Festive Lunch Recipes

Tapaka of sliced fresh ginger with a squeeze of lime juice and pinch of rock salt

Celebratory Basmati Rice

Serves 12

2kg (4lb 8oz basmati Rice

150g (51/2 oz shelled cashew nuts

200g +tbsp ghee

3 x 1 inch cinnamon sticks

6 green cardamom pods

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

1.5 litres boiling water

¼ nutmeg freshly grated

2oz sugar (I didn’t add this!)

2 tsp rosewater


2 tbsp milk & big pinch of saffron strands

Wash and soak the rice for about 20-30mins.  Drain.  Soak the cashew nuts and raisins separately in water for about 15 minutes to soften.  Drain

Heat the 200g of ghee in a deep oven proof dish with a lid and add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves.  Allow them to brown and become aromatic, then add the drained rice.  Fry for 2-3 minutes.  Add enough boiling water to cover the rice by 1 1/2 inches.  Cover and simmer until half the water is absorbed, then add the nutmeg, nuts, raisins, mace, rosewater.  Salt to taste.  Cover again and simmer until the water has been absorbed – about 15-18 minutes.

Warm the milk with the saffron and drop the remaining tbsp of ghee into it.

When the rice has absorbed all the water, stir gently and level the top and pour the saffron milk over the top.  Cover and put into the oven for another 20 minutes when the rive will have completely absorbed the water and grains will be cooked through.

Remove from the oven, loosen the rice with a flat spoon and transfer to a warmed serving dish.  Serve with aromatic flower petals or fried onions.


Chickpea and Butternut Squash curry  Serves 4

1 onion peeled and chopped

2cm piece of root ginger peeled and chopped

1 tin chickpeas

1 red chilli seeds removed and finely chopped

2 tbsp ghee (or vegetable oil)

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

8 curry leaves(optional)

1 tsp turmeric

800g Butternut Squash peeled and cut into 1inch cube

400ml water

3 tbsp chopped coriander+ extra for garnish

1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

Dry roast the mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves  until they release their fragrance and the mustard seeds pop. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan and add the roasted spices, turmeric.  After a few minutes add the onion and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the squash and stir to coat the vegetable with the spices.  Add the chickpeas.  Add the water and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the squash is tender.   When the squash is tender, add the vinegar or lemon juice, coriander and lemon juice and cook for 1 minute.

Before serving add more coriander to garnish.


Moong Dahl  Serves 4-6

200g yellow moong dahl

¼ tsp turmeric

2 tbsp ghee (or vegetable oil)

1/8 teaspoon asafoetida

½ tsp cumin seeds

1 red chilli finely chopped

1 medium onion finely chopped

Wash and soak the moong -dahl for 1 hour.  Drain.  Put into a saucepan with 800mls of fresh water.  Bring to the boil and scrape-off the white film.  Add the turmeric.  Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.  Add rock salt to taste.

Heat the ghee in a small pan and when hot, add asafoetida, cumin seeds and chillies.  Then add the onion.  Stir until browns and add this mixture to the cooked dahl immediately.  Stir to mix.

Green Chutney

Serves 4-6

40 g fresh mint leaves

10g coriander leaves

½ clove garlic peeled

¼ small onion peeled and chopped

1-2 green chillies chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt to taste

30 ml water

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  It should be herby and lemony.  Store in a screw top jar for a few days

Beetroot Raita

Serves 4

1 small beetroot peeled and cut into small dice

200mls yoghurt

Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp sesame seeds

10 curry leaves

Mix together the beetroot, yoghurt, salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop, add the sesame seeds and curry leaves.  Cook until the seeds are darker and pour into the raita.

Tomato and tamarind chutney

1 kg blanched and peeled tomatoes

A little olive oil

50 gms of tamarind paste

Salt and a little sugar to taste (to balance the sourness of the tomatoes & tamarind)

1+1/2  tsp chilli powder

1 tbsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 piece fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp asafoetida

4 tsp cumin seeds

A few curry leaves (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the spices.  Cook until they release their fragrance.  Add the tomatoes and cook the tomatoes until they change colour.  Add the tamarind pulp which is dissolved in a little boiling water.  Add sugar to sweeten.  Gently simmer for around 30 minutes until the flavours have combines and the sauce has thickened.   Cool overnight when the flavours will have mellowed.  Refrigerate and eat within a week.

Carrot halva

1kg of carrots

500gms milk

500gms sugar  (this is the traditional recipe, but extremely sweet, cut down by ½-2/3)

100gms silvered almonds

100 gms raisins/sultanas

1 tsp saffron

2 tbsp ghee

2 tsp ground cardamom

Wash and grate the carrots.  Infuse the saffron in 1 tbsp of milk and set aside – this should be a golden colour and fragrant.  Heat the ghee gently at a low temperature.  Add the grated carrots until they change colour slightly and become fragrant and tender.  Add the sugar and milk and raisins.  Simmer gently until all the milk has been absorbed.    In the final 10 minutes of cooking add the saffron infused milk.   Decorate with slivered almonds.


Serves 4

1 litre of whole-milk yoghurt

2 tsp milk

½ tsp saffron strands

6-8 tbsp icing sugar or to taste – depending upon the sourness of the yoghurt

¼ tsp ground cardamom  and nutmeg powder, or to taste.

3 tbsp chopped pistachio nuts

3 tbsp sultanas/raisins

3 tbsp slivered almonds lightly roasted

Pomegranate seeds to garnish

Line a sieve with a double layer of good quality kitchen paper or muslin.  Place over a bowl and pour in the yoghurt.  When all the whey has drained away (which will take several hours) and you are left with the thick curds, add all the other ingredients.  Heat the milk and crumble the saffron strands into the milk. Leave to infuse for 8-10 minutes, crushing the strands in the milk with the back of a spoon.  Add to the curd mixture.  Refrigerate for as long as possible, preferably overnight and garnish with nuts and pomegranate seeds before serving.

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