Cook Book 12: The Indian and Pakistani Menu Planner

Apologies for this going up so late, but I had the 53rd Down Under Feminist Carnival to curate and put online – and that took priority over this.  But never fear, we are now back on track and I can write all about The Indian and Pakistani Menu Planner.  One thing this book could have really benefited from was a group testing the recipes.  Of the three dishes I cooked, one of ingredients that weren’t included anywhere in the method, and another had you prepare one ingredient, and then never mentioned it again (we weren’t sure whether to add it, use it as a garnish, throw it away…).  So I have included how we cooked these recipes, and maybe if someone knows better, they can put a correction in the comments.

Sikandari Raan


  • 1.5kg Leg of lamb
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp Chaat masala
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp mace powder
  • 1 cup malt vinegar
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • salt to taste


  1. Prick leg all over with a fork
  2. Marinade the leg in a mixture of salt, red chilli powder, ginger and garlic pastes, mace, chaat masala, cardamom powder and lemon juice.  Set aside for at least 2 hours.
  3. Pour the vinegar and rum over the lamb
  4. Place leg on a baking tray and pour over 4 cups of water.  Bake in an oven at 180C for 1 1/2 hours, turning the leg two of three times to ensure it cooks evenly.
  5. Once water dries out remove from tray.  Baste with oil and grill till well done all over.

Notes on this recipe:

  • We used a lamb shoulder and it cooked really well – we didn’t end up grilling it because it was well done all over as it was.
  • OMG this tastes awesome

Ennai Kathirikkai


  • 450g small eggplants
  • a pinch (1/4 tsp) Asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1/2 tbs bengal gram lentils
  • 2/3 cup grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 whole red chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp tamarind extract
  • 1 tbsp Yellow (urad daal) lentils husked and split


  1. On a hot griddle, roast the grated coconut till golden brown.  Remove
  2. Reserve half of both the lentils and broil the other half till light brown
  3. In a blender, make a thick paste of the broiled lentils with the tamarind extract.  Use 1 – 2 tbsp of water, if necessary.
  4. Slit eggplants into four without separating them, leaving them joined at the stem end.  Fill with the lentil paste.
  5. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, reserved lentils, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  6. When seeds begin to crackle add coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies.  Place eggplants in the pan, add salt and left over paste, if any.  Add the coconut.  Add 120 ml water.  Stir carefully for 2 – 3 minutes, cover and simmer over gentle heat until eggplants are tender.
  7. For variation, add chopped tomatoes (1 tin should do) along with the prepared eggplants.

Notes on recipe:

  • Quite tasty, but try and find small eggplants – Lebanese or Japanese ones would be best.  Regular large eggplants took a long time to cook.
  • We added the tomato as I wasn’t satisfied that there was enough liquid in the recipe to cook the enormous eggplants we’d purchased.
  • This recipe doesn’t state what to do with the coconut, so we added it when we added everything else.
  • Oh the blender bit was hard, so we mortar and pestled it

Vendaka Masala Pachchadi


  • 800g Okra
  • 1 tbsp raw cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 whole red chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tumeric powder
  • 4 tsp lentils (urad daal) husked and split
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt


  1. Wash, pat dry and cut the okra into 1 inch pieces
  2. Heat the oil in a kadhai (wok) and deep fry the okra on medium heat till crisp, about 5 – 6 minutes.  Drain and reseve the oil.
  3. Put the cashew nuts and the coconut in a blender, add coconut milk and make a fine paste.
  4. Heat 75 ml of the reserved oil, add cumin and mustard seeds, lentils, whole red chillies and the curry leaves.  Saute over medium heat till the seeds begin to crackle.  Add onions, saute until golden brown.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, then add red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander and salt.  Keep stirring until the fat surfaces.
  6. Reduce the flame, add the coconut paste and stir again for 2 minutes.  Remove from the fire and add yoghurt.  Stir, add 400 ml water. Return to heat and bring to boil. Simmer
  7. Add the deep fried okra and cook till gravy steeps in.

Notes on this recipe

  • I bought frozen pre-sliced okra at a South Asian grocery – this saved time in preparing the dish.
  • I also deep fried the okra in 3 batches because it is actually a lot of okra.
  • I really enjoyed this dish, and it was the only one I didn’t have to figure out where the missing ingredients went.
  • I’m pretty sure the last step means that the gravy is through the okra pieces, but we just simmered ours until everything else was ready – about 10 minutes I think.