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Onion and tomato curry

Recipe taken from from Biting Biting: Snacking Gujarati-style By Urvashi Roe

Biting Biting book cover

Urvashi Roe was brought up in a family who loved to snack. Any news of impending visitors would prompt a flurry of activity in the kitchen. Within 30 minutes her mother and aunties would have the ‘biting biting’ prepared – a spread of vegetarian and vegan snacks made with store cupboard ingredients and leftovers.  

Cupboard ingredients

Biting Biting is a celebration of this delicious family custom, and of the food of the Gujarati diaspora in Africa and in the UK. 

Extremely tasty, quick and easy to prepare these snacks will set your tastebuds buzzing. Next time you have guests for tea or you need a little something that’s not quite lunch or dinner, you can simply reach for some Biting Biting inspiration. 

Urvashi Roe and aunties

We are extremely happy to be publishing this wonderful Biting Biting cook book in September 2022. So we thought we would give you a taste of what delights you can expect by sharing this tasty Onion and Tomato Curry recipe taken from the book with you to try out and enjoy over the summer.

Enjoy your Biting Biting!

A Brief Introduction To Shaak

In Sanskrit saka means ‘vegetable but in Gujarti it is the word we use for ‘curry’. Depending on which part of Gujarat you are from, you might say shaak or saak. My family all say shaak except for my friend Kavita who says saak. Shaak can be dry or with sauce, and it can feature a stuffed vegetable, single vegetable or combination of vegetables. It is often associated with certain rituals or functions – for example, at weddings you will often see potato shaak, mixed vegetable and dumpling shaak and some form of lilotri or green vegetable shaak.

Shaak section page from Biting Biting

Usually on weekdays we have one shaak with rotli. On a weekend or at family functions we may have a few more. When I first got married my husband always got three of four shaak at dinner as he was the Jamai (son-in-law) in favour. Nowadays he gets one unless my mum needs a job doing around the house or garden.

Onion And Tomato Curry (Shaak) Recipe By Urvashi Roe

When you literally have a bare fridge and are not in the mood for a complex cook, this is your recipe. It is guaranteed to fill the kitchen with a wonderful aroma and bring warmth and comfort at the end of a long, tiring day. It’s fast to make and you can eat it unceremoniously with your fingers on cold leftover rice, crusty day-old parotha or even on toast or in a sandwich. We like it with torn baguette too. You can omit the ghee but I find it adds a velvety, buttery sheen, making this dish one you’ll want to lick off your plate. Green tomatoes or tomatillos work exceptionally well. 

Curry spices

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp ghee

2 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp amchur

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, grated (optional)

4 large tomatoes, halved and cut into 2cm slices

Urvashi Roe

Method

Heat the vegetable oil and ghee in a wok or large saucepan until the ghee has completely melted and started sizzling. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow them to fizzle and pop for a few seconds. Quickly add the sliced onions and sauté them briefly so they are well coated. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, ground cumin, amchur and salt and then toss well so everything is thoroughly combined. Add a shot glass of water and the garlic if you are using it, cover and cook for five minutes on a medium heat until the onions are just starting to soften. 

Take a moment here to inhale the aromas and commend yourself for making this epic dish. 

Carefully fold in the tomatoes, then cover and cook for a further two minutes so the tomatoes are soft but still retain their shape. Eat immediately! 

If for some crazy reason you have leftovers you can spoon the cold shaak over buttery toast and top with a fried or poached egg. Or this makes a great topping on hummus scattered over with toasted sunflower seeds and scooped up with pitta bread. 

You can pre-order Biting Biting direct from us here

Urvashi Roe and aunties

Kitchen Quiz 

With Fraser Reid (Seasonal Soups)

One of our favourite and most popular KP titles is Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid. This beautiful wee book is now in its second edition and has brought joy to readers around the world with its straightforward, healthy approach to soups.

Author Fraser Reid is an absolutely lovely chap with a strong community ethic. Having experienced a sudden personal nirvana moment with vegetables, Fraser transformed both his career and the local community in the West End of Dundee by opening his wee green fruit and veg corner shop.

The focus has always been on quality, local and international produce all provided with a smiling face and cheery personality. A simple yet powerful and infectious approach. The shop has also become a supplier of other quality deli goods such as Spanish black pudding, fresh baked bread and craft beers.

Fraser’s trademark is his warm and affable style. He really is a business owner who’s personality and passion are at the heart of everything he does. No one just pops into Fraser’s Fruit And Veg without a nice chat or learning something new.

It’s quite interesting that one of our most successful cookbooks is not written by a chef at all, but by someone passionate about produce and who had the courage to try out lots of soup recipes. The purpose being to make the menu at home more interesting, varied and packed full of vegetables. This is a philosophy we are 100% behind here at KP. Cooking is for everyone.

So we caught up with Fraser recently (which is always a pleasure) to ask him a few questions for our Kitchen Quiz series.

We hope you enjoy!

Now over to you Fraser.

Q: Hey Fraser, hope you are good. So was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: The cookbook that really inspired me was Jamie at home. We started growing veg in the garden before opening the shop and using the recipes in this book after harvesting. The broad beans fritters in there are amazing.

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: My favourite item in the kitchen would be the soup pot. We use it every week and its been the pot that’s tested all of the recipes in Seasonal Soups.

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: Music is always on in the kitchen. Depending on who’s in, that dictates the tunes.

If it’s my 4 year old then it’s I Like To Move It by will.i.am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLEQRIisP_Q

If it’s my 6 year old it’s Katy Perry. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8

If it’s me it’ll be BBC Six Music.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_6music

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: If I could cook anywhere in the world then it would be the simple beachside BBQ. The sound of the waves are mesmerising and feeling on the sun on your skin. I love cooking outdoors.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: My advice on cooking would be not to stick to a recipe but use it as a guide that you can tailor for personal tastes. It also makes you a better cook, just being able to adjust things as you go. Also don’t be afraid of seasoning.

Great advice from a lovely man. Thank you Fraser!

You can order a copy of his wonderful soup book here.

Katerina Nitsou, author of Macedonia

Kitchen Quiz with Katerina Nitsou (author of Macedonia – Recipes & Stories From The Balkans)

Author Katerina Nitsou

Katerina Nitsou spent her childhood in the kitchen helping her grandmother, mother and aunts prepare family feasts using fresh herbs and vegetables from the family’s prized garden. Growing up in a large Macedonian-Canadian community in Toronto, she was immersed in Macedonian culture through language, dance and of course, food. 

Family in Macedonia in the 1960s

She began writing about traditional Macedonian cuisine long before she completed her training at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. She honed her recipe writing skills in the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen and developed her cooking style working as a food stylist, caterer, and private chef in California. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two young children, whom she is teaching to cook.

Katerina Nitsou and her family today

Macedonia – The Cookbook; Recipes & Stories from the Balkans is out on Kitchen Press now. It is such a beautiful book and a wonderful culinary journey into this part of the world.

We caught up with Katerina recently and asked her a few questions so we could all get to know this talented, enterprising and creative woman a little better. 

Q: Hey Katerina, was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: It wasn’t any cookbook in particular that inspired me, it was actually the lack of Macedonian cookbooks in the market that inspired me. I will say however that when you love food and cooking, being surrounded by cookbooks is just a part of daily life and then it makes it hard to pick a favourite.

Macedonia book cover

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: I had this tiny thin spatula with a watermelon print on it that I’ve probably had for 12 years. I had to toss it out recently because it was literally falling apart, and I’ve been trying to find the same one with the same shape and profile and sadly not succeeding.  

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: I’m a big Spotify fan, I always have music on at home. These days I’m listening to Michael Kiwanuka and Federico Aubele’s radios, but I also am known to jam some old school 90’s and early 2000’s Hip Hop and R&B.

The podcasts I’ve loved most over the last year are “Second Life” with Hilary Kerr  and “More Than One Thing” with Athena Calderone. For those that may not know this is about me, in addition to being a retired chef and cookbook author, after a journey of working in real estate for Sotheby’s and doing our own developments, I now work in interior design and property development as a professional renovator here in Melbourne. These podcasts that focus on featuring women who are not afraid to embark on new experiences and try new business helped me so much in my waves of doubt and transition in my recent move from Los Angeles California to Melbourne Australia this past year and enterprising and creative women are certainly the ones in the world I connect to.

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: Macedonia, I would love to spend time traveling around Macedonia, cooking and learning in all the villages and towns.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: Trust yourself and your senses. Cooking is about sight, touch and smell just as much as taste and don’t over think it… Worst thing that can happen is you’ll have to order in.

Katerina’s delicious Braised Quail recipe from Macedonia – Recipes & Stories from the Balkans

Thank you so much for your lovely insights Katerina! 

You can purchase the book direct from us here and begin your own journey into Macedonian food culture.

Dina cooking

Kitchen Quiz: With Dina Begum (Brick Lane Cookbook)

Food writer and chef Dina Begum, author of Brick Lane Cookbook, is a woman who lives and breathes what she cooks and writes about. 

Portrait Of Dina Begum

As a child she would visit the Brick Lane market with her Dad and purchase lamb kofta rolls at the Sweet & Spicy Cafe

Pic of Brick Lane

She was absolutely the perfect person to author Brick Lane Cookbook, her debut book which paid tribute to the multicultural essence of the East of London.

Brick Lane Cookbook Cover

Brick Lane has served a role for many, many years now as a hub for newly established immigrant communities – Huguenot, Bangladeshi, Jewish – arriving in the capital city making their home there, establishing communities and businesses, while expressing themselves and their cultural traditions via food. 

Brick Lane Beigel shop

An area packed full of city boys, art students, curry house touts, models and tourists, the story of Brick Lane is truly a snapshot of London at its authentic, multi-cultural best.

Restaurant sign in Brick Lane.

We caught up with Dina recently in London for our latest episode of Kitchen Quiz.

Pic of Dina Begum

Q: Hi Dina, we hope you are doing fine. So tell us was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: Cookbooks that have inspired me are classic ones, such as books by Siddika Kabir – Bangladeshi author, television personality and nutritionist. My favourite cookbook of hers is the Bangladeshi Curry Cookbook, which focuses on traditional recipes and home cooking. I also love Delia Smith’s writing and recipes – especially her baking books. 

Delia Smith
Bangladeshi Curry Cook Book cover.

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: I can’t live without my kitchen scales. I’m an avid baker and this is essential for baking cakes, pastries etc. 

Dina's scales

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

I usually listen to Nina Simone, The Eagles, Paolo Nutini or Classical music – both Eastern and Western.

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: I would love the adventure element of cooking in the Sundarbans – the mangrove forest which lies in the Bay of Bengal – across Bangladesh and West Bengal. Perhaps on a boat with freshly caught fish!

Pic of the Sundarbans, Bay of Bengal.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: I would say cook what you love to eat and try and cook by instinct instead of focusing on recipes by the letter. This is great when you’re baking – as precision is required but general cooking should be joyful. It’s the best (and tastiest) life skill. 

Pic of Dina cooking

Massive thanks to Dina for sharing her thoughts with us. 

And if you haven’t done so already, then don’t forget to check out her cookbook for an amazing snapshot of multi-cultural East London at its finest and tastiest.

You can order the book direct from us right here.

illustrated recipe for scottishstani spiced paratha by sumayya usmani

Recipe by

Sumayya Usmani

From

Tomorrow’s Kitchen – A Graphic Novel Cookbook

cartoon recipe for Scottishstani Spiced Winter Squash and Tattic Scone Paratha by Sumayya Usmani
Illustration by Shuangshuang Hao

Sumayya says about this lovely recipe for Scottishstani Paratha: ‘This recipe I share with you now has to be the one that gives me the most comfort. As a child, I would wake up on a Sunday morning to be greeted by the smokey scent of fresh parathas being made on the tawa (flat griddle pan), my mouth watering in anticipation of breakfast. My mother made these by mixing leftover mashed potato bhujia into flour to make thick breads with generous amounts of fresh coriander, green chilli, cumin and ghee. When I moved to Glasgow, I was amazed at how similar parathas were to tattie scones – leftover mash mixed with flour and butter, best cooked on a cast iron ‘girdle’. For me, this is my go-to breakfast now.’

Ingredients

  • 60g butternut squash, roasted until soft
  • 1 medium potato, peeled, chopped, boiled and mashed
  • 100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 6 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee or coconut oil

How to make your Scottishstani Paratha

Mix all the ingredients except the ghee in a large bowl. Stir in the melted ghee, a little at a time, until the mixture reaches a dough-like consistency.

Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into tennis ball-sized pieces. Cover with a damp cloth.

Heat a griddle pan, tawa or frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a little ghee, then reduce the heat to medium.

On a floured surface, roll each dough ball into a 6mm-thick patty. Place in the hot ghee and cook gently, pressing down the corners with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper, to ensure it browns evenly. When one side is cooked – about 3-4 minutes – turn over and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining dough and enjoy your Scottishstani Paratha!!!