5 Desi Dishes recommended by British Asian Mums

Many women enjoy cooking and making tasty Desi dishes. Here are five recommendations by British Asian mothers as well as the recipes.


"it’s really close to my heart.”

Traditionally, mothers are the homemakers and they are in charge of running the kitchen, making delicious Desi dishes.

In the modern age, many women go to work and cook at home.

They do not give up cooking because for some, it is something that brings them joy. They may even take it in turns with their partner to cook.

Other British Asian mothers enjoy good food but do not make it themselves.

The increased accessibility to online food apps means that home cooking has decreased, but only slightly.

Lots of people still prefer to eat a hearty homecooked meal.

Many people enjoy the process of cooking. From cutting the vegetables to adding the spices to washing the dishes.

DESIblitz spoke to five British Asian mothers who have recommended a Desi dish they love as well as their recipes.

Zara Mehmood* – Masoor Daal

5 Desi Dishes recommended by British Asian Mums - masoor

Zara Mehmood loves cooking this simple vegetarian dish as it is “hearty” and found in “every household”.

She says: “I like this with some rice and another side dish but sometimes I like it just like that.

“I heat it up well and enjoy it as a soup when I’m ill.

“This recipe is inspired by my husband’s. He’s the one who’s taught me to cook, and this was one of the first dishes I learnt so it’s really close to my heart.”

Ingredients

  • 250g masoor daal, washed
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-litre water
  • 45ml oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder or green chillies
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • A handful of coriander, chopped
  • A few dried red chillies (to garnish)

Method

  1. In a pan, add the oil and allow it to heat up on a medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for four minutes or until softened.
  4. Add the turmeric, salt and chillies. Cook until the raw smell of the spices has gone.
  5. Pour in the daal and water. Cook for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. If you prefer a smoother consistency, use a blender.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander.

You can enjoy this hearty curry as a soup, or serve it alongside rice, roti, paratha or even toast!

Fareeda Begum – Chicken & Potato Curry

5 Desi Dishes recommended by British Asian Mums - chicken

Fareeda Begum says that this Desi dish is a favourite among her children, however, they are picky when it comes to what cut of chicken is used.

She explains: “This one is my children’s favourite. All of them love this dish.

“They want it all the time and they will only eat it if it’s with chicken breast.

“They get fussy when it’s boned chicken. It’s so easy to make once you get the hang of it and it tastes absolutely delicious.”

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 Chicken breast
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 2 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 Green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • A handful of coriander, chopped

Method

  1. Chop the chicken into cubes and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan then add the onions and garlic. Fry for four minutes then add the bay leaf and stir.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, salt, chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix well and cook until the raw smell goes away.
  4. Gently add the chicken and cook until browned. Stir occasionally and add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick.
  5. Add the potatoes and cook for five minutes. Add the remaining water and simmer for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Garnish with coriander and green chillies.

This curry can be enjoyed with fresh roti or rice.

Fahimda Ali* – Mixed Vegetable Curry

5 Desi Dishes recommended by British Asian Mums - mixed

Fahimda Ali says this dish has become a household favourite since her family became vegetarian.

She says: “We became vegetarian five years ago and have never looked back.

“It forced us to learn how to cook yummy vegetarian dishes and this one is a household favourite.”

“I like the fact that it’s so nutritious. So many healthy veggies at once. It’s important for food to be healthy as well as tasting good.”

This is a versatile dish that allows for vegetables to be added or removed depending on your preference.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 Peppers, chopped
  • 2 Potatoes, diced
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 150g peas
  • Half of a cauliflower head, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 green chilli, sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • A small bunch of coriander, chopped

Method

  1. Heat a pan with oil then add the onions. Stir until brown.
  2. Add the powdered spices and mix until the onions are coated.
  3. Add the potatoes, peppers and carrots and pour in the water. Cook for 10 minutes then add the cauliflower and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the peas and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Garnish with chillies and coriander.

This dish is best served with roti or rice. But you can also enjoy it with a fresh baguette.

Aliyah Mustaheen* – Prawn Bhuna

5 Desi Dishes recommended by British Asian Mums - prawn

For Aliyah, prawn bhuna is a nostalgic dish as she explains:

“My mother used to make this for us growing up. It’s a nostalgic dish but it’s also so wholesome.

“There are barely any ingredients, yet it tastes amazing. It’s honestly my favourite.

“When I make it, it doesn’t taste as good as Ma’s but it’s damn close.”

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of king prawns (less cleaning)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Onions, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 Green chilli, sliced
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. In a pan, heat the oil then add the onions and garlic. Stir until browned and fragrant.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for approximately two minutes.
  3. Add the powdered spices and mix well. Reduce the temperature and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Mix in the prawns and cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Garnish with green chillies and serve.

Serve with rice and a slice of lemon for extra flavour.

Masuma Akhtar* – Aloo Bazi

For Masuma Akhtar, aloo bazi is a commonly eaten dish in her household.

She says: “I make this dish all the time. I’m a lazy cook but I don’t compromise on taste.

“It’s one of the easiest dishes ever and I like how you can enjoy it with so many different things.

“I make one batch and I take it to lunch as a wrap.”

“At home, I’ll have this with some basmati rice and daal. It’s the kind of meal that makes you warm from the inside.”

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 Potatoes, cut into thin sticks
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 Green chilli, sliced
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp Coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • A handful of coriander, chopped

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan then add the onions and fry.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook on a low heat for around 20 minutes.
  3. Add the powdered spices and cook for an additional 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. If the potatoes are cooked through, add the green chilli and coriander. Mix well then serve.

Serve with rice, roti or paratha. You can even enjoy this dish as a wrap.

These Desi dishes can be served and enjoyed with a variety of things. Feel free to play around with the recipe and add your own twist.

They are firm favourites among these British Asian mothers, who have different reasons for loving these dishes.

And with step-by-step guides, you can replicate these dishes with ease.

"Nasrin is a BA English and Creative Writing graduate and her motto is ‘it doesn’t hurt to try’."

*Names have been changed to preserve anonymity