Firstly, I feel the need to apologise for taking so long to post again! I am going to blame this on numerous reasons – number 1 being I have been so chilled out and lazy, number 2 the internet in the Thai islands hasn’t been the best, and number 3 I had such bad food poisoning in Goa the last thing I wanted to do was talk about or write about food for a while!

This blog entry is purely in dedication to Neha Gupta, and her amazing cooking classes Saffron Palate. You can check them out at As a chef, I have always been intrigued by true authentic North Indian cooking, but in all honesty no matter how many cookbooks, web pages and TV programmes I have researched on the subject, it is one area of cooking I feel I’ve never bee able to ‘nail’ better than the restaurants…. Neha has changed this! (Or so I hope!).

Being welcomed into Neha’s home in South Delhi was an experience in itself – beautiful 3 story home, away from the CRAZY streets of Delhi, and in a safe gated community. We were welcomed with masala chai (one of the best teas ever!! Recipe to follow…), homemade samosas and chicken kebabs with a tamarind dip.

Once we chatted, Neha talked us through her spice boxes – the base for almost all N.Indian curries:


From top, left to right:

Green cardamon pods
dried red chilli
black peppercorn
black cardamon
star anise
dried bay leaves
Also, a box of base ingredients, as follows:


I won’t go into specifics here as in each recipe you will see what is needed, and some of these are pretty obvious! They include chopped and sliced shallots, crushed ginger, crushed garlic, fresh coriander, fresh green chilli, tomato purée and chopped, crushed garlic and cauliflower and peas.

Also – probably the most important in N.Indian cookery was Neha’s dried spice box. I actually bought some at the market and have shipped them home!! Good dried spices are not just requirement but an absolute ESSENTIAL for good quality Indian food…


From top, left to right:

Garam Massala
cumin seeds
dried mango powder
ground coriander
red chilli powder
cumin powder
meat masala
I FINALLY know how to make authentic basmati rice!! Something I have never been the best on, and a good authentic paratha bread and roti. All the food was absolutely amazing, we made both vegetarian dishes (saag paneer), and a dry based curry with chicken, diced cumin potatoes, countless breads and some real techniques when it came to which spice went in which dish.

I will upload a few of these on my Recipe page, I just wanted to check in and update on how fantastic this experience was. We sat down to eat it all after and as you can see it was a feast! Learnt a lot about Hinduism, and Delhi culture. If you go, please go and see Neha she is fantastic and I feel much better equipped now to cook authentic Indian food!!

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