Chai on the patio

Last year Stoughton Pages spoke to Mandira Sarkar, founder and inspiration behind Mandira’s Kitchen based at Silent Pool. We learnt about (and sampled a few of) the fantastic authentic Indian meals that they produce and sell frozen from their converted cowshed in the Surrey Hills. Alongside the meals the team at MK also offer hands on cookery lessons, spice tours and bespoke catering in between sampling the gin and wine from their neighbours!

Well, Mandira and her dedicated team haven’t been standing still whilst in lockdown and have been creating new experiences as well as new recipes and have now launched their ‘Chai On The Patio’ offering.

This new addition to Mandira’s Kitchen provides the most delicious spot to enjoy fabulous Indian street food. Beautifully positioned, they have five tables of six which can be booked for slots of one hour (or more) where you can catch up with family & friends over some delicious food and drink. Each 1 hour slot costs £20 and is fully redeemable against any purchases you make on your visit.

They have an exciting street food menu – which you can order at the time of your booking, plus you can always add more dishes when you get there.

Walk-ins are welcome, but booking is advisable especially for busy times and weekends. The menu is also designed to be a takeaway should you wish to enjoy elsewhere.

Masala chai is a tea beverage made by boiling black tea in milk and water with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices. Originating in India, the beverage is traditionally prepared as a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves.

Talking to Mandira she clearly has missed the freedom recently to visit home but we are fortunate that she is happy to recreate the taste of home here to share with us. “Summer seems to have passed us by but I still consider myself so lucky to be in beautiful Burpham during these uncertain times. We have the ancient Medieval town with every modern amenity within walking distance as well as the stunning Surrey hills on our doorstep too – the best of both worlds. Not being able to travel to India to see my family and eat at our favourite restaurants, I have tried to recreate many of my favourite dishes and here is one to share with you. Perfect with a cup of chai or a glass of wine or gin or beer…

Recipe: Mandira’s easy to make pakoras

Ingredients (makes 15 medium sized pakoras):

To make these delicious morsels you will need:

  • 2 large red onions sliced
  • A bag of baby spinach, chopped
  • Approx. 2 heaped tablespoons of gram flour (besan)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of rice flour (optional – can substitute with self raising flour if you want)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 level tsp chilli powder
  • 1 finely sliced green chilli
  • 1 tsp of coriander seeds, roughly ground – you need to be able to bite into these
  • Oil (enough to cover your pan to the depth of an inch)
  • Cold water (alternatively you can use beer)

Method:

  1. Tip all the ingredients, except the water (or beer) and oil into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add about 3 tbsp water (or beer) to start with and gently try and bring together. The mixture should hold but not get too thick or doughy – the secret to light fluffy pakoras is not too much gram flour. If you find you need a little more binding then add gram flour and if it is too dry add a tiny bit more water (or beer).
  3. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  4. Heat oil – about an inch to cover the pan. A wok is usually good but a heavy bottom frying pan also does the job.
  5. Once the oil is smoking reduce the heat and then gently spoon a tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil. Careful to regulate the temperature, if it’s too hot it will remain raw inside and burn outside – too cold and you get greasy pakoras. Should take about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve hot with ketchup or a mint and yoghurt sauce.

Mint and Yoghurt Sauce

Blend together 1 clove of garlic, half a cup of mint leaves, salt and ½ cup of Greek yoghurt. Serve chilled with pakoras.

About Mandira

Burpham resident, Mandira is the owner (general dogsbody) of Mandira’s Kitchen. MK are a wholly woman led business operating out of a 400 year old converted cowshed overlooking the beautiful Silent Pool. They create award winning Indian food offering authentic homestyle freezer meals, bespoke catering, Indian picnics, hands on cookery lesson and spice tours. Mandira’s Kitchen now offer an authentic street food cafe option on their patio which is a fabulous way to spend some time with friends and family.