Category Archives: nigella seeds

turkey masala burgers

turkey masala burgers with sweet potato wedges and cauliflower pickle

A turkey isn’t just for Christmas. It’s for all year round.

That was the message put out by the British Turkey board. Headed up by Paul Kelly – a good Essex boy – me and a bunch of others were entertained as a guest of Cyrus Todiwala to help promote the use of turkey throughout the year. Cyrus was an affable host, preparing dinner and chatting away. We were blown away by dishes like turkey heart pie and turkey cafreal tikka. All of us were stuffed with the amount of turkey dishes served, it really did showcase the bird!

It inspired me to cook an Indian-flavoured dinner. I have to be honest and say I’d not used turkey outside of December for a few years; it’s appearance in supermarkets seems to have declined. I would quite often but the breast strips for marinating, stir frying or for pies. Using mince here I made a burger with rich masala flavours, inspired by Cyrus Todiwala’s tikka recipe. I marinated mine in clotted cream, because I had some knocking about, but traditionally you’d use yoghurt.

My turkey here was succulent and meaty, and supported by spiced flavours it was a real hit. I will definitely be putting turkey in my basket more regularly.

Based on a recipe by Cyrus Todiwala

Turkey masala burgers (serves 4):

800g British turkey mince

¼ teaspoon turmeric

2 heaped tablespoons clotted cream

40g ginger

4 cloves garlic

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

Juice of 1 lime

½ teaspoon garam masala

For the sweet potatoes:

5 sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the cauliflower pickle:

400g frozen cauliflower

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

½ red onion, peeled and sliced

Burger buns and mango chutney, to serve

  1. Season the mince with the turmeric and plenty of salt and pepper. Combine well then form into 4 patties, and leave covered in the fridge while you make the marinade.
  2. Bash up the garlic and ginger with the cumin, coriander and chilli powder in a pestle and mortar until you have a paste. Add the lime juice and cream and mix well to combine. Smother the turkey patties in the marinade, cover (twice!) and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C, get a saucepan over a high heat and the grill on medium high. Slice the potatoes into wedges, dust with the cumin and drizzle with oil. Roast for 30 – 40 mins, turning frequently until starten to blacken at the edges. Sprinkle salt over as they come out of the oven.
  4. When the potatoes are in the oven, put the onion in a bowl with the vinegar and a pinch each of salt and sugar. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add the cumin and nigella seeds to the saucepan and allow to heat for a minute. Add the cauliflower and jam the lid on. Toss frequently and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Add the onion for the last minute of cooking and check for seasoning.
  6. Grill the burgers for about 6 – 9 minutes each side, until browned and cooked through. Serve in a toasted burger with plenty of mango chutney.

keema chana curry

keema chana curry

This was completely inspired to the ideas I’d been absorbing from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. Keeping a few pans on the go, everything cooked separately and brought together, powerful spices to give the flavours a kick… It’s exactly in keeping with the way some of the Jamie recipes work.

I do have one ingredient in there I’m not convinced Jamie would approve of… frozen mince and onion. But I can’t ignore the time-saving this offers me.

If’ I’d have had coriander leaf to scatter on top, it would’ve been perfect. But I was happy enough.

Keema chana curry (serves 2):

250g frozen mince and onion

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 red onion

1 clove garlic

1 tin tomatoes

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 tin chickpeas, drained

2 sweetcorn cob halves

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  1. Get two frying pans and a saucepan on pretty hot. Get the kettle on to boil.

  2. Add a dash of oil to one of the pans and add the cumin seeds and turmeric. After a minute add the mince and onion and stir often.

  3. Get your blender ready, and whizz up the onion, garlic, tomatoes, nigella and garam masala with a pinch of salt until liquid. Add to the other pan and allow to bubble. After a couple of minutes add the chickpeas.

  4. Fill the sauce pan with boiling water and add the sweetcorn. Simmer for 10 minutes until tender, then drain. Return to the pan and add a knob of butter, a pinch of smoked sea salt and paprika. Pop the lid on and toss well.

  5. Serve the mince on top of the tomatoey chickpeas with the sweetcorn on the side.

masala cheese scones

curried masala cheese scones

I’d been treated to a big lunch and knew I wouldn’t want a full dinner. But what to have? On the walk home from the station I got a craving for cheese scones. A hot scone or two with a little butter melting on them… yes!

When I got in there was a little package of cheese waiting for me from Joseph Heler. It was “Red Leicester with Authentic Indian Chutney”, traditional English cheese flavoured with Geeta’s mango chutney. I hacked off a chunk immediately, and it’s perfectly pleasant but not bursting with Indian flavour. It’s the kind of thing that would be perfectly good as part of a wider cheeseboard, along with the Wensleydale with cranberries or stilton with apricots or Dairylea with ginger or whatever.

It was just in time for my cheese scones though, and with an extra kick of Indian spicing it made a great snack. And make sure you serve it not with strawberry jam, but more mango chutney.

Masala cheese scones (makes about 6 – 8):

150g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon salt

25g butter

2-3 tablespoons milk

75g Joseph Heler’s chutney cheese, grated

1 large egg

1 tablespoon nigella seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Mix the flour, baking powder, garam masala and salt together, then rub in the butter. Mix in the cheese.
  2. In another bowl beat the egg and 2 tablespoons of the milk together, the incorporate into the mixing bowl. Blend gently – try not to over-mix – and pull together into a soft dough. It should leave the bowl clean.
  3. Pat gently into a chunky patty about 2cm thick, slice roughly and put on to a floured baking tray. Brush with the remaining milk, scatter over the nigella seeds and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 seconds before scoffing the lot with mango chutney on the side.

Gary Fennon

diamond jubilee chicken

heston blumenthal's diamond jubilee chicken

Another year, another royal celebration, another round of special dishes by Heston Blumenthal. Following last year’s trifle to commemorate the royal wedding, this year Heston produced a panoply of picnicky treats. I’ve had a stab at one here: Diamond Jubilee Chicken.

I’m really not a fan of coronation chicken, the dish originally commissioned for the Queen’s coronation. For me the fruit in there just really jars. Thankfully this version dismisses all that and you get a lovely curried chicken mayo. I read the summary of the ingredients and given it a go myself. You can skip the brining if you like, but brining gives you succulence and depth of flavour, with a lovely finish of peppery nigella seeds which I adore.

I haven’t been able to try the shop-bought version. It may or may not taste like the Heston dish but it makes a great buffet treat regardless.

Diamond Jubilee chicken:

3 chicken breasts

For the brine:

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 star anise

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon golden syrup

For the dressing:

300ml mayonnaise (home made if you can)

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon nigella seeds

Lemon juice, to taste

  1. Put the chicken and all the brining ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with water and add enough salt to make an 6% brine solution. Allow to brine for 6 hours, then drain, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Grill the chicken until cooked through (I used a George Foreman Grill). Allow to cool on a wooden board and then slice into bite-size chunky pieces.
  3. For the dressing blend all the ingredients together, then stir in the chicken. Dust with paprika and serve with toast, crudites or salad.

spiced chorizo and chickpea stew

spiced chorizo and chickpea stew

I’ve made variations on this before, but the one killer ingredient I’ve added here that I wanted to shine a spotlight on is nigella seeds. I saw a Tweet from the excellent @pearcafe, and thought the addition of nigella seeds to their soup of the day was inspired. So I threw some into this stew and it was ace. Thanks ‘E’! I’ve never been to Bristol but if I do The Pear Café will be first on my list of places to visit :-)

Spiced chorizo and chickpea stew (serves 4):

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 onion, diced

200g chorizo, in chunks

1 tin of chickpeas

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tin tomatoes (I’ve got a bit of a thing for tinned cherry tomatoes at the moment)

250ml chicken stock

2 slices of brown bread

1 clove of garlic, peeled

  1. Get a large casserole on a high heat and add a splash of olive oil. When hot, throw in the seeds and allow to pop and sizzle for a minute. Add the onion and chorizo and stir often until the chorizo starts to bleed.
  2. Add the chickpeas (don’t bother to drain), tomatoes, paprika and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. While that simmers throw the brown bread and garlic in a food processor and whizz to a powder with a pinch of salt.
  4. In a separate pan melt some butter and when foaming add the breadcrumbs. Toss often until browned all over, then drain on kitchen paper until the stew is ready.
  5. Check the seasoning on the stew. You may find in addition to salt and pepper you may need some red wine vinegar to balance it all out. Ladle into serving dishes and top with the breadcrumbs. If you have any, a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil would be brill.

empire chicken with indian gravy and bombay roasties

empire chicken with indian roasties

What a triumph this is. Just when I was feeling a bit indifferent to Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain along comes this absolute belter. Jamie introduces this by saying most people when asked about their favourite foods will mention roast chicken and curries, and this utterly unites the heart of both of these.

With blackened, tangy skin the chicken comes out juicy and tickling on the tongue, although be warned it will make a mess of your oven as it sits on the rack.

Being the kind of blog this is though, I have to talk about the roast potatoes. They are a triumph. I used to get “spicy spuds” from a dubious takeaway near me and these are very, very close to those – crispy, spicy and fluffy.

I’ve made a few changes to the spices in the potatoes based on what I had, and used floury over new pots to get them really crispy. I’ve served mine with a refreshing salad.

I cannot recommend this recipe enough.

Jamie’s original recipe is here.

Empire chicken, Bombay roasties, Indian gravy and refreshing salad (serves 4):

For the chicken and marinade

1.4kg free-range chicken

1 heaped tablespoon each finely grated garlic, fresh ginger and fresh red chilli

1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée

1 heaped teaspoon each of ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala and ground cumin

2 heaped teaspoons natural yoghurt

2 level teaspoons sea salt

For the gravy

1 stick of cinnamon

2 small red onions, peeled

10 cloves

3 tablespoons each of white wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce

3 level tablespoons plain flour

500ml chicken stock

For the Bombay-style potatoes

800g new potatoes

sea salt and ground pepper

1 lemon

2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil

a knob of butter

1 heaped teaspoon each of nigella seeds, ground coriander, garam masala, fenugreek and turmeric

1 bulb of garlic

Pinch of chilli flakes

For the salad

½ a cucumber, peeled

3 carrots, peeled

1 red onion, peeled

½ lemon

    1. Slash the chicken’s legs a few times right down to the bone. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and smear all over the chicken. Leave to marinate overnight.
    2. Preheat the oven to 200°C and organize your shelves so the roasting tray can sit right at the bottom, the chicken can sit directly above it, right on the bars of the shelf, and the potatoes can go at the top.
    3. Cut the potatoes into golf-ball size pieces then parboil them in a large pan of salted boiling water with a whole lemon for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain the potatoes then let them steam dry. Stab the lemon a few times with a sharp knife and put it right into the chicken’s cavity.
    4. Roughly chop the onions and add to a roasting tray along with the cinnamon stick, cloves, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, then whisk in the flour. Pour in the stock or water, then place this right at the bottom of the oven. Place the chicken straight on to the bars of the middle shelf, above the roasting tray. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes.
    5. Put a roasting tray in the oven for five minutes to get hot. Add the olive oil, butter, the spices, halve a bulb of garlic and add it straight to the pan. Add your drained potatoes to the tray, mix everything together, then season well. After the chicken has been in for 40 minutes, put the potatoes in.
    6. Once the chicken is cooked, move it to a board to rest. Pass the gravy through a coarse sieve into a pan, whisking any sticky goodness from the pan as you go. Bring to the boil and either cook and thicken or thin down with water to your preference (I had to add some boiling water to deglaze the surface and make a sauce out of it.
    7. For the salad, use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips of the carrot and cucumber. Then finely slice the onion and add this to it. Add a pinch each of salt and sugar, then squeeze over the lemon and toss to combine. Leave for 15 minutes while everything else finishes off.
    8. Get your potatoes out of the oven and put them into a serving bowl, then serve the chicken on a board next to the sizzling roasties and hot gravy.

golden seeded burgers

Golden seeded burgers with spicy mayo

Ryvita Golden Rye CrackersRyvita sent me some of their new Ryvita Crackers for Cheese recently. They’re in two flavours: golden rye and black pepper, and are apparently very low in calories. They’re very tasty and great with cheese. For more information, take a look at their Facebook page. But the sweet, almost honeyed flavour of the golden rye set me thinking…

I’ve used crackers in a burger mix before and they came out great, so I tried them here. And they work absolutely great, filling the mouth with rounded flavours, and combining with the warmth of the seeds for a really different tasting burger.

Golden seeded burgers (makes 6):

For the burgers:

6 Ryvita golden rye crackers

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon smoked sea salt

Few grinds of black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

500g beef mince

1 tablespoon mushroom ketchup

Oyster sauce

For the spicy mayo:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

A pinch of paprika

Juice of ½ lemon

  1. Combine the crackers, seeds, salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar and grind to dust. Mix with the oil, mince and mushroom ketchup and form into 6 even patties. Chill in the fridge for an hour before cooking to firm up.
  2. For the mayo, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set to one side.
  3. To cook the burgers, get a griddle or frying pan very hot and grill the patties for 4 minutes on one side. Flip the burgers over and baste the cooked sides with a glaze of oyster sauce. Cook for a further 4 minutes (or until done as you like – note the burger will look very dark brown due to the seeds) and serve with mayo in a soft white bun.