip in the chickpeas and continue stirring for a further 5 minutes, mashing some of the chickpeas against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Discard the tea bag and stir the tea into the pan. Leave the mixture to simmer for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes quite thick. Garnish with the green chillies and the root ginger. To assemble the samosa chaat: For one serving, add a couple of tablespoons of the chickpeas on a plate. Then break up 2 samosas and place on top of the chickpeas. Tip over a teaspoonful of sev. Add some green and red chutney, sprinkle over the red onions and coriander leaves and serve. For the Green Chutney: Serves 4 A large bunch of washed and chopped coriander leaves 20 washed mint leaves with stalks 2 green chillies, roughly chopped 1 x 2.5cm piece root ginger 1/2 tsp lime juice 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp chaat masala 1 tbsp water, for blending Put all the ingredients in a blender or a food processor and blend till smooth.
Pakoras, sometimes called bhajis or bhajias, are batter-fried snacks usually eaten as a starter. The batter is made of spiced chickpea or gram flour that is gluten free. This flour is used to coat vegetables or fish to create a variety of fritters. This recipe is taken from the Easy Indian Cookbook. Makes about 24 200g/2 cups gram flour or besan 3 onions, sliced A handful of washed and chopped coriander leaves (optional) 1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed 1 green chilli, chopped or 1/4 tsp chilli powder 1/2 tsp salt oil for deep-frying, (I use sunflower oil) Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the onions, coriander leaves, if using, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, chilli powder and salt. Stir together, then make a well in the centre. Add 4 tablespoons water to the well, then mix with a fork until the mixture forms a thick stiff batter. If it appears runny, add extra flour. Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a heavy-based saucepan over a high heat or in a deep-fat fryer to 190C/375F, or until a small drop of the batter sizzles fiercely in the oil. Drop 1 tablespoon of the batter into the oil and fry for about 1 minute, or until it turns golden brown. Remove the fritter from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Taste the fritter and adjust the seasoning of the batter, adding more chilli powder, if necessary. Fry the remaining fritters, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, if necessary. Remove any pieces of fried batter from the oil and return the oil to the correct temperature before adding each new batch. These fritters can be fried in advance and reheated in an oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot.