Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Prashad - a love poem

I thought I might write a review for Prashad - Indian Vegetarian Cooking but ended up writing a love poem. Prashad is currently my favourite cookbook. I love Indian food but often the anticipation exceeds the actuality when either I have gone for an Indian on the High Street or attempted to make my own. This book really does share the secret to making good Indian food in the home.

The most intimidating thing about the book is the list of spices, but once you have the core ingredients it is surprisingly easy to create great dishes.... well, that is, if you have the guidance of Kaushy Patel!

Today I was not at work and have been chilling out at home. I find as i get older I want to "do" less on my days off. We are going to Harrogate for a short break next week which will be fun, but today I was happy to blob, reading John Gray's latest "The silence of animals" and making a forbidden lunch.

Cauliflower is seen as food of the devil by some people in our household. I have to sneak it into the house and cook it when alone in a well-ventilated kitchen. Aloo gobi is a favourite of mine. Potato and cauliflower curry. Potato and cauliflower. Very English ingredients. Not very exciting perhaps... until you add spicy sauce.

What I like about Prashad is that it explains how to make the dish in a clear and concise manner.

You start by making a masala, pounding garlic, ginger and green chillis into a paste. The oil is heated and then cumin seeds followed by asofoetida and then the chopped potatoes. After initial cooking you add the masala paste, tomatoes, and spices (lots of coriander!). Oh, and a big chunk of butter!

The cauliflower and coriander leaf is then added and cooked until tender.

I'm not giving the recipe because there are hundreds of aloo gobi recipes on the internet and if you want Kaushy Patel's version - buy her book!

There are a good twenty main dishes and we have tried over half of them. There's a coconut and yoghurt dip - kopru - flavoured with mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves which is just gorgeous. It was the first recipe I had tried when I was attempting to making masala dosas - lentil and rice pancakes stuffed with a potato curry - for the first time. It was so good I thought that if the dosas were a disaster I would take the kopru with a spoon and sit in the corner and scoff the lot! The dosas were a great success and one of our favourite weekend dishes. I love the dhals too. There are at least three recipes in the book, with the chevti dhal - mixed lentil curry - my favourite. Not just a load of old lentils........

I have also made my own flat breads from the recipe in this book but need to try some of the other breads which look interesting. Today though, I settled for my own malthouse sourdough bread.

The beer will have to wait though. I am off to my running club in an hour. Beer, sourdough, Indian food, a run in good company, a good book and a bit of time to myself away from the demands of the NHS. Now that's what I call a holiday...........


  1. Cauliflower IS the food of the devil when cooked. Bleurghh to the smell of it.

  2. I didn't really need to be sold on Prashad but you have given me the kicking I need to go out and buy it! Cheers, great post.

    BTW I am baffled by this anti-cauliflower movement! Really? Great texture but hardly any flavour .... hhmmn. Perhaps you can do what I do which is puree things up and add them to recipes where they go unnoticed. I gave some friends what they thought were stuffing balls with our sunday roast - it was actually mini parsnip and cashew nut loaves (and these friends tell me they loathe parsnips .... ha!)

  3. I love roast cauliflower with garam marsala done in the oven - and raw in salads - my vote for cauliflower is a yes! I wish I could cook like you. Your bread is looking just great :)

  4. Oh you cauliflower devil worshipers :-) I have to live with garlic buddha...his bread is amazing, but as for his cauliflower love, hmm. i'll never be convinced. The texture - when cooked, is wrong and it smells horrid. Pass me the spinach :-)