Recipe: Easy Punjabi Chicken Curry and Mixed Vegetable Dhal


I love spicy food. And when I say spicy, I don’t just mean chilli heat that burns your tongue off. I mean food that is really rich in spices, with flavours that have tantalising layers and aromatic depths.

So, admittedly, it’s quite tragic that I fell in love with Japan where flavours are clean, simple and precise – with an emphasis on minimalism to bring out the essence of the original ingredient.

This has its place, but sometimes I just want a really tasty curry. Even better if it’s one I can make in under an hour… Continue reading “Recipe: Easy Punjabi Chicken Curry and Mixed Vegetable Dhal”

Review: Kaccharu Baccharu, Shin-Otsuka – the best Indian in Tokyo?


I have had a lot of rubbish Indian food. Let’s not remember Moti in Roppongi.

There are a lot of places highly rated that I have found utterly underwhelming: Rasoi in Meguro and Dhaba in Kyobashi to name but two. SITAARA Aoyama was so bland and boring it was absolute joke, although they served possibly the nicest mango lassi I’ve ever had. Be thankful for small mercies.


However, a friend insisted I tried Kaccharu Baccharu (カッチャルバッチャル).

“I also look at the rankings on Tabelog,” she told me. “Forget about a score of over 3.5, I always try the restaurants ranked number 1.” Continue reading “Review: Kaccharu Baccharu, Shin-Otsuka – the best Indian in Tokyo?”

Review: Priya, Hiroo, Tokyo

Chef's special lunch
Chef’s special lunch

As you may remember, I get very strong cravings for Indian food lately and to say that these have yet to be satisfied would be an understatement – I was so disappointed with one meal that I refused to pay for all of it.

But I’d spied an Indian friend on Facebook dining at a place called Priya, and I thought maybe my luck was finally in. On a particularly rainy, stormy and miserable day, my accomplices and I dripped and shivered our way over to Hiroo and our noses were immediately greeted by warm, spicy and enticing scents. Continue reading “Review: Priya, Hiroo, Tokyo”

Review: Moti, Roppongi; or, Why I walked out of a restaurant without paying

It looked promising enough...
It looked promising enough…

It finally happened. I’ve reached an age where I’ve conquered my self-doubt to be confident enough to protest paying for a meal when it’s not up to scratch. Even so, it takes a bit of steeling and it can leave a taste that is worse than the food.

Drastic though this sounds, Moti was really asking for it. Moti are taking their customers for a ride so hard and so fast that you’ll reach the moon and back before you’ve blinked twice. Continue reading “Review: Moti, Roppongi; or, Why I walked out of a restaurant without paying”

Review: Rasa N16, Stoke Newington (Indian vegetarian restaurant)

Kathrikka - sliced aubergine in a spiced batter
Kathrikka – sliced aubergine in a spiced batter

I am dedicated to my carnivorous ways, despite being fully aware of my hypocrisy: I believe there is no ethical justification for eating meat, but life is just too short for me not to enjoy it. I don’t cook a huge amount of meat at home, so when eating out, it’s something I seek. Desperately. Determinedly. Especially beef, which tops my absolute most favourite food list in the whole wide world. (‘Obsessive’ doesn’t quite cover my devotion to beef.)

There are occasional moments, however, where I open my meat-crazed mind to the possibilities of delicious vegetarian fare out there, in the capital. Albeit this only occurs when dining out with vegetarians, but the point is that it does occur.

In addition to the meat bias of my blog, I try to keep it as a space for sharing food I enjoyed – even if it was just part of the meal, or one dish. Yet sometimes culinary atrocities are too great and they must leap out from my traumatised tongue onto a blank page or screen, as the case may be.

There was a veggie among our party of four and so the mission was on: find something to please all. We dined at Rasa N16 because it served Indian food – specifically south Indian/ Keralan – and that was universally popular choice. It wasn’t the easiest place for us to get to, but positive reviews online told us that we could expect some seriously tasty vegetarian Indian fare at ridiculously good prices. We voyaged out, ready to feast whilst feeling all ethical and healthy. Sadly though, these positive feelings were not enough to counterbalance the gastronomic sacrilege that was laid before us.

Mysore Bonda
Mysore Bonda

We tried four starters (£3.25 each): Kathrikka (sliced aubergine in a spiced batter); Mysore Bonda (spiced potato fried in a chickpea flour); Masala Vadai (deep-fried lentil patties); and Bhel Mix (essentially bhelpuri – a famous Bombay street snack of puffed rice, chickpeas and veg with tamarind juice and coriander). None of these were memorable or flavoursome, requiring a good deal of coconut chutney.

Masala Vedai
Masala Vedai

The Masala Vedai were particularly dry and bland and the Bhel Mix was initially interesting – coriander always adds a fresh tang – but quickly became monotonous. It was left unfinished.

Bhel Mix
Bhel Mix

Never mind, we thought. It’s hard to make a bland curry. How naïve we were. A tomato and aubergine curry appeared (Rasa Vangi, £4.50_ that was about as inspiring as X Factor reject auditions, save for the fact we couldn’t even laugh at its attempts.

Rasa Vangi
Rasa Vangi

Still, there was one more dish of intrigue – one dish onto which we could pin all our hopes. Our waiter had advised us to order Beet Cheera Pachadi (£4.50) a very adventurous beetroot and spinach curry, in a yoghurt sauce with coconut, mustard seeds and curry leaves.  This is apparently a Rasa speciality. Highly recommended.

Beet Cheera Pachadi - all kinds of wrong mixed into one
Beet Cheera Pachadi – all kinds of wrong mixed into one

My friend tasted it first. She wrinkled her nose. “It tastes like salad!”

And she was right. Somehow, the chef at Rasa has created a ‘curry’, which seems to use salad cream as its base sauce. Had it contained a few potatoes, we would have been convinced it was supposed to be salad, served up next to charred meats at a barbecue. The dish remained, untouched. None of us could stomach it.

Re-reading the online recommendations for Rasa N16 makes me wonder whether my friends and I suffered some kind of collective hallucination. Yet whilst the service was good and the prices were undeniably reasonable, the food was something that we would never pay for again.

I have been told there is some very good vegetarian food to be found in the capital. Please restore my faith. Recommendations please.

Rasa N16 2/5 – The food was appalling. Vegetarian food deserves better. The ingredients deserve better

Food 1/5 – I think this might be my first 1/5 scoring on this blog. Sad times indeed.
Value 2/5 – It was very cheap but we would never pay for it again!
Atmosphere 2/5 – It was empty yet somehow a little claustrophobic.
Service 3/5 – Prompt and efficient.


From Mediocrity to Motown, pt. 1

I live in East London, close to Brick Lane, and I am very happy that a lot of Indians/Pakistanis also live there because I get to eat delicious food. My stomach might not be so happy, but we have to compromise sometimes.

As my parents were delivering all the stuff I’d forgotten, I had to ensure that they were well-fed. The logical step was, therfore, to get some serious curry! On a friend of  friend’s recommendation, we went to Tayyabs, but sadly it didn’t work out. Apparently, customers of Tayyabs should consider themselves privileged to be served!

THE PLACE: Tayyabs
THE FOOD: Punjabi

Tandoori chicken and seekh kebab

On our arrival, we were ignored by two waiters before someone finally came to seat us.

“Will the VIP area be OK for you?”

“VIP area?” exclaimed my father, excitedly. “Well, that sounds very good, doesn’t it?”

Apparently the VIP area is just another room where you actually have to share a table. I don’t have a huge problem with that but could someone please tell me how that is VIP?!

We eyed up the food around us excitedly, ordering an obscene amount. Now I shan’t bore you with the details, but the food was mediocre and unmemorable to say the least.  To give them credit where credit it due, the seekh kebab was very tasty, but my favourite, tandoori chicken, was dry and tasteless. The curries aren’t worth mentioning.

The meal would have been passable, given the reasonable prices, if it weren’t for the service, which didn’t exist.

“Excuse me, could you please clear some of these plates away?”

*Waiter walks off pretending not to hear*

“Excuse me, we need some of these plates cleared. We don’t have enough room.”

*Different waiter mutters something in a surly manner, refuses to take our plates, and walks off*

Overall 2/5

Don’t go unless you want to eat average food whilst feeling like unwelcome guests. 

Food quality 2.5/5 – Quality wasn’t bad, but taste was lacking.

Value for money 3/5 – Prices were around £7 a curry.

Atmosphere  3/5 – Lively and popular, if you ignore the fact the waiters are trying their hardest to ignore you!

Service 1/5 – They get one point for wrapping up the leftovers in a doggy bag. Waste not, want not – I’m a student!