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Cleansing Cucumber Salad After the Christmas Excess

by Nisha Katona

This is how Europeans redecorate their gut flora after the Christmas excess! This is a great Eastern European dish. Its so light, tangy and full of flavour that it often sits with meat as a carbohydrate replacement. No one misses lumpen spuds with this stunner at the table. When I make this, I use 8 cucumbers and it still goes in a flash. All the vitamins, and all the pleasure.

Cleansing Cucumber Salad After the Christmas Excess

Ingredients:
4 Cucumbers
1 level tablespoon of distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
1/2 crushed clove garlic
pinch of paprika (optional)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche (optional)

Method:

  • Peel and slice the cucumbers using the slicing bit of your grater.
  • Add in all the ingredients and toss.
  • Taste and check the sweet,salt,sour balance. If you want it more sour then add more vinegar. This dish is a matter of taste and you will make it your own.
  • You can add creme fraiche or not depending on how light you want the dish. Try both ways and see which you prefer. The cucumbers will release their juice and an incredibly delicious liquor will form as the dish sits. Drink it and taste the goodness!

You can check Nisha’s video tutorial at www.nishakatona.com

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

 

Nisha Katona
Pimp My Rice
£20.00, Available from Nourish Books

 

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Spice Up Your Weekend With an Indian Lunch

Karma chichen
Nisha Katona invites you to try three recipe ideas, adapted by her mother. A little twist of traditional Indian dishes to surprise your family with an Indian Lunch.
Madras pimped cheese on toast
Every Indian living abroad needs to get their spice fix for the day. This was my mother’s way and now it is mine.
We had a version of this in Nepal and I have never forgotten how sublime it tasted. Mum worked hard to crack the right formula and voila. It also appeals to her need to take a great British staple and pimp it Indian style.
This dish is utterly addictive and great for a lunchtime treat or sly supper spectacle. It is so very simple but it has so much flavour.
The addition of the paste really gets this dish singing. No matter what time I eat this, it takes me straight to that Kathmandu guest house with the sun on my back and a slice of golden Himalayan heaven in my hand.

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:
4 pieces of bread-toasted on one side
grated cheddar
chopped red onion
chopped coriander
1 spoon Madras OR Balti Paste
black pepper
chopped green chili
Method:
Mix all the ingredients together, cover the non toasted side of the bread and grill until bubbling and golden.
Korma popcorn chicken with a spiced spinach yoghurt dip
This dish has its origins in my mother’s cocky resourcefulness. Ever has it been the way with Indian mothers, that they will not be outdone by any of the big chains!
I remember driving though one particular fried chicken chain with her and relishing the cute little balls of fried deliciousness. Nothing irks my mother more than this; than her own daughter enjoying a dish that she had not created.
She set to work in her kitchen of alchemy and invited me over one night, triumphant, at her creation. She had trumped the fast food warriors and I have to take my hat of to her.
These Korma popcorn balls were utterly light, packed with flavour and to top it all extremely quick and simple to make.  The Spinach dip is a quick construction job; deeply tangy and satisfying, a perfect cooling creamy accompaniment to my mothers lip smacking golden orbs of culinary genius.

Serves 4
Ingredients:
4 Chopped chicken breasts
pataks korma paste
lemon juice
garlic puree
1 egg
salt
gram flour
oil
pureed spinach
greek yoghurt
pataks madras paste
Method:
Popcorn Chicken
  • Rub the chicken pieces with a 1 1/2 tablespoons of Korma paste,lemon juice, garlic puree, egg, salt.
  • Drag the pieces through the gram flour and plunge fry
Raita
  • Combine the yoghurt, a dessertspoon of the madras paste and the spinach, a touch of lemon juice and salt.
Tikka and tamarind glazed ribs
This dish is a firm family favourite. It is one of our signature New Years Eve Dishes. Ribs are such a great party cut of meat! These ribs are so simple and quick to prepare that you can create a banquet hall pile of them in no time and they make a stunningly extravagant centrepiece. I used to make these using just the tamarind but it was the addition of the tikka paste that really got people talking about them.  We are plagued by requests for this recipe and here it is. Marinade, roast and enjoy.
Ingredients:
pork ribs
pataks tikka paste
honey
garlic
tamarind paste
onions
ginger/garlic paste
garamasala powder
chopped coriander leaf
Method:
  • Rub the ribs with garlic and garamasala and roast.
Make the glaze as follows:
  • Fry onions, ginger and garlic, add 2 dessertspoons of Pataks Tikka Paste, 1 dessert spoon of honey, 1 dessert spoon of tamarind concentrate.
  • Simmer adding a little water to loosen the glaze. Add in the ribs and simmer for the last few minutes, sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with a finger bowl!

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

 

Nisha Katona
Pimp My Rice
£20.00, Available from Nourish Books

 

Pimp My Rice Recipes for you to try!

Here are two rice recipes to spice up your kitchen! Across continents, rice is the dramatic centrepiece of the table and at the heart of life. In Pimp My Rice, Nisha Katona shares recipes from her home kitchen and around the globe. Here are two great examples from the book for you to try!

pimp my rice recipe card_smokemysquashpimp my rice recipe card_gingerbeerrhubarbrice

 

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

 

Nisha Katona
Pimp My Rice
£20.00, Available from Nourish Books

Kick Start the Day With a Caramel Berry Blend

Recipe from Pimp My Rice by Nisha Katona.

This is a berry-sweetened porridge made from a coconut-based congee. Congee is the beef tea of the East, the porridge version of motherly love. For many in the East, this blended congee has been the stuff of rib-sticking recuperation. The berries are a bright, tart European twist.

Serves: 4
Preparation: 15 minutes, plus soaking
Cook: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
150g/5½oz/ heaped 1 cup raspberries, plus 6 whole raspberries, to garnishPimp_B_Caramel_Berry_Blend
150g/5½oz/1½ cups strawberries, plus 3 halved strawberries, to garnish
1½ tbsp demerara or muscovado/soft brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

THE CONGEE
90g/3¼oz/½ cup Thai fragrant rice or short-grain rice soaked for 2–4 hours, rinsed and drained
650ml/22fl oz/2¾ cups coconut milk
2 tbsp caster/granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Method:
Chop the raspberries and strawberries roughly into large chunks, reserving all the juices. Reserve a few pieces to decorate, then leave them all to one side.

For the congee, heat the rice, coconut milk, caster/granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat. Once the rice begins to boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until you have a porridge consistency.

Meanwhile, put the raspberries, strawberries, dememera sugar and lemon juice in a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and stir for about 8 minutes until the fruit softens but still has some bite, and the juice thickens slightly. Don’t let it go to a to‹ee-like consistency.

Now you can either stir the berry mix into the congee until the red juices just bleed a little into the congee, or blend them together using a stick/immersion blender.

Serve warm or cold in bowls, decorated with the reserved fruit.

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

 

Nisha Katona
Pimp My Rice
£20.00, Available from Nourish Books

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Nisha Katona Urges You to Support Your Local High Street with Meat-free Mondays

street

Wandering around the many areas of Merseyside, one is struck by the shuttered shops that now form the toothless grin of many a high street in recession. Many of those gaps, I have noticed, are being filled with the shiny frontage of “metro” supermarkets.  As a consumer it is easy to feel instant relief at this. Convenient, open late, and an indication that things are improving in the economy perhaps? However, the march of the supermarkets seems to hide a dark problem.

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend the day with a farmer friend. Young, enthusiastic and the organiser of the Wirral Food Festival, his optimism was important in the face of the challenges faced by local growers. He explained how important the festival was in showcasing the best of local food producers as they may well be a dying breed.  I was very interested to know how we could stop this from happening. We the consumers, it seems, hold the key. Choose your local shops over the supermarkets as much as you can.

It seems the supermarkets are ruthless in negotiation, often making verbal agreements for huge orders only to reject the produce if is not “body beautiful” or for any other minor reason. Farmers are also forced to grow more than they can expect to supply as there are hefty penalties (financial and the lack of repeat business) incurred if they come up short.  This results in huge wastage and massive loads of unwanted produce being “dumped” on the market, demolishing the value of British meat and veg altogether. I was so surprised to hear that the wonderful “buy one get one free” offers are paid for by the farmers, not the supermarket. If supermarkets are selling to us for a discount, they are forcing the farmers to sell to them for that discount. No skin off the nose of the supermarkets and totally devastating to the farmers who are over a barrel. Similarly with the producers of British meat. We as consumers are demanding huge amounts of cheap meat.  We would rather travel to a supermarket and pay a few pounds less for meat and veg than pay that bit extra and buy from our local butcher or farm shop.

pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bThere is a huge price to pay for this, consumers:  the death of local business!  We have a choice how we spend our money. In saving a couple of pounds this is what we lose as a nation. We lose the very heart and lungs of our high streets, our butchers, green grocers and fishmongers. By insisting on perfectly formed vegetables, we encourage supermarkets to tyrannically reject perfectly delicious British produce. As a cook and food writer, I know full well that the best flavours lie deep in the matured, the gnarled and the knobbly.

Think about our favourite holiday destinations – what we love about them are the local artisan bakers, the shop windows full of cheeses and hams, the beautiful bright chaos of the fruit and veg stalls, and local produce in local restaurants.  Well, here’s the thing, we can have all of those things here in our very own highstreet if we just keep supporting our local shops.

My challenge to you is this: to go meat free one day a week. Have better quality meat from your local butcher less often. This small sacrifice will save your local producers, your high street, and your health.

I know that asking an Englishman to give up meat is like asking him to remove a limb, but it’s just one day. Just think – by doing this and spending what you save at your local butchers and greengrocers, you are saving the charming food markets, the wonderful produce, and the bustling high streets that make up the very heart of England.

Meat Free Monday Spiced Fritters

Cup full of Gram Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
salt
lemon juice
2 heaped teaspoons of curry powder or garamasala
garlic puree
Vegetable chunks-any trimmings

Mix all the ingredients except the veg with enough water to give you a thick pancake mix consistency.  Chop all your left over veg trimmings, dunk them in the batter and plunge fry.  Great way to turn your left overs into crisp spiced nuggets.

 

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

 

Nisha Katona

Pimp My Rice

Available 15th October 2015

Preorder from Amazon now.

Gluten-Free Recipes for an Indian Supper

If you want to try something new this week, get inspired by Nisha Katona’s indian dishes: two delicious gluten free vegetarian recipes that you can easily prepare using any combination of vegetables.

by Nisha Katona

Vegetable Bhajis (or Vegetable “Offcut” Bhajis)
These golden nuggets of nutty spiced sweet warmth are a great way of using up the bits of vegetables that don’t make the beauty contest grade. My mother’s favourite participants are the stalks of broccoli and cauliflower and the leaves from the top of beetroot and radish. The truth is that soft, limp, fridge weary vegetables perks up to crisp and flavourful when prepared this way. These bhajis can be made in advance and simply reheated and crisped up in the oven. They also freeze brilliantly.  The added advantage is they are completely gluten free and technically vegan! How healthy is that!

broccoli bhaji

Vegetable Bhajis

Ingredients: 1 Cup of Gram Flour; 1/4 teaspoon on baking powder; 2 heaped teaspoons garamasala; 1 teaspoon; ground coriander; water ; vegetable or groundnut oil; salt to taste; coriander leaf; 1 chopped green chili or a touch of chili powder; shards of vegetable roughly cut into any size.

Method:

  • Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl except for the vegetables. Add enough water to make a mixture of the consistency of thick pancake batter. The mixture should be just thick enough NOT to drop too quickly off the spoon.
  • Add in your chopped vegetables, chopped coriander leaf and chili.
  • Heat the oil and drop spoonfuls of the mixture in to deep fry. When they are evenly golden, they are done.

You can find the video lesson of this recipe on Nisha Katona’s website.

Gluten- Free Tangy Cumin Vegetable Curry
This is a staple dish in many Indian households, where no part of the vegetable is wasted. Stalks, leaves, seed pods are all valued and treated as main ingredients. In a hot and arid subcontinent, vegetables are not picture perfect and the citrus perfumed cumin can transform the humblest vegetable. A very common method for producing ‘tang’ in curry is adding dilute English mustard paste to a dish. The heady dramatic flavours in this curry turn tired wilted vegetables into a centrepiece dish.

Ingredients: Assorted vegetables cut into 1 inch chunks; 1 tbsp vegetable or ground nut oil; 1 teaspoon cumin seeds; 1/2 teaspoon turmeric ; 1/4 teaspoon chili powder; 1/2 tin chopped tomato; 1 heaped dessert spoon of English mustard paste watered down into 1/4 of a cup; salt; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; 1/4 cup of cashew nuts (optional); chopped coriander leaf to garnish

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they finish frying, add the vegetable chunks, prioritizing  the tougher vegetables.
  • Once they begin to soften, add the turmeric,chili, salt and sugar.
  • After about 5 minutes add the tomato and simmer the dish until the hardest vegetable is cooked to your taste.  If you wish to add cashew nuts, do so now.
  • Add the mustard paste and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander, if you have it.

This can be served as a main course with rice/chapattis/wraps or as a side dish with any meal.

You can find the video lesson of this recipe on Nisha Katona’s website.

About the Author: Nisha Katona is a food writer, Indian Cookery teacher and founder of Mowgli pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bStreet food. She has series of Youtube video tutorials that have a worldwide following. She has over  22000 twitter followers for her daily recipes and live Curry Clinics. She has recently worked on a filming project with Food Network. Professionally Nisha has worked as a Barrister for over 20 years in the area of Child Protection. In 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her as trustee of National Museums Liverpool and in 2009, the Cabinet Office appointed her as an Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments, and in this capacity has been engaged as an expert advisor by The Guardian newspaper.

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

Nisha Katona
Pimp my Rice
Available from Nourish Books from October 2015
Pre-order on Amazon.

 

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Recipe of the Week – Detoxifying Lemon Dahl

by Nisha Katona

When Indians want to give their guts a spa treatment, they get out the lentils. Every Indian has a bowl of dahl at the ready in the fridge, it is to India what ‘Dairylea on toast’ is to St Helens – stumbling in at night, a quick warming comfort. Full of protein, fat free and quick to cook, Dahl makes a great meat replacement. The freshness of the lemon and the green zing of the coriander give this dish a Jo Malone elegance. Lentils are not just for soap dodgers, how about a 2013 ‘meat free Monday’ resolution? Lentils could change your life and health for the better!

dahl

Ingredients: one cup of red lentils; 2 1/2 Cups of water; 1 teaspoon turmeric; 1/2 tin chopped tomato; 1 teaspoon cumin seeds; 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil; 1 chopped green chili (optional); salt to taste; 1 heaped teaspoon of sugar; juice of 1/2 lemon-more if you like it very lemony; half a bunch of chopped coriander leaf.

Method:

  • In a big pan, boil up your water, lentils, tomato, turmeric until it becomes like a medium thick soup. Add more water if you want it looser, boil on if you want it thicker.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds. When the have finished spluttering, add the green chili and turn off the heat.
  • Add the spiced oil to the boiled lentils and add the sugar, salt and lemon juice. Simmer for a further 5 minutes and add the coriander in at the end.
  • Serve with rice, with wraps or on its own with a spoon. Great cold with hot buttered toast!

You can find the video lesson of this recipe on www.nishakatona.com.

About the Author: Nisha Katona is a food writer, Indian Cookery teacher and founder of Mowgli pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bStreet food. She has series of Youtube video tutorials that have a worldwide following. She has over  22000 twitter followers for her daily recipes and live Curry Clinics. She has recently worked on a filming project with Food Network. Professionally Nisha has worked as a Barrister for over 20 years in the area of Child Protection. In 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her as trustee of National Museums Liverpool and in 2009, the Cabinet Office appointed her as an Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments, and in this capacity has been engaged as an expert advisor by The Guardian newspaper.

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

Nisha Katona
Pimp my Rice
Available from Nourish Books from October 2015

 

 

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In Defence of Street Food

main

by Nisha Katona

Food is a little like fashion. There are fads that are bang on trend, there are timeless classics, there is the readily forgiven ethnic scene and the crushingly difficult haute couture of the Michelin aspiration.
And like fashion, certain genres inspire jaded disdain at any one moment – the ra-ra skirt, the slanket and the onesie of the food world now, seem to be the concepts of ‘dirty food’, ‘pulled pork’ and sadly for me, ‘street food’.

It is very easy to roll ones eyes at the ubiquitous. But are we being too harsh in our judgment? Are these genres of food, in fact, timeless; simply adding to the colours of the ever brightening food scene?

It is this question that keeps me up night after night. I built Mowgli Street Food only 9 months ago.  I gave up my  life as a Barrister and the hallowed security that went with that. Everything I own, or saved or inherited is in her. I would not have done this to build a vanity project based on a fad with no legs. And yet-night after night I moot the need to remove the words ‘Street Food’ from our title.

Mowgli is a pet name I called my children. It is a soft round word filled with love for me. Street food, the thorny phrase, to me, is the way a billion Indians eat every day. In fact it is not just Indians that eat like this. Street Food is the daily dining experience of the majority of the worlds population.

The restaurant is an eating construct of the cold and wealthy west. In the East, food has a brisker, more intense articulation. In the heat of the East, workers and diners do not want to sit inside a stuffy building filled with cooking fumes. Air conditioning, refrigeration, complex kitchen equipment, expensive overheads all militate towards humble great, food pedlars selling their signature dishes from open stalls on the worlds chaotic and peopled pavements.

Street food is the way Indians eat on the way to and from school, the office, at railway stations, outside their homes, day in day out. Street Food is a concept as old as the foundations of the earth. It was a concept born as soon as currency and community breathed their first.

Street food is to the food world what shoes are to fashion. From Choo’s to Chappals, it may have been hijacked by the niche but it will always be a humble, undress necessity.

For me, and for Mowgli, thankfully, whichever way I look at it, Street Food has legs and in a good way. I hope for all of us, that the informal, honest, smash and grab, big flavoured concept of world Street Food scene is going nowhere.

About the Author: Nisha Katona is a food writer, Indian Cookery teacher and founder of Mowgli pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bStreet food. She has series of Youtube video tutorials that have a worldwide following. She has over  22000 twitter followers for her daily recipes and live Curry Clinics. She has recently worked on a filming project with Food Network. Professionally Nisha has worked as a Barrister for over 20 years in the area of Child Protection. In 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her as trustee of National Museums Liverpool and in 2009, the Cabinet Office appointed her as an Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments, and in this capacity has been engaged as an expert advisor by The Guardian newspaper.

 

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

Nisha Katona
Pimp my Rice
Available from Nourish Books from October 2015