Cinnamon Club: Indian Cuisine Reinvented


Cured Trout Rillette on Wheat Crisp

Rillette is a traditional French preparation very similar to a paté mainly made from cured meats. For this recipe, we have used trout, but you can use any other oily fish like salmon or mackerel.

Preparation time: 2 hours | Curing time: 32 hours | Serves: 4-6


  • 2 sides of trout, approx.. 675 gm each
  • Zest of 1 orange, 2 limes and 2 lemons, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds, roasted
  • 250 gm fresh green coriander, coarsely chopped with stalks
  • 50 gm red chilly powder
  • 700 gm granulated sugar
  • 900 gm sea salt

For the rillette:

  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 50 ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp green coriander, finely chopped


  1. Arrange the fillets with the skin facing down on a tray.
  2. Mix the chopped zest of lemon, lime and orange with the roasted cumin and mustard seeds. Apply it on the fillets, cover and leave for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, evenly spread the chopped fresh coriander on the fillets and press lightly. Mix together the sea salt, sugar and red chilly powder and layer some of the mix on the tray.
  4. Place the fillets on the mix and completely cover the fillets with the remaining mix. Cover and leave to cure in a refrigerator for 8 hours.
  5. After 8 hours turn the fillets and leave for another 8 hours. Turn this once again for 8 and then after the entire curing process of 24 hours remove the excess spice and salt from the fillet. If required, wash the fillet. The fillet should feel quite firm. Pat dry using kitchen paper and apply the mix evenly for topping.
  6. Cover and store in a refrigerator. Once the trout is cured for around 32 hours, it can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  7. Serve it thinly sliced as an appetizer with salad.
  8. Dice the trout and blend it to a smooth paste along with cheese and cream. Fold the dill and coriander leaves, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  9. To serve, either spoon a quenelle on wheat crisp or papri and serve as a cold canapé. You can also serve the rillete with a bread of your choice.

chargrilled grouper

Chargrilled Grouper with Peanut Sauce

This is a really simple starter that draws its inspiration from Thai cooking. Another version of this dish is if you wrap the pieces of fish in pandan leaves and then grill them. You can thin down the sauce and serve a larger portion with rice as an interesting main course.

Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 600 gm grouper or monk fish fillet, skin removed and cut into 25 gm dices
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 lemongrass stick made into paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 fresh lemon leaves, cut into fine strips
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 10 bamboo skewers

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup peanut or vegetable oil
  • 100 gm raw peanuts, skinless
  • 2-3 fresh Thai red chilies
  • ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup fresh coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Juice of a lemon
  •  A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, marinate the fish with red chilly powder, ginger and garlic paste, salt, sugar, lemon leaves ad lemon juice. Set it aside for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the peanut oil in a sauce pan till it nearly smokes. Turn off the heat. Cool the oil and add the peanuts. The peanuts should cook to a golden brown in 2-3 minutes. You may have to turn on the heat again, but stir the peanuts constantly if you do, otherwise it will get burnt.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peanuts to a food processor or blender, along with the peanut oil and blend to a rough paste.
  4. Add the chilies, ginger, garlic and continue to blend.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients except the coriander and blend it until a smooth paste.
  6. Stir in the coriander and set aside.
  7. Thread the fish pieces into the skewers and cook in a preheated grill for 3-5 minutes or until cooked, turning the skewers occasionally.
  8. Remove and squeeze the lemon juice over the fish.
  9. Serve hot with the peanut sauce.


Seared Aubergine Steaks with Sesame Tamarind Sauce

This is again one of those recipes where the texture plays an important role as much as the flavor. I simply love the spice mix filling inside the aubergines, and it is great to sprinkle on other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, etc

Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Serves: 4


For the stuffing:

  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, roasted and coarsely pounded
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp amchoor or dry mango powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp black onion seeds
  • ½ tsp carom seeds or ajwain

For the aubergine:

  • 2 large aubergines
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp black onion seeds
  • 3 tbsp corn or vegetable oil

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp coriander sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 50 gm desiccated coconut
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50 gm peanuts or cashew nuts
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp black onion seeds
  • 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp of boiled onion paste
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 25 gm fresh coriander leaves, chopped

For the coating:

  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp rice flour


  1. Combine all the spices for the stuffing, mix them well and keep it aside.
  2. Slice the aubergines into 2 cm thick rounds. Make an incision on the side of the steak (towards the middle), insert a small knife and make a pocket by turning the knife around. Fill the pockets with the dry spice stuffing and rub the salt and the spices on the outside. Set it aside for 30 minutes to remove the excess moisture.
  3. Mix together the coriander, sesame and cumin seeds and roast in a dry frying pan over moderate heat until it begins to color. Tip them out onto a plate and set aside.
  4. Roast the coconut in the same pan until golden and add to the seeds.
  5. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a pan, add the nuts and fry until golden. Remove and combine with the seeds and coconut and blend to a smooth paste in a food processor using little water.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in a pan, and add the red chilies and the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the onion seeds, ad curry leaves followed by the onion paste, and cook for 8-10 minutes until the oil separates.
  7. Now add the ground paste and stir on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
  8. Add the chilly and the turmeric powder, tamarind paste, and cook on low heat for 15-18 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  9. Stir in the salt, sugar and coriander.
  10. In another frying pan, heat three tablespoons of oil. Shallow fry the steaks till golden brown and cook through on medium to low heat.
  11. Place the steaks on the sauce and coconut rice and serve garnished with deep fried tapioca crisps.

Tip: Add more water if needed to make the paste of the roasted spices, just take care while cooking them in the pan as it splutters and can cause severe burns. It works really well on a low flame.

Masala Corn Kabab

Masala Corn Kababs

This is a simple yet effective recipe for vegetarian kababs. It can be fried and served as snacks or even as a very good accompaniment to corn soup.

Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 5 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 200 gm sweet corn, fresh or frozen
  • 200 gm paneer, grated
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin, roasted and crushed
  • ½ tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dry fenugreek leaves, powdered
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • Oil for frying


  1. Evenly mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and keep it aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Using wet hands divide the mixture into small but equal quantities and form patties or croquettes and leave them in the fridge to cool.
  3. Heat oil and fry the kababs until they are crisp and golden.
  4. Serve with a dip or corn soup.

dahi kabab

Yogurt Kabab with Fruit Chaat

Guaranteed to surprise your guests, this is a unique kabab made of yogurt. Hanging the yogurt in a muslin cloth overnight separates the whey, leaving behind the semi-solid textured yogurt. Roasted chickpea flour absorbs the remaining moisture giving it a definite shape which holds it up while searing. The addition of the onion and spices gives it a bite, making it even more interesting especially for those who like to indulge in vegetarian food.

Preparation time: 6 hours | Cooking hours: 20 minutes | Serves: 4-6


  • 1 kg Greek yogurt or full fat yogurt, hung in a muslin cloth overnight
  • 250 gm roasted chana dal, powdered
  • 3 red onions, finely onions
  • 20 gm ginger, finely chopped
  • 20 gm green chilly, finely chopped
  • 5 gm royal cumin
  • 10 gm mixture of crushed cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ bunch fresh coriander stem, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the fruit chaat:

  • 1 red apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1 guava
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon


  1. Hang the yogurt in a muslin cloth for a good 6 hours to obtain a well-hung yogurt. In a mixing bowl, fold the yogurt with the roasted chana dal powder and refrigerate.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle some salt on the red onions and leave it on a warm place for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a muslin cloth and squeeze to get rid of the excess moisture.
  3. Cut all the fruits into the even sized dices. Fold in the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate.
  4. Mix the red onion with the yogurt and with the rest of the ingredients. Form patties of equal size and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and sear the yogurt cakes on both sides to a golden brown color.
  5. Serve with the fruit chaat.

red mullet

Red Mullet in a Bengali Vegetable Broth

The Bengalis are often noted as being ‘buddhiman manush’ or intelligent people, and this is often ascribed to the fact that they eat a lot of fish. This recipe is our take on the classic Bengali dish macher jhol. Having grown up in Asansol, I would normally use a fish like Rohu or Katla with the bone, but here I recommend a flat fish like mullet which can be filleted. The fillet is served on the broth made of potatoes, aubergine and tomato, rather than in it. I believe it allows for a better appreciation of the textures and also makes eating it easier.  

Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 35 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 8 fillets red mullet, scaled and pin boned
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 3 tbsp oil

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 12 tsp black onion seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 green cardamom, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2 medium-sized red onions, chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, roasted
  • 2 small aubergines, cut into quarters
  • 2 small potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 50 gm small shrimp, peeled and de-veined (optional)
  • 500 ml fish stock/ hot water
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 10 gm fresh coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Wash and pat dry the fillets of mullets using a kitchen towel. Rub the fillets with salt, turmeric and red chilly powder.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the fillets at high heat till brown. Set it aside.
  3. Heat the mustard oil in a pan at high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cardamom, peppercorns, bay leaf, onion seeds and the fennel and let them crackle.
  4. Toss in the onions and cook till they are golden brown. Add the turmeric, chilly powder, and the ground cumin, and sauté for a minute. Add the vegetable (except for the tomatoes) and shrimp, and sauté for 3 minutes.
  5. Now add the fish stock or hot water, salt and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. When the sauce looks like a thin broth, add the cooked fish and tomatoes, simmer for 3 minutes. Add the sugar, green chilies and the coriander and cover.
  7. Place the sauce in a deep bowl with the fillets on top in a criss-cross fashion and serve with steamed rice.

Tip: If you are not too fond of the strong flavor of mustard oil, then heat it on high flame and when it smokes, cool it down. Reheat the oil and you can get rid of the pungent raw flavor of the mustard.

lamb rack

Lamb Rack with Mint and Onion Sauce Masala Mash

A rack is not a popular meat cut in India- chops are usually separated and grilled, often till they are well-cooked. If you are buying good quality lamb, try cooking it medium, to appreciate the quality of meat much better. The process of two marinades however means that here you have a subtle flavour which does not overwhelm the quality of the meat.

Preparation time: 40 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 4 x 4 bone racks of lamb, trimmed with the bones cleaned

For the marinade:

  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of a lemon
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 30 gm cashew nuts, fried golden brown
  • 1 sliced onion, fried golden brown cashew nuts and onions need to be made into a paste
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt or full fat yogurt

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 125 gm cashew nuts boiled and made into a fine paste
  • 50 ml yogurt
  • 10 gm mint leaves
  • 30 gms coriander leaves
  • 3 green chilies
  • Mint, coriander and green chillies to be blended into a green paste
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1 cm dices
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • Juice of a lemon


  1. Trim the fat off the rack, rub salt, chilly powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, lemon juice and garam masala on it, then leave it for 10 minutes.
  2. Now rub in the yogurt, onion and the cashew paste to form a marinade and apply it to the rack. Let it rest for another 10-15 minutes.
  3. Sear the lamb on high heat in a pan and then place it in a preheated oven at 200°C for a further 10-15 minutes, depending on how well cooked you like your meat.
  4. Leave the meat in a warm place like the area around the burner, grill or oven for a further 5 minutes to allow it to rest and be evenly cooked throughout.
  5. For the sauce, wash and soak the cashews in water for 10 minutes, then boil it for 20-25 minutes until soft and blend it into a fine paste using a little water or yogurt.
  6. Heat ghee in a pan, add the cashew paste and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Whisk in the yogurt and cook further till you see the oil rising from the sides of the pan. You might need to add some water if the sauce is getting very thick.
  8. Now add the diced onions, green paste, made from mint, coriander and green chilies, and simmer for a minute. Add the salt and cream while simmering and finish with ground garam masala. Sprinkle some shredded mint and lemon juice.
  9. To serve, place the lamb on a bed of sauce preferably with masala mashed potatoes on the side. Serve hot.


Whole Roasted Leg of Lamb with Dried Fruits and Nuts

We like to call it the ‘modern raan’. Traditionally, the raan is braised but if the meat is of good quality, it can be roasted instead and works just as well, if not better. Also, roasting this way keeps the meat moist compared to braising, where the meat is cooked through and therefore can get dry.  You could ask your butcher to tunnel-bone the leg to create a pocket, which can be filled with paneer or cottage cheese, cheese and dried fruits. This makes it truly special, as a raan should be!

Preparation time: 25 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 1 leg of young lamb, weighing about 1½ kg

For the marinade:

  • 250 gm Greek or full fat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp fried onions, made into a fine paste with a little water or yoghurt
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or corn oil

For the filling:

  • 60 gm reduced milk or khoya, grated
  • 75 gm paneer, grated
  • 60 gm cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 onions, sliced and fried until crisp
  • 4 dried figs, cut into 5 mm dices
  • 4 dried apricots, cut into 5 mm dices
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts, fried in a little oil until golden
  • 2 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 4 green chilies, chopped
  • ½ tsp royal cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of a lime

For the onion salad:

  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tomato, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, roasted and crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Juice of half a lime


  1. Trim the excess fat off the lamb and if your butcher has not tunnel-boned it for you, remove the thighbone by cutting around it carefully with a carving knife to leave a cavity. Prick the leg on the outside.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Rub the marinade over the leg of lamb, both outside and inside the cavity, and leave it aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Combine all the ingredients for the filling and then use it to stuff the lamb leg. Truss the leg using a butcher’s needle and twine to close the open part completely.
  4. Transfer to a roasting tray and place in an oven preheated to 220°C. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C and cook for a further 50 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  6. For the onion salad, put all the cut vegetables except the tomato in a bowl of ice-cold water for 10 minutes to make it crisp. Strain, mix with the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt, cumin and fresh coriander. Squeeze the lime juice over.
  7. Now cut the meat into half an inch thick slices and serve with the onion salad.

Tip: For something like this to be enjoyed at its best, it is very important to rest the meat before serving. This makes it tender as the juices are not lost when sliced.

Pea Parcels

Tandoor Smoked Lamb with Saffron Mash and Keema Peas

This heavenly recipe is made from lamb steak, keema peas and saag gosht. This dish is our interpretation of the quintessential Indian favorites combined with lamb and served with an unctuous saffron mash.

Preparation time: 35 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 4 saddle steaks of lamb, fat trimmed with each cut into halves of 110 gm each

For the marinade:

  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1½ tbsp yogurt
  • ½ tsp ground garam masala

For the keema peas:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 250 gm lamb sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 gm spinach leaves, shredded
  • 75 gm frozen peas
  • ½ inch ginger, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground garam masala


  1. Marinate the trimmed saddle with the ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, lemon juice and chilly powder. Set it aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Now mix the oil, yogurt and ground garam masala, and leave for another 20 minutes before cooking.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and sear the saddles on all sides for 5 minutes. Apply the yogurt marinade, and place it in the oven for 4 minutes at 200°C. Leave it aside in a warm place like the area around the burner, grill or oven for 3 minutes. If the meat is rested somewhere here it does not completely lose its temperature and retains its juices.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin and the cloves. When they crackle, add the garlic and cook till golden, then add the onion, and sauté till golden-brown.
  5. Now add the tomatoes and chilly powder and cook till the tomatoes dry up. Add the mince and sauté until it is browned.
  6. Now fold in the shredded spinach and peas. Cook till the spinach wrinkles and you get a nice juicy masala mince with spinach.
  7. Add the garam masala and the ginger, and mix well.
  8. Cut the saddle into two lengthwise, and serve it on a bed of masala spinach with saffron mash (similar to mashed potatoes but with addition of a pinch of saffron dissolved in warm water) on the side.




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