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A dinner date with Labour’s John Cryer

Spicy BBQ dishes Wine and spice





dish… TASTER ISSUE dish… lives at 875 High Road, Leytonstone E11 1HR 020 8989 4028 Published by Star of India

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SPICE UP YOUR BBQ THIS SUMMER Shah from Star shares some delicious BBQ recipes with a touch of Eastern magic

There’s nothing like a BBQ when the sun is shining and you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. What could be easier than getting the BBQ going, grilling some fish and meat and dishing up with some crunchy salads to accompany. But if you’re tired of sausages and chicken wings – then why not ring the changes with dishes that are easy to prepare but a bit more exotic. Shah Ahmed introduces us to BBQ with a touch of Eastern magic. Try his spiced up sardines, chicken tikka, BBQ brinjal and grilled poneer – served with a fabulous apple and mango chatt. Simple but perfectly delicious.

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Apple and Mango Chatt Serves five

✦ 2 large Granny Smith apples cored

✦ ✦

✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

and cut into thin strips (leave skin on) 1 mango skinned and cut into thin strips 2 green chillies (chopped) 1 bunch coriander leaves (chopped) Pinch of black pepper 2 tbsp lemon juice Rock salt to taste (kala namak) 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

… Mix all the ingredients in a serving bowl. … Refrigerate for 2-3 hours and serve chilled.

BBQ/Grilled Chicken Tikka Serves four

✦ 4 Chicken breasts cubed ✦ 400g natural yogurt ✦ Drizzle mustard and rape seed oil ✦ Juice of one lemon ✦ ½ tsp pure curry powder ✦ ½ tsp ground jeera (cumin) ✦ ½ tsp ground turmeric ✦ ½ tsp ground garam massala ✦ 4 cloves of garlic - crushed ✦ ½ inch ginger grated and then

crushed ✦ Salt to taste ✦ 2 crushed green chillies ✦ Some fresh coriander crushed ✦ Some water

Day 1: … In a bowl add all the ingredients and mix well into a paste with some water. Day 2: … Marinate the chicken and leave in the fridge. Day of cooking: … Shake of any excess marinade and place the chicken pieces on a skewer on a char-grill. … Cook for about 10 minutes and check the chicken is cooked by piercing the thickest piece with a skewer, if the juices run clear it is cooked. … Serve immediately with a fresh salad.

BBQ/Grilled Poneer Serves four

✦ Poneer (Indian cheese) cut into

quarters ✦ Tomatoes cut in quarters ✦ Green peppers in chunks ✦ Drizzle mustard and rape seed oil ✦ Juice of one lemon ✦ ½ tsp pure curry powder ✦ ½ tsp ground jeera (cumin) ✦ Salt to taste ✦ 1 crushed green chilli ✦ Some fresh coriander crushed

… In a bowl add all the ingredients and mix well. … Add the poneer, tomato and the green pepper to the mixture and mix well covering every piece. … Then on a skewer add alternate pieces of the poneer, tomato and green pepper. … Leave in the fridge for about 10 minutes to rest. … Grill for a couple of minutes on each side until the cheese turns to a golden brown colour … Serve immediately with a fresh salad.

Grilled Brinjal Serves four

✦ 1 large brinjal (aubergine)

✦ Salt to taste

✦ ½ tsp pure curry powder

✦ 1 crushed green chilli

✦ ½ tsp ground turmeric

✦ Couple of garlic cloves crushed

✦ ½ tsp ground coriander

✦ Some fresh coriander chopped

✦ Salt to taste

… Cut the brinjal in quarters and soak in water for about 5 minutes. … In a bowl add all the ingredients and mix well. … Add the brinjal to the mixture and mix well covering the brinjal pieces. Leave in the fridge for about 10 minutes to rest. … BBQ or grill for a couple of minutes on each side until the brinjal is just cooked. … Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander and serve immediately with a fresh salad.

✦ 2 crushed green chilli

BBQ/Grilled Herbed Sardines

✦ Juice of one lemon

Serves four

✦ ½ tsp pure curry powder

✦ 4 large sardines (prepared/cleaned)

✦ Drizzle mustard and rape seed oil

✦ ½ tsp ground turmeric

✦ 1 tbsp mustard and rape seed oil

✦ ½ tsp ground jeera (cumin)

✦ Juice of one lemon

For more recipe ideas visit

✦ Some fresh coriander chopped and

a slice of lemon to garnish … In a shaker add the mustard and rape seed oil, lemon juice, curry powder, turmeric and coriander, mix well and set aside for about two hours to allow the flavours to develop. … Prepare the sardines and pat dry with kitchen paper. … Heat the grill or barbecue until very hot and oil the grill rack. Brush each sardine generously inside and out with the mix, season with salt, leave for about 10 minutes. Grill for three to four minutes on each side, until the fish is just cooked, basting with more herbed oil as you go. … Serve immediately with a fresh salad.

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Dish… wine buff Mark Turner recommends the perfect vino to complement spicy food Generally, when talking about wine to match spicy food, the assumption is that one is talking about Indian style curries.

On a recent Air China flight from Beijing, the only wine on offer was Chinese-produced Great Wall – white or red – both served at room temperature. I declined to try the white but intrigued enough to look at Great Wall’s website where they are confident that the wines are good matches with Chinese food. I have yet to put this to the test but know from experience that the complex flavours of say, Cantonese cuisine, respond particularly well to aromatic off-dry whites like GewÜrtztraminer or Torrontes, Argentina’s answer to Malvasia or Fiano or Greco di Tufo from around Naples in Italy. I have never found that red wines work particularly well with Chinese food - somehow the tannins, even in softer reds like Beaujolais tend to conflict with spices like ginger and anise in the food. I am always surprised at how many Chinese restaurants in London push the dry whites at the expense of these aromatic whites I have listed.

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My local Thai restaurant has recently addressed the problem of wines to match their cuisine by offering a wholly-Thai produced range from the Siam Winery. Monsoon Valley Blended White (grapes: Malaga Blanc and Colombard) is an excellent match to Thai food and works particularly well with flavours like lemongrass and dried shrimp paste. It has reasonably good acidity with hints of citrus fruits on the nose and melon and lychee on the palate. Siam Winery also produces a delightful rose and a quite fruity red, both of which include Pokdum, a local grape variety, in their blends.

Although the Indian subcontinent has a long tradition of winemaking (possibly dating back as far as 3000BCE), domestic consumption is still extremely low. The Star of India stocks a range of wines from India and I recently tasted two from the restaurant’s list. Both were from the Indage vineyard in the Sahyadri Valley near Narayangaon in Pune. The first was a white wine, The Grey Count Chenin Blanc 2008 Medium dry, in

fact a little too much for my taste, it had a good nose with a honeyed palate which was however a little short on the finish. I would recommend it served very chilled with really spicy food but, be warned it has a 14.5% alcohol content. The second, from the same producers, The Grey Count Reserve Zinfandel Rose 2008 had a lot more to offer. Soft tannins give it a backbone and there is a hint of strawberry on the palate. It would go well with more subtly spiced foods or, as it is really very pleasant, just drunk on its own as an aperitif.

What to drink with Szechuan or Korean food? I am at a loss to recommend anything here. An experience in a Szechuan restaurant in Hong Kong last year has convinced me that beer, green tea and water (preferably all three) are the best choices. It is easier just to submit to the chilli rather than try to complement it!

A dinner date with John Cryer Our guest this issue is John Cryer, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Leyton and Wanstead ohn Cryer is a British Labour politician who was Member of Parliament for Hornchurch from 1997 until 2005. At 33 years of age, John was one of the youngest MP’s to take office in the new Labour Government of 1997. He is the son of Ann Cryer, MP for the Keighley Constituency and the late Bob Cryer (MP). John is a journalist by profession and has worked for The Tribune and The Morning Star. He is also a political officer for UNITE (originally the Transport and General Workers Union). John is standing as Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Leyton and Wanstead in the May General Election.


What are your favourite foods? I’m not into anything too fussy. I really enjoy fish and chips and I also enjoy Indian food – chicken tikka is one of my favourites.

Do you have any particular childhood memories of food you enjoyed? With both parents very actively involved in politics, I don’t remember anything special that might have been dished up. We were always so busy. However, I do have one very enjoyable memory that has recently re-surfaced. When I was about six years of age, living in Keighley, they were filming ‘The Railway Children’ at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. My father, as well as enjoying a successful political career, was also an expert in steam engines and taught at a local further education college. The producers got to hear about this and called my father in as technical director on the film. They also needed some young ‘extras’ in some of the shots and so I got the chance to make my ‘acting debut’. The film has recently been digitally re-mastered and rereleased for its 40th anniversary and the recent death of Lionel Jeffries makes the new release even more poignant. I went to see it last week and was amazed at the clarity and colour of the new version.

And yes, there I am in all my glory! However the point of this story is food! My big memory is eating ‘actors’ food from the location vans. I can’t remember what it was – but it was delicious!

Do you have any favourite restaurants? I really enjoy Italian, French and Chinese food. And my campaign office is next to Star of India in Leytonstone – so can enjoy delicious Indian food too!

What’s your favourite tipple? As a Yorkshire man I enjoy a pint. I prefer beer to lager. I also enjoy a glass of white wine with a meal. I’m no expert and am not fussed which country the wine comes from. And obviously I have to add that beer and wine are always taken in moderation!

Do you enjoy cooking? I don’t get much time to cook properly at the moment. I do enjoy it though. I like to cook for my three children (aged 15, 13, 10). They enjoy Italian chicken which is chicken cooked in a tomato based sauce and served with pasta so I tend to dish that one up on a regular basis.

Who would you invite to a special dinner party? They would be people that have inspired me for one reason or another. I obviously have political interests but I enjoy historical writing especially ‘war’ history. I think I would go for the following: Dennis Skinner – a brave politician, a great Labour man and a great friend of my father’s Barbara Castle – one of the most important politicians of the 20th century – an icon of the Labour movement and a rousing speaker Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) – the greatest boxer ever – and a great raconteur Fitzroy Maclean – diplomat, soldier, adventurer, writer and politician. Author of ‘Eastern Approaches’ Richard Aldington – writer and poet and author of ‘Death of a Hero’ Sylvia Pankhurst – founder and leader of the Suffragette movement

You look very fit – do you work out or enjoy sports? I love sports. I have always played or participated in sporting activities since I was a kid. I like swimming, cycling, rugby, cricket and boxing. I don’t play team sports any more – but swimming and cycling are great ways to keep fit at forty!

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uet q n a rian b ne! a t e g a ve or o f k y o a o B and p o w t for

Monday 24 – Sunday 30 May Enjoy a vegetarian banquet at Star of India National Vegetarian Week (NVW) is the annual awarenessraising campaign promoting inspirational vegetarian food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle. Celebrated by the Vegetarian Society since 1992, the Week is now an established event that gets bigger and better every year.

During Vegetarian Week book a vegetarian banquet for two and PAY for one (wine/drinks not included). The banquet comprises 10 different dishes plus rice and bread and costs £12.95 per person. The offer applies on dine in vegetarian banquet meals only (not take-away) and is only available from Monday 24 May – Sunday 30 May. For more information or to book a Vegetarian Banquet please call Star of India on: 020 8989 4028


the taster issue of dish... the new magazine from the Star of India restaurant


the taster issue of dish... the new magazine from the Star of India restaurant