Week 5, and it seems like yesterday that I was glorying in the six work-free weeks of festive fayre, lounging in front of the fire, and long wintery walks. During the holiday, I travelled to Mumbai and Morocco, where I enjoyed both countries' fascinating cuisines. The use of spices and fresh ingredients combined with traditional cooking techniques is difficult to replicate elsewhere.
On cold February evenings, we are perfectly entitled to indulge ourselves in reminiscing the holidays past. And trying something adventurous in the kitchen certainly beats scrolling mind-numbingly through endless vacation photos.
So with that in mind, I offer my holiday snapshot of Mumbai: Sev Puri (or Papdi Chaat in Delhi)—a snack-size dish eaten by just about everyone. It is comprised of a biscuit-like base (puri), with a potato, tomato and red onion topping, generously doused in chutneys and crispy straw-like sev. This dish encapsulates the freshness and vibrancy of Indian cookery, invariably absent from an Indian takeaway. Perfect for an unusual canapé, or a hearty snack, it is most definitely a worthy study break!
(Makes enough for approximately 25 Sev Puri,)
150g Plain flour
2tbsp Vegetable/Sunflower oil (and enough oil for deep frying, 1-2inch depth in the pan)
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the water and oil, kneading to form a smooth dough. Leave to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll to the thickness of a pound coin, and cutting into 5cm diameter discs.
Heat the oil to a medium heat, until a piece of dough placed in the oil sizzles immediately but only gradually turns golden. Cook the discs in batches, until they are golden brown and slightly puffed (approximately 2-3mins on each side), removing onto kitchen paper to cool when ready. The puri can be stored in an air-tight container for several weeks if not used immediately.
Mint and Coriander Chutney
½ bunch Coriander
½ bunch Mint
Juice ½ lemon
1 green chilli
Blend all the ingredients together to a smooth consistency, adding more lemon juice if necessary, and set aside.
100g Dried (stoned) dates, roughly chopped
1tbsp Tamarind Paste
50g Dark Muscovado sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
½ tsp dried coriander
½ tsp dried cumin
Simmer the dates, water and tamarind paste on a low heat until the dates are soft. Add sugar and stir until dissolved, then remove from the heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend to a smooth paste, using more water if necessary. Leave to cool.
1 potato, cooked and diced to 1cm cubes
2 large tomatoes, deseeded and diced to 1cm cubes
1 red onion, finely chopped
Sev (Indian snack, could use Bombay Mix if difficult to source)
Chopped coriander, to garnish
Layer each puri with potato, onion, and tomato; then a teaspoon of each of the chutneys, finishing with a generous helping of Sev and coriander to garnish.
Photographs by Hannah Forde.
Images compiled by Genevieve Gralton.