Monday, January 30, 2012

January's Cocktail: Better Weather

What better way to kick off an Asian fusion evening than with a delicious cocktail packed with Asian-influenced flavours? Every month Mango Ginger will be teaming up with one of Bangkok’s best new restaurants to serve you up a cocktail to accompany the recipes, each with a seasonal twist. Seven Spoons offers simple, sumptuous dining with a wide range of Mediterranean and Asian-influenced dishes with plenty of choice for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. Seven Spoons also boasts an exciting selection of cocktails created by their very own mixologist, Buk who shares his secrets right here so you can enjoy them in your own home.

Better Weather

This is a cocktail to toast the end of the January blues, warm you up inside and remind you that there’s better weather ahead.


2 tsp wild honey
4 slices ginger
60 ml apple juice
60 ml Jack Daniels
Sprig of mint


  1. Slice 4 large slices of ginger into a boston glass
  2. Pour in 2 oz/60ml Jack Daniels
  3. Add 2 bar spoons/shallow teaspoons wild honey
  4. Stir together the honey, ginger and whiskey
  5. Then add 2 oz/60ml apple juice
  6. Muddle everything together
  7. Half fill the boston glass with ice
  8. Shake the cocktail ingredients well with the ice
  9. Serve the cocktail on the rocks in the boston glass and garnish with a sprig of mint

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Linguine with Lemongrass Pesto, Prawns and Asparagus

The way I see it, Asian noodles and Italian pasta are like a pair of non-identical twins, separated at birth and sent to live on the opposite sides of the world. The classic Thai dish, pad thai for example, isn’t a million miles from a spicy seafood spaghetti dish you’d get served up in Italy. See what I mean:

Italian seafood pasta

Traditional pad thai

So I don’t feel at all bad mixing up the flavours. Why am I so defensive? Well every Italian I’ve known has had very strict views on which sauces and ingredients should be paired with which kinds of pasta, and they have a thing about keeping it simple. And I respect that, I do. So I’m trying my best to mix flavours within the parameters of what a pasta-loving Italian would find acceptable.

So I did some research - I asked my Italian friend Marianna who comes from a massive Italian family that cooks, eats and talks about pasta a lot. It seems that pesto is often served with spaghetti and seafood pasta with linguine or spaghetti. I was tempted to throw all sorts of vegetables into this dish, but my Italian said no. It would be fine if I didn’t have the pesto, but not with the pesto as well. And not with linguine. “Too much”, declared Marianna, “too much”. After careful negotiation, she allowed me some asparagus – "but not too much because you have to keep it simple." I picked asparagus because prawns are often stir-fried with asparagus in Thailand and it’s a lovely combination. So in this fusion of Thai and Italian cooking, I have kept the traditional pasta balance but combined it with fragrant Thai flavours.

The basil from the Italian pesto recipe is replaced with lemongrass and coriander. I have replaced pine nuts with cashews because they are the creamiest nut I can think of, and are easily found in Thailand. Incidentally Jamie Oliver, whom I trust on all matters pasta-related, says it’s important to only toast the nuts in pesto briefly because they should give a creamy rather than nutty flavour.

This is a simple but oh so tasty dish packed with clean and unusual flavours.

Time: 1 hour
Rating: Easy – just a little patience required for the pesto
Serves: 4 people


For the pesto:

4 lemongrass stalks (just the white part)
1 clove garlic
1 inch knob ginger
1 bunch coriander leaves and stalks (about 60g)
Juice of 2 limes
80g cashew nuts, very lightly toasted
4 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta:

400g dried linguine
250g raw large unpeeled prawns/about 200g peeled – about six per person
1 bunch asparagus
Sprig coriander to garnish
2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes


  1. First make your pesto. Start by finely chopping then grinding the lemongrass either in a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Make sure the lemongrass is very finely minced otherwise it will give your dish an unpleasant fibrous texture. Then add the garlic and ginger (peeled and chopped first) and continue pounding/grinding til smooth. Next in a food processor grind the cashews until they are a fine powder with no lumps. Remove from the food processor.
  2. Chop the coriander, stalks and all, and put in a food processor along with your ground lemongrass, garlic and ginger. Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Add the ground cashews to the mixture and blend again. You should now have a smooth pale green paste. If the pesto is too thick it will be hard to coat the pasta so thin out with a little water (2-3 tbsp) until you’re happy with the texture.
  4. Taste your pesto and adjust the flavour and texture according to your taste by adding more salt, pepper, oil, or lime juice.
  5. Next, prepare the remaining ingredients. Peel and de-vein the prawns. Very finely slice the garlic. Trim off the woody part of the asparagus – the bottom inch or so and chop the spears into pieces about an inch long.
  6. Next, cook you pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.
  7. When your pasta is a few minutes away from being done, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan on a medium heat, and add the garlic and chilli flakes and fry for a couple of minutes.
  8. Add the asparagus and stir for about two minutes until it softens. Then add the prawns and season generously with fresh black pepper and a salt. Allow to sizzle for a further 2 - 3 minutes, stirring frequently until the prawns are done. They should just turn pink and firm – don’t overcook as they’ll turn rubbery.
  9. Drain your pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Quickly, while it is still hot add the pesto and stir well. It is up to you how much pesto you want to add – you’ll probably have some left over which you can freeze. Add the pesto gradually, evenly coating the pasta until you’re happy it’s the right amount. Then add the prawns and asparagus and stir again.
  10. Garnish with a sprig of coriander and serve.

Cooking ahead? The pesto will keep for a couple of days in the fridge in a sealed container. Pesto also freezes really well so make this in advance and pour into an ice tray, and once frozen transfer the ice-cubes into a plastic bag.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chunky Massaman Cottage Pie

I travel a lot for work, usually on my own, to countries where I barely know anyone. Often, along the way someone will invite me over for a home-cooked meal. After weeks of dining solo on restaurant food, to sit at a table and share a meal feels like food for the soul. I have long promised myself that I will pass on the hospitality karma and open up my home to people whom I meet travelling.

I was recently on holiday in Railay in southern Thailand where I made friends with some lovely Americans. When I learned that they’d be passing through Bangkok on their way back home I was only too happy to keep my promise to myself and I invited them over for dinner. But what to cook? I couldn’t decide between traditional Thai or English, so I fused the two and cooked them a quintessentially Tinglish dish, combining two classic food heroes from both countries – Massaman Curry and Cottage Pie. It doesn’t get more fusion than this!

Massaman is itself fusion food. It is a Southern Thai curry which is full of Indian influence in the dry spices, which were introduced to Thailand by early Muslim spice traders (Massaman translates as Muslim). Cumin, nutmeg and cardamom are fused with Thai flavours of coconut milk, lemongrass and fish sauce. It usually has potatoes in the curry, which is why cottage pie isn’t such a big culinary jump after all. Here's what it looks like served up in Railay:

I’ll be honest; this dish requires a fair bit of effort, mostly in making the curry paste, which is the backbone of the pie. You could always buy this ready-made but Massaman isn’t one of the more common Thai curries and not all supermarkets stock it. But trust me, the effort is totally worth it. Of all the things you can cook, I really believe that it’s hard to beat the satisfaction of making your own curry paste.  

This meal is fragrant, rich and comforting and I guarantee the smell will utterly seduce your guests – it screams, “Welcome, come in and make yourself at home”’. What did my American guests say? “Can I have some more please”.

Time: 1hr 40 mins (20 mins prep, 30 mins to make your paste, 30 mins to make the curry, 20 mins cooking time)
Rating: A fair bit of effort: Making the paste takes time and energy. But it’s worth it.
Serves: 5-6

    1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C and put a large pan of salted water on to boil for the potatoes.
    2. Peel and chop the potatoes into equal chunks and set aside.
    3. Cut the beef into chunks about 2cm in size, discarding any fat. Chop the onion into medium-sized chunks. Set aside.
    4. Then make your curry paste. Dry roast the dry spices (the first 7 ingredients) in a pan on medium heat until fragrant, about 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently. You won’t see much change in colour but you’ll smell the spices warming. You want to smell them roasting, but not burning.
    5. Pound the dry spices in a mortar & pestle until powdered, or grind in a food processor or coffee grinder, then set aside. Separately pound/grind the rest of the paste ingredients with the salt, starting from the toughest, working up to the softest (i.e. lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and finally shallots). This is the most time-consuming part of the process but it’s worth putting the effort in so you get a nice smooth paste. Then add the dried spice powder back in. Mix well. It should be a rich rusty colour and smell amazing.
    6. Next, put the potatoes in the boiling water and cook them until tender.
    7. While the potatoes are boiling, heat the oil in a large pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the curry paste and fry this until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.
    8. Add the beef chunks and onion. Fry until the meat is browned, about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
    9. Add half the coconut milk. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Don’t stir very much, just enough to combine.
    10. Meanwhile coarsely chop or crush the peanuts, either on a chopping board with a good knife, with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Add the peanuts, the rest of the coconut milk and the cinnamon stick to the curry and stir.
    11. Let the mixture simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce should thicken and darken.
    12. Your potatoes should have boiled by now. While the curry is simmering, make your mash. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan off the heat – make sure they are dry and well-drained. Mash vigorously to get rid of any lumps. Then using a wooden spoon beat in the milk, butter, egg yolks and seasoning. (I’ve never used egg yolk in mash before but I saw this on Gordon Ramsay’s shepherd’s pie recipe and thought I’d try it. It makes the mash creamy and gives it a nice colour). Set the mash aside and return to the curry.
    13. Stir in the fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Taste – you may wish to adjust the flavour by adding more of any of these ingredients. Cook for another 5 mins and take off the heat. Finely chop the fresh coriander and stir in.
    14. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the beef curry into your baking dish. It may look a bit runny but it’ll all come good in the baking, don’t worry. Spoon the mash on top and smooth over. Using a fork, score lines into the top layer of the mash – this helps it brown in the oven.
    15. Bake for 18-20 minutes until warmed through and slightly browned on top.
    16. While the pie is baking, steam or stir-fry some green veg to serve on the side.
    Cooking ahead? Get your paste made in advance, and the rest will be as easy as pie! The paste will keep for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge or you can freeze it.


For the Curry Paste:
4 tsp dried chillies
1.5 teaspoon black peppercorns,
3 teaspoon coriander (preferably seeds, if not powder)
3 teaspoon cumin (preferably seeds, if not powder)
6 cloves
12 cardamom pods, roasted
1.5 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 inch knob ginger
3 lemongrass stalks (only white part)
2 shallots (or ¼ onion)
5 cloves garlic

For the pie filling:
5 tbsp massaman curry paste (made fresh as above, or shop bought)
1.2kg beef (rump or sirloin)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tin/400ml coconut milk coconut milk
1 large onion,
100g  roasted peanuts
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 inch piece of cinnamon stick
3 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
Juice 1 lime
Small bunch fresh coriander

For the mash:
1.6kg potatoes
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp milk
½ tsp nutmeg
Knob butter
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to season

Green veg to serve (I used broccoli, but spinach or greens would be nice too). The curry is packed with flavour so you don’t’ need much on the side.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grilled Salmon Sashimi Style

I love eating Japanese food. I can’t think of a better example of how the presentation of food makes all the difference. Even if I put away a mountain of rice and a whole salmon, the fact that I have daintily eaten with chopsticks from neat, symmetrical piles lets me still feel elegant. Generally I’m not one for small portions, so I thought this would be a nifty trick for me to learn. I wanted to make a Japanese-influenced meal that would be satisfying but still delicate.

I considered sushi but decided that cooking special rice (which I would probably get wrong and turn to porridge) and wrapping everything in seaweed was more than I could be bothered with on a Tuesday night. So I turned to sashimi –fish without the rice:

This dish keeps the fun dipping action and the neatness of sashimi, in a grilled rather than raw form. The wasabi pea puree is the filling part and also gives the dish a kick. The dressing/dipping sauce holds the zing so encourage your guests to be liberal with it. The sugar snap pea tempura is a cheeky bit of showing off. But what fun is cooking for others if you don’t get to show off from time to time? These were so good that I wanted more than three but we’re trying to be elegant here, so I held back.

This dish is easier than it looks. Just a little care with the plating makes it look really appetising and as though you’ve made a big effort. It’s also (apart from the tempura) a very healthy and low-carb meal. Enjoy!

Time: 1hr 15 mins
Rating: A little effort: there are several components so you need to keep your eye on lots of things at once. But all of the components are very quick and simple so no tricky techniques
Serves: 2


Salmon fillets:
2 salmon fillets (skinless, boneless)
2 tbsp dark soy
1 tsp rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Wasabi pea puree:
250g frozen peas
1.5 tsp wasabi paste (if you can’t get this from your supermarket, you should be able to get a small sachet in a sushi restaurant)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine
Pinch salt

1 avocado
1/3 cucumber (about 250g)
8 sugar snap peas
Handful of rocket leaves

Soy dressing/dipping sauce – this makes quite a lot:
2 tsp soy sauce
2cm piece ginger
1 clove garlic
Juice 1 lime
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil

Sugar snap pea tempura (optional):
6 sugar snap peas
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp corn flour
100ml cold water
Pinch salt


  1. First, measure out 100ml water into a mug and put it in the freezer so you have ice cold water for your tempura later.
  2. Start preparing the salmon. If the fillets aren’t already skinned, gently remove the skin. Cut the fillet into four equal chunks and place in a dish – don’t mix the chunks up because you’ll reassemble the fillet when you plate up. Mix together the marinade ingredients (except the sesame seeds) and pour over the salmon. Put in the fridge to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. Turn over after 10 minutes.
  3. Then make the pea puree. Cook the peas in boiling salted water for a few minutes.  Drain and run under cold water. Put the peas in a blender or food processor along with the other puree ingredients. The puree should be quite but not too solid, so add a tablespoon of water if you need to. Also add the wasabi paste in stages and keep tasting – not all pastes are the same strength so you may wish to use more or less than I have done.
  4. Next make the dressing/dipping sauce. Very finely chop the ginger and garlic and place in a jar. Add the other ingredients, put the lid on and shake well.
  5. Then make the salad. Cut the avocado in half and then into thin strips lengthways. Peel and deseed the cucumber and cut into strips lengthways. Trim the sugar snap peas and cut in half lengthways. Put the salad vegetables in a bowl with a handful of rocket leaves. Dress with 2tbsp of the dressing and toss.
  6. You can start plating up already – put a pile of salad at one end of the plate and a small pile of the puree at the other. You can use a small pastry cutter to get a neat circle of the puree. Shake the remaining dressing and place in a small dipping dish.
  7. Turn on the grill. Reassemble the salmon fillets on a baking sheet, keeping them in the same order as the original fillet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place under the grill. They will take about 7-10 mins to cook – keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  8. While the salmon is cooking, quickly make the batter. Spoon the flours and salt into a bowl and gradually add the ice water from the freezer, stirring with a small whisk or fork. Don’t make it too runny because it needs to stick to the peas – it should coat your whisk/fork. Heat 1cm vegetable oil in a small pan. Test the oil to make sure it’s hot enough by dropping a tiny bit of batter into it – it should bubble instantly. One at a time, dip the sugar snap peas in the batter, making sure they’re coated all over and carefully drop into the oil. You may want to do this in two batches so the peas don’t stick together and it’s easy to turn them.
  9. Remember to check on your salmon! It should be a deep brown glaze on top but not burnt, and nice and firm to the touch.
  10. Gently turn the peas as they are cooking and once they are brown on both sides remove from the oil and place on a piece of kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.
  11. By now the salmon should be done. Transfer it to a plate, reassembling the shape of the fillet. Stack three sugar snap pea tempura on top of the pea puree and serve. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kulfi-Inspired Cheesecake: White Chocolate, Cardamom and Pistachio, with Orange Syrup

I introduce this recipe with a confession. I hate baking. I find it the most unforgiving form of cooking. With a curry or a stir-fry, you can taste as you go, correcting heavy-handed chilli doses with salt, lime or sugar, and everything is ok again. But with baking, one mistake and it’s a flop – literally. My latest baking disaster was a cake version of this cheesecake. The batter held all sorts of promise, it tasted divine. But somewhere along the line - maybe an inaccurate weight, an impatient opening of the oven door, who knows – I made a mistake and my cake sunk in the middle, inedible and unblogable.  Like my cake, I was left deflated. 

But I knew I was onto something with the flavour combination so started again, but this time with a cheesecake. I’ve made it twice now, both times (if I do say so myself) with perfect results. So as a self-professed terrible baker, I ask you to trust me. This recipe works and is worth every ounce of effort. It’s quite simply delicious.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of eating kulfi, it’s a delicious frozen dessert from South Asia. It’s a bit like ice-cream but denser and creamier, made from condensed milk. Cardamom and Pistachio are two of the most popular flavours. It looks like this:

I made this cheesecake at home but decided that my boyfriend and I shouldn’t be left alone with that much cheesecake, so I took it over to my good friend’s restaurant to share with our friends and the kitchen staff. And he let me plate it up in his kitchen, which was really exciting for me! As I was slicing it up, I realised the great thing about this recipe is the number of servings you’ll get out of it – easily 15 slices.

Don’t worry if you have loads left over, it will keep in the fridge for several days, as will the orange syrup. Enjoy!


For the Base:
250g digestive biscuits
100g shelled pistachios (They weigh about 180g with shells still on)
90g unsalted butter (plus a little more for greasing the tin)

For the Filling:
900g cream cheese
225g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp plain flour
20 cardamom pods
4 large eggs
2tbsp double cream
250g white chocolate
Zest of one orange and 2tbsp juice from the orange
For the Orange Syrup:
250ml orange juice (ideally freshly squeezed but if not, good quality shop bought)
100g caster sugar

30g shelled pistachio nuts
Strips of orange zest

Equipment needed: 9 inch spring form cake tin; a large baking dish into which you can easily place the cake tin, and some good quality tin foil

1.      Preheat oven to 165°C
2.      Take the cream cheese out of the fridge so it is at room temperature when you use it.
3.      The first thing you’ll need to do is make a tin foil ‘jacket’ for the cake tin. This is because when you come to bake it, you will place the cake tin into a large dish of water to cook. This is called a bain-marie (a water bath). I don’t fully understand the science but it controls the temperature and importantly, stops the cheesecake from cracking. The tin foil jacket makes the tin waterproof during this process. To make the jacket, stand the cake tin on a piece of tin foil and bring the edges up, but don’t tuck them into the inside of the tin – cut them off if necessary. Repeat with a several sheets of foil. When you’ve finished, take the tin out of its jacket – you don’t need it straight away.
4.      Grease the inside of the tin with a little butter.
5.      Then make the base.  Melt the butter over a low heat. While it is melting, weigh up your biscuits and turn them into fine crumbs. If you have a food processor use this, otherwise put them in a plastic back and crush them with a rolling pin. Place your shelled pistachios on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Give the tray a shake about half way through and keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. Allow the nuts to cool and crush finely, either with a food processor or a mortar and pestle.
6.      Add the nuts to the crumbs and then pour over the melted butter and mix well. Press these into the bottom of the greased cake tin. You want to make sure the base is well-compressed so press hard. I used a potato masher which did the job nicely. Then bake without the foil jacket for 8 minutes.
7.      Time to start on your filling. Zest the orange very finely and set this aside. Keep the orange handy so you can squeeze out the juice  which you’ll need shortly. To prepare the cardamom, use a knife to take out the seeds in the middle. Discard the green husks. Finely crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle, removing any bits of stray husk. Set aside for later. Don’t worry if it looks like a lot. It smells very strong when you crush it but blended into all that cream, it gives just the right amount of fragrance.
8.      Put the white chocolate into a bowl above a saucepan of hot water and allow to melt slowly. Avoid over-stirring or overheating the chocolate or it will turn grainy. Remove from heat as soon as it's melted and put aside.
9.      In a large mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese until creamy. If you have an electric whisk, use this on the lowest setting. If not (I didn’t) a wooden spoon does the trick. Then add the sugar and orange juice and mix until smooth, making sure you scrape down the sides to capture all of the mixture. Then add the flour and cardamom and stir in. Beat the eggs and add them in gradually. Finally stir in the cream. By now it should be a thick consistency and smell delicious.
10.  Finally pour in the chocolate – you need to do this quickly to prevent it setting and going lumpy. Keep stirring until all the ingredients are combined and you have a creamy, glossy mixture.
11.  Now put the tin into its foil jacket and place it into a large baking dish. Pour the mixture onto the cooked base and level with a spoon – it should come right to the top. Now carefully pour hot water into the baking tin so it comes about 3cm up the side of the foil.
12.  Now place into the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When it's ready, the cake will be golden brown on top. The top will have set but the cake will be wobbly to the touch – don’t worry; it will set when it cools.
13.  Remove the cake from the oven. Cover the top gently with a sheet of kitchen roll and leave it to cool in the water bath for an hour. The reason for this is that it cools the cake down very slowly and therefore prevents the top from cracking. Remove from the water bath and cool and refrigerate for at least four hours, still in the tin.
14.   While the cake is cooling make your syrup. In a saucepan, stir together the orange juice and the sugar over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer down until the liquid is about reduced by half. Let cool and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
15.  Roast the remaining pistachio nuts in the same way as those used for the cake. Allow to cool and chop very coarsely.
16.  When you are ready to serve, gently remove the cake from the tin and cut into slices. Pour some of the syrup over the top and sprinkle a few of the roasted pistachios and a couple of strands of orange zest. Doesn’t that look gorgeous?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vegetable Jalfrezi on Bombay Root Rostis

When people ask me what I miss about London, the answer comes fairly easily: Indian food. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Thai food. And you can get very good Indian food in Bangkok. But I used to live on
Tooting High Street
in South West London which is a small oasis of South Asian food and I had all the samosas, curries and ingredients I could ever wish for – and I wished a lot! So this is a nostalgic one for me.

In this dish the curry is served on root veg rostis rather than rice. The recipe is based on the popular side dish Bombay Aloo, which combines potatoes with various spices. I couldn’t decide which curry to put on top of the rostis so I did some research to see which is the most popular. I was a little surprised with the results. I was confident it would be tikka masala – a dish you find all over the UK but oddly a lot less so in restaurants in India. Either that or the korma – which is lovely when done properly but all too often over-creamed and under-spiced so it comes out looking like baby sick.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find an article in the Times of India announcing that, “the jalfrezi -- a hot curry with green chillies, peppers, onion and tomatoes -- has emerged as the most popular choice in UK's 10,000-odd Indian restaurants, piping chicken tikka masala as the nation's favourite dish.” Jalfrezi is an awesome dish – firey, fresh and tomatoey and it’s great to see that people in the UK are exploring Indian menus a bit more.

The fun thing with this dish is that you can adjust it to your tastes – use any vegetables you like and turn the heat up or down by changing the quantity of chilli. Enjoy!

Time: 1hr 30 mins
Rating: Medium. There’s a fair bit of chopping and grating and the rostis need a bit of TLC to make sure they don’t burn or fall apart
Serves: 2-3 people 


For the root vegetable rosti
180g beetroot (about 1 ½ beets)
250g sweet potato (about 1 large potato)
250g potato (about 1 large potato)
½ onion
1 tsp garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 egg
1tbsp flour
black pepper  & salt
vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

For the vegetable jalfrezi
2tbsp vegetable oil
1 large carrot
100g  green beans
100g broccoli
200g (weight before peeling) pumpkin or butternut squash
1medium red pepper
½ onion
2 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 green chilies
2cm piece fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Juice 1 lime
Fresh coriander to garnish
Optional: 2 tbsp natural yoghurt


  1. Start by preparing the veg for the curry. Dice the pumpkin, carrots and red pepper into chunks about 1cm in size. Chop the beans into 1cm pieces and cut the broccoli into small florets. Deseed and finely chop the chillies. Finely chop the ginger and garlic too. Cut the tomatoes up into quarters.
  2. Now you’re ready to start making the curry. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot over a medium heat and add green chillies, garlic, ginger and onions. Stir-fry until the onions are translucent (about 2mins).
  3. Add all of the dry spice powders and salt. Mix well and cook for about half a minute stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and 2 tbsp water and cook for a couple of minutes to soften them.
  4. Now, add the pumpkin and carrots. You’ll start cooking these first because these take the longest to cook. Cook for five minutes over a medium heat, stirring from time to time.
  5. While your vegetables are cooking you can get started on your rostis. Firstly peel the beetroots. It’s up to you whether you want to peel the sweet potato and potato. In any case, be sure to remove any ‘eyes’. Coarsely grate the peeled beetroot, the potatoes and sweet potatoes into a bowl.
  6. Back to your curry – after cooking the carrots and pumpkin for five minutes add the green beans and broccoli and cook for a further five minutes, stirring regularly. You can use this time to carry on grating for your rostis.
  7. Then add the red pepper last – these don’t take long to cook and you don’t want them turning too soft. Also squeeze in the lime juice and 4 tbs water. The sweetness of the red pepper and the sourness of the lime will counter act some of the spice and cool the curry down a bit.
  8. Put the lid on the curry and cook on low heat, for a further 15 minutes until the masala mixes well into the vegetables and they are nice and soft. Check on it from time to time and stir regularly.
  9. While the curry is simmering you can finish your rostis. Once you have finished grating, put the vegetables into a sieve and rinse them with cold water to remove the starch. Then squeeze out as much water as you can, and return them to a mixing bowl.
  10. Finely chop the onion and add to the mixture. Then, using a wooden spoon, stir in the egg, flour, the salt, pepper and dry spices.
  11. Time to fry your rostis. Heat the oil for shallow-frying in a large, heavy-based frying pan. About 2-3 tbsp per batch should be plenty.  Form the root vegetable mixture into small flat rostis and fry until crisp and golden on both sides. It’s up to you how thick you want them. Thinner rostis will be crispier and fatter ones will be soft. Make sure the oil is nice and hot when then go in, then reduce the heat to medium to let them cook. Don’t turn them over often as you could break them. They will take about 5 mins on each side.
  12. You will probably need to do a few batches. Once the first batch is ready, place on a piece of kitchen roll to remove excess fat and put in the oven or under the grill to keep warm while you make the next batch.
  13. By now your curry should be ready. Taste it – if you would like to cool it down a little, stir in 2 tbsp natural yoghurt, though this is optional.
  14. Plate up – place two rostis on a plate and spoon some curry over the top. Garnish with fresh coriander.
Don’t feel constrained by my list of vegetables. Use whichever ones you like, such as:
  • Green peas
  • Okra
  • Green peppers
  • Spinach
  • Aubergines
  • Caulflower
  • Courgettes
  • Or even add some paneer…

Just remember when you cook them to add the tougher veg which take longer to cook first, and the softer ones towards the end.