City Spice on Brick Lane

One of the things to tick off your London adventure list is to have a curry on Brick Lane. It was the Bangladeshi community who first brought the curry houses to Brick Lane and today there are so many choices to choose from on Brick lane, Hanbury Street and Whitechapel road.

One, called City Spice, situated on Brick Lane itself, near the Vintage Market, has been hailed the King of Brick Lane. I went for lunch one Sunday to check it out for myself.

The cuisine is classic Bangladeshi curry house dishes and they feature some of their award winning dishes on the menu too. Whilst we pondered about what to order, we nibbled on some Papad and an assortment of chutneys. The restaurant itself is lovely, spacious, recently refurbished and the staff are really attentive and friendly.

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I have a particular love for food cooked in a Tandoor and so we decided to try the Paneer Tikka. The paneer was marinated really well in a spiced yoghurt sauce and was served with onions and a fresh salad. It was delicious, smokey and melt in your mouth.

Amit loves Kebabs and so we decided to try the Kebab Cocktail, which had an assortment of chicken and lamb tikka with kebabs. It was really good and I loved the variety.

For mains, upon recommendation from the owner, Amit opted for the Sylheti Lamb Shank, which was hotter than the other choices on the menu. This dish is tender lamb shanks cooked Bengali style whereby they are slow roasted with aromatic herbs, spices and saffron. Amit loved this and he said the pieces fell of the bone wonderfully.

I went for Butter Chicken and I am pretty predictable with my orders! It was sweeter than the Indian version of the dish, cooked in a mild sauce, and I loved the buttery flavours and the chicken was cooked perfectly.

Both of us are more bread than rice fans so we went for naan breads, which were lovely, fluffy and warm.

A side of mixed raita was a welcome match for the dishes with its cooling nature and a must have for every meal.

We really enjoyed our meal and were so full we couldn’t even manage dessert! The menu is extensive and there are really good choices for both  vegetarians and non-vegetarians. They are also very flexible when it comes to dietary requirements and allergies.

If you haven’t had a curry on Brick Lane yet, City Spice is a lovely restaurant to have your first experience. For more information go to http://city-spice.london

My classic Potato Curry

Here is the recipe for my classic potato curry. A dish which is perfect for lunch or dinner and for times when you want something simple but tasty and wholesome.

Ingredients:

  • 8 small potatoes,  washed and cut into small chunks. Keep the skin on.
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, pureed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Handful freshly chopped coriander to garnish

 

Method:

  1. In a saucepan filled with salted water, boil the potatoes for 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a kadai or wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil.
  3. Add the cumin seeds and when they sizzle, add the chopped red onions.
  4. Let the onions cook on low-medium heat for around 12 minutes, stirring every now and then. The longer you cook the onions the better.
  5. Now add the garlic, ginger and chopped green chillies. Let this cook for around 2 minutes, stirring it in well, and now add the pureed tomatoes. I like using fresh tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes as I like the flavour.
  6. Now add all the spices, salt and the boiled potatoes and mix well.
  7. Place the lid on the pan and let this cook for around 5 minutes.
  8. Give it a good stir and add the chopped coriander.
  9. Voila your potato curry is ready! Serve with fresh naan or rotis.

Sea Spice Indian restaurant- Aldeburgh 

I love discovering  hidden gems and reviewing an Indian restaurant in the seaside town of Aldeburgh turned out to be just that – it was the most amazing food in the most unexpected location.

I have to admit at first I was dubious as to how the flavours would be executed comparative to North London. However, it blew my expectations totally and this is a restaurant which I truly believe will one day be awarded with a Michelin star so definitely one to keep an eye on!

Under the helm of Head Chef Pratap Singh Rabat, who has worked at popular restaurants in his career including Chor Bizarre in London (which used to be a favourite of mine), Tamarind and Atul Kochhar’s Benares, Sea Spice combines authentic Indian flavours with local Suffolk coastal produce.

Starting off with some bubbles, we read through the really interesting but really fantastic menu, trying to decide what we wanted to eat.

For nibbles, I went for the Crispy coated Okra. I love Okra but Amit doesn’t go anywhere near it so I was really pleased to have these crunchy morsels of delight all to myself.

Masala Peanuts is the perfect nibbles, especially having grown up in Kenya, where we enjoy it in a similar way. This invoked such amazing nostalgia and was rather addictive.

Our third selection from the nibbles was Mixed Bhajis, which were perfectly cooked and served with a delicious tangy chutney.

For starters I went for the Jhinga Dakshini, which was Tiger prawns cooked  in crunchy chickpea flour. I love chickpea flour, also known as besan, and this was so unusual and a real delight to eat. This was definitely a dish that married Suffolk sea food with Indian cooking styles and it was definitely a match made in heaven.

Amit went for the Gilafi Seekh Kebab, which he absolutely loved. He thought it was marinated really well and full flavoured and had a melt in your mouth texture.

For mains, to accompany my choice of dish, I went for fluffy and light butter naan, which were served hot, with melted butter and dreamy.

I chose the free range butter chicken, for my curry dish, and it was rich, superbly flavoured and indulgent. Lip smackingly good.

Upon recommendation, Amit went for the Braised Suffolk Lamb Shank, which was served on Pilau Rice

He really enjoyed this dish, especially the flavours, which came through so well, highlighting the amount of time this had been marinated and cooked for to perfection.

Dessert was exciting! Having spotted Masala Creme Brûlée on the menu, there was no way I was going to have anything else! It was bursting with flavour, garnished beautifully and sensational.

If you are visiting Suffolk, this restaurant is so worth the trip! I recommend booking in advance as it was really busy and popular and can’t even explain how good the food was. Just really urge everyone to go try it!

For more information go to: http://seaspice.co.uk

Raw mango and potato curry

A lovely sweet, spicy and sour dish for summery days. I love the flavour the raw mango gives the curry.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup par -boiled In a pan cubed potatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green small raw mango, grated
  • 1 1/2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Handful chopped coriander for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Method:

  1. In a pan, heat the oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the cumin seeds, and when they sizzle add the ginger, garlic , green chillies and onions.
  3. Let this cook until the onions are soft (approximately 6 minutes).
  4. Add the potatoes and pureed tomatoes, and all the spices, salt and sugar.
  5. Let this cook on medium heat in a covered pan for around 10 minutes.
  6. Add the grated mango and mix well.
  7. Cook for a further 3 minutes and add the chopped coriander.
  8. Serve hot.

 

Tawa Potatoes

 

Tawa potatoes

Tawa or Tava as it is also sometimes known, refers to a flatter style of saucepan than the usual style.

This style of cooking potatoes is delicious and this dish would make a great starter as well as a main course.

PS: This dish can also be made in a pan on top of a BBQ for that smoked effect.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large potatoes, boiled and cubed
  •  1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger

Tempering:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • Handful chopped coriander

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander

Method:

1. In a tawa, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. If you don’t have a tawa you can use a saucepan.

2. Add the ingredients for tempering and let this cook on medium heat until the cumin seeds start to sizzle.

3. Now add the onions, garlic and ginger and let this cook for around 7 minutes until the onions are soft.

4. Now add the potatoes and red chilli and mix well.

5. Stir dry regularly for around 6 minutes and then garnish with chopped coriander.

6. Eat as a starter or a main with chapatis.

 

Carrot and Aubergine sabzi/ Gajar Ringra Shaak

This is one of my husband’s favourite dishes that he asks me to make from time to time, especially when he is missing home. It is one of the family’s recipes which he requested me to type up. I got the recipe from my mother in law and modified it slightly to add measurements but the credit all goes to her for this fabulous recipe.

This is similar to a sabzi and is a balance of sweet and spicy and utterly delicious. Best served with buttery rotis and a glass of lassi, this has comfort dish written all over it. You can make it in under an hour!

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, washed and sliced
  • 2 aubergines, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin and coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons  garlic
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons jaggery
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Method:

  1. Boil the carrots in a saucepan of slightly salted water for 8 minutes.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add the cumin seeds, jaggery, turmeric, red chilli powder and mustard seeds.
  3. Add the carrots (once boiled), half the garlic and half the tomatoes once the cumin seeds start to sizzle.
  4. Mix well and let this cook for around 7 minutes.
  5. Now add the aubergines, remaining garlic and tomatoes, as well as the salt and cumin and coriander powder.
  6. Cover the pan and let this cook for 10 minutes and eat hot.