Love of Indian food has followed me all around the world

A selection of some of my favourite things to eat, from crab cakes to kebabs and chutney

My love of Indian food when I was growing up in New Zealand was very unusual. It all started with a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook, many moons ago. It was when I moved to north Wales for a while that I really got a better understanding of this vast cuisine.

Catching the train to Birmingham on one of my days off was always exciting. Brimful of Asha, by British alternative rock band Cornershop, was rocking the charts in the late 1990s, and I have a grá for those super colourful Bollywood movies bursting with energy. Should I also confess to a love of cricket as well?

So here we have a selection of some of my favourite things to eat. The crab cakes can be served with coronation mayonnaise or a freshly chopped zingy chutney. They’re pure simplicity and can be whipped up for a household in no time at all.

The spiced chicken kebabs are delicious and can be made well in advance – just make sure to use good quality free-range chicken thighs. They are perfect served with a raita, but I’ve gone for my top chutney – tomato and ginger. I love fresh ginger, and it’s a super addition to this dish.



Serves 4
400g white crab meat, picked
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
Half a thumb of ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
2tsp curry powder
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 tsp coriander powder
40g desiccated coconut
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
4 eggs, beaten
400g panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp nigella seeds
2 tsp white sesame seeds
100g flour
400ml vegetable oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl add crab meat, fresh coriander and chillies. Add the curry powder, coriander powder, lime juice and zest, ginger, garlic and desiccated coconut. Mix well and season with salt and white pepper.

2 Add half of the beaten egg mixture, this is to make sure the crab meat shapes better into patties. Line a tray with greaseproof paper. Shape the crab cakes into 80g patties, and arrange on the tray. Set aside in a fridge.

3 Using three bowls place the flour and the remaining beaten eggs in two separate bowls and to the third add the panko, nigella seeds, sesame seeds and chilli flakes. Mix well.

4 Using a deep-frying pan or saucepan add the vegetable oil and gently heat until the temperature reaches 250-300 degrees Celsius.

5 Remove the crab cakes from the fridge and start to dredge them. Start the cake off in the flour mixture, then the egg, then finally the panko mix. Make sure each cake is well coated in the crumb.

6 Carefully add the cakes two at a time to the hot oil. Fry on one side for three to five minutes until golden brown. Gently flip the cake over using a spatula, and fry for a further three to five minutes.


Serves 4
12 boneless chicken thighs
200g Greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
3 lemons, juiced
50g harissa paste
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground fenugreek
2 tsp salt
4 kebab skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes if they are wooden

For the marinade, in a large bowl combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, spices, coriander and harissa. Mix well. Add the chicken thighs and coat evenly. Cover the bowl and allow the chicken to marinate for at least one hour or overnight. The longer the better.

2 Remove the chicken from the fridge and skewer three thighs on each stick. Try to almost weave the chicken onto the skewer, making sure each thigh has been spiked through three times. This will ensure the chicken will stay on the skewer throughout grilling.

3 You should now have four skewers with three chicken thighs on each. Make sure to leave at least eight centimetres at each end of the skewer free to make handling while cooking easier.

4 Place kebabs on a plate or tray and bring to a well-heated barbecue or very hot griddle pan.

5 Place each skewer on the heat making sure they are about three fingers width apart. Grill on one side for five to eight minutes then carefully turn the kebabs on to the other side. The chicken might stick a little to the grill. Cook on the remaining side for a further eight minutes. Check that they are cooked through, remove from grill and serve.


Serves 4
1 pack of six plum tomatoes, chopped into chunks
1 white onion, thinly sliced
Half a bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala
3 lemons, juiced
1 thumb ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1cm slices
10ml olive oil
3 tsp salt (or to taste, you can use less)
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp caster sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste. Serve with Indian spiced chicken kebabs and yogurt.