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Idlis with sambar and fresh coconut chutney

Idlis served with sambar and fresh coconut chutney

Last night I had my first go at making idlis. I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to purchasing the essential idli moulds and steamer. Thanks to my new sponsor Spices of India, I’ve finally got around to doing it. They sent me a fantastic multi cooker which I am sure I’ll be using many more times in future.

These spongy snacks were gobbled up by the family. They’re go good dipped into sambar or fresh coconut chutney which is exactly what we did.

As recipes go, this one isn’t exactly for beginners nor is it for people who don’t enjoy being in the kitchen. It’s not exactly difficult but it is quite time consuming and some forward planning is a must. Once you make the batter, you need to let it ferment in a warm place for at least eight hours.

I put my batter in a bowl which I covered with a towel in the oven at 47c. After fermenting for eight hours, the batter had doubled in volume and was nice and bubbly.

You need to be sure to oil your idli trays lightly. I did this and though they didn’t stick, they were difficult to get out.

The end result, however was amazing. I hope you get a chance to try this one. If you do, be sure to let me know how it went.

Idli tray and pot

The multi cooker from Spices of India. The idli trays were so easy to fit into place. They steamed to perfection.

Idli tray

Batter in one of the trays ready for steaming.


Recipe Type: Snack
Cuisine: South Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

  • 220g white urad dhal lentils
  • 110g white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  1. Put the uran dhal lentils in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for eight hours or over night.
  2. Drain and place the lentils in a food processor with about 50ml of water and grind to a smooth paste. Don’t rush this. I blend the lentils until very smooth – about five minutes.
  3. Place the rice flour, fenugreek seeds and salt in another bowl and add just enough water to make a think paste.
  4. Add this paste to the lentils and whisk to combine.
  5. Store this batter, covered in a warm place for eight hours or over night. The batter should become quite foamy and and double in volume.
  6. When ready to cook, pout water into the bottom of your idli pan and bring to a boil.
  7. Oil your idli trays lightly and then pout the batter into the moulds.
  8. Carefully lower the trays into the idli pan, cover and steam for 20 minutes.
  9. After 20 minutes, your idlis should be ready. Remove the trays from the steamer and remove the idlis from the trays. You may need a knife or small spoon to assist you with this.


I would like to thank Spices of India for supplying me with the idli multi cooker free of charge to use in my recipes. I highly recommend it.



This has to be one of my favourite Indian soups

I have been working on this recipe ever since visiting my local dosa restaurant and having it as a starter with dosas and coconut chutney about a year ago. There are many recipes for Sambar but after playing with the recipes – adding this and omitting that, I think I’ve finally come up with the version I like best.

Sambar is a very popular southern Indian soup that is usually served with dosas or idlis. It’s quite nice on its own too but I do like dipping the idlis and dosas into it. The combined flavour is to die for.

Most Indian restaurant here in the UK don’t have these on the menu so you are in for a real treat. Sambar is mildly spiced with just a little sugar and salt to give you a taste sensation that is truly unique and delicious. The pigeon peas bring it all together. I’m sure you are going to love this one.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Recipe Type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

  • 225g toor dhal (split pigeon pea lentils)
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
  • 4 large chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized aubergine – cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 tablespoon ginger puree
  • 1 green chilli pepper – chopped
  • 50g fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt – or to taste
  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 20 fresh curry leaves

  1. Soak the split pigeon peas in hot water for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse and then pour into a large saucepan.
  3. Add 1½ litres water and heat over high heat.
  4. As you do this, a foam will raise to the top. Skim this off until no foam remains and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and the ginger and green chilli and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes.
  7. Now, using a hand help blender (or any blender) blend until creamy smooth. I do this for about five minutes.
  8. Add the rest of the ingredients up to the tarka ingredients and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the sambar from the heat while you make your tarka.
  10. In a small saucepan, heat the oil until hot but not yet boiling.
  11. Toss in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, throw in the curry leaves and sprinkle in the asafoetida.
  12. Very carefully, add this seasoned oil to the sambar. The oil may spit some so I do suggest standing back a little when you do this.
  13. Stir in into the sambar and bring back up to heat.
  14. Serve hot with dosas, idlis or even with crusty French bread.



Mild Naga Chilli and Coriander Chicken Curry

Chicken curry

The home tandoor clay pot makes the meat more tender and flavourful. It cooks in its own steam and the result is amazing.

I know what you’re probably thinking… How could you have a mild naga chilli curry? Nagas are fiery hot, right?

This is true but they also have an amazing flavour. If used in small amounts, you can still enjoy the flavour without all the intense heat. Just like most curry house chefs, I use Mr Naga brand. This is done not only for ease but because you get the same amount of bite every time.

Chillies are quite seasonal so their heat varies greatly. With Mr Naga, you know what you are getting each time and you don’t have to worry about touching your eyes after you’ve forgotten you chopped a bunch up. Not fun.

No, I am not affiliated in any way with the Mr Naga company. I just thought you might like to know a curry house trade secret. You can find Mr Naga in Asian grocers and online.

Mr Naga adds a fresh and very hot punch so be careful!

Mr Naga adds a fresh and very hot punch so be careful!

One company I am beginning to work very closely with, however is Spices of India. They offer a huge range of spices, fresh produce and cooking products that is definitely worth checking out. Today I’ve been cooking with one of the new toys they sent me to try. it’s the tandoori pot used in these pictures. The meat came out so succulent and nice. I have to say, I’m over the moon with it.

To use this product, you turn your oven onto it’s highest temperature, soak the clay pot and lid in water for about fifteen minutes and then you’re off, perfect tandoori and curry style meals at home.

This was an easy dish. I simply marinated 1500g of chicken thighs in the below marinade for a day and then poured it all into the pot to cook for an hour and a half. You could of course use a normal metal pot with a lid for this recipe but there’s just something about cooking in a clay pot that makes the food taste better.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing me use this in many recipes to come.

Chicken curry

All done!

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!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Mild Naga Chilli and Coriander Chicken Curry
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4 – 6

  • 1.5kg skinned chicken thighs – make three shallow slits in each thigh
  • Juice of two limes
  • Salt to taste
  • 500g plain natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon Mr Naga chilli paste or 2 chopped green chillies
  • 1 onion – sliced
  • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 large bunch chopped fresh coriander – stems and leaves

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 230c.
  2. Squeeze the lime juice all over the chicken pieces and sprinkle with about a teaspoon flaky salt.
  3. Set aside while you make your marinade.
  4. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth.
  5. Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub it into the flesh.
  6. Allow to marinate for at least two hours or up to 48 hours. The longer the better.
  7. When ready to cook, pour the chicken and marinade into a lidded sauce pan. If using the home tandoor clay pot, soak it in water for 15 minutes first.
  8. Place the pot/sauces pan in the oven covered and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and give it all a good stir and then cook for a further 20 minutes uncovered.
  9. Serve with white rice.

Chicken curry

Ready for the oven.

Chicken curry

Chicken cooked this way is so nice!

I would like to thank my new sponsor Spices of India for supplying the tandoor clay pot free of charge for me to try. You can order one for yourself here.

The Big Kingfisher Beer Giveaway

Kingfisher beer

One case will be sent directly to the winner’s doorstep

It’s that time again! Together with my sponsor Kingfisher Beer, I’m giving away another case to one lucky winner.

It’s getting warmer outside. This is my favourite time of year when the barbecues start coming out and the beer starts flowing. I know I’ll be having a few Kingfisher parties this year. This beer goes so well with a spicy curry. But of course you knew that.

One of the main things I want to do with this comp is to spread the word that I will be holding FREE live curry cookery classes over on Google Plus. Helping me let people know is one of the options you can choose to enter. The free live cookery classes will be open to all and the resulting video will be on YouTube for you to refer too after the class.

If you would like to take part and also learn a few of my favourite curry recipes, please be sure to join Google Plus and circle me here. It would be great to connect there too.

So then… we’re off again. You know how it goes. Just fill in the widget below.

ENTERING is EASY. There are many ways to join in.
You can choose one or all of these ways. Some offer more entries than others which increases your chance of winning.
Draw Ends On 10 April 2014.
Open To UK Residents over 18.
Your’ve Got To Be In It To Win It!

Good Luck!


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Lemon Yellow Fried Dover Sole With Onion and Tomato

Dover Sole with onion and tomato

I served this Dover sole with rice and a little coriander raita

This is a really interesting dish. For those of you who can’t get mustard oil, you could just use olive oil but you will lose a lot of the unique flavour.

If you are able to find mustard oil, don’t be alarmed by the warning on the side of the bottle stating that it isn’t fit for human consumption. It’s been used in India and many of the UK’s curry houses for years. The label is there because it hasn’t been passed for human consumption in most Western countries and no one has bothered to go to the trouble of getting it approved.

It is almost always sold in the cooking oil section of Asian grocers. Still not convinced? Just go for the olive oil. The dish will still be very good.

Lemon Yellow Tandoori Dover Sole
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2

  • 2 whole Dover sole – skinned and gutted
  • 3 onions – sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons ginge paste
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 green chillies – finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil
  • Oil for shallow frying the fish.

  1. Place the dover sole in a large dish and marinate with one tablespoon of the mustard oil, the turmeric, 1 teaspoon of the chilli powder, 1 teaspoon of the cumin powder, the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon each of the garlic and ginger pastes and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Allow to marinate while you make the fried onion and tomato sauce.
  3. Heat the remaining mustard oil in a large frying pan.
  4. When hot, add the the sliced onions and fry for about five minutes until the onions are soft and lightly browned.
  5. Now add the remaining ginger and garlic pastes along with the remainder of the spices.
  6. Let sizzle for about two minutes and then add the chillies. Fry for a further two minutes, toss in the coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Keep warm and set aside while you fry the dover sole.
  8. Heat a little olive oil or mustard oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  9. When hot, fry on each side for about two minutes until cooked through.
  10. Place each sole on a heated plate and top with the fried onions and a squeeze of lemon juice.

The Dover sole used in this recipe was supplied by Delish Fish for me to use. It was amazing as always. Delish Fish supplies freshly caught seafood to your doorstep. Excellent service too.

Gram Flour Breakfast Pancakes

Gram flour breakfast pancake

Cooking away. This is a nice and healthy dish.

When it comes to anything approaching a dosa, I still need a lot of work. The flavour is there but making it all look really pretty is a real art form. That’s fine as I’ll keep practicing and will master it someday.

That said, the flavour is all there! Whether  you use my dosa recipes or this gram flour pancake, you won’t be let down!

We love this spicy breakfast pancake. Sometime we serve it topped with fried egg or cheese but today I decided to serve it with the coriander raita I used in this recipe. This recipe works great as a lunch wrap by the way. Simply use the gram flour pancakes instead of tortillas and fill it with your favourite lunchtime filling.

Note: You may need to adjust the heat of your pan when making. If it is too hot, the batter becomes clumpy. Just reduce the heat a little and start again.

Gram flour pancakes

The batter shouldn’t be too think or too watery. This recipe should get it just right but you may need to adjust.

Gram flour pancake

Ready to eat!


Gram Flour Breakfast Pancakes
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • 250ml sifted gram flour
  • 250ml water
  • ½ teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic and ginger paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.

  1. Pour the flour and the garlic, coriander and spices into a large bowl.
  2. Add the water and whisk into a batter.
  3. Heat a tawa or frying pan over high heat and then reduce to medium heat.
  4. Add the oil to the pan and spread it out evening with a spatula.
  5. Pour in a ladle full of the batter and then quickly swirl the batter into a thin circle using the bottom of your ladle.
  6. Fry for one to two minutes per side until cooked through and both sides are lightly browned.
  7. Remove and keep warm while you make the other pancakes.




Tandoori Style Grilled Lemon Sole

Tandoori lemon sole

Tandoori flavoured lemon sole with cucumber salad.

This is a very easy and fuss free recipe. No marinating required. Just rub the spice paste into the flesh of the lemon sole and you’re off.

I made this today for lunch. Lemon sole is so delicate it really doesn’t need much to taste amazing. I used to cook this recipe with a butter sauce but nowadays I’m trying to eat a little healthier. Believe me, if you follow this recipe, you won’t be disappointed.

The key to success is in watching the fish as it cooks quite closely. I grilled my sole fillets under a hot grill for about five minutes. When the fish begins to flake and is still quite moist, it’s ready to serve.

With regard to serving, I decided to have this with a cucumber salad drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A squeeze of lemon just before digging in was all this dish needed.

I used my own brand of smoked tandoori powder. You can make the unsmoked version here or just purchase a good quality tandoori powder.

Tandoori lemon sole.

Lightly spiced and grilled until just cooked through.


Tandoori Style Grilled Lemon Sole
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • 4 x lemon sole fillets
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori powder
  • A pinch of red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh finely chopped coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon

  1. Pre-heat your grill to its highest setting.
  2. Place the lemon sole fillets on a lightly oiled baking tray.
  3. In a pestle and mortar, pound the chilli powder, garlic and ginger paste, chopped coriander and salt and pepper together into a think paste.
  4. Rub this equally into the flesh of the fish.
  5. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  6. Place the sole on the baking try into the oven, directly under the grill and grill until cooked through.
  7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and serve.


Lemon sole tandoori style

A light meal that’s quick and easy to make.


The lemon sole used in this recipe was supplied for me to try by my friends at Delish Fish. It was amazing!

Win A £60 Catch Of Salmon, Lemon Sole and Sea Bass From Delish Fish

Tandoori lemon sole

Tandoori lemon sole

I am happy to bring you another of my fresh seafood giveaways together with Delish Fish. Delish Fish specialises in filleting freshly caught seafood and delivering it, vacuum sealed right to your doorstep. This is about as fresh as it gets.

Now, to coincide with Delish Fish’s new shop opening, we are offering a new prize draw and order discount.

Can’t Wait To WIN?

Purchase a seafood pack of the fish featured in this prize. The pack, normally £50 is on sale for £40 and you receive 2 pieces of Delish Fish’s award winning hot roast salmon for free – a £60 value!

Simply mention DISCOUNT CODE DF009 when ordering

Delish Fish seafood

Example of what the winner will receive. All freshly caught, vacuum sealed and sent out on the same day it’s caught.

Here is what the WINNER will receive…

4 pieces of cod
4 sea bass fillets*
4 lemon sole fillets*
4 salmon fillets
*The sea bass and lemon sole can be supplied whole if preferred.

Tandoori sea bass

You can make this tandoori sea bass recipe with the whole or filleted sea bass!

ALL OF THIS delivered to your doorstep!

Whether you WIN this fantastic prize draw or take Delish Fish’s special discount offer, you are going to love this seafood.

By the way, when in the Aberdeen area, be sure to stop in and see John at the new Delish Fish Shop.

Delish Fish’s New Shop Address…51H Rose St


AB10 1UB

TEL: 01224635607



Entering couldn’t be easier!

Disclosure: The prize for this contest is being supplied free of charge by Delish Fish and is open to anyone over 18 in the mainland UK!

1. Complete the prize draw widget below to verify your entries.
2. Entries are by blog comment, Twitter, Facebook etc
3. Closing Date is 7 April 2014

There are LOTS of opportunities to win with LOTS of points to earn – the MORE points you earn , the more entries you have and the better your chances of winning!

You can win more bonus entries by tweeting on a daily basis.


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Tandoori Sea Bass Cooked in A Tandoor Oven

Tandoori Seabass

Served with hot puris and coriander raita.

One of the perks of working for myself for all these years is that when we do get the odd bit of sun here in the UK, I can take the afternoon off. It’s not always that good. I mean I do put in a lot of hours but the benefits outweigh the negatives.

This afternoon I decided to do just that. I fired up the tandoor oven outside and marinated a wild sea bass that was calling out to me.

Tandoor ovens can take some time to heat up so I also made one of my favourite coriander raitas to have with it along with some hot puris – fried puffy Indian flat bread.

This is another simple recipe that could just as easily be done in your oven. I highly recommend getting a tandoor if the idea appeals to you though. The fish is so succulent and a lot better than I’ve found at most tandoori restaurants. Cooked over hot coals in a clay oven, seafood doesn’t get much better.

There are quite a few suppliers out there now and all of the ovens do about the same thing.  They’re a great alternative to the standard Summer barbecue.

Tandoori seabass

Skewered! The potato is put at the end to stop the fish from burning and also to help keep in on the skewer while cooking.

Tandoori sea bass

All skewered up and ready.

Tandoori seabass

Another view. The skewer is stuck right through the flesh to help keep it on the skewer.


Tandoori Sea Bass – A Recipe For The Oven
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 3 – 4

  • 1 whole large wild sea bass
  • 3 tablespoons plain hung yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200c/400f.
  2. Blend the marinade ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Make shallow slits in the flesh of the bass every two inches or so.
  4. Rub the marinade into the flesh of the fish – inside and out – and allow the fish to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. When ready to cook, place the fish in a shallow baking tray exactly as it swims – stomach side down.
  6. Roast for about 25 minutes until just cooked through. This is not a barbecue recipe. The skin does not need to be crisp as it would be on the grill. We are looking for the meat to be just cooked through and super moist.
  7. When done to your liking, remove from the oven and serve with rice, flat breads and/or your choice of raitas.



Smoky tandoori sea bas

Cooking away inside my hot tandoor.


tandoori sea bass

And another view.




Tandoori Large Flat Mushrooms


Tandoori Mushrooms

Large mushrooms filled with goodness.

My wife is not a big fan of mushrooms so when I made this for lunch today, I didn’t expect much to be eaten. I’m happy to say I was wrong. This recipe was a success even with Caroline!

As it’s not quite outdoor tandoori weather yet, I decided to make these in the oven. I can assure you I’ll definitely be demonstrating this tandoori recipe on the barbecue or in the tandoor oven when weather permits. Watch this space.

I would normally make such recipes with fresh homemade paneer but my work schedule today didn’t permit such luxuries so I used buffalo mozzarella. To be honest, there isn’t a big difference in flavour. Unless you feel like making a batch of paneer, go for the mozzarella.

These mushrooms are stuffed with figs among other things which gives them a slightly sweet flavour that goes really well with my homemade curry leaf vinaigrette. That’s the green bit on the top.

This is a lite vegetarian dish which works well as a main or side dish.

Tandoori mushrooms

Cut the inner stem out to chop up as part of the stuffing

Filling for tandoori mushrooms

A nice blend of roughly chopped figs, cheese, spring onions, garlic and ginger


Stuffed tandoori mushrooms

All stuffed and ready for the oven.


Tandoori Large Flat Mushrooms
Recipe Type: Main or Side
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2 – 4

  • 4 large flat mushrooms – with the stem cut out and chopped for the stuffing
  • 150g fresh paneer or mozzarella – roughly chopped
  • 3 spring onions – roughy chopped
  • 3 soft dried figs – finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli pepper – finely chopped
  • A pinch of garam masala
  • A pinch of cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1½ tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Place a baking tray with a wire rack in the oven and pre-heat to 200c/400f
  2. Spoon the olive oil and one tablespoon of the ginger and garlic paste into a bowl along with the cumin and garam masala.
  3. Mix it all up nicely and then place the mushrooms in the marinade.
  4. Coat them equally all over with the marinade and allow to marinate while you make the filling.
  5. Working on the countertop or in a large bowl, mix all of the other ingredients together.
  6. Now remove the mushrooms from the marinade and fill them equally with the stuffing ingredients.
  7. Remove the hot baking tray and rack from the oven and place the mushrooms on it, stuffing side up.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until cooked through and browned on the top.

Stuffed tandoori large flat mushrooms

All finished!