Spice of Life, the recipes, 23 February 2022





Vegetable Samosas, hot lime pickle, mango chutney, salad


Aloo, Chana, Saag (Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry) - Konju Varutharaccha curry (Kerala Prawn Curry) -Basmati Rice


Pistachio and Rose Kulfi with Chargrilled Mango



Vegetable Samosas, hot lime pickle, mango chutney, salad


        • 400 g Maris Piper or similar potatoes
        • 250 g cauliflower
        • 125 g frozen peas
        • 1 onion
        • 1 clove of garlic
        • 5cm piece of ginger
        • 1 fresh green chilli
        • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
        • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
        • 2 teaspoon garam masala
        • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
        • ½ a lemon
        • bunch of fresh coriander (20g)

DOUGH- or as a short cut we can use ready made brick pastry

        • 550 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
        • ½ teaspoon baking powder
        • 2 teaspoons ajwain seeds or nigella seeds, optional
        • groundnut oil , or vegetable oil


  1. To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, a good pinch of sea salt and the ajwain seeds (if using) in a large bowl.
  2. Use your fingers to rub in 120ml of oil until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in 150ml of cold water, then bring it together with your hands into a rough dough, adding a splash more water, if needed.
  3. Place in a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Peel and chop the potatoes into rough 2.5cm chunks, then break the cauliflower into florets so they’re roughly the same size.
  5. Add the potatoes to a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender, adding the cauliflower after 3 minutes. Add the peas for the final minute, then drain.
  6. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, then peel and finely grate the ginger. Deseed and finely chop the chilli.
  7. Drizzle a lug of oil into a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the cumin and onion and cook for 8 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chilli, then fry for a further few minutes.
  8. Bash the fennel seeds to a fine powder and add to the pan along with the garam masala and ground coriander. Stir well.
  9. Stir the cooked veg into the pan and crush gently with a potato masher – don't overdo it: you want a fairly chunky mixture. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season to taste. Leave to cool, then pick, finely chop and stir in the coriander leaves.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Lightly grease a large baking tray with oil.
  11. On a flour-dusted surface, halve the dough and roll out each portion to about 3cm thick. Using a 7cm pastry cutter, stamp out as many circles as you can, then roll into rounds, roughly ½cm thick and 18cm in diameter.
  12. Cut each round in half, then brush the straight edges with a little water. Roll into a cone shape, bringing the straight edges together and pressing lightly to seal.
  13. Spoon in the filling, brush the exposed dough with a little water, then fold over and press to seal. Place onto the prepared baking tray, then repeat with the remaining ingredients, keeping the samosas covered with a damp tea towel as you go.
  14. Brush the samosas with a little oil and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and piping hot through. Serve straightaway with mango chutney, lime pickle and salad.


Main Course: Aloo, chana, saag and Konju Varutharaccha curries served with basmati rice

The Kerala prawn curry is a celebration of fresh, in season seafood. The balance of flavours is exquisite. It is tangy from the tamarind, creamy from the coconut milk, and distinctly hot from the moderate use of bird’s eye chillies. The lightly-spiced vegan curry is a wholesome dish which also makes the most of storecupboard ingredients such as chickpeas and chopped tomatoes. There is also a freshness to the dish with the spinach and coriander added at the end.


INGREDIENTS for aloo, chana, saag

        • 1 onion chopped
        • 2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
        • 1 tbsp rogan josh curry paste
        • thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
        •  1 green chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed optional)
        • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
        • 1 tsp ground cumin 
        • 1 tsp ground coriander 
        • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
        • 400g tin chopped tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
        • 500g Charlotte potatoes, cut into chunks
        • 400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
        • 100g spinach
        • 1 tin of coconut milk  
        • Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
        •  ½ lemon, juiced chopped
        • 1 tsp garam masala 


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Peel, finely slice and add the onion and garlic along with the curry paste and extra spices, mix well, then cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden, stirring occasionally, be careful not to burn, you can add a little water if begins to stick.
  3. Finely chop the chilli, then peel and finely grate the ginger. Pick the coriander leaves and finely slice the stalks. Chop the potatoes into 2cm chunks.
  4. Add the chilli, ginger, coriander stalks and potato to the softened onion. Drain and tip in the chickpeas, then cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Roughly chop and add the fresh tomatoes (if using) or tip in the tinned tomatoes. Add water if needed and bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid, then cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the  potato is cooked through and the sauce thickened.
  8. Stir in the coconut milk, lemon juice and garam masala and cook for a further 5 minutes, then stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.
  9. Scatter over the coriander leaves, then serve with rice.

INGREDIENTS for Kerala prawn curry

  • 2 red chillies split, cut into quarters lengthways and seeded
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2cm piece of tamarind 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 14 curry leaves, fresh or dried
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 350g jumbo prawns , leave some with their tails on if you like
  • 1 tin coconut milk (reduced fat if you like)
  • Juice of lime and fresh coriander to serve


  1. In a food processor, blitz the chillies, onion, tamarind and ginger with 3 tbsp water into a smoothish paste – you may need to scrape it down the sides.
  2. Peel and devein the prawns.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy pan or wok. When hot, toss in the mustard and fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves – they’ll crackle and pop – and fry for 10 seconds. Add the onion paste, turn the heat down a tad and cook without colouring for about 5 minutes. Splash in some water if it starts to catch.
  4. Add the turmeric and cracked peppercorns and stir the spices around for a few seconds before tipping in the prawns and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer, stirring all the time. The milk will take on a yellow colour from the turmeric. Cook for 5 minutes until everything’s heated through. Squeeze over some lime, sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

INGREDIENTS for perfect basmati rice

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Place the rice in medium bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Using your hands, gently swish the grains to release any excess starch. Carefully pour off the water, leaving the rice in the bowl. Repeat four times, or until the water runs almost clear. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain the rice.
  2. In a medium pot, bring the water, butter, salt, and rice to a boil. You can add a few cloves and cardamon pods if you like. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. If the rice is still too firm, add a few more tablespoons of water and continue cooking for a few minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.


Dessert: Pistachio and Rose Kulfi with chargrilled mango


 Kulfi is usually made from milk that has been boiled for several hours. This sneaky version is made with condensed milk, so all the hard work has been done for you.


        • 450g tin condensed milk
        • 2 tbsp rosewater
        • 50g very finely chopped pistachio, plus roughly chopped pistachios to serve
        • 284ml tub double cream
        • Dried rose petals to serve
        • 4 small, ripe mangoes


  1. Tip the condensed milk into a bowl and beat in the rosewater and pistachios. Lightly whip the cream until it holds its shape, then fold into the pistachio mixture.
  2. Pour into 8 small ramekins or pyramid moulds. Freeze, then cover with cling film.
  3. To serve: Slice each mango on either side of the stone to make 8 halves, but don’t peel. Score a criss-cross into the flesh, but don’t slice through the skin. You can do this several hrs ahead. Cook on the barbecue or griddle pan flesh-side down until starting to caramelise. Leave as it is or turn inside out to make the segments stand proud. Serve with the kulfi scattered with the pistachios and rose petals (and a squeeze of lime, if you like).