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About Dan Toombs

Dan Toombs has been a member since February 10th 2011, and has created 590 posts from scratch.

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How to Make a Balti Masala


Tandoori masala powder

Balti masala can be used in marinades and curries

The only reason I call this a ‘balti masala’ is because I learned to make a much smaller blend of spices like this the first time I made a balti curry. It tastes great in balti style curries but it can be used in any recipe calling for curry powder.

Curry powders were introduced to the UK as a way of quickly and easily making curries at home. They are still used a lot in Indian restaurants and the best are homemade. This is really just a curry powder recipe and it is so versatile.

I use this same balti masala recipe in everything from balti curries to marinades. Mix a tablespoon or so into about 200ml of well hung yogurt and you have a quick and easy tandoori marinade that works well on seafood, vegetables and meat.

If you want to try making up your own curry recipe using this balti masala, simply fry some chopped onions and perhaps a chopped bell pepper and/or diced tomatos  and then add your preferred meat, fish or vegetables. I usually use about 200g of meat per person.

Add one heaping tablespoon of balti masala paste per person and a little water or stock to cover and simmer until the meat, seafood or vegetables are cooked through.

A few years ago, my then twelve year old son brought a friend home from school and whipped up a chicken balti in just ten minutes using this balti masala. It’s easy and tasty for even the most novice of cooks.

Makes about 200g ( Or enough for 20 single servings)

How to make british indian restaurant style meals

Illustrated with photographs of each recipe!

My Ebook of curry house style recipes is available now for download to Kindle, iPad, Smartphones and most tablets!


How to Make a Balti Masala and Create Many Different Dishes Quickly and Easily
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons white cumin seeds
  • 1 six inch cinnamon stick broken into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • The seeds of six back cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon onion seeds
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
  • 30 dried curry leaves
  • 7 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoon ground garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground red chilli powder
  • Vinegar and vegetable oil
  1. Place the seeds, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns in a dry frying pan and dry fry over medium heat until the spices begin to smoke lightly. Be careful not to burn them!
  2. Place these spices along with all the leaves in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Add the rest of the ground spices and mix well.
  4. Store the powder in an air-tight container in a dark cupboard. for best results, use within three months
  5. TO USE
  6. to make a balti masala paste for use in balti curries
  7. Mix one heaping tablespoon of balti masala powder with two tablespoons of vinegar and two tablespoons of vegetable oil to form a paste.
  8. To be honest, I don't use measures when I do this at home. To cook a balti curry for four people, I take four heaping tablespoons of balti masala powered. Then I mix in a little vinegar and oil with the powder to make a paste.
  9. Stir this into your curry at the end of oooking.



Balti masala is the secret ingredient every curry lover should have on hand!


Coriander and Coconut Chicken Curry

Coriander and coconut chicken curry

Coriander and coconut chicken curry can be made in minutes.

This is a tasty and easy curry to make. It’s a good one for the work week as it can be made in less than 30 minutes after work. The flavour combo is bright and spicy which I do like in a curry. For added flavour and a bit more sauce, try adding about 250ml of my fragrant stock.

I prefer to use a lot more chilli but I have toned it down here as my daughters aren’t all that keen on spicy hot food. You could easily add more or less to taste.

I like to serve coriander and coconut chicken curry with homemade naans. My stovetop recipe is here. If time is an issue, just serve it with white rice or a crusty loaf of French bread.

Coriander and coconut paste

The coriander and coconut paste.

Coriander and coconut chicken curry

Beginning to cook with fragrant stock.

Coriander and coconut chicken curry

Served with homemade naan and Pukhraj cider

How to make british indian restaurant style meals

Illustrated with photographs of each recipe!

My Ebook of curry house style recipes is available now for download to Kindle, iPad, Smartphones and most tablets!

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 large bunch coriander
  • 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green chillies - finely chopped
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 250ml fragrant stock (optional) Recipe link above
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 two inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Juice of two limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the fresh coriander, garlic and ginger paste, chillies and coconut milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  3. When hot, toss in the cloves and cinnamon stick and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds.
  4. Now add the chopped onion and fry until the onion is soft and translucent.
  5. Sprinkle in the cumin, coriander powder and garam masala and mix it all up well.
  6. Add the chicken pieces and fry for about a minute before adding the coriander/coconut paste.
  7. Reduce heat slightly and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. It should take about 10 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and a good squeeze or three of lime juice.
  9. Note: I added fragrant stock to mine as we like our curries with a little more sauce. The fragrant stock adds a lot of nice flavour too. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave it out.


Tandoori Wagyu Beef Kebabs

Wagyu Beef Kebabs on the Thüros Kebab Grill

The Thüros Kebab Grill is available now on my online shop.

It would be difficult to find beef better that Wagyu. I’m sure it exists but it’s currently my personal favourite. The other day I was sent a few Wagyu beef steaks from Alternative Meats and couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

This is a simple recipe. I didn’t want a heavy marinade that would have competed with the natural flavour of the Wagyu beef. Instead, I chose an old favourite.

The simple marinade could of course be used with any good quality beef. Wagyu beef isn’t cheap so just use any quality sirloin or rump steak if you like. If you want a real treat, however, go for the Wagyu.

The nicely marbled meat is so tender and tastes great grilled over open flames. Crispy and charred on the outside and rare and tender on the interior. It’s food heaven.

This is a recipe that really needs to be cooked on the barbecue or in the tandoor oven for best results. I’ve tried pan frying and roasting it in the oven but for me, it’s all about barbecue! End of.

Wagyu beef kebabs on the Thuros kebab grill

So quick and easy to make

Beef kebabs

Can you taste it?

How to make british indian restaurant style meals

Illustrated with photographs of each recipe!

My Ebook of curry house style recipes is available now for download to Kindle, iPad, Smartphones and most tablets!


Tandoori Wagyu Beef Kebabs
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Tandoori
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 800g Wagyu Sirloin or rump steaks cut into bite sized pieces
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • Freshly cracked white and black peppercorns to taste.
  • Salt to taste
  • Limes and chilli sauce to serve.
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and dump the beef cubes in.
  2. Allow to marinate for about eight hours.
  3. When ready to cook, heat your coals in the barbecue until they are white hot. I usually cook when my hand becomes very hot when held at the level the meat will be cooked for about two seconds.
  4. The meat can be cooked on a grill but I prefer to skewer them as photographed.
  5. Grill until the meat is nicely charred on the exterior and the inside is cooked to your preferred doneness. I like it rare or 50c. Medium rare is 56c.
  6. Serve with lime wedges and your favourite chilli sauce.


Link to Curry Guy Smoked Spices

Curry Guy smoked curry spices are available now online!

Win A Selection Of Holy Lama Spice Drops

Holy Lama Spice Drops

Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time experimenting with Holy Lama Spice Drops. These ingenious products make it possible for you to quickly and easily add spices to your cooking. Home and professional chefs will fall in love with how Holy Lama Spice Drops brighten up their dishes.

Just in case you haven’t heard of Holy Lama Spice Drops, they are concentrated extracts of natural spices. There are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Their flavour is intense and out of this world gorgeous.

Check out the Holy Lama website and you will see just how versatile these spice extracts are. You can use them in all styles of cooking. From curry to pasta to cake, you will be amazed at just how good your food tastes and how simple it is to achieve that perfect flavour.

I’ve tried them with many of my own recipes, substituting the drops for the ingredients that I normally spend a lot of time to prepare. In fact, I’m going to be sharing the recipes right here on the blog. Watch this space!

How to use Holy Lama Spice Drops

The spice drops can be used at any time during cooking but for best results add them at the end just before serving. Let’s say you are cooking a beef madras that calls for freshly ground garam masala, garlic and ginger paste, turmeric, cumin and chilli. Just make the recipe as you normally would omitting these ingredients. Just before serving, add the spice drops to taste. You will be amazed at how your creation comes alive in minutes.

No need to blend ten types of whole spices and grind them. No smashing your garlic and ginger into a fine paste. The spice drops add the flavour you’re looking for without all the mess and hassle.

The Giveaway...

Now, I’ve teamed up with Holy Lama to bring you this Spice Drops GIVEAWAY.

One lucky WINNER is going to #WIN a selection of spice drops and a wooden stand to store them. All of the spices have a shelf life of three years. Try purchasing ground spices that stay fresh that long! Of course my selection will be long gone before that.

So then… Are you ready to give it a go?


Simply fill in the giveaway widget below.

There are many ways to enter. You can choose just on or all of them.

The more ways you enter, the better your chances of winning.

Open to mainland UK residents 18 or older.

Giveaway ends on 7 August 2014

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Quick And Easy Curry House Style Beef Madras


Beef madras

Compare this madras to any curry house. I promise you’ll love it.

Many of you have said that you would like to try some of my British Indian Restaurant (BIR) style curries but you don’t have the time to make the base curry sauce and the pre-cooked meat as they do in curry houses.

So with that in mind, I whipped up this new beef madras recipe. I guarantee you… you will like it as much if not better than those served at your favourite Indian restaurant.

I used left over beef from Sunday dinner so this only took about 30 minutes to make from scratch. If you are using raw beef, please don’t rush things. Let it stew in the curry until the beef is nice and tender.

I’ve also used Holy Lama Spice Drops for the garam masala and chilli. These were added at the end to taste. For those of you who are not familiar with Holy Lama Spice Drops, they are concentrated extracts from natural spices. I love them.

This recipe, however calls for powdered spices. If you decide to give Holy Lama Spice Drops a try, just add them at the end to taste instead of adding the powdered spices. You can view their complete range here.

Beef madras


Beef madras

Cooking away. Just a few minutes to go.

Quick And Easy Curry House Style Beef Madras
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: British Indian Restaurant (BIR)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
  • 800g beef rump cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 onions - finely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes - diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) red hot chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon smooth mango chutney
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Limes for serving
  1. Heat the ghee in a large saucepan.
  2. When melted and hot, brown your beef cubes for about three minutes. You may want to do this in batches.
  3. Remove the beef to a bowl.
  4. Now add the chopped onions and fry for about ten minutes until soft and translucent and lightly browned.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger paste along with the garam masala, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder and stir to combine.
  6. Toss in the chopped tomatoes and the browned beef along with just enough water or beef stock to cover.
  7. Allow to simmer until the beef is nice and tender. This could take up to an hour if you are using raw meat. Don't rush it.
  8. Just before serving, stir in the mango chutney and the chopped coriander.
  9. Check for seasoning and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top and serve with rice or naans.