Balle Indian Food has a new home!!

That’s right, is moving to it’s new home!

Please subscribe to my new blog as all new posts will be updated there. In addition, when you check out my new blog you will see I have a new page up entitled ‘The Spice Club’. The Spice Club is a new supperclub I will be hosting once a month in a ‘secret location’ in Manchester. Intrigued? For more information check out

Thanks guys, see you over there!


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Rajma Masala Curry ( Spicy Pinto Bean Curry)

I love  rajma! It’s one of my favourite dishes. Usually served with basmati rice, this Indian pinto bean dish is called ‘rajma chawal’ in Hindi. I highly doubt you will find this  at any Indian restaurant but it’s one of the most popular North Indian dishes.  Made with a spicy tomato masala, it’s really flavorful and paired with rice, it’s extremely satisfying to eat.

Serves 4

What we need:

  • 2 cups raw or 2 cans cooked pinto beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1  onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • Handful of freshly chopped coriander
  • 1/2 can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • Pinch of tandoori powder (optional)

How we do:

  • If you are using raw pinto beans, cook them in a pressure cooker or boil them until soft. Be sure to add 1 tsp salt whilst doing so.
  • In a food processor, add the onion, chilli, garlic, ginger and fresh coriander. Grind to a coarse paste
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to sizzle, add the grinded paste. Cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Now add all of the dry masalas and mix well. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
  • Add the tomatoes and mix. Cook for 3-5 minutes. When you see the oil begin to separate from the masala, it is ready.
  • Add the cooked pinto beans to the masala and add half cup of water. Cook on high and let it come to a boil for about 5-7 minutes. Check for salt!
  • Balle Balle! Chow down with some basmati rice, garnish with coriander and you’re good to go 🙂
Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Spicy Okra (Bhindi) with Yellow Peppers and Onions

I love making this okra dish. It’s one my brother’s favourite dishes and he ensures that it is made at least once a week in the house. He does nothing to help his desire become a reality of course, apart from vocalizing his wants in the kitchen. However, luckily for him, I’m an amazing sister (and it’s ridiculously easy to make, but don’t tell him that). Best served with chapatis and a lot of people eat it with yoghurt too. The good thing about okra is that it can be made in so many ways-I think this is my third okra recipe now! Also, it’s really nutritious.
Check it out, let me know how what you think 🙂

Serves 4:

What we need:
1lb okra
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
2 tomato roughly diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp amchur (mango powder)
Handful fresh coriander (cilantro)

How we do:

  • Heat oil in pan. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to sizzle, add okra, salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida powder. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously on medium heat.
  • Add the onion, yellow pepper and the rest of the spices except amchur. Mix and cook until you see the sticky threads disappear.
  • At this point, add the tomatoes, fresh coriander and amchur and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • When you see the oil has separated from the okra, your dish is ready!
  • BALLE BALLE! Enjoy 🙂
Posted in bhindi, Coriander, Dinner, Easy, Foods, Indian, Masala, okra, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Chicken Tikka Masala Fajitas with Mint Yoghurt Sauce

I always order these bad boys when I go to Mexican restaurants. I love making them fresh at home too but this time I thought I’d spice them up-literally, by changing up the filling. This is the first time I’d ever made chicken tikka masala in this way. I was pretty excited to be making this Brit favourite and fusing it with my personal Mexican favourite and I was really pleased with the result! The richness and heat of the tikka masala worked really well with the the classic fajita peppers and onions.  I also replaced sour cream with a cool mint yoghurt sauce which complimented the fajitas nicely. For all the vegetarians out there, you can swap out the chicken for paneer and use the same recipe to make paneer tikka masala fajitas. Ahh yumness 🙂 Check it out, let me know what you think:

Serves 4

What we need:
For marinade:
4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned and cut into thin strips
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp tandoori powder
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika powder
Pinch of citric acid (Or a squeeze of lemon juice)
Handful of fresh coriander
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp olive oil

For Masala:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2″ ginger
1 green chili (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp paprika powder
Handful coriander
2 tomatos
2 tbsp tomato puree
Handful cashews
2 tbsp yoghurt

1 green pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
8 tortillas

Mint Sauce:
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/4 fresh mint leaves
Salt to taste

How we do:

  • In a bowl, add the chicken, oil, milk  and all of the dry masalas together. Add the coriander and mix well. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to maximum temperature. Once hot, cook the chicken for 5 minutes. Then the chicken over and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • In a food processor, grind together the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander.
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns.
  • Once they begin to sizzle, add the grinded paste and cook until golden brown, stirring continuously.
  • Add in the dry spices and 2 tbsp tomato puree and mix.
  • Grind together the tomatoes and cashews. Add this paste to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • When the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the chicken and mix. Add 1/4 cup of water and cover with lid for 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 tbsp yoghurt and reduce the heat. Cook for a further 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Cover with lid.
  • Now heat 1 tsp oil in a frying pan. Add the peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper.
  • To prepare the mint sauce, grind or finely chop the mint. Mix with the yogurt and add a pinch of salt to taste.
  • To assemble the fajitas, heat a tortilla on a non stick pan. Once warm, remove from heat and place the chicken tikka  masala on the middle of it. Now add some peppers and onions and finish with some yoghurt sauce. Fold the tortilla over to form a fajita. Repeat this process for each of the tortillas.
  • Balle Balle! That’s it, you’re done. Enjoy.
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Urad Dal Masala

If you go to an  Indian grocery store you will see that urad dal is available in three types:
1) Whole urad dal which is black
2) Split urad dal which is black and white
3) Split and washed urad dal which is white.

In today’s recipe I used the 3rd type also known as ‘white lentil’. In Indian cuisine it is generally used to make a dry dal masala dish, unlike most dal dishes which are quite liquidy in consistency. I was never the biggest fan of this dish as a kid but I’ve got older I’ve oddly grown to love it. The thing that I love about cooking this dal is that it’s so simple to make-you don’t need a pressure cooker. It only takes 10 minutes to cook in a pan so I think it’s actually one of the quickest dals to make. You won’t find this dish at any Indian restaurant but it’s regularly made in the Sawhney household!  Check out the recipe and try out this authentic dal dish for yourself 🙂

Serves 4

What we need:

For dahl:
250g split washed urad dal (white in colour)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
For Masala:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida powder (hing)
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp ginger, grated
2 large fresh tomatoes
1 tsp tomato puree
4 mushrooms, diced (optional)
1/2 green or red chilli, finely diced (optional)
1/2 cup of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam maslala
Pinch paprika powder

How we do:

  • Soak the dal in water for 2-4 hours.
  • In a pot, add the dal and add water so it is approx 2″ above the dal. Add salt and turmeric powder. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the dal becomes soft. If there is any excess water, drain it.
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. When they begin to sizzle, add the onion and fresh chilli. Mix well and cook until golden brown.
  • Add the garlic and ginger. Cook four a couple minutes and add the salt, garam masala and paprika powder. Add the tomatos and puree. Mix and cook for a  few minutes. Now add the mushrooms and stir.
  • Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the dal and mix well for 2-3 minutes. Add the coriander.
  • BALLE BALLE! You’re good to go. Best served with hot chappatis.
Posted in Dahl, Dinner, Easy, Foods, Indian, Lunch, Masala, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

Pani Puri (Gol Goppa) Indian Street Food

There are so many different kinds of food vendors on the busy streets of India and the Pani Puri carts are by far the most popular. Most people end up here after work, school or stop by whilst they are shopping. It sounds odd but is the most ‘fun’ snack I have ever consumed. The thing I used to be amazed about is how there is no formal ‘ordering’ when you approach these Pani Puri carts. At the nod of a head, the ‘pani-puri walla’ starts stuffing the puri . He then dips it in the pani and serves it to you. They keep serving you the pani puri until you literally say stop or motion that you are full!! For those who have never had the opportunity to eat them, you are in for a treat. The crispy-ness of the puri combined with the spicy-ness of the potatoes and the chilled masala pani makes this the most incredible, addicting and mouth watering snack. I have been craving them since I got back from my vacation in India this February. However, yesterday Mama Sawhney brought home some Pani Puris  from the Indian Grocery Store so I couldn’t wait to make them fresh at home. All though there is no comparison to eating pani puri in the bustling streets of India with the heat beating down on you, I still enjoyed eating them in rainy Manchester, England. NOTE! Pani puris are perfectly shaped so you can fit them whole in your mouth. If you eat one in more than 1 bite you are a officially a party pooper.

What we need:

45 Pani Puris

For Pani:
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
pinch asofoetida powder
1 tsp pani puri masala
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp black salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
handful of fresh mint leaves (grinded into a paste)
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp mango chutney or sweet tamarind chutney (whatever you have in the pantry)
2 trays of ice cubes

For the filling:
8 medium potatoes,cooked and peeled. (I microwaved mine for 15 minutes)
1 red/green fresh chilli
handful of mint leaves
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2-3 tbsp water
1 tsp salt

How we do:

  • To make the pani, in a pan, add 1 cup water, tamarind paste and asofoetida powder and let it come to a boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
  • Put it in a bowl and add the remaining water and the ice. Also, add the rest of the dry ingredients listed above. Mix well and add mint paste, lemon juice and sugar.
    (Taste the pani at this point-you can add more water or salt depending on your preference)
  • For the potato filling, in a blender, add the chilli, mint, tamarind paste, lemon juice and water. Blend until a chutney paste forms.
  • Finely chop the potatoes on a chopping board and sprinkle over the salt. Transfer to mixing bowl.
  • Gradually add the chutney paste and softly mash everything together with hand.
  • Taste again. If you need more salt, now is the time to add.
  • Using a pointed knife or using your finger, carefully make a whole at the top of the puri about the size of 2 pence piece. Repeat process for all puri.
  • Put about 1 tsp of the potato filling by hand into the puri (Only stuff the puri with potatoes when you are ready to eat them. Otherwise they may soggy).
  • Now for the best bit-to chow down! Dip the stuffed puri in the pani and go for it!
  • BALLE BALLE!! Enjoy
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Gobi ka Paratha (Stuffed Chappati)

Gobi ka Paratha is translated as stuffed cauliflower parathas (parathas are fried chappatis).  These are typically served for breakfast in many Punjabi households and if you get a couple of these down you before you start the day you are definitely good to go for a few hours :). I know cauliflower isn’t the most popular vegetable out there but believe me, mixed with Indian spices and stuffed in  chappatis, it tastes delicious. You can stuff parathas with so many other ingredients too like paneer, onions, potatoes and carrots.  I remember when I was a little kid, if I wasn’t feeling well, my Mum used to make sweet parathas using sugar as a filling. I used to feel better instantly. I think my favorite stuffing that Mama Sawhney made was cheddar cheese, onion and cilantro. (Recipe to come soon). Actually she stuffed them with spicy minced lamb once and they were darned good too…aahhhh the options!

Makes 6

What we need:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup water
2 cups of cauliflower, finely grated
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 green chilli, chopped (optional)
1tsp chaat masala
1tsp amchur (mango powder) OR a pinch citric acid powder
Pinch chilli powder
Handful finely chopped fresh coriander leaves, washed and dried
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp olive oil

How we do:

  • Place the flour  in a mixing bowl. Add the water gradually. Combine the flour and water to make a sticky dough. Grease your hands slightly with oil and knead the dough until it becomes elastic and soft. It should not be too sticky or too hard. To check, press the dough with your fingers-it should spring back if it is the right consitency. Cover the dough with a towel.
  • To prepare the stuffing, mix together the remaining ingredients in the bowl, adding the salt right at the end (this to prevent any excess water forming- moisture is the enemy in preparing stuffed parathas!)
  • Divide the stuffing into four portions.
  • Now heat a  non stick frying pan or tava on high heat. Once the pan is hot, reduce to medium heat whilst you prepare the paratha.
  • On a floured surface, shape the dough in to 6 round balls.
  • Dip the ball in the flour and with a rolling pin, begin to roll so it becomes the size of a tea saucer.
  • Place one portion of the stuffing in the centre of the chappati and join together all of the edges of the chappati so that they meet in the middle and press it down.
  • Dip the stuffed ball in the flour.
  • Take a clean plastic bag and lay it on the work surface.  Begin to roll the stuffed ball on the plastic bag (this prevents the paratha from sticking to the surface).
  • Roll gently until it is 7-8″ in diameter. See photo.
  • Increase heat of frying pan to high.
  • Carefully pick up the paratha and flip from hand to hand to get rid of any excess flour.
  • Place it on the frying pan. When it changes colour and small bubbles begin to appear turn it over and cook the other side. Brush the surface with a little oil and turn it over. Let it cook for about 30 seconds. Now repeat for the other side until your paratha is golden and crispy.
  • Maka the rest of the paratha using the same process. Keep them wrapped in a towel or foil.
  • BALLE BALLE! You’re done. Best served hot with chilled yoghurt and pickle.
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Vegetable Samosas

These classic Indian snacks are usually served at dinner parties at my house or whenever we’re craving them. This is my Mum’s yum recipe. She taught me how to make them this past week so I took some snaps of her preparing them to act as a visual aid for y’all. Hope it helps and you guys like! Handy thing about samosas is that you can prep and freeze them before time and fry them as and when you want. Also, they taste good hot or cold so they’re pretty awesome to take on picnics and such.  I remember Mama Sawhney used to make them when we used to go to Clearwater beach back when we were living in Florida.  Sun, sand and samosas…good times 🙂

What we need:

For Filling:
450gm boiled potatoes, roughly diced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 red onion, finely diced
110gm frozen peas
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp kasuri methi
1/2 tsp tandoori masala (optional)
pinch of citric acid (or a drizzle of lemon juice)

For Pastry:
120 ml water
225gm flour
pinch salt
55gm plain flour (for rolling)

For Paste:
25gm plain flour
90 ml water

600ml cooking oil for frying

How we do:

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Shahi Paneer-The Skinny Version

Another paneer recipe you maybe thinking? Yes yes I know..but this time I’m using the amazing combination of cream and paneer! Before making this dish, I thought I would make something along the lines of Shahi Paneer which is a very rich Mughal dish. But in being extremely rich I also find it is really heavy, so I decided to make the skinny  version of  Shahi Paneer which is  a lot lighter but still tastes good. I decided to throw in some peas for colour and some baby button mushrooms cause they I think they taste darned good with paneer. (Both opional). I also browned off the paneer in dry spices before I used it in the dish so each piece was individually crispy and had its own flavour. Made some rotis with it too (well Mama Sawhney did as she makes them oh so well). Check it.

Serves 4

What we need:

5 tbsp olive oil
1 block of paneer (approx 250g), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tbsp ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 green chilli (optional)
handful of fresh chopped coriander
1/4 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen, thaw in water and strain)
5-6 baby button mushrooms, halved (optional)
1 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sour cream

How we do:

  • In a non stick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds. Once they begin sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder.
  • Lightly fry until paneer turns golden on both sides. Remove from heat.
  • In a food processer, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Now add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1tsp garam masala and the coriandor. Process until finely ground.
  • In a pan, heat 4 tbsp oil. Then add the ground up masala. Cook on medium heat until golden brown.
  • Add 1/2 tin plum tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the peas. Then add the mushrooms and the paneer. Mix well.
  • Now add the water and bring it to a boil. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cream. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes.
  • Balle Balle! You’re good to go. Best served with hot chappatis or naan.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sicilian Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Pizza Pie

What’s better than pizza? Homemade pizza! Check out this new recipe-I made a video tutorial for it and everything! It’s actually pretty simple and the end result is well worth the effort. Have a look (literally).

Serves 4-6

What we need:

3 mushrooms (optional)
1 green pepper, diced
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 ball mozzarella, sliced
30g garlic/chive cheese, sliced (optional)
handful fresh basil
half onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt 9or according to taste)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 packet pizza base mix
300ml warm water

How we do:

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments