English Curry Awards 2019

Last night I attended the English Curry Awards event held at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre. Now in its 9th year, the evening event honoured those who work their hardest to perfect every meal and provide the best possible dining experience.

English Curry Awards

English Curry Awards

It was a well organised event by Oceanic Consulting. The atmosphere was fun and buzzing, and the host Tommy Sandhu kept us entertained.

The food on the night was catered by Saffron Events UK and it did not disappoint. Everything was delicious.

Saffron Events UK

Saffron Events UK

Thank you to the team at Oceanic Consulting for inviting me to the event, I’ll love to be there again for the next one!

Below are the winners for all the different categories, some that I’ve not heard of before but will be visiting at some point for sure. Have you visited any of them? Do you agree with the winners? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Be sure to check out my highlights of the night over on my Instagram page @rahema_m

Huge congratulations to all the winners:

  • Outstanding Restaurant of the Year – Prana Indian Restaurant (Cambridge)
  • The Best of Manchester Award – Asha’s Restaurant
  • The Best of Birmingham – Pushkar Cocktail Bar and Dining
  • Best Team of the Year – Indique (Manchester)
  • Best Restaurant Design & Ambience – Taj Tandoori (Cambridge)
  • Vegetarian Restaurant of the Year – Chai Paani (Leicester)
  • Nepalese Restaurant of the Year – The Great Kathmandu Restaurant (Manchester)
  • Bangladeshi Restaurant of the Year – Little Bangla (Oldbury)
  • Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year – Navadhanya (Cambridge)
  • Street Food Restaurant of the Year – Dhaba at Fifteen (Norwich)
  • Best Customer Service – Rumi by Bukhara (Liverpool)
  • South Indian Restaurant of the Year – Tharavadu (Leeds)
  • General Manager of the Year – Heritage India (Leicester)
  • Special Recognition Award – Calcutta Club (Nottingham)
  • Pakistani Restaurant of the Year – My Lahore Cafe (Birmingham)
  • New Restaurant of the Year – Dehli 6 (South Shields)
  • Curry Entrepreneur of the Year – Sam Alhuwalia (Horley)
  • Curry Queen of the Year – Bollywood Junction (Milton Keynes)
  • Critic’s Choice Restaurant of the Year – Shikara (Whitley Bay)
  • Takeaway and Home Delivery of the Year – Chutney Express Takeaway (Birmingham)
  • Chef of the Year – The Original Third Eye (Manchester)
  • Caterer of the Year – Anu Caterers (Basingstoke)
  • Most Wanted Restaurant of the Year – Urban Tandoor (Bristol)
  • Restaurant of the Year – Spice Lounge Restaurant (Mildenhall)

Fish & Coconut Curry

A really simple and easy curry to make – I normally use frozen basa fillets (I let it defrost before using). The syns in this recipe come from the coconut milk, please check the syns if you use a different brand. I get the coconut milk tins from B&M Bargains (4 for £1 – a real bargain!) and it is just the right size. Each tin is only 7 syns, divided by 3 of us works out at less than 2.5 syns per serving. I used to buy the bigger tins of coconut milk and only use half a tin and throw the rest away, so I’ve stopped doing that. This curry is lovely served with coconut rice if you don’t mind using more syns.

Serves: 3

Syns: 2.5 syns per serving

Time Taken: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Fish & Coconut Curry

Fish & Coconut Curry

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g passata
  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 1 veg oxo cube, crumbled
  • 165ml tin Full Moon coconut milk
  • Firm white fish fillets

Method

Spray a pan with plenty of syn free spray oil and cook the onion till lightly golden. Add hot water if the onion starts to stick to the pan.

Add the chopped garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the fenugreek leaves, curry powder, crumbled up oxo cube and passata and cook the spices down for about 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and the fish fillets and cook on a gentle heat. Try not to stir the fish too much or you’ll end up with broken pieces. Instead, gently shake the pan when you need to.

Served with boiled basmati rice and a speedy salad.

Firecracker Chicken

Last night I decided to try another one of Spicentice kits – Firecracker Chicken! I adapted the ingredients slightly to adjust to what I had at home and it was delicious.

I thought Firecracker Chicken sounded spicy and was worried that the hubby would find it too spicy but it had just the right amount for him and the kids. I added chilli flakes to mine as I love hot food! I eat super spicy food so for me this was a mild spice kit but I know many will probably find this just right for them. Below is the list of ingredients you will need to make this recipe with the spice kit, it is quite a straightforward recipe.

I used Crucials Chilli Ketchup for an added spicy kick but you can use just regular ketchup. Remember to double check syn values for yourself as different brands of sauces vary in syn values.

We all loved this meal and would have it again.

Enjoy x

Spicentice Firecracker Chicken

Spicentice Firecracker Chicken

Serves: 4

Syns: 2 syns per serving

Time Taken: 45 minutes (plus marinade time)

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 lime
  • Spring onions
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Spicentice Firecracker Sachet
  • Jasmine rice to serve

 

Firecracker Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Firecracker Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Method

Chop the pepper and onion into quarters, and chicken into bite sized chuncks.

In a large bowl add the tomato ketchup, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, the juice of 1 lime, 100ml water and Spicentice Firecracker Sachet. Then add 1/2 tbsp. ginger/garlic paste and the chicken. Mix all ingredients together and leave to marinade for at least 15 minutes.

Heat low cal spray oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the remaining ginger/garlic paste and stir fry for a few seconds. Scoop out the chicken from the marinade and stir fry until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Add plain flour to the leftover marinade sauce and whisk thoroughly. Add to wok with extra water if needed (100ml). Allow to simmer, then add the onions, peppers and peas. Stir fry for 5-10 minutes and then garnish with spring onions.

Serve Spicentice Firecracker Chicken with Jasmine Rice.

Black Eye Bean & Coconut Curry

This is one of my favourite curries I loved eating when I was younger. The version I used to have would be a lot higher in syns so this is a SW friendly version I’ve adapted. The way my mum used to make this was a lot more complicated and she used some more spices but I find this way works well too.

I had a few people messaging me saying this is an odd combo but I don’t see how it is odd. Maybe because of my background I’m used to having a variety of different foods from different parts of the world that this is just another meal for me. I don’t know where it originates from but I am sure this type of curry is eaten a lot!

It is easy and very economical to make too. We have this served with boiled rice and masala fish.

Black Eye Bean Curry with Coconut

Black Eye Bean Curry with Coconut

 

Serves: 4

Syns: 2.5 syns per serving

Time Taken: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • Pinch of cumin seeds and chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder (or more if you prefer spicy)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp. tomato puree
  • 2 tins of black eye beans, drained
  • 200ml reduced fat coconut milk
  • 5g desiccated coconut
  • fresh coriander, to garnish

Method

Fry the onions with the cumin seeds and chilli flakes (if using) and the ginger/garlic till the onions have softened and are lightly golden.

Add the curry powder and salt to taste and fry for a further 5 minutes stirring constantly. If the spices start to stick to the pan, add a little hot water and keep stirring.

Add the tomato puree and the beans with the coconut milk and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Once the curry is done, you can garnish it with fresh, chopped coriander and serve it with boiled rice.

Chickpea & Paneer Curry

Paneer is one of my favourite foods! I don’t cook it often as it is quite high in syns so making it in Ramadan is perfect for me as I don’t tend to use syns like I normally would. There just isn’t enough time to eat any snacks!

25g of paneer is 4.5 syns, I used 150g in this recipe for 3 of us but there was enough to feed 4 people. I guess we just don’t eat as much as we normally would in Ramadan! If your serving is for more or less people then adjust the syns accordingly. We had this served with a pea pilau & salad.

Chickpea & Paneer Curry

Chickpea & Paneer Curry

 

Serves: 4

Syns: 7 syns

Time Taken: 25 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 150g paneer, cubed
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 tbsp bassar (or any curry powder of your choice)
  • 2 Maggie seasoning cubes (or salt to taste)

Method

Spray a pan with low cal spray and fry the paneer till its lightly golden and set aside.

Fry the onions with the chilli flakes and cumin seeds till golden. Add water if the onions are starting to stick to the pan. Add the ginger/garlic paste, tomatoes, seasoning cubes and bassar. Cook for around 5-8 minutes (adding a bit of water if needed) till the tomatoes have soften. I then blitz this with a hand blender so that there aren’t any lumps in the sauce. You don’t have to this, it is completely optional but we prefer it this way.

Add the tinned chickpeas without draining the water, cook for a few minutes till the sauce reduces and then add the fried paneer.

Khichdi – Rice with Lentils

Serves: 4

Syns: FREE

Time Taken: 30 minutes plus soaking time

Difficulty: Easy

Khichdi with Kheema

Khichdi with Kheema

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup yellow lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger/garlic paste
  • cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • a pinch of turmeric

Method

Soak the rice and lentils in cold water for 30 minutes.

Fry the onion for around 5 minutes to soften them before adding the ginger/garlic paste, cumin seeds, green chilli, cloves, cinnamon stick and turmeric. Stir fry them for a couple of minutes before adding the rice & lentils (drain the water first) to the pan.

Mix everything well together and cover with 3 cups of boiling water. Season to taste. Cover the lid and cook the rice and lentils on a low heat for around 20-25 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated.

I like to serve this rice with kheema but it is lovely on its own too.

Chicken Pilau

Serves: 4

Syns: FREE

Time Taken: 60 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Chicken Pilau

Chicken Pilau

 

Ingredients

  • 3 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 packet Laziza Yakhni Pilau spice mix
  • 100g 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 cubes Maggie seasoning (optional)
  • 3 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 cups rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes

Method

Spray a large pan with plenty of low calorie cooking spray. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes.

Add cumin seeds and chilli flakes and continue to cook the onions till golden brown (around 15 minutes). Use hot water if the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken, ginger/garlic paste, Maggie cubes (if using, or use salt to taste) and one packet of the Laziza spice mix. Fry until the chicken has browned all over before adding the yogurt. Cook for 10 minutes then add 4 cups of boiling water to the chicken. Check for seasoning and add the drained water.

Cook the rice on high heat till most of the water has evaporated then place the lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes or until all the water has evaporated and the rice and chicken is cooked.

 

Nadiya’s Samosa Hack!

I thought I’d try Nadiya’s samosa hack from her latest TV show and give it a Slimming World friendly twist!

If you don’t know who Nadiya is, she was the winner of the Great British Bake Off in 2016! A well deserved winner too, all her bakes looked absolutely delicious.

I used potatoes and peas for the filling but you can be more adventurous or just stick to regular samosa fillings such as kheema. Just remember to syn accordingly.

I used mini tortilla wraps from Aldi which are 4.5 syns for each wrap and you can get two samosas out of one wrap, making it only around 2.5 syns each samosa! (See picture below).

Aldi Wrap

Aldi Wrap

You can if you prefer (and can get hold of!) use the Weight Watchers white wraps that can be used as a healthy extra B choice. Your samosas will be slightly bigger though, I prefer using the mini wraps as you can batch cook them and freeze.

If you use any other brand of wrap, please remember to check syns as not all similar products have the same syn values.

Let me know if you’ve come across a lower syn alternative to making samosas!

Adjust spice levels to how spicy you prefer, I made mine quite mild as they were for a taster session in group. Enjoy and let me know what you think! Feel free to tag me in your posts when you’ve made them.

 

Samosa

Samosa

Makes: 16 samosas

Syns: 2.5 syns each

Time Taken: 45-60 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Aldi mini tortilla wraps
  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled
  • handful of frozen peas, cooked
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chilies
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

Make samosa filling by boiling the potatoes first. Once the potatoes are boiled and cooled, slightly mash them or you can chop the potatoes in little cubes and boil them if you prefer your potatoes quite chunky rather than mashed.

Mix in cooked peas, ginger/garlic paste, cumin seeds, salt, chilli and garam masala.

Cut each wrap in half so you get a semi-circle shape.

Shape each wrap half into a triangle shape and fill it with your filling. Use the beaten egg to seal all around the edges and egg wash the top of the samosa.

Once all the samosas are filled and egg washed, bake them in a pre heated oven at gas mark 6 for around 12-15 minutes or until they are nice and golden.

You can freeze them once the samosas are cooked and cooled.

Tip: Watch the video here on how to fill the samosas.

Lentil & Chicken Soup

In one of my groups yesterday one of my lovely members mentioned chicken soup as one of her family’s favourite meal this week. I normally just make this Chicken & Noodle Soup but thought I’d try something different. She said she added a load of different veggies to it, chicken and potatoes. So after I got home from group yesterday, I raided my fridge and checked what veg I had in to make chicken soup. I already had leftover cooked chicken from the day before which made it ideal to use up. I replaced the potatoes with red lentils to make this a high protein packed soup. It turned out amazing!

Serves: 2

Syns: FREE

Time Taken: 45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 veg stock pot
  • 600 ml hot chicken stock (make more if needed)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • Cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 tsp basar (curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
Lentil & Chicken Soup

Lentil & Chicken Soup

Method

Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray and add all the veg – onion, carrot, courgette and pepper. Cook for around 5-8 minutes till it starts to soften.

Add the fresh parley and the lentils with the spices and the stock. Let the stock come to a boil and reduce the heat and cover the lid on the pan to cook the lentils for about 20-25 minutes. If needed add more stock/water to cook the lentils. You can also add more hot water at the end of cooking if the soup is too thick.

Add the shredded chicken to the cooked lentils and cook for another 10 minutes till the chicken is heated through.

 

Laziza Biryani Mix

I’ve had a few people asking me for the biryani recipe I posted on my Instagram a few days ago, so I thought I’d write a post about it so people can refer to it when needed!

Laziza Biryani Mix

Laziza Biryani Mix

 

I use Laziza Biryani Mix spice which is syn free. You can keep the whole dish syn free by replacing the oil with a syn free spray oil or count the syns accordingly if using regular cooking oil. Remember 1 tbsp of oil (regardless of what type – sunflower, vegetable, olive etc) is 6 syns. I know a lot of my members use only water to fry the onions which is possible but may be a little time consuming.

I also use a fat free natural yogurt instead and sometimes I even leave the yogurt step out if I don’t have any and it tastes just as good too!

I cook for a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 children) and use half of one of the spice packets as that is spicy enough for my family, I don’t use the whole packet. I like my food super spicy so I usually cut up green chillies to add to my food separately.

I follow the recipe on the back of the spice box and once I’ve layered the rice with the chicken/meat, I add a few drops of yellow food colouring to the top of the rice to add some colour to the rice. And that is it! It really is a very easy and simple recipe to follow.

 

I absolutely love the Laziza brand spices as most are syn free and they are very easy to follow, even if you are not a very confident cook. Hope this helps those that were wondering how to make biryani Slimming World friendly 🙂

If you do anything differently please do share how you make yours.

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani