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N & N


United Kingdom


Our South Indian recipes

Filtering by Tag: cumin

Life Changing Chole

Neeru Ravi

chole, chickpea stew with tomato, onion and coriander gravy

What does life changing chole even mean? Well, we think that once you've tried this recipe and seen how delicious, quick, easy and inexpensive it is to make, you'll never look back! It technically isn't South Indian, but it's a favourite dish in our house and we wanted to share it with you all.

Our friends, who have tried the chole in many restaurants around London including Michelin starred spots, have told us that they think this recipe tops them all! The secret they say, is in the sauce.

There are so many things we love about this dish. First of all, it's bursting with rich, sumptuous flavours: sweet tomatoes, aromatic cumin and coriander, hot ginger and chilli, tangy dried mango powder and fresh coriander. The recipe below is mild/medium spice level, but you can tailor the spicing according to your heat tolerance. Whatever spice level you choose, the tomatoes add a lovely sweetness which works beautifully with the spices.

Second, it's super simple to make and very easily scalable for your packed lunches, dinner parties, family gatherings etc. Taking just 35 mins from chopping board to dining table, it's the perfect go to recipe to have up your sleeve.

We love to rustle up a big batch of chole on Sundays for packed lunches and simple weeknight dinners. It keeps really well in the fridge and actually tastes better the next day as the flavours get a chance to marry and really soak into the chickpeas. 

Thirdly, it's packed full of protein from the chickpeas - it's a great recipe if you're looking to add more protein into your diet in a delicious and healthy way. Pair this with some quinoa for added protein and you've got yourself a winning balanced meal. 

What more need we say? You just have to try it out and see for yourself.

N&N x

Makes: 4-6 servings (depending on how big you like your portion sizes!)

Time: 35 mins (+ 15 mins if you want to let it stand to let the flavours marry)


  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 cup chopped coriander
  • 2 boxes baby plum tomatoes (we got them from Iceland with each box weighing ~340g)
  • 2 tins drained cooked chickpeas (typically with drained weight of ~240g)
  • 1 1/2 heaped tsps coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 heaped tsps cumin powder
  • 1 heaped tsp amchoor (dried mango powder commonly available in all Sri Lankan / Indian stores)
  • 1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt + more according to your taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2 green chilli


  1. Peel the ginger and chop it finely. Also chop the green chilli and onions finely
  2. In a large wok, heat the oil, add the green chilli and ginger and fry for 30 seconds
  3. Add the onion and sautee on a high heat for 10 mins or until soft and browned
  4. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the tomatoes - the consistency should be fairly liquid
  5. Pour 3/4 of the tomato puree into the wok with the onions, green chilli and ginger
  6. Wash the coriander and add (stalks and all) to the remaining tomato puree in the blender. Blitz for 10 seconds so the coriander is chopped. Don't blend for too long otherwise the coriander will become bitter
  7. Add the coriander tomato puree to the wok and stir well
  8. Now for the spices: add the cumin powder, coriander powder, amchoor, red chilli flakes and salt
  9. Stir well and let the mixture simmer on a medium heat for 10 mins to let the tomatoes cook and the flavours meld
  10. Drain the chickpeas and rinse well in cold water to remove excess salt as tinned chickpeas are usually stored in brine. Then add the chickpeas to the tomato gravy
  11. Simmer again on a low heat for 5 mins to let some of the excess water boil off
  12. Taste and add more salt if necessary

You can eat it straight away or if you have time, let it stand for 15 mins. This resting time allows the spices to marry with the ingredients and enhances and intensifies the flavour. Trust us, it's well worth the wait.

After 15 mins, lightly warm the chole and serve with quinoa/brown/red rice, or some chappatis. 


Rasam: Spicy, Soulful Soup

Neeru Ravi

rasam, spicy, soup, onelifetwoways, south indian, vegan

Chilly English winters cry out for Rasam. The hot, spicy and soulful soup of South India, and one of our most iconic dishes. 

Picture a South Indian version of the miso soup: a clear, wholesome and nourishing broth. Something you can drink by the cupful to warm you up, soothe a sore throat, or make you feel cosy and happy from the inside out. Like miso soup, which can be poured over vegetables, tofu and other toppings, Rasam is also commonly enjoyed with rice, vegetables, dumplings and savoury South Indian doughnuts. 

Rasam, like miso soup, is also one of those anytime, anywhere soups. Fill up a flaskful for a mid-morning warmer, start you lunch with a mug of Rasam, or snuggle up on the sofa in front of the telly with a hot tumbler-full. 

In fact, it's such a staple South Indian dish that many die-hard South Indians don't feel a meal is complete unless it includes Rasam. Need we say more? We love the stuff.

The beauty of Rasam is its simplicity.  Nothing fancy or artificial.  Just pure goodness and flavour.

Rasam is finished off with a tempering mixture - a few drops of hot fat and toasted mustard seeds. Heating the mustard seeds in fat makes them pop, releases all their flavour and elevates the taste to another level. 

In our family we have three favourite types: Tomato, Lime and Jeera. Each has it’s own loyal following: our grandma is partial to the Tomato Rasam, our mum is a die-hard Lime Rasam believer and we are staunch Jeera Rasam fans. Try them all and see which is your favourite! 

Growing up, any time we had a cold or the flu, our mum would tuck us up in bed with a bowl of our her piping hot Jeera Rasam. For us, there's no better comfort food. 

Here's our recipe for Lime Rasam, Try it out and keep a look out for the other varieties coming soon.


N & N

Time: 35 mins
Serves: 4


  • I cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 3 + 6 cups water
  • Juice of one lime
  • 8 cherry tomatoes/ one big tomato
  • 1 green chilli
  • ½ inch ginger
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 6/7 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsps chopped fresh coriander 
  • 1 tsp madras curry powder (see note above)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste


  1. Soak the toor dal in 3 cups of water overnight.
  2. The next day, cook the dal in a saucepan with the turmeric and cover with a lid, monitoring it closely to make sure it doesn’t catch. It should be soft and begin to break down after approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile in another pan, add 6 cups water, asafoetida, curry leaves, curry powder, salt, chopped chilli, crushed ginger and halved cherry tomatoes and bring to the boil.
  4. Let the mixture bubble and reduce down by 1/3 on a low heat while the lentils are cooking.
  5. After the lentils are cooked, mash them well with the back of a spoon and add to the tomato, spice, water mixture.
  6. Bring it to the boil and then turn it off. Squeeze in the lime, and add the chopped coriander.
  7. To make the tempering mixture, heat the coconut oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds pop, pour the mixture into the Rasam and listen to the sizzle!

Sip a piping hot tumblerfull of this soup to ward away those winter blues.

Spice Advice: Madras Curry Powder

Traditionally we use 'Rasam Powder' to make Rasam, a very traditional blend of coriander, dried chillies, different pulses, pepper, turmeric and cumin. We'll be sharing a recipe for it soon, but in the meantime, you can use Madras Curry Powder which is an all-purpose spice mix, used for curries, soups etc. You'll easily find it in any good supermarket.