Saffron & Spice

Chilli Paneer Fries with a Pepper, Onion & Tomato Ketchup

I’m all about that snack life.. At the moment, i’m t r y i n g  to keep my snacks a liiiiittttttle bit healthier (hmm) but sometimes a girl. just. needs. some. fries.. like these chilli paneer fries with a hot pepper, onion and tomato ketchup..
Fresh white Indian cheese (Kind of like haloumi, but without the saltiness), thinly cut into fries and shallow fried until golden and crispy.. sprinkled with hot chilli powder and garam masala.. With a ketchup of roasted sweet red pepper, onion and tomato.. spiced with the flavours of a traditional tawa paneer masala.. with crushed cumin and coriander seeds, chilli powder and ginger… mmmm yeah, like those fries… happy snacking 

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Chilli Paneer Fries

with a Pepper, Onion & Tomato Ketchup 

Serves 2 – 3 as a snack 

Ingredients: 

For the fries – 

250g ready made paneer

1/2 tsp chilli powder 

A couple of pinches of garam masala

Salt to taste 

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

For the ketchup – 

The juice from a can of tinned plum tomatoes

1 medium red onion, finely sliced

1 large red Romano pepper (the long pointy ones) 

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp sugar 

1/4 tsp salt 

A splash of white wine vinegar

PIC

Method: 

First the ketchup. Blacken the pepper over a gas flame and leave to cool. Once cooled, remove the blackened skin, seeds and stalk and put the flesh in a bowl. 

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Fry the onion in the vegetable oil in a saucepan until golden but soft, remove from the pan and leave aside with the pepper to cool. Once cooled, blend the onion and pepper to make a pulp.

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Crush the cumin and coriander seeds. Pour a little vegetable oil into a saucepan and throw in the crushed cumin and coriander seeds,  dried ginger, chilli powder, sugar and salt and put on a medium heat for a minute so that the spice start to release their aromas.

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Add the tomato, onion and pepper pulp and add a splash of the white wine vinegar to the spices and simmer for 10 mins, until the mixture has thickened enough to be ketchupy. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool.

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Now the fries. Cut the paneer into thin strips and shallow fry the cheese on all sides until golden and drain.

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Season with salt and toss the fries with 1/2 tsp of chilli powder and a couple of pinches of garam masala and serve straightaway.. Feel good at first chilli frie…

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Christmas Samosas: Spiced Turkey Mince with Maple and Sliced Chillies on Crisp Filo Pastry

Those Christmas flavours.. juicy turkey.. with the smokey sweetness of maple syrup.. and delicately spiced with warming ground spices, and fresh garlic, ginger and chilli to give that little bit of heat.. makes for very festive and moreish topping with just that right amount of Indian spice.. The idea for the open samosas came about, because although samosas are my number one party food go to (I mean, like alwayss) I don’t always love the slaving away in the kitchen that they involve.. the crisp pastry in these canapes gives that crunch that we so love in samosas but so so much simpler to make.. and gives me and you more time for mulled wine and merry making.. Cheers x 

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Open Faced Chilli Turkey and Maple Samosas

Makes 45 – 50

Ingredients:

500g turkey mince

1 medium red onion, finely sliced 

4 tsps maple syrup 

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala 

1 tsp ground cumin and coriander 

2 tsp fresh garlic and ginger

1 tsp fresh chilli

2 fresh chillis, finely sliced lengthways for the garnish

2 tbsp vegetable oil 

6 x spring roll pastry sheets (I bought 10 inch by 10 inch pastry sheets but it doesn’t matter what size you buy really – you just need enought pastry to make all the bitesize pastry triangles)

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Method: 

Pre-heat the oven to 225c. Cut the pastry into 2.5 inch by 10 inch rectangles, and then into triangles, I got about 4 triangles out of each rectangle. Brush the triangles with the melted butter or spray with oil spray and put on a lined baking tray. Bake the triangles for 3 -4 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool while you make the turkey topping. 

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Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the sliced onions until crispy. Drain onto to some kitchen towel until later.

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In the same frying pan, add the salt, turmeric, ground cumin and coriander, garlic and ginger and chopped chilli and fry the spices for a minute on a medium heat.

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Add the turkey mince to the spices and stir fry for 5 minutes until the turkey is cooked through. Pour in the maple syrup and mix thoroughly. Taste the mixture and if you want to taste a little more of the smoky sweet maple syrup, add away.. 

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Now the assembly. Spoon some turkey mince onto each of the triangles and top with the crispy onions and sliced chillies..

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Serve straightaway.. Feel good at first festive bite…

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Mini Crispy Chilli Pancakes with Spicy Potato, Cumin Yoghurt, Cashews and Pomegranate

I’m all about that lazy festive life.. anything that gives me more time for the tippling is a good thing, especially at Christmas.. These crispy chilli bites are perfect canapes to knock up to accompany those chilled festive tipples when you have family and friends over, and are so so easy to make.. basically because you can cheekily use leftover potato curry as the topping.. and doesn’t everyone make way too much curry so you can have leftovers the next day? Maybe that’s just the way I cook.. 🙂 The rice flour in the pancakes fry to a crisp, and have a touch of chili powder to give them a little heat.. which are generously topped with leftover crushed spiced potato, cumin yoghurt, chopped fresh coriander and to give a little crunch, some crushed chilli cashews or pomegranate seeds on top.. Crispy, spicy, cooling, sweet.. the perfect party bite with some bubbly on the side.. Tis the season after all.. Enjoy x 

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Mini Crispy Chilli Pancakes

with Spicy Potato, Cumin Yoghurt,

Cashews and Pomegranate

Makes 60 

Ingredients: 

For the mini pancakes – 

100g rice flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

250ml cold water

For the topping – 

400g leftover potato curry (Or if you’re cooking this from scratch: 400g diced potato, fried in 1 tbsp veg oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp fresh ginger and garlic and 1/2 tsp fresh chilli..)

100g greek yoghurt

1/4 tsp ground cumin 

Small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped 

1/4 tsp chilli powder 

Small handful of cashews

Half of the seeds from a pomegranate

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Method:

First the pancakes. Mix the rice flour, chilli powder, salt and cold water together in a big bowl until you get a smooth batter. Leave aside as you prep the topping.

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Crush the cashews and tip into a frying pan to toast with a little salt to taste and 1/4 tsp chilli powder. 

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Toast until golden brown and keep aside until later. 

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Mix the yoghurt in a bowl with a little salt to taste and 1/4 tsp of ground cumin and leave aside. 

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Time to fry. Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and put in a little vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, pour in single teaspoons of the batter to form the mini pancakes. 

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Allow the pancakes to crisp and flip over, the edges will start to curl when they are ready to turn over. Drain on kitchen towel when ready and repeat until you’ve used all the batter. 

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Now for the topping party..

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Top each pancake with a little crushed potato and top with a little spiced yoghurt, a little chopped coriander and alternate the crushed cashews and pomegranate seeds between the pancakes..

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Canapes ready.. Now for a glass of bubbly to go with.. Feel good at first bite…

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Hot Courgette Fritters with a Cool Chilli & Mint Yoghurt Dip

There isn’t anything like your mum’s cooking.. and I love my mum’s muthia.. hot fritters, made with chickpea flour and spiced with fresh green chilli, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric with sesame seeds for an added little of texture.. Traditionally, these Gujarati steamed fritters are made with fenugreek or bottle gourd but we love to use new season courgettes as a little twist.. I’ve added a traditional chilli and mint yoghurt raita as a little dip as the fresh mint goes so well with the courgette.

Like all the good foods.. simple to knock up and oh so moreish.. and you may have to stop yourself from eating the whole batch.. or just give in, like me.. Seriously, that’s how good they are 🙂

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Courgette Fritters

with a 

Chilli and Mint Yoghurt Dip

Serves 4 as a starter, snack or brunch 

Ingredients: 

For the fritters – 

2 large courgettes, grated

100g chickpea flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp fresh chilli 

1 tbsp fresh garlic and ginger 

1/2 tsp garam masala 

1 tbsp sesame seeds 

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

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For the chilli and mint yoghut dip – 

200g yoghurt 

A small handful of fresh mint

1/4 tsp salt 

1/4 tsp cumin 

1 small hot green chilli

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Method: 

First the dip.  Blitz the mint, cumin, salt and fresh chilli in a little food processor until smooth. Put the mint mix in a bowl, add the yoghurt and mix thoroughly.  Cover the bowl with clingfilm and put in the fridge for later.

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Now for the fritters. Mix the grated courgette with the salt, chilli, garlic, ginger, garam masala and sesame seeds and chickpea flour and mix thoroughly.

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Get a big frying pan and add enough vegetable oil so that the fritters can shallow fry.  Place large spoonfuls of the fritter mixture, equal to two tablespoons, into the pan, The mixture should make 8 fritters and maybe a little extra fritter as a cooks treat for you too.

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Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side and flip over when golden-brown. Cook for a minute on the other side and cover the frying pan so that the fritter can steam a little while frying. When golden brown on the other side, remove the fritters and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot with lots of the cool yoghurt on the side.. Feel good at first dip…

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Chilli Sausage Rolls: Spiced Pork Sausages in Cumin and Chilli Puff Pastry

Who doesn’t love a good sausage? Exactlyyy.. and I especially adore a good sausage roll.. flaky buttery pastry.. with a hot, juicy, porky filling.. How can a girl resist? There is no resisting the comfort of that meaty fix for me.. This is a recipe for a simple British classic, with Indian spices added to the sausagemeat.. Fresh chilli, garlic and ginger adding that heat that we all love.. a little paprika and garam masala adding a background warmth.. and finally a sprinkling of cumin seeds on the pastry adding an aromatic crunch.. These spicy sausage rolls are perfect for summertime picnics, working lunches and just about any time in between.. I love to have these sausage rolls cold, and with lots of tomato ketchup on the side… Heaven.

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Spicy Sausage Rolls

Makes 16 small sausage rolls

Ingredients: 

400g pork sausage meat

1 tbsp fresh coriander

1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh garlic and ginger, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garam masala

50ml cold water 

1 pack of 375g pre-rolled puff pastry

1 tbsp whole cumin seeds

1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk, for glazing

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Method: 

Preheat your oven at 180c. Put the sausage meat in a big bowl and add the chopped red onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, paprika, garam masala, fresh coriander and water and mix in thoroughly. The water in the mixture might sounds a bit odd but it is a tip that my dad uses when he makes lamb kebabs as it keeps the meat juicy.

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Once mixed, set the sausage meat aside and get the pastry. Unroll the pastry onto a floured board and cut in half lengthways.

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Carefully lift the pastry off the paper onto a floured board. Divide the sausage meat into two, and roll each half of the sausage meat mixture into long rolls and put them in the middle of each of the pastry lengths.

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Brush the sides of the pastry with the beaten egg and tightly roll the pastry around the sausage meat, pressing down the edges of the pastry.
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Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork to seal the sausage meat in. And to make it pretty.

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Then use a sharp, floured knife to cut each roll into 8 pieces. Place the rolls onto to a lined baking sheet and egg wash. The sprinkle the cumin seeds over the rolls. 

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Place in the oven and cook for 25-35 mins until the pastry is puffed and crisp. Perfect eaten hot or cold with lots of tomato ketchup.. Feel good at first hit…

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Crab Bhajia with Hot Tamarind Chutney

Crab curry has long been a family favourite, and I have had a craving for that white flesh for a while now.. with it’s delicate sweet taste, perfectly coupled with fiery hot chilli, warming garam masala and lots of butter.. Sorry, got a little dreamy there.. Crab bhajia is a simple recipe I dreamt up using fresh Cornish crab meat and adding to it a little fresh green chilli, ginger, garlic, garam masala and melted butter to add some heat and richness.. Classically, tamarind is used as a souring agent in fish and seafood curries so I thought a tamarind chutney would be a great seamate for these bhajia, a sour and spicy note to cut through the sweetness of the crab and the salty richness of the butter.. I recently made this for a family dinner.. a new family favourite for you to love..

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Crab Bhajia

with

Hot Tamarind Chutney 

Serves 2 as a generous starter 

Ingredients: 

For the Tamarind Chutney – Adapted from a recipe from a great Indian recipe website, ‘Manjula’s Kitchen’. One of my faves.

60g Fresh tamarind – Which you can buy already podded and seeded at any Asian food store

20g Sugar

150ml Boiling water

1/2 tsp Roasted cumin seeds

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Red chili powder

1/4 tsp Ground black pepper

Pinch of dried ginger powder 

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For the Crab Bhajia – 

240g White crab meat (Fresh crab meat is best if you can get your hands on some but tinned crab meat is good if you need a quick fix)

50g Self raising flour

25g Fine cornmeal

1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh ginger and fresh garlic

1 tsp of finely chopped fresh hot green chilli

1 tbsp melted butter

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander 

A pinch of garam masala

Vegetable oil for deep frying

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Method:

First the chutney. Break the tamarind into small pieces and soak in boiling water for one hour. After soaking, Mash the tamarind it into a pulp and strain, pressing the tamarind into the strainer to remove all the pulp and seeds. Add the sugar to the pulp and mix well until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.

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Add more sugar, salt or pepper as needed for taste. Chutney did. 

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Now for the bhajia. Put the crab meat into a mixing bowl and add the self raising flour and corn meal and mix with the crab. 

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Add the melted butter, ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander to the crab and mix in thoroughly to make a crabby dough-like mixture.

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Time to make the bhajia. Put your vegetable oil on a medium to high heat ready for deep frying the bhajia and while that’s heating up, you can start rolling the crab mixture into 1″ balls, roughly making about 14 in total.

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The vegetable oil should be hot (be careful kids) and ready for frying the bhajia. Carefully drop a few of the bhajia in the oil  and fry until golden brown. Feel good at first steamy bite…

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Asparagus Bhajia with a Fresh Coconut and Coriander Chutney

Deep fried errything. That’s what I like. Coated in a batter spiced with garam masala, fresh green chilli, garlic and ginger and deep fried until golden.. with a hot chutney on the side for dipping into.. Somehow, I think that’s what you’ll like too. 

Bhajias (bhajis) are an Indian feel-good favourite, and works so well with a variety of vegetables, but my new favourite vegetable to use right now is asparagus. Newly in season, asparagus tips are perfect to have in bhajia, with the batter encasing the tender stems so that the intense heat from the hot oil steams the inside, while the spices in the garam masala enhances the delicate flavour of the asparagus. To go with the bhajia, I made a fresh coconut and coriander chutney which is so simple and delicious, it’s worth making to go with any indian meal.

Bhajias always remind me of weekends, lazy days and holidays.. so simple and so so moreish, you’ll find yourself taking the time to savour every bite.. the way that all good indian food should be eaten..

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Asparagus Bhajia

Serves 2 as a generous starter 

Ingredients: 

For the Bhajia

200g new season asparagus tips 

150g gram (chickpea) flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 – 3 hot green chillis

1 fat clove of garlic

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

150ml cold water

2 tsp of hot vegetable oil

Vegetable oil for deep frying

For the coconut chutney

90g freshly grated coconut 

50g fresh coriander

1/2 small onion

1/2 inch piece of ginger

1 fat garlic clove

2 – 3 green chillies (I used three but I like it hottt) 

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

Method:

The chutney first – Blend the chillis, garlic, ginger, onion, coconut, coriander and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth, and add a little water to get the mixture really fine. Add the salt and sugar and mix in. Cover and put in the fridge until the bhajia are ready. 

Now for the bhajia. 

Put on your vegetable oil for the deep frying on a steady medium to high heat,  While the oil is heating up, put the gram flour, garam masala and salt in a bowl and finely chop the chillis, garlic and ginger. Once chopped, add the chillis, garlic and ginger to the batter mix.

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Slowly  add the cold water to the flour, adding the water a little at a time while whisking to avoid the lumps. Once you have a smooth batter, add two teaspoons of hot oil to the batter and mix until glossy.

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Put a few of the asparagus tips in the batter and coat lightly in the batter.

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Carefully drop the tips into the hot oil, one by one, in small batches.

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Fry until golden and drain the tips on some kitchen paper. Best eaten straight away, while the asparagus tips have a bit of bite.. Feel good at first bite.

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