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My name's Anjum Anand. I'm a food writer and a chef,
and I'm passionate about Indian food.
In this series, see how different regional flavours
of the Indian sub-continent can be found in cities up and down the country.
From great Bengali cuisine in London
to the spicy flavours of the Punjab found in Glasgow,
I'll be showing novice cooks how to prepare authentic dishes.
Have you learnt anything?
-Coriander powder, yes. I'm getting there.
This week, I'm heading to Leicester to meet 24-year-old Michael Scott,
know as Scottie to his mates.
He's a hot shot financial recruiter and captain
of the local rugby club, Stoneygate.
He loves Indian food,
only his curries come from a jar rather than a delicious blend of spices.
Curry is, without a doubt, my favourite food.
I love curry, I just don't have a clue how to cook it.
So Scottie's taking on a culinary challenge.
I'm nervous because I've never done anything like this.
He's decided to try and cook a full
Indian meal for 15 of his curry-loving team-mates.
To help Scottie prepare, I'm taking him on a journey
into the tastes and flavours that are literally on his doorstep.
From the spices used in cooking...
Scottie, welcome to MY world.
To how to cook a Gujarati classic and British favourite, onion bhajis.
And we'll get some chilli powder.
He likes it hot.
This is authentic, healthy Indian food that anyone can cook.
Gujarati food is mainly vegetarian.
It almost feels like it's evolved from the kitchens of busy mothers.
It's really easy to cook, there's lots of one-pot dishes,
plenty of vegetables and a touch of sweetness.
Gujarat is based on the west coast of India.
The Gujarati community in Leicester really started
to flourish in the 1970s, and is now about 20,000 strong.
Leicester has such a huge Gujarati community
and as I'm going to see Scottie and I know I can't go empty-handed,
I've decided to cook him some Dhokla.
It's such a traditional delicious Gujarati dish. I love it.
It's what I want to eat when I'm in a Gujarati home,
so I thought I'd make him the same. Really simple, really quick.
Dhokla is a savoury dish, normally eaten as a snack.
I make a batter with garam flour and yoghurt,
which I'm flavouring with fresh ginger, chilli and garlic.
And I'm going to put some sugar in.
So a teaspoon of that.
Salt to taste, and a little bit of turmeric powder for colour.
And give that all a mix.
Now, to get it to rise I'm using ENO fruit salt.
The fruit salts will give the Dhokla a light and spongy texture.
And mix that in. And leave it for a couple of minutes
just till bubbles start to form, then pour it into my pan to steam.
And that should take about 20 minutes.
Whilst the Dhokla steams, I'm going to make a tarka.
Tarka is anything where you cook some spices in an oil,
at the end of a dish basically, so that it just adds that really fresh
fragrance into the dish, but it's not cooked all the way through.
The tarka is made using mustard seeds, curry leaves,
sesame seeds, a splash of water and sugar.
It is going to be really delicious and I know he's going to love it.
I'm going to take the cake to Leicester
in a modern version of the Indian Tiffin box.
The word "Tiffin" started being used by the British
in India in the 18th century to mean a light lunch.
In Indian cities, an intricate
network of food couriers deliver lunch in Tiffin boxes,
from the kitchens of wives and mothers direct to the city's workers.
Leicester is home to the largest Gujarati community in Britain,
and their arrival has changed the complexion of the city.
For rugby-loving Scottie, there's a wealth of flavours
for him to discover right under his nose.
I can't wait to get him cooking his first dish,
especially as it'll be in a nice warm kitchen.
My first rugby match.
It's a bit rough if you ask me!
I don't understand it, they keep jumping on top of each other.
I think I'm going to go inside, get a cup of tea and wait for him
to finish. I'm out of here.
Eventually, Stoneygate lose 16-9, so Scottie's first concern is that
-we've captured his one moment of glory.
-Did you get my try?
We got your try.
-I'm very excited for you.
Once I knew which team you were on, I was really rooting.
I think the showers are off limits.
-I'm going to grab a shower.
-Go for it.
-And we'll cook for them later. See you later.
After the big match, Scottie's worked up an appetite.
Back home, he's keen to tuck into the Dhokla.
Well, I didn't want to come empty-handed so I brought a gift.
-Dhokla is a steamed lentil cake and it's quite spongy and light.
-Ever tried it?
-Do you want to try?
It's not what you get at your local curry house,
it's not too spicy.
It's got some ginger and green chilli so it's not crazy spicy.
It's soft and spongy. I didn't think it would be, but it's really nice.
-Now, do you ever cook Indian food?
Honestly no, not really. It's generally a jar of Korma, I'm afraid!
-Don't say that. Just stop there.
I thought we could cook something to get you started.
Something quite simple and quick, so I thought a chutney.
The chutney is made of two ingredients classic to Gujarati food.
The first is tamarind, which comes from
the fruity pulp of the tamarind tree.
The fruit is a brown pod-like legume,
which contains a soft acidic pulp.
The pulp has a tangy sharp taste.
It is the sour ingredient in the sweet and sour flavours
common to Gujarati cuisine.
The sweet flavour comes from jaggery.
This unrefined sugar is very healthy and full of minerals.
It's made by boiling down the sweet juices of the sugar cane,
as well as the natural sap from the date palm, until it's hard.
It's then set into blocks.
Always buy the darkest that you can find, as the flavour is much richer.
So to make our chutney we have cumin seeds, tamarind paste.
We roast the cumin first.
-Roasting will make it really nice and nutty.
I never thought you could put that into a pan on its own.
If you fry cumin seeds, you'll get a different flavour.
-We need to grind them. Do you have a pestle and mortar?
-You don't have a pestle and mortar.
Do you have a rolling pin? No.
-Why would you have a rolling pin?
-I'm a man.
All right. We need to grind these. So...
Tricks of the trade.
Base of the saucepan? Don't be shy.
Use brute force. You're a man of iron,
do it with your own fist!
We're getting there.
-What are you doing? Just adding...
-Two teaspoons of the paste.
Chutneys are quite sweet, so we need lots of sugar.
That's a lot of sugar, isn't it?
Yeah. What I need now is some of your cumin powder.
And now all we need is some salt and lots of black pepper.
And I'm just going to put some water in.
In a few minutes,
you'll have a really yummy, slightly thick tamarind chutney.
It's very versatile, but it's the kind of thing you develop a taste for.
It's like, ketchup. Once you develop a taste for it you think, "I love that".
Have to have it with everything.
-It should be really slightly thick.
-Quite thick. Yeah.
Yeah, but still you can drop it off a spoon.
-You wanna try some?
-Yeah, I do.
It's strong. It's really sweet and tart, so not too much.
-Take a big bite.
-A big bite!
-Mmm. That's really good.
Scottie is a man on a mission.
He's got to cook a three-dish meal for 15 of his team-mates.
Rugby players love their meat, so I'm going to show him
how to cook a luscious lamb curry, but with a delicious Gujarati twist.
Chips are also a Gujarati favourite,
only I'm going to cook them with spices and cashew nuts.
I'm also going to show him how to make a super-healthy vegetarian dish
classic to the Gujerat, called undhiyo.
But first I want to start Scottie off
with some traditional Gujarati flavours.
Leicester is full of Gujarati eateries
that sell fantastic snacks to the locals.
I'm going to give Scottie a glimpse of the richness and variety that
is just around the corner from him.
-Oh, check this out. This is great stuff.
-They have such a great range of snacks.
It looks like I would like every single thing along here.
-Little taste bites, delicious. Shall we try some?
Patra's one of my favourites.
-What is it?
-It's just a colocasia leaf -
an unusual vegetable for here.
They make a paste and put the paste on the leaf
-and then they roll it up.
-I'll try one.
I get the feeling that we're going to take one of everything.
There's nothing left.
Wait till the flavours kick in.
It's quite a strange texture, isn't it? But it's...
-It's a soft texture.
I love it. Maybe it's an acquired taste.
-Can I just dip the chilli and take a bite from that?
Is that one green chilli?
That one. What is it stuffed with, potatoes?
-There is so many masalas in there.
-So many masalas coming your way.
-That is really good.
Those masalas had their origins in a mixture of spices and it's these
that I want Scottie to learn about.
You can buy the majority of Indian spices from supermarkets.
But if you want the real experience, you need to find a good Indian spice shop.
Wow! This place is amazing, isn't it?
-It is. So Scottie, welcome to MY world.
It is the world of colour and flavour.
It looks amazing, doesn't it?
Spice is what gives Indian food its character.
I wouldn't even know places like this even existed.
What is that? That looks like tree.
That... It's cinnamon bark.
And how would you cook...?
-You can't eat that, can you?
-Well, you can.
-You can eat whole spices as they are.
Mmm! No, but it's sweet cinnamon.
It's just cos it's quite a coarse texture.
It's a bit woody.
You can taste it, can't you?
You see this for instance.
This is coriander powder.
-Have a smell.
-Oh, yes. It smells really nice, doesn't it?
It's quite fresh and fragrant.
-It's not really too Indian as such.
And then red chilli powder.
Is that where the kick comes from in the curry?
-Don't even put it in your hand.
It's the entire kick. In India we look for good
quality by looking at the colour.
So is it the deeper or the lighter?
The deeper the better. So we say that if it's not so dark,
they've actually pounded and ground
the seeds and the membrane, which have the most heat, which is fine.
But it's going to be hotter if it was just the skins
and not the seeds and membrane.
But the most discerning housewives in India,
and my mother-in-law, will only buy that's really, really deep red.
And that's it. That's our really our 101 basic spices.
-It's not as daunting as I thought.
-It's not so complicated.
Yeah, I know. Let's get cooking.
-Let's go. I like that. Enthusiasm.
So with Scottie raring to go, I've brought him back to my
kitchen to show him the first dish.
It's one of my favourite recipes and is based on a Gujarati one-pot dish
It's a mixture of root vegetables
and baby aubergines in a coriander and coconut masala.
It is really one of my favourite vegetable dishes, I love it.
I do love root vegetables.
We're going to cut them into smallish chunks.
I'll cut that while you start making the masala.
-OK. What do I need for that?
-So, you need three cloves of garlic.
You need about
that much ginger.
-And you need to have a chilli...or two.
-Do you like it hot? Medium hot?
-Nice and hot.
So two chillies. Now, the best way to deseed a chilli.
-OK. Is you cut off the top.
And you roll it in your hands, and they all sprinkle out.
So I'm taking the seeds out
so we can get a good flavour of the chilli without too much heat.
That's my rationale. So I'll leave that to you to deseed.
Excellent. Let's have a crack at that.
Out they come.
That's just a great little trick.
If I went into an Indian restaurant or anything like that,
I wouldn't order a vegetarian dish.
-So what would make this dish...make me order it?
-What would convert you?
-I mean, most meat eaters I know,
say they could actually go with a vegetarian for an Indian meal
because we have so many textures
and flavours in a vegetarian dish now because two thirds of Indian
is vegetarian, so for generations they've been
perfecting this cuisine of cooking with vegetables. So, in the blender.
You'll need a splash of water to get it going.
-And we're looking for a fine paste.
At this stage, we can add our coriander in
-because we're going to chop that up a bit.
Right. How's that?
Let's have a look.
-Yeah. I think that's perfect.
To the puree I'm adding salt, coconut, ground peanuts
and sugar, and a tablespoon of coriander powder and one of cumin.
This is a really unusual spice which I don't even think we saw.
-Didn't see that.
-It's called carom seeds. You can eat raw.
-Amazing for your digestion.
So if you ever have a tummy ache...
If I have a tummy ache, I'll take this with some salt and hot water
and it just settles everything.
-It's almost menthol.
And you can already see this is looking quite fresh and appetizing.
It smells great.
It does, doesn't it? So you're going to put some lemon juice.
Great. That is our masala.
So if you start stuffing these
-and I'm going to heat up the oil to start cooking it all.
This is another spice I really want you to smell,
which you might not have seen in the shop.
Oh! What is that?
-Has it gone up your nose?
-It's gone right up there!
I know you don't know what that means. It's a very strong spice
and we use only a tiny bit.
Asafoetida is also known as hing.
It has a strong odour which softens when heated in oil.
It then develops a taste much like sauteed onions or garlic.
I'm going to add my mustard seeds.
-They tell you when they're ready...
-To speak to you.
They start dancing in the pan.
Let's put all the vegetables in.
-Everything. And the paste.
Everything goes in now, apart from the peas
which we'll put in later. OK, go for it.
-It's looking very colourful, isn't it?
-To me, that's beautiful.
Bring it to the boil and then turn it down
and you let the vegetables simmer.
-It's a pretty simple dish to prepare and...
-It's done, isn't it?
The vegetables will be cooked in about 20 minutes.
Just before serving, I'm adding some peas, fresh chopped coriander
and a sprinkling of coconut.
-Good enough to eat.
-Do not tell me that is not appealing.
-It looks good.
Do not tell me you wouldn't want to eat a bit of it!
-With your meat on the side.
-It does look nice.
-OK. There we are.
The proof's in the tasting.
Good sweet potato.
I love it. But I do love this dish.
I'm so proud, my job is done.
Scottie seems to be enjoying this type of food,
but there's only one way to really experience Gujarati cuisine,
and that's in a real Gujarati home.
Like many Gujaratis, Daxa came to Leicester in the 1970s.
Her mother taught her to cook and she's worked
in the catering business for over 20 years.
Daxa cooks from scratch at home every night,
often in the traditional Gujarati manner of a Thali.
Today, Daxa's Thali consists of rice, chickpeas, aubergine and potatoes,
dal, various pickles, raita, and a ghulab jaman,
which is a sweet dumpling.
It's a starter, a main meal
and a dessert all served together on the same plate at the same time.
So is this the typical way that you'd sit down and eat?
It is, yes.
I've made a sweet dish as well, but it's only occasionally we
-make it because of healthy eating. We don't make it every day.
But your food is very light.
We don't add so much oil.
The masalas I use. They are plain masalas
like chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and sugar, that's all.
-It's quite simple.
-All simple masalas.
One of Scottie's favourite snacks is the ever popular onion Bhaji.
The origin of this snack was from Gujarat and Daxa's
going to show us her own recipe.
The Bhaji is made from two parts garam flour to one part plain flour,
Greek yoghurt, spinach and salt
as well as Daxa's secret spice combination.
I'm going to add chilli powder.
-Daxa, he likes it hot.
-I'm going to make it medium then.
OK. That's fine!
We'll put some chutney on the side, that's hot chilli.
And some turmeric powder.
All the ingredients are then mixed together in a batter.
I never do anything like this. I go into Tesco to the deli counter
-and order an onion Bhaji!
-Ah! This is easy.
Tell him off like he's your own son!
After tasting these,
I doubt Scott will be buying them in a supermarket again.
-That's very good.
-It's the yin and the yang,
the macho rugby player has grace and elegance. It's fantastic.
-I'm in touch with my feminine side, I think.
-I'm proud of you.
-From onion Bhajis.
-Tasting time. What I'm looking forward to.
Onion Bhajis with chutneys.
So flavourful and soft as you said.
-It doesn't feel greasy at all.
-No? How about you, Michael?
-I love this kind of food. They certainly beat the ones off the deli.
-Mmm. No comparison.
Bhajis are a great savoury appetizer.
But Scottie needs to cook something much more hearty for 15 sporty men.
So I'm going to show him how to make the main course.
It's a warming lamb curry with fenugreek dumplings.
Full of protein and carbohydrates, this spicy dish is perfect
for the Stoneygate rugby team.
It's the one I'm looking forward to.
I've seen you looking at the lamb.
First, I'm going to chop the lamb into cubes,
before browning them off in hot oil.
-I remember my mum used to cook me dumplings in the stew.
It was one of my favourite foods.
-I've not had it for years.
-It's comfort food.
I'm sure the guys at rugby will like this.
I thought that when I thought what to cook.
15 big men. What are they going to eat?
Yeah, I know. Now I'm going to remove the meat
and put it to one side whilst I make my masala, in the same pot.
I'm starting with a teaspoon of mustard seeds
and a whole chopped onion.
Whilst the onions are browning, I'm going to get Scottie to make a
paste with three cloves of garlic and a square inch of ginger.
-Whack it in?
So you know garlic burns really easily,
which is why we always cook the onions first.
-And you can start smelling the flavour of cooked garlic.
So we add all our spices in.
-Have you learnt anything?
Oh my God, I'm super-impressed!
OK. So, a tablespoon of coriander powder.
Cumin powder, about the same.
Chilli to taste, always.
Lots of salt and...
I'm going to give the whole thing a stir,
but literally just for ten seconds
and always over a low heat. Spices that are powdered burn really easily.
-So our tomatoes have gone in.
And now we need just patience.
We need to let it cook down and the tomatoes have got to go from
raw to slightly sweet. And they'll have a lovely depth of flavour.
-It's dumpling time.
I'm mixing together two parts wholemeal
flour to one part garam flour.
I'm also adding a pinch of baking powder,
as well as sugar and salt to taste.
Then some lemon juice and around a teaspoon of grated ginger.
I'm also adding dried fenugreek leaves for a savoury flavour,
and turmeric for colour. Then all the ingredients mix into a firm dough.
I love the word dumplings.
It reminds me of my daughter.
A cute little sweet puffy ball.
We're going to shape the dough into small balls,
while the masala cooks down.
-At this stage, we can add our coconut milk in.
And some water.
And some lemon juice. So if you could just squeeze it straight in.
-That's the colour of your stew.
-It's looking more like a curry now.
It'll get a bit darker when the meat
and dumpling goes in and everything else.
Just add them all in.
After ten minutes, it just needs a teaspoon
of garam masala before we add the meat.
You want all those lamb meaty juices in.
Do you think you can do it?
-I'll have a go.
-That's what I like to hear.
Six minutes later, and the curry is ready.
Let's have a look.
It looks good to me.
-Shall we have a try?
-Let's do it.
It's going to be hot.
-The guys are going to like it?
As much as like the undhiyo.
-That's your thing.
-That's your thing.
And you can taste the fenugreek flavour, which is what I love.
Which is very Gujarati.
I think it's lunch time.
I'm also going to cook a quick and tasty accompaniment to go with
the main dishes.
It's a Gujarati twist on the great British chip.
First, I'm going to fry the potatoes over a low heat for ten minutes.
Then in another pan, I'm frying a teaspoon of cumin seed, cashew nuts
and a tablespoon of sesame seeds.
I am flavouring them with chilli, mango powder
and turmeric, as well as sugar and salt.
Finally, I'm refrying the chips in very hot oil so they get
nice and brown and crispy.
-That's a pretty perfect chip.
-Is that good?
My job is done. I have shown Scottie all I can and now, it's over to him.
Stoneygate Rugby Club has been in existence for over 100 years,
and the current crop of players have curry nights once a month.
Normally, it's a takeaway, but this month and for the first time ever,
captain Scottie has decided to cook a slap-up meal for his pals.
A tall order for someone, who not that long ago,
had only cooked Indian food from a jar.
So, beam us up, Scottie!
Tonight is a massive event for me, definitely.
I've got 16 good friends and some rugby playing big old boys
that have a curry at least twice a week
and they sample all the local restaurants.
They're expecting good things from me
so, hopefully I can certainly fulfil their dream, so to speak.
But I'm nervous cos I've never done anything like this before.
Scottie's going to cook three dishes -
a traditional lamb curry with fenugreek dumplings,
spicy Gujarati fries, and a lovely vegetarian dish, undhiyo.
I just hope he puts as much effort
into his cooking as he does his drinking.
-How's it going?
-Mustard seeds, onions browned.
-What about the ginger and the garlic paste?
-You've forgotten them.
I'm glad things are under control!
-I feel like I'm rushing.
-I feel like I'm rushing.
You haven't got long. You've got an hour and you've just started.
With the hungry rugby players of Stoneygate arriving
and Scottie's struggling with his dumplings, finally, I take pity on him.
-Is that too big?
-That's going to expand to that, so if you want
a dumpling that big in your curry...
I'm with you, Anjum, don't worry.
No, you can do what you want. You can say "No, Anjum, you're too much of a girl".
Anjum, this is man food!
Exactly! That's all you can say. The lamb curry is almost done,
but it's a rush to finish the other dishes.
-There's a little stress...
But Scottie's managing to cook a real Indian meal for the first time.
However the true test is what his mates will think.
This one's a hot one.
This is a vegetarian curry.
It's got loads of stuff in.
It's got sweet potatoes, normal potatoes, aubergines.
That's the perfect chip mate.
-It's got cashew nuts, sesame seeds.
-It looks very good.
It's not a regular thing, gents.
-It is good lamb, isn't it?
Do you want to know the trick? Brown it off, leave it for about...
Yeah, about a week. No, about ten or 15 minutes.
-Check it out.
-I've taught Anjum everything she knows.
Enough said. Exactly.
-So what do we all think?
-This is excellent. It's very nice.
-I love the dumplings. They're very sweet.
I suppose the main thing I've learned is the difference between
the regions of cuisine.
The Leicester cuisine being more Gujarati-based, and just learned
not to be scared by going out and having a bit of a go with cooking.
It's brilliant. Tasting this, it doesn't really come to mind anything
that I've had in a restaurant, and that's what I find intriguing about
what Scottie has prepared tonight.
-Enjoying it, William?
I thought it was far too daunting to go and buy some spices
and throw it all in a pan and do it yourself,
but it's not as scary as people think it is.
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