Sunday, 25 June 2017

Spiced Rhubarb Chutney



I love chutneys of any sort and I always have jars of different chutneys in my fridge. They are perfect to serve with crackers and crisps or as sandwich fillings. I have been known to stir a spoonful in cooked pasta or into a bowl of soup to add extra flavour. Making chutneys is fairly simple and you can make chutneys with any fruit or veg.

My food blogger friend Heidi from heidirobertskitchentalk has an allotment. I am very lucky to be able to get lots of organic seasonal vegetables from Heidi's allotment. She grows, courgettes, beetroot, chard, herbs, rhubarb, squash, strawberries and blackberries. The produce is seasonal and there is always something new to pick each month. On a recent visit to her allotment, I picked some rhubarb and came home ladened with two full bag. There was so much of it that I had a week of testing rhubarb recipes. We had rhubarb crumble, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb and apple soup and also rhubarb chutney. I gave my chutney Indian flavours with aromatic spices and it tasted deliciously sweet, sour and spicy. You can watch the video below of my visit to Heidi's allotment and learn how I made my Chutney.





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Rhubarb Chutney
Spicy and Tangy Aromatic Rhubarb Chutney with Indianised flavours
Ingredients:
  • 480 g Rhubarb
  • 2 Green chillies (use more if you like spicy)
  • 1 Teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
  •   1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 75 g Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Method:

1. Wash the Rhubarb and remove the strings, Cut it into 1 inch pieces.2. Slit the chillies, remove the seeds and cut into 1 inch pieces 3. In a saucepan pan dry roast the Fenugreek Seeds, Coriander seeds, Fennel and Cumin seeds for two to three minutes. Transfer the roasted seeds to a coffee grinder and grind to make coarse spice powder.4.In a large saucepan, add the oil, when its hot add the cinnamon stick and cloves, followed by the rhubarb and green chillies. 5. Add the salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder and cook the chutney for approx 3 minutes. After three minutes add the sugar and spice mixture and cook until the sugar has all melted and the Rhubarb is soft but still holding shape.6. Turn off the heat and let the chutney reach room temperature.7. Transfer the chutney to sterilised jars and keep refrigerated.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 Small Jars
NB -Please note that this is an instant chutney and since the sugar has not been boiled and no acidity is added to it it does not have a long shelf life. It must be consumed within a week and kept in the fridge.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Baingan ka Bartha ~Roasted Aubergine Curry


I have inherited my passion for food from my father, he was a real lover of good food and relished the idea of cooking, eating and feeding others too. My family originate from India but my father immigrated to East Africa when he was a young lad to seek his fortune. In East Africa he worked hard and set his business in a very small town, where he had a grocery and hardware shop with a petrol pump. Travellers used to stop to fill up and my father was always hospitable and invited many of them to share lunch/ dinner with our family. His heart was so generous that we were used to having total strangers at our dinner table sharing our meals. My mother was an excellent cook and between both my parents, they had a great understanding of food and we enjoyed many elaborate feasts.

On festive days it was common practice that my parents hosted large parties in our back yard for all the neighbours and friends. My mother with the other ladies from the neighbourhood would cook big pans of dhals, curries, chapatis and sweet dishes and there would be mountains of food to enjoy and devour by all.

One of my fathers favourite dishes was Baingan ka Bartha or traditionally in Gujarati cuisine it is known as Orro. This dish is created by rubbing large aubergine with oil, pricking them and then roasting them on an open file till the skin is charred. The charcoal flavour imparted by the coals gave this dish a very aromatic and wonderful taste. The aubergines once cooked are cooled and the charred skin is removed. The flesh is mashed up and cooked with tomatoes, ginger, garlic and onions and it is one of the best Indian curries I have had to date, I am not surprised its was my fathers favourite too.


Photo Credit http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/

Jagruti of jagrutiscookingodyssey, a lovely friend and fellow  food blogger has request some bloggers to create their fathers favourite recipe in time for Fathers day which is on Sunday 18th June this year. As a tribute and in remembrance to my father I have created his favourite dish Baingan ka Bartha which translates to aubergine mash!!! Unfortunately the weather did not permit cooking the aubergines on an open fire so I did the next best thing by roasting them in the oven. For best results try and cook the aubergines on charcoal.





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Baingan ka Bartha (Roasted Aubergine Curry)
Char-grilled aubergines cooked with ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Large Aubergines
  • 1 White Medium Onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 Spring Onions (finely chopped whites and green)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger paste
  • 2 Green Chillies (cut into slits)
  • 4 Fresh Tomatoes (diced)
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Coriander (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Tomato paste
  • For garnish 1 red chilli finely chopped and 1 spring onion finely chopped.

Method:

1. Wash and prick the aubergines with a fork. Rub the aubergines with a little oil.2. Place the aubergines on a tray and place the tray in a hot oven for 30 mins (200 degrees C) or until the aubergines are soft and charred, you may require to turn them half way to get an even cook. (Alternatively the aubergines can be cooked on a barbecue) 3. Remove aubergines from oven and peel the skin off and discard, finely chop up the flesh. Keep aside.4. In a pan heat the oil, next add the mustard seeds.5. Add the onions and garlic and cook till onions are translucent.6. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder and coriander powder. Mix well.7.Cook the mixture until the tomatoes have softened and oil starts to separate, add tomato puree and mix well.8.Add the roasted aubergine and spring onions and mix well into the sauce.9. Add 2 table spoons water and cook for 5 minutes until the spices have infused into the  aubergines.10.Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander, red chopped chillies and spring onions
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 4


For other Fathers day recipes created by fellow bloggers do check the links below:
Misti Doi
Puran Puri
Masala Baigan
Masala Upma
Sugar-free Mango, Basil and Cashew Yogurt Popsicles 
Sweet Vermicelli with Jaggery
Lotus stem Kofta

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Barbecued Corn with Roasted Pepper and Mint Salsa


In my previous post I wrote about attending the John Lewis barbecue evening where with a bunch of food bloggers we created some wonderful and tasty barbecue dishes. My three foodie friends, Jagruti from jagrutiscookingodyssey, Manjiri from travelsfortaste and Lisa Moore and I are featured below with one of our signature dishes.


One of the dishes my group created was Barbecued Corn with Roasted Pepper and Mint Salsa. It turned out really delicious and I could not wait to recreate it again at home. The smokey flavours that barbecuing gives to food is lovely and this sweetcorn paired really well with the mint and roasted pepper salsa.






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Barbecued Corn with Roasted Pepper and Mint Salsa
Barbecued sweet corn with a lovely roasted pepper and mint salsa, the mint, the spices and the lime sets this dish off beautifully.




Ingredients:
  • 4 Fresh corn on the cob
  • 2 Long red peppers
  • Few sprigs mint
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for serving.
  • 1 teaspoon sumac powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder(optional)

Method:
1. Place the sweet corn on the barbecue and roast it until its cooked, keep turning it to get an even roasting. 2. Add the peppers on the barbecue and roast them too, keep turning them to get them roasted evenly. 3.Remove the roasted corn from the barbecue and cut it into bite sized rounds pieces approx 2 cm thick .4.Remove the peppers from the barbecue and peel off the charred skin, remove the stalk and seeds. Roughly chop the peppers up and put them into a large bowl.5. Reserve 6 mint leaves and finely chop the remaining mint and add it to the bowl with the peppers. 7.Add the sumac, paprika, chilli powder, salt, juice from the lime, honey and olive oil to the peppers and mint and mix well. 8. Add the sweet corn to the salsa and toss it well so that its coated thoroughly with the salsa. 9. Transfer the corn to a serving dish and garnish with a few more mint leaves and lime wedges
Details:
Prep time: Cooking time: Total time: Serves: 6-8 people







Friday, 19 May 2017

Roof Top Barbecue with John Lewis.


The month of May has brought so much rain that my longing for a spell of dry weather is growing itensely. I know that rain is good for farmers and the gardens and the soil etc but I do hate wet weather and I can't wait for a proper summer to emerge. I love being outdoors and relish alfresco dining so when John Lewis invited me to their recent roof top barbecue, I jumped at the chance all along keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the sun shines on the day. As if by magic my request was fulfilled as the evening turned out bright and sunny and warm with not a sign of a raindrop!! The venue a film studio -Brunswick studious with a terrace garden set in residential area of Kilburn was perfect and really quaint.



The barbecue was organised to showcase John Lewis's finest electric and gas barbecues and we all had a wonderful opportunity to test them out. Our chef for the evening was non other than Ed Smith from Rocket and Squash, a lawyer turned chef who has recently launched his cook book "On the side" which has a collection of 140 side dishes. Ed showed us how to "burn" food on the barbecue!!!! I think he really meant how to char. 



We watched a demo of beetroot and red onions being char grilled and then served with a lovely dill and feta dressing. This followed by char grilled leeks and spring onions and baked butternut squash and sweet potatoes. The leeks were served with a romesco sauce made from char grilled red peppers and almonds. Ed also barbecued some lamb for the non vegetarians.



Ed showed us that barbecue food does not have to be boring and all you need to do is be a little more imaginative with your ingredients. With this thought in mind we split into groups, mainly vegetarian and non vegetarians and created our own dishes from all the lovely produce that John Lewis had provided.



With three other foodie friends, Jagruti from jagrutiscookingodyssey, Manjiri from travelsfortaste and Lisa Moore we set about making our two dishes. Jagruti and I concentrated on the savory dish of Barbecued Sweet corn with Roast pepper and Mint salsa whilst Manjiri and Lisa created a sweet dish Smoky-n-Crunchy BBQ Pineapple. 




The other teams created some skewers of vegetables and lamb, roasted sweetcorn and sweet potato mash, sweet potato wedges served with a lovely creamy dip and a dessert of baked apples made on the barbecue served  with vanilla ice cream.



All our creations were photographed by Charlie Richards who is the photographer for the John Lewis Magazine. Once the photo shoots were over, we all tucked into the lovely barbecued feast over lots of chit chat and prosecco. The evening ended with gifts of beautiful signed copies of Ed's book.




You can find the recipe for the Barbecued Sweet Corn and Roasted Tomato Salsa with mint dressing recipe in my next post.
I would like to thank  John Lewis for inviting me to this lovely event, it most certainly brightened the rainy month of May. All the opinions and views expressed in this post are my own as are all the photographs.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Masala Milk- Mums Recipe.


Mothers day is celebrated all over the world, in the UK it is usually celebrated in March, however in other parts of the world its celebrated in May. Mothers are special and there can never be too many days to honor their status. This May, Mayuri Patel a very good blogger friend of mine who writes at  Mayuris Jikoni has set a challenge to create a post dedicated to your mother.

My mother passed away when I was very young, however I still have fond memories of my mum mostly about her cooking. She was a wonderful cook and homemaker and she spent endless hours in the kitchen creating scrumptious dishes.
As a child I was a picky eater or so my family tell me and I still remember my mum encouraging me to drink milk which I hated. However I never had any problems gulping down this delicious Masala milk she used to make. The masala milk was flavored with saffron, cardamom, nutmeg and had a blend of  mixed nuts which are rich in protein, fibre and essential fats. When we were running a temperature or had a cold she used to add a pinch of turmeric to the milk too. This was definitely "Mothers love and goodness in a glass."

You can make the milk masala in bulk and store it in an air tight jar to use as and when needed.





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Milk Masala
Creamy and Delicious saffron and cardamon flavoured Masala Milk




Ingredients:
  • 50 g Almonds
  • 50 g Cashew Nuts
  • 50 g Pistachio Nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saffron strands
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamon powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
  • 400 ml Milk (I used skimmed milk but you can use any)
  • Sugar to taste

Method:
1. In a coffee grinder, coarsely grind the nuts. 2. In a bowl add the ground nuts, stir in the cardamom powder, saffron and nutmeg and mix thoroughly.  3.Fill  a sterile glass jar with the masala mixture and use as and when required. .4.To make the masala milk, pour the milk in to a milk pan and bring it to boil. Add two tablespoonful of the milk masala and add sugar to taste. Simmer the milk with the masala for a couple of minutes. 5. Pour the masala milk into tall glasses and serve warm or cold as per preference. You can stir in a pinch of turmeric if desired. 

Details:
Prep time: Cooking time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings of milk.




NB- For this recipe you will only need two tablespoons of the milk masala, the surplus can be stored up to a month in an airtight jar for future use.

To see what other fellow bloggers have posted as a tribute to their mothers, do check out the links below:

Strawberry and Pomegranate Swiss Roll
Beetroot Cutlets
Rajasthani Raabdi
Mango and Coconut Mousse Tart
Aloo Paratha
Mogre ka  Sharbat
Malpua
Paal Poli
Classic Apple Pie
Lavender Corn Muffins
Mango Cream Cake
Matar Kachori
Apricot Sweet Rolls
Mango Ice Cream
Mango Mastani
Mustard Green Chilli Pickle
Thengai Podi
Pogaca

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies ~A tribute to Isabella -Coriander Queen


I have been blogging for almost 8 years and over this time I have read many blogs and made numerous friends in the blogging world. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to meet some of these blogger friends in person and others I know them virtually through their blogs. One such person was Isabella who wrote the blog Coriander Queen. Her blog has a varied collection of recipes, all captured beautifully on camera too. I have followed Isabellas' blog for a long time, although I had never met her in person, I felt I knew her from her work. Sadly in March she passed away after a long illness. The blogging community are saddened by such devastating news and will miss her tremendously in the blogosphere. We all wanted to do something special to remember her by, so an idea emerged to take inspiration from her recipes and recreate them as a tribute.

I have chosen her Eggless Chocolate Cocoa Cookies recipe and have remade it with minor changes. You can find the original recipe here. Please do check the linky at the bottom of this post for all the other recipes.





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Chocolate Chip Cookies
Delicious Chocolate cookies with white chocolate chunks and pecans.




Ingredients:
  • 115 g Self raising flour
  • 85 g granulated sugar
  • 115 g butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 30 g birds custard powder
  • 1 tablespoon Milk
  • 30 g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 bar 100 g White chocolate cut into chunks
  • 12 Pecans roughly chopped (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 2. Grease two baking trays with butter and keep aside. 3.In  a bowl sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and the custard powder and keep aside. 4.Cream together the sugar and butter and then add the flour and make a dough, only add the milk if the mixture will not come together. Add the chopped white chocolate chunks and pecans.5.Roll out walnut sized balls from the cookie dough and place them on the greased baking tray, making sure you keep plenty of space between them as they will spread whilst baking.6.There is no need to flatten the balls they will spread during baking.7. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes and remove from the oven, leave them to cool on the trays. Do not over bake the cookies, as they will firm up when they cool.
Details:
Prep time: 1Cooking time: 15Total time:30 minsYield: 22 cookies





To see what recipes the other bloggers have made see below:




You can also click on this linky to add your posts and also take you to the relevant posts.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Lemon Posset ( egg and gelatin free)





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Lemon Posset
Creamy and light dessert with a wonderful citrussy flavour.




Ingredients:
  • 225 ml Double cream
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar  
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons Raspberry sauce for garnish
  • Whipping cream for garnish
  • 1 drop of yellow food colour (optional)

Method:
1. Put the cream into a heavy duty pan and bring it to boil, turn off the heat and add the icing sugar and stir until it dissolves. 2. Leave the cream to reach room temperature, next whisk in the lemon juice and 2/3 of the lemon zest.  3. Pour the mixture into 4 serving glasses and place them in the fridge to chill for minimum 4 hours.4.To serve garnish the lemon possets with the remaining lemon zest and raspberry sauce and whipped cream.  
Details:
Prep time: Cooking time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings




Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Bajra na Rotla - Millet Flour Flatbreads ~Rajasthani Special



Pearl millet known as Bajra is commonly used in India to make flat breads. The millet has many health benefits as it contains folate, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamins E and B-complex. It also has a high energy content and is rich in calcium and unsaturated fats which are good for the body and it helps in reducing cholesterol, heart diseases and diabetes. The flour has a greyish colour, it  has a rich nutty flavour and can be used in cooking and baking.

Bajra na Rotla- Millet flour flat breads are a commonly served  in all Rajasthani homes but also in the state of Gujarat where they are served with a spicy aubergine curry.They are a staple part of the dietand are commonly they are served with dollops of Ghee, clarified butter and accompany most curries.

I have recreated the simple Bajra na Rotla below after sampling them on my recent trip to India. I served my Bajra na Rotla with Gatte ki Sabji which I shared in my previous post. Bajjra na Rotla are also eaten cold or packed for travelling as they keep for two to three days. They are eaten with a garlic chutney and pickle too.




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Bajra na Rotla (Millet flour Flatbreads)
Millet flour Flat breads with a nutty aromatic flavour served with a dollop of Ghee





Ingredients:
  • 150g Millet Flour
  • 30g whole wheat flour
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon butter/ghee room temperature
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter for serving (optional)

Method:
1. Put the flour in a bowl and add the salt, rub in 1 tablespoon of ghee or butter into the flour until you get a bread crumb type of texture. 2. Slowly add a little water at a time to make a semi soft dough. Just add as much or as little water as required, this will depend on the brand of flour you use. 3. Cover and leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes.4.Place a tava or frying pan to heat. 5. Divide the dough into lime size balls and using a little bit of millet flour for dusting pat out the dough into a  3 inch disc approximately 5 mm thick.6. Using a spatula gently pick up the rolled flatbread and transfer it to the tava which should be on medium heat. Do this carefully as millet flour is gluten free and will break easily.7. After cooking for 1-2 minutes you will see the edges drying a little, gently flip the flatbread over and cook for  another 2-3 minutes. Press the flatbread gently with the spatula .8. Again flip the flatbread over to cook the top side, again cook for 1-2 minutes , gently pressing with the spatula .The Flatbread is ready when you have brown spots on both sides and this will ensure its cooked through in the inside. 9.Remove the flatbread from the tava and keep covered in a muslin cloth. Repeat for remaining dough. Once you are ready to serve smear a little ghee onto each flatbread and serve with curry and add an extra dollop of butter ghee on top of the flatbread if you desire. This is the traditional way to serve but its optional due to health reasons.
Details:
Prep time: Cooking time: Total time: Yield: 8 flatbreads




Friday, 24 March 2017

Gatte ki Sabji (Chickpea Dumplings in Gravy) ~ Rajasthani Special


During our recent India trip, I promised my self that I would try and sample some new regional dishes whilst travelling through the country. In Jaipur, one dish that appeared on the menu regularly was Gatte ki Sabji. We were rather intrigued to see what it was and how it tasted. We got the opportunity to sample this dish for the first time at Choki Dhani which is a cultural Rajasthani Village on the outskirts of Jaipur.


At Choki Dhani they create a truly memorable Rajasthani dining experience, you are serenaded with traditional music, treated like royalty as you are escorted into an authentic village setting where you sit on the floor on cushions and eat your food on low wooden tables. The food is served in plates made from banana leaves, on offer is a vast  selection of both savory and sweet dishes, pickles, flatbreads and rice. The waiters come around and refill your plates constantly with the amazing delicacies till you stomach screams no more!!!




One of the items in the thali was Gatte ki Sabji which is a curry made with chickpea flour dumplings in a yoghurt sauce. It is traditionally served with Bajra na Rotla which are millet flour unleavened flat breads. In this post I have recreated the dish as I really loved the taste and authenticity of it.






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Gatte ki Sabji
Chick Pea Dumplings in a spicy tangy yoghurt gravy.





Ingredients:

For Dumplings
  • 125 grams Chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water to bind dough
  • 1.54 litres water for cooking dumplings
For Gravy
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 red dried chilli
  • 100-150 ml cooking water left from dumplings
  • 3 tablespoons natural yoghurt beaten
  • fresh coriander finely chopped

Method:

1. In a basin add the chickpea flour, whole cumin, salt, chilli powder, natural yoghurt and oil and mix together. Add a little water to make a semi soft dough. If you find the dough a little sticky rub oil on your hands and knead the dough. Cover the dough and leave to rest for 15 minutes.2. In a large pan add the water and put the pan on the heat to boil the water.3. Divide the dough into 5 parts and roll each part into a sausage shape approx 1.5 cm in diameter. 4. Put the sausage shaped dumplings into the boiling water and cook them for 15 minutes. You will know when they are cooked as small bubbles will appear on the dumplings and they will float to the surface of the boiling water.5. Remove the cooked dumplings from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep aside to cool. Reserve the cooking water.6.Once dumplings are cooled slice them into 1 cm thick slices and keep them aside. 7. In another pan add 1 tablespoon of oil, when its hot add the mustard seeds and the red dried chilli, wait for the mustard seeds to splutter after which add both types of chopped onions and cook them till soft and golden brown.8.To the cooked onions add the ginger paste, green chillies, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin powder and cook the mixture for 1-2 minutes. Add 100 ml cooking water from the dumplings and the yoghurt and simmer the gravy for 2-3 minutes on a low heat.9.Add the dumplings and cook the curry for another five minutes, add extra cooking water from the dumplings if the gravy seems dry.10.To serve transfer the curry to a serving bowl and garnish with the chopped coriander. Serve the curry with millet flour flat breads.
Details
Prep time:15Cooking time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings





Friday, 10 March 2017

Masala Chai (Tea) and chat with Neelam from M V Spices #International women's day




On a recent visit to India, we visited Jodhpur - the blue city of Rajasthan. A mesmerising city of blue buildings, forts and architecture that is magnificent. Mehrangarh Fort is the main tourist attraction in Jodhpur, it is set on the hill tops boasting stunning views of the city. The fort is beautiful and the museum inside is very interesting with lots of historical artefacts and displays. Through the exit courtyard, you will also find gift shops, Rajasthani musicians and dancers and local traders selling their products and souvenirs.


It was at this fort that we met a young lady called Nikki who was running a spice stall. The aroma as we walked passed was so decadent that we had to stop and check out the amazing array of spices that she was selling. On offer were many blends for curries and a variety of  teas and fresh spices.
Whilst purchasing quite a few, it was hard not to, we struck up a conversation with Nikki who told us that her family have other shops in Jodhpur market and if time permits to visit them to check out an even larger selection of spices and also sample a cup of their masala chai. 

Masala chai in India is available in every street corner, it is served in little shot glasses, it is dark, strong and sweet and fragranced with spices. It’s the perfect pick me up after a hard day shopping or just to beat the heat. Yes its a known fact that hot tea actually cools you down!!!


Late afternoon after our visit to the fort we took up Nikki’s offer and went in search for her other spice shops by the clock tower in Jodhpur. It was here that we met Nikki’s sister Neelam, she was most welcoming and our conversation with her flowed and we chatted with her like we were old friends. She was really friendly and had a fantastic knowledge of spices. Over a cup of delicious masala chai which was most needed as we were melting in the Rajasthani heat, Neelam narrated her family story to us. It was very emotional and definitely worthy of a mention here. 


The story of M V Spices:

M V Spices was founded by Mohanlal Verhomal her father some 40 years ago. As a young man her father used to cycle to the Clock Tower Market in Jodhpur and the fort to sell packs of spice blends complete with hand written recipes to accompany them to the tourists. His small venture flourished and M V spices travelled worldwide through the travellers  and tourists who purchased them. However tragedy struck  in 2004 and Mohanlal Verhomal passed away suddenly leaving behind a widow and 7 daughters.

After her husband’s death Mrs Verhomal took the decision to carry on her husband’s spice legacy and decided to run the spice business herself with the help of her young daughters. Although she had no business acumen, together they learnt to wheel and deal and travel far and wide all over India to source spices. They created the mixes to sell them through their four shops. Lack of experience and being female were their toughest obstacles whilst stepping into a highly male dominant society where women did not dare to do business. This did not deter them and through sheer hard work and determination they have indeed achieved what they set out to do. In the last 12 years their business has grown from strength to strength and M V spices has lots of recognition in India and worldwide. Their spice mixes are not only available in their shops in Jodhpur-Shop No 209 - B | Vegetable Market, Clock Tower, Jodhpur 342002, but you can also buy them on the internet through their website.


I am in total admiration to see what these amazing ladies have achieved, not only have they proved that women can do anything they set off to do but they have inspired other women in India that they too can stand on their own two feet if the need arises.

I love masala chai (incidently chai is an Indian word for Tea )and since I live in the UK I usually have to make my own spice blend as it is not readily available in the local shops. To check out how to make your own tasty masala chai (Tea) spice blend do check out my previous masala chai post. 


However, since my visit to Jodhpur, I have stocked up with the tea spice from M V Spices which is a blend of ground ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the following recipe, I am using the M V tea masala spice blend to make the perfect cup of masala chai.



I hope to feature many of the other M V spices I purchased in my future posts.

How to make the perfect cup of masala chai (tea) is really a matter of personal choice, some people like it milky, other like it strong, some like it sweet and others like it sugar free, there is no right or wrong way but what is most important is the addition of the tea spice. I am sharing below my favourite recipe.





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Masala Chai (Tea)
Strong spiced Indian tea flavoured with aromatic spices.





Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons loose tea leaves
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon M V Tea spice

Method:
1. In a saucepan add the water, tea leaves, tea spice and sugar and bring the mixture to a boil 2. Once the tea water is boiling, add the milk and wait for the tea to come to a boil, after which simmer for 2-3 minutes longer for the spices to infuse. 3. Strain the tea into cups and serve immediately. 
Details
Prep time:0Boiling time: Total time: Yield: 2 cups





I recently visited Rajathan and this post is part of a series of posts that I am going to be featuring on this blog about my culinary experience around India. I was inspired to write this post and feature M V Spices after hearing Nikkis and Neelams story.
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