Posts Tagged ‘madhur jaffrey’

Bought a cauliflower this morning. There wasn’t a lot of choice–it’s freezing cold and the local growers’ produce is limited.

What to do with it?

I flick through this cook book and that–then suddenly remember comfort lentils from Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.

COMFORT is the key word.

Outside it’s damp and cold–so comfort food that acts as an interior blanket is just what I need.

I search the index for “cauliflower“.

Aha! Cauliflower with mustard seeds and fennel seeds–inspired by Madhur Jaffrey.


Double comfort!!

A fire in the grate and the evening holds promise!



Rinse thoroughly a pound of red lentils–until the water runs clear.

Add two vegetable stock cubes to a litre of water and bring to the simmer.

Add the lentils.

Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked–about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop a medium onion and in a separate pan color it gently in four tablespoons of olive oil .

Then stir in these spices:

One and half teaspoons cumin powder; one teaspoon coriander powder; half teaspoon cayenne powder; and (if you have it) one teaspoon garam masala.

Cook the onion in the spices for a couple of minutes and then stir this mix into the lentils.

Gently reheat the dal.

Check for salt.




Deconstruct a large cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Heat six tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (large enough to hold the cauliflower in a single layer–more or less–but don’t add the cauliflower yet!).

Add a tablespoon of black mustard seeds and two teaspoons of fennel seeds.

When they start to pop–add three garlic cloves chopped fine.

When they start to color add a quarter teaspoon each of turmeric and cayenne powder.

Cook these briefly to release their aroma–and then stir in the cauliflower pieces.

Turn these thoroughly in the spicy oil and add four tablespoons of warm water.

Add a decent pinch of salt and cook covered until the cauliflower is tender–about 20 minutes.

These two comforting friends make good partners for a chilly winter night.


Meredith, who used to think that cauliflower was a pointless vegetable, had seconds!




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When a hero dies (Levon Helm) it’s comforting  to hear of other heroes or in this case heroines, flourishing.

Two such are revered veteran  food writers and cooks  Claudia Roden

and Madhur Jaffrey

They are both in their  70’s and both have new projects.

Claudia Roden (75) is publishing  The Food of Spain and Madhur Jaffrey (78) is relaunching herself on the Good  Food TV Channel with a new series to accompany her new book, Curry Nation.

Madhur Jaffrey had come to mind when I felt a yen for something with an Indian flavor for supper tonight–but couldn’t find a focus for the fancy, until I spotted a nest of cauliflowers offering themselves on the small table stall of a local grower early this morning.

I was pretty sure Madhur Jaffrey had a good recipe for cauliflower in her book  Indian Cookery; so I bought the middling sized one and headed home for breakfast.

Here it is–adjusted a little:

for 2--as a main course:

1 medium cauliflower–the head separated into small bite size florets

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 cloves of garlic–chopped fine

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

  • Soak the cauliflower in water for a half hour–then drain the florets.
  • Heat the oil in a pan large enough to hold the florets in a single layer.
  • Add the fennel and mustard seeds and sauté until they start popping.
  • Add the turmeric and the cayenne.
  • Add the garlic to the pan and let it colour lightly.
  • Add the drained florets, salt and 3 tablespoons of water.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes–or until the cauliflower is almost tender.

Brown basmati rice, red lentil dhal and yogurt sauce accompanied it–my yen was satisfied!

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This is adapted from the Indian actress and cookery write Madhur Jaffrey again, whose spicy green beans from a recent post, would be a good accompaniment.

I’ve cooked from her BBC series cookbook-“Indian Cookery” for many years–it may be out of print now but is worth seeking out. She says in the introduction,
that her mother once told her, her passion for food dates back to “the hour of my birth, when my Grandmother wrote the sacred syllable”Om” (I am”) on my tongue with a finger dipped in honey. I was apparently observed smacking my lips rather loudly.” Something we do regularly after eating from one her recipes!

An overnight marinade in this delicious blend of familiar spices and a quick turn on a griddle* make these strips of chicken breast a handy lunch option.

for 4/6

2lb/1k free range boneless chicken breast— skin removed, washed, patted dry
and cut into 1″/2cm strips

the marinade:

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 medium onion–roughly chopped

1 head of garlic–peeled and roughly chopped

1” nob of ginger–peeled and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons each of fennel seeds and ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds

8 cardoman pods and 8 whole cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

20 black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons salt–sea salt for preference and “Malden” if you can find it

  • Liquidise the marinade ingredients.
  • Add the resulting mush to the bowl in which you have put the strips of chicken.
  • Turn it all over–making sure the chicken is well covered by the marinade.
  • Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  • Heat a griddle to hot and cook the strips in batches.
  • Depending on the thickness allow them a couple of minutes a side. Cut into one to test for doneness–if it looks too pink let it cook on a few seconds more.
*You could also cook these in a hot oven (220c/425f  for 10 to 15 minutes depending on their thickness).

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Small piles of green beans are starting to appear in the markets.

Adapted from the actress and cookery writer, Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe ,
these goes well with spicy and not so spicy food.

for 4

1lb/450 gms green beans–topped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
4 cloves of garlic — chopped very fine
1 dried red chilli–chopped fine
1 tsp salt

  • Cook the beans to just tender in plenty of lightly salted, boiling water–use tongs to whip one out of the water to test for doneness.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the seeds.
  • When they start to pop add the garlic.
  • Cook until it starts to turn light brown–careful not to burn it–it won’t take long.
  • Add the chilli and stir.
  • Add the beans and the salt.
  • Turn the heat to low and fold the beans over in the oil and spices.
  • (You are heating through and infusing the beans with the flavours–5 minutes should do it).
  • Add the pepper

"Still life" with Marmalade, Lily and spicy green beans

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