What’s for Supper – a plant based Indian supper

Here come a delicious selection of recipes from the much loved and much respected Jackie Hobbs. Jackie, like the rest of the team, trained at Leiths and had a previous life as a biology teacher. A science background is very often the launch pad for a career in food. One of our team has a previous career as a nurse, another worked for a well know plant research company. I started the business as a result of inspiration acquired while working as a finder of emerging trends in global consumer behaviour for large food brands. We all share a solid, classic training  acquired at Leiths and/or Le Cordon Bleu.
          Jackie’s encyclopaedic knowledge of cooking, and her finger on the pulse of the latest food
          trends is second to none. Underpinning this with a forensic interest in the whys and hows of
          cooking makes Jackie an outstanding and much requested teacher in the school.
           “Will Jackie  take this class?” is often one of the first questions I am asked when receiving
          enquires about new classes. Indian cuisines is part of Jackie’s heritage and these recipes are,
          as always, as reliable and delicious as they are a feast for the eyes and nose.
          Our Curries of the World class remains one of the most popular classes, since its inception
          nearly 6 years ago. Including curries and spice blends from India, Thailand and Malaysia, the
          class covers a lot of ground despite sitting in our “social/netoworking” category, where
           meeting people, sharing a cold Singha or Cobra beer and relaxing after work is just as
          important as learning new skills.

When I emailed Jackie to ask what she was cooking, she replied with these mouth watering, plant based Indian supper of Basmati rice, red lentil Dahl, roasted sweet potato, coconut relish and a cucumber and mint Raita.


The term Dhal is used on the Indian sub continent to describe dried, split pulses, ie peas, lentils and beans. These pulses constitute a cheap and excellent source of protein in areas where religion stipulates a vegetarian diet.

The word garam refers to “heating the body” in the Ayurvedic sense of the word, as these spices are believed to elevate body temperature in Ayurvedic medicine.


300g red lentils, washed

1 litre of water

1 tsp of salt

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 ½ tsp turmeric

Squeeze of lemon juice, fresh chopped coriander


2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 onion chopped

5 cloves garlic

2 tsp ground coriander

1tsp garam masala


1.Place lentils in a pan with the salt, tinned tomatoes and turmeric. Cover with water

bring to the boil

Remove the froth, reduce the heat and put the lid on the pan – leave to

simmer for 10 minutes. Check the lentils are cooked by squeezing them

between your fingers. Once soft remove from the heat.

2.In a frying pan, heat the oil and butter and add the cumin seeds and cook for 30 sec

onds.Add the onion and garlic to the spice, fry until lightly browned. Reduce the heat

and add the ground coriander and salt.

3.Gently let the ingredients cook for 10 minutes to make a thick masala paste.

Add a ladle full of the lentils (dhal) to the masala paste in the frying pan and stir

together then empty all the contents back into the pan with the lentils

and stir. It should have the consistency of a thick soup but if it’s too thick

just add a little boiling water and remove from the heat. If you prefer it

thicker just leave it on the heat to reduce until you get the consistency you


4.Check the seasoning and add a salt- it tends to be required. Stir in the garam

masala powder, a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh chopped coriander.

The sweet potatoes are simply washed, cut into cubes, tossed in oil and roasted, with cumin and fennel seeds, for 30minutes at 200C.

Coconut relish is another super simple, yet utterly delicious little dish made from desiccated coconut  which is left to soak in hot water for a few minutes and mixed with mustard seeds and curry leaves, which have been fried in oil together with some red chilli and fresh ginger. This lovely combination is rounded off with a yoghurt Raita made, as always, with full fat natural yoghurt and  fresh mint leaves and grated cucumber.