Episode 8: In The Spice Kitchen

Welcome to episode 8 of the podcast and this time it’s all about SPICES!!

I love spices, I love how any meal can be enhanced by the mere sprinkle of a colourful powder. And in this episode we talk to the experts, Sanjay and Shashi Aggarwal from Spice Kitchen UK, hear their top tips for using spices, starting out with spices, and building the layers of flavour in your dishes. I hope you love the tips and ideas that Sanjay and Shashi share, and the recipes that Shashi makes for us.

NOTE: The dishes that Sashi made for us in person are versions of the recipes below. There are slight differences but these recipes give you the basis of the recipes, ready for your own or Shashi’s tweaks if you choose to experiment.

Listen and enjoy here:

Or on Apple, Podbean, Spotify, Amazon, Google and other platforms.

The following recipes are excerpts kindly provided from the brilliant new Spice Kitchen book , to order your copy, use discount code FOODBOD10 to buy the book, the spice blends, and any of the goodies on the Spice Kitchen website.

Mamma Spice’s Famous Chickpea Curry

Mama Spice is famous for her chickpea curry. Follow this recipe and soon you will be too! By using canned chickpeas and the pre-made Tarka Sauce, you’re well on your way to a super-quick and incredibly tasty midweek meal.

Serves 2–3


400g (14oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

400ml (14fl oz) Tarka Sauce (see below)

Fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

1 tbsp Zingy Mint and Coriander Chutney

2 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt (optional)

No lemon juice in method


 Add the chickpeas and tarka sauce to a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes on a low-medium heat, stirring regularly, adding a little more water if the curry has thickened too much.

Top with fresh coriander and serve with the zingy chutney, and yoghurt if you wish, with rice, naan, or chapati on the side.

Tarka Sauce

This rich sauce can form the basis of so many curries, soups and stews. Cook up a big batch, freeze into portions and you can save yourself a whole heap of time.

Makes 1 litre (41/3 cups)


5 tbsp vegetable, sunflower or rapeseed (canola) oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp Tarka spice

4 onions, peeled, halved and very finely sliced into half moons

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste

2 tsp Garam Masala spice mix

400g (14oz) canned plum tomatoes

or 400g (14oz) tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tsp Harissa spice mix

1 tsp turmeric (optional)


Place a large, lidded heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat and add your oil. Once hot, add in the roughly chopped garlic and the tarka. Allow the seeds to sizzle, pop and infuse the oil for about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn either the seeds or the garlic.

The following steps are crucial to the flavour and consistency of your sauce, so please don’t rush or skip them:

Add the onions and salt to the pan and stir thoroughly to coat them in the oil. The salt will help the onions break down and form the base of your curry sauce, which is what you want. Fry them over a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, so they don’t catch or burn.

After the 5 minutes, add your ginger-garlic paste, stir and continue to fry for a minute until the raw smell from the garlic has disappeared.

Next, add the garam masala, give the mixture another stir, then cook for about 20–25 minutes over a low heat. Every now and then, add a splash of water to the pan and bash the onions with a wooden spoon to break them down. The water will evaporate as you cook and you will begin to see the oil emerge again. You may need to adjust the heat throughout this process, turning up the heat a little when adding the water to get the pan and contents sizzling again. Eventually, your onions will turn into a thick paste-like consistency: this is when you will know they are done.

Add the canned or fresh tomatoes, breaking them up with the spoon, as well as the harissa and turmeric (if using). Stir thoroughly and then let the mixture cook for a further 15 minutes. The sauce will naturally thicken, so do add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if you think your sauce needs it. You can also add a little more garam masala at this stage if it needs an extra boost of flavour.

If the sauce is to be used straight away, set aside and get cooking, but if not using immediately, let it cool then pop it into the fridge or freezer so that you can easily reheat when the time comes.

Chilli Paneer Sakonis-style

A fast and tasty red pepper and paneer dish…


200g (7oz) paneer, cut into cubes

3 tsp Tandoori Masala, plus extra as needed

3 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)

1⁄2 green chilli, minced

1⁄2 tsp Harissa spice mix

1⁄2 tsp salt

2 tsp vegetable, sunflower or

rapeseed (canola) oil

10g (scant 1 tbsp) butter

2 red (bell) peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks

1 tsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)


Put the paneer, tandoori masala, yoghurt, garlic if using, chilli and harissa spice into a bowl. Stir to combine and then leave to marinate for about 10 minutes.

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Once sizzling, add the paneer and all of the marinade. The yoghurt will split, but don’t worry.

Fry the paneer on one side and then turn once, being careful not to burn. It will probably need 2–3 minutes on each side. Check for seasoning and add more salt and tandoori masala if you want more flavour.

Once cooked, take the paneer cubes out of the pan and set aside in a bowl.

Keep the pan over a medium heat and add a splash of water to loosen the crusty bits from the bottom. Add the chopped red peppers and fry in the lovely buttery spices. The water will evaporate as you cook and stir. Fry for about 3–4 minutes so that the peppers are cooked, but not so much that they entirely lose their crunch.

Transfer the peppers into a bowl, pile on your paneer and finish with chopped coriander.

Leave a Reply