Light Dishes

Green Beans with Potatoes
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Prep: - Cook: - Serves: 4 Ingredients: 200g potatoes, washed 400g green beans, topped and tailed 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil ½ tsp cumin seeds 1/4 tsp turmeric 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped 2 tsp peeled and grated root ginger Method: Place the potatoes in a pan of water and partially boil them in their skins for about 15 minutes until slightly tender or partially boiled. Allow them to cool and then peel them and cut into 2cm cubes. Meanwhile, cut the beans into 2cm pieces. Heat the oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds and fry for a minute until they sizzle. Then add the turmeric and mix. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for a few seconds. Tip in the potatoes and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the potatoes are smothered in the spices. Tip in the beans and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Mix in the ginger and cook for a further minute until the beans are tender. Serve hot.

Spiced Rice Flakes Snack – Poha
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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.

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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.

Bombay Sandwich
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Prep: - Cook: - Serves: 2 Ingredients: 4 slices bread 2 tbsp butter 4 cucumber slices 2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and sliced 1 tomato, sliced 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 red onion, finely sliced 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp tomato ketchup 2 tbsp Bombay mix Method: Lay out the 4 slices of the bread on a work surface. Spread butter on each slice of bread followed by the green chutney. Then on 2 slices of bread, layer with the cucumber slices and then the potatoes and tomatoes. Sprinkle over the black pepper. Arrange the onion slices on top. Close the sandwiches with the remaining bread. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a non stick frying pan on a medium heat. Place the sandwich into the pan and cook until the bread is evenly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the sandwich over with a fish slice and cook until the bread is golden brown. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Repeat with the remaining sandwich. Sprinkle the sandwiches with Bombay Mix and serve with tomato ketchup.

Egg Curry
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This curry is a street snack favourite in India especially in Mumbai where they are eaten Eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein and provide vitamin D to keep bones and teeth strong. And to check whether eggs are fresh, place an egg in water, if it sinks it’s fresh, if it’s stale it will float.

Carrot Halwa
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Carrot Halwa, popularly known as gajar ka halwa is served during special occasions like celebrations and parties

Green Beans with Garlic and Mustard Seeds
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Mustard seeds are used to season just about every savoury preparation, they evoke a hot and nutty flavour once they are heated in oil

Tomato Chutney
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The word chutney is known to have come from the Hindi word ‘chatna’ which means to relish or taste. Fundamentally Indian chutneys are made with vegetables, fruits, nuts and spices ground together into a condiment eaten with main dishes.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes
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Prep: - Cook: - Serves: 4 Ingredients: 600g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks 1/2 tsp salt 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil 1 green chilli, chopped 1/2 tsp cumin seeds a few washed and chopped coriander leaves, for garnish Method: Bring 600ml water to the boil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and 1/4 tsp of the salt and return the water to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave the sweet potatoes to simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain the sweet potatoes well, carefully shaking off any excess water, then set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the chilli and cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds, stirring, or until the seeds splutter. Watch carefully so the spices do not burn. Tip in the sweet potatoes and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt and stir for 2 minutes until well combined and the sweet potatoes are hot. Sprinkle with the coriander leaves and serve hot.

Sweet Potatoes
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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.

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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.

Stuffed Olive Pakoras with queen olives stuffed with pimentos
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Prep: - Cook: - Serves: 2 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 Leonardo Queen stuffed 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.

Plain Basmati Rice
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Basmati rice is a long grain rice and contains essential amino acids, folic acid and its very low in sodium. It is a rich source of carbohydrates.

Tandoori Chicken – Tandoori Murgh (taken from Everyday Healthy Indian Cookery)
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The traditional way to make tandoori chicken is by marinating the meat with spices and yogurt and then cooking it in a tandoor – a clay oven heated by charcoal. It is one of the healthiest ways of eating chicken as it is not served with a rich sauce. These days, very few Indian households have a tandoor but roasting in a hot oven will provide similar results. The recipe is taken from the book Everyday Healthy Indian Cookery
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 35 minutes marinating 
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves 4
800g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh root ginger
6–8 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
400ml natural unsweetened yogurt, whisked
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1 tbsp melted butter
2 red onions, chopped into rings
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Using a sharp knife, make incisions in the chicken pieces
In a bowl large enough to hold the chicken, mix the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the ginger, half of the crushed garlic and the Kashmiri chilli powder. Add the chicken pieces and coat evenly with the spice mixture. Cover and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Mix together the yogurt, the remaining 1 tablespoon of ginger, the remaining garlic, garam masala, oil and fenugreek, if using.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and add the yogurt marinade. Coat the chicken well. Cover the bowl and return to the fridge for a further 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Place the chicken pieces in a roasting tin and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Baste with the melted butter and cook for a further 20–25 minutes, until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the chicken.
Serve hot with onion rings and lemon wedges and Mint Raita.

Indian Apricot Whip – Khubani ka Meetha
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Dried apricots are excellent sources of dietary fibre and are high in potassium, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure. This is a sweet dish from Hyderabad that’s served on special occasions. It is usually made with cream but I have used yogurt instead. This recipe is taken from Everyday Healthy Indian Cookery
Serves 4
500ml natural yogurt
2 tsp runny honey
juice of ½ a lemon
125g soft dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp chopped nuts, such as almonds or walnuts
Place the yogurt in a bowl and whisk in the honey. Continue stirring while you add the lemon juice. Fold in the apricots and stir in the nuts. Cover and place in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving.

Baba Ganoush
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Serves 6-8

2 large aubergines (about 650g)

1/4 tsp black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon, plus a little extra

2 tbsp tahini

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbsp chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

green olives, for garnish

Sweet paprika, for garnish


Blacken the aubergines over a gas hob or barbecue, turning regularly with tongs, until completely charred and collapsed (you may wish to surround the rings with foil, as it can be messy). Allow to cool.

Slit the aubergines lengthways and scoop out the flesh in long strands, discarding the skins. Put in a sieve and leave to drain for 30 minutes, or squeeze out if you're in a hurry. Season with the black pepper.

In a serving bowl, stir the lemon juice into the tahini until it loosens up. Add the garlic and two-thirds of the chopped herbs, and season again to taste. Add a squeeze more lemon juice if necessary.

Mash the aubergines gently with a fork, and then stir into the tahini mixture. Top with the remaining herbs. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well.

Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the parsley.

Place the olives around the sides, along with the sweet paprika

Serve at room temperature.

Mackerel Pâté
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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.

Muhammara – Red Pepper Relish
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Muhammara is a dip from Aleppo in Syria made from fresh or dried peppers, chilli peppers, breadcrumbs, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. the pomegranate molasses brings both tartness and sweetness to the relish. Muhammara is eaten as a dip with bread, as a spread for toast, and as a sauce for kebabs, grilled meats, and fish. Serves 6 3 red peppers or a jar of red peppers 50g fresh breadcrumbs ½ tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses 1½ tsp ground cumin 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed 50g walnuts, finely chopped by hand 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish   If using fresh peppers, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Put the peppers on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are cooked and the skin is blackened. Put the peppers in a bowl, cover with cling-film and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin and seeds. Pat the peppers dry, and place in a mortar or a blender or food processor. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, molasses, cumin, chilli and garlic. Work this with a pestle until well combined, but not so much that the peppers no longer have a noticeable texture. Stir through the walnuts and the olive oil. Add more pomegranate molasses and salt to taste the flavours will be quite intense and concentrated. Spoon the dip into a shallow bowl, using the back of a spoon to give it a wavy texture, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve at room temperature.    

Oriental style Duck Salad
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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.

Savoury Steamed Gram Flour Patties – Dhokla
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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.

Uppama – South Indian Semolina
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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.

African Chickpea Stew
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Serves 6-8
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp curry powder
A pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp tomato puree
1 x 450g can chopped tomatoes
2  x 450g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
250ml vegetable stock (can be made from a stock cube, preferably low salt)
a few washed and chopped coriander leaves
Heat a pan on a medium heat and add the oil. Tip in the onions and sauté for 7-10 minutes until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. 
Add the ginger, allspice, curry powder, cayenne pepper and salt and mix well cooking for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree.
Then mix in the chopped tomatoes and cook until the mixture is quite thick.
Add the chickpeas and cook for 7-8 minutes until well combined. Add the stock and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Egg and Anchovies Crispbread Topping
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Serves 4
6 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
¼ cup finely chopped dill, plus extra sprigs, to serve
6 anchovies in oil, chopped and 1 tbsp oil reserved
4 slices crispbread
lemon halves, to serve
Combine the eggs, onion, chives, dill, anchovies, anchovy oil and ½ tsp ground white pepper. Spread on crispbread, scatter with extra dill and serve with lemon halves.

Strawberries with Vanilla Cream
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Strawberries are a great source of vitamins C and K and include folic acid, fibre and potassium. Pick strawberries that are firm and plump and bring to room temperature before serving.   Serves 2   150ml double cream  1 tsp vanilla extract 100g strawberries, hulled and washed 2 washed sprigs of mint (optional) Place the cream in a bowl and add the vanilla extract. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form and set aside.  Slice or cut the strawberries into pieces. Fold in the strawberries into the cream and divide into 2 bowls. Garnish with the mint, if using.

Baked Salmon with Garlic
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If there are any spare salmon fillets that need a bit of jazzing up, you can't go wrong with butter and garlic plus a touch of sweetness and spice. This works well with the herb dill too which can be garnished after cooking the fish.   Serves 2   2 boneless salmon fillets 1 tbsp butter, melted 2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed  1 tbsp runny honey  1/4 tsp dried parsley or fresh parsley leaves or sage leaves, chopped A pinch of sea salt 1/4 tap freshly ground black pepper A pinch of paprika  1/2 lemon, sliced into half moons   Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Place the salmon fillets skin side down on the baking tray that's covered with foil. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, honey, parsley, salt, pepper and paprika.  Pour the mixture over the salmon fillets. Put the lemon wedges around the fillets. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Open the oven and baste the salmon with any of the sauce that is pooled on to the tray. Bake for further 4-7 minutes until the salmon is tender. Just before serving, squeeze the juice on top of the fillets and serve. 

Indian Roast Chicken
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Kashmiri chilli powder is a ground chilli pepper which is mild to medium hot and and has a piquant yet warm distinct flavour. It also adds a naturally bright red colour to dishes. Dry whole Kashmiri chillies are medium in size, cone shaped with wrinkles and are dark red. You could substitute Kashmiri chilli powder for paprika.   Serves 4   650g skinless and boneless chicken thighs 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp garam masala 1/2 chilli powder 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tsp peeled and grated root ginger 1/4 tsp salt 1 tbsp sunflower oil 2 tbsp Greek style yogurt 2 tbsp single cream The juice of half a lemon A few washed and chopped coriander leaves, for garnish   Using a sharp knife, make incisions on the chicken. In a bowl large enough to hold the chicken, mix the cumin, garam masala, chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika, garlic, ginger, salt, oil, yogurt, cream and lemon juice. Mix well then add the chicken pieces and coat evenly with the spice mixture.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes or longer if you have time.  Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Place the chicken pieces in a roasting tin and cover with foil.  Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the juices run clear if a skewer is inserted into the chicken.  Remove from the oven and garnish with the coriander leaves. Serve hot with a raita and an onion salad.