Red Kidney Beans Curry (Bhanda)

As I was growing up most of our Sunday meals was having “bhanda and bhat” – Kidney beans curry and rice (In Malawi, Bhanda is the chichewa word for kidney beans). This would sometimes be accompanied with fresh white bread or thepla (a spicy chapatti/roti). The most comforting of meals and satisfyingly filling. There are many nutritional benefits to these beans, they are excellent in folic acid, iron, protein, thiamine, potassium and B vitamin to name but a few.  It is the traditional  staple food of the people of Malawi, they would have it with a cornmeal mash and not so spicy beans, to make a complete meal. This is one of the few foods that I miss if I do not have it over a long period of time. It is also eaten in Northern India where it is know as Rajma, not to mention it is used in Mexican and Cajun food also.

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Onion & Tomato Curry

Another very simple and tasty curry, it is just amazing how any kind of vegetable can be made into a curry. Just by adding the basic spice mix to the vegetables and letting them cook to absorb the flavours it turns into a magical meal. This curry goes well as a extra curry to a large meal or makes a quick and simple meal in a few minutes. I think it takes more time to prepare for this curry then it takes for it to be cooked.

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Sugar snap Peas Curry

I remember when we were growing up in Malawi we used to grow our own vegetables, and always used to enjoy cooking the first crop of peas into this curry. It is a good combination of sweet and spicy flavours and is another simple curry that is good to serve as a main or accompanying another curry. Over the holiday period my son was taught a particular song about peas from his Montessori for his performance, and he regularly kept on singing that. So it was quite appropriate to have the curry and let him sing the song.

Sugar snap peas are also known as mange tout and are eaten with their pods.

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Mixed Vegetables Curry

The most basic and quickest curry to put together, especially if you keep frozen mixed vegetables. After moving to England from Malawi, we used to have a lot of mixed vegetable curry, as we were told it was more cheaper then eating the more exotic vegetables we were used to. This curry is also good to put together when in a rush, as all the ingredients cook very quickly and do not require much preparation.

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Chilli Paneer

I was first introduced to this dish after marriage when we would go to Indian restaurant/pubs with friends and family. My husband really likes this dish and can never get enough of it, so as per normal I tried to recreate the taste to what he likes. A little bit of trial and error, and tasting along the way and I have come up with this recipe and to be honest this is the first time that I have actually measured the ingredients so that I can write about it on this site. It is a great dish to serve at parties as a starter or a side dish to a main meal. It is a good show stopper as my friend put it, when I made it for her using cassava instead of paneer.

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Dabeli (Potato Burger )

I love spicy food that has a mouth watering tangy, savour flavour and there are many Indian fast foods which comes under such category. The best way to describe dabeli is it’s a kind of Indian style vegetarian burger made with potatoes. It is an Indian street food mostly eaten in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

I have good memories of when I was living in India – sneaking out to eat them with my cousin and then being told off by the elders because they said we should never eat from street vendors – you’ll get ill. The way I see it street food is much more fresher than what you may get in a top hotel or restaurants as the vendors do not have anywhere to store extras so what ever they make has to be eaten on the same day, hence no need to worry – just enjoy 🙂

Even though a lot of street food is normally fried – my version of dabeli is different because it is healthier, no frying just dry roasting. The long list of items will make it look like a recipe which requires a lot of effort, but it is worth it for the taste explosion, and the various textures.

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Parsnip and Red Capsicum Curry

When my son was weaning, one of my sister-in-laws told me that parsnips are a good food to introduce him to because they are a slightly sweet and nutty flavour.  My son loved them just boiled and mashed. Then just to introduce a bit of flavour and colour, I started adding red capsicums as they are sweet and slightly spicy, so the combination worked well, plus you do not need to add salt or pepper to the mash. Then one day my husband said why don’t you try and make this into a shaak (everyday Indian curry) just to see what it tastes like. It turned out to be an instant hit, the instance flavours of the vegetables and subtle spice mix makes it a good curry. Parsnips are now part of my regularly stocked vegetables like potatoes.

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