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Pure Indian Cooking - Fulham, London

pure4Resting near a junction on Fulham High Street is the unassuming restaurant front for Pure Indian Cooking. The brainchild of the husband and wife team Faheem Vanoo and Shilpa Dandekar who started out at Taj Group in India, Pure Indian Cooking does what it says on the tin. Chef Shilpa’s menu combines her creativity from Brasserie Blanc with the eastern culinary techniques of preparing Indian food.

 

 


 

pure1Her gentle nuances of French classic fare are reflected in the Pounded Coriander and Goat’s Cheese Samosa with mint, tomato and beetroot chutneys and the moreish Mussel Soup which is mild and flavourful delicately seasoned with lime leaf and coconut is remarkable. My brother couldn't put the spoon down and once he started he was unstoppable. The tapas style sharing board is amply festooned with tandoori paneer and vegetables, chilli fried squid, malai tikka (creamy chicken) and seekh kebab (minced lamb).
 
The Maharashtrian style lamb preparation cooked in dry spices is something my Mumbai born mother would be proud of and the Crab Kokum Fry is inspired by Goan cuisine that tastes good simply with plain tandoori roti. The Mangalorean Chicken introduces new flavours to a varied menu that has something for everyone’s palate. Even the Asparagus and Pine Nut delicacy sautéed with mustard seeds and coconut is a pleasant surprise where all the ingredients work well together. The indulgent Dal Makhani has been honed down to the right consistency with accurate spice notes. 
 
The Apricot Halwa is a homage to the British crumble infused with hints of cardamom while the trio of lychee, mango and pistachio baked yogurts celebrates the eastern Indian Bengali dessert mishti doi.
 
Softly launching in 2015, Pure Indian Cooking has emerged as a favourite haunt for the Fulham set. It’s one of those places where one has to visit at least twice to savour fully the complete and affordable menu. Shilpa Dandekar has lovingly designed her food with authentic ingredients, innovation, thought and a great deal of skill to make one’s dining experience spot on.
 
 
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PURE Indian Cooking
67 Fulham High Street
SW6 3JJ
Tel : 020 7736 2521 or 020 7834 2165
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Saffron

saffron250px IMG 1742Saffron is the dried stigma of Crocus sativus, an autumn-flowering plant. More than 75,000 crocus blossoms are needed to produce a pound of saffron. It is very expensive but, fortunately, a little goes a long way. It adds a rich golden colour to rice dishes. Saffron is sold as the whole stigmas, wiry strands or threads in a deep vibrant, orange or red colour. It should have a strong, penetrating, clinging aroma, and an aromatic, warm rich flavour.

Saffron supplies the characteristic flavour and colour in Indian dessert sauces and milk puddings. Steep the stigmas in water for a few minutes before using them to extract as much as possible of their flavour.

Store wrapped in Cellophane in an airtight container away from sunlight for 2 months. Buy small quantities as it loses its flavour quickly

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Curry Leaves

curryleaves250px IMG 1831Curry leaves lend a lingering aroma to the dish, and are discarded before serving. They come from the curry plant, a shrub native to India and Sri Lanka. They are slender, dark green and similar to a small, narrow bay leaf.

The leaves smell fresh and pleasant, remotely reminiscent of tangerines, and add an aromatic curry flavour to any dish. They are the trademark of southern Indian cooking, used to flavour meat, fish, vegetables, lentils, rice and bread. They are also used in preparing Madras curry powders.

If you cannot get hold of fresh curry leaves, try the dried variety. You can buy either from Asian shops.

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Peppercorns

peppercorns250px IMG 1731Native to India, the peppercorn is the king of spices. Black peppercorns are the fermented green berries of a perennial vine plant, piper nigrum, sun-dried to turn them black and hard. Green, white and pink peppercorns are from the same plant as the black variety, picked at varying stages of ripeness. Black peppercorns should be large, even in size and a deep rich brown. They smell earthy, warm and pungent. Their flavour is released on grinding and enhanced by heat. However, once ground, the volatile oils soon evaporate so add pepper towards the end of cooking.

Good-quality black peppercorns will keep for many years in a cool dark place in an airtight container.

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Coriander Leaves

A herb in the parsley family, similar to anise. The leaves come from the young plant, Coriandrum sativum, and look similar to flat-leaf parsley, but are thinner and lighter green. They are sold in bunches in Asian shops, and smell fruity and vibrant. They have a distinct, strong flavour, of ginger and citrus. You can use the stems as well as the leaves in Indian dishes, but make sure you wash them thoroughly first to get rid of any grit. They feature in curries chutneys, soups, sandwich spreads and relishes.

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