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Indian Thali Cookery Class – Recipes

Simple ingredients, full of flavour, a traditional vegetarian Indian Meal.

Menu – Coconut Dhal with Spinach, Tomato Masala, Stuffed Paratha, Ghee Pilaf Rice, Paneer Korma.

Ghee Pilaf Rice

Ingredients -serves 6

The spices in here are optional, cardamom and turmeric definitely!

  • . 50g uncooked basmati rice per person – so 300g for 6
  • . 4-5 cardamom pods (bashed)
  • . 2 tablespoons Ghee – or use Olive oil or Butter
  • . 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • . 2 bay leaves
  • . 2 cloves
  • . 1 Cinnamon stick
  • . 1 onion or 2 shallots
  • . ½ teaspoon salt
  • . 600ml boiling water


  1. 1. Melt ghee or butter or warm olive oil in a medium pan, then add the onion and all your selected spices.  Stir in the basmati rice, making sure it’s coated in the spices. 

  2. 2. Add the water, cover and into the oven for 10-15 minutes – checking occasionally.  The water will be fully absorbed and the rice tender – it will stay warm, if covered for 30-40 minutes, so make this early!

Coconut Dhal with Spinach


Dhal Spice Mix – teaspoon of each (dry powder) – ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric

  • . 2-3 Cardamom pods
  • . 200g Mong Dhal – this is one of the faster cooking Dhal, works really well and gives a creamy texture to your dish
  • . One Banana Shallot or Quarter of a medium onion – diced
  • . Half tablespoon Ghee
  • . ¼ Block of Coconut Block (you could use quarter tin of coconut milk)
  • . Handful of spinach
  • . To garnish – crispy onions, chopped fresh coriander, finely diced red chilli


  1. 1. Place the dhal in a small pan add the cardamom pods, cover with water and bring to boil. 
  2. 2. Once boiling reduce to a simmer, top up the water if its looking dry – dhal will absorb a lot of water and you shouldn’t need to drain this at the end of cooking….traditionally a thicker dhal was a sign of wealth!
  3. 3. Test dhal after about 15 minutes, if it is starting to soften, add the coconut block, stir, leave simmering.

Prepare the spices. 

  1. 1. Use a small frying pan on medium heat, add the ghee then the onion/ shallot
  2. 2. Let the onion soften, then add the 4 spice powders
  3. 3. Stir, and reduce heat.
  4. 4. Test your dhal again, it should now be creamy and the dhal soft and broken down.  If it feels too thick, add water gradually to get the consistency you prefer.
  5. 5. Take table spoon of the dhal and add to the spice pan, stir and then add this back into the dhal
  6. 6. Stir and remove from heat.

To Serve

  1. 1. Rinse hand full of baby spinach leaves under tap and crush in your hand.  Stir through the hot dhal mix. 
  2. 2. Plate into 2 bowls or one serving plate – add crispy onions, chopped coriander and chopped red chilli as a garnish

Tomato Masala

This is a delicious sweet sauce, that works well as a dipping sauce for breads, or add a few prawns or chicken and have as a main dish.  You could make it into a chutney.

Ingredients -serves 2

Masala Spice Mix – teaspoon of each (dry powder) – coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, paprika (if you want a spicier blend, increase the cayenne and cumin)

  • . 4 fresh tomatoes – you could use a can of tomatoes, but it’s fun with the fresh!
  • . 1-2 tablespoons of caster sugar (to taste)
  • . Fresh lime juice – half a lime is probably enough, but again to taste
  • . 1 banana shallot or ¼ of an onion, finely diced


  1. 1. Ideally use a box grater to grate the tomatoes – discard the skin.  If you need to finely dice, you can.
  2. 2. Heat frying pan on medium heat, add shallot and dry fry
  3. 3. Add the spices, stir
  4. 4. Add the grated tomato, stir
  5. 5.Add the lime and sugar…taste and balance as required.

To Serve

Serve in a bowl, if you want to garnish, then sprinkle parsley or coriander on

Paneer Korma

Ingredients -serves 2

  • . 150g paneer – in chunks
  • . Medium onion – chopped fine or grated
  • . 4 tablespoons yoghurt
  • . 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • . ½ Teaspoon Grated Ginger
  • . 1 green chilli – finely chopped (deseed)
  • . 8 cashew nuts
  • . 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
  • . 1 bay leaf
  • . 1 green cardamom
  • . 2-3 pepper corns
  • . ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • . ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • . 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • . 1 teaspoon sugar
  • . 1.5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • . 2 Tablespoon chopped coriander
  • . Salt to taste
  • . 150 ml water



  1. 1. Using a grinder/ nutribullet or magimix – blitz the yoghurt, coconut, chilli, cashew, ginger, poppy seeds until you get a thick paste – set aside
  2. 2. Medium heat on a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and shallow fry paneer until light brown.  Set aside.
  3. 3. Add the remaining oil, bay leaf, cardamom, peppercorns, heat for 10-20 seconds – add the chopped onion and fry till brown.
  4. 4. Add chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder – mix well
  5. 5. Add the coconut, yoghurt, cashew paste – sugar and salt
  6. 6. Stir well and cook for a minute
  7. 7. Add the water and cook for 3 minutes – add back the paneer, cook for another 4 minutes.
  8. 8. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with paratha!


  1. 1. You can either work directly on the work surface or we use a bowl as the first bit is the stickiest.  Pile the flour up, make a hole in the middle into which you break your egg.  Add the salt and oil and pull it together with a fork, before getting your clean hands in and kneading.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes or longer.
  2. 2. We aren’t using pasta machines, so you have to start the hard work.  Work it and roll it.  Fold and repeat.  You will ge the feel for the pasta as it turns from a tricky dough into something silky!
  3. 3. Meanwhile, for the filling, in a clean bowl, mix the spinach, ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg well, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. 4. Divide the fresh pasta into four and keep three portions under a bowl while you roll and stuff one quarter. This prevents the pasta from drying out. Roll out the pasta into a long, wide strip about 1mm in thickness, either by hand or using a machine. When you can see your hand through it, it is ready for stuffing.  Cut out your circles using a press or just cut round a glass.
  5. 5. Place teaspoons of the filling into each circle, fold and bend in the sides to make your shapes.
  6. 6. They can be cooked straight away or stored in fine semolina for up to two hours. You can also freeze them at this stage and then cook them from frozen when you are ready.
  7. 7. To cook, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and gently lower in the tortellini. Cook for about four minutes or until the pasta is soft but not floppy.

Paratha – Plain and Stuffed

This will make 4 small breads, ideal for 2 people

Ingredients – Dough

  • . 100g atta flour (wholemeal  if you can’t get atta)
  • . 100g madia flour (plain  if you can’t get madia) – plus extra for dusting
  • . Water


  1. 1. In a large bowl, mix the 2 flours, then gradually add water, mixing with a spoon.  The mixture will come together in a ball, you are looking for a soft dough.  Then take the mixture in your hands and knead for about 5 minutes.
  2. 2. Split into 4 balls of equal size and set aside.

Paratha – filling

  • . Paratha Spice Mix – teaspoon of each powder – coriander, cumin, ginger
  • . Fresh Green Chilli – finely diced
  • . Fresh Coriander – chopped
  • . 200g Tinned Peas (you can use defrosted frozen)
  • . 1 spring onion – chopped


  1. 1. In a bowl, smash up the peas with a spoon, mix all ingredients together

For the stuffed paratha:

  1. 1. Sprinkle some flour on board or worksurface
  2. 2. Roll out 2 of your balls of dough until size of small saucer – if you don’t have a rolling pin, use wine bottle or can!
  3. 3. Add tablespoon of your pea mix to the centre, fold sides over to enclose the mixture.   Flatten with your hand or with the rolling pin to about ½ centimetre thick – some of the filling may poke through – don’t worry!

For the plain paratha:

  1. 1. Sprinkle some flour on board or worksurface
  2. 2. Roll out 2 of your balls of dough until size of small saucer – if you don’t have a rolling pin, use wine bottle or can!

To Cook

  1. 1. Heat frying pan on medium heat, add the stuffed paratha and cook, there will be some charring on each side of the paratha.  Cook both sides for about 2 minutes
  2. 2. For the plain paratha, repeat above…you want it to remain soft rather than crisp up. 
  3. 3. Drizzle melted butter or ghee over the breads and serve

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