This month's Kitchen Nomad box is transporting us to Pakistan, discovering the recipes provided by Sumayya Jamil, a freelance food writer and cookery teacher specialising in Pakistani cuisine and culture who wants to to highlight the differences between Pakistani cuisine and other South Asian cuisines. I must admit, if it wasn't for the Masoods on EastEnders, I'd probably have no idea whatsoever of any Pakistani dishes and I'm not sure how authentic the EastEnders version is !
I was quite surprised to discover the raita recipe using a mixture of cucumber and cherry tomatoes because I was under the misguided misconception that raita is always made using just cucumber. Apparently, there are numerous versions using all manner of fruit and vegetables though, which is food for thought.
But on to the food for the belly ! This recipe calls for several spices from the Pakistani box. First of all, Coriander Seeds. I bit into one and loved the burst of citrus flavour that it released. I love the suggestion of planting some of these to have fresh coriander too.
Next was cumin. I have eaten whole cumin seeds in Gouda cheese but usually use ground cumin in cooking, so I was impressed with the more intense flavour that the seeds provide. I wonder if you could plant these too. Definitely worth a try !
One that everyone knows already - red chilli powder.
The most exotic ingredient in this dish is Chaat Masala, a spice blend that is typically used in Pakistani and Indian cookery. According to Wikipedia, it is usually a mixture of amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, kala namak (black salt), coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, asafoetida (hing) and chili powder.
The recipe says to use full fat natural yogurt but I had some tubs of fat free Quark in the fridge so I used that instead.
I'd never whipped yogurt before - cream yes, but not yogurt - but it made it really thick and creamy so I will almost definitely do this again when a recipe calls for yogurt as an ingredient.
Time to chop up all the vegetables - cucumber, cherry tomatoes and spring onions.
The recipe calls for ground coriander and cumin seeds but the seeds were too hard to be crushed with my usual mortar and pestle. Luckily, I remembered a little spice grinder that we'd brought back from Turkey and that - to be honest - I thought was purely ornamental ! It crushed them up perfectly so I'll definitely be using this from now on.
I'd never put spices into raita before either, thinking it was supposed to be bland and cooling to accompany spicy dishes, but they did give it a lovely lift.
A quick bit of stirring and it's ready. This was being made as an accompaniment to Chicken Yakhni Pullao, another recipe from the box that I'll tell you about very soon, but it would also be lovely in a wrap or with bread.
Disclosure : I received a Kitchen Nomad box in order to write an honest review.
Other blogposts you may be interested in :