Indian cuisine dates back over 5000 years. In a true sense, the cuisine is an amalgamation of the cultures, traditions and influences of different ethnic communities absorbed and imbibed over the centuries. 

If you look up the definition of curry, you will understand that it is a dish of meat, vegetables, etc., cooked in an Indian-style sauce of hot-tasting spices and typically served with rice. This is of course a much generalized definition which does not reflect the diversity that is Indian cuisine.

Bhuna technique originated in Bengal. The first wave of immigration was of the Hakka Chinese in late 18th century, who came to work on a sugar plantation. The Chinese stir fry technique was quickly adopted and bhuna dishes were favoured. Bhuna which simply means to fry the flavour base or masala really well till it starts to caramelize and give out oil along the sides.

Serve this with pita bread or Nan along with a salad or vegetables for a weeknight dinner.

Bhuna Murg


600g boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut in half or third

Juice of ½ a lime

2 tablespoons ghee, divided

1 tablespoon coriander powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder



On cold wintry nights, if you are yearning for a hearty, spicy and warming casserole that is vegetarian, then this one is for you. You can serve over corn chips and make vegetarian nachos or other optional toppings are pickled jalapenos, crème fraiche, sour cream, coriander leaves, avocado or guacamole and hot sauce. The dish is relatively easy to make and using tinned beans halves the cooking time.

I used a combination of borlotti beans, red kidney beans and black beans. Any combination of dark coloured beans would work well.

Chile con Verduras


100g onions, finely diced

2-3 sticks celery, finely diced

200g carrots diced into a small cube

200g orange kumara or sweet potato, peeled and diced into a small cube

200g mushrooms, sliced or quartered



In Hindi, do (pronounced like the English though) means two and pyaza means onions. The term describes a dish using twice the normal amount of onions. The resulting dish is bursting with flavour and a bit of sweetness. This dish is popular in Bengal and has Muslim origins. Bengal had its share of Muslim influences in art, architecture and cuisine because of Muslim rulers and Mughal governors. Please don’t be alarmed by the amount of onions or spices – you can’t expect anything less in a chicken and onion dish. This is a yummy and likeable dish.

A great alternative to butter chicken or chicken tikka masala, this could be your go to as far as Indian curries go.

Murg dopyaza


1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs

8-9 shallots, peeled

6 medium sized onions

8 small baby potatoes

2 teaspoons chilli powder

½ cup Greek style yoghurt

5 tablespoons of canola or other vegetable oil



The more I delve into the world of food, the more fascinated I am about food history and how food traditions established. The cooking practises and style I thought was indigenous to South India has in fact travelled and can be seen in other parts of the world. I find a lot of coincidences this way particularly with Greek, Middle Eastern and other Asian cuisines. I am not saying they have all been cut from the same cloth but the similarities are intriguing. Yes we all wonder whether noodles originated in China and then travelled to Italy and other parts of Europe. In the same token the Greek tzatziki is very similar to raita – yes Alexander did try to invade India! What about babaghanoush (Middle Eastern) and Indian baingan bharta. That brings me to one of the Andhra specialties of Pesarettu or mung bean pancakes and banh xeo. They are uniquely different but can see similarities especially in the vegetarian version. These are very yummy and to make these, you do need a nice big wok.

Vietnamese Style pancakes


For the pancakes

1 and a half cups of split mung flour

½ cup of brown rice flour



This is a wholesome and hearty vegetarian dish that you can make as a main and doesn’t require much else by way of accompaniments. Butternuts roasted are the best as they are sweet, luscious and warming. I used Manchego cheese for this recipe but you can use Gruyere or any other sweet cheese that melts well.

I’ve made the dish using two medium sized butternut pumpkins but you can scale it up or down. By the way, any leftover lentils are yummy on their own or on toast!

Roast Pumpkin Topped With Puy Lentils


For the butternut pumpkins:

2 medium sized butternut pumpkins weighing about 700g each

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt



On days when you don’t feel like cooking much but still want to serve up something healthy and filling, this soup is your answer. You can actually use any combination of root vegetables you have on hand but vegetables like kumara (sweet potato) and carrots make the soup luscious. This is a lovely creamy soup that is so satisfying.

Creamy lentil and root vegetable soup


200g onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

400g orange kumara

1 parsnip, chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons medium curry powder

3 tablespoons vegetable oil like canola

1 cup of lentils, rinsed

150ml coconut cream

30 – 40mls of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Salt to taste


In a large saucepan, heat the oil and fry onions for 3-4 minutes. Toss the garlic and curry powder in and continue frying for a further 30 seconds. Add the lentils and root vegetables. Fry to combine everything well, so the vegetables are coated in the spices. Season with salt. Add 1.5 litres of water. Let it come up to the boil, cover with a lid and let simmer gently for 30 – 40 minutes. The vegetables should be soft and not offer resistance when pressed with a spoon. Rest for five minutes and blitz soup with a hand held stick blender.

Mix in the coconut cream and return saucepan to heat for five minutes until it is warmed through. Stir in the lemon juice. Sprinkle the coriander leaves and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.


Who doesn’t love food that is nutritionally balanced, screams fine dining without the pretence or expense, easily prepared at home with readily available ingredients?

This soup is the answer as it is packed with flavour and deliciousness. It is rich and robust without using cream and I know it is going to be this season’s favourite.

Cook’s notes: If you want to retain the green colour of broccoli, use hot stock and leave the soup uncovered if not serving immediately.

Broccoli soup with poached egg


4 eggs

1 large head of broccoli, florets and stalk separated

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4-5 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped into 2 cm pieces

5-6 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1l hot, vegetable stock

75g leftover cooked rice



This is a flavourful, protein packed one pot dish that is plant based. When you eat this, it definitely feels like you are feeding your soul. You may need to get the urad dhal from an Indian grocer along with black mustard seeds. The urad dhal makes the stew thick and creamy.

Lentil, Buckwheat and Spinach Stew


250g red lentils

50g urad dhal

100g buckwheat, toasted

250g tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 x 400g tin of chick peas, drained

200g onions, thinly sliced

1-2 green chillies, sliced thinly (optional)

7-8 centimetre piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced

120g spinach, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

4 tablespoons vegetable oil like canola

Coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Greek style yoghurt to serve (optional)


Dry toast the buck wheat for five minutes on medium heat until pale brown.

Heat oil in a large saucepan. When hot enough, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When you hear them crackling, add the onion, green chillies and ginger and a teaspoon of salt. Fry on medium heat for seven to ten minutes until soft. Add the red lentils and urad dhal and continue frying for another 10 minutes on low heat.

Use a box grater and grate the tomatoes. When the mixture looks dry, add the grated tomatoes and juice. Continue frying as the lentils will absorb most of the moisture quickly. Measure out 2 cups of water – add half cup of water at a time and cook (with lid closed) for five minutes until the water is absorbed before adding another half cup. Spoon in the tomato paste, along with chick peas, toasted buck wheat and turmeric powder. Continue adding half cup of water in five minute intervals and cook for a further 12-15 minutes until the buck wheat is soft. Mix in the spinach leaves. Cover and cook for a further 30 seconds. Turn off heat, remove lid. This way the spinach will remain a vibrant green colour.

Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. Stir in the coriander leaves.

Serve hot with a dollop of Greek style yoghurt.


We are a family of picky eaters – for starters, we are fairly healthyish and want loads of protein and vegetables in each meal. We sway towards naturally gluten free food and personally prefer vegetarian food. The family want nutrient dense food that is not bulky and it needs to look good and taste even better. I would like one pot meals if possible and do it in a minimum amount of time especially during summer, as I would like to spend more time tending to the garden. It is a tall order and I created this recipe for weekday lunches as it ticks all those boxes!

Millet salad


1 cup of millet

400g tin of beluga lentils, drained and rinsed well

100g of tender spinach leaves, washed and finely chopped

200g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2-3 spring onions, washed and finely diced

1 red pepper, core removed and finely diced

150g sunflower kernels, dry roasted

2-3 sprigs of coriander leaves, washed and finely chopped

1 pinch of turmeric powder

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or sambal oelek

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste


In a sauté pan, toast the millet on medium high heat for five minutes. Add 370ml water to a saucepan and a pinch of turmeric along with half a teaspoon of salt. Mix in the toasted millet and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

Measure all the dressing ingredients into a jar or a bowl and whisk well.

Once millet is cooked, add the spring onions and spread out the millet to cool on a platter or large bowl. Pour the dressing and mix all the other ingredients. Adjust seasoning to suit your taste.

Serve at room temperature. Serves 3-4.


This is a super quick and easy stir fry recipe that is delicious. When I am short of time and can’t think of what to prepare for dinner, I choose this recipe as it is one of our family favourite.

Stir-fry chicken Hyderabad style


400g chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

4 tablespoons lemon juice

200g onions

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 centimetre piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

½ teaspoon chilli powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 green pepper, remove core and cut into chunks

Salt to taste


Place the cut chicken pieces in a glass bowl. Stir in the lemon juice. Mix well, cover and allow to marinate for one hour.

Quarter the onions and separate the layers.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger and garlic to a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan (kadai) or a wok. Remove chicken pieces from marinade, discard the lemon juice and fry the chicken pieces on one side for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add remaining oil and fry the onions, ginger and garlic paste. Stir frequently over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes until the onions are a pale golden colour. Put the cumin and coriander powders along with turmeric, garam masala, and chilli powder. Season with salt and if the spices are sticking to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle a spoonful of water. Fry the spice powders for a minute.

Toss in the green pepper pieces and increase heat to a high. Fry for a minute and add the chicken. Fry continuously for 5-6 minutes, until chicken is well cooked.

Serve immediately with roti or wraps.

Serves 3-4