Image from PIMP MY RICE


Nisha Katona gave up her life as a full-time barrister to share her passion for simple, honest home cooking. She is the founder of Mowgli Street Food and the creator of dishes that will change the way you think about rice. Breakfasts, starters, feasts from around the world and desserts, you will find them all in her book.

Smoke My Squash


4 whole gem squashes or 2 butternut squash

2 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

115 gm chorizo sausage, very finely diced

1 red pepper, deseeded, diced

¼ tsp sweet smoked paprika

75 gm chopped sun-dried tomatoes

225 gm cooked long-grain white rice (or cook heaped  ½ cup raw rice)

4 tbsp soft goats’ cheese

1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves, plus extra to serve

Preheat the oven to 350°F. If you are using gem squash, trim the base of each so it can stand flat, and slice off the top. Scoop out the seeds and discard. If you use butternut squash, cut in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and about 1 cm of the flesh from the upper part. Oil a shallow baking dish with 1 tbsp of the oil. Put the squash in the dish, cover with foil and put in the oven while you prepare the rice.

Heat the remaining oil in  a deep frying pan. Add the garlic and as it begins to soften, add the chorizo. Fry over a medium heat until the red oils leach out of the sausage. Now stir in the diced pepper, smoked paprika and sun-dried tomatoes and remove from heat.

Mix the rice and cheese together in a bowl along with the chopped parsley. Add the chorizo mixture with the oils from the pan and mix together well.

Remove the squash from the oven and divide the rice mixture amongst the squash.

Cover again with foil and bake for about 30 minutes until the squash is tender. The squash will need about 50 minutes cooking altogether. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve hot.


The Hot Date Congee


1 cup whole hazelnuts

1 cup short-grain brown rice, soaked for 2 hours, rinsed  and drained

3 tbsp soft brown sugar

A pinch of salt

1 cup whole milk

¼ tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling

6 dried dates, pitted and chopped

4 tbsp Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche

Toss the hazelnuts in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until they brown evenly all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Combine the rice, sugar, salt, milk and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, stir well, then lower the heat to medium-low.

Add the chopped dates and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You are looking for a thick porridge consistency. Cook, uncovered, for 2 more minutes.

Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with a few toasted hazelnuts.

Add a dollop of Greek yoghurt with a little pinch of cinnamon sprinkled over the top.


Chilli, Ginger and Mango Crumble


½ cup caster/granulated sugar

3 mangos, peeled, pitted and diced

½ pineapple, peeled, cored and diced

2-inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

400gm/14 oz canned Alphonso or Kesar mango pulp

½ red finger chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

3 tbsp unsalted butter

Cream or ice cream

The crumble

50 gms rice flour

175 gms plain/all-purpose flour

½ cup unsalted butter

A pinch of salt

½ cup soft brown sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

50 gms almonds or cashew nuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 425°F. To caramelize the fruit, heat the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and once it dissolves and starts to turn a gentle brown, add the mango and pineapple pieces, the ginger, mango pulp, chilli and the lime zest and juice.

Stir gently, then add the butter, a small piece at a time.

Allow to cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat until the sauce thickens to a syrup- like consistency.

Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to an ovenproof baking dish.

To make the crumble, put all the ingredients except the nuts into a food processor and blend until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped almonds or cashews – you can use a combination of both or simply any type of nut.

Sprinkle the nut crumble mixture on top of the fruit and bake for 20-25 mins until golden brown, bubbling. Serve hot with cream or ice cream.


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