How to make Poha, from the king of breakfasts

Hasmukh was the king of breakfasts. It was his responsibility to make them at Sapna Ranch and each morning there would be something different – bhelpuri (a type of chaat, made with puffed rice and tangy tamarind sauce), poha jada (thin beaten rice), poha patla (thick beaten rice), upma (savoury porridge made using semolina and…

A recipe for khichidi rice and curd curry (khadi)

25 year-old Kunal is not your average guy, he cooks, massages people’s feet and makes flower mandalas. He is a co-volunteer here at Sapna Ranch, where he showed me how to cook khichidi , a simple ‘temple food’ invented by Saint Sai Baba. Khichidi is almost always served alongside curd curry (khadi). The mix of…

How to make delicious South Indian coconut chutney

A ridiculously easy recipe for coconut chutney, a tiffin-time staple across South India. Lakshmi’s “life started at 36”, when her two daughters had both started school and she was able to go out and get a job. Luckily for Lakshmi, her husband was liberal enough to allow her this freedom, many husbands would not be…

Alleppey special duck curry

This rich duck curry comes from Shaila, who was Bhagath’s mother. We could only communicate with smiles and head shakes, but over the four days we stayed with Bhagath, Shaila cooked us all sorts of delicious Keralan meals. This curry is an ‘Alleppey special’ and traditionally eaten on Sundays, much like the Sunday roast. The…

Jaffna Crab Curry

Vasanthy greets me with a smile and a light embrace on the steps of her bungalow. She wears a bright pink spotty dress and her dark blue eyes sparkle – apart from the greying hair tied back in a small bun, you wouldn’t believe she’s 55. It’s been an exciting journey to get here, sitting…

Husna’s Biryani

Husna Azzan is a great cook. I know this because I was lucky enough to stumble past her house one night and try her urojo, or Zanzibar mix, which her son Ahmed was selling to passers-by from a stall outside their house. After trying the urojo and talking to Ahmed about his mother’s cooking, I…