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Love,

N & N

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Recipes

Our South Indian recipes

Cumin Spiced Okra Curry

Neeru Ravi

Okra, or ladies finger as they are commonly known, is one of our favourite vegetables. It’s a distinct vegetable, both in terms of taste and texture, and is very popular in South Indian cooking, appearing in sambhar and different curries.

One of our favourite ways to eat Okra is in this incredibly simple 5 ingredient dish.  We’ve gently spiced the okra with cumin, mustard seeds and salt, and we think that this is all you need to bring out the flavours and create a delicious dish.

This okra curry makes a super side dish to go alongside some rice and sambhar or to scoop up with pieces of dosa. Or you can also just eat it by the cupful like we love to!

Slowly roasting the okra over a low heat is the best way to yield a soft, succulent and almost caramelised curry. So take a bit of time over it – we guarantee its well worth it.

N&N x

Ingredients

5 cups chopped Okra
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Slice off the top hard stems of the okra fingers and then chop up into 1cm thick pieces. The insides are a bit slimy, so either wear gloves or rub a tiny bit of oil on your hands beforehand to prevent your hands getting sticky
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a large wok on a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the cumin seeds and stir for 30 secs
  3. Tumble in the okra and stir fry on a high heat for 2-3 mins
  4. Turn the heat right down to very low and cover the pan
  5. Stir every 5 mins – the okra at the bottom should brown and caramelise slowly, so don’t stir too often. But also be careful not to let it burn!
  6. Keep tasting it and after about 15-20 mins it should be uniformly soft, browned and caramelised.

Season with salt and stir well. Serve HOT.

Spicy Green Banana Chips

Neeru Ravi

Crispy, spicy and oh so moreish. These oven-baked green banana chips are the perfect accompaniment to any South Indian meal, adding crunch and packing in bags of flavour.

Oven-baking creates a crispy, crunchy chip without all the oil typically used to fry them. It also makes the whole process much simpler.

We love to flavour our green banana chips using a mix of turmeric, chilli powder, asafoetida and salt. The turmeric gives a distinct yellow colour, the chilli gives heat and the asafoetida provides savouriness, creating a well-rounded flavour combination.

For maximum texture, nutritional value and minimum wastage, we use the bananas with their skins on. The skins crisp up beautifully in the oven and add an extra level of crunch!

Serve up as a side dish, snack or even a starter with some different chutneys for dipping.

N&N x

Time: 45 mins

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

4 Green Bananas
 2 ½ tsps Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (set it to fan oven, which will help dry out the banana slices and crisp them up even more)
  2. Slice off the top and tail of the green bananas. Then slice into very thin (~1-2mm) pieces
  3. In a small bowl mix together the spices
  4. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and spread 1/2 tsp sesame oil over it
  5. Arrange the green banana slices in a single layer and drizzle with 1 tsp sesame oil
  6. Sprinkle over the ½ of the spice mixture evenly and use your fingers to coat the slices
  7. Flip the pieces over and repeat
  8. Bake in the middle shelf of your oven for 15 mins and then flip the pieces over and bake for another 15 min. Keep checking to make sure they don’t burn

Serve hot or store in an airtight jar so they stay crispy.

Cauliflower Lime 'Rice'

Nikki Ravi

Sunny summer days cry out for picnics, cricket matches and bbqs. And we're here to give you some inspiration for your summer menus! 

A South Indian party or picnic is never complete without a mixed rice of some sort - think white rice with spicy grated carrots or masala aubergines or nutty toasted coconut. 

We've created a version of coconut rice already - our kale cranberry coconut rice but the most popular flavour of mixed rice has has got to be lime! The bright yellow hue from tumeric and tang from fresh lime juice make it the perfect summer dish! 

We decided to keep all the flavours but swap out the white rice for cauliflower couscous as a lighter alternative! This grain substitute is made by blitzing raw cauliflower into a fine, grain like consistency- it can be steamed in the microwave or simply eaten raw.

This dish is so simple and quick to whip up. All the flavour comes from the tempering mixture of mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chilli, asafoetida and tumeric, all classic South Indian spices. 

Right at the end we add in lots of fresh lime juice, some toasted cashews and pistachios for crunch and coriander for freshness and colour! 

For a really authentic touch, serve in little biodegradable banana leaf cups with a spoonful of spicy pickle!

Love,

N & N

Time:  20-25 mins

Ingredients:
1/2 a head of cauliflower turned into couscous
1/2 green chilli finely chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger finely chopped
3 tbsps finely chopped coriander
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3-4 curry leaves
1/8 cup pistachios
1/8 cup cashews
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Break the cauliflower into small florets and place in a blender - pat the florets dry with some paper towels to remove any excess moisture as this will make the couscous clump together and turn it into a puree like consistency which we definitely don't want!
  2. Spread the pistachios and cashews out on a plate and microwave on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Mix them around and put them back in the microwave for another 2-3 minutes until they're light golden brown and toasty! Once the nuts have cooled, break them into rough pieces.
  3. In a saucepan pan heat the oil and after 2-3 minutes add in the mustard seeds - they should start spluttering!
  4. Add in the ginger, chilli, curry leaves, tumeric and asafoedita and mix through for a few minutes. Be careful to make sure the mustard seeds don't burn. Remove from the heat. 
  5. Add the cauliflower couscous to the pan with the tempering mixture and mix it all through. The tumeric should colour the couscous with a wonderful golden hue! Add in the salt, lime juice, chopped nuts and coriander and give it all a good mix!

Serve it fresh or pack into tupperware boxes for a packed lunch or picnic! It tastes delicious with baked crisps or microwave popped poppadums!

Baked Polenta Upma

Neeru Ravi

Upma is as typical as South Indian food gets. Made from store cupboard staples and any fresh veggies in the fridge, it's an anytime, any occasion meal. You'll find it served up for breakfast, packed in tiffin boxes for lunch and even appearing on the menus at weddings. 

It's one of those comforting foods, like pasta with tomato sauce, mashed potato or mac and cheese, which you can whip up in an instant and make you feel warm and cosy.

In our version, we've used polenta instead of cracked wheat which makes this recipe gluten free. Polenta is so naturally creamy that we were also able to cut back on the generous helping of oil which Upma typically requires in order to make it creamy and smooth. 

And to really shake things up we've baked our Upma and made it into succulent rectangles that are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. You might have heard of baked polenta chips - well these are our polenta Upma chips!

To be honest, they were just an experiment to begin with, but they turned out so tasty, that we just had to share! We think they're a weird and wonderful cross between Upma and Dhokla, which is a golden yellow, steamed, chickpea flour cake that originates from North India.

These golden rectangles studded with bright green peas and spec of orange carrots are best served up with a fresh coriander chutney, a creamy coconut chutney or a hot and spicy tomato and onion chutney - and yes we will be sharing recipes for these soon!

Enjoy,

N&N

Serves: 4

Time: 60-70mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse polenta 
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water 
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida 
  • 1/8 tsp mustard seeds 
  • 1 inch piece ginger chopped finely 
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • Handful green beans chopped finely 
  • 1 small carrot finely diced 
  • 1/3 cup peas 
  • 1/2 white onion chopped finely 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 

Method 

  1. Lightly toast the polenta on a low heat for 5 mins stirring constantly 
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  3. Heat the oil in a wok. When very hot, add the mustard seeds
  4. When they start to pop, add the asafoetida and onion.
  5. Sautée for a few mins until the onions brown.
  6. Add the ginger and veggies and sauté until almost fully cooked ~ 5- 7 mins
  7. Add the boiling water, salt and chilli flakes to the veggies.
  8. Sieve in the polenta bit by bit and whisk it in vigorously. Make sure it's whisked in fully before adding any more, otherwise it will go lumpy. You may need someone to help with this part - one person sifting and one person whisking (Neeru tried doing both simultaneously and although she managed it, it was tricky!) Keep going until all the polenta is added and whisked in - it's a great workout for your arms ;)
  9. Spread out evenly on a baking tray (about 1/2 in thick)  and bake for 20 mins.
  10. Turn on the grill and bake for a further 5-10 mins until crispy on top.

Serve up hot with a dollop of chutney.

Masala Baked Tofu

Neeru Ravi

Indo-Chinese food is very popular down South. The likes of saucy, spicy noodles smothered in Indian spices and deliciously savoury hot and sour soups. We love the combo of Indian spices and Asian flavours, and they come together in perfect harmony in this masala baked tofu.

 Tofu is one of those sponge-like foods - it doesn't have a taste of its own but soaks up all the flavours its given. We marinade it in a bath of South Indian spices like asafoetida and cumin, together with freshly grated ginger, chilli and soy sauce for an Asian hit. Roasted it in the oven, it comes out crispy on the outside with a delicious spicy crust, but stays wonderfully soft and creamy on the inside.

We love tofu both for its high protein content and its soft cheese-like texture. It's great for adding substance to salads and sandwiches: slice it up and add to a sandwich with greens, tomatoes and avocado, toss on top of a crunchy cabbage, carrot and beetroot slaw or pack inside a chappati with some salad leaves for a fusion wrap.

This is a staple dish in our family - we literally make a batch every week! We hope you love it as much as we do!

Happy tofu baking, 

N & N


Ingredients:

1 block extra firm plain tofu
1 tsp sunflower oil or sesame oil
1/4 cup soya sauce (sub with tamari to make it gluten free)
3 tsps balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp garam masala powder
1 1/2 tsps cumin powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida (see our Spice Advice section on where to buy this)
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
3-4 twists of black pepper from a mill
1 pinch chilli powder (add more to taste)

Time: 40 minutes (10 mins prep - 30 minutes baking)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with tin foil
  2. Slice the tofu into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl
  3. Add all the spices and sauces over the top and mix it through thoroughly so all the tofu pieces are fully covered
  4. Spread out the tofu pieces onto the baking tray and pour over the remaining marinade - it will reduce down to a delicious sticky glaze in the oven!
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the tops are crispy and golden

Pop a few pieces into your mouth while they're still warm. You can also refrigerate the tofu for 3-4 days to add to your packed lunches throughout the week!

Peppercorn Pickles

Neeru Ravi

This is a true authentic South Indian pickle that packs a punch without being oily, over-poweringly spicy or heavy. It's light, crisp, tangy and with a delicate pepperiness.

We all use black pepper day in day out , but have you ever tried green, raw peppercorns? In South Indian we love pickling these gems and there's bound to be a jar of these in any South Indian home you visit in India. 

The pickling liquid is  super concoction of water, salt, lime juice and turmeric. Our mum is such a fan of this that we caught her taking a swig of the pickling juice by itself! 

Pickled green peppercorn are a perfect pairing with the most typical of South Indian dishes, in particular yogurt rice. This iconic meal is simply cooked and cooled rice mixed with plain yoghurt. Fancy chefs also like to add in chillies, toasted mustard seeds and pomegranate seeds. The tangy and cooling yoghurt matches perfectly with sharp and crisp peppercorns. It is a match made in South Indian heaven. 

You can also mix it up and try some of these pickles scattered over salads or inside sandwiches or just try with a plain cooling cup of yoghurt. 

Happy pickling!

N&N

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green peppercorns on the vine (you can find these in ethnic grocery stores)
  • 1 + 3/4 cup water 
  • 4 tsps salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Juice of 4 limes

Method:

  1. Boil the water with the turmeric and salt.
  2. Turn off the heat, cover and leave until completely cool
  3. Add the peppercorns to a sterilised glass jar with an air tight lid. 
  4. Pour over the water and squeeze in the lime juice.
  5. Give it a good shake and store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. This gives enough time for the peppercorns to infuse with all the flavour, soften slight, and become tangy and juicy! 
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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Neeru Ravi

Ok so this isn't a traditionally South Indian dish, but it reminds us of one we love - uppu cheedai.

Uppu cheedai are savoury balls of dough made from rice flour and spices, hand-rolled rolled into tiny spheres and fried to a delicate crispness. They're traditionally made for the religious festivals, and home-made only on special occasions as they're pretty time-consuming and tricky to make!

Taking a bit of creating license, we've come up with a super quick and much healthier alternative -  we've taken some classic South Indian spices and smothered them over nutty chickpeas and oven roasted them to perfect crispness. Still a crunchy, savoury, spicy snack but protein rich, low-fat and healthy. 

These crisp chickpeas are super scattered over salads, soups and stews and also munched on by the handful. It's also a quirky alternative to popcorn, crisps, croutons or the like. 

We used canned chickpeas which makes this recipe super quick and easy. So give it a go and tell us what you think!

N & N

Ingredients :

  • 2 cans Chickpeas
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • ½ tsp Chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp Chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida
  • ¼ tsp Salt (+ more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas
  3. Pat dry with kitchen roll or a tea towel-try and remove as much moisture as you can
  4. Spread into a single layer on an baking sheet
  5. Drizzle over the olive oil and spices
  6. Toss and mix
  7. Bake for 20 mins or until crisp. Careful though, they can catch easily so keep a close eye on them!

Turmeric Mylk Hot Chocolate

Neeru Ravi

The weather in London has suddenly taken on a very wintry feel.  It feels like mid December and it's almost May! When the temperature drops we like nothing more than a cup of something hot and comforting. We'd usually opt for a cup of Rasam or a steaming tumbler of chai, but inspired by a recent trip to the 26 grains breakfast bar in Covent Garden, we came up with this warming tumeric chocolate concoction as an alternative.  It's sweet and bitter from cocoa, spicy with ginger and black pepper, fragrant from the cinnamon and saffron and also has an immune boosting kick from the superfood tumeric! 

It may sound like an unusual combination, but tumeric has been used for centuries in South India for its anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, when we get a cold or the flu, our mum gives us a shot of warm tumeric milk with some black pepper! 

This tumeric almond mylk hot chocolate is our tastier version of the classic golden milk home remedy! So next time you reach for the kettle, why not try making cup of sunshiney goodness instead!

We'd love to hear what you think! 

Love,

N & N

Makes: 2 servings
Ingredients:
2 cups almond milk
1/8 tsp tumeric powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger powder
2 twists black pepper from a mill
1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup + more if you like it sweeter
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 cardamom pods crushed
pinch of saffron

Method:

  1. Add the milk to a saucepan along with the cocoa powder and all the spices except saffron. 
  2. Bring to a gently simmer, then add the saffron.  Whisk the mixture thoroughly until its frothy. 
  3. Strain mixture through a sieve before serving to remove any cardamom pods and pieces of ginger

Tastes best when sipped from teacups and saucers!