Tag Archives: Indian

Jyoti Indian Restaurant – Birmingham

Jyoti is an Indian ‘pure vegetarian restaurant and sweet centre’ and offers a massive choice of 15 starters and 72 main courses as well as a sizeable list of rice accompaniments and sundries.  We’re not actually vegetarians but we do enjoy vegetarian and vegan meals and try to eat at least two meat free meals a week.  After reading some reviews on the internet we decided that we needed to pay this place a visit to see what all the fuss was about, after a busy day morning shopping at the bullring we made our way to Hall Green.

Situated at 1045 Stratford Road Hall Green Birmingham there is ample free parking outside.

Mogo Chips

Grandpa Gourmand started his meal with Mogo Chips (£2.95) which are deep fried cassava chips with tamarind sauce.  I’d seen Cassava in Asian food stores but didn’t realise how it could be cooked so have always been intrigued to try it and I’m so glad I did as it is rather delicious.  Cassava is a great alternative to the humble potato although it is a bit sweeter and does have a distinctive taste.  We all enjoyed these chips and the slightly sour dipping sauce really complemented them.

Onion Bhajiya

I ordered the Onion Bhajiya (£1.95) to share with Mini Gourmand which consisted of 2 deep-fried balls of onion in spiced gram flour served with salad and chutney sauce.  These were like nothing we had ever tried before, not at all greasy and extremely light in texture.  The spice was on the hotter side of the spectrum so Mini Gourmand was a little put off but myself and Grandpa Gourmand devoured them.

Tarka Daal

Mini Gourmand ordered the Tarka Daal (£5.75) which was a lentil curry which she had served with plain boiled rice (£1.95)  I imagine everyone has their own interpretation of this dish, I make it myself which was adapted from a recipe I saw in the Guardian, I consider Tarka Dahl to be a comfort food however I think my own recipe has tainted Mini Gourmands palate and she didn’t really enjoy this dish which she found a bit lacking and too tomato flavoured.

Vegetable Biryani vegi2

I ordered the Vegetable Biryani (£5.95) which was a mixed vegetable curry served with fried rice.  I love Biryani, it has featured in many posts on this blog and because of my love of the dish I couldn’t resist ordering when I saw it on the menu.  When the dish landed on the table I was a little disappointed, the rice looked like frozen rice with veg and the curry didn’t look that different to the Tarka Daal that Mini Gourmand had ordered.  I know that looks can be deceiving so I ploughed in with an open mind.

The dish was bland and lacked flavour, the rice was as I suspected a bit of rice with some frozen veg thrown in and it left me incredibly unhappy.


Grandpa Gourmand ordered the Paneer Bhurji (£5.95) which was Indian cheese cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, cashew nuts and tomato, this was served with a chapatti.  Like the other two main courses this dish was lacking, it had good heat but the flavour just wasn’t there and to be completely honest the dish tasted incredibly similar to the other two.

We were very disappointed with our first visit to Jyoti, I had read some amazing reviews about the place prior to our visit granted the majority of them were from 2010/2011 and we all know how quickly a place can change but I hadn’t expected it to be quite as bad.  All of the food was lacking flavour in one way or another, we have eaten a lot of vegetarian meals in other restaurants and the taste, seasoning and quality was on a different scale.  I would like to say that the sweets I purchased to take home from Jyoti were incredible and couldn’t be faulted, maybe the same amount of effort should be put into the savoury food.

Have you visited Jyoti?  How did you find it?

Panache – Warwick

Panache Balti in Warwick is hands down our favourite local Indian restaurant, it’s delicious. Fact.  We have visited several times and it’s our chosen restaurant of choice for a takeway (like last Friday night).

We have wised up a bit when it comes to dining out at an Indian restaurant, in the past we would sit and munch our way through several poppadoms followed by starters, mains and sides and always wondered why we could only eat a forkful of our main dish before admitting defeat.  Now we may have 2 poppadoms skip the starters and sides and go straight on to the main course.

The restaurant is situated about 5 minutes walk from Warwick Castle so would be a perfect place to visit if you have popped to Warwick for the weekend.  I love the décor inside, one wall features a huge drawing of the castle and I could just spend ages looking at it.

I’m not sure what it is that keeps us going back time after time, obviously the food is delicious but Panache seem to just take it to another level in terms of flavour.




Panache is a small restaurant and we have been only ever visited before 7pm so have never had to wait for a table, I’d imagine that it gets very busy on an evening so  booking is probably recommended. There is a great variety of dishes and a few things I’ve never seen on a menu before like Mini Gourmand’s favourite dish of Paradise Chicken (£8.50) which is basically chicken tikka pieces cooked in a rich sweet creamy sauce flavoured with mango puree, dry mint, bay leaf, almond, coconut powder & mint sauce, if you like korma or chicken tikka masala then you will love this.


I’m a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to Panache as I always go for the mixed Biryani (£10.75), my answer when questioned about this is always “Why wouldn’t you?”  If it’s not broken don’t fix it.  It’s a simple dish consisting of chicken, lamb, prawns, king prawns, mushrooms & pan fried omelette and depending on the chef you sometimes get pieces of pineapple.  It’s far to big a portion for one person so we usually share it or take a container of food home.



We usually alternate between a Peshwari Naan or Keema Naan (£2.50) depending if Mini Gourmand is with us or not, Baby Gourmand is partial to either.  The Naan bread is always hot, filled throughout and huge!


Grandma Gourmand is quite partial to a lot of heat from her curry and can quite often be found ordering a Naga curry (£8.95) which is cooked with aromatic flavoured spicy hot ghost naga from Bangladesh.  I do have to admit that although it’s spicy it really is always delicious, it seems to have different levels of both flavour and heat which I’ve not found in a curry before.

Don’t get me wrong I do love some of the other Indian restaurants Warwickshire has to offer but Panache is just a little bit special to me.  You can find Panache Balti on Just Eat for takeaway food or the restaurant is at 5 Saint Johns, Warwick CV34 4NE

Butter Chicken Fit For A Firefighter

Uniform Foodies App Pic


Most people have heard of Uniform Dating, if you watch UK Television you may have come across one of their adverts or you may have even used their site to look for love.  I don’t actually wan’t to talk about dating today, what I wan’t to talk about is a new partnership between Uniform dating and Michelin star chef Michael Caines – the Uniform Foodies recipe app.

The app features images and recipes of dishes that have been deemed favourites of uniformed professionals like Nurses, Doctors, Firefighters, Police Officers and members of the armed forces.  The recipes are affordable, healthy, hearty and above all tasty.  I wasn’t surprised to find out that the favourite food of a Firefighter was an Indian Curry, I always associate curry with being hot and spicy and as Firefighters deal with hot fires it seemed to make sense to me.

I was invited along with 30 other top UK food bloggers to develop a recipe for a uniformed professional using Michael Caines recipe for inspiration.

Three blogger’s recipes will be shortlisted and they will be invited to attend a blogger event and cook along with Michael Caines who will judge the dishes and announce an overall winner (please let it be me!).

After reading through Michael’s recipes I decided to take inspiration from his Chicken Tikka Masala fit for a Firefighter and cook a very similar dish but where Masala is a UK favourite this is favoured by the people of Australia. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you…..

Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani

I’ve cooked numerous variations of this dish over the years and have tried different meats but I find that Chicken works best with the sauce, I prefer to use chicken thighs on the bone when I make this recipe as I think you get a better taste but on this occasion I couldn’t get my hands on any so Chicken breast was used.

This is a two step dish and to get the best out of the flavour you should allow one day for preparation and marinading and the next day for cooking.  It does look like a lot of faff and a lot of ingredients but it really is worth it and tastes just as good if not better than anything you could buy from a takeaway.

butter chicken

4 large chicken breasts, each cut into 3-4 pieces or 8 Chicken Thighs with the bone left in.
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp of chilli powder 
1 tsp salt
50g natural yoghurt 
50g double cream
4 cloves garlic
5cm ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp ground cumin

Start by mixing the lime juice, chilli powder and salt together in a large bowl, add the chicken and mix well so it is all coated in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a pestle and mortar crush the garlic and ginger, add the spices and when mixed well add to the yoghurt and cream in a large bowl.  Remove the chicken from the first marinade and add to the new mixture, coat well and leave for a minimum of 8 hours for the flavours in infuse into the chicken.

To make the sauce you will need:
50g ghee 
5 cloves garlic, finely crushed
5cm ginger, finely grated
350g tomato passata 
1/2 tsp chilli powder 
1/2 tsp ground coriander 
1/2 tspn ground cumin 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp desiccated coconut
200 ml water
25g cashew nuts or pistachios
25g pumpkin seeds 
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves 
1/2 tsp caster sugar
45 ml double cream

Thread the chicken on to skewers and grill until charred or place on a wire rack and oven cook at 220C and cook until charred.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the ghee in a large pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute but don’t let it colour, add the tomato passata and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add all of the spices, coconut, and 100 ml of the water and simmer for 10 more minutes.

In a pestle and mortar, blend the nuts and pumpkin seeds into a paste, if it’s too dry you could add a couple of tsp of water, once blended add into the sauce. (you can get a finer paste by using a mini food processor)

Add the chicken pieces into the sauce and if needed another 100 ml of water and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Don’t forget you can always add more water if needed but it’s harder to rescue a watery sauce.

Once the sauce is cooked stir in the fenugreek leaves, sugar and cream and cook for a further couple of minutes until everything is combined.  Serve with chopped chilli’s for extra heat.



*I was supplied with a gift card to purchase ingredients to cook my meal*





Panache Balti House – Warwick

We like curry, you like curry, the whole nation likes curry – now please visit Panache Balti House in Warwick – you will not be disappointed!


Panache is quite a simple place with a small number of seats, some interesting wall art work describing the history of Warwick, and most importantly, some of the finest curry I have ever eaten! I can not stress this last point enough.

Byriani curry

I went for the Special mixed Biryani (£10.75) which was a delicious cocktail of chicken, lamb, prawns, king prawns, mushrooms & pan fried omelette – amazing! The Biryani sauce was tremendous, nicely spiced, not bland like they can be, and very much a brilliant curry sauce in its own right!.


Mr Gourmand asked the waiter for his recommendation which was the Naga lamb tikka (£9.50) Cooked with aromatic flavoured spicy hot (ghost naga) from Bangladesh & India with a blend of fresh herbs & spices. This meal was hot, almost addictively hot, with a perfect mix of spices and succulent lamb – a very, very good recommendation!


Mr Gourmand chose the Keema fried rice (£2.75) to accompany his main course, and it went together perfectly!


As we hadn’t been here before we naturally ordered far too much which included a Garlic naan (£2.50) and;


a Vegetable paratha (£3.00), delicious, but far too much….so we took it home for laters…yum!!

Panache is excellent and you can bring your own beer or wine, please try this place, and if this is the benchmark to curry houses in Warwick I really can’t wait to try another one!

Lamb Kofta and Chapati

The following recipe is extremely simple and doesn’t require a great deal of preparation or cooking time making it perfect for a midweek dinner.



You will need:

300g Lamb Mince

1tsp Ground Ginger

1tsp Garam Masala

1/2 tsp Chilli powder

2 cloves of garlic

handful of mint leaves

handful of coriander leaves

1tsp salt

Place everything in a food processor and blitz until smooth.  With wet hands form the mixture into small balls.  Fry in a hot pan for 7-10 mins until cooked through.  With the last batch fry off some onions and peppers.


This was my first attempt at making Chapatis, I can’t believe how easy they are to make and if you have never tried before I urge you to give it a go!

450g Chapati flour

250ml cold water

Ghee for spreading


Set aside 200g of the flour and reserve for shaping the chapatis.  Add the water to a bowl containing 250g flour, a little at a time, kneading as you go, until you have a soft, elastic dough. The longer you knead the dough the softer the chapatis will be.   Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto a flat surface or board. Divide the dough into eight and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly, then place one onto the floured board. Roll it out into a flat disc flouring the board when necessary.

Heat a griddle or a shallow frying pan. Lay the chapati on the griddle or pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds or until the surface is bubbling. Turn it over and cook the other side for 10-15 seconds. As soon as brown spots appear on the underside, the chapatti is done.  Repeat with the other seven balls, using the remaining flour to roll them out. Stack them up as they are cooked, placing a sheet of kitchen towel between each one to absorb any moisture.  Spread melted ghee over one side for added taste.


After an exhausting game of Badminton, Mr Gourmand and I were walking home through Heaton when we both had the urge to go for a curry.  It was lucky for us that we were about a 5 minute walk from Khans but as it was a busy Saturday evening we were not sure if we would get a table.

I was initially surprised at how big Khans is inside, the tables seemed endless.  There was a number of people in the reception area ordering takeaways and all of the tables downstairs were full which is a good sign.

Each chair in the restaurant was very ornate with the name of the restaurant at the top, I wouldn’t like to estimate how much they must have cost!

The huge chandelier hanging down was rather beautiful and was a talking point of a couple of tables upstairs!

Our starter was the Tandoori Mixed Kebab (£4.90) which was more than enough for two, the chickpea salad was a lovely addition and something I’ve never been served before in an Indian restaurant.

We ordered an Egg Pilau (£3.50) after a recommendation from the waiter, the rice was delicious and totally different from any pilau rice I’ve ever had before.

Both of our main courses were recommendations from the waiter, The meal on the left is Keema Aloo Mutar (£8.90) which was a mixture of minced lamb, peas and potatoes. and the dish to the right is Palak Gosht (£8.90)  a lamb and spinach dish.  Both were cooked Punjabi style and had a wonderful kick to them.  Both of the meals were really amazing and something we would order again, the spices and flavours were so tasty, we couldn’t actually finish them though so the staff kindly let us take the leftovers home to have for lunch the next day.

We ordered a garlic naan bread (£3.50)  unfortunately the photograph doesn’t really show how huge this naan actually was!  We ended up taking half of it home.

The Mango Lassi was a freebie from the restaurant which was a lovely touch, it tasted really delicious.

The Meal with soft drinks and poppadoms came to £37.10

Khans is situated at:

178 Heaton Road, Heaton
Newcastle Upon Tyne NE6 5HP

Aramee – North Shields

Aramee was found by chance during a visit to North Shields to watch a band play at the Magnesia Bank (Maggie Bank) pub.  Rather than take the car to North Shields we decided to get the metro, go for some food then head to the pub.  Aramee is a five minute walk from the North Shields metro right in the heart of the town centre.

The restaurant is open Tuesday – Sunday 6.00pm – 11.00pm  and serves Bangladeshi and Indian food.


The Mogul Raj – Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Mogul Raj Restaurant is a hidden gem of an eatery located on a 1980’s, tired and dreary looking shopping area made up of ever fish and chip shops, hardware stores and charity shops.  We have been visiting the Mogul Raj on and off since 2004 and have experienced excellent takeaway and sit-in meals as happy customers.

On entering the restaurant you would not be mistaken to think you have found yourself in someone’s sitting room as the waiting area does have that homely feel to it.  Once you have been greeted and you request a table and not a takeaway menu you are taken through to the restaurant where the tables are always beautifully laid with crystal wine glasses, flowers and decorative cutlery.  It would seem that the phrase ‘service with a smile’ came about after a visit to the Mogul Raj as the waiters can never be seen without a smile on their faces.

The menu is vast and consists of a good range of starters and main courses from traditional Indian cuisine through to the more impressive chef specials.  After being seated you are immediately asked if you would like pickles and popadoms, which we never refuse.

On this occasion I started with Bhuna prawn on puri (£3.50) which filled the plate, the prawns were beautifully spiced and left a delicious flavour in the mouth.  One thing I love about the Mogul Raj is the lemon squeezer that accompanies certain starters, it’s the attention to detail that sets this place apart from the rest.

Mr Gourmand started with Bhuna Lamb on puri (£3.75) which in his owns words was “absolutely unbelievable”.  It looked and tasted outstanding, full of flavour, and if one gripe was allowed it would be that it was actually too big for a starter! Amazing, I know.

My favourite dish from the Mogul Raj is the Raj Cabbage and Potato Curry (£6.45) which is cooked with cabbage, potatoes, green pepper, onions, green chilli and ghee and is a mouth-watering experience.  I am no vegetarian but this dish could turn me!  The flavours go together in a spectacular way, I can do the dish no favours by describing it the only thing I can suggest you do is go there and try it for yourself.  I’ve never actually seen this dish anywhere else before which I always find strange as it’s so delicious.

Mr Gourmand went for The Mogul Raj Special Chicken Keema as a main course which was beautifully spiced meal and complimented the Raj Cabbage perfectly.

Much to my objection Mr Gourmand was desperate to try the Garlic and Chilli Nan (£2.40) Although it was delicious it was just a little too spicy for me so I left him to finish it off, which even he couldn’t.

The Vegetable Pilao (£2.95) is always a must to accompany any meal, always delicious and never disappoints.

After you finish your meal you are always presented with a lemon scented hot towel, again it’s the little things that make this place so special and after eight mints are given with the bill.


The restaurant offers a Thursday and Sunday special banquet from 6.30pm – 10.00pm where you can have any starter, any main course, plain pilao rice, a side/sundry between two and a dessert for £10.95 per person.

The Mogul Raj, 15 Merton Way, Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Raj Tandoori – Newcastle upon Tyne


The Raj Tandoori is situated just off the Bigg Market in Newcastle’s city centre and offers a set 3 course lunch served from 12.00 noon to 2.00pm (£5.95)

On first impression the restaurant was clean and welcoming however after sitting down I notice that underneath the table runner the tablecloth had not been cleaned for some time and was covered with curry stains which was not at all appealing.  The lunch menu consisted of a good range of starters and main courses which would suit most people wanting a quick lunch time curry, which we did.

Mr Gourmand chose Onion Bhaji as a starter which was served with a side salad.  Usually when you order Onion Bhaji you are presented with a mint yoghurt dip which ranges from white to bright yellow, this time however a red sweet sauce accompanied the Bhaji which was rather tasty.  Onion Bhaji’s can often be hit and miss, this time the Raj Tandoori got it right, the Bhaji’s were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just how we like them.

I opted for Garlic Chicken on Puri which is something I would not usually choose on a menu and I was pleasantly surprised.  The dish was gently spiced, I would have preferred a little more spice as I felt the dish was lacking something, it did contain an awful lot of chicken so maybe this was the reason?.  The garlic taste was not as overpowering as I imagined it would be and the whole dish filled the plate and after finishing I was actually rather full!

Mr Gourmands main course was Chicken Madras which is a dish he usually avoids as previous experience has proved it slightly over-spiced for his liking, but because he wanted a change he thought he would try it out. The meal was actually a little bit milder than he expected and he thought there seemed to be something lacking.  After trying his main course myself to understand his complaint, I too felt underwhelmed by what was a bland taste which lacked the layers of flavour that the best curries all possess.

I went for the Chicken Biriani which came with an accompanying vegetable curry. The chicken was moist and beautifully flavoured and the sweetness of the curry complemented the rice.  I find it strange that Indian restaurants do Biriani dishes so differently, some places have a really spicy curry, others have the spice in the rice unfortunately this biriani seemed to be lacking in spice and probably would rate a 0 on a scale of 0 – 10, in terms of spice that is.

We both finished the meal with a coffee with cream but to Mr Gourmands horror there was no after eight mint!

 A three course meal for £5.95 in the Gourmand opinion is excellent value, however the food was nothing special and we probably wouldn’t visit on an evening or a lunch time anytime soon.