Being a great lover of taste and texture I base a lot of my home cooking around Indian food. Veganism lends itself beautifully towards spices, pulses, lentils and dips and as soon as I catch a hint of curry in the air my tastebuds begin to water. So you can imagine my delight when I came across Pure Punjabi at Bodypower Expo 2018 – the UK’s biggest fitness exhibition – and had the most delicious portion of fresh dhal for lunch. What’s even more exciting is the fact that Pure Punjabi also have meal box subscriptions allowing you to make authentic Punjabi cuisine from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Surinder and Safia are a mother and daughter duo with a great love of food, bringing their passion for North Indian culinary tradition to kitchens, exhibitions and events across the UK; they were selected as of the the 2016 Small Business Saturday 100 they were invited to No. 10 Downing Street, having been named as one of the top 8 Indian Cookery Schools in the UK they are also hailed as Gourmet Guru’s by Love Pulses – quite the accolade!
Often holding live cookery demos, their chapatti making and dhal goes down a treat with enthusiastic helpers at food fairs and markets and their cookery workshops, meal club and cookery schools are causing quite a buzz. What immediately struck me about this family team was their tangible love and enthusiasm for food as they explained how they wanted to give people the knowledge of culinary traditions from an Indian kitchen whilst maintaining traditional cookery methods passed down from their own grandparents.
Each meal box contains a selection of handmade artisan spices which have been crushed and ground from whole, along withall of the dried ingredients and instructions necessary to make each dish – you simply add your own fresh ingredients and follow the recipes which conveniently come with picture. By adding fresh ingredients this allows you to take control of the level of heat within each dish and tailor it to suit your taste and that of your family. My daughter has an aversion to anything spicy and likes her food to be plain and inoffensive, together we cooked the Masoor Di Dhal dish from our box and she agreed to try it (without chilli) and to her surprise she absolutely loved it. Despite each recipe serving four people – and with just the two of us eating – I plated up our portions and put the rest into containers for the freezer to have at another time but ended up eating them all before it had time to cool, it was absolutely delicious! I think it’s important to spend time together as a family and see food as love, wanting to provide and care for my children by cooking fresh and wholesome meals whilst educating them in the importance of nutrition.
There is nothing perishable in the meal boxes so it leaves plenty of time to work your way through them as the meal boxes can be stored in a pantry for up to 12 months. Seeing as I’ve just returned home from holiday my cupboards were rather bare so I turned to my box for a quick and easy meal rather than spending money on a takeaway and having to wait an hour for it to arrive. Whilst some fresh ingredients were needed to prepare the dish such as onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and coriander I was able to substitute ground ginger and coriander leaf from my spice rack and the quality time spent cooking together, talking about food and learning a new recipe was something we both really enjoyed.
There are 21 spice sachets in total and each recipe makes enough for four people with pastes and jars providing up to forty meals. My meal box includes: Masoor di Dhal Mix, Vegetarian Biriyani Mix, Naan Mix, Roti Mix, Onion Bhaji Mix, Rajma Dhal Mix, Tamarind Chutney Mix, Coconut & Sesame Chutney Mix, Aloo Gobi Mix, Stuffed Aubergine Mix and Saag Mix. I’m excited to source all of the fresh ingredients that I need on my next weekly shop as it’s far more affordable and fresh than a takeout. For foodies, busy families and those short on time this is the ideal way to bring an authentic North Indian meal to your table; we can’t wait for another homemade feast this weekend!
My boyfriend and I just made the most delicious lunch ever! We rustled up some Onion Bhaji’s and Vegetarian Biriyani from the meal prep kit and literally ate the entire thing seconds after it hit the plate – and also some directly from the pan! Nothing compares to making fresh onion bhaji’s as you can really appreciate the crispy light batter when you serve them hot with a slice of lemon and sprinkle of salt. Where shops or restaurants can sometimes serve up bhaji’s that are very dense and gloopy in texture which leave you feeling bloated and over-full these are just so light and delicious they just melt in your mouth and make the ideal starter or side for a meal – even my 6yr old son who doesn’t like spice couldn’t get enough of them!
Seeing as we made them from scratch I could adapt the recipe to suit our individual needs and therefore substituted fresh chillies for a quarter of a red pepper which I had in the fridge and needed to use up and also meant the children could eat them because they wouldn’t be too spicy. Seeing as I didn’t have a medium potato I used a handful of baby potatoes instead and simply chopped it all up, stirred in the mix and fried off the batter until light golden brown. We had hoped to serve the bhaji’s as a side to the rice but ate the whole lot as soon as they came out of the pan because they were so moreish, they hardly lasted five minutes!
I love how quick, easy and adaptable all of the recipes are; again I threw in some chestnut mushrooms and green beans from my salad drawer which needed using up and picked some fresh mint from my herb garden which smelt divine. Thanks to the cashews, rice and chickpeas the biriyani made an ideal post-workout meal when we got home from the gym with a healthy balance between protein and carbs to give us energy and help our muscles to recover. We had so much fun cooking together, working as a team and tasting and preparing the food as we went – quality time that I wouldn’t usually have with my boyfriend as I often cook alone in the kitchen so it made a nice change. I wonder what’s on the menu for next weekend?