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Review By Lola Agondogo Hegba
The chance to try new food and recipes is too good to be missed and so being sent two cookbooks which celebrate Indian and Pakistani cuisine is a true delight.
Indian food is an internationally popular cuisine, yet it is sometimes considered to be heavy, rich and indulgent. As more people turn to healthy home cooking as an alternative to eating out, there has never been a better time for a fresh and lighter take on Indian food – one that Mira Manek is creating with her vibrant and healthy cooking style in the Saffron Soul Cookbook. With this cookbook, Mira goes back to her roots to show how basic ingredients: the lentils, vegetables, grains and most importantly the spices, are all brimming with health benefits. Inspired by her mother and grandmother’s cooking, Mira’s style of food is a modern interpretation of Indian classics, creating utterly delicious and naturally healthy dishes. If you want to cook a Saffron & Lime Chia Pot, an Indian Summer Salad, a Thali, a Masala Almond Milk or a Mango Shrikhand Cheesecake, Mira’s recipes combine the best of the core elements of Indian cooking with original health-promoting twists. Here is just one recipe that I tried which was easy to make and understand from this well put together cookbook.
Pudla Spinach pancakes with chilli yoghurt
This is a recipe that has true depth of flavour and such a wholesome taste! The spices work well with the chickpea, a real delight, it was excellent and super simple to do, with a family and a busy schedule this was particularly important for me. I think the next time I will make them, they will have the form of blinis accompanied with chilli yoghurt to add freshness to the dish and enjoy it in easy to eat mouthfuls. It would make the perfect aperitif. With this recipe my family and I made a beautiful discovery which we cannot wait to try again.
The next cookbook I had the opportunity to review was Mountain Berries and Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani. In this cookbook the author shares the exotic cuisine of her native Pakistan, sharing the secrets of her home country’s incredible and varied desserts and sweets. The book is a modern take on recipes inspired by the cultural crossroads of Pakistan, in which she explores the unique significance of the country’s traditions and geography. The 70 authentic and family recipes travel from the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains in the north (where berries and fruits grow in abundance), via the fertile Punjab (with its rice- and grain-based desserts) to the Arabian sea in the south, where saffron- and cardamom-laced sweet recipes are a favourite. Just reading the synopsis made me hungry for more!
Hunza barove giyaling
I was initially surprised by the texture of these pancakes given how few ingredients were needed but it still turned out to be a very good recipe.
Be careful not to put too much water. I added a little more water than expected in the recipe because as I said above, the dough appeared too much thick to me. The pancakes were perfect, true happiness … a real treat! I was pleasantly surprised two pancakes recipes without egg and without milk! Which makes them much more digestible and light, and very good, perfect healthy alternative particularly if you are lactose intolerant or vegan.
Both cookbooks were sent as gifts to review.
Shito sauce is one of my favourite sauces, having discovered it at a Ghanaian friend’s house many years ago and I have never forgotten that foodie experience. It is a deliciously sexy sauce made primarily using vegetable oil, ginger, dried fish/shrimp, garlic, tomato puree/paste, peppers, chilli flakes and spices and everyone should try it at least once!
Here are just a few reasons why:
- Shito Sauce goes with pretty much EVERYTHING! I eat it with plain boiled yam and have tried it with fried yam, fried plantain, boiled plantain, rice…you name it! Be creative and try it with something you like today, even if the combination doesn’t work at least it’s an excuse to eat shito sauce! Here’s a reenactment of me every time I eat something with shito sauce:
2. It looks beautiful in a jar (but better on a plate)! Take a look at this jar of shito made by Eat Jollof doesn’t this look like a work of art and can I just say for the record that it tastes as good as it looks. You could just stare at is as the oil glistens around the chilli flakes of passion, flirting with you to scoop a dollop up and devour it with your meal!
3. It is easy to buy! You can find it in your local major supermarket stocked in the “World Food” section as well as any African food provision stores so it’s easy to find and affordable, ranging from £2-£3 a jar depending on the brand and jar size.
4. It’s moreish! Once you open that jar you’re going to want to eat it again and again and again. This was a jar of Ghana’s Best Shito I bought from Tesco and I don’t think it lasted a week…but then again I was truly craving it so there was no way it was going to last long.
5. It is low maintenance and relatively easy to make and the ingredients can be purchased from most good quality supermarkets/local grocers. You might have to go to an African provisions food store to find certain items but the magic of the internet also means that you can order ingredients online! Click here for a great recipe from Freedes, Founder of My Burnt Orange. Here’s a video from Abena’s Kitchen, you can use it or just watch it as the recipe is brought life and flirts with you on your screen.
6. It’s saucy and spicy and quite simply a sensual delight for your taste buds! That’s all I have to say. If you must eat any sauce in this world at least once then you must eat SHITO!