Kate Parker | April 27, 2019
Adding spices into your cookery is an incredible way to shake things up, add new flavours and colours to all your favourite veggies and pulses. There are so many brilliant Indian food writers working at the moment and sharing their delicious, spicy creations with the internet. I can’t wait to share some of my favourites with you all.
At TWC we stock a huge range of organic spices so you can stock your pantry with organic spices from a source you trust.
Why is it important, if you have a focus on buying organic, to go with organic spices too?
Spices are derived from plants and are exposed to the pests, bacteria and chemicals that all other food is when it’s grown. Purchasing organic spices is important for the same reasons you avoid sprays, herbicides and pesticides on your produce.
Conventional spices can also be treated by fumigating to sterilize spices. This exposes the spices to multiple chemicals such as methyl bromide.
Land that has seen all types of industrial and domestic use now supports vast acres of spice crops. Lead contamination is common in conventional spices.
So, what are the positives of purchasing organic?
In the mountainous regions, where our spices supplied by Pure Food Essentials originate, small-crop farmers use the same methods they have for centuries. There the ground is clean and the water is fresh. Farmers have formed cooperatives to pool their crops and resources. These are supported by a pro-organic Indian government.
These spices are laboratory tested for Salmonella, e-Coli, Sudan dye (used to colour faded turmeric) and foreign objects.
Check out our great range of organic herbs and spices here.
My Favourite Indian Food Writers
Meera Sodha is one of the hottest names in Indian Cookery at the moment. Her mix of modern and classic cooking styles, and fresh writing style, have been a total success for her column in The Guardian.
Her focus on vegan food for The Guardian reflects a modern take on food and an Indian plant-based approach to eating which celebrates individual flavours and textures of spices, vegetables and pulses in countless recipes before even starting to think of adding meat.
Sodha has written 2 books on Indian cookery; Fresh India & Made in India. Fresh India, her vegetarian book, is filled with quick, easy and fresh recipes and takes pride of place (and curry stain marks) on my kitchen shelf.
Some favourite recipes from Sodha
Anything with eggplant is a total winner for me, and Sodha’s Pollichattu results in a spicy, silky eggplant that is just heavenly.
Potato, Coconut & Chard Curry
I find potato in curry to be the ultimate healthy comfort food. Warm potatoes, fresh greens and a creamy sauce. This recipe is a total winner for me!
Leek, Pea & Mint Samosas
This tasty, classic Indian snack has had a British makeover in this recipe from Sodha. While not totally whole foods with its use of filo pastry, this is a great treat food. Or you could make it a healthy meal by scooping up the delicious cooked filling into lettuce cups!
Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut and Coconut
I have made this recipe again, again and again. My Dad grows smaller varieties of eggplant every summer just so we can enjoy this recipe easily with the best fresh produce from the garden. Make this recipe for someone you want to impress!
Pumpkin, Bean, Coconut Curry
If you’ve got pumpkin lovers in your house this recipe will with them over with these beautiful flavours!
Rainbow Chard Saag Aloo
Saag aloo is a classic Indian dish that you’ll see popping up in most Indian takeaway shops. This variation is fresh and takes advantage of the beautiful chard stems and Desiree potatoes.
Monisha is an award winning chef, food historian and author based in the UK. She runs her own cookery school which is attended by amateurs and chefs alike to learn her simple, fresh style of Indian cooking. Her book ‘India’s Vegetarian Cooking’ takes pride of place on my shelf and I turn to it often for inspiration or to cook her simple, delicious recipes as is. The book looks at the four quadrants of India, North, South, East and West and the flavours, textures and spices that define them.
Some favourite recipes from Monisha
Cucumber & Peanut Salad
Fresh, crunchy, tangy and addictive. This cucumber and peanut salad is a side-dish stunner.
Roasted Eggplant with Yoghurt
Are you picking up on one of my favourite veggies yet? This dish is a beautiful Indian version of Greek eggplant salad or Lebanese baba ganouj. Enjoy it with bread, crudites or as a side dish.
Warm Carrot Salad
Make this Gujarati salad with carrots, shredded cabbage or pawpaw for a fresh and vibrant side dish.
Green Peas with Cumin & Ginger
Stir-fried peas and top with tomato for a fresh lunch with bread. Yum!
Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes
The combination of cauliflower and potatoes is well-loved all over India, this Punjab dish brings heat and warmth with fresh chillies and garam masala.
Madhur Jaffrey is a living legend! She is credited with introducing Indian cookery to America with the release of her 1973 book titled An Invitation to Indian Cooking and went on to claim fame in her own television series Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery in the 80s as well as in films, stage productions and television dramas.
Some favourite recipes from Jaffrey
It’s said that there’s a different dal for every person in India, so having a few varieties up your sleeve is always a good idea! This version from Jaffrey is creamy and rich.
Spinach & Okra Soup
Okra is an unusual veggie that everyone should try! In Hindi it’s known as ‘bindi’ or ‘ladies fingers’. Some Indian recipes will call for you to fry the okra before preparing to reduce its slimy quality, others will embrace it!
Sweetcorn & Potatoes
This sweet, hot and sour dish is perfect to bring along to a pot luck to liven the table up!
Chana Dal with Spinach & Tomato
When you want dal to be more than a side dish bump up the flavour with some umami-rich tomato.
Mushroom lovers will want to dive into a pot of this divine curry.
Sometimes Indian cookery is all about the condiments. Pickles and chutneys are a must if you plan to master Indian flavours.
British Chef Nisha Katona has founded numerous restaurants and become well known for her food writing and work as a TV presenter. She’s the author of three books, Pimp My Rice, The Spice Tree and The Mowgli Street Food: Authentic Indian Street Food. She usually only uses three spices in her cooking, making her recipes perfect for newbies to Indian cuisine.
Some favourite recipes from Katona
This dish of cauliflower and potato is cheap, easy and packed with flavour.
Broccoli & Lentil Dal with Just 3 Spices (Video!)
Katona talks us through not only how easy and tasty lentil dal can be, but also why it’s so good for us and a staple of Indian cuisine.
Easy Vegetable Curry (Video!)
Use whatever veg you have on hand to throw together this simple veggie curry.
Mother India at Home is the much-loved Indian cookery book from Glasgow’s Mother India restaurant owner Monir Mohammed. Mohammed offers up a selection of authentic Indians and Pakistani recipes that have made Mother India famous, in addition to recipes designed specifically with the home cook in mind.
Some favourite recipes from Mohammed
Chickpeas with Stuffed Mushrooms
Beautiful mushrooms & chickpeas combine in this dish to make a hearty, comforting dinner!
Chickpea Tikka Masala
Throw together this vegetarian twist on Britain’s favourite curry in just 15 minutes!
Are you ready to spice up your kitchen now? My essential spices include:
Black Mustard Seeds
Whole Fennel Seeds
Whole Fenugreek Seeds
Turmeric Paste & Turmeric Powder
There you have it. STACKS of free resources to get you started on your Indian kitchen journey. Don’t forget to get you pantry prepped with all the essential organic spices for these recipes.
Check out Kate’s website, Hobart Green Guide to find the best vegan and eco parts of Southern Tasmania and some great vegan recipes.