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‘Features’ Category

Eat Water’s 7 Calories Rice, Pasta and Noddle Range

For 100g of rice to contain a mere 7 calories seems unbelievable. However, British food company Eat Water’s slim range of rice contains around 343 calories less than a normal 100g serving of rice.

The Slim range has become the UK and Ireland’s best-selling low calorie range of pasta, noodles and rice. This is perfect for those wanting to diet, as you can still eat your favourite meals like chicken chow mein and lasagne, but in a healthier way with a much lower calorific content. Each product can leave you feeling full for up to four hours after eating, making it the perfect way to combat hunger and demolish the need for unnecessary snacking.

This range may be healthy but the taste is not compromised as the new and improved formula is designed to provide better flavour and texture compared to other Konjac-based foods.

The products contain a blend of natural Konjac vegetable flour and oat fibre that is highly suitable for vegan, vegetarian and kosher diets and is completely gluten free. The Konjac plant helps to slow digestion making it easier to diet and maintain a healthy figure. By supplementing your usual portions of carbohydrates with Eat Water’s products it can help to achieve healthy weight loss. It also helps to slow the rate that sugars from food are absorbed after meals, so it’s ideal for diabetic diets.

Products in the Slim range are priced at about £2.55 for 2 servings. They are available in Holland & Barrett, Ocado, Amazon and The Nutri Centre as well as direct from their website – www.eatwater.co.uk.

WORDS BY BECKY OWEN

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While there is a plethora of Indian cookbooks out there, you’ll never catch us complaining! As far as we’re concerned, every cookery book offers a wonderfully different take on Indian Cuisine, with some absolute recipe gems nestled within their pages.

Manju Malhi’s Easy Indian Cookbook is no exception. Fit to burst with stunning images of delightful looking dishes, Manju’s introduction to the basics of Indian cookery leads us into over one hundred amazing recipes. From chutneys to breads, meat and vegetarian dishes to desserts, the choice would be overwhelming if the book wasn’t so well laid out. And for those who need a little extra inspiration, there are some fabulous menu ideas in the final section for a variety of occasions.

As if the above wasn’t enough, the title really does reflect upon the ethos of the book. All of Manju’s recipes offer simple, easy to follow guides with no more than 7 steps per dish.

It’s practically impossible to pick a Star recipe from Easy Indian Cooking, so we asked Manju to tell us a little bit about her, the book, and suggest a dish herself. The full interview is available in the latest issue of Chaat!

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO CHAAT FOR THE NEXT 6 ISSUES
& RECEIVE MANJU’S EASY INDIAN COOKBOOK FREE!

(Offer subject to availability)

 

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In our latest issue of Chaat magazine, a few of our team members competed in a our all new Curry Challenge to find out is cooking a homemade Indian curry recipe is affordable. The task was to cook a meal for four people for under £4, in as quick a time as possible. See who won with their Indian curry recipe in the March/April edition of Chaat!, out now in WH Smiths.

Think you can do better? Post your recipes and a picture onto our facebook page, and we’ll publish the tastiest in our next issue of your favourite spicy food cooking magazine!

In the meantime here is the second of the recipes: Mutter Paneer.

Shafila, one of our Staff Writers used a family recipe to create her dish, the ever popular vegetarian classic, Mutter Paneer. The mild flavours of the paneer (Indian cottage cheese) marry beautifully with the spicy yet creamy sauce, and this dish is always a crowd pleaser with her relatives!

 

MUTTER PANEER

500 g paneer cubed
1 cup of peas (Shafila used a tin of chick peas)
2 large onions
3 medium tomatoes Asda
1 tbsp fresh ginger (crushed)
2 tbsps fresh garlic (crushed)
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsps garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chillies chopped fine
6 tbsps of oil
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbsps double cream

Method

1. Grind onions into a fine paste in a food processor. Keep aside.
2. Next grind tomatoes into fine paste and keep aside.
3. Heat 2-3 tbsps of oil in a pan and gently stir-fry the cubes of paneer till golden. Remove onto a paper towel and keep aside.
4.In the same vessel heat 2-3 tbsps of oil and add the onion paste. Fry till it turns light brown.
5. Add tomato paste, ginger and garlic paste and fry for another 2 minutes.
6. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powders, green chillies and fry, stirring continuously till the oil begins to separate from the masala (spice mixture).
7. Add the peas to the masala and fry for 2-3 minutes.
8. Finally, add the paneer, water and salt to taste, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook till the gravy thickens.
When the gravy is as thick as you would like, turn off the heat and stir in the cream.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

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Health is an increasing concern in today’s society. We’re all told that we need to watch what we eat and not to eat too much, but what if eating more of certain foods can have a positive effect? In Britain alone, diabetes affects 1.88 million people. According to Zoe Gray of Z Nutrition, the condition is a result of a “person’s body being unable to utilise glucose effectively,” and occurs in two types- type 1 and type 2. A Chaat! magazine subscription will give you a host of articles focused on nutrition.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured, but have researchers found a simple way of combating type 2 diabetes?

We’re in luck, because research suggests that using plenty of fresh spices which are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help balance blood sugar and protect from some of the side effects of imbalanced blood sugar levels. So you can have your curry and eat it too – as long as it’s low in fat and salt, of course!

In our December issue, you would have seen an article written by Chris Smith, The Diabetic Chef. He told us that we don’t need to compromise on flavour in order to maintain a diabetic diet. His tips included heating up a pan before adding food, which can help add flavour. Letting curry powder “re-hydrate” in a curry, too, can make the flavour and aroma bloom.

So you could put these tips to the test, we included his recipe for ‘King Prawn and Spring Onion with Maharashtra Curry Sauce’. The results showed that his tips definitely work, and if you haven’t had a go at the recipe, you need to!

WORDS BY CARYS WILLIAMS

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Be part of our homegrown challenge and share your pics with us!

This year, we here at Chaat! Magazine are pulling our green fingers out and growing our own Indian curry recipe ingredients. As a curry magazine, it’s only fitting, but here’s the thing –  we’d like you to give it your best shot too!

Yes, the idea of growing plants that we consider to be very exotic can be worrying to say the least, but with a little expert advice and the right environment growing your own curry ingredients can be incredibly rewarding.

The latest issue of Chaat! features a 10 page feature on growing your own, full of information about exotic vegetables with Mridula Baljekar, top tips from Pippa Greenwood and RHS horticulturalist, Mario De Pace, and a really inspiring interview with food-writer-turned-producer, Jojo Tulloh.

“When you make someone something really nice that you grew and just picked, its so rewarding. And you can grow in a windowbox, you don’t even need a garden!” Jojo told us. “People seem to think that if they don’t have an enormous garden where they can grow rows and rows of vegetables, that they might as well not grow anything at all. But even if you only have steps and you grew in pots on your steps, you’d get an enormous amount of pleasure from them, and quite a bit of crop!”

Along with our friends at Plants4Presents, who are huge advocates of growing your own curry (even creating a dedicated display every year at the RHS) we want you to get growing too and share you pictures of your planting progress on our Facebook and/or Twitter page for your chance to be featured in Chaat!’s Winter edition!

SUBSCRIBE TO CHAAT! NOW TO RECEIVE THE NEXT 6 ISSUES AND A FREE CARDAMOM PLANT WORTH £25!

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In our latest issue of Chaat magazine, a few of our team members competed in a our all new Curry Challenge to find out is cooking a homemade Indian curry recipe is affordable. The task was to cook a meal for four people for under £4, in as quick a time as possible. See who won with their Indian curry recipe in the March/April edition of Chaat!, out now in WH Smiths.

Think you can do better? Post your recipes and a picture onto our facebook page, and we’ll publish the tastiest in our next issue of your favourite spicy food cooking magazine!

In the meantime here is the first of the recipes: Pan Fried Tandoori Chicken Pitta Pockets with a Lemon & Coriander Salad and Cucumber Raita.

Danielle, our Features Editor used Parveen ‘The Spice Queen’ Ashraf’s recipe for Pan-fried Tandoori Chicken from Parveen’s upcoming book as inspiration for her family friendly dish. For more information about Parveen, visit her website www.amaanispice.co.uk

 

PAN-FRIED TANDOORI CHICKEN (Serves 4)

2 chicken breasts
1tbsp plain yogurt
1tsp chilli powder
1tsp curry powder
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Method

1. Cut chicken into medallions (1cm thick) the pieces should be roughly the same size.
2. In a large bowl, mix the yoghurt, salt, lemon juice, chilli and curry powder –  this is the marinade. Now add chicken pieces and coat thoroughly.
3. Leave to marinade at room temperature for 30 mins (allowing flavour to fuse together).
4. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan and heat till oil is hot.
5. Carefully place chicken pieces in the pan. Make sure you leave space between each piece, so you should be able to pan fry 6 or 7 depending on the size of your pan.
6. Cook on high heat for about 1 min on each side to seal the chicken, then a further 2 mins on each side to make sure the chicken is cooked through.
7. Clean the frying pan with kitchen paper between each batch of chicken and continue to cook all the chicken.
8. Serve with warm pitta bread and…

…LEMON & CORIANDER SALAD

¼ of an iceberg lettuce
2 medium sized tomatoes or 10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion
¼ tsp of salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves – finely chopped

Method

1. Wash & thoroughly drain the lettuce, tear the lettuce leaves into pieces (this helps it to remain crispy). Put the lettuce into a large bowl.
2. Half the tomatoes and slice into pieces, add to bowl.
3. Finely slice the onions into half moon shapes (they look prettier this way!)
4. Add the salt, fresh coriander and lemon juice and gently mix together. Leave at room temperature for 15mins before serving alongside your pitta pockets and…

…CUCUMBER RAITA

8 tbsp plain yogurt
½ tsp salt
¼ of cucumber
¼ small white onion

Method

1. In a small bowl, add the yoghurt and mix until smooth.
2. Dice the cucumber and onion into 5mm cubes .
3. Add cucumber and onion into yoghurt.
4. Add the salt and mix together; you should have a slightly salty dip, serve at room temperature.

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We asked Adil Ray, creator of Citizen Khan, if Mr Khan worked in a local Indian restaurant, which position would it be and why?

“Chief Chicken Tikka Taster,” he told us. “He would park himself on a long table of ten and invite nine other men to have meetings about nothing.
This would be a perfect job because he could eat, rule everyone around him and do absolutely nothing. There are thoughts about doing an episode like this, actually!”

We can’t wait to view it!

Look out for our full interview with Adil in issue 17 of Chaat! Magazine, on sale now.

 

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WORDS BY MEGAN EVANS

The ancient Indian spice of chai is rooted deep in tales of royalty and healing herbal medicine. Indian chai is believed to nurse all manners of ailments and contribute to a complete, rounded and truly peaceful well-being.

It is easy to see how this special spice blend has become associated with spiritual calm; its warm, aromatic flavours are unbelievably soothing and therapeutic. The taste is spicy only in the subtle warming sense, balanced perfectly with a distinctly sweet and aromatic flavour. Its authentic Indian heritage encourages thoughts of Chai-Wallah tea merchants, lining the streets of many Indian cities brewing batches of fresh and delicious Chai, all with their own unique and imaginative personal touch. Just a small savour of this warm and gentle spice takes you straight to the heart of the magical cities of India.

The milky nature of Chai tea has encouraged experimentation. Coffee houses everywhere have decided to infuse the spice with the smooth and milky texture of the café latte. The flavours of the Chai work wonderfully well with coffee; giving the beans a deliciously soft and sweet lift. It really is a beautiful aromatic addition to the smooth taste and texture of the latte.

There is every reason to try a cup of this soft, soothing and zesty coffee blend. Not only could it aid and nurse spiritual peace, it can also give you that extra caffeine boost you may feel you need in the morning. It is certainly worth taking the plunge and savouring the taste of this authentic, ancient Indian spice.

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WORDS BY MEGAN EVANS

Vodka as a plain, distilled spirit can be boring and tasteless. In small amounts it adds no additional flavour to a drink, and too much can cause that distinctive facial expression you get when you bite into something sour.

Flavoured vodka is the perfect solution. It creates a delicious-tasting spirit drink which gives you all the right side effects and doesn’t leave you with such a pungent aftertaste of ethanol. The range is also quite vast. You can have all kinds of fruity flavours; lime, apple and raspberry are the most popular, mixing well with many soft drinks for a fruity and uplifting taste.

But flavoured vodka has taken a new valiant turn. The spirit has recently undergone an infusion with one of the world’s hottest chillies; the intensely spicy ‘Naga Jolokia’ chilli. Even its name sounds daunting and intimidating.

Daredevils everywhere are keen to get a taste of this dangerous vodka produced by the Master of Malt distillery, which is rumoured to come with its own health warning. Even extreme lovers of heat are likely to experience severe difficulty in drinking a spirit, rated with a whopping 250,000 Scoville units.

So what is the point in this concoction? Those who enjoy and appreciate a subtle hint of spice and zing would probably be unable to handle such a powerful tasting alcohol, and could be in danger of spontaneously combusting. Anyone who dares to drink it would be breathing fire for several weeks, suffering far more than just a cloudy head the next day.

Surely any real taste would be completely overpowered by the ferocious bite of spice and heat that comes from the Naga Jolokia, attacking the taste buds with its extreme piquancy. There is, however, something to be said for choosing such a rare and fiery chilli, which can only be handled by the most experienced chilli connoisseurs. It could give amateurs a chance to taste such extraordinary flavours in a fun and different way.

Chilli vodka could give simple cocktails a powerful boost of exceptional taste, unlike anything you have ever tasted before and far better than the usual zesty sensations from other ‘spicy’ mixers. The famous and delicious ‘Bloody Mary’ blend could be renewed and enhanced by this potent chilli spirit. Although it must be stressed, this would not be for the faint-hearted!

I’m not sure that I would be brave enough to give chilli vodka a try; I for one would struggle to cope with its almost corrosive nature. But for those courageous and intrepid spice enthusiasts, this could be the perfect challenge if you think you can handle the heat.

Those with a high heat tolerance will also enjoy the flavour of Smirnoff Chilli Vodka in a complementary mix with ice cold soft drinks. Alternatively, try a single shot of Luxardo Sambuca Chilli and Spices for a warming take on their traditional anise flavour.

Remember to drink responsibly. For more facts about alchohol visit: drinkaware.co.uk

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Gregg the greengrocer tells Chaat! about his friendship with food, quality time with his children, and the secret to a perfectly romantic evening. The friendly cockney has a whole lot of love.

INTERVIEW: MARIANNE VOYLE / PHOTOGRAPHY: CHARLOTTE KNEE

Tell me about your  book, Life on a Plate.

It’s a story of endeavour I think, and the ups and downs of my life, and I think everyone will be surprised about what they are. I started my own fruit and veg business at the age of twenty-four, and went bankrupt about ten years later. I’m a greengrocer; this is what I’ve always called myself. I’ve still got a fruit and veg business and I’ve always supplied to London chefs. Fruit and veg has been a good friend to me over the years, I’ve always made a living from it!

What is your favourite spicy dish?
Chicken vindaloo. Wait, is that the hot one? Do you know what, as I said that all of a sudden I thought of the [English Football] song, and I thought, no I’ve got it wrong! We used to play a game with the kids, and the first one to spot a bead of sweat on the top of dad’s head would get a pound.

Do you cook much spicy food at home?
I did an Asian dish the other night, and I put all the chillies in a bowl and let people pick them out themselves. My son loves spicy food, but my daughter doesn’t like it very spicy so I’ve cut down the amount of ginger of chilli that I use.

Did Masterchef change your perception of Indian cuisine at all?
Yes, we’ve had some really fine Indian cooks. The complex spicing is quite incredible, and it’s about building up layers of flavour. When Westerners try to use that much spice when they aren’t trained properly, the spices end up clashing, but in the hands of a talented cook, it’s phenomenal!

How do you think Indian cuisine has changed in the last few years?
I think we’re seeing a lot more fusion food, Indian European crosses because, of course, a lot of the chefs have an Indian heritage and a British upbringing. We’re seeing a real fusion of spiced up European dishes.

You’ve recently started up your own restaurant called Gregg’s Table, as well as Wallace & Co. What advice would you give to anyone running smaller restaurants?
Don’t run a small restaurant, have a big one! You won’t make any money out of a small restaurant.
Don’t do it unless you simply must have a restaurant. Don’t do it to make money.

Do you have any cooking tips for us?
Yes! You can put in but you can’t take away. Whatever you’re adding to your food, add a little and taste. Then, add a little more and taste. Add taste, add taste, add taste!

So what’s the perfect Valentine’s Day dish?
Something that you can create simply, it doesn’t have to be complicated. The special lady in your life that you’re cooking for will appreciate the fact that you’ve made the effort. What she doesn’t want to see is you stressed in the kitchen…

With more beads of sweat!
Yes! Don’t get in a tizz about it. You need to be relaxed enough to pay attention to your dinner guest.

Finally, what does the future hold for Gregg Wallace?
Ooooh! (Pauses) What I want to do is make enough money so I can work less.

Life on a Plate: The Autobiography by Gregg Wallace is out now (Orion, £18.99.)

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“Anyone can cook!” according to fictional chef Gusteau in the loveable film Ratatouille. The film does of course have its flaws; rats can’t cook, and “the rat is the chef!” probably wouldn’t be anyone’s first logical conclusion, but who knew Disney and Pixar would tap into a potential UK food trend? Eatro, described as an ‘online marketplace for homemade food,’ supports a Hungryhouse-like service where you’re handed the apron and have the opportunity to become a takeaway chef.

Enforcing the idea that homemade food is unbeatable, Eatro wants to get people cooking their own signature dishes to be sold to hungry locals online.

So how does it work?

After creating your menu, Eatro allows you to choose a collection timeframe and enter the number of dishes you plan to make. A handy tool that ensures you won’t be inundated with requests. Local takeaway diners will choose what dish they would like online, and then collect from your home.

There seems to be a number of benefits to a home-takeaway service, especially in a time of recession when small businesses are struggling. Budding entrepreneurs can start an inexpensive micro business at home to practice and promote their culinary skills. It also inspires a sense of community which many areas lack, as HomeChefs will get to know the people who live in their area and share a passion for the same foods.

The only concern with this concept was that food hygiene standards may not be as high as that of established restaurants. Eatro does assure, however, that all new HomeChefs are interviewed and monitored with kitchen inspections to ensure food is of the highest possible standard.

If this does catch on, it’ll inspire people to get experimenting and cooking good food home, which is definitely something that should be advocated.

“Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”
-Anton Ego, Ratatouille

To learn more, visit eatro.com

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We take a look at last year’s recipe books and what makes them a must-read…

Spice Odyssey, Paul Merrett
“My only aim is to provoke inspiration and exploration, because those two qualities are always apparent in all of the world’s finest cooks.” Paul Merrett, in the introduction of Spice Odyssey, would encourage you not to take his recipes too literally. Assuring that it’s alright to substitute ingredients, he highlights that the success of food is to inspire creativity rather than following a recipe down to the last word. The enticing sweet and savoury recipes intertwined with Merrett’s hilariously dry humour and observations make this cookbook a must-have in your kitchen.

The Complete Asian Cookbook, Charmaine Solomon
Originally published in 1976, this year The Complete Asian Cookbook was re-launched to reflect the culinary changes in Asia. Delving into the traditions and customs of fifteen countries, this book showcases eight hundred recipes, including loved classics such as Bhaji and chutneys, with some unusual Seaweed Jelly from Burma thrown in for good measure. If there was an encyclopaedia for spicy food, you would find it here. With beautiful cover art and photography, it contains short and concise instructions, a glossary of ingredients and an index of ingredients, offering little room to make mistakes. Through this hefty book, Charmaine Solomon aimed to make traditional Asian dishes simple and accessible in the Western world, and we think she succeeded.

The Hairy Bikers’ Great Curries, Hairy Bikers
Hairy Bikers Si King and Dave Myers claim that spicy food worked “fantastically well for our diets!”
Perhaps this is why they’ve dedicated a cookbook to curry. Featuring dishes from their travels in Asia, these curry recipes are fresh and moreish.

The Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs, Ivor Peters
Illustrated with family photographs and sizzling curries, this book divulges the innermost culinary family tips and secrets of  Ivor Peters; cook, traveller and creator of ‘Cash n Curry’ dining. To encourage people to embrace homemade curries and avoid the jars and sachets, Ivor guides you through the foods that shaped his life and memories, and reveals a range of dishes including vegetable curries, spicy smoothies and a creamy Indian rice pudding. This book is not only a celebration of Indian cuisine, but a celebration of family and community. Curry brings people together, and this cookbook and memoir is sure to encourage anyone who reads it to form their own culinary memories and realise just how valuable spicy cuisine is to British culture.

Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Kaushy Patel
With advice on aspects of cookery from spice and equipment to dietary requirements, Prashad caters to all reader’s needs. Recipes for bread, curries, drinks deserts and much more can all be located in this one book. The innovative twists on traditional dishes bring a modern repackaging of Indian favourites allowing the beauties of Indian food to be available to the masses.

Curry Magic: How to create modern Indian restaurant dishes at home, Pat Chapman
It’s a fact: curry is the nation’s favourite dish. Curry connoisseur Pat Chapman has been instrumental in educating the UK on the delicate ins and outs of this spicy cuisine for over 20 years, having written over 30 critically acclaimed books on all things spicy. His latest book Curry Magic, focuses on bringing modern curry dishes found in Indian homes and restaurants to the kitchens of Britain. Containing 150 different recipes, Curry Magic attempts to make Indian cooking simple and bring authentic Indian dining into your homes with a variety of time-saving techniques.  This fantastic book even allows you to recreate the creamy magic of a Lamb Korma in just 45 minutes! Chapman has managed to give the traditional dishes we know and love a new lease of life with easy cooking methods, making tasty, spicy food accessible to anyone. If you love curry and cooking then this is definitely the book for you.
Do you think we’ve missed a great cookbook? Tell us what your favourite was last year.

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THE URBAN RAJAH

INTERVIEW BY MARIANNE VOYLE


Having grown up in Britain with a rich family history of food and travel, author and traveller Ivor Peters wants not only to share his precious recipes and skills for authentic Indian dishes, but to inspire the sense of adventure, community and good deeds that come hand-in-hand with great food. With his infectious laugh, great stories and passion for all things spicy, we’re big fans of The Urban Rajah, and you will be too.

After working in publishing and running a PR agency, Ivor guided his career path towards his passion for food, which would have been “a life of Pot Noodles” had he not learned to re-create the food he grew up on. He has now been cooking for 20 years, and his new book, The Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs, is an almost edible scrapbook that will engross you in hilarious and touching family stories laced with the recipes – even religious experiences relating to lamb chops. “My dad and his brothers were raised in Karachi, but they left and travelled through the Middle East and Europe. I was interested in understanding their journey and the food that followed them, and I knew that unless I wrote their stories, as in most Asian households, it would only be passed on verbally.”

Did he have to conduct some intense, family interviews for book research? I asked. “I had to really work on them!” he laughs, and tells me how casually telling his father about a masala dish he’d made would spark a story about his grandmother and her own masala recipes. “I think that recipes definitely taste better when they’ve got a story attached to it.”

Being such a personal account of his family history, I wanted to know why he chose to divulge his secrets. “Indian food is such a sociable cuisine and it’s something that you share” he said. “If you cross the threshold of the home of an Asian family you cannot leave without being fed. I’d pop over to see my mum for a quick cup of tea and leave with a huge box of Carte D’or Curry. Not even tupperware, just ice-cream boxes full of food. I wanted to share this heritage and take some of the mystique out of Indian food by equipping people with a bit of confidence and making recipes accessible.”

He exclusively reveals with pride that he’ll be touring with the 2013 winner of the Great British Pub Food Award, Indunil Upatissa, to provide gastronomic guides of the Indian subcontinent this summer.

But it’s not just the UK that will benefit from his culinary know-how. He currently runs highly-acclaimed pop up restaurants to raise money for families living in poverty in the slums of Chennai. “My wife and I talked about what we could do that combines our passion for food, gets people together and would make a tangible difference. That’s where the Cash ‘n’ Curry started. We host a supper clubs in people’s homes or local community environments and the diners simply pay what they feel the meal is worth. The money raised then goes towards those causes. It’s highly sociable, you get to eat some fantastic food and you will change someone’s life irrevocably.”

With the rise in the number of pop-up restaurants, we discuss whether they could inspire more of a sense of community in Britain. “With the Cash ‘n’ Curry evenings, more often than not you’ll be sitting opposite someone you won’t know but they live in your neighbourhood,” he says. Unlike going to a restaurant, this is about community dining with home-cooked food and we treat people to a six course feast and engender that sense of discovery as well. People are desperate for the next one because they’ve made new friends.”

Speaking of new friends, after working under the same publishers, he’s formed an acquaintance with The Fabulous Baker Brothers. “They’ve just launched their cooking school and I’ve got a master class scheduled there for June. I think they’ve adopted me as their resident spice master.”

Whilst deliberating whether or not he should become the third member of the Baker Brothers team, I prepare to ask possibly the most crucial question of the interview; ‘How much moustache wax do you use a week?’ After a slightly unnerving pause he bursts into loud laughter. “A lot. I never leave home without a tub of Captain Fawcett’s. A man with a ‘tache – it should always be groomed!”

Ivor’s book, The Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs, is out now. You can book your Indian Street Food Workshop at www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk . And if you can’t wait that long, Ivor has some tasty recipes on his website www.urbanrajah.com.

CHICKEN RUSTLER KEBAB

Serves 4 as an appetiser

1 large onion, roughly chopped

Bunch of coriander leaves

1 tbsp fennel seeds

4 green chillies, chopped

120ml natural yoghurt, at room temperature (I like to use one with 10% fat)

100ml single cream

½ tsp clove powder

½ tsp ground mace

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 tbsp ginger paste

Salt and pepper

750g chicken breast, sliced into skewer-sized chunks

1 lemon

 

In a blender, attack the onion, coriander leaves, fennel seeds and chillies. In a bowl, combine the yoghurt, cream, clove, mace, garlic and ginger pastes. Season with salt and a twist of pepper. Tip in the blended ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Score the chicken breast chunks and baptise them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Thread on to metal skewers or soaked bamboo ones. Keep the marinade for further basting.

 

Over hot barbecue coals or under a preheated grill set to a medium heat, roast for 8–10 minutes, rotating regularly. Baste with some more of the marinade and grill for another 4 minutes or until cooked. The chicken should have a firm springiness. Spritz with the juice of a lemon just before serving.

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INTERVIEW BY ALEXANDER TAN
You’re friends with Greg Davies and Al Murray. Whats the best piece of advice you received from fellow comedians?


– The best piece of advice I have ever had was actually from Jason Cook, my mate and creator of Hebburn… He said “to get good at stand up you need to compere, compere, compere” but then I found out he’d got that advice from the Frank Skinner book, so…

Obviously your comedy style is completely different to your Hebburn co-star Vic Reeves. How do aim for your style to be perceived?

– You can never control how someone will perceive your style, I’m sure there are people out there who see me as a haircut with a microphone! But I’m a storyteller, and I like to banter with the crowd. My material is always personal and I like to think the crowd know a bit about me when they leave (at the end of the show I mean, they don’t just walk out during… Much)
Youre famous for being precious about your hair? Would you ever get it cropped or do you think that would have a Samson like effect on your comedy powers?

– Haha I’m honestly not that bad! It’s people like Al Murray who’ve started this vicious rumour! I’ve actually just had quite a drastic trim as it was doing my head in… haven’t done a show since though, so fingers crossed it doesn’t have the Samson effect.
You were given a red card on Soccer AM after using aninappropriate word. Do you often get in trouble for saying things you shouldnt?
– Ah yes, the red card incident. I look like an absolute fool on the youtube clip as I sit trying to work out what I’ve said wrong. Idiot. I do stuff like this quite often, usually it’s on a recorded TV show so it can be snipped out, but sadly Soccer AM was live. I’m at my worst if you put me in a room with someone who is quiet… I just talk and talk until I’ve dug myself into a massive conversational social hole.
Its cold up north  does that mean that you eat hot curries to protect you from the cold winter nights?

– Yes, of course. And we all have flat caps and whippets and build ships and work in mines and love gravy…
Do you cook much at home? Do you make any spicy dishes?

– I love to make a really spicy seafood pasta with loads of fresh chillies. I attempted a curry from scratch once and it was an absolute disaster, I ended up getting a take away… I’ll try it again one day, exorcise those demons.
As a panellist on Celebrity Juice, youve played the toilet Chinese whispers game. Whats the most unusual Chinese whisper youve heard about yourself?

– You get to hear loads of things that people say about you when you start doing this kind of job, but the maddest one I heard was the day my ex-girlfriend came home from work to tell me that her mate said I had been in South Shields (my hometown), ‘flashing the cash’ on a night out and had asked someone if I could buy their jeans (THE ONES THEY WERE WEARING) from them for £10. I was astounded… it was £20 and they were bloody nice jeans. I’m kidding, it was total lies. I have no idea where it came from. It’s insane and let’s be honest £10 for a pair of jeans that a person is currently wearing is not FLASHING THE CASH… if anything it’s a full on insult… and how on earth would he continue his night?! South Shields bars don’t have the strictest dress code but even they would draw the line at clubbing in your kegs.
FULL INTERVIEW IN CHAAT! MAGAZINE issue 13
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Comedian Alan Davies has had a  diverse career, from playing characters as varied as the idiosyncratic Jonathan Creek to more serious roles in shows like Lewis. More recently, he has cemented himself firmly in the nations psyche as the loveable joker on hit panel show QI.

C: Hi Alan, I bet you have some great curry stories to share with our readers.
“I absolutely love curries! I don’t eat meat but I like a nice dhal and rice, either that or a prawn curry, I could eat those morning, noon and night! I also like the side vegetables like the sag aloo’s and chana masala, and I really love a peshwari naan. If I could eat those all day I would be in heaven! Of course, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to begin cooking any of this myself.”


Can it be fixed for you to come down to Chaat! HQ for some lessons?
“Yes absolutely, I really want to learn. Although I feel you need lots of patience with spicy food, with all that grinding with the pestle and mortar, it’s not that easy I don’t think, I don’t think I have the endurance…”

Final word: sum up comedy and curry.
“Both a great night out!”

Full interview can be found in Chaat! Magazine issue 9

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With nearly 30 years in the public eye, seafood loving Rick Stein has seen it all. Born in Churchill, Oxfordshire to as he puts it, bonkers parents who loved to travel, in a way Rick was always predisposed to wander the globe. At the age of 19, a little disillusioned with private education and still saddened by the suicide of his father one year earlier, Rick packed his bags and set sail for the Southern Hemisphere.

INTERVIEW BY ALEXANDER TAN

Is it great to be back in England and leaving all that hot weather behind you?

No, it’s not that nice today!

It’s amazing that you travelled India. How did that come about?

For a long time I have loved curries, ever since I was very little.  I started going to Goa in the early eighties and since then I have looked at Indian seafood, Indian curries and putting them on my menu down at Padstow.  I’ve developed a fascination with how curries have been put together and the different types in the different regions of India. I haven’t just been specialising in fish, I’ve been doing a lot of food and travel. I’ve done Spain, France, The Far East, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. So therefore India was the obvious next place given that Indian food is so popular in the UK.

Your deep passion lies with fish; can you tell Chaat! readers which British fish are the best suited with spicy food?

Well monkfish is good as it has a neutral flavour and a lovely texture and codfish works really well with saucer curry dishes. Oily fishes also work really well with curries too. For example, salmon is the closest fish we have to the southern Indian King fish, plus mackerel works equally well.

You start off your new book with street food, why do you think street food is getting so popular here in the UK?

Indian street food is very good. Calcutta and Bombay are just so competitive. Each cook is so skilled and intelligent that they are constantly trying to outdo each other.  There is no end to the variety of street food in India.

If there were Indian street food restaurants in Britain would they be popular?

Street food is a little like tapas. If you are in India you stop to try this and try that, especially in Calcutta. This equates to how people like to eat now, not really sitting for a big meal, but rather snack here and there. Grazing is very popular.

Which of your recipes shows street food at its best?

I would say the tay bhajee from Bombay, because it’s the sort of dish that everybody loves to eat. Almost like an Indian version of a burger.  That’s not to say that they are the same but both have that yummy quality that immediately gets you going. The other one would be the lilo chevda, a sweet tangy potato shred dish from Gujarat. It’s similar to Bombay mix and finished off with lime juice.

You have a large section of vegetarian dishes near the beginning of the book. Most cookbooks put vegetarian dishes near the end of the book.

That’s because they eat so much vegetarian food in India that if you didn’t give vegetarian food a big presence then you’d be missing the point. Since nearly fifty percent of the population are vegetarian in India being a vegetarian is almost the norm rather than the exception.

Did you find that vegetarian food is little more versatile to work with?

Definitely, there is some much variety with vegetables with their fresh markets. I constantly need to ask questions about the varieties. Here in the UK we just don’t have so many varieties, which is a shame.

In the book is an image with about 7 different varieties of rice, in a market stall in India. In the UK we usually use white or basmati rice. If you were to recommend a new rice for our readers to try which would you suggest?

There is a red rice that is preferred in the Kerala which is much plumper than basmati. It’s not as polished as the others but it’s fantastic. That is a rice worth trying.

You have put great thought into the introduction of your book. You even apologise to Indian readers for any disagreements or discrepancies with their methods that you may encounter. Was India different to your expectations?

Very much so, for a start I didn’t know that so many people were going to be vegetarian. Plus, I didn’t realise that so many dishes have such a religious significance and I have referred to this in the book. It’s not just about cooking but cooking the right dishes at the right time. Like the dishes for Diwali, it is not necessarily just seasonal. I could stay for ten years and still learn something new!

I think British culture is less focused on food, just the 9-5 life, eating what is quick and easy.

Yes, this is something I have touched on. We have something we have to relearn and the more we celebrate the food around us the better. In India the people love food and still spend time preparing it daily.

Do you think your Indian style bread and butter pudding is going to take over granny’s bread and butter putting here in the UK?

No I don’t think so they are totally different, though the Indian one has probably had some British Raj influence.

You have 6 episodes of your show coming up. If people are really busy and only have the chance of catching one which one should it be?

The first one, which is the showcase, is the one to watch. The bits I particularly like are the fish curry I sampled at Namila Pur in Tamil Nadu and the temple visit at Madurai. Also, the trip down the Keralan black water shouldn’t be missed. The first program is mostly about the street food in Calcutta. Of course in other episodes there are great bits too. The fish market in Bombay is terrific for example, very visual. Also, judging a cookery contest in Punjab was tremendously fun. We met an 80 year old woman who ran a truck drivers stop. She kept a rifle under her counter and I’m pretty sure she would have used it as well! That’s not something I’d recommend to British restaurant owners…

Closer to home your son is a chef now, do you have any arguments over technique or is he better than you?

I don’t work in a restaurant all the time now, I’m slowing down. He works all the time and is really fast, but we both seem to have the same accord. Maybe we should argue and debate like father and sons do. He calls me dad usually, but when he gets one over on me he calls me Rick.

What is the most special moment of your career?

My main love is the restaurant. Although a proud moment for me was winning the national prize for my first cookbook, very overwhelming.

Finally, which Indian spice do you feel that you can’t live without?

Cardamom. It’s now so popular, especially the black variety. Cardamom can be used not just in savoury but also in sweet dishes. Plus, it can also be used in Chai.

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In 1810, the UK saw the opening of The Hindoostane Coffee House founded by Sake Dean Mahomed; the first Indian restaurant to arrive in the UK. Just over 200 years later, the same building stands in Westminster, proudly wearing a commemorative badge, and curry holds the title for the nation’s favourite dish. In an industry said to be worth billions, restaurants should be thriving with the national adoration for spice. However, in 2011 over 600 food businesses failed, and Indian restaurants situated in popular areas of London are
beginning to close. So why is the Indian food industry showing signs of decline?

A contributing factor to the number of restaurant closures is the staffing issues facing businesses. Restaurant owners are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled staff who understand the complexity of combining Indian spices and flavours. Due to this shortage, a number of restaurants are failing to reach their full potential. Traditionally, a business would be passed down through generations, along with years of culinary experience and secrets.

Full article in Chaat! Magazine issue 13

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LAZY BONES, THE recently launched restaurant in London Farringdon, serves up fancy fast food with a surrounding of quirky interior design. When a friend slumped down next to me with her ‘starter’, she was carrying a bag of sour cream and chive popcorn. What may have been confined to the walls of cinemas has emerged as a savoury restaurant snack, and popped corn brands such as Proper Corn seem to be everywhere. It
was then that it seemed food had become just as trend-focused as the fashion industry. Last year, the UK saw a rise in the consumption of colourful macaroons, popcakes, boutique beers and artisanal breads, but gradually died out to make room for savoury popcorn.

Wayne Edwards at The Food People believes that popcorn in particular has become a food phenomenon because “it hits a few trends”. He
explains that, “Sweet and salty combinations such as salted caramel are everywhere, and it links to the nostalgia for American-style dining.”

So where have these attitudes come from? These fickle food trends are not something entirely new. Rashima Bhatia of the Indian restaurant Rasoi believes that the era of food trends has been developing since 2009, and now, in 2013, has reached its peak. Rasoi has ensured that different aspects of these trends have been woven into the menu. “We try to source ingredients that are local, and we also have an open kitchen to emphasise the trend of consuming only honest food.”

Full feature Chaat! Magazine issue 13

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The Company that helped shape Britain’s consumption and traditions is now reborn…

WORDS BY MARIANNE VOYLE

Hidden away from the bustle of London’s Regent Street is a grand store gleaming with rows of enticing, luxurious food and drink products from India. After 135 years of company inactivity, this store was opened in 2010 to continue the legacy of one of the most powerful, commercial trading companies in the world. This is a monument that celebrates the British East India Company, but it is not all that remains of its creation in 1600…

The Beginning
The East India Company was founded by a Royal Charter from Elizabeth I to allow merchants to import and export produce in Britain and Asia. Hundreds began their hazardous voyages overseas to attain goods such as cotton and fine spices in exchange for British cloth. Spices were particularly rare as they added a unique taste and aroma to plain foods, but something equally high in value was also about to impact on Britain’s culture and consumption.

Dr Margaret Makepeace, Lead Curator at the East India Company records, told Chaat! that, “In July 1664 the Company’s Directors presented King Charles II with a silver case containing oil of cinnamon and ‘some good thea’ from Indonesia.”
“Tea drinking then began as an exotic fashion amongst the social elite in Britain,” she continues.  “The leisured classes developed a kind of ‘tea ceremony’ using porcelain tea pots, sugar bowls, milk jugs, slop dishes and plates imported from China by the East India Company. Demand for tea boomed once the Company had access to supplies from China and by the late eighteenth century tea accounted for more than 60% of the Company’s total trade.” As tea was usually consumed in the afternoons, it eventually became known as ‘afternoon tea.’

“Tea is Water Bewitched”
Today, this vibrant store is home to an array of 130 types of tea. Over a cup of Earl Grey, The Company’s friendly Tea Master, Lalith Lenadora, explains why he believes Britain consumes a massive 100,000 tonnes of tea per year. “There’s a commonly used saying in Britain that ‘a cup of tea makes everything better’ – as a nation we turn to tea in times of stress as it is a soothing and calming drink. We are all so busy these days, making a cup or pot of tea is about taking some time out to have a proper break.”

“I have lived with tea for 28 years of my life in Sri Lanka, and had opportunity to taste different types of delicate teas. At the height of my career I tasted over 200 cups a day. That itself is the secret of my passion for tea,” he says.

He explains that different types of teas are taken from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis bush. To achieve the different flavours, tea is harvested in different countries and treated in a variety ways. The process of oxidization in tea is called ‘fermentation’. Like apples, the leaves gradually turn darker in colour when crushed and exposed, which is how black teas are created. To stop the process, they are then steamed or dried. Green teas are produced by preventing any fermentation, so it maintains its natural colour.

The East India Company arguably assisted in the UK’s love for spice and helped form the tea-drinking traditions that became a distinctive part of its national identity. The Company may only have its name sitting proudly above one store, but the impact of the East India Company is everywhere.

 

 

 

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So then, curries. Do they play a significant role in your life?

 “Of course! My dad used to be at sea and a lot of the crew were Bangladeshi. He’d come home with big bags of spices which he’d keep under the stairs. He’d grind them all up when he was making a curry for friends. I really wanted to stay up but my parents said I couldn’t stay up until I could eat curry. I forced myself to eat it even though they were far too hot! Now I absolutely love them.”

So your dad got taught by the masters!

“Very much so! He’s had a lot of work done on the house now but up until recently you’d still get that waft of curry whenever you opened the cupboard under the stairs!”

What’s your favourite then?

“I do love a spicy one, but there’s this one dish our local restaurant does where the lamb is marinated for 24 hours and it’s gorgeous! Curry is such a huge area; I love green Thai curries, I love dansaks, I enjoy the occasional korma and I love all my side dishes. That’s what dad taught me from a very early age. We’d have chick peas with spinach and Bombay potatoes and of course yoghurt, which is essential with any curry!”

Let’s talk gardening now. Got any advice for green fingered debutants?

“What tends to happen this time of year is people go crazy, buy all different type of seeds and it all starts growing at once. Think about what you want to grow. If you’re going for herbs then some spring onions, maybe some basil and coriander. Mint does really well, too. Keep re-sowing things; don’t sow the whole packet, keep planting another line every three weeks or so. You’ll have young fresh produce coming up regularly then.”

I have a problem with slugs. Especially with my coriander…

“They are a pain! If the soil hasn’t been touched for a long time then you’ll have more problems with them. People say gravel works but it really doesn’t. You can try putting your coriander in a container or pot and put a ring of this copper tape you can get. It actually looks quite pretty and it gives the slugs a shock.”

A high security coriander island!

“Yes! It really works too.”

Brilliant. Now then, we read somewhere you were going to be called Daffodil. Is this true?

“It was one of the names, yes! It was either going to Daffodil or Dandelion. I can assure you I wouldn’t have been a gardener if I did get one of those names. Daffodil Dimmock? I don’t think so!”

An actress, maybe? Did you enjoy doing Calendar Girls last year?

“I did! I was terrified. Not the stripping off part, but it was the first stage stuff I’d ever done and I was way out of my comfort zone. I turned up to rehearsals and I was the only non actor. Only proper actors do theatre so I did feel out of my depth but they were all so lovely! I made some great friends during that. Then later in the year I did my first pantomime which was a total ball.”

Do you prefer the stage to the camera?

“There’s an immediate reaction when it’s on stage. I can see why people get hooked on that type of acting but I found the lifestyle was a bit at odds with what I usually do. With gardening you get up nice and early and by the  evening it’s all over. With theatre you don’t finish until a lot later and you get up later in the day. I couldn’t switch my body clock, once a gardener…”

Always a gardener. Home growing has become really popular recently. Do lifelong gardeners get cynical about people taking it up as a fad and leaving their gardens to rot after a year or two?

“I only worry that people go in like a bull in a china shop and don’t pace themselves. A lot of people are off work after every spring and Easter bank holiday due to putting their backs out and what have you. You’re best to  remember that it’s not really about saving money when you’re gardening; unless you have a lot of time to invest then you won’t be self sufficient. What you can do is grow varieties that you don’t often see the supermarket. And of course, tomatoes picked fresh from the garden are so much tastier!”

Charlie is now the face of Gardening Direct.
Visit www.gardeningdirect.co.uk for more of her advice and tutorials.

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Okay, so this has been on the shelves since last year. But Chaat! hasn’t, and it’s such a great resource for all things curry, we just had to highlight it. So, if you’ve yet to sample Anjum’s simple-but-oh-so-sweet apple, orange and mint raita, or you’re a stranger to her wholesome herby chicken curry, now’s the time to tuck in. Authenticity is the name of game; many of Anjum’s recipes come with a brief history, context, region and explanation of why she chose a particular recipe over the hundreds of other variations. It’s also an interesting insight into her upbringing; the mussel with saffron recipe tells of French childhood holidays while the lamb and spinach formula shares a story of her trying to capture one of her earliest culinary memories. Don’t just stop at the main meal suggestions, though. The accompaniment section is a bounty of ideas to make your dish into a true thali of treats. The zingy carrot salad, crunchy spiced lotus root and beautifully textured stir-fry cabbage, Bengal gram and coconut recipes are well instructed, easy to conjure up and, above all, incredibly satisfying off the fork. Anjum loves curry, and so do we… This book is another fine addition to all spice lovers’ collections. STAAR RECIPE: Anjum’s hearty meatball and pea curry

http://www.anjumanand.co.uk/tag/i-love-curry/

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