Vegetables only

Nepali Aloo Achaar- A tangy, hot accompaniment

We love having guests over, especially the kind that enjoy food and even better, the ones that love cooking.

Right now we have Sipee , a bright and chatty Nepali girl stay with us.She treated us yesterday to a typical dish from Nepal, often served when entertaining. -Aloo Achaar.

This is meant to be eaten like a koshimbir, a tablepoon or two along with your main dish.
It looks to be a keeper...I can see us making this very often from now on.


1/2 kg baby potatoes
2 tablepoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
A pinch of turmeric
A generous pinch of red chilli powder
Juice of 1 lime or a teapoon of "Chuk" (Nepali black lime paste)
2-4 green chillies, sliced in the length ( add more according to taste)

2 teaspoon mustard oil
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds


1.Boil the potatoes till done. Peel.
2.Grind the toasted sesame seeds into a powder and mix with the other spices.
3. Add this mixture to the cooked potatoes and stir well with the aid of a tablepoon or two of water.
4. Add the lime juice and mix again.
5. Set aside for 15 minutes.
6. Top with the sliced green chillies.
7. Heat the oil and fry the fenugreek seeds till they pop. Pour this seasoning over the potatoes and serve.

Its absolutely delicious.

PS No time to take a photo...we ate it all up instantly.! <

My Favourite 7 Bean Salad

I love eating this salad in the monsoon. It substantial but vegetarian, cooling and warming, complex and simple. Ready to eat in half an hour and still delicious a day later.




1 cup of mixed beans- red kidney beans (rajmha), pink kidney beans, chick peas, (kabuli channa ), dried green peas, green gram , black eyed peas or soya beans. Soak in 4 cups of boiling water for an hour.

2 sprigs of thyme

1 cup of pearl barley cooked for 30 minutes.( or 1 cup cooked finger millet)

½ cup grape tomatoes, cut in halves

Two handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped and wilted over low flame for 3 minutes, till cooked.

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

½ red onion finely chopped

1 cup finely shredded cabbage.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt and Pepper

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1. Pressure cook  the soaked and drained beans in 500 ml water with a few sprigs of fresh or dried thyme for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let the pressure come down normally. Open cooker and remove thyme sprigs. Drain and reserve any cooking liquid.

2. Mix with the cooked and fluffy pearl barley.

3. Add the tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, coriander and onion and mix well.

4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Make a dressing of two tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons lime juice. Mix with a little of the reserved cooking  liquid.Pour over salad and serve warm or cold.

The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Indian Cookbook

It is the year of the Indian Cookbook! They are mushrooming on the shelves of all major book stores . To make a choice is quite difficult . Many of them promise Indian food in minutes, speedy ways to produce a notoriously fiddly cuisine with roasted, toasted ,whole and ground spices  added at the start, middle and end of cooking.

Quick and Easy Indian Cookbook is another one in the same genre. Large droolworthy photographs to inspire you and a range of dishes arranged in a structure that suggests a western meal: Starters and Appetizers, Mutton, Chicken , Fish, Vegetables, and Desserts with the addition of Lentils and Chutneys .

The interesting thing is that the book is an accompaniment to the Three Sisters main dish….a masala dabba! And that is what makes the recipes really quick and easy. They market  a spice box of their own with seventeen key spices and the recipes in the book use ONLY those spices. No more scrabbling around in the larder for little used masalas or running out to the grocery store to buy yet another spice.

You can make up your own masala box as the spices are listed in the beginning of the book.

The authors have managed to create a range of flavours with the seventeen spices in their dishes .They have tried to give a taste of several regional foods with an emphasis on South Indian food and the tang of street food . Most of the recipes do not require too much preparation. As the Sisters say “ We promise our readers….. keeping cooking to a minimum time limit without any loss of food value…”

The  introduction helps to keep things simple and there is a short chapter on time saving tips, your Indian food larder and how to store foods. A few essential recipes are given at the outset, a ginger garlic paste, how to make paneer, a chaat masala spice mix, and  tamarind, mint and coriander chutneys, the staple of street food vendors.

The Kashmiri origins of the sisters is revealed in the  Kashmir Lamb Rogan Josh, Safed Gajar ka Shorba and Haak amongst others, but there is a genuine attempt to cross borders . These recipes that could be replicated in most countries .

I have enjoyed cooking several of the recipes in the last month and liked their take on a popular North Indian style mushroom and tomato  vegetable: Kadahi Gucchi Aur Tamatar


3 tbs oil

1 dried red chilli, left whole

1 onion chopped

1 tbs Ginger garlic paste

300 gm (10 oz) tomatoes, peeled and chopped

450 gms (14 ½  oz) button mushrooms, washed and halved

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 green chilli, left whole

2 tbs freshly chopped coriander leaves


From the spice box:

Whole spices

½ tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

Ground spices

½ tsp chilli

¼ tsp ginger

¼ tsp garam masala


Dry roast the coriander seeds from the whole spices in a hot frying pan over medium heat for 30 seconds or until light brown. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based shallow frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to sizzle, add the dreid red chilli, followed by the onion.

Stir for 1 minute and then add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the mixture is soft and translucent.

Add the gorund spices, except the garam masala, and some salt followed by the tomatoes. Stir to combine the mixture and to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes> Stir , cover and boil for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid and thicken the sauce.

Stir in the black pepper, roasted coriander seeds and the green chilli and stir a few times. Stir in the garam masala and then finish with a sprinkling of the coriander leaves.


Quite delicious!