vivek day 2 005
Posted on May 15, 2017 by

April – Baby Aubergines with Sesame and Tamarind Sauce

Otherwise known as ‘baghare baingan’, my April recipe is one that has different versions all over India, but the most popular one is from Hyderabad. It has rich, deep, earthy notes, and some recipes use fat green chillies alongside aubergines, or even include lamb’s liver in the sauce. The term ‘baghare’ refers to the tempering of the aubergines. 

Serves 4


  • 12 baby aubergines
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or corn oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tsp Ginger–Garlic Paste
  • 1 quantity of Boiled Onion Paste
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 500ml water

For the masala paste:

To finish:

  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • A sprig of mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Crisp Fried Onions


Make 2 deep slits in each aubergine, forming a cross from the base towards the stalk end but leaving the quarters attached. Leave the calyx and a little of the stalk on to hold the aubergine together. Sprinkle the aubergines with half the salt and set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the masala paste. Separately roast the coconut, peanuts, sesame, coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute or two, and then remove from the heat. Blitz them in a small food processor with the chillies, adding just enough water to make a paste.

To cook the aubergines, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and fry them over a high heat for 2–3 minutes, stirring from time to time, until they are seared on all sides. Remove the aubergines from the pan and heat the remaining oil in it. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves, let them crackle, then add the ginger–garlic paste and fry for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add the onion paste and cook, stirring, until it turns light brown. Stir in the turmeric, red chilli powder and masala paste, reduce the heat and fry for 10–12 minutes, until the oil begins to separate from the mixture at the side of the pan. Now add the remaining salt and the tamarind paste and cook for 3–4 minutes.

Return the fried aubergines to the pan and mix well. Pour in the water and simmer for 10–12 minutes, until the aubergines are soft but still hold their shape. Finish with the jaggery, chopped mint and fried onion. Serve with either naan bread or pilau rice.

Tip: Don’t stir the aubergines too vigorously when simmering them in the sauce, as they break quite easily.

Spice-Braised Shoulder of Lamb_0075
Posted on March 27, 2017 by

March – Spice Braised Shoulder of Lamb

My March recipe is a firm favourite and is perfect for entertaining lots of guests in one go. You can give this recipe a go with hogget, mutton or even goat, so long as you stick to the shoulders. 

Serves 8-10


  • 2 shoulders of lamb, weighing about 1.5kg each, trimmed of any surface fat
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 8 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 250ml malt vinegar
  • 500g plain yoghurt
  • 110g crisp fried onions (deep fry 600g onions, sliced in at least 600ml oil until golden brown, then remove and drain on kitchen paper)
  • 2 tsp royal (black) cumin
  • 1 tbsp chopped green coriander, stalks and leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and sliced 1cm thick
  • 3 large red onions, sliced 1cm thick
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, about 5cm each
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 500ml water
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 4 tbsp single cream
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, stalks and leaves


With the tip of a sharp knife, cut small incisions in the lamb shoulders at approximately 5cm intervals. Mix together the red chilli powder, ginger and garlic paste, vinegar, yoghurt, fried onions, cumin seeds, coriander, rose petals and salt. Using your hands, massage the spice mixture over the shoulders, rubbing and pressing the spices into the gashes created by the knife. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Arrange the sliced potato and onion on a deep oiled baking tray. Place the shoulders on top of the potato and onion slices, add the bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom, then pour the water around the shoulders and cover the tray with foil. Place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C and braise for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and ready to fall off the bone. Remove the shoulders from the liquid and place on a cooling rack. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve to make the sauce.

Now roast the shoulders on a barbecue or under a very hot grill, basting frequently with the melted butter, until crisp and well browned. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice, any leftover melted butter and the chaat masala.

For the sauce, bring the cooking juice to the boil in a small pan and simmer until reduced to a coating consistency. Correct the seasoning and gradually stir in the cream, garam masala and fresh coriander. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with naan bread.

Tip: It’s important to drain all the liquid from the shoulders before roasting them, in order to get a crisp finish.

Char-Grilled Broccoli Florets with Rose-Petals & Almonds_013-min
Posted on February 20, 2017 by

February – Char-Grilled Broccoli Florets with Rose Petals and Almonds

February’s recipe of the month is an incredibly simple, but delicious way to cook broccoli.

Vivek Singh will be preparing this dish as part of the Fire and Feast Collaboration Dinner on Monday 27th May, in aid of the charity Action Against Hunger, curated by Persian and Middle Eastern Chef Sabrina Ghayour

Serves 4


For the marinated broccoli

  • 1 tbsp grated Cheddar cheese
  • 25g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger & Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp single cream
  • 1 tsp dried rose petals
  • ½ tsp mace and cardamom powder
  • 1 head of broccoli or two stalks of purple sprouting broccoli, cut into florets, blanched in salted water for 30 seconds, drained and chilled in ice water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

To serve

  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • Juice of ½ lemons
  • Garlic chutney or coriander chutney to serve


In a bowl, rub the cheese with your fingers to break up any lumps. Add the yoghurt and mix until smooth. Add the ginger and garlic paste, salt, chopped ginger and chilli and mix well, and then stir in the cream carefully, as the mixture might separate if mixed too vigorously. Finally add the rose petals, mace, and cardamom powder, gently fold in the broccoli florets, and drizzle with a tablespoon of oil. Mix and set aside for 20 minutes.

To cook the broccoli, soak 4 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Thread the broccoli florets onto the skewers, arrange on an oiled baking tray and place under a hot grill for 5-6 minutes, until the broccoli florets are cooked and slightly charred at the edges. Now sprinkle with almond flakes and toast for another minute or so.
Remove from the grill and serve immediately, squeezing over the lemon and accompanying with chutney of your choice.

Posted on January 23, 2017 by

January – Beef Bhuna, Bengali Style

January’s dish of the month features the recipe for a rich, winter-warming Beef Bhuna. 

Bhuna is a term you commonly find on restaurant menus. It refers to cooking meat with spices with little or no water added. This requires constant stirring to prevent the spices sticking to the bottom of the pan but the resulting dish is rich and intense in flavour from the caramelisation of the onions and the frying of the spices. I’ve made things easier here by adding a little water but do make sure that all or most of it dries up so there is no loss of flavour.

Serves 4-6


  • 750g boneless beef chuck steak, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • green cardamom pods
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 green chillies, slit lengthwise in half
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • A pinch of sugar

For the marinade


Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the beef, turning to coat it well, and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat the ghee in a large, heavy based pan, add the whole spices and bay leaves and let them splutter. Add the marinated meat and stir well over a high heat, until the juices are absorbed and the meat begins to brown. Add the green chillies and water, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 25-30 minutes, until the beef is about two-thirds done. Add the tomatoes and ginger and cook for 8-10 minutes over a high heat, stirring all the time to mash up the tomatoes. You may have to add a couple of tablespoons of water to prevent the sauce sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When fat begins to leave the side of the pan, the meat has reached the bhuna stage. Now stir in the tamarind paste and lemon juice, followed by the chopped coriander. Finally add the pinch of sugar, then cover the pan and switch off the heat. Leave for about 5 minutes so the meat can complete the cooking in its own heat. Serve with layered parathas.

Posted on December 15, 2016 by

December – Suriani home-style chicken curry ‘ishtu’

December’s dish of the month features the recipe for a home-style chicken curry, or ‘ishtu’. This is served in Syrian-Christian households in Kerala for breakfast and is a firm favourite at the Christmas table. You use boned chicken in this recipe if you wish, but chicken on the bone provides much more flavour. If using boned chicken, use just the thighs and cook them slow and long for a great result and depth of flavour.

As made by Vivek on BBC’s Christmas Kitchen. Catch up on the show here. Happy holidays! 

Serves 4-6


For the chicken stew

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or sunflower oil
  • 5cm/2in cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into small matchsticks
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 green chillies, slit lengthways
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 1kg–1.3kg/2lb 4oz–2lb 14oz chicken, jointed into 8 pieces, or 8 chicken pieces, skin removed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 590ml/19fl oz coconut milk
  • 5 tbsp toddy (palm) vinegar (or sherry vinegar or sweet white wine vinegar), to serve
  • 1 tsp ground garam masala, to serve

For the sweet and sour rice


For the chicken stew, heat the oil in a large, lidded frying pan or sauté pan. Add the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, followed by the garlic, ginger, onions, chillies and curry leaves. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft.

Add the chicken, salt and pepper and stir for a minute. Pour in the coconut milk and 125ml/4fl oz water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, soak the rice in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain well. Heat the oil in a large, lidded saucepan. Add the star anise, cardamom and bay and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the onion, curry leaves, salt and sugar and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the vinegar, coconut milk, 300ml/10fl oz water and then the rice. Mix well, then simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 7–8 minutes. All the liquid should be absorbed.
Take off the heat and stir. Cover with the lid again and set aside for 10 minutes to let the rice finish cooking in its steam.

To serve, add the vinegar to the stew, sprinkle over the garam masala and mix well. Remove from the heat and serve with the sweet and sour rice.

crab cakes
Posted on November 24, 2016 by

November – Bengali Crab & Cod Cakes

As we head into the festive season, I’m sharing my recipe for Bengali crab and cod cakes. This is a great little snack, and an ideal dish for a party, it can be useful to use up all the trimmings, if you had a big party. The crab cakes are slightly unusual in its use of raisins, but I have several good memories of having these as a child, this was our neighbour’s way of getting us to like fish as children!


  • 300g cod fillet
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 200ml water
  • 200g white crab meat

For the spice mix

For crumbing

For the fish cakes

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 large beetroot, boiled and chopped in 1cm dices
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon raisins


Clean the cod fillet, remove the skin and cut into 4-5 even-sized pieces. Place them on a pan and add a couple of tablespoons of water. Add salt and turmeric and lightly poach on medium heat with the lid on, for about 5-6 minutes, till the fish pieces are cooked. Remove and pat them dry on a kitchen paper. Gently flake them using a fork and set aside. Reserve the liquid and reduce to get a concentrate.

To make the spice mix, roast all the ingredients and blend them together to a powder in a food processor.

To make the fish cakes, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the bay leaves and cumin seeds and when they release their flavour, add the onion and sauté till they become golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic pastes followed by the turmeric and chilli powder and crab meat, sauté for a minute. Now add the fish, ginger, green chillies and the mashed beetroot and stir gently to mix them with the spices. Add the reserved cooking liquid. Sprinkle the spice mix powder, add the raisins and coriander and mix well. Remove and leave to cool.

Divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape into balls. Dust them with the flour, dip in the beaten eggs and roll them in the breadcrumbs until thoroughly coated. Flatten slightly and deep fry in a deep-fat fryer or a deep saucepan for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve straight away.

Serve with salad and mustard mayonnaise.

Cinnamon 0015-min
Posted on October 31, 2016 by

October – Stuffed Parathas

October’s dish of the month features the recipe for kheema stuffed parathas, a popular Punjabi breakfast. Dip the bread into yoghurt or pickle or scoop up butter with it. Traditionally it’s always freshly churned home made butter but regular salted butter will do just fine. As made by Vivek on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen – catch up on the show here!

Discover our new breakfast menu at Cinnamon Soho where you will find these parathas, among many other flavours and more..

Makes 10


For the dough:

  • 400g chapatti flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp carom seeds
  • 25ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter

For lamb mince filling:

Pomegranate Raita:

  • 1 pomegranate
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin, roasted and ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped, fresh coriander leaves


Mix together the flour, carom seeds, salt, oil and 225ml water to make a smooth dough. Cover and rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make filling.

Heat the oil in a pan to smoking point and add the whole spices, followed by the cumin seeds. When they start to crackle, add the onions and cook on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste, salt, the ground spices, chopped ginger, green chillies and stir for 2-3 minutes to cook out the spices.

Now add the minced lamb and cook until dry and liquid has evaporated.

Add the grated boiled potato and cook for a minute stirring to mix thoroughly. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with the chopped coriander, green chillies and the lemon juice. Remove from the heat and let the mince filling cool down completely. Pick and discard the whole spices, then divide the stuffing into 10 equal portions and roll into balls. Use to fill the paratha.

Take a ball of dough, make an indent and keep pressing and rotating the dough in your hand to make the cavity slightly larger than the size of the ball of stuffing. The edges of the cavity of dough should be slightly thinner than the rest of it. Sit the ball of filling in the cavity and bring together the edges to cover the stuffing from all sides. Do not leave any cracks or the filling will come out while rolling the parathas.

Lightly dust with flour, gently flatten then roll out into a 20cm in diameter disc.

Place a rolled paratha in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, preferably iron, over a medium-low heat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip over and repeat on the other side.  As it cooks, roll out the next paratha. When both sides become dry and start to colour, brush with a little ghee to get even colouring. Remove from the heat and keep on a foil-lined plate. Keep the pile of parathas warm by loosely wrapping in foil.

To make the raita, cut the pomegranate into two halves and remove the seeds by gently tapping with a rolling pin or back of a heavy knife. Reserve a few grains of pomegranate for garnishing.

Combine all the ingredients except the coriander leaves and mix well. Transfer the raita into bowls, sprinkle the coriander on top and refrigerate until use.

Serve the parathas with the pomegranate raita.  Alternatively, they can also be served with cold salted butter.


Yellow Lentils_9980
Posted on September 9, 2016 by

September – Yellow Lentils

At The Cinnamon Club this month we are delighted to be paying a tribute to Roald Dahl. 2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl – the world’s number one storyteller, and so we have a special Dahl Menu running all month! Find out more here.

I’m sharing with you India’s every day dahl, compared to black lentils, which is more for special occasions and tends to be cooked in restaurants rather than home.

In most households the lentils would be served quite thin and watery, simply boiled and tempered with spices. The process of adding spices crackling in hot fat to cooked dahl is commonly known as tadka, hence the name of the dish.

The flavours and spices vary from region to region. In Rajasthan, they would simply use asafoetida, cumin and chilli, in the Punjab garlic, onion and tomatoes are added, while in southern India it’s common to see lentils tempered with curry leaves, chillies and mustard seeds. The options and flavour combinations are endless.

Serves 4-6


  • 100g / ½ cup masoor dahl (red lentils), washed
  • 100g / ½ moong dahl (split yellow mung beans), washed
  • 1.2 litres water
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 whole dried red chillies
  • Pinch of asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tomato, medium sized, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, scraped and chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • Juice from ½ lemon


Wash the lentils in running cold water, and then drain well. Put them in a pan with the water, turmeric and salt, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3-40 minutes, until they are so thoroughly disintegrated that you cannot tell the different lentils apart. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan; add the whole red chillies, asafoetida, and cumin seeds and allow then to crackle, add the garlic wait and for it to turn golden brown, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat.

Add the red chilli powder, sauté for a minute or two. Add the tomato and cook for 5-6 minutes over moderate heat and throw in ginger, green chillies coriander leaves and pour the mix over the lentils. Adjust the seasoning and finish with lemon juice.

Tip: In some parts of the country, as many as 5 different types of lentils are used. You could use as many different types as you could find, just make sure that most of them have their husk removed as otherwise it changes the colour of the final dish.

Posted on September 1, 2016 by

August – Game Cooked in an Indian Wok

August’s dish of the month is in celebration of the game season. On the Glorious Twelfth, the first grouse of the shooting season was brought to London in the fastest mode possible; in a Porsche Macan Turbo, and served for lunch at The Cinnamon Club! Check out our feature in the London Evening Standard.

Kadhai ka shikar or game cooked in an Indian wok- Shikar is a Hindi term for hunted meat, and this kadhai-style preparation is a quick and easy way to enjoy whatever you may be able to lay your hands upon. 

Serves 4


  • 3 grouse, breasts deboned
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or corn oil
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf/cinnamon leaf
  • 2 medium sized onions, ½  finely chopped & ½ cut into strips 1cm ( ½ inch) thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2cm (1 inch) fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tomatoes, 2 puréed and 1 deseeded and cut into strips 1cm (½  inch) thick
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of 1 lime

Spice mix


Skin the birds, and then cut the breasts off the bone. You won’t need the legs but you could keep them to use for another dish. Cut the breasts into strips about 1cm ( ½ inch) thick and set aside.

To make the spice mix, roast all the ingredients in a dry frying pan, over a moderate heat for a couple of minutes and then pound them to a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or a large frying pan, add the whole spices and bay leaves and let them crackle. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until golden. Add the garlic, ginger and green chillies and sauté for a minute.

Stir in the chilli powder, ground coriander and cumin and cook for another minute. Add the puréed tomatoes and continue cooking until they are reduced by half. Add the meat and sauté over a high heat for 2 minutes to sear it quickly. Add the onion strips, reduce the heat, stir in the spice mix, salt and sugar and cook for another minute or so. Add the tomato strips and mix well. Sprinkle in the fresh coriander, squeeze in the lime juice and remove from the heat.

Serve with paratha or a light salad.

Shrimp Kichri-min
Posted on July 11, 2016 by

July – Shrimp Kichri

July’s dish of the month features the recipe for shrimp kichri, a great brunch dish and as made by Vivek on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen – catch up on the show here!

I remember my Dad used to say a true Bengali can’t have a single meal without fish or something fishy! Kichri was something that was made every Saturday for lunch and even more of a fixture if it happened to be a rainy or even overcast day. Different versions would include a vegetarian version with peas, cauliflower, carrots etc., a plain version to be enjoyed with rich spicy mutton curry, and this dried shrimp version when there wasn’t enough fish to feed the entire family!

Serves 4


  • 200g/7oz split yellow mung beans, washed
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints fish stock or water
  • pinch ground turmeric
  • 75g/2¾oz ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2½cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 100g/3½oz shrimps (or small prawns), peeled
  • 2 tomatoes, seeds removed and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 1 tsp dry shrimp paste
  • 150g/5½oz basmati rice, cooked and cooled
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 lemon, juice only


Put the mung beans in a saucepan with the fish stock and turmeric. Bring to the boil and simmer until the beans are cooked and falling apart (about 20-30 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 60g/2¼oz ghee in a heavy-based pan and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the onions and gently fry until golden-brown. Add the ginger, chillies and salt and fry for 1 minute.

Add the shrimps and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mung beans and bring to the boil. Add the tomatoes and shrimp paste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then fold in the rice. Mix carefully, mixing the rice just enough to heat through without breaking.

Finish with the remaining ghee, sprinkle with lemon juice and coriander. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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