It's two days after our second Poppadom Preach. Unlike last time I know I barely got to mention the second instalment here on Guac- I did natter on about it on Instagram of course- but it just seemed to creep up on the four of us, and before we knew it all the tickets had sold out and it was time to catch the plane!
We had the best time cooking for 25 people again in our little cafe-for-the-day in Neukölln. I'll wait a few more days to get some distance from before writing about, because right now my overall impression would be "grapefruit fizz AMIRITE / omg 75 donuts / Drake kitchen dancing/ omg rice" which doesn't even make any sense to me. BUT I did want to share these quick three recipes for alternate pani puri fillings or just some fresh side dishes to serve with a curry.
It's something I think about a lot whenever a mid-week curry night rolls around again: freshening up the kinda run-of-the-mill vegetable curry you might know how to make blindfolded but be a little bored with. Or having an easy salsa on-hand when you're also cooking something super rich, like the vegan butter chicken I made for Saturday night.
I served these three fillings as an alternative to the regular pani puri fillings I've covered here, because Liv, another quarter of the Poppadom Preach team, made some amazing sweet potato and shredded red cabbage tikkis for the third course, and I got a bit worried that the flavours would get too similar. So I went TO TOWN on changing them up. You could use these as I did, plated together with pani puris, or just have them in dishes when you serve a main curry, so everyone can work out their favourite flavours. The potatoes will make your kitchen smell amazing so be prepared for zero leftovers.
** A note on getting hold of pani puri**
The pani puri shells were the only thing we didn't make from scratch for PP2 because from the research I did, I didn't think the different in homemade shells would be worth taking away time from the rest of the meal. I'd recommend either buying a box of pani puri shells from a local Asian or Indian supermarket, or buying the kits you can find online or in some larger supermarkets. It might feel lazy but you can just add to the pickles and mixes they give you, like adding fresh coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds to the chilled pani puri water. You'll come up with a gorgeous table of food and still have time to chill with you friends instead of frying away in the kitchen all day.
Curry leaf and mustard seed potatoes
The inspiration for this came from gunpowder potatoes and the chilli potatoes I make with Mexican food quite a lot. They keep really well for days, add a great texture and colour to your food even when they're just sprinkled over a salad or dish as a topping and are super more-ish.
Small bag of potatoes- no more than 300g for a big crowd
Handful of curry leaves
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp turmeric
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes- about 0.5 cm on each side. Take a large roasting dish and cover it in a thin layer of oil, then add in the curry leaves, mustard seeds, a good tablespoon of Dijon mustard, turmeric, salt and pepper, and mix so the flavours are evenly spread out across the dish.
Pour in your potato cubes and stir into the dish again so they are covered in the oily mustard. Roast for about 30 minutes. Make sure none of the cubes burn, but it's good to get a few browning on top and on the sides of the dish- just stir them around if they start to look too done on a particular side.
Once they're ready, spoon on to a plate covered in kitchen roll to get rid of the excess oil, and then store at room temperature ready for serving later.
Quick mango, mint and pomegranate salsa
Mango adds a gorgeous freshness to food that I think is quite under-rated. It works here in a similar way to mango chutney but without the extra sugar or gloopy-ness of the store-bought stuff.
2 mangos, peeled and chopped down into small cubes
Seeds of a pomegranate
Good handful of mint leaves, chopped small
Good handful of coriander leaves, chopped small
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper
Simply pick out a salad bowl, combine all the salsa ingredients, and leave for the flavours to set in a bit in the fridge for a little while. You can also serve straight away- it's that quick and easy.
Homemade BBQ date sauce
This sauce came to life because I basically couldn't find any tamarind sauces in the shops we could get to in time in Berlin, which instead of freaking out about, is often a good test of "well, what can we make instead?". So it's a really lazy date sauce to go alongside pani puris or any Indian flavours. You just need a blender, your favourite BBQ sauce, and a few store cupboard items.
1 cup pitted dry dates, chopped small
3 tbsp mango chutney or sweet chutney you have to hand
1/2 tsp chili sauce
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp BBQ sauce
Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender. Once the dates have been chopped so you can't see the pieces any more, test the mixture, it may need a bit more water to loosen it up.
Store in a jar in the fridge until serving.