Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas 2012

This Christmas we've created a unique range of special gifts, from stocking fillers to gift hampers 'choc'-full of treats!

Our festive red and green sharing sets make perfect 'secret santa' gifts or stocking fillers and are fun gifts for children too. The Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Coffee Masala Caramels, created exclusively for Autumn/Winter 2012, are warming, dark caramels which have been infused with our signature freshly ground blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and clove alongside a hint of delicious roasted coffee, all enrobed in silky smooth dark chocolate - perefect for the more sophisticated chocolate lover.

Especially for Christmas, our Devnaa Divine Gift Set at £20.00 provides an affordable gift solution which contains a delicious selection of our signature masala infused delights- from the spiced bar to the caramels and the drinking chocolate the warming blend of ginger, cinnamon, clove and cardamom tastes just like Christmas!

Our range of larger hampers from the Discovery (£39.95), presented in a smart gold gift box; to the Delights (£70.00) in a festive red hamper with gold Christmas ribbon; and the Deluxe (£85.00), arranged in a hand decorated, luxury jute bag, provide a special selection of all of our signature sweets and chocolates, beautifully presented to make stunning Christmas gifts.

Click the link to see the full collection:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Rasmalai with Strawberry Compote (Happy Diwali!)

Happy Diwali! On my favourite day of the year, it's only right that I share one of my favourite recipes - Rasmalai. For me, this light, milky dessert makes a change from the heavy, sugary treats normally associated with this time of year - and if you are having family or friends over for dinner I'm sure they will also appreciate the change.

Rasmalai originates from Orissa in the Bengal region of India, but its irresistible deliciousness has allowed it to travel across the country and the world and it is now probably one of the most well-known and favoured Indian desserts of all time. The soft, melt-in-the-mouth, sponge-like ovals are the “malai,” and the sweet, fragrant, delicately spiced milk is the “ras.” This dessert takes time to make, but is well worth it; and you can even make it a day in advance if you are having a dinner party.

Traditionally, rasmalai is flavoured with cardamom and saffron, so the vanilla, rose water and strawberry compote are entirely optional but I feel they add an uplifting and refreshing new dimension to this classic recipe.

Ingredients (serves 6)

For the Malai
1 L whole milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 L water
200 g caster sugar

For the Ras
500 ml whole milk
100 g caster sugar
¼ tsp crushed saffron threads
¼ vanilla pod
1 tbsp rose water
¼ tsp ground cardamom

For the Strawberry Compote
175 g strawberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp rose water
¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • The first part of this recipe is making the paneer, which will form the “malai.”
  • Heat up the milk in a wide saucepan over a medium high heat.
  • When the milk comes to a rolling boil, add the lemon juice and reduce the heat.
  • You will see the milk begin to curdle and split.
  • When the liquid part of the milk turns a greenish colour, pour the contents of the pan through a sieve or colander lined with a cheesecloth.
  • Let the liquid drain away and the rinse the milk solids, or paneer, with cold water.
  • Tie the cheesecloth up around the paneer and either press with weights or leave to hang from a tap until all the liquid drains away and the paneer is dry.
  • Place the drained paneer in a food processor with a chopping attachment, and blend until it comes together to form a smooth ball.
  • Remove from the processor and knead gently until you have a completely smooth dough.
  • Use a rounded dessert spoon to form 12 equal portions of the dough, and roll each into a smooth round ball with no cracks in it.
  • Bring the 200 g sugar and water to the boil together inside a large pressure cooker.
  • Take each ball of the paneer and gently flatten it until it is approximately 1-cm thick.
  • Place all of the paneer patties into the pressure cooker and allow them to cook over a medium heat until the whistle rises or for a maximum of 10 minutes.
  • Allow the cooker to cool before you open it; and then use a serrated spoon to gently lift out each malai, and place it on a dish to cool slightly.
  • While the malai are cooking and cooling, you can begin making the “ras.”  Bring the milk to the boil in a large non-stick saucepan over a high heat.
  • When the milk has boiled, reduce the heat, add the sugar, saffron, rose water, and vanilla pod, and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until the milk has reduced by one third (about 15 minutes).
  • Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla pod from the milk.
  • Stir in the cardamom, and allow to cool slightly.
  • When both the ras and malai have cooled slightly but are still warm, gently squeeze out some of the excess sugar syrup from the malai by pressing them downwards, and then place each one into the ras.
  • Place in the refrigerator to chill completely
  • To make the strawberry compote, hull and quarter the strawberries and place in a saucepan together with the sugar, rose water, and vanilla extract.
  • Warm over a low heat, stirring occasionally and allowing the strawberries to release their juice; and then let the mixture thicken a little (about 5 minutes).
  • Allow the compote to cool slightly before refrigerating.
  • To assemble the dessert, place a rasmalai on the centre of each dish, and top with a tsp of compote. Place another rasmalai on top, and garnish with a little extra compote and some chopped pistachios if desired. Serve chilled.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Diwali Gifts 2012

We've created some awesome gifts for Diwali this year and our 2012 Collection is now available to purchase online.

To start with there's our Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Coffee Masala Caramels - Made exclusively for Autumn/Winter 2012 these warming, dark caramels have been infused with our signature freshly ground blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and clove alongside a hint of delicious roasted coffee, all enrobed in silky smooth dark chocolate.

We've also created a delightful collection of gift hampers to suit a variety of budgets; from our Discovery hamper at £39.95 to our incredible Deluxe hamper at £85.00 which includes a beautifully decorated jute gift bag.

Finally we have a dazzling Diwali greetings card from our friends over at Ananya, the card can be purchased separately or combined with any of our lovely Diwali gifts.

Click the link to see the full collection:

Monday, 9 July 2012

Chilli & Lemon Popcorn Recipe

The miserable weather in England these last few weeks has had the Devnaa team staying in, watching movies and reaching for comfort food. In an attempt to maintain a vaguely healthy lifestyle (in case the sun decides to break out in a late summer hurrah) we've been trying to snack more on popcorn rather than anything deep fried and highly calorific. Pleasantly, this had led to a tremendous variety of flavours of the fluffy snack being created and it's been lots of fun trying out sweet, savoury and even sour versions!

Here's one of our favourites - chilli and lemon popcorn with some fried spring onions for extra flavour.

Chilli Lemon Popcorn Recipe (serves 10)
4 tbsp sunflower oil
200 g spring onions, finely chopped
5 tbsp butter
3 tsp paprika powder
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
150 g popcorn kernels
Salt to taste

  • Heat up 2 tsp of the oil in a small frying pan and add the onions.
  • Fry the onions until crisp and brown and then reduce the heat and add the butter.
  • Allow the butter to melt, then turn off the heat and stir in the paprika and lemon zest.
  • Leave to one side.
  • Heat up the remaining oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan placed over a medium heat.
  • Add the popcorn kernels before the oil gets hot and toss them in the oil. Shake the pan so that you have an even layer of popcorn on the bottom.
  • Cover the pan with a secure lid and allow the popcorn to pop.
  • Using a rolled up dish towel to protect your hands and hold the lid of the pan down, carefully shake the pan every 30 seconds or so to help the popcorn cook evenly.
  • When the popping sound reduces to 1 pop every 2 seconds, turn off the heat and leave the pan covered until the popping sounds stop completely.
  • Transfer the popped popcorn to a large mixing bowl and pour the flavoured butter on top (you may need to reheat it slightly first if it has cooled and become too firm).
  • Toss the butter into the popcorn until all of the corn is well coated.
  • Add salt to taste and serve immediately.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Vegetable Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese Recipe

One of our favourite dishes to order when we eat out at an Indian restaurant is the 'vege-manchurian'. It consists of small, deep fried dumplings made of vegetables and flour, served with an amazingly thick, dark gravy full of Oriental flavours like soy sauce and ginger. The dumplings can contain most varieties of vegetables but I've chosen to keep my version simple with just carrots and cabbage.There are lots of Chinese inspired Indian recipes on the menus of Indian restaurants these days from honeyed potatoes and different varieties of noodles but we like this one the most! I often wondered how it was made and happily, upon researching it, found it was not difficult at all. Now we can enjoy one of our favourite restaurant dishes home made Devnaa style, and so can you :)

indo chinese cuisine, vegetarian recipe

Vegetable Manchurian Recipe (serves 8)

1 vegetable stock cube
500 ml hot water

600 g cabbage
300 g carrots
5 tbsp plain flour
5 tbsp corn flour
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp grated garlic
1 small green chilli (finely chopped)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp red chilli flakes
Ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

  • Dissolve the stock cube in the hot water and leave aside to cool.
  • Finely chop the cabbage and grate the carrot to achieve coarse (small but not too mushy) shreds.
  • Combine the vegetables and stir in the flours, ginger, garlic, chilli, soy sauce, chilli flakes, pepper and salt.
  • Mix well to combine, you should be able to take a tablespoon of the mixture and squash it into a rough ball that holds together. If this does not work, add some of the vegetable stock mixture until you achieve the right consistency.  (You should still have about 400 ml stock left over for the gravy).
  • Heat up oil in a deep frying pan or wok placed over a medium-high heat. The oil is ready if you place some of the cabbage mixture in and it rises to the surface immediately.
  • Take tablespoons of the cabbage mixture, roll into rough balls and deep fry until golden brown all over.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

3 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp oil
250 g spring onions (use the green bits too!)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp grated garlic
2 small green chillies (finely chopped)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
5 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
Salt to taste
5 tbsp finely chopped coriander

  • Mix the corn flour into about 100 ml of the cold vegetable stock and leave aside.
  • Heat up the oil in a large pan and then add the spring onions, ginger, garlic and chilli.
  • Allow to cook until lightly browned and the flavours have released well.
  • Carefully pour about 300 ml of the vegetable stock into the pan and stir well.
  • Allow the stock to come to a boil over a high heat and then reduce the heat slightly before adding the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, sugar and salt.
  • Mix well and allow the sauce to come to the boil over a medium heat.
  • Stir in the corn flour mixture and cook until you have thick gravy.
  • Arrange the dumplings in a serving dish and pour the gravy on top.
  • Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately.

Chef's note: You can use most vegetables when making the dumplings but as they are deep fried, be careful not to add sweetcorn in case the corn bursts in the oil whilst frying. xx

Monday, 18 June 2012

Devnaa: Indian Inspired Desserts

Today I take a pause from recipe posting to announce the very exciting arrival of our first ever published recipe book!

indian dessert recipes

Devnaa: Indian Inspired Desserts presents our portfolio of original, egg-free recipes that combine both eastern and western flavours. The Cake and Biscuits section includes some of our favourite recipes, such as Apricot and Saffron Scones, Indian Inspired Carrot Cake, and Raspberry Nankhatai. These are great to enjoy with family or friends over a lovingly-brewed cup of chai and they are also a brilliant way to start experimenting with Indian spices. The Sweet Treats section is dedicated to the rich, intense, bite-sized delicacies found in Indian sweet shops. Chikki and Shahi Barfi are traditionally Indian, while others, like Dried Fruit Ghoogra or Chocolate Khaja have an updated fusion twist. The After Dinner Desserts section presents sweet, fragrant Indian puddings that that can be served chilled or piping hot. Following recipes like Seera and Shrikand, fusion desserts include Coconut and Ginger Cheesecake and Exotic Fruit Trifle. Cool, refreshing recipes in Drinks and Frozen Desserts include Mango and Cardamom Lassi, Rose and Vanilla Kulfi, and Watermelon and Strawberry Spiced Sorbet.
Devnaa: Indian Inspired Desserts is available via the Devnaa website, signed and with free delivery. It is also available in Kindle and paperback format from Amazon.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

A Jubilee Dessert Fit For An Indian Raj

I wanted to post something special for the jubilee weekend but for weeks couldn't think of what to make. An Indian style spin on a British classic? Something sticky toffee-esque? How about a British curry night inspired menu? Seasonal veg Jalfrezi? Hmm... Nothing was quite hitting the spot. It had to be something fitting for this royal occasion, something different, luxurious and indulgent but light and summery for the season.

I thought back to the British rule in India which inspired so many great dishes, most of which can still be found on the menu in any 'tandoori' style restaurants here in England today, but none of which seemed right for a British street party. Then I thought of an Indian tea party... What would I serve at a tea party at one of the Royal palaces in India? Something to complement a fragrant cup of masala chai, which is not too heavy in the Indian heat, that is special and regal enough to serve to royalty. Something which is beautiful, simple to make and full of delicious flavour.

The result - a trifle inspired slice, with sparkling vegetarian passion fruit jelly, lightly spiced ginger biscuits and egg free mango custard, topped with lashings of whipped cream and some very British strawberries, yum! Trifle and strawberries are British classics and mangoes are the national fruit of India. Cream is an international indulgence and the ginger biscuits complement the flavours of the fruits as well as the aroma of masala chai perfectly, and they are egg free to boot! Passion fruit have become extremely popular in India, although they are not native there. As they are originally from Brazil, my guess is that they were brought to India by the Portuguese who colonised the western region of Goa in the 16th century. The climate in India suits passion fruit well and they are now cultivated across the country as well as in Sri Lanka.

indian vegetarian trifle with passion fruit jelly and mango custard

A note on the recipe: I'm certain there are far more sophisticated ways of making this than in a disposable foil tray but for ease and convenience, this works great. If you are lucky enough to have more suitable tools to hand please go ahead and use them :) Also, sticking with the vegetarian friendly theme I have used vegetarian jelly and egg free custard, feel free to substitute if your diet permits although I believe this tastes just as good.

Indian Inspired Jubilee Trifle Slices

For the sparkling passion fruit vegetarian jelly:
4 ripe passion fruit
300 ml cold water
2 x 6 g sachets of vegetarian gelatin (such as 'Vege-Gel', available in most supermarkets or substitute with agar agar if you are able to get it)
sugar to taste
200 ml sparkling passion fruit drink (such as Rubicon)
100 g (about 8) ginger crinkle biscuits (not ginger nuts as they are too hard!)

  • Lightly grease a shallow 30 x 20 cm foil baking tray.
  • Chop the passion fruits in half and scoop the flesh out into a fine metal sieve placed on top of a measuring jug.
  • Press all the pulp through the sieve, you should get at least 50 ml, use more fruit if necessary.
  • Having pressed out all of the juice, if desired you can add one or two teaspoons of the seeds to the juice to add texture to your finished jelly, or just discard them if you prefer a smooth version. Leave the pulp aside.
  • Add the water to a saucepan and thoroughly whisk in the powdered vegetarian gelatin.
  • Set over a medium heat and until boiling.
  • Whisk in the passion fruit pulp and sugar if using then allow to cool for 2 minutes in the pan, stirring continuously.
  • Gently stir in the sparkling juice and pour quickly and carefully into the prepared tray - you don't want to lose too many bubbles.
  • Roughly break up 4 of the biscuits and randomly place across the surface of the jelly.
  • Roughly crush the remaining biscuits in your palms and sprinkle coarse crumbs in the gaps between the biscuits.
  • Leave aside, vegetarian jelly sets at a much higher temperature than other gelatin so this should be set within a few minutes.
For the egg free mango custard:
1 ripe kesar mango
275 ml full fat milk
4 tbsp vegetarian custard powder (such as Bird's)
sugar to taste

  • Peel and chop the mango into chunks, pulse in a food processor.
  • Press the mango puree through a fine metal sieve and into a measuring jug.
  • You should get around 125 ml of smooth mango pulp.
  • Pour the milk into the measuring jug and whisk with the mango until well combined.
  • Add the custard powder and sugar if using to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add a few tablespoons of the mango/milk mixture to the powder and whisk to create a thick, smooth paste.
  • Heat the remaining milk mixture until almost boiling.
  • Pour the hot milk into the custard paste, whisking continuously.
  • Whisk well and then return to a saucepan and back to the heat.
  • Heat the custard, whisking all the time until thickened.
  • Leave aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
600 ml double cream
100g caster sugar
strawberries, ginger biscuits, dark chocolate to decorate

  • Spread the cooled custard over the set jelly and refrigerate until the custard has set.
  • Whip the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form.
  • Spread on top of the set custard.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the trifle and then carefully cut away the sides of the tray.
  • Using a knife dipped in hot water cut the trifle into slices and place each slice onto a serving plate.
  • Decorate with strawberries, extra ginger biscuits or even drizzle on some melted dark chocolate if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
indian vegetarian trifle with passion fruit jelly and mango custard

Monday, 28 May 2012

Recipe: Mango Barfi

India's favourite fruit - Indian mangoes - are ripe and in season! This will bring a burst of sunshiney joy to most people I know of South Asian descent, who eagerly await this time of year for these scarce few weeks when we are able to purchase the fruit here in England. There is no flavour like it, yes you can get the tinned pulp of the 'Kesar Keri/Mango' all year round in Indian supermarkets but it's just not the same. Neither are the greenish-red skinned mangoes of the West Indies, nothing compares to the sweet, fruity, delicious flavour from the saffron orange mangoes from India and Pakistan when they are at their peak season.

For years we have tried to recreate this flavour in the Devnaa kitchen, how wonderful it would be if we could offer this amazing aroma to our customers all year round but alas, absolutely nothing compares to the real deal. So, with the fruit in season and us having purchased boxes full to enjoy while we can, I snuck two mangoes out of the box when nobody was looking to create this mango barfi recipe that's easy to make and everybody can enjoy at home. Keep it chilled in the fridge once made and consume within 2 days, if it lasts that long!

I should mention that there are many recipes for mango barfi available on the Internet and this one is a little different from the rest, this one is just a bit easier with the use of milk powder and we prefer the smooth, indulgent texture and light flavour gained from this method. Perfect for summer :)

Mango Barfi (makes about 20 pieces)


2 ripe kesar mangoes
100g sweetened condensed milk
100ml double cream
1/4 tsp vanilla seeds (or extract if you don't have seeds)
brown sugar to taste (if required)
250g milk powder
3 cardamom pods
some good quality dark chocolate, optional.

  • First the messy bit - slice the mangoes, remove the skin and place all of the flesh in a food processor. (I got about 250g worth of flesh but the quantity will depend on the mangoes, bear in mind that the other ingredients in this recipe were calculated using 250g of mango pulp).
  • Pulse the fruit to make a puree and then strain this puree through a fine metal sieve and into a measuring jug. You should end up with smooth, thick mango pulp.
  • Add the condensed milk to the mango pulp, mix well and then pour the mixture into a non stick wok.
  • Place over a gentle heat and cook, stirring continuously, until reduced by half.
  • Add the cream and the vanilla seeds and continue to cook until the mixture becomes really thick.
  • Taste the mixture at this stage, taking care whilst doing so as it will be extremely hot. If you feel you need to, add some brown sugar to taste and then continue to cook down.
  • The mixture is ready for the next step if when you draw a line through it with your spatula, it holds for 2 seconds before coming together again.
  • Add about three quarters of the milk powder and mix well to create a smooth dough that comes clean away from the wok. Add more milk powder if required.
  • Turn off the heat, crush the cardamom (fresh cardamom really makes a difference in this recipe however if you don't have it to hand you can use ready ground), and mix it into the dough.
  • Set in silicone moulds or a tray. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating.
  • Set in the fridge for at least 1 hour before demoulding or cutting into pieces.
  • If using dark chocolate, gently melt the chocolate and dip or drizzle the pieces as required. Set on greaseproof paper and then refrigerate the barfi until ready to serve.
  • Best served chilled.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Recipe: Spinach and Corn Kofta Biryani

Weekends are always difficult in the Devnaa household - with such a large family, all of us in and out of the house constantly, busy with work or meeting friends, and of course the family and friends that pop over to say hello - Mum's constant dilemma is what to cook! Something we can all enjoy together on the rare occasion that we all happen to be at home at the same time; something we can individually heat up and eat on the go when we're busy running around; something special to serve to guests who will inevitably stop by; something to cater to all of the above which once it's done it's done - no having to make hot chapatis to serve with it every time someone wants eat, and no heating up large saucepans of curry or daal every 5 minutes!
The perfect solution is of course the Biryani. To some the thought of this layered rice dish is terrifying as the process of making it is fairly long, but boy is it worth it! When you break the sections down, the work itself isn't difficult at all, just lengthy. However, the time and effort put in before hand saves a day of continuing to slave over a hot stove and the all-in-one style of the biryani means that you don't have to worry about making anything else to go alongside, it's a meal in itself.

You can make a biryani out of almost anything, the basic concept is rice layered with curry and baked in the oven. Some prefer a simple jeera rice, others will want a colourful pilau style. The curry in between the rice layers can be anything from vegetables to lamb, chicken, or eggs. The best thing about the biryani is it's versatility, from what is included in the layers to the fact that it serves as a delicious hearty family meal, if it's already made you can eat it as a quick but filling meal on the go, or it makes a beautiful addition to a dinner party menu.

This biryani is admittedly quite long winded to make but so worth the effort. I came up with the combination as it is something that everyone in my family can enjoy - quite a difficult thing to achieve when cooking for 10 people! Most of the parts can be made in advance though and none of the processes are at all difficult. It will serve 8 - 10 as a main meal and 15-18 if served alongside anything else. Serve alongside a variety of chutney for extra yummyness!

Spinach and Corn Kofta Biryani

for the palak (spinach) paneer kofta balls:
2 medium potatoes (about 200 g worth)
150 g paneer, crumbled or finely grated
2 tsp sunflower oil
150 g spinach leaves
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tsp of finely chopped green chillies
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
50 g fine cornmeal (maize)

  • Boil or steam the potatoes until completely tender, mash them and leave aside to cool completely.
  • Roughly chop the spinach.
  • Heat up the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the spinach, garlic, ginger and chillies.
  • Toss all of the ingredients in the pan together and cook for about 3 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and the flavours are well combined.
  • Leave aside to cool completely. (The reason for allowing the potatoes and spinach to cool is so that the kofta balls form better - if they are too warm when added to the paneer I personally find that it affects the texture and makes the paneer clump together).
  • Pre heat oven to gas mark 9/240C/475F (this sound really hot but remember that everything is already cooked) and keep aside a greased baking sheet.
  • Combine the potatoes, paneer and spinach together with all of the remaining ingredients apart from the maize.
  • Mash everything together, taste and add extra seasoning if required.
  • Add the maize as required to form a soft dough that doesn't stick to the bowl.
  • I like to make small koftas by taking one teaspoon of the mixture at a time and rolling into a smooth ball. This way will make about 40 balls but feel free to make them bigger or smaller if you wish.
  • Dust each ball in a little more maize, place on greased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until they are browned.
  • Note: the koftas can be steamed or fried as well as baked, baking is just my personal preference and as the oven will be needed again anyway it just makes sense.

for the sweetcorn gravy:
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 large onions (about 250 g), pureed
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp finely chopped hot green chilli
500g pureed tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp coriander and cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
150 g sweetcorn
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp sugar

  • Heat up the oil in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat.
  • When the oil is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds, allow them to fizz in the hot oil.
  • Add the pureed onion and cook over a medium heat until the onions are light brown (some people prefer to roughly chop the onions first, fry them and then puree them before using them but I don't feel that's a necessary step).
  • Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and allow to fry slightly alongside the onions, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and add the salt, coriander cumin powder, chilli powder and turmeric.
  • Cook for a few minutes until you see the oil start to separate from the tomatoes.
  • Add the sweetcorn, cover and cook over a low heat until the sweetcorn is tender.
  • Stir in the lemon and sugar before turning off the heat.
for the rice:
400 g (about 2 cups) of long grain basmati rice
1 L water
1 1/2 tsp sunflower oil
1 1/2 tsp ghee
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch of cinnamon, crushed
3 cloves
2 medium onions (150 g), finely chopped
200 g diced mixed peppers
2 tsp salt

  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and soak in clean water for one hour.
  • Heat up the oil and ghee in a large heavy based pan (I like to mix the ghee and oil as the ghee gives great flavour but the oil is healthier).
  • Add the cumin, cinnamon and cloves to the hot oil and allow to fizz.
  • Add the onions and cook gently until they become translucent.
  • Stir in the peppers.
  • Drain the water from the rice and add to the pan. Stir to make sure that all the grains of rice are lightly coated in oil.
  • Pour in the 1 L water (the measurement is normally twice the amount of water to rice, so as I used 2 cups of rice, I added 4 of water).
  • Stir in the salt, cover the pan and allow to cook for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.
  • After 10 minutes give the rice a bit of stir. Cover and continue to cook until the rice is cooked but firm and the water has evaporated.

optional ingredients for tarka (fried seasoning):
100 ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp curry leaves
3 tbsp cashew nuts
3 tbsp peanuts
2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Lower the heat of the oven to gas mark 5/190C/375F.
  • Lightly grease a large baking dish (my Mum's vast collection of Tupperware includes a beautiful 10"/25.5cm round, 4"/10cm deep glass baking dish which I find fits this recipe perfectly).
  • Press half of the rice (you don't have to wait for it to cool, yay!) into the bottom of the dish.
  • Pour on the gravy and spread to make an even layer.
  • Arrange the kofta balls in the gravy, pressing them in slightly.
  • Press the remaining rice on top.
  • If you wish to decorate the top of the biryani with the tarka, use the above ingredients for the following:
    • Heat up the oil in a small frying pan.
    • Add the curry leaves, cashew nuts and peanuts.
    • Fry for 5 seconds before turning off the heat and adding the sesame seeds.
    • Allow to cook in the hot oil until the nuts have browned.
    • Pour on top of the biryani.
  • Cover the biryani in foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Mozarella Melt Pakoras

Pakoras are one of the most famous Indian snack foods. They are usually made from vegetables, paneer, chicken or bread that have been finely chopped or sliced, dipped into a batter made from gram flour, and then deep fried. As they are so easy to make and come in so many delicious varieties they are quite popular as starters or snacks at parties, or even as weekend dinner treats for the family.

Growing up as part of an (extremely) large extended family, and with pakoras being one of my Grandmother's favourite foods, I have been lucky enough to enjoy all sorts of pakoras in different flavours, shapes and sizes, on more than my fair share of occasions!

With these wonderful morsels being such a go-to item, in our house at least, we have settled on just a few of our favourite varieties - potato, onion, chilli and fenugreek - that we hardly ever deviate from which is a shame as they are so versatile. Bearing this in mind, last weekend I went on a bit of a mission to create a couple of new varieties, just to break up the norm. Admittedly, the two that I came up with take a bit more time and effort than the usual chop-dip-fry method but on a special occasion, or when you'd just like to try something different, they are definitely worth giving a go.
Here's the first recipe - mashed potato pakoras (known to us at home as 'bateta wada'), with a mozzarella melt middle, enjoy! :)

Mozzarella Melt Pakoras (makes about 20)

500g Potatoes
2 teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Chilli Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
Juice of half a Lemon
1 tablespoon Sugar
50g Mozzarella
200ml Sunflower Oil
For the batter:
150g Gram Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Yoghurt
100ml Water
2 tablespoons Chopped Coriander
  • There are a few different ways of making the filling for potato pakoras, some people like to make a dry curry using all of the ingredients plus a little oil and then mash the result, personally I find it easier to boil the potatoes first until completely tender and proceed as follows.
  • Allow the potatoes to cool enough so that you can handle them, after which you can peel and mash them.
  • Add the salt to taste, bear in mind that you will need to add enough to flavour the mozzarella which will be contained within the potato, so a little extra in this case is usually better.
  • Add the chilli flakes, chilli powder, lemon and sugar and mash all of the ingredients together until they are well combined
  • At this stage taste the potato - this is where most of the flavour lies for these pakoras so you want it to be perfect, if you feel you need to add more of anything add it now, and then mash to combine again.
  • Chop the mozzarella into approximately half teaspoon sized pieces.
  • Place a tablespoon of the potato filling in the palm of your hand and flatten into a circle about 1cm thick.
  • Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle of the potato circle.
  • Add a second tablespoon of the potato filling on top of the mozzarella.
  • Carefully wrap the cheese in the potato and roll into a smooth ball.
  • Repeat until all of the potato mixture is used up, you should get approximately 20 pakoras in total.
  • Set the oil to heat up in a deep frying pan placed over a medium heat.
  • Whilst the oil heats, prepare the batter for the pakoras.
  • Sift the gram flour into a mixing bowl along with the salt and paprika.
  • Whisk in the yoghurt and water to create a smooth batter. The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter so add about three quarters of the water first and then the rest (plus more if required) until you have the right consistency (the amount of water you need depends on the gram flour, sometimes it needs more, sometimes less).
  • Fold in the chopped coriander.
  • When the oil is hot (test by frying a drop of batter, it should sink, then rise after about 3 seconds), you can start frying the pakoras.
  • Dip the pakoras in the batter to coat them (2 - 5 at a time depending on how big your frying pan is and how comfortable you are with this process), transfer to the oil and fry until golden (about 2 minutes max).
  • Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Serve these hot with a spicy tomato chutney - if they get cold you won't get the oozy cheese in the middle which is the best bit!

Pea & Paneer Pakoras (Mutter Paneer Pakoras)

Continuing the pakora recipes, here's the second one I tried this weekend to give the humble classic a twist. With most of us at home being vegetarian, paneer is a popular ingredient in our kitchen and alongside pakoras, mutter paneer - a curry made with peas and bite sized cubes of paneer - is another very familiar dish.
Here, I thought why not combine the two? We hardly ever make paneer pakoras at home which is strange considering how much we all love paneer and pakoras(!) so this was my second effort at introducing something new to my family's collection of favourite party recipes.

Mutter Paneer Pakoras (makes around 20)

400g Potatoes
250g Paneer (home made or store bought)
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons Chaat Masala
200ml Sunflower Oil
For the filling:
2 tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1 large Onion, finely chopped
200g Peas
3cm stick of Cinnamon
2 Cloves
1 teaspoon Ginger, grated
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1 small Green Chilli, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons Coriander Cumin Powder
1/4 teaspoon Tamarind Paste
For the batter:
150g Gram Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Yoghurt
100ml Water
2 tablespoons chopped Coriander
  • Start by boiling the potatoes, whilst they boil and get cool enough to handle, prepare the pea filling.
  • Heat up the 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the cinnamon and cloves, followed by the onion.
  • Gently cook until the onions begin to look translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli.
  • Cook for about another minute, allowing all of the flavours to infuse into the oil.
  • At this stage, if you wish to do so you can carefully remove the whole spices (cinnamon and cloves) from the pan - I make sure to do this as my family hate to be surprised by biting down on hidden whole spices when eating pakoras.
  • Add the peas, cover the pan and gently cook until the peas are tender.
  • Stir in the tamarind paste and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and allow this filling to cool while you prepare the potatoes and paneer.
  • Peel and mash the potatoes and make sure they are completely cold so as not to melt the paneer when you add it.
  • Finely grate the paneer and combine with the mashed potatoes.
  • Mix the salt and chaat masala into the potato and paneer.
  • Take a tablespoon of the potato and paneer mixture and flatten into a circle about 5mm thick.
  • Create about 5 of these circles and lay on a flat surface.
  • Place about three quarters of a teaspoon of the pea mixture in the middle of each circle.
  • Top with a second circle of the potato and paneer mixture.
  • Working on one patty at a time, gently press down the outer layer so that the pea mixture is completely concealed within the potato and paneer mixture.
  • Shape into plump, round but slightly flattened patties.
  • Repeat until all the of pea filling is used up.
  • Place the 200ml oil to heat up in a deep frying pan over a medium heat.
  • Make the batter by sifting the gram flour, salt and paprika into a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk in the yoghurt and water until you have a smooth batter the consistency of pancake batter. Add more or less water if required.
  • Fold in the chopped coriander.
  • Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping some batter into the frying pan, if it sinks and rises after 2 seconds it is ready.
  • Carefully dip the patties into the batter to coat them and then fry until golden.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and serve warm alongside some tomato and chilli chutney.

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Rise of Chocolate Covered Indian Confectionery

Happy Monday Bloggers! It's great to see the sun out here in London after such a rainy, dismal weekend!

Today I'd like to introduce you all to Devnaa's brand new Indian sweets collection - the flavours you already know and love, alongside some new stars, with a fab new look!

In order of appearance we have our Strawberry Sensation Barfi, Velvety Vanilla Barfi (with delicious hints of saffron and cardamom), Cinnamon Chai Barfi (flavoured with our signature aromatic blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and clove), Pistachio Rosette Barfi, Devnaa Delight (yummy almond barfi), Coconut Karma Barfi, Milk Chocolate Marvel Barfi, and Essensual Orange Barfi. We hope you love the new look as much as we do! :)

Having launched this gorgeous new collection last week we were pleasantly surprised to read an article in The Times of India yesterday that chocolate treats are beginning to gain popularity as gifts across India. As much as we love the traditional sweets, it's great to learn that even India, the 'mithai wallahs' (sweet makers), chefs, and bakers are all starting to incorporate new ingredients like chocolate with their traditional recipes - it can only mean lots more tasty new delights for us to try! It's also a massive inspiration not only for us here at Devnaa, but for everybody to keep being inventive and experimenting with new flavours and ingredients to produce fantastic new combinations that everyone will enjoy. :)

You can read the Times of India chocolate mithai article here. Wishing you all a week of creative cooking, the Devnaa team :) xx

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Recipe: Date and Coconut Roulade

The penultimate recipe from Devnaa's free recipe booklet 'Sugar and Spice, Volume 2' - Date and Coconut Roulade. This is something that I remember Mum making from when I was really young, a quick and easy recipe that everyone loved. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all do :)

Date and Coconut Roulade

Mum’s infamous ‘Khajur Roll’ recipe with an added chocolate twist from me! I can remember this delicious, guilt free sweet being served up at family parties from ever since I was tiny – everybody loved it as it contained no added sugar or fat, just an intense amount of flavourful dried fruit and nuts. It’s such a versatile recipe – not only can you substitute in any type of nut you like but it can also be made with most varieties of dried fruits or even extracts. Here, in true Devnaa form, I’ve added some dark chocolate to complement the fruitiness of the dates.

250g Dried, Pitted Dates
3 tblsp Ground Pistachio Nuts (coarse)
3 tblsp Ground Almonds (coarse)
2 tblsp Roughly Chopped Dark Chocolate
5 tblsp Desiccated Coconut

  • Crumble the dates into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the dates are soft enough to mash.
  • Mash with the back of a spoon.
  • Beat in the nuts followed by the chocolate.
  • Lay a sheet of cling film on your work surface and turn the date mixture out on top.
  • Sprinkle the coconut on top.
  • Use the cling film to help you carefully roll the mixture into a tight roulade – start from either the right or left edge and slowly wrap the mixture over and around itself.
  • Wrap the roulade tightly in the cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
  • Cut the roulade into 1cm slices.
  • Garnish with more coconut if desired and serve at room temperature.
You can find the complete booklet via our Facebook page, or see our Twitter page to keep up with all our latest news. :) x

Monday, 16 April 2012

Recipe: Indian Inspired Flapjacks

Happy Monday Everyone! Presenting the fourth recipe from our free recipe booklet, 'Devnaa's Sugar & Spice: Volume 2' - Indian Inspired Flapjacks. Think deliciously crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside flapjacks or cereal bars, given an exotic twist with distinct Indian flavours, perfect for breakfast or a snack at any time of the day. As usual, this recipe is suitable for vegetarians and alcohol free.

Indian Inspired Flapjacks


Flapjacks are fantastic in that they can be made with so many different inclusions resulting in a myriad of different flavours. I have heard of people using lots of different types of fresh and dried fruits, left over cereal, nuts, eggs, flour, spices, basically anything that you find left over and don’t know what else to do with! These Indian inspired flapjacks are probably more inspired by what you find in the back of a store cupboard living in an Indian household! They make excellent breakfast snacks – oats and dark sugars release energy slowly so they’ll keep you full for hours and they taste delicious too!

60g Pistachio Nuts
350g Oats
80g Dried Apricots
20g Desiccated Coconut
½ tsp Ground Cardamom
250g Salted Butter
80g Golden Syrup
200g Jaggery (or brown/Demerara sugar)

  • Pre heat your oven to gas mark 2/150C/300F and grease a 20cm x 30cm baking dish (I use my grill pan).
  • Dry roast the pistachio nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat until they are green and fragrant, this will take about 5 minutes.
  • Leave them aside to cool.
  • In the meantime measure out the oats in a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop the apricots into approximately 1cm chunks and add them to the oats along with the coconut and cardamom.
  • Roughly chop the roasted pistachio nuts, add these to the oat mixture and stir all of these ingredients together so that they are really well combined.
  • In a large saucepan (bear in mind you’ll be stirring the oats into this saucepan later so it should be sufficiently big!) gently heat the butter, golden syrup and jaggery or sugar over a medium heat, stir occasionally .
  • When the butter and sugars are melted, golden and bubbling add the oats to the pan.
  • Turn off the heat and mix everything together making sure that all of the oats are coated in the melted sugar.
  • Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly golden on top
  • Cool on a wire rack f.or 15 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces, do not remove the pieces from the pan yet or they will fall apart!
  • When the flapjacks have completely cooled gently remove them from the pan.
  • Serve at room temperature or store in an air tight container until required.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, don't forget you can find the complete booklet here via our Facebook page, or see our Twitter page to keep up with all our latest news. :) x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Recipe: Malai Ful Khaja (Indian Sweet)

Here's the third recipe from our free recipe booklet, 'Devnaa Sugar and Spice: Volume 2'. This recipe is a slight twist on the tradition 'Khaja' as it uses store bought filo pastry instead of the laborious home made version. Not only is is a lovely sweet offering but it's a different way of using 'paneer' (home made cottage cheese).


Malai Ful Khaja

The south Asian take on the Middle Eastern Baklava, ‘Ful Khaja’ can often be found in traditional Indian sweet shops. I often find that people are just astounded by the look of these before they even try them as they look so pretty! ‘Ful’ means flower and these sweets are named so as they are baked into little floral shapes which look impressive but are actually quite easy to do. These are normally made without the paneer and using rose water instead of orange in the syrup but the paneer adds a little moisture and another texture to the sweet and for me, the orange just makes a refreshing, citrusy change!


For the Paneer:

2L Milk

2 tblsp Lemon Juice


75g Coarsely Ground Pistachio Nuts

300g Caster Sugar

4 x 48cm by 25cm Filo Pastry Sheets

 For the Orange Blossom Syrup:

4tblsp Clarified Butter/Ghee (melted)

250ml Orange Blossom Water

  • Start by making the paneer – Prepare a colander by lining it with a cheese cloth and place it in the sink, ready to pour the hot milk into.
  • Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy based pan placed over a medium heat.
  • As soon as the milk comes to a rolling boil stir in the lemon juice to split the milk.
  • After about 20 seconds you should see the milk solids separate and the liquid become slightly green in colour pour the entire contents of the pan through the lined sieve.
  • Wash the paneer with cold water, tie up the cheesecloth to enclose the milk solids and tie the cloth so that it hangs from the tap to let all the excess water drain away.
  • Leave to drain for at least one hour.
  • In the meantime prepare the filo pastry - Place  a sheet of filo pastry on a greased baking sheet and brush with a tablespoon of the melted butter.
  • Layer the remaining three sheets of pastry on top of the first one, making sure to generously brush with butter melted butter between each sheet but leave the top sheet dry.
  • Cut the filo into 8cm x 8cm squares.
  • Pre heat oven to gas mark 6/200C/400F.
  • When the paneer is dry place it in a blender with 150g of the sugar and pulse to form a smooth paste..
  • Place 2 teaspoons of the paneer mixture in the centre of a filo square and press down to form a level rough square, leaving approximately a 1cm border of pastry around the edges of the paneer.
  • Fold the corners of the pastry in towards the middle of the paneer square and gently press down so that you have a wrapped parcel of paneer.
  • Repeat with all of the filo squares.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until almost cooked and then remove from the oven.
  • You will notice that the parcels have opened up and the paneer has shrunk down leaving the top of each parcel with a bit of space, fill each one with the ground pistachio nuts and return to the oven for about 5 more minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • While the ful khaja are baking prepare the orange syrup – place the orange water in a pan with the remaining sugar and place over a medium heat.
  • Allow the syrup to reduce by two thirds so that you have a thick, sticky sweet orange syrup to coat your ful khaja in.
  • When the khaja are baked carefully drizzle the syrup generously over each on and leave aside to cool.
  • Serve at room temperature.
You can find the full recipe booklet here or via our Facebook and Twitter pages. :) x

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Recipe: Apricot and Coconut Truffles

As mentioned on yesterday's blog, this week I'll be posting recipes from the second edition of Devnaa's free recipe booklet 'Sugar & Spice'. Here's part 2, apricot and coconut white chocolate truffles. These innocent treats are easy to make, completely vegetarian, low in sugar and do not contain any alcohol, there's no reason not to try them! :)

Following on from the date and orange truffles inspired by Mum, I thought I would try something similar with dried apricots as they are another popular Indian flavour. Dried apricot can be quite tart and I find that the coconut in this recipe softens that sharpness beautifully and the creamy sweetness of the white chocolate is delicious! These complement the date and orange truffles really well so I’d suggest make a batch of each and serve them together, your friends will be delighted!

100g Soft, Dry Apricots (pitted)
1 tblsp Double Cream
2 tblsp Desiccated Coconut
100g White Chocolate (roughly chopped)

  • Place the apricots in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until they are soft enough to mash
  • Place the softened apricots in a blender with the cream and coconut
  • Pulse until the mixture has turned into fairly smooth, thick paste
  • Divide this mixture into about 12 equal pieces and roll these into smooth balls
  • Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted, runny and glossy
  • Dip the apricot balls in chocolate to cover, do not worry if they are not perfect, and then transfer them to a plate lined with greaseproof paper
  • Keep the extra chocolate aside
  • When the dipped truffles are dry to the touch, warm the excess chocolate from before until it is glossy and runny again
  • Dip the truffles a second time to ensure a fairly even coating of chocolate
  • Transfer to greaseproof paper to set and garnish with chopped pistachio nuts or extra desiccated coconut to decorate
  • Allow to set in a cool place, serve at room temperature.
Don't forget you can find the complete booklet here or via our Facebook and Twitter pages. xx