Indian Curry Powder

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This aromatic curry powder makes cooking curries a breeze! Use it in your favourite curries of course, but also in soups, stews, salad dressings or anything that needs a hit of flavour and spice! If you wish, you can toast the whole spices before grinding them. That deepens the flavour and adds smoky notes to the curry powder. Use it in recipes such as Jungle Shrimp Curry or Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches or anything that you like!

Indian Curry Powder

2 tbsp each, whole spices: cloves, green cardamom, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori methi)

1 tbsp each, whole spices: black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorn

1 tbsp each, ground spices: turmeric, dried ginger

2 each, whole spices: cinnamon sticks (each 2 inches long), star anise

2 mace florets (optional)

6 dried red chilies

1 whole nutmeg, crushed

A generous pinch of saffron strands

Combine all of the whole spices in the jar of a spice grinder and process to a smooth powder.

Add the ground spices, fenugreek leaves and saffron and grind again till well blended.

Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dark cabinet.

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Soft cheesy doughnuts, soaked in cardamom saffron syrup - the ultimate decadent Indian dessert! Home made Gulab Jamuns are easier than you think and taste great. The secret to soft, spongy gulab jamuns is to have a soft and slightly sticky dough, roll them into smooth dough balls with no cracks and fry over low heat so that they get cooked through. Then let them have a good long soak in the sugar syrup, and they will be meltingly soft and delicious!
For more Indian desserts, try Mango Kulfi!

1 cup each, crumbled: paneer, *khoya (thickened milk solids, see note below)    or use  2 cups crumbled khoya

2 tbsp each: all purpose flour, milk

1/4 tsp each: baking soda, ground cardamom

1 1/2 cups oil for frying

3 cups sugar

3 cups water

A pinch of saffron

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 tbsp chopped pistachios for garnish

Place paneer and khoya in food processor and process until finely crumbled and well blended.

Transfer to a deep bowl and add flour, milk, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom and baking soda. Knead with your palms until smooth. If dough is too dry, add a few more teaspoons of milk. Knead for a few minutes until soft, smooth and slightly sticky. Let rest 10 min.

Lightly grease your hands with oil and shape dough into small balls, the size of a walnut. Roll them in your palms until dough balls are very smooth with no cracks.

Warm oil for frying (preferably in wok), set over medium low heat. Once the oil is heated, add 2-3 dough balls first to make sure they hold their shape.  Gently spoon some oil over them to seal. Let them brown lightly and expand, before turning them over gently to cook evenly. Once they are golden brown in colour all over (this should take about 10-12 min), remove them to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining dough balls. Reserve.

Bring sugar and water to a boil in broad bottomed saucepan, over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 min. Remove from heat, cool 10 min, then add saffron, cardamom and reserved gulab jamuns. Stir gently to mix. Make sure all the gulab jamuns are submerged in the syrup in a single layer. Cover and let Jamuns soak for at least 8 hours or longer, shaking pan occasionally and turning them over gently to coat with syrup.

Warm them gently before serving and garnish with chopped pistachios.

Makes 14 - 16 Gulab Jamuns

* Note: Packaged khoya is available in Indian stores. It is usually kept near the paneer in the refrigerator section. Leftover khoya can be frozen.

Tandoori Paneer Tikka


Deliciously crisp on the outside, delightfully gooey on the inside, this is Paneer at its best! Serve with green chutney for dipping, warm naan for wrapping and perhaps some grilled tomatoes or a salad on the side. Read more about saffron in The Glory Of saffron.

1 lb. Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)

4 cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger

2 tbsp each: plain Balkan style yogurt, oil, lemon juice

1 tsp each: garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), ground fennel seeds

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp red food colouring or saffron strands, optional

Salt to taste

Cut paneer into 3 inch X 1/2 inch thick slabs or cube into bite sized squares. Place in deep mixing bowl.

Combine remaining ingredients in jar of a mini blender or food processor and blend till smooth. Pour over paneer in bowl, tossing gently to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate bowl for at least 4 hours or overnight if desired.

When ready to grill, heat barbecue to medium high. Thread paneer onto skewers, place on grill and cook covered until lightly browned and slightly crisp, about 7-8 min per side.

If you have any marinade left in the bowl, baste paneer occasionally with it to keep it from drying out, turning skewers only once to prevent paneer from falling off.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon if desired.

Serves four

Saffron Chicken Tikka With Black Pepper

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Saffron tinges this mild and flavourful chicken tikka with a beautiful golden colour.  The chicken is soft and succulent with the addition of cream in the marinade and baste. It is a great way to gently introduce people to spicy food. Flavoured with ground black pepper but not overly spicy, this tikka makes a wonderful appetizer or lunch when nestled in a bed of salad or wrapped in warm naan. A vegetarian option would be to switch cubes of paneer for the chicken. Read more about pepper in The Story Of Pepper.
Read more about saffron in Glory Of Saffron.


2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed into 2 inch chunks

6 cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger

1/4 cup each: crumbled feta or grated cheddar cheese, thick plain yogurt such as Labneh or Balkan style, whipping cream

2 tbsp each: oil, lemon juice, whipping cream, melted butter

Salt to taste

1 tsp freshly ground or crushed black pepper

1/2 tsp each: saffron strands, ground cardamom, toasted ground cumin

Place chicken in deep mixing bowl.

Combine garlic, ginger, cheese, yogurt, 1/4 cup whipping cream, oil, lemon juice, salt, spices and 1/4 tsp saffron strands in mini blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

Pour over chicken, tossing well to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Preheat barbecue to medium. Thread chicken on to skewers and place on barbecue. Grill for about 8 min per side, turning once.

Meanwhile, combine melted butter, 2 tbsp whipping cream and 1/4 tsp saffron in small bowl. Brush generously over chicken towards the last 2-3 min of cooking time.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

Serves six