150 grams castor sugar

2 whole eggs

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup fresh lime juice

8 tbsp. unsalted butter cut into small pieces and chilled


Whisk together the sugar, lemon and lime juice in a bowl placed over simmering hot water or in a double boiler over high heat. When the sugar has dissolved, lower flame add whisked egg yolks and eggs and keep stirring continuously until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken. Remove from heat immediately and strain through a sieve into a mixing bowl. Let sit 10 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent a skin from forming.

When the lemon curd is still warm but not hot whisk in the butter using a hand or electric whisk. Fill into sterilised jars and cap tightly. Chill before using and keep refrigerated.




This Parsi classic is called Lacey because the eggs beaten with a little water, a technique you see in Chinese and Thai cuisine also, gives the cutlet or rissole a frilly appearance.



  • 1 lb or about 1/2 kg ground chicken, turkey OR mutton
  • 250 grams  boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes
  • 2 red onions approximately 3/4 cup finely chopped
  • 2-3 Green chillies finely chopped and rubbed with a 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp good quality garam masala
  • 1 tsp freshly roasted and powdered cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp freshly roasted and ground coriander powder
  • 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs (more if required)
  • 2 tbpsns water
  • Oil for frying
  • A large wide non stick skillet


  1. Saute the onions and chillies in 1 tablespoon of oil until soft on medium heat in a non stick pan.
  2. Add garlic ginger paste and turmeric and saute well about 1 minute.
  3. Switch off flame and add all the dried powdered spices and potatoes and mash well. Add salt to taste at this point a little extra because you will be added the meat.
  4. Add the mince meat and stir together. Then mash again until soft and well blended.
  5. Make flat oval cutlets about 1/4 inch thick. If you are doing this for the first time make smaller cutlets as they are easier to cook.
  6. Pat them in breadcrumbs. Place on a tray and cover. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour
  7. Beat eggs till frothy with a balloon whisk or fork about 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp water and beat again until very frothy.
  8. Heat 1.25 inches of vegetable oil in a wide non-stick pan on medium heat.
  9. Pour the beaten eggs into a flat wide pan and lay one cutlet in the eggs. Dredge both sides well.
  10. Fry one cutlet until golden brown. Spoon hot oil over them as they fry. Use a wide big slotted spatula so its easier to turn them over without breaking them. Fry the first one until golden on both sides, drain and taste for salt. If short on salt add some to the beaten eggs.
  11. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with ketchup, onion kachumber, steamed vegetables or a condiment you like
  12. Cutlets can be frozen and rewarmed in an oven.


CHILI CON CARNE- Kidney Bean and Corn Stew

If you like Rajma you will love this dish. Its spicy sweet and robust. A one pot classic that will feed you for a couple of days.

A complete meal, this nutritious dish is of Mexican origin and a part of South Western cuisine in the United States. You can use a variety of kidney beans for it. It can be made entirely vegan with sweet potato instead of meat. If you use sweet potato add less brown sugar.


  • 250 grams  red or speckled kidney beans (you can use pinto or black beans or a mix as well)
  • 1-2 large red onion finely chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2 bell peppers red and yellow
  • 6 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp veg or olive oil
  • 500 gram minced chicken/beef or uses peeled and chopped sweet potato (about 1/2 inch dice)
  • 400g can tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 200 ml tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup fresh shelled corn
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1/2-1 tsp paprika or red chilli powder
  • Hot sauce of your choice  I used chipotle but habanero jalapeño is also fine
  • Salt to taste
  • TO SERVE (optional)
  • sour cream and or grated cheddar, to serve
  • cilantro or fresh coriander leaves to garnish
  • Tacos, gutLI pao, cornbread as an accompaniment


Wash and soak kidney beans in excess water 4-5  hours or overnight. Wash drain and reserve.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan on a high flame. Saute onions and garlic till soft but do not brown them. Add bell peppers and cook until soft and water evaporates. Add carrots and saute one minute. Add tomatoes and tomato puree and saute 2-3 minutes. Add corn and kidney beans and combine. Add all spices and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well. Add some water if required and pressure cooker on medium heat for 2 whistles.

This stew is thick and juicy but not not runny. The meat when added will release a fair bit of water so add any extra liquid with care.

Open cooker and add meat. Stir well and pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Open and check for doneness. Add water salt, chilli powder and sugar as required.

This dish can also be prepared in a slow cooker. If using a large biryani or Dutch oven style pot you will need to add 2-3 cups of excess  water for the kidney beans.






400 grams medium prawns shelled and deveined (weight should be 400 grams after shelling)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Juice of a quarter lime

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

5 green onion bulbs sliced into rings

5 tablespoons fresh fenugreek leaves stems removed, washed and chopped

3-4 Indian green chillies slit lengthwise

1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste

1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)

Salt to taste


2 tablespoons stalks of green onion finely chopped

Wedges of Lime


Combine shrimp with turmeric and let sit 15 minutes.

Meanwhile heat oil in a skillet and saute green onion bulbs 1 minute until they have softened. Add fenugreek and green chillies and saute another minute. Add garlic and ginger paste and cook until fragrant.

Stir in the coconut milk now if you plan to use it and cook until bubbly.

Stir in the prawns and lime juice. Cook until prawns are just tender and edible.

Switch off flame and add salt to taste. Garnish with green stalks and wedges of lime.

Serve with rotis if you have not used the coconut milk or with plain boiled white rice if you have a gravy.


Gucchi Pulao-Kashmiri Pulao with Black morels

Gucchi Pulao-Kashmiri Pulao with Black morels

Gucchi Pulao-Kashmiri Pulao with Black morels


This recipe came to me from a Wazwaan Ghulam Mohammed. Wazwaan is a traditional Kashmiri cook who specialises in large banquets. He lamented that very few people made this dish anymore because Morels are very expensive and being exported all over the world making them even more inaccessible in the valley. Gucchi pulao is reserved for special occasions such as weddings and births. The pulao is subtly flavoured so as not to interfere with the delicate yet distinct aromas and taste of Gucchi.

Serves 4

10 dried black morels or Gucchi

2 cups Basmati Rice washed and completely drained


4 cups good quality, strained mutton or chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 inch stick cinnamon

4 black cloves

2 badi elaichi or black cardamom

1 dried bay leaf

1 teaspoon sabut saunf (aniseed)

3 elephant garlic cloves or 6-8 regular garlic cloves peeled, lightly smashed


2 cups vegetable oil

2 tablespoons ghee

4 Kashmiri shallot (Pran) or regular shallot peeled and thinly sliced


Soak the morels in a cup of warm stock of your choice and reserve.Drain and squeeze dry. The slice in half. Add the leftover liquid to the stock you will use for the rice and reserve the sliced morels.

Heat the stock with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, aniseed, bay leaf and garlic to the stock and cook on high heat until reduced to 4 cups of liquid.

While the stock is cooking fry your onions in hot oil until crispy. Drain and reserve.

When the stock has reduced drain out all the spices and garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Keep the stock on a low simmer.

Heat the ghee with 1 tablespoon of oil from the oil you used to fry the onions in a skillet and when warm saute the halved morels on medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add the drained rice and saute again for a minute on a medium flame until all the rice is coated in ghee and oil.

Add the rice and morels to the hot stock. Add half the fried onions. Cover and cook until rice is fluffy.

Fluff the rice with a fork, season with more salt if required and garnish with remaining onions.

Serve immediately.


Tsukejoyu-Sushi Dipping sauce as a salad dressing

While this is a great dipping sauce for sushi, tempura and sashimi I also use it as a marinade and a salad dressing -options are given below.
1 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
2 cups shoyu (fermented soy sauce)
4 ounces katsuobushi (dried tuna fish flakes)


Place the mirin in a saucepan over medium heat, add the shoyu and bring it to a gentle boil. Switch off the flame and then add the fish flakes. Let it rest until it reaches room temperature. Whisk it again. Strain the shoyu through a fine strainer. Bottle and refrigerate for up to 6 months. Scan be served chilled from the fridge as well as at room temperature but whisk it before use.

Salad dressing
Combine half cup Tsukejoyu with 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds and juice of one lemon, 1/2 tsp or. more ground wasabi paste. Drizzle over cucumber, tomato and lettuce salad.

Noodle salad dressing
Combine 3/4 cup Tsukejoyu with 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, 2 tsp finely minced garlic, 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, 1 tbsp red pepper hot sauce of your choice. Adjust for sweetness with brown sugar and toss with 200 grams of noodle salad.

Combine 1 cup Tsukejoyu with 1 tbsp ground ginger root paste, 1/2 tbsp fermented red chilli paste, 1 cup good quality orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest and salt to taste. Pour over 750 grams of chicken, fish or pork and marinate overnight. Grill or roast the meat as desired. Thicken the leftover marinade with some corn starch and serve with the cook meat.





It is said the British took the recipe for Nargisi Kofte and turned it into bland Scotch eggs, a hardboiled egg encased with chicken or lamb mince. My grandmother's version of Scotch eggs was anything but bland. She cooked the meat with onions and spices and served the Scotch eggs with a spicy mayonnaise, French fries and steamed vegetables.

She always used lamb mince. I prefer chicken because it cooks faster and leaves the egg inside softer.

Makes 4

For the egg wash

4 soft boiled eggs peeled

1.5 cups good quality breadcrumbs laid on a wide plate

2 eggs plus 1 egg white whisked in a wide dipping bowl

For the mincemeat

600 grams chicken or lamb mince, washed and completely drained

3 tbspns vegetable oil

3 cloves

3 black peppercorns

1 dried bay leaf

1 inch stick cinnamon

3/4 cup white onion finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste

3 green chillies about 1`.5 inches long (Indian or Serrano) finely chopped

2 slices white bread processed to a fine crumb

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)

1 tbsp finely chopped mint (optional)

For the spicy mayonnaise combine

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2-3 teaspoons hot sauce such as Sriracha, Tabasco


Drain the water from the minced meat in a fine sieve. Squeeze it several times to drain out any excess water.

Heat oil in a large deep skillet on medium heat. Add the bay leaf, cloves and peppercorn and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the onions and green chillies and cook till soft and opaque.

Add garlic and ginger paste and cook 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.

Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Add the minced meat and stir well.

Lower flame and cook until meat is almost cooked through and most of the water has evaporated.

Cool completely. Add salt to taste.

Process meat in a grinder or food processor with the cooked spice until coarse but well combined. Do not turn into a paste. The meat should have some texture.

Stir in chopped herbs, yolk and processed bread. Combine well.

Divide into 8 equal portions.

Place one portion on the palm of your hand and flatten it. Place the egg over it and bring the sides together. Rest on a plate. Take the second portion and flatten it on your palm. Lift the half covered egg and place the uncovered side into the minced meat in your palm. Bring the sides together to completely cover the egg. Do not press too hard or you may damaged the soft boiled egg. Shape gently to look like an oval.

Dip this patty into the whisked eggs. Pat onto the breadcrumbs until all sides are covered. Repeat the egg wash and dip into breadcrumbs again.

Do this with the remaining 3 patties.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep non-stick skillet. When the oil is hot but not smoking fry the eggs until all sides are a deep golden brown. Drain and serve immediately with suggested sides and spicy mayo.






The addition of orange zest and wholewheat flour gives this loaf a beautiful texture and a deep rich flavour. I use Thoory or Zahidi dates because they are smooth with few fibers and excellent for baking but the more commonly found Medjool is also good.

Serves 12

1 cup brown dates such as Thoory or Zahibi or Medjool, pitted and finely chopped

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups maida or all-purpose flour

1/4 cup wholewheat flour

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon orange zest (orange peel only no white pith)

1.25 cups chopped skinned and lightly toasted walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and prepare middle rack.

Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and sprinkle all sides lightly with maida or all purpose flour. Smack the pan on the counter to remove any excess flour. Reserve pan.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring dates and water to a boil.

Meanwhile cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or using an electric beater until fluffy.

Add orange extract, orange zest and nutmeg and beat again until fluffy

Add the egg and beat until well incorporated.

Remove dates from heat and stir in baking soda. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Add both the flour and nuts to the batter and beat until well incorporated.

Add the dates and soda and whisk again until evenly distributed.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 25 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serve at room temperature and keep covered and refrigerated in humid weather.


The Khitchdi

Khitchdi Rice and Lentil Porridge

Khitchdi Rice and Lentil Porridge


The word Khitchdi has been spelt in so many ways throughout it's history -Kedgeree, Ketchery, Kitchery, Cutcherry that one is only certain what it means when it is described as a mixture of rice and dol/dhal/doll/dal/dholl in various references by some of the most famous scholars, adventurers and traders to have visited the Indian sub-continent over 700 years.

Ibn Batuta, a Moroccan scholar who visited Tughlaq's court- considered the richest Muslim ruler of his time and who gave Batuta the title of Qadi, or judge, spells it 'Kishri' and describes it in his fascinating medieval travelogue, Travels (1340 A.D.) as -a buttered mix of Munj (moong) and rice eaten for breakfast.

In a 1443 reference in 'India in the 15th century', Abdurrazzak, a Persian scholar describes "Kitchri'' as a meal fed to the Maharajas elephants.

Afanasy Nikitin, a Russian merchant in his 1475 chronicles on India describes 'Khichiris' prepared with sugar and oil as a meal fed to Indian horses.

In 1648 Albertus Jacobus Van Twist the Governor General of Dutch East Indies elaborates in his memoir that this meal feeds poor labourers.

In 1672 French adventurer Taverniers and Balls, 'Travels in India' mentions Baldaeus, a Dutch minister who travelled to India as eating Quicheri and Kitzery.

In 1772 Hamilton writes about Kitcheree "some doll and rice, being mingled together and boiled...the common food of the country. They eat it with Butter and Atchar."

There are also several late medieval references to Kitcheree being eaten with atchar (pickles) and salted fish in Bengal.

Today Kedgeree in Britain is a colonial era buttered rice eaten with smoked fish and boiled eggs.

In a 1907 copy of The Handbook of Trinidad Cookery I found 2 recipes for Kedgeree, one employs gill- a British Imperial measure in use when America was colonized. Trinidad moved hands from the Spanish to the British in 1889, enough time for the British version of Khitchdi to take root. Khitchdi and versions of it are found in British colonies across the world.

Cynthia Nelson, a resident of Barbados and a Guyanese food lover recounts in her column, 'Tastes Like Home' her mother telling her of Hindus in the Caribbean who fed the groom khitchdi when he first came to the bride's home.

Khitchdi could certainly qualify as a national dish- a dish born in India with ingredients native to the subcontinent- rice, moong and ghee, a one pot mash of boiled ingredients that was eaten for centuries by the common man within India and without and by Indians who moved abroad. Served with ghee or oil, sugar or dried fruits, pickles, fish- it was a meal that nourished hungry bellies.

My second edition 1903 Hobson Jobson alludes to a single pot of 'khichri' that was atleast 880 kgs, larger than the Khitchdi -(800 kg), which has just been cooked to beat a Guiness world record in 2017.

Hobson Jobson is a remarkable compendium of Anglo-Indian terms first published in 1896 that covers millions of words from India's British Raj, some no longer in use and some so differently spelled today, you'd never guess what they meant.

A reference to the Nawab of Tonk (Rajasthan) in an 1880 report by an Indian Mirror correspondent describes him as having donated 3000 rupees for the supply of 2 colossal pots of 'khichri' made with rice, dry fruits and sugar for a religious festival in Ajmer. One pot contained roughly 80 maunds and the other 40 maunds (a varying post Akbar era measure used in the sub-continent) 1 government maund =37 kg however it could be as little as 11 kg also. So that would mean the bigger pot contained atleast 880 kgs of rice and combined these 2 'tremendous' pots contained at minimum over a 1000 kgs of rice. The cooking of these were observed by the Nizam, Ajmer's commissioner and various civil servants- leading me to wonder if maund here was the government standard of 37 kg per maund.

While the item is described as 'khichri' it contains sugar and dried fruit so it appears by modern standards to be more like a cooked kheer though no mention is made of milk. If not the largest khichri, is this the world record for kheer? Also which religious festival was this? Any thoughts?

In a 1934 book The Mystery Chefs Own Cookbook by John Macpherson, an American of Scottish descent, a chapter is devoted to national foods. Macpherson says curry is India's national food and to be fair all through Victorian times Indian food is referred to as curry. He also describes Stroganoff (named after a Russian noblemen) as Russia's national food. I don't know if Russians today would agree-I'd say it was probably Pirogi or Pelmeni dumplings. This book was written while India was still colonized and Russia's Tsarist rule had come to an end, only 17 years before this book was published. So Khitchdi or no Khitchdi, he hybrid curry is still the first thing that comes to mind the world over when one thinks of Indian food.

Abu'l Fazl describes a recipe for 'khichri' in 1590 A.D for 7 dishes recorded in the Ain E Akbari. Fazl was one of Akbar's Nav Ratnas. Here is the recipe and my adaptation-

5 ser of each rice, split dal and ghi and 1/3 ser salt

1 ser is approx .93 kg

My interpretation and adaptation

1 cup rice

1 cup moong dal

2 tbspns ghee (plus more for garnishing)

salt to taste

Optional improvisations

1 /2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

8 fresh green curry leaves, torn

2 teaspoons of peeled and minced garlic


Wash the lentils and rice and immerse in 8 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Add turmeric.

Heat 2 tbspns ghee. Add cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add curry leaves and garlic and cook 45 seconds. Pour spiced ghee over uncooked rice and lentils and steam 2-3 whistles until fully cooked and soupy. Salt to taste. Garnish with more ghee and serve with papads, yogurt and assorted pickles.

References Hobson Jobson (1903), The Mystery Chefs Own Cook Book, Tastes Like Home (C. Nelson) A Handbook of Trinidad Cookery 190


Urad, Moong, Toor Dal Vadi: Mixed Lentil Fritters

Dal Vadi

Dal Vadi


1/4 cup - channa dal

1cup - moong dal

1/4 cup - urad Dal

1/4 cup - Toor dal

1/2 teaspoon - Coriander seeds

Half inch piece of fresh Ginger, peeled

1/4 cup freshly grated coconut

1 dried Kashmiri chilli stalk removed

1/2 cup coriander leaves

2-3 1 inch long Indian Green chillies or to taste

8 fresh green curry leaves, chopped


1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Pinch asafetida

Salt to taste

Vegetable Oil for deep frying


Wash lentils and soak them separately in bowls of tap water overnight.

Drain lentils, wash again, drain completely. From the toor dal reserve two tablespoons of whole lentils. Grind all and the remaining to a coarse paste. Add water carefully. You want a thick batter almost like a soft dough that can be molded into balls. These are more dense than medu vadas and will take longer to fry.

Make a smooth paste of coriander seeds, coconut, ginger and red chilli to a smooth paste and stir into the lentil puree.

Stir in chopped coriander leaves and chopped curry leaves.

Heat oil in a small tempering spoon or skillet on high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook 60 seconds. Ad asafetida and switch off the flame. Cool and pour over the lentil batter. Stir well.

Taste for salt.

Make small 2 inch size balls from the thick dough. Flatten them and lay them on a tray. Keep covered with a dry cloth.

Heat 2 inches of oil in small wok or kadai on high heat.

When oil is hot but not smoking lower flame to medium.

Drop one fritter in the oil and cook until golden. Taste for salt and doneness. Adjust.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup or coconut chutney.