Tag Archives: indian

Neighbours

(No, I’m not talking about the Australian soap opera…)

After 5 months in Basingstoke, we still only know one set of neighbours. The couple at the end of the road have the same type of house as us, so we have talked a couple of times, about the house, the development, etc. Last week, the husband popped in to ask Jon about some plumbing stuff and decided then to meet up for tea on the following Sunday (aka, yesterday).

They are a lovely couple from North India (Delhi, I suppose, I didn’t ask exactly where), have been in the UK for 4 years and they have a very cute and funny 3-year-old son.

We got to their house at 4 o’clock as agreed, and I must admit that I wasn’t sure of what to expect. We looked online beforehand for what the polite thing would be regarding gifts. We wanted to take something as a thank you for the invite, but were unsure about their traditions and customs. We settled for some chocolate truffles and some cinnamon rolls (they almost rejected the gifts, arguing that it was far too formal, but we insisted and they took them in the end)

After the formal introductions*, we sat down in the sofa, had some tea and cake (our truffles and rolls were nowhere to be seen…) and started to chat.

We got on very well. Better than I thought. I must admit my ignorance about the Indian culture in general (this was the first time I met some proper Indians) and have to say that I was pleasantly surprised of how “western” they were both in behaviour and way of thinking. Apart from their Indian accent, I couldn’t tell any different from any other couple from anywhere else in the western world.

We chatted and chatted and we were all quite comfortable, even with the almost-hyper-active kid, who kept calling us “uncle” and “auntie” all the time. We talked about India, about Spain, about England, their food, our food, houses, children, education and many many more subjects. I was pleased to see that they were very open to talk about anything, even financial stuff.

We have set a date for a proper diner where we will have both traditional Spanish and Indian food (they think that the Indian food that you get here in restaurants has nothing to do with the real stuff – exactly the same as with Spanish restaurants!) and I must admit that I am really looking forward to it!

I believe this could be the beginning of a great friendship!

*We have a massive problem, and it’s that even after having repeated their names a couple of times, we still struggle to remember the wife’s name! We remember the husband’s and the kid’s, but not the wife… Doh! It’s definitely a two-syllable word, with a k and and a in it…

My latest favourite recipe

I already mentioned this recipe on my last post, however, as I cooked it again last night, I wanted to put here my own adapted version.

Spiced Fish Soup

Ingredients for 4 people (or serves two people for two days, which is what I do)

• 5 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil
• 2 ½ tablespoons brown mustard seeds
• a handful of fresh curry leaves
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 1 teaspoon medium curry powder
• 1½ teaspoons chilli powder
• 2 teaspoons turmeric
• 2 large thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
• 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 handfuls of basmati rice
• 600ml water
• 600g fish (I get “Fish Pie Mix” from the Fish Tesco counter -Salmon, Cod and Haddock- and some prawns too)
• 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• juice of 2 limes

In a big pan, heat up the oil and add the Spices (mustard seeds, cumin, garam masala, chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric and curry leaves). Cook for a few minutes, but be careful because after a couple of minutes the mustard seeds will start jumping like popcorn everywhere. Put a lid on when this starts to happen and cook for another minute or so. Next add the onions, garlic and ginger (I put the garlic and ginger in a garlic crusher for better results – see picture below). Continue cooking until the onions are soft. Then add the rice and water (put the rice in first, give everything a good stir and then add the water). Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add your fish and the coconut milk with a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then stir well to break up the pieces of fish. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, then just before you serve it squeeze in the lime juice.

It’s so easy to make. The only “difficulty” lies in getting all the ingredients ready first. Then you just chuck them all in a pan and it’s done.

I took the time to take a few nice pictures of all the ingredients as I was getting them ready, but completely forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Doh! Have a look at the piccies:
Vegetable oil Finely chopped onions Garlic
Vegetable oil                  Finely chopped onions                     Garlic

Fresh ginger   Crushed garlic and ginger
Fresh ginger                                        Crushed garlic and ginger

Mustard seeds   Cumin
Mustard seeds                                     Cumin

Garam masala   Mild chilli powder
Garam masala                                    Chilli Powder

Curry Powder   Curry leaves
Medium Curry Powder                     Curry leaves

Prawns   “Fish Pie” Mix
Prawns                                                 Fish Pie Mix

Rice Coconut milk Water
Basmati Rice                                      Coconut milk                 Water

Salt   Pepper
Salt                                                        Pepper

                              Limes
                              Limes

Rajput – Indian restaurant

Rajput

Byfleet has two local indian restaurants: The Red Rose and Rajput.

We’ve only been once to the Red Rose, though. People keep talking about it, how good it is, how good the food is, etc. So we went about a year ago, but we weren’t that impressed. The food was okay – just okay – but the service wasn’t that amazing either!

So we decided to stick with our “really” local indian (it’s less than 50 metres away): Rajput.

Rajput could be described as an average local restaurant: medium size, quiet atmosphere, friendly staff, etc. But there is something else about it, something that really makes it special. First of all, the food is amazing. It’s one of the best Indians I’ve ever eaten. From King Prawn Dupiaza, to Lamb Bhoona and the very common Chicken and Mushroom Curry, which has nothing “common” about it! Delicious Bombay Aloo and Chana Massala to go with your meal, and don’t forget the rice. The Popadoms are ALWAYS fresh and crisp, and chutneys and sauces that go with them are always lip-licking good!

You come in the restaurant and you are welcomed by very friendly staff. Even in busy days like Saturday nights, they take the time to serve you well and never rush you out. They will shake your hand as you come in, and as you leave. Although sometimes I wonder if that is just special treatment to failthful customers (and we are)!

So, yes, Rajput is one of my favourite restaurants and I do recommend it to everyone.

Check out their website and give them a go! www.rajput-byfleet.co.uk