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Roast fennel, broccoli and tomato salad with rocket

Roasted, caramelised fennel has to be one of the yummiest salad ingredients. For this salad I roasted the fennel and cherry tomatoes, adding the broccoli toward the end so it was just tender and tossed with fresh rocket leaves. Delicious with Butterflied Prawns with garlic and chilli 

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes


1 medium size fennel bulb
10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 head of broccoli
2 cups fresh rocket leaves
olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and black  pepper


1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius
2. Cut off top of fennel bulb and slice into half, then into thirds
3. Halve the cherry tomatoes or leave whole if they are really small
4. Remove hard stalk of broccoli and cut into florets
5. Place fennel in roasting pan lined with baking paper
6. Smear fennel with some olive oil and place in oven for 10 minutes
7. Add cherry tomatoes cut side up and drizzle some olive oil over them.
8. Sprinkle salt over fennel and cherry tomatoes.
9. Return pan to oven for another ten minutes
10. Add broccoli to pan and roast until just tender. By this stage the fennel and tomatoes should be tender, well roasted with signs of caramelisation, leave for few more minutes if you need to.
11. Place baby rocket in salad bowl.
12. Put roasted vegetables with roasting juices and oil over rocket, squeeze over lemon juice, add salt and ground black pepper to taste and toss gently.

Butterflied Prawns with garlic and chilli

One of my favourite restaurant meals is grilled scampi with rocket salad. I recreate it at home using king prawns and using a frying pan or ridged stovetop grill. it’s a quick, easy no fuss meal but delicious. Just add a squeeze of lemon, a rocket salad, some crusty bread and a nice dry white wine for perfection!

Prep time: 15 minutes  Marinade time: 20-30 minutes Cooking time: 5-6 minutes

12 large green king prawns
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2-3 red chillies finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Shell and devein prawns leaving tail section intact.
Butterfly the prawns by slicing down the back of each prawn but do not cut through and then flatten.
Place into a bowl, add salt, chilli and garlic and smear prawns well but gently with marinade using rubber gloves.

Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes. Salt will draw some moisture from prawns during this time. Drain any excess moisture, then add oil to prawns and mix through.
Heat frying pan or grill until hot then add prawns flattening them so you can brown them on each side. Cook until golden brown and just cooked – about 5 minutes in total.

(you could add a small knob of butter to the pan create a buttery, chilli, garlic sauce if you like)
Serve immediately – adding a squeeze of lemon and a grind of pepper to your taste.



Guide to flavoring with fresh herbs: infographic

And here’s handy infographic on using fresh herbs…

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“Uncomposed” Carrot Salad with a hint of chilli

This is my favourite salad to serve with Indian curries. Somehow the sweetness of the carrots (and sugar) with the tanginess of the vinegar based dressing, and the hint of fresh chilli complements Indian food perfectly.

Composed salads, or what the French call salade composée, are salads where an “assortment of ingredients are arranged aesthetically on a plate and drizzled with vinaigrette, rather than tossed with it”. (

That’s why I call this my “uncomposed” salad. When I was young, my mum made the same salad but arranged it (or composed it) beautifully in tiers of finely sliced/chopped/grated ingredients. The result was almost a work of art! Of course, you can do this if you have time and want to wow your audience, but I just toss it all together! Tastes the same😁

Also, the rocket can be replaced with finely chopped iceberg lettuce for additional crunch!

Prep time: 8 minutes  Cooking time: 0

1 large carrot grated
1/2 Spanish onion finely sliced
1 small tomato diced
1 small Lebanese cucumber sliced into rings
1 cup of rocket leaves or finely chopped iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves

Vinagrette Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 finely chopped red chilli

Put all the ingredients in your salad bowl
Pour over vinaigrette
Serve as accompaniment to Indian meal

Not sure what spices to use? Check out this super helpful infographic

Here’s on on which spices to use..handy!

Welcome to The Food Skills Connection



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We love our infographics! Check out this helpful infographic for info on making simple vinaigrettes

Interesting site and useful posts using info graphics.. thank you

Welcome to The Food Skills Connection

Tip: make your vinaigrettes in jars. Simply put all the ingredients in, stick the lid on, shake it up, and boom- it’s ready to go! No mess, no blenders, no extra kitchen tools.



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Caramelised Brussel Sprout and Spinach Salad

Crunchy, caramelised Brussel sprouts roasted with tangy pomegranate molasses, chilli and garlic and then tossed with crispy baby spinach and twist of lemon. Will change any non-Brussel sprout lover’s mind!

Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

250g Brussel sprouts
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 red chilli finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g baby spinach (or enough to toss with your sprouts)
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Line baking tray with grease proof/baking paper

Chop  hard end off sprouts and split in half or leave whole if very small

Place sprouts cut side up in baking tray, sprinkle over chilli, garlic, olive oil. Use rubber glove to carefully smear each sprout with olive oil, then sprinkle pomegranate molasses over the sprouts.


Bake in oven until sprouts are tender and crisp and caramelised to your liking. (I like them almost burnt)


Add to spinach along with lemon juice, salt and pepper, toss and serve!


Indian Spiced Fish Pie

This recipe is based on Rick Stein’s classic fish pie recipe but with an Indian twist. The addition of traditional Indian spices to the milk and cream mixture in which the seafood is lightly poached, and using “aloo bharta” or Indian style mashed potato for the topping bring the flavours of the sub-continent to this classic British dish. (A kind of reverse colonialism, I suppose.)

Prep time: 1hr 20 mins  Cooking time: 30 minutes

3 flathead fillets (or any firm white, unsmoked fish)
1 medium size fillet of smoked cod or haddock
8-10 green prawns peeled

2 eggs
1 egg yolk (to brush top of mash)
300ml milk + 3 tablespoons for mash
150ml cream

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 finger length of ginger peeled
3 potatoes (fluffy potatoes like Desiree or King Edward)

6 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin
handful of curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
handful of coriander leaves

100g butter
1/3 cup of plain flour


Hardboil 2 eggs (about 8 minutes) then cool and cut into quarters.

Cut fish and prawns into bite-size pieces.

cut the onion in half. Stud one half with the cloves.

Place seafood, and clove studded onion in with the milk, cream, the cardamom pods, 1/2 Teaspoon of the turmeric, chilli powder, cummin powder, garlic, ginger, white pepper and half the curry leaves into a pot and bring to a boil., then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Drain the fish mixture, reserving the milk and cream. Put the fish pieces only, not the spices, into a shallow ovenproof dish. Arrange the quarters of egg through the dish. Set aside.

Melt 50g of butter in a non-stick pan, add flour and mix through. Take off the heat and slowly add the milk/cream cooking liquid mixing to form a smooth sauce. Return to medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly to cook out the flour and create a rich, smooth sauce.

Pour the sauce over the fish and eggs to just cover, then cool in fridge for an hour.



Whilst fish mixture is cooling….

Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook for around 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and ready for mashing. Drain and set aside to “dry”.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Thinly slice the other half of the onion.

Finely chop the coriander.

Melt 50g of butter in a pan, add rest of curry leaves and mustard seeds until they begin to splutter.

Add sliced onion and cook gently until translucent and golden.

Mash potatoes adding 3 tablespoons milk to create a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add the onion mixture, including the melted butter to the mash.

Add the chopped coriander. Mix through the mash.

Add salt if necessary.

Remove the fish mixture from the fridge and spread the mash carefully over the top. Score the surface with a fork, then brush with beaten egg yolk.

Place in oven for 10-15 minutes until mixture is warmed through and top is golden and crispy. (I finish off using the grill to get a really golden crunchy top if necessary)

Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.


Serves 4

Broccoli and Green Beans with garlic, anchovies and onion 

This recipe brings together a classic combo of flavours. A quick and easy way to add flavour and bite to your greens. This is an excellent accompaniment to grilled steak and roast dinners.  I used special Tricana brand Portuguese anchovies rolled with capers for this version, but just ordinary anchovies will do fine. You can omit the capers, add chilli flakes, or add roasted almond slivers, and/or finish with lemon zest. Any or all of these additions would be just as delicious and quick! 

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 8-10 minutes

200g green beans (top and tailed)
250g broccoli florets
8-10 anchovies
2 teaspoons capers(optional)
1/2 onion sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ground Black pepper 
Parsley to garnish 


Steam or microwave beans and broccoli until just tender (al dente) – should be bright green! Set aside.
Slice onion thinly
Crush garlic
Heat olive oil in pan, then add onions and cook over medium heat until translucent, add garlic and heat through until fragrant, add anchovies (and capers if using) and mix through onion garlic mixture until some of the anchovies “dissolve”.

Add broccoli and beans to pan and heat, turning to coat vegetables in onion mixture and allow flavours to meld with vegetables.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm as a side dish.

Beef Bourguignon with Star Anise and Cloves

This beef bourguignon is made even more soul warming through the addition of star anise and cloves. The resulting dish has just the right dash of these spices to liven up what can be a rather heavy dish. Great winter staple. The smell of this cooking will get everyone salivating.

Prep time: 30 minutes  Cooking time: 2.5-3 hours
1.5 kg chuck steak diced into medium size chunks
200g thick cut bacon with fat cut into strips
2 tbspns Vegetable oil
6 tbspns butter
12 eschallots or baby onions
12-14 button mushrooms
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot diced
3 cloves of garlic crushed into paste
2 tbspns plain flour
750ml red wine
1.5 tbspns tomato paste
Bouquet garni
3 star anise
4 cloves
3 cups chicken or beef stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley chopped to garnish

In a large casserole dish cook bacon over medium heat until golden brown and fat has melted.

Brown beef in small batches, adding oil in between batches if needed. Keep browned beef aside.

In a separate frying pan melt 2tbspns butter and fry baby onions until golden and set aside

Then fry mushrooms with another 2 tbspns butter and fry until golden and set aside

Add rest of butter to casserole pot, melt and then add star anise, cloves, onions, carrots and garlic and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes

Add the flour and stir through, then add wine, tomato paste, bouquet garni and bring to the boil, scraping bottom of pan

Add beef and bacon to the casserole and add the stock, bring to boil then simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 2-2.5 hours until meat is very tender

Add salt and black pepper to taste

Add the mushrooms and onions and cook covered for another half an hour

Remove the bouquet garni and star anise

Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, green salad and crispy bread rolls to help mop up the sauce

Pork Vindaloo with dried and fresh chillies

This pork vindaloo is hot, tangy and tasty with the hotness of dried and fresh chillies balanced by the warm spice mix, tanginess of tamarind paste and sweetness of added sugar.
The recipe is an amalgam of a number of Goan and Keralan versions and as with all of them is best the next day after the meat marinates in the gravy overnight. Many of the recipes advise marinating the pork for at least 4 hours or overnight before cooking, but I find the results are just as good with an hour or so of marination.
You do need to have you Indian spice cupboard up to date for this recipe but don’t be intimidated by the range of ingredients as the method is very simple.
Using pork scotch fillet or pork shoulder which has some fatty tissue produces the best result.
Preparation time: 1.5 hours Cooking time: 1 hour – 1.5 hours

1 kg pork scotch fillet or pork shoulder diced into medium size cubes
1 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn cummin seeds
1 tspn fennel seeds
1 tspn fenugreek seeds
1 tspn black peppercorns
5 cloves
6 cardamom pods, split and seeds removed
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tspn turmeric powder
5 dried red chillies
3-5 fresh red chillies
6 cloves of garlic and equal amount of fresh peeled ginger
2 medium onions finely diced
Handful of curry leaves
2 sticks of cinnamon bark
3 black cardamom pods
4 tablespoons oil
2-3 cups chicken stock or water
Chopped coriander to garnish

Place diced pork in large bowl and pour over vinegar and salt. Leave to marinade while you prepare spices.

Using a spice grinder, put in 3 of the dried chillies stalk removed, black mustard seeds, cummin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, cloves and cardamom seeds removed from pod. Grind to a fine powder.
In a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, fresh chillies and ginger to a paste. Add tamarind and turmeric and mix through.
Add dried spice powder and garlic, ginger and tamarind paste into bowl with pork and mix well through. Allow to marinate for at least an hour and overnight if you can.


In a large casserole pot, add oil and heat before adding cinnamon bark, 2 dried chillies, curry leaves and black cardamom pods. Heat gently until fragrant.
Add onions and cook on medium heat until slightly caramelised.
Add pork mixture and cook, stirring to avoid it sticking, until spice mixture turns colour and pork pieces are “sealed”
Add enough water to cover pork mixture, simmer on medium heat for 1 hour – 1.5hours until pork is tender.


Garnish with coriander and serve with plain or turmeric rice and salads.

beetroot pachadi

This beetroot dish looks delicious. going on my must try list! THank you

my primrose hill kitchen

I think beetroot rocks and this is my take on beetroot pachadi, a creamy Indian curry dish which is normally served puréed. I prefer it chunky but with the same great flavours, I also love the popping texture of the mustard seeds in your mouth when you eat it. I have added crunchy coconut chips as a garnish, to add even more texture. It’s a great Indian sweet and sour dish which can be a stand alone dish, but is delicious with other curries too, including meat ones, and perfect served with basmati rice and a salad or a paratha. My friends have tested this recipe out for me and they all think it’s brilliant. Thanks friends.


Serves 3-4 as a side dish serves 2 as a main.

400g raw beetroot or 2x vacuum pack of cooked beetroot in its own juice (not in vinegar)
2 tablespoons of…

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Spicy Roast Chicken with lemon and onions

This roast chicken is spiced up with an indian marinade and perked up by the lemon and onions that it is stuffed with. Perfect for any occasion from Sunday lunch or simple weeknight dinner. Delicious with roast potatoes, a crisp green salad and a crispy white wine!

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1.5 hours

1 Whole Chicken (approximately 1.5kg)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cummin powder
1 tspn salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 springs of thyme
1 lemon cut into quarters
1 onion cut into quarters

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Pound garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle.

Make marinade by mixing together chilli powder, turmeric powder, cummin powder, salt, crushed garlic and oil in a bowl.

Pat chicken dry, rub inside of chicken with ¼ of the marinade. Place a few springs of thyme inside the chicken, then stuff with equal amounts of the lemon and onions. (Save any leftover onions and lemon)



Truss the chicken tying together chicken legs with kitchen twine. I also use small metal skewers to close the cavity but this is not essential.
Rub the outside of the chicken with rest of marinade.

Line roasting pan with baking paper.
Lay a “bed” for the chicken with the rest of thyme sprigs, place chicken on thyme.
Throw in any leftover lemon or onion if you have any.

Roast chicken in oven for approximately 1.5 hours, checking to see if cooked by inserting skewer in the thickest part of thigh. If the chicken is cooked the juices will run clear with no sign of pink.

Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the lemon and onion and  discard before carving.Serve hot or at room temperature.


Fried eggplant and pea curry

This curry is delicious with grilled lamb, fish or chicken or as a main served with dhal, rice and roti for a vegetarian meal.

Frying the eggplant pieces before putting the curry together makes the eggplant melt like butter in your mouth.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

1 large eggplant cut into cubes
1 onion diced finely
1 cup of frozen peas
1 tomato chopped into medium chunks
2 cloves garlic and same quantity of ginger pounded into a paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cummin powder
1 tsp cummin seeds
Handful of curry leaves
6-8 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Optional: 2-3 green chillies left whole but split down the middle (remove seeds for milder outcome)
½ cup of water
Handful of chopped coriander to garnish

Place eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle with salt, allow to sit for at least 30minutes. This allows draw some of the bitter juices from the eggplant rather than it all going into the curry sauce.

Drain eggplant and pat dry with paper towel before placing in a bowl. Add ½ teaspoon each of turmeric, chilli powder and cummin powder and mix well to coat.
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat, then add eggplant in batches frying until golden on the outside but not overcooking. Drain eggplant on paper towel and set aside. Repeat until all your eggplant is fried. (The eggplant will absorb oil so you might need to add a tablespoon or so more to fry all the pieces.)

Once eggplant is all fried, wipe pan clean, then add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat. Add curry leaves and cummin seeds to the pan and heat through to flavour oil.

Add onion and cook until transparent, then add garlic and ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Then add tomato, and the rest of the powered spices (i.e ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp cummin powder), the green chillies if using and ¼ cup of water. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat until tomato starts breaking up, adding more water if needed to prevent mixture from sticking to pan.

Add in eggplant pieces and peas and gently mix through the spice mixture. Cook for 2 minutes until peas are cooked to your liking.
Remove from heat, garnish with coriander, serve and enjoy

Durban Indian Meatballs in tomato curry sauce

This is another Durban comfort-food staple. It is often referred to as “lamb kebabs in chutney”. This curry is delicious with roti or rice and a dollop of cucumber raita.

I often make extra meatballs and freeze them as they can also be used as an appetizer, just grilled from frozen and served with a  Mint Chutney or Chilli Sauce on the side.
These meatballs can also be cooked with borlotti or cannellini beans for an Indian version of the Spanish dish of meatballs and beans in tomato sauce. Adding beans changes the texture of the gravy making it “more creamy” and much heartier than the basic tomato version.


1 kg lamb or beef low fat mince
½ onion finely diced
4 cloves garlic and equivalent amount of fresh ginger peeled
1 teaspoon cummin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 fresh red chillies chopped finely (can be deseeded for less heat0
1/4 bunch of coriander finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons worth)
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon of salt

To make meatballs:
Use a mortar and pestle to pound ginger and garlic into a paste.

In a large bowl, add mince and all other ingredients, including ginger and garlic. Add beaten egg last.
Mix well with your hands (I use disposable gloves), then form into medium size balls
Place on baking sheet lined with baking paper, put extras into a plastic container for freezing.
Heat oven to 170 degrees celsius and cook for 20 minutes or until just browned on the outside, cook for 5-10 minutes if serving as an appetiser. Taste test to see if cooked through so the meatballs don’t dry out too much.
If using from frozen, heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius, place frozen meatballs on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cook as above. They might take slightly longer as they are cooking from frozen.

Tomato Curry Sauce

1 onion finely diced
2 large fresh ripe tomatoes diced
1 handful of curry leaves
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
2 sticks of cinnamon (preferabley cinnamon bark available in Indian grocers but quills are fine if not)
3 cloves of garlic and equal amount of fresh ginger peeled
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cummin powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 cups chicken stock
Coriander to garnish
Vegetable oil

Heat vegetable oil in medium size heavy based pan which has a lid
Add cummin seeds, curry leaves and cinnamon sticks and heat gently until fragrant
Add onions and cook gently until transparent
Add ginger and garlic and heat through
Add all powdered spices: chilli powder, turmeric, cummin powder, salt and sugar and mix through for 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring to avoid tomato mixture burning.

Add 1 cup chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower heat and then simmer for 15 minutes, adding more chicken stock as required to make sure the tomatoes break down but don’t stick to the bottom. (*See below if you want to add borlotti or cannellini beans to your curry)

After 15 minutes, add the meatballs which have been cooked for about 20 minutes in the oven, add any juices from the baking sheet and more chicken stock or water to just cover meatballs and tomatoes.

Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until tomatoes have broken up and a thick curry sauce is created.
Serve with hot rotis or white rice and cucumber raita.

Durban Indian Meatballs and Borlotti Beans Tomato curry.

For this version of the meatballs, add 1 can (400g) of borlotti beans or cannellini beans to the tomatoes after they have been cooking for about 5 minutes, add an additional ½ cup of chicken stock, and simmer mixture for another 15 minutes before adding the meatballs.


Chili con Carne

I was going to,post my own recipe for Chilli Con Carne but Ronit’s has tequila in it which has have to make it better! Great looking recipe…can’t wait to try it! Thanks Ronit!!

Tasty Eats

Chili con Carne Ronit PensoChile con carne is one of my favorite cold weather dishes. Over the years, I came up with the following recipe, that became my go-to recipe, but even this one keeps evolving.

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Spice up your life!

Many people from different cultures and backgrounds worldwide have a special place in their hearts for spicy foods, and it turns out that these foods don’t only taste great, but provide wonderful health benefits as well. Although everyone prefers a different level of spice in their foods, it doesn’t actually matter how much your food […]

via 6 Health Reasons To Eat Spicy Foods More Often — Our Better Health

Durban Style Chicken Briyani

Briyani-Breyani-Biryani…, however you want to spell it, is a traditional feast dish in the homes of Indian families. The accompaniments of Grapes Apple Mint Raita, Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney, Roasted eggplant with cummin and yoghurt and Red Lentil Tarka Dhal with turmeric and ginger make the serving of biryani a true foodie experience.

This family recipe includes lentils, boiled eggs, spicy potatoes along with the marinated chicken and golden fried onions which combine for a protein and carbohydrate packed pot of deliciousness. Definitely best kept for special occasions!

The chicken can be replaced with lamb for an equally wonderful result.

This recipe should be started the day before or early in the morning to allow the chicken to marinate in the yoghurt-tomato based marinade which tenderises and flavours the chicken. The time and effort required to prepare this delicious layered rice dish is definitely worth the effort and the leftovers are especially delicious the day after

I have organised this recipe with the ingredients and method for each different steps to make it easier to follow, as well as providing a shopping list at the end to help you get all the ingredients you’ll need.

Chicken and Marinade

1 large onion sliced
50g butter and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 stalks of curry leaves stripped from stalk
4 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
1 can of chopped tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic and equivalent amount of fresh ginger
1.5 teaspoons chilli powder
1.5 teaspoons of cummin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
About 1.5 kg of chicken with or without bones – I use a mix e.g 3 chicken thigh cutlets with bone or 3 chicken drumsticks as well as 4 chicken thigh fillets cut into large chunks

Step 1: Marinate Chicken
Heat oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan, add curry leaves and fry until fragrant, then add onion and cook gently until brown and caramelised. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then pound the onions and curry leaves in a mortar and pestle to break up onion and create a rough paste.

In a separate bowl add the chicken, yoghurt, tomato, pounded onions, ginger and garlic, and rest of spices. Mix well and allow to marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours.

Step 2: Boil Eggs

3-4 eggs
Hard boil eggs, shell and halve
Set aside

Step 3: Par-boil Rice

2.5 cups of basmati rice
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon salt
5-6 cups water

Add water to large pot and bring to boil with turmeric and salt
Add rice and cook for 8-10 minutes until par-boiled only – do not overcook at this stage or rice will go mushy when cooked in oven.
Drain rice in colander and set aside

Step 4: Par-cook Potatoes

2 large potatoes peeled and cut into medium size chunks
½ tspn chilli powder
½ tspn cummin powder
½ tspn turmeric powder
½ tspn salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add potatoes to bowl with spices and 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil to help coat potatoes evenly in spices

Heat rest of oil in a non-stick frying pan, add potatoes in small batches if necessary, frying potatoes until the outside of the potatoes are fried and an outer “skin” is created. Potatoes will not be cooked through but remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

Set aside

Step 5: Lentils

2 cans of brown lentils, drained
Set aside

Step 6: Onions for topping

1 large onion cut into thin slices
50 g butter and 1 tablespoon oil

Fry onions gently in butter and oil until golden but not brown
Set aside


Step 6: Cook Chicken

2 tablespoons oil
1.5 teaspoons of cummin seeds
5 green cardamon pods
2 sticks of cinnamon (preferably cinnamon bark)
1.5 cups of water/chicken stock
Marinated chicken

Heat oil in casserole dish or large heavy based pot, add cummin, cinnamon and cardarmom pods and fry for 1 minute until fragrant taking care not to burn spices

Add chicken mixture to pot and simmer, stirring so it does not stick to bottom until chicken is sealed

Add 1 cup of water, cover pot with lid and simmer slowly for 25 minutes checking that the mixture isn’t sticking – add a bit more water if necessary. You want a fairly dry resulting mixture as the base for the briyani.

Skim the excess oil off as you go.

After 25 minutes, remove chicken from heat and set aside.

Step 7: Assembly

Handful of Fresh torn Mint leaves
50 g butter
Handful of chopped Coriander
1 cup of water

Prepared Ingredients:
Cooked chicken
Partially cooked potatoes
Hard boiled eggs
Par-boiled eggs
Fried Onions

Heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius

In a large casserole or crock pot begin to assemble the layered briyani:

Place 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the bottom of the casserole pan

Sprinkle bottom with 1-2 handfuls of lentils

Add the chicken mixture over the lentils using a slotted spoon to minimise the amount of liquid from the cooked chicken that this transferred to the briyani

Add a layer of lentils on top of the chicken, then a layer of rice (3/4 cup), sprinkle a few mint leaves over the rice

Place potatoes and eggs over this layer and sprinkle a few mint leaves over the potatoes and eggs

Place rest of rice over the potatoes and eggs and sprinkle with some water.

Cover the pot with foil to “to seal” the mixture then place lid on top of foil

Place in oven for 30 minutes, then push small knobs of butter into the rice at intervals, sprinkle with more water if rice on the top is drying out. You can check the progress of the cooking of the potatoes by inserting a long spoon vertically into mixture and carefully removing a sample of the dish. The rice and potatoes are the best to sample to determine how much longer you need to cook the briyani – I generally find it will require another 30 minutes at least.

After a total of one hour, check on the briyani again and add the reserved fried onions over the top of the rice and place back in oven for 10-15 minutes. Then remove the briyani from the oven and allow to rest for at least half and hour before serving.

To serve, dish out onto a platter ensuring there is a representation of all the different ingredients, sprinkle with chopped mint or coriander leaves.

Serve with accompaniments such as Indian Pickles,  Grapes Apple Mint Raita, Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney, Roasted eggplant with cummin and yoghurt and Red Lentil Tarka Dhal  .

Shopping List

Here’s the list of ingredients to use for the Durban Style Chicken Briyani recipe:

  • 1.5 kg chicken – 3-4 thigh cutlets with bone and skin and 4 thigh fillets
  • 2 cans brown lentils
  • Tub of plain yoghurt
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2.5 cups of Basmati rice
  • 1-2 cups Chicken stock (or water)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 150g butter
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Curry Leaves
  • Coriander
  • Mint
  • Chilli Powder
  • Cumin Powder
  • Turmeric Powder
  • Cumin seeds
  • Green Cardamom pods
  • Cinnamon bark (available at Indian Grocers) or quills
  • Salt

Durban-style Lamb and potato curry

Another great family staple especially for cooler months.


The smell of curry leaves frying in oil with spices and onions is one that always transports me to the kitchen of my Aunt Vimala. Even though it was a regular occurrence in our own home, there was something very special about staying over at Uncle Pat and Aunty Vim’s with all the cousins. She was a wonderful cook and inspired my love of cooking. This traditional lamb and potato curry is a staple in many South African Indian homes and now in the homes of my family and many friends in Australia.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time:1.5 hours
800g diced lamb, preferably lamb chump chops with fat removed and diced so that there are some small bones but plain diced lamb can be used too
3 teaspoons ginger and garlic ground together into a paste
1 large brown onion diced finely
1 tomato chopped
1/2 bunch coriander…

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Baked Italian Sausages with red capsicum and onions

As the cooler days approach here in Sydney, this is a quintessential comfort food dish which will warm your heart and soul in true Italian style.

Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1.5 hours (including grilling capsicum)

6-8 Italian spicy sausages or merguez sausages
2 red capsciums
2 large onions cut into thickish slices
3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
3 red chillies sliced lengthwise (optional)
Handful of fresh basil and parsley
Crusty bread

Heat oven to 150 degrees celcius

Place whole red capsicums on roasting tray and place in oven for 35-45 minutes until skin is black and blistering, turn during cooking process to evenly blacken capsicum

Meanwhile slice onions, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and cook onions slowly until just golden

Remove capsicum from oven and place in plastic bag, tying up ends of bag. Allow capsicum to sweat inside plastic bag for 5 minutes which will loosen skin.

Increase oven heat to 180 degrees celcius.

Place sausages in a baking tray, add a little water to moisten and allow to roast for 25 minutes.

Whilst sausages are cooking remove one capsicum at a time and remove skin, cut through and remove seeds and core. Slice capsicum into thick slices and set aside, repeat for second capsicum.

Remove sausages from oven, add garlic, chillies if using, onions (with cooking oil) and capsicum, toss ingredients gently through and put back into the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until sausages are cooked and nicely browned.

When done, add fresh basil leaves and parsley and allow to cool slightly before serving with crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of red.