Top takeaways from Bombay Bicycle Chef

One of the joys of urban living (I grew up on a farm so really appreciate these joys) is the takeaway. Food someone else cooks, delivered to your door…how splendid. And we love an Indian takeaway so were delighted to discover the Bombay Bicycle Club – or Bombay Bicycle Chef as their takeaway arm is called.

Their comprehensive menu is divided into sections to make ordering easier. You get to choose from a range of starters, clay oven specials, vegetable, seafood, chicken, lamb and biriyani dishes. Delivery is guaranteed within 45 minutes – ours arrived within half an hour – with a smile. Here’s what we tucked into.

The Kebab Lamb came from the clay oven special section. Succulent cubes of lamb marinated in yogurt, herbs and medium hot spices and cooked in the clay oven.

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Tasty lamb bites with a touch of spice

The Murgh Madurai is breast of chicken marinated in herbs and spices, grilled in a clay oven and cooked in a rich tomato sauce with green chilli.

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Large chicken pieces in their silken sauce

The perfectly cooked, succulent king prawns in the Pathway are served in a sweet and sour sauce with curry leaves. The dish has a lovely tang to it – and I love the flavour curry leaves add.

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Plenty of perfectly cooked, juicy prawns

And for our final main course choice, a classic – Chicken Jalfrezi. Tandoori chicken breast cooked with lots of chopped garlic, green chilli, peppers and curry leaves.

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Chicken Jalfrezi and fluffy Pilau Rice

There’s always an amazing vegetable selection in Indian restaurants and the Gobi Sabji is lovely. Fresh cauliflower is cooked with tomato, ginger and garlic. Nicely crunchy and infused with great flavours.

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Spicy vegetables complete the meal

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Love the design of the delivery bags

Bags of warm popadoms arrive with little bowls of homemade mint yogurt and mango chutney.

How I love takeaways!

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Warm and crispy popadoms

Today’s price point

A hearty meal for four cost £41.45 (and there were some leftovers).

Kebab Lamb £6.25

Murgh Madurai £8.45

King Prawn Pathway £10.75

Chicken Jalfrezi £8.55

Pilau Rice £2.50

Gobi Sabji £4.95

Bombay Bicycle Chef delivers in areas of South West and South East London.

Find out more at bombaybicyclechef.com

Or visit www.emerz.co.uk

Bombay Bicycle Chef delivers in areas of South West and South East London.

 

Indian tapas at Sundoo in Sea Point

Today we’re back in the main road in Sea Point. Yes, I know we do spend a lot of time eating there. Sundoo is a new addition to Sea Point’s restaurantland which serves Indian tapas.

I love Indian food and am partial to the tapas-style way of eating so I was excited to sample our latest local. The restaurant opens up to the street and is light-filled with a cool, contemporary feel. Two rows of stools at the front are arranged along a shelf on the pavement, the perfect place to settle in for some people watching in the activity of this buzzy street. And for some seriously tasty food.

The first section offers a selection of mini rotis and mini bunny chows. I’m a bit of a fan of mini anything in the food world! On our first visit we tried the trio of lamb rotis. Among the best lamb I’ve ever tasted, so beautifully tender, rich and perfectly spiced with a nice chilli bite, served on top of beautifully buttery rotis. How I wish I could cook lamb like this at home – only one thing for it, ask if the chef could give us a hint of her ingredients (if not the whole recipe). She hails from Durban, the home of the best Indian food in South Africa and clearly knows her stuff. But she’s not parting with any of that knowledge – even to the owner of the restaurant I was told. All her recipes are being kept firmly secret in her head. Fair enough.

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A lamb dish I’ll eat over and over

Also in the starter section on the first page were these spicy prawn bites. Again the balance of flavours was exceptional.

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Pretty, crispy prawn bites

On our second lunchtime visit the lamb hadn’t been delivered yet, so we opted for the chicken rotis (good idea to try everything on the menu anyway). Again it was spectacular, those wonderfully rounded flavours that you can only achieve with exactly the right combination and quantity of spices.

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The spicy chicken roti trio

There’s also a page of curries which you can order in full or half portions. I love that, the halves work perfectly as light lunch dishes. Our waiter recommended we try the Pondicherry kingklip. I’m a big fan of the local white fish and was pleased to see how well it works in a curry. The chunky fillets were simmered in fresh tomato, garlic, spring onion, coriander and tamarind root for a beautifully silken sauce with bite.

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Kingklip makes for a great fish curry

The Kavarati chicken is braised with fennel, cumin and a blend of garum masala. A chicken curry that’s now right up there as a firm favourite.

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Tender Kavarati chicken and rice

You can choose your heat for each dish, from medium, hot or vindaloo. We’ve gone medium and that’s plenty enough for me. There’s also a selection of dishes from the clay oven but they’re are only available at dinner.

You can tell that all the dishes have been prepared with love and care by someone whose knowledge of cooking Indian food is phenomenal. Which is why there are usually long queues in the evening (the restaurant doesn’t take bookings). And obviously why the chef’s not parting with her spectacular recipes. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep going back and let her keep doing the cooking.

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A dry rose is a great combination with the spices

Sundoo is at 77 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town. It’s just across the road from another favourite La Mouette, which you can read about by clicking here.

Recipe: Lamb and coconut curry

I’ve long been a huge fan of Kiwi chef Peter Gordon  and love his recipe book Everyday which I’ve cooked many dishes from. And the food in his restaurants never failed to surprise with his amazing fusion of ingredients creating wonderful flavours.

This curry is one of those, served with ginger rice and minty cucumber raita. And it’s easy to cook, too.

You can follow along with the video and cook with Peter Gordon by clicking here.

New Zealand Lamb Curry

A tempting lamb curry to tuck into

Lamb and coconut curry

800g New Zealand Lamb leg, diced

2 tbsp Thai curry paste  (more or less to taste)

4 green cardamom, lightly crushed

20 curry leaves

2 tsp oil

2 red onions, peeled and diced

2 carrots, peeled, quartered and sliced

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

3 tbsp ginger, chopped or grated

2 tsp turmeric

1 cinnamon quill

1 can of unsweetened coconut milk (400ml)

8 diced tomatoes (or use 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes)

Rice

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 teaspoons grated ginger

300g of Basmati rice

550g of water

Minted cucumber raita

½ cucumber, seeded + grated

200g thick plain yoghurt

6 stalks of mint leaves, shredded

1 lime, zested and juiced

Garnish

1 bunch coriander

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

100g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

Cooking method:

1.     Mix the diced lamb with the curry paste, cardamom and curry leaves, cover with cling film and leave for at least 15 minutes minimum, although it can be left overnight in the fridge.

2.     Heat the oil in a large sauce-pan and fry the onions, carrots, garlic and ginger over a medium heat until caramelised.

3.     Add the lamb and brown the meat.

4.     Add the turmeric and cinnamon.

5.     Stir in the coconut milk, tomatoes, 1 heaped teaspoon flaky salt (or ¾ of fine salt) and enough water to cover by 2cm, then bring to a boil.

6.     Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes or more, until the lamb is tender.  Remove the lid from the pan for the last 10 minutes cooking to reduce some of the liquid and taste for seasoning.

7.     To prepare the rice, heat a little oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin and ginger and cook until they begin to sizzle. Add the rice and water to the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

8.     To make the raita, squeeze excess moisture from the cucumber then mix into the yoghurt along with the mint, lime juice and zest.

For more information about New Zealand Lamb go to www.loveourlamb.co.uk

Magical Railay Bay in Thailand

Railay is a small peninsula between Krabi Town and Ao Nang in Krabi. You can only get to it by boat as high limestone cliffs cut it off from the mainland. It’s like a secret tropical kingdom waiting to be discovered.

All aboard the long-tailed boat from Ao Nang

All aboard the long-tailed boat from Ao Nang

The scenery on the ride over is very dramatic with huge rocks sprouting out of the sea and cliffs surrounding the beaches covered in plenty of tropical vegetation. On arrival in Railay Bay – jump off the boat and wade through the sea to get ashore (with your suitcases if you’re staying there) – you immediately feel like you’ve arrived in another world. Railay redefines the phrase laid back. It’s the kind of place you can imagine disappearing in for a while to empty your head and rediscover your mojo (if it’s lost, heaven forbid).

The Beach wasn’t filmed here, it was on nearby Koh Phi Phi, but I did feel a bit like I was in a scene from it at times (no sign of Leo, though). It’s just something about the atmosphere of the place. It feels unspoilt and wild in parts, there are enough hotels and restaurants to enjoy, yet they coexist in perfect harmony.

There are four beaches and, frankly, its all a bit confusing. Maybe because you’ve arrived by boat it feels like you’re on an island. But you’re not… and when you walk around none of the beaches connect because of the rocky surrounds, so you’re going to have to backtrack. There are amazing caves, huge trees and steep rocky cliffs for the adventurous to climb. Here’s a taste of this stunningly unique and weirdly beautiful piece of Thailand.

Welcome to Walking Street

Welcome to Walking Street for refreshments and shopping

One of the beautiful beaches

The beautiful beach that we landed on

Even the coffee's beautiful in Railay

Even the coffee’s stunning in Railay

Get away from it all among the palm trees

Get away from it all among the palm trees

Great signage

Great signage, but it won’t stop you from getting lost

Caves add an eerie feel

Caves add an eerie feel

Dramatic landscape

Another beautiful beach with a stunning backdrop

Yes, of course we had lunch…you didn’t think I’d post without including at least some food. These floating take aways were popular choices, stock up on Thai food and eat on the beach, how lovely. We were more tempted by the restaurant on the beach and tucked into delicious Thai curries.

Floating restaurants

Wade into the sea and order lunch to eat on the beach

My Thai green fish curry

My Thai green fish curry

Thai red prawn curry

Thai red prawn curry

Beautiful Railay from the air

Beautiful Railay from the air

The long-tailed boat ride takes about 15 minutes from Ao Nang and costs 200 baht (about £4) return. You have to wait until there are 8 people before the boat leaves, a little annoying as you can wait a while. We waited 45 minutes for our return journey, but we were sitting on the beach, so it’s not exactly a rainy bus stop in London. Seriously though, it’s well worth the wait. Railay lifts the spirit in a way I can’t really explain.

Be inspired by Rick Stein’s India

I’m a big Rick Stein fan. I’ve loved all his TV programmes and cooked loads of dishes from his recipe books (many of them over and over again).

I joined his Far Eastern Odyssey with great enthusiasm, revelling in the food of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bali and Bangladesh (how’s that for an exotic collection).

I loved the series on Spain so much it nearly had me in tears (of happiness)! My Spanish genes are still in me somewhere! I even (sadly some would say) wrote to Rick to tell him how much I loved it…he replied, well his PA did on his behalf anyway.

And then another series: Rick Stein’s India, in search of “the perfect curry”. Rick brought the food of this vast country into my living room! After each episode of this series I wanted to go to India/go to an Indian restaurant/get an Indian takeaway/cook one of his recipes – well, all of the above, really.

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Rick’s enthusiasm for food and the history and traditions of the place he’s visiting never falters which make his programmes truly inspiring to me.

So far I’ve tried five Indian recipes and they’ve all been delicious and surprisingly different. The nature of Indian food means that you should expect to take a bit of time over the dish you are cooking. It’s a therapeutic time in the kitchen, my husband and I have taken to cooking the dishes together, and well worth the effort when you taste the results.

I’ve loved my own personal Rick Stein Odyssey, even though I haven’t followed in his footsteps travelling the globe (sadly). I have certainly brought a lot of exotic flavours into my kitchen which friends and family have had the joy of savouring.

Where next Rick? I’m waiting…

To get your juices going here are two recipes from Rick Stein’s India. Enjoy.

Prawn fritters from the Allen Kitchen, Kolkata

Rick says: I couldn’t work out why these prawns were so delicious, there seemed to be nothing to them, just a simple batter, a bit of lemon, some onion rings and a bottle of mustard sauce. But the very enthusiastic blogger from Calcutta called Kaniska was keen to point out that this tiny hole in the wall was one of the most popular foodie spots in the city. They may have put a secret ingredient in the batter, but I expect the success lies in using chickpea flour and frying the battered prawns in pure ghee. I consumed a few plates of them while having a thoroughly enjoyable conversation about the infinite possibilities of street food in that city. Later I woke up in the middle of the night in my hotel with my head spinning, thinking the pace of life was so frenetic that I was surely locked into a madhouse, albeit with some of the tastiest food I’ve ever found. This makes a quite soft batter, not a thick, crisp batter like you’d get with fish and chips.

Serves 4

12 extra large unpeeled raw prawns

For the batter

60g plain flour

60g chickpea flour

Quarter of a tsp of salt

1 free-range egg

150-225ml water

70g ghee, for frying

To serve

Lemon wedges

To prepare the prawns, pull off the head and peel away the shell, leaving the tail intact. Use a small, sharp knife to run down the back of the prawns and pull out the black intestinal tracts, if visible. Then use the knife to cut almost all the way through the prawns and butterfly them open. Flatten them out a little with the palm of your hand. Pat dry with kitchen towel.

For the batter, mix the flours and salt together, whisk in the egg and enough of the water to give a smooth batter the consistency of single cream. Heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat. Once hot, dip 2 or 3 prawns in the batter and carefully lower into the ghee. Fry for 2-3 minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining prawns. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Prawn fritters

Prawn fritters

Rocky’s chicken korma

Rick says: One of the questions I constantly asked myself in India was whether I could get food like this back in the UK. More often than not, the answer was probably no, and with this korma, the answer was emphatically no. Lucknow, with its history of Nawab rulers, is famous for the finesse of its dishes , and Rocky Mohan’s korma carries on that tradition. I had the most fabulous day cooking with him and his wife Rekha, a very successful marriage I would say. I asked her how long they’d been married – fifty, no, maybe a hundred years, she said! The black cardamom added at the end of cooking is an essential flavour in this particular dish.

Serves 4-6

1 x 1.5kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces of 1.5kg chicken pieces, skinned.

For the coconut  paste

125g fresh or frozen coconut flesh, chopped or grated

50g blanche almonds, roughly chopped

5 tsp white poppy seeds

For the masala

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

50g ghee or vegetable oil

6 cloves

6 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised with a rolling pin

3cm piece of cinnamon stick

One half to three quarters tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

200ml water

125ml thick Greek-style yogurt mixed with 125ml water

3 black cardamom pods, sees only, finely ground

2 tbsp raisins, soaked in 4 tbsp boiling water for about 10 minutes, drained

For the coconut paste, blend the coconut, almonds and poppy seeds together in a mini food processor to a paste, adding enough hot water to give a silken texture.

For the masala blend the onions in a mini food processor to a paste, adding a splash of water if needed. Heat the ghee in a sturdy, deep-sided pan over a medium heat, add the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon stick and fry for 30 seconds. Stir in the onion paste and salt and fry for 10 minutes until any liquid has evaporated and the onions are softened and translucent, but not coloured. Stir in the chilli powder, then ad the chicken pieces to the pan and fry for 10 minutes to brown slightly. Add the water and the coconut paste, bring to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat, stir in the yogurt mixture, then return to a gentle heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered for 30 minutes, adding a little water if it starts to stick, until  the chicken is cooked through and the masala thick and rich. Stir in the ground black cardamom, scatter with the raisins and serve.

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The most delicious of chicken korma

Recipes extracted from Rick Stein’s India (BBC Books, £25).

Dinner at Triphal, our local Indian restaurant

Happiness is a good Indian restaurant you can walk to from home. We were so excited when Sarkhels opened around the corner years back and loved their food, so we were very sad when it closed down. But then Triphal appeared and once again we could relax in the knowledge that our Indian fix could be catered to easily at any time.

My husband loves Indian food…in fact when we have those “If you had to eat one type of food only for the rest of your life, what would it be?” conversations, he always says Indian. So there’s no holding him back if I suggest we go for a curry!

The menu is wide ranging and unbelievably good value. It’s hard to choose which inevitably means we tend to order way too much and proceed to finish it off anyway!

I love all the starters, so (somewhat bossily) tend to tell the table that we should just order loads and share them, which is just what we did tonight.

Crispy squid fried in spiced rice flour, lime zest and chilli

Amritsari Machee – crispy tilapia with a flavour of carom seed and garlic

Red chicken tikka

Main courses, of course are not for sharing…though it’s fair enough to have a taste. Whether you’re vegetarian, love fish or want something really hot there’s something for everyone. We ordered quite a range of dishes and each one was lovely.

Paneer Shaslik – home made cottage cheese cubes
marinated in fenugreek leaf and cooked in the tandoor

Haryali Murg Tikka – chicken marinated in a fresh green herb and cooked in a clay oven

Vegetables are great in Indian restaurants! And if I order a sauce-less dish like the tikka (above), I have the perfect excuse to order a vegetable dish to go with it. This was full of great flavours and packed a nice chilli bite, too.

Dhangri Matter – green peas and mushrooms
in a cashew nut and poppy seed gravy

Chingri Malai Curry – king prawns simmered in coconut and curry leaf sauce

The chicken Chettinard was a spicy baby (three chillies) with perfectly balanced flavours

Chicken Chettinard with a blend of spices tempered with
mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies

Lamb Salli – sweet and sour lamb cooked with apricots and garnished with straw potatoes

The staff are pleasant and always smiling, putting up with our rather (too) boisterous table with patience and humour. Another satisfying night at Triphal!