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Bill's Recipes

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Recipes from Mridula Baljekar from 22nd June 2005

Minced Lamb Kebabs, Chicken Korma with Whole Spices, Coconut Coated Cucumber with Mustard and Lime with Saffron Rice.

Minced Lamb Kebabs
Makes 12
(Recipe extracted from Mridula Baljekar's book, 'Real Fast Indian Food')

Traditionally minced mutton is used for these kebabs, although you can use lamb or beef.
Serve it with minty relish as a snack or wrapped in chapatties or soft tortillas for a light meal.
It makes a substantial meal when served in wholemeal pitta pockets with sliced or chopped onions, cucumber, lettuce and shop bought chilli sauce or tomato ketchup.

50g (2 oz) natural cashew pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons single cream
1 slice white bread, crusts removed and cut into small pieces
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2.5 cm (1 in) cube of root ginger, roughly chopped
1-3 green chillies, roughly chopped (de-seeded if wished)
1½ teaspoons ground roasted coriander
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
500g (1 lb) lean minced lamb
2-3 tablespoons coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sweet red pepper, finely chopped
Sunflower oil for brushing over or shallow frying

Preheat the grill to high.
Line a grill pan with foil and brush with a little oil.
Process the cashews, egg, cream and bread until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil and process until fine.
Chill the mixture for at least 2 hours then divide it into 12 equal sized portions and flatten into about 1 cm (½ in) thick round cakes.
Place them on the prepared grill pan and brush them over with oil.
Grill approximately 7.3 cm (3 ins) below the heat source for 4-5 minutes.
Turn them over and brush the uncooked side with oil.
Grill for a further 4-5 minutes, remove and serve immediately.
Alternatively, shallow fry them in a heavy based skillet for 4-5 minutes on each side until browned.

Chicken Korma with Whole Spices
Serves 4
(Recipe extracted from Mridula Baljekar's book, 'Real Fast Indian Food')

I love this korma; it is rich enough without being fussy and is delicious, satisfying and uncomplicated.
The sauce is enriched with pureed nuts. If you have a nut allergy, use white poppy seeds which also has a nutty taste and serves the purposes of enriching and thickening the sauce.
A healthier alternative is sunflower seeds.

50g (2 oz) blanched almonds
3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
5 cm (2 in) piece of cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods, bruised
4 cloves
2 bay leaves, crumpled
1 small onion, finely chopped
2.5 cm (1 in) cube of root ginger, grated or 2 teaspoons ginger puree
4 large garlic cloves, crushed or 2 teaspoons garlic puree
1 teaspoon black peppercorn, bruised
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon mild chilli powder or paprika
700g (1½ lb) skinless chicken breast or thigh fillets, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes
90g (3 oz) plain yogurt
1 teaspoon gram flour (besan) or cornflour
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2-3 small tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2-3 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped

Soak the almonds in 150 ml (5 fl oz) boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
Heat the oil over a low heat and fry the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves until the cardamom pods are puffed (35-40 seconds).
Add the onion and fry over medium heat until it is a pale golden colour (5-6 minutes).
Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a further minute.
Add the bruised peppercorns, turmeric and chilli powder or paprika.
Stir, then add the chicken and cook over a medium heat until opaque, stir regularly (4-5 minutes).
Whisk the yogurt with the gram flour or cornflour (this stops the yogurt curdling during cooking), and add to the chicken along with the salt and tomatoes.
Stir, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, puree the almonds with the water in which they were soaked.
Stir the puree into the chicken, cover and simmer for a further 10-12 minutes.
Stir in the coriander leaves, remove from the heat and serve with naan, chapatties or Saffron Pilau

Cook's Notes:
If you are using poppy or sunflower seeds, grind them in a coffee grinder and fry them along with the ginger and garlic.
Use 2 tablespoons poppy seeds or 1½ tablespoons sunflower seeds. Add 150 ml (5 fl oz) warm water to cook the chicken.

Coconut Coated Cucumber with Mustard and Lime
Serves 4
(Extracted from Mridula Baljekar's book, 'Real Fast Indian Food')

In India cucumber is regarded as any other vegetable.
This dish is served cold and makes a quick and delicious side dish which can be served with almost anything.

1 medium sized cucumber
1 teaspoon made English mustard
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
2 small green chillies, chopped (de-seeded if wished)
1½ tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sunflower or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon onion seeds
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Traditionally, the cucumber is peeled and finely chopped. I like to leave the skin on, but it is entirely up to you.
Put the chopped cucumber in a mixing bowl and add the mustard.
Grind the coconut and chillies in a coffee or spice mill or mortar and pestle.
Add to the cucumber.
Add the lime juice and mix thoroughly.
In a small saucepan or a ladle, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, add the mustard seeds.
As soon as they crackle switch off the heat source and add the onion seeds then pour the mixture over the cucumber and stir thoroughly.
Stir in the salt just before serving.

Saffron Rice
(Kesari Chawal)
Serves 4
(Recipe extracted from Mridula Baljekar's book, 'Fat-Free Indian Cooking')

Although there are many versions of saffron rice, this recipe is rather special. It comes from the Mogul era and as well as saffron you have the irresistible heady aroma of rose essence.
Floral essences have been used in Indian cuisine for thousands of years and were first introduced during the Mogul period.

Pure rose essence is available in Indian stores, but you could also get away with using rose water which you can buy from large supermarkets.

225g (8oz) basmati rice, washed and soaked in cold water for 15-20 minutes
1-2 tbsps sunflower oil
4 green cardamom pods, bruised
1 tsp royal cumin (shahi jeera) or caraway seeds
½ tsp salt
A pinch of saffron strands, pounded
4-5 drops of rose essences or 1½ tbsps rose water

To garnish: A few fresh rose petals

Drain the rice and leave it in a colander.
In a non-stick saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat and add the cardamom and royal cumin.
Let them sizzle for 20-25 seconds.
Add the rice and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
Add the salt and pour in 475ml (16 fl oz) warm water. Bring it to the boil and stir in the saffron and rose essence or rose water.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes without lifting the lid.
Remove from the heat and let it stand, undisturbed, for 6-8 minutes.
With a metal spoon, transfer the rice to a serving dish, surround with the rose petals and serve.

last updated: 26/09/05
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