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  • Add a (health) kick to your curry

    With the start of a new year, we all tend to be a bit more mindful of our bodies and often set goals to eat healthier or go to the gym. Whether we actually follow through with these goals throughout the year is another story, but while we’re in the healthy spirit we thought we’d let you know about some benefits of the spices used in our kits.

    Cassia

    Cassia Bark

    This lesser-known spice is found in our Persian Khoresh and Makhani kits. You may be surprised to find out that Cassia is actually a type of cinnamon and is often called the ‘Chinese cinnamon’ because of its origin in Southern China.

    Both cinnamon and cassia are harvested and used in similar ways but the main difference is the slightly thicker texture and stronger flavour Cassia has in comparison.

    Did you know that cassia can…

    • Improve insulin sensitivity
    • Help to fight bacteria and fungi because of a chemical found in it called cinnamaldehyde
    • Help treat cold-like symptoms, including congestion and that annoying runny nose we know all too well
    • Be beneficial in fighting nausea and depression
    • Strengthen gums and hair roots as well as improve overall blood circulation

     

    Rosemary

    Rosemary

    This more familiar herb is typically found in the Mediterranean and is typically used in its leaf or oil form. It can be found in our newest kit, the Berbere Curry in its lead form.

    Did you know rosemary can…

    • Enhance concentration and memory
    • Help with indigestion
    • Improve blood circulation and boost the immune system because of its anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants
    • Reduce hair loss

     

    Turmeric

    Tumeric

    Last but not least, turmeric. Commonly found in India, this ingredient is a staple in many of our kits. This wonder-spice has built up quite a reputation and is well known for its health benefits.

    Did you know turmeric can…

    • Help to alleviate arthritis symptoms because of its anti-inflammatory agents
    • Help to improve liver function due to its antioxidant agents
    • Aid with digestion and upset stomachs
    • Help with blood thinning
    • Stimulate contractions

     

    Whether you’re on a health kick this new year or just want to nourish your body after eating too many Christmas treats, Tastesmiths kits are packed full of nutritious spices and herbs to help nurture your body. Enjoy delicious, home-cooked food without feeling guilty and reap the benefits of these amazing spices and herbs!

  • Vegan Goan with Leftover Roast Veg

    Yet another way to save on food waste… The Tastesmiths team are known for their veg consumption, we love it, so much so that we always prepare too much!

    For this example, we used our Goan Fish/Prawn Curry Kit but tagged in a whole load of tasty veggies we had left from a Sunday dinner.

    Even if you’re not over-cookers like us, this is a great curry to roast some veg specifically for…

    We took inspiration for our veggie tray from Wicked Kitchen’s Vegetable Centerpiece on youtube, then took it a step further by doing what we do best and upcycling it into a curry, those roasted onions were a revelation!!

    This cracking curry is super easy. Follow your Goan Kit’s instructions as normal, then after you’ve added your tomatoes, slide that veg into the mix.

    For best results simmer your curry on a low heat for an hour, or prepare the day before and rest overnight to allow the curry’s flavours to really get into those veggies.

    Potatoes, carrots, parsnips and broccoli all work well, add peas cauliflower or whatever you have laying around the pantry to fill the dish out.

    We have a full ‘walk through’ of this dish over on TikTok, click the image below if you’d like to give it a watch, if you give it a go make sure and tag us “@Tastesmiths” on social media, we love seeing your creations, almost as much as we love eating ours and each month we pick a ‘Home Cook Hero’ from the tagged submissions who’ll win a substantial prize bundle!

    Leftover Veg Goan Curry

     

  • Leftover Festive Curry!

    In the UK, 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted per year which totals to costs of £10.2 billion!

    We’re not going to use this space to discuss food waste any further, if you’d like to read more, click here.

    Below we’ll show you a great way to repurpose and reinvigorate some potentially wasted food this festive period!

    Leftover Roast Chicken, Stuffing & Sprout Balti!

    Leftover BaltiThe method is super easy, follow your included Balti Masala instructions as normal (we skipped the blending section for this example).

    Mix your leftovers into the sauce at the ‘add the meat or veg’ stage, and stir it all together.

    Most important when working with leftover food – leave it to simmer on a very low heat for as long as your patience allows (an hour would be perfect). If you have time – cook the day before and rest overnight – to really get those flavours into your meat and veg!

    We were pushing our luck with those stuffing balls, but they came out beautifully (there were some sceptics in the team)!

    There’s also a little cook through of this dish over on our TikTok if you’d like to see the stages, click the image above, or here to see it.

  • Favourite Festive Feeds

    We’ve pulled together a collection of festive sides to compliment our curry kits this Christmas, whether you’re putting on a spread of Goan delights for a family visit, or filling out the table for that boxing day left-over Tikka Masala!

    Click the images or the titles to head over to the full recipe!

    Sanna

    Idli, Chutney & Sambar

    “This typically coastal Indian speciality is a unique dish that requires some specific ingredients. Steamed spongy rice cakes, sanna are made with fresh coconut and Goan toddy, the sap collected from the bud of palm tree flowers. The batter needs to ferment for several hours and then is steamed in individual moulds. Sanna are eaten on their own, as well as with curries and stir-fries.”

    Malai Kofta

    Indian Veggie Balls (Malai Kofta)

    “Although this malai kofta recipe does take some time to prepare, it is the ideal dish if you have vegetarians at your Christmas dinner table—but is also so delicious, even the meat-eaters will be asking for more. Cooked potatoes are mashed along with a mixture of vegetables, paneer (cheese), heavy cream, and traditional spices to form a dough. The dough is formed into balls, stuffed with nuts and raisins, and deep-fried before simmering in a rich gravy.”

    Palak Paneer

    Palak paneer

    “This dish is ideal for those who have a sensitive palate or who prefer a more mild-tasting dish; it is also a nice accompaniment to spicy and rich recipes as it will not compete. Palak paneer is a type of cheese, somewhat similar in texture to tofu. It is a perfect match for healthy spinach, fenugreek leaves, and tomatoes that are mashed until soft and seasoned with typical Indian spices.”

    Quick Peshwari Roti

    Meera Sodha's Quick & Easy Peshwhari Roti Recipe

    “Meera Sodha’s easy Peshwari Roti make a delicious accompaniment to any Indian meal. This easy to follow recipe produces sweet and savoury stuffed bread, that can be made very quickly. A must for curry lovers.”

    Masala Egg Fry

    Masala egg fry 2

    “My take on an egg fry is a quick and simple fix when you have sudden unexpected guests at home. All you need to do is to halve hard-boiled eggs, lightly coat them with marinade and shallow fry. It can be served as a starter or as a side dish for rice. This egg fry is super spicy with flavours of red chilli powder, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.”

    Ladi Pav Buns

    untitled 2 copy

    “Make eggless, light, fluffy & Soft Pav Bread at home with all tips & tricks. Nothing can beat freshly made homemade Ladi Pav & once you start making your own pavs, you will stop buying buns from the market.”

  • Curry Filled Polish Dumplings!

    blog banner

    After a Polish friend of ours introduced us to Pierogi, the cogs in our minds started whirring…

    Pierogi are a traditional Polish dumpling found throughout Central & Eastern Europe. A lovely light dough that is super easy to make serves as a platform to deliver either sweet or savoury fillings.

    In this example, we decided to fill our dumplings with a veggie Rogan Josh, we chose to finely chop the veg so it filled the pierogi nicely, otherwise, we followed the usual instructions for the kit, simmered it for an extra ten minutes to reduce the liquid.

    These make a wonderful side, a portable snack for lunch or main meal.

    What You Need

    • 500g Poznanska flour (a.k.a. Wheat Flour Type 500) – Find this in your local deli/baker/polish food store
    • 2 Tbsp. Turmeric – completely optional, but adds a lovely rich colour.
    • 1 Tbsp. Panch Puram – again optional, substitute for black onion seeds or similar, adds a nice texture and crunch to the dumpling.
    • 300ml hot water

     

    How To Do It

    1. Pour 450g flour onto your work surface (save 50g some to roll with – so doesn’t stick).
    2. Sprinkle your optional spices into the flour and mix together.
    3. Make a hole in the top of your flour/spice pile and gradually add your hot water, see images to support our weak description! Use a knife to ‘chop’ the water into the flour and add more as it absorbs. The dough should be moist and firm and hold its shape after kneading.
    4. Rest the dough, covered in a bowl for 30 mins.
    5. Start to roll the dough (add a little more water if it is tough to work) use your remaining flour to dust your surface to stop the dough from sticking.
    6. Roll to 1-2mm thickness, not too thin.
    7. Cut with a 13cm cutter (or a spare plant pot if that’s all that available), in this example, we ended up with ten dough circles.
    8. Start a large pan of water boiling.
    9. Grab a dough disc, moisten around the perimeter – this will help them seal.
    10. Spoon in your curry mixture, 1 heaped tbsp. was plenty to fill these.
    11. Seal the dumpling into a standard pasty shape then use your middle and index finger, along with your thumb to pinch the seam closed and achieve the traditional clam shape – see pics!
    12. Your Pierogi need a quick boil to cook the dough, this should take 4-5 minutes, the larger the longer. Once they float allow them to simmer for a further minute then remove.
    13. If you’ve made extra, this is the time to stash them away for future consumption!
    14. The final step, shallow fry your dumplings on a medium heat to finish them off!
    15. We served ours with a greek yoghurt and coriander dip – ‘Piękny!’ (Beautiful!)

    As always, we’d love to see them if you give them a go!

  • Autumn Sides Collection

    We’ve pulled together a selection of our favourite side dishes, sourced from customers, industry friends and the team here at Tastesmiths.

    These dishes are perfect as a little accompaniment to a couples curry, family meals, or table fillers for a larger spread when hosting. Click the title of each dish to head over to the full recipe!

    Let us know your favourites, or how you find these, over on our social channels.

    Indian Samosa Pie with Minted Yogurt

    Indian samosa pie with minted yogurt

    “Everyone’s favourite takeaway staple and turned it into a warming pie that’s perfect for dinner and even better for leftovers the very next day.”

    Dal Shorba Recipe – Indian Style Lentil Soup

    Dal Shorba Recipe - Indian Style Lentil Soup

    “Dal Shorba is a healthy and light soup/shorba made with yellow moong dal and spiced with dry ginger powder and pepper powder that gives it that powerful punch of spice, topped with lemon juice.”

    Indian Vegetable Pakoras with Ginger Pachadi

    Indian vegetable pakoras with ginger pachadi

    “Vegetable pakoras are delicious, tasty and a great starter to any Indian dinner party.”

    Palak Ka Saag Recipe

    Palak ka Saag

    “Pureed spinach leaves cooked tender with added zests and cream.”

    Tandoori Cauliflower

    Tandoori cauliflower, my way

    “These tandoori cauliflowers make for a filling and flavour-packed vegetarian dish. Who said vegetables had to be boring?”

    Besan Kadhi Recipe

    Besan Kadhi

    “Kadhi is a popular north Indian dish, made with besan and yoghurt as main ingredients along with various spices with gram flour pakodas dipped in it. A popular lunch recipe across all Indian households!”

    Spiced Cauliflower Dip with Crisp Fried Florets

    Spiced cauliflower dip with crisp fried florets

    “Dr. Sam Prince’s sumptuous cauliflower dish is part of his mission to re-invigorate Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine, and these crispy florets go amazingly with the richly spiced dip.”

    Glazed Pumpkin with Crispy Chickpeas and Paneer

    Glazed pumpkin with crispy chickpeas and paneer

    “This recipe is great served alongside an Indian banquet or on its own as a light and easy mid-week meal.”

     

     

  • Persian Style Herby Rice

    23.10.21 tastesmiths herby rice (6 of 6) 2

     

    Our Khoresh is the perfect autumn/winter dish. Hearty, filling, warming you from within on those cold days.

    Great with meat or veggies, our personal favourite is sweet potato, carrots, aubergine and courgettes.

    If you’re going all out, this is what you need to pair with it!

    “Sabzi Polo is a staple on the Persian New Year’s table. It’s made with basmati rice and layers of fresh herbs, but what is most coveted is the tahdig—the crunchy crust that forms on the bottom of the pot during cooking.”

    We’ve seen many methods and ingredients to create this dish, this is our simplified take on it!

    What You’ll Need for 3-4 portions:

    • 25g Chives
    • 25g Dill
    • 25g Parsley
    • 25g Corriander
    • 3 Cloves Garlic
    • 200g Basmati Rice
    • 3 Tablespoons of Natural Yoghurt
    • 1 Large Egg Yolk (or two medium)
    • 50g Butter

     

    How To Do It:

    1. Wash your rice to ensure all the starch is removed.
    2. Bail the rice until it’s just starting to soften, drain and pop to one side.
    3. Finely chop your herbs, mix together in a bowl.
    4. Whisk your egg yolk and yoghurt together.
    5. In a large pan heat your choice of cooking oil, enough to cover the whole of the base of the pan.
    6. Turn the heat to low, pour in your egg mixture, then add one-third of your herb mix with one-third of the rice.
    7. Repeat this in layers until all of your rice and herbs have been used.
    8. Pour in 50ml of boiling water then thinly slice the butter onto the top of the rice, cover the pot and allow to steam for 10 minutes.
    9. Finally, once the rice has finished cooking, carefully flip the pot onto a large plate or bowl to reveal the ’tahdig’, serve.

     

    23.10.21 tastesmiths herby rice (1 of 6)

    23.10.21 tastesmiths herby rice (2 of 6)

    23.10.21 tastesmiths herby rice (3 of 6)

    23.10.21 tastesmiths herby rice (4 of 6)

    23.10.21 tastesmiths herby rice (5 of 6)

    23.10.21 tastesmiths herby rice (6 of 6)

  • Dhal Stuffed Marrows – Fill Them Up, To Fill You Up!

    Tastesmiths Goan Stuffed Marrows 001

     

    Who knew marrows were so tasty? We did not, now we’re bingeing on these giant squashes at every opportunity, this simple recipe gives our Dhal Kit a new platform, in both presentation and flavour profile!

    Better yet, it’s super simple, terrifically tasty, and fabulously filling.

    1. Slice your marrow into sections, they’re softer than they look so watch those fingers!
    2. Scoop out the sections’ seeds and the hollow-ish bit near the centre, you’ll end up with a ring of ‘marrow flesh’ around 2-3cm thick (see image below).
    3. A few options here to prepare the marrow: steamer for 10mins or so, bake for 15-20mins or, as we prefer, boil water in a large pan, about 1-2cm deep, sit the marrow sections in it, and pop the lid on – for about ten mins.
    4. Scoop the sections out and allow them to sit.
    5. Prepare your Dhal kit as normal, you’re aiming for a slightly thicker than usual mix so simmer for more time at the end until the desired consistency is achieved.
    6. In this ‘main course’ example we added chickpeas, some brown rice, and a few sliced tomatoes at the final stage to bulk it out, if you’re serving these as a side, the Dhal as standard will be sufficient.
    7. Place the sections onto an oven try/dish and spoon your Dhal into your marrow, stack it good!
    8. Bake them in the oven at 200℃ for 10 mins to allow the flavours to become friends.

     

    Let us know if you give this a try, we’d love to see your version!

    Shop our Dhal Kit, here.

  • Eat Healthy: Eat Scratch-Cooked!

    In its June 2021 report on Obesity & Overweight, the World Health Organisation states that “the food industry can play a significant role in promoting healthy diets by reducing the fat, sugar and salt content of processed foods”.

    With our kits, you cook from scratch, with hand-picked fresh herbs and spices; that we’ve selected for their quality.

    There’s no salt or sugar in them as standard.

    Also: no ‘E’ Numbers, no preservatives, no added colours.

    Furthermore, in their April 2020 ‘Eating Healthy’ guide the World Health Organisation state:

    ‘An adult’s healthy diet includes the following:

    • Vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils and beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice).
    • At least 400g of fruit and vegetables per day, excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots.
    • Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars, but ideally is less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits. Free sugars are all sugars added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
    • Less than 30% of total energy intake is from fats. Unsaturated fats (found in fish, avocado and nuts, and in sunflower, soybean, canola and olive oils) are preferable to saturated fats (found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard) and trans-fats of all kinds, including both industrially-produced trans-fats (found in baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods, such as frozen pizza, pies, cookies, biscuits, wafers, and cooking oils and spreads) and ruminant trans-fats (found in meat and dairy foods from ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, goats and camels). It is suggested that the intake of saturated fats be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake and trans-fats to less than 1% of total energy intake. In particular, industrially-produced trans-fats are not part of a healthy diet and should be avoided.
    • Less than 5  g of salt (equivalent to about one teaspoon) per day.’

    With a Tastesmiths curry or marinade, you have complete control over your meal, so they’re super easy to build healthily.

    👉🏼 Tried adding some beans or chickpeas to your chicken Makhani?

    👉🏼 How about subbing out your white rice for brown, or a side of cauliflower and broccoli.

    👉🏼 We add no sugar to our kits.

    👉🏼 Saturated fats and trans-fats can be minimised by mixing beef portion in your Madras a portion with vegetables, such as green beans or courgettes!

    👉🏼 There are no industrial-produced trans-fats anywhere in our range 🤓

    👉🏼 We add no salt to our kits either.

    We’ve linked both reports below, and would love to hear your tips and suggestions for healthy eating!

    https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight

    https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet

  • Never-Failing, No-Fuss Naan!

    If you’re inclined to scratch cook a curry, and if you’re shopping with us we’ll assume you are, you’ll probably find a shop-bought-naan a little underwhelming, and anti-climatic. This recipe is easy, loads easier than it looks, and ends up with plump fluffy naans which soak sauce superbly.

    It looks like quite a few steps, but essentially you’re about to mix two bowls of stuff, then mix those, waiting a bit, then applying some heat to your naans…

    What You Need…

    • 300g plain flour
    • 50g wholemeal flour
    • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1-2 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
    • 125g plain yoghurt
    • 100ml cold milk
    • 50ml boiling water
    • 1 tsp fast-action yeast
    • 1 tblsp of any oil
    • Large knob of butter/4tblsp oil
    • 1 clove of garlic
    • A handful of chopped coriander (optional)

     

    What You Do…

    In a bowl mix:

    • Put 300g plain flour
    • 50g wholemeal flour
    • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar and 1-2 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds (these give you the stereotypical taste of naan bread, but leave them out if you don’t have any, or substitute with cumin/fennel seeds).

    In a large bowl add

    • 125g plain yoghurt (whatever you normally use)
    • 100ml cold milk
    • 50ml boiling water and 1tsp fast action yeast (the sachet yeast is fine, but don’t use a whole sachet).
    • Stir everything together and make sure there are no lumps.

    Add the flour mixture to the yoghurt mixture and stir well, this will produce a very soft, sticky dough.

    Make sure that you’ve gathered together all of the flour at the bottom of the bowl and then cover the dough with a sheet of cling film and rest for 30 minutes.

    After half an hour, pour 1 tblsp of any oil on to your work surface and rub it out to the size of a dinner plate.

    Tip the sticky dough on to the oil and roughly knead the dough into a ball. This should take around 10 seconds and then put back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave for an hour.

    After an hour, lightly flour the worktop and place the dough on it. Pat it into a circle and cut it into 6 pieces.

    You already roughly have your classic naan teardrop shape. Put the oven on to 200C/180C fan/390F.

    Melt a large knob of butter/4tblsp oil (or a mixture of the two) in a small pan and grate 1 clove of garlic into it, along with a handful of chopped coriander (if you like it)

    When the butter has melted, turn the heat off and leave the flavours to infuse while you cook the naan.

    Put a large frying pan on medium heat, don’t add any oil to the pan.

    When the pan is hot, roll out the first of your triangles to around 1cm thick using extra flour to stop them from sticking.

    Stretch the triangle as you place it on the hot frying pan. Brush some of the garlic butter onto the top of the naan as it’s cooking. Soon you will see little bubbles appearing on the surface.

    Keep an eye on the underside of the naan so that you can take it out when it’s starting to brown.

    Using a spatula/fish slice take the naan from the pan and place it on to the racks in the oven. This will finish off cooking the top while you get on with the next naan.

    Repeat the process until the dough has been used up. Keep a close eye on the naan in the oven and take them out if they start to get brown.

    They soak up the sauce perfectly and taste wonderful. Give them a go with your favourite curry and let us know how you find them!