Grilled Aubergine & Tomato in Cumin spices


As part of the meat free week here is my contribution to the “meat free recipe” community. Meat Free Week, an annual campaign about making the choice to eat less meat, care more and feel good. This vegetarian dish is packed full of great tastes – grilled aubergine and tomatoes in a blend of spices. The smell of grilled aubergine reminds me of cooking outside on the open fire, the smoky smell wafting away – it can only be the sweet smell o that tickles your taste buds.

In my recipe I have partly fried and partly grilled the aubergine and tomatoes but you could grill the aubergine slices till nicely brown and tender under a grill in the oven or even better on open fire. Either way, this is a truly delicious combination of textures and flavours. A dish you can eat both warm and cold accompanied with puri, pharata or plain boiled rice with the temptation of eating with your fingers. 20160731_142724

Ingredients Serves 4-6

  • 1 large aubergine – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium size onion – chopped
  • 1 Tbs cumin powder
  • 1 clove garlic – thinly sliced
  • 1 whole tomato – cut into cubes
  • Few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp tandoori powder (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery stick (optional)
  • Bunch of spring onion
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil & 1 Tbs ghee 20150622_174515



  1. In a large skillet add 1Tbs vegetable oil, once hot start by sealing and frying the aubergine. Season with a little salt, cook until soft moving the pan constantly for an even cooking until the aubergine turns golden brown in colour – almost looking like grilled aubergine. Remove from heat and set aside.

{Please Note: the small amount of oil at this stage is because you want the aubergine almost grilling rather than frying in a lot of oil – as I’m sure many of you know aubergine has a tendency to absorb a lot of oil} 20150622_175910

  • In the same skillet add a drizzle of oil, fry the onion, garlic followed by the chopped tomato. Season with the cumin, tandoori powder (if using), chilli powder, curry leaves and salt to taste. 20150622_180348
  • Allow to cook slowly until reduced and again almost grilling, if required drizzle a little oil.
  • At this stage add the grilled aubergine to the tomato mixture, and leave all the vegetables and spices to cook on a low heat.
  • Cook for another 10-15 minutess, turn the heat off add the ghee and stir gently.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve either warm or as a cold side dish. 20160731_142759

Brinda’s Note: It’s Gluten free, vegetarian dish that can be enjoyed warm or cold. Anything like this I like to take to work for my lunch either with a slice of bread or rolled in a phrata or chapati. Truly the Indian way xxx 20160731_201111

Spicy, Aromatic Roast Spatchcock Chicken with Lemon


Are you planning an event this summer and looking for inspiration? This is yet another opportunity to bring people together and one to make a difference to so many families. As part of my contribution to one of the charity I support I share with you one of my summer recipes. Why not have an outdoor BBQ event to raise money and help  poor families in India & Africa

If you wish to get involved sign up with  on the link above. You will also receive an event pack of Natco spices  and lots more. Every little helps…..

Here I have BBQ/Roast Chicken is on the menu, and I have chosen this recipe for few reasons. Firstly because it is one of the most eaten white meat in many household, secondly this recipe can be cooked in many ways – which you will see as you read through. This is what I call one recipe with several options to suit individual taste and use of different method of cooking depending on the cooking appliances/facilities you have available and your mood……as well as the weather and season you may be enjoying.

Roast chicken is a very comforting meal, especially when it can be made in very little time. Here is one for you to try, it’s a flattened chicken whereby a whole chicken is cut in the middle into a butterfly shape.

Nothing complicated here this can be done by using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut in the middle and casually flatten the chicken. The technique of Spatchcocking is great as it exposes the chicken surface area including the skin which is a real bonus of having more crispy chicken skins to enjoy. This way the cooking /roasting time is much quicker with very little effort.

Even quicker if cooked on a BBQ, a whole chicken cooked to perfection on the grill outside, without any hassle. If time allows you can leave the marinating chicken in the fridge overnight or even a few hours before, making a much tender and well flavoured roast chicken.

While cooking a whole chicken isn’t always practical, cooking chicken legs is a definitely easy option perfect for a quicker roast dinner. So here by using the same recipe, you can use make this dish with large chicken portions.20141009_194532

Ingredients Serves 6-8

  • One whole free-range chicken
  • 1 whole lemon – thinly sliced
  • Juice & zest of one whole lemon
  • 4-6 shallots – cut into quarters
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp five spice or alternatively you can use (½ tsp ground cinnamon and½ tsp ground cloves)
  • Ground ginger & garlic
  • Few curry leaves – finely chopped (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1Tbs paprika
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbs margarine or butter
  • Seasoning soy sauce
  • Drizzle of clear honey (optional)

NB: Please note five spices is a lovely aromatic ingredient as its name it contains five spices and must be used sparingly for a good balance of flavour – like most spices it will l keep for a long time if kept in an sealed jar.   20160612_200137


  1. Start by preparing the marinade – In a small bowl mix all the dry spice ingredients followed by a good drizzle of olive oil, and the rest of the wet ingredients, give it a good mix and set aside.
  2. Butterfly chicken by placing breast side down and using heavy-duty kitchen scissors or shears to cut along both sides of backbone, turn chicken over and open it, press gently to flatten it. Using a sharp knife slash into the chicken thigh (this is optional). This will help the chicken to cook quicker, and enable the flavours/seasoning to penetrate right into meat.
  3. A little tip, using your finger gently run under the chicken skin in such a way to separate the skin from the chicken. In doing this I like to rub the spice mix in this cavity rather than rubbing the spices all over the skin surface – this gives the chicken a more flavoursome taste without burning the spices leaving you with crispy spicy chicken skin.
  4. Rub the prepared marinade spice inside and under the skin cavity and paint rest of the marinade on surface, placing the lemon slices around.20141008_201013
  5. It is best to marinate the chicken beforehand then place in a dish cover with cling film and leave to marinate overnight of few hours before. When ready to cook take the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature
  6. If cooking in the oven, preheat it to 200°C. Place the chicken skin side up in a roasting dish and roast for 45 minutes at 200°C. Baste the chicken through, scatter the shallots around in the baking tray reduce oven temperature to 180°C and cook for another 30minutes until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat almost falling off the bone.
  7. Transfer chicken to a carving board, and leave to rest 10 minutes. Cut chicken into portions, and serve with roasted vegetable. Served here with beetroot Raita and coriander flavoured rice.

Other Cooking Options:

  • If cooking on the BBQ, cook for 10 minutes on the grill skin down, turn regularly until thoroughly cooked.
  • If cooking on a skillet, add a drizzle of oil on a hot skillet. On high heat start by sealing the whole chicken skin, lower the heat to medium and using a tong keep moving the chicken side to side every so often until thoroughly and evenly cooked. Add the shallots halfway and cook until golden brown.

Brinda’s Note: Whichever cooking method you choose, leave the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes, before carving into portions and serve.


Cumin Potatoes (Jeera Potatoes)

I love making this dish, it’s so easy and flavoursome. It can be made in very little time, and also a good way to use leftover boiled potatoes. The fried whole cumin seeds have a unique slightly nutty flavour. I like these delicious potatoes wrapped in either chapati or pharata or simply with boiled rice. Alternatively it makes a great accompaniment with roast meat or fish. A great vegetarian, vegan dish to please many. Perfect side dish…20150814_203356

Ingredients Serves 4-6 Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

  • 250gms potatoes
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1tsp ghee
  • 1 medium onion finely sliced
  • 1tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Curry leaves 4-5 fresh leaves
  • 1 Tbs garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Fresh chopped coriander


  1. Wash, peel and cut potatoes in cubes, if using new potatoes you may leave skin on if you prefer.
  2. Place the cubed potatoes in a microwave steamer, add a little salt sprinkle with some water and steam in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. (Alternatively you may bring the potatoes to a boil in water and a pinch of salt. Cover and let boil for 5-8 minutes until just cooked).
  3. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced onion fry, followed by the curry leaves, cumin seeds, garam masala and fry 30-60 seconds.
  4. Add the turmeric powder; stir fry for 1-2 minutes, taking care the spices don’t burn. At this point if the spice mixture is too dry add some water to create some steam.
  5. Add the half cooked potatoes, shake pan and fry potatoes about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until evenly golden and crisp. (The trick is not to stir too frequently; otherwise the potatoes will get mushy). Taste for seasoning.
  6. Remove from the heat, drizzle ghee on top and stir in the fresh coriander.

Brinda’s Note: Adding ghee is one of my mum’s tips, only by simply adding some ghee at the end of most vegetarian dish enhances the flavour. Who can deny a mother’s tip on cooking especially when she is a wonderful cook. XXXX