We are lucky enough to count the Little India family as friends and have spent many a wonderful late night celebrating a marriage, birthday, cricket game or simply good food and company. The food, whether ordered from the menu or a meal cooked by the chefs for their dinner is always good.
Little India’s food hails from Northern India and is cooked in traditional clay pots and charcoal fired tandoors. This traditional way of cooking is not the easiest to replicate in a restaurant situation but does add that authentic flavour that is missing from many Indian restaurants.
Little India had its beginnings as a fish n chip shop Sukhi and Joanna Gill owned in Dunedin. With the curries cooked by Joanna and Sukhi’s mother, Premjit, a huge hit with locals it wasn’t long before the family opened their first Indian restaurant. The first Little India opened in July 1991, 23 years on there are now 17 Little India’s across New Zealand.
It has long been my goal to get the Little India onion bhaji recipe. I have even offered on many occasions to work in the kitchen for free just to get the secret to these delicious morsels. I have resorted a couple of times to attempt to replicate them, but with no success. So when a copy of Little India at home arrived on my doorstep I ripped it open praying onion bajis would be in it.
I was in luck and soon discovered they are quite simple but I was missing the essential spice Carom seeds. I must admit I hadn’t heard of them before so had to do a little research.
Carom seeds, also known as Ajwain have long been used in Indian cuisines and Ayurvedic medicine. From curing diarrhoea, dysentery and indigestion to symptoms of a cold or rheumatic pain, even your sex life carom seeds can help.
With a little extra water than the recipe recommended the bhajis were a hit, almost as good as the real things so I am keen to attempt more of the recipes and I think Little India at Home will be my go to Indian cookbook from now on.
Published by Penguin