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



Exciting thing about end of summer and early autumn is bountiful produce in the farmers markets. I’ve always loved the sound of jalapeno poppers but didn’t like the idea of deep frying so I created these oven baked poppers. I assure that they are so tasty and if you are a chilli lover, you’ll simply love them and want more.

Jalapeno poppers ready to be grilled
Jalapeno poppers


16 jalapenos

125g cream cheese (I used reduced fat)

1 shallot, finely diced

50g finely grated cheese like gruyere

1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup or hot sauce

Salt to taste


Preheat your grill to 180 degrees Celsius.

Slice the jalapenos in half from the stalk to bottom tip. Scoop out most of the seeds and pith.

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, shallot, grated cheese and sauce. Season with about half a teaspoon salt.

Arrange the jalapeno halves in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Use your hands or a small teaspoon to fill the jalapenos with the cheese mixture.

Place under grill for 8 – 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and brown. Serve warm. Serves 4-6 as a starter.


Malaysian cuisine is a melting pot of  traditions from its Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and ethnic Bornean citizens, with heavy to light influences from Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabian cuisines and British cuisines, to name a few. The condiments and spices used in cooking varies and this results in strong regional nuances.

There are two types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut milk curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour, most often tamarind-based, soup with noodles. I have tried to keep this vegan, (took inspiration from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More) and so did not use any of the traditional seasonings like shrimp paste. Here is my take on the classic.

Curry laksa



2 tablespoons sambal oelek

100g shallots, peeled and chopped

8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

30g ginger, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon ground lemon grass (frozen)

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The word “shorba” is of Persian origin and almost a dozen variations of the word exist. It is traditionally prepared by simmering meat or vegetables in boiling water along with salt and flavored with aromatic curry spices and herbs.

Carrot shorba

My recipe is an oldie but a goodie from the Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor who has been the celebrity chef on one of the longest running food shows of its kind Khana Khazana. (In fact the show has been running since 2010 and has over 500 million viewers.) I remember watching this show on my visits to India. I have simplified the recipe so it is easier and you don’t have so many dishes to wash up!

This is a great soup to serve as a starter for a dinner party and I assure you will have your guests wanting more and the recipe.


500g carrots, peeled and cut into 2 centimetre chunks

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

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I love the bold flavours of this curry – I have used typical Indian spices in the traditional way one would and the Thai part comes with blending coriander leaves, garlic and chilli. This is easy enough to prepare and is bursting with flavour – take your time to fry the onions and cooking down the tomatoes is what gives the richness.

The type of fish for a curry – my first preference is monk fish (they call it poor man’s lobster) but warehou or groper would work well.

Indo Thai Fish Curry


800g monk fish fillets, cut into 6-7cms pieces

3 tablespoons coconut oil

200g red onions, finely diced

½ cup coriander stems and leaves (tightly packed)

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A little tangy, a little spicy and a little sweet is how I would describe a prawn sambal. The ready to use sambal pastes you get in the supermarket are a bland version of this Malaysian dish packed with punchy flavours. The recipe is straightforward and because the prawns don’t need a whole lot of time to cook, the dish comes together in 45 minutes.

Prawn Sambal


For the sambal paste

30g tamarind pulp or 2 tablespoons tamarind puree

10 shallots

6-10 red chillies

5-6 (30g) garlic cloves

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Hyderabad is an epitome of India’s unity in diversity culture. Very few cities in India have the privilege of having a distinctive cuisine. The Nizams governed this city for over two hundred years until 1948 and one of their princely legacies was establishing a Hyderabadi cuisine. This is a famous Hyderabadi vegetarian dish, the combination of spices representative of both Northern and Southern regions of India.   

Bagare Baigan


600g small round eggplants (brinjals)

75ml vegetable oil like sunflower oil

1 x 5cm piece of ginger

5-6 plump garlic cloves

¼ tsp turmeric powder

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Fish Pathia

The Parsees fled from Persia about 1300 years ago and settled on the Coast of Gujarat. Others who in recent centuries arrived from Persia formed a distinct community in Mumbai and Dahanu, just to the north, where they are known as Iranis. The Parsees / Iranis have their distinct cuisine with sweet, hot and sour flavours equally balanced. Traditionally pathia or patia is served with yellow rice.

Prawns can be prepared in the same way. Just replace the fish with 400 grams prawns.


600 grams firm, white fish fillets

2 teaspoons tamarind puree

5 green chillies, chopped

3 plump garlic cloves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

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Sometimes spelt Gong Bao, this is a spicy stir fried chicken dish with its origins in Sichuan province of south west China. The Sichuan peppercorns are a bit numbing but the combination of crunchy peanuts and juicy spring onions, complement the juicy chicken. I have adapted this recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop’s version in Every Grain of Rice.


400 grams chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1 cm cubes

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 thumb ginger, finely sliced

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