hosted by Darjeeling Express
Asma Said Khan has had these recipes in her family for generations. The food comes straight out of the Nawabi/Mughal school of cuisine, but with her own modern twist. Now she's taking these dishes from her home in India to London. This is authentic Indian food. Homemade, finely spiced and exquisite in taste. No curry pastes and powders in Asma's kitchen. Discover true Indian food and take a journey of spice, on the Darjeeling Express.
A unique dish from the southern state of Hyderabad. The roots of this dish can be traced to the middle east and was introduced to the region by Arab traders and merchants who were trading along the Indian coasts from the 7th Century. Made with lamb, wheat, barley and lentils. The haleem is cooked for several hours and then blended to a paste. The haleem is garnished with fresh mint, slices of lime, caramalised onions and green chillies.
Chicken Tengri Kabab
Delicately spiced chicken drumstick Kabab. Marinated overnight in yogurt, garlic and ginger. Grated Mace and Nutmeg is added to this marinate. A spice and flavouring used extensively in Lucknow. Still considered by many as the food capital of India. This kabab is cooked with spices which reflects the legacy of Wajid Ali Shah who ruled in the late 19th century the the last Ruler of Oudh (the Medieval name for region of Lucknow).
Keema ka Samosa
The closest thing Indian cuisine has to an English Sandwich. The Samosa. The fillings of a samosa are not be as varied as the sandwich, and the most popular filling is a mixture of potatoes and vegetables. The keema samosa has a minced lean beef steak filling, with finely chopped onions and coriander leaves.
Calcutta Chaat Selection
“Papri chaat” which has a layer of potatoes, finely chopped onions and coriander leaves on a “papri”, which forms the base of the chaat. “Dahi puchka” which is a tangy and spicy combination of potatoes, black chaana (chickpeas), tamarind chutney, spices and yogurt all contained within a small hollow “puckha” and some “Bhel puri” which is a chaat which has “muri” (puffed rice) as its base.
Made with the finest basmati rice. The rice is steamed with whole “garam masalas” which infuses the rice with the aromas and flavours of cinnamom, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. The pallau is garnished with slivers of browned fried onions. This is the perfect rice to go with the chicken, lamb and fish.
Using more “Southern” flavours, this rice is spiced with fresh curry leaves, black mustard seeds and black pepper from Kerala. Fresh lime/lemon juice adds a subtle zing to this rice. Which balances well with the Bengali Tomato Chutney, Chettinad Paneer and Mirchi ka Salaan.
Kashmiri Lamb with dried red Kashmiri chillies and Khara Masala
Marinated overnight with dried Kashmiri chillies, the lamb is slow cooked with whole Indian spices (garam masala) and slices of fresh garlic and ginger.
Baigan Ka Bharta
A Punjabi favourite. Whole aubergines are smoked gently till the insides are suculent and soft. Then the aubergine is cooked with spices and garnished with coriander leaves and green chillies.
A speciality of the central Indian city of Bhopal. Chicken is cooked with spices which are used for pickling. Hence the name Achaar, which means pickle in Hindi. The spice is panch pooran which is considered an “Eastern” spice and used extensively in Bengal, Bihar and Orrisa. One theory why this unusual dish came into being was that the royal family of Bhopal had hired chefs from Bengal and they came up with this “fusion” dish.
Small discs of wholemeal flat bread. This is often called the “picnic bread”. Most commonly made in the Northern State of Uttar Pradesh, for long train journeys and the occasional picnic as it can be eaten at room temperature. A rarity for Indian breads which are all meant to be eaten straight from the tandoor or tawa!
Bengali Fish Malai Curry
This delicate fish dish is cooked with onion, ginger and garlic and tomato paste. The only spice used for this prawn dish is turmeric. Turmeric is a spice which is heavily used in Bengali cuisine and is reputed with having anti-bacterial and other healing properties. The “malai” in this dish comes from coconut milk. The fish is fillets of Tilapia.
Usually associated with chicken, Chettinad spices and flavouring are used to cook Paneer. Paneer is strongly associated with North Indian dishes such as Mattar Paneer and Saag Paneer. and the more generic Karai Paneer. This is an unusual way to prepare Paneer and works remarkably well!
Tomato, Apricot, Prunes and Date Chutney
A bright red glossy chutney. Cooked over several hours, this chutney is the perfect accompaniment to any meal. Before adding the chopped tomatoes and dried fruits, the oil is infused with “panch pooran”, a traditional mix of five seeds – fennel, fenugreek, cumin, onion seed and yellow mustard seeds. Following which, thin slices of fresh ginger and garlic, dried red chillies chutney is added together with “gur” which is natural Indian jaggery (unrefined cane sugar). Fresh green chillies are used as a garnish.
Hyderabadi Mirchi ka Salaan
An unusual curry, made with fresh green chillies, sliced onions, ground almonds and sesame seeds. This is a regional speciality dish which is only found in the city of Hyderabad or in select specialist restaurants serving Hyderabadi food. It has a unique flavour, and ironically is not as spicy as it sounds.
Gajjar ka Halwa
A halwa made with carrots. A version of this Halwa is made in many Northern regions of India. My favourite is the halwa made in my fathers’ hometown of Aligarh with the bright red winter carrots of North India. A variety that is only available for a few months and absolutely delicious when used to make this traditional dessert. The carrots are grated and boiled in milk for several hours. Once cooked, the carrots are cooked on low heat till all the liquid is absorbed.
An aromatic steamed yogurt with cardamom. This dish is from Bengal and is comparable to the comparable in flavour to the legendary Mishti Doi of Calcutta.
Fruit Chaat with Rock Salt, lime juice and brown sugar
A selection of seasonal and exotic fruits, flavoured by a traditional Indian fruit chaat dressing.
First flush single Estate Darjeeling tea
£40 + £2.80 booking fee, for three snacks, seven dishes, condiments, side dishes and tea