Posts

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.

Portfolio Items