Come to India with me in April 2020!!

Here it is, your chance to awaken your senses and your taste buds. I am teaming up with the fabulous folk at World Expeditions to take you on a tour filled with the delights of Northern India.

We will be visiting Old & New Delhi, taking in the amazing sights of the Taj Mahal, Dining with a Maharaja, learning how to cook, Mughli, Gujarati, Rajasthani and Parsi cuisines.

Visiting temples and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Pink City of Jaipur, and then on to Mumbai. This trip is designed to take in all of the main sights of Northern India, whilst exploring the cuisines of each region.

For more details click onto the link.

What are you waiting for, come on an amazing culinary journey with me.

Much love Ashia

My Indian Kitchen cookbook - my advance copy arrives!!

It has been an amazing roller coaster of a ride this last year, working towards publishing my first cookbook.

Well a couple of days ago I received my advance copy of the cookbook, in all its luscious glory! I cant believe that my dream of writing a book has finally come true. Six year of hard work and determination really paid off.

The book is everything I wanted and more, the release date is mid October and it will be in the shops in New Zealand and available to buy on my website and publishers website (Potton & Burton)

With lovely endorsements from Al Brown & Nadia Lim, I cannot wait to share this beautiful book with you.

Here are a couple of photos to share with you.

Much love



Advance copy of MIK.jpg
Advance copy of MIK 2.jpg

Oat & Apricot bar with Peanut butter & Chocolate

Producing a cookbook literally takes over your life!!  In a good way, its been all encompassing and all consuming, so much so that some things have been left on the back burner, like my blog.

Here is a post on how to make this gorgeous bar/slice that i have been making for the last 16 years.

It was first introduced to me when my lovely friend Jo bought a whole batch over when I had just had Adam (my first born) and i have loved it ever since, i shared a photo of it on instagram yesterday and many of you wanted the the recipe, so here goes....

This easy slice can be made in a microwave, in a mivcrowave safe container

100g Butter

1 Tbls Honey

1/4 Cup soft brown sugar

1/4 Cup white sugar

2 Cups rolled oats

1/2 Cup dessicated coconut

1/2 Chopped apricots

1 Tsp vanilla essence


1/4 Cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 Cup chocolate chips

In a small bowl melt the butter & honey for 1 min on high, then add vanilla, mix through.

In a large bowl, mix the sugars, oats, coconut, apricots, add the melted butter & honey, mix until combined. Press into a lined microwave safe tray/dishand microwave on high for 3 1/2 min.  Using a spatula press down and leave aside.

For the icing heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Stir and spread over the oat mixture. Cool and set in the fridge ( I usually make it the night before) Once set, you can cut it to the desired peices.

Enjoy! Dont eat them all at once :-)



oaty sqaures.JPG

My Indian Kitchen

Well, I am beyond excited to say that I am getting my 1st cookbook published! It will be out in October 2018 ready for Christmas.

Its been a great journey so far, and the best is yet to come. Potton & Burton publishers who will be publishing my book came up with the fantastic idea of doing a Kickstarter campaign. This will enable me to get some 'advertising' out there about my forthcoming book and also help me subsidise towards the cost of photography, ingredients and props.  If you havn't already seen it, here is my campaign, watch it, share it and tell everyone you know that loves Indian food, they are in for a treat! 

Please support my campaign and share with family and friends. 12 days to go before the campaign ends!





How to make Indian Breads. Series of three. Post 3 : Paratha



These fried Indian breads are delicious not made very often as they are fried in butter/ghee, so we save them for a special occasion. They are heavier than roti, flaky and crispy and one is often enough, especially if you are filling it. You can serve these as an accompaniment to your rice and curry or have it for lunch.

3 Cups flour (You can use 2 cups of plain flour and 1 wholemeal, or chapatti flour if its available)

½ tsp salt (optional)

1 tbl melted ghee/butter and extra for cooking

1 cup quite warm water

Makes 8-10


Sift the flour and make a well, add the ghee/butter and the water and knead into a soft pliable dough.  Knead for 8-10 min and then place in a bowl and cover for 20 min.

Divide the dough into 8-10 portions, roll each portion out into a circle, 16-18 cm (it does not have to be perfect. Brush the entire surface with the melted butter /ghee (at this point you can add your flavourings) and then starting at the edge of the bread roll into a tight log (a little bit like a Swiss roll). Then coil the roll into a tight disc, flatten with your palm and roll out again into a circle, dusting with flour as you go. Aim to get around 16-18 cm circle.

Heat a non-stick pan or flat griddle pan and add some melted butter or ghee, gently add the paratha and cook for about 10 sec, flip over and drizzle more melted butter/ghee around the edges, tipping the pan so its evenly distributed, flip with a spatula again until its golden and crispy, set aside and cover with foil, you can leave in a warm oven until you have cooked them all.


Some favourite flavourings are -:

1 tsp whole cumin and a small bunch of ground fresh coriander mixed with the melted butter/ghee to brush before rolling into a log

1-2 tsp of dukkah mix added with some chilli flakes (optional) for a spicy kick, again mixed with the melted butter/ghee to brush before rolling into a log

Spicy and tangy mash potato – boil 3-4 small potatoes with salt, once soft, add ¼ tsp of chilli powder and a squeeze of lemon juice, and a small handful of fresh finely chopped coriander or spinach (optional), mix well. Using a spoon gently spread a thin layer on a rolled out paratha, and then roll into the swiss roll log, coil and flatten and roll out. It is important here not to stuff too much onto the paratha as it will end up with holes and not roll out smoothly, with the topping leaking out.  Once you have done this a few times, you can experiment with other boiled vegetables or finely minced lamb or beef.

Enjoy. Till next time.



How to make Indian Breads - Series of Three. Post 2 : Roti



3 Cups Flour (I use 2 cups of plain and 1 cup of wholemeal) plus more to dust. You don’t have to have chapatti flour, you can  use it if its available and you wish to do so.

½ tsp salt (optional)

1 tbl melted ghee or butter

1 cup quite warm water

Makes 10-12

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre add the melted butter/ghee, then slowly add the warm water mixing it into a soft, pliable dough. Kneed for 8-10 min and then place in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 20 min.


Put a nonstick frying pan, a flat griddle pan or a tava/tawri ( if you have one) over a medium to high heat.

Divide the dough into equal portions (10-12) depending on the size.  Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin ( I use an indian rolling pin that is thin and tapered towards the ends). Flatten each portion into discs using your hands, smear with a little melted butter/ghee and sprinkle some plain flour in each. Pinch to make a parcel and the roll into a ball and place it under the damp cloth, until you have done all of them.

On your floured surface roll out each ball into a 15-16 cm circle, turn the dough a ¼ circle to get the round shape you want, you can dust with more flour while rolling. Just remember to to remove the excess flour at the end by placing the roti in the palm of your end and gently slapping it from one hand to the other.

Place the roti on the hot pan for 10 sec or until bubbles form on the underside, turn the roti using a spatula and press down as you cook the other side ( pressing down will make the roti puff up) turn once more pressing down again, once cooked ( each roti shouldn’t take more than 30-40 seconds to cook. Smear the roti with melted ghee or butter and leaved stacked on a plate with a tea towel until you have cooked them all.

Serve hot with any curry of your choice.


How to make Indian Breads- Series of Three : Post 1 : Naan Bread

1. Naan Bread

Naan is a delicious, puffy Indian bread, made with milk and yoghurt, it is perfect for mopping up spicy curries or having on their own. I love making these, its best to make them just before serving as they are great hot off the grill. Traditionally this bread is cooked on the walls of a tandoor (clay oven) it is not easy to recreate the intense heat in your cooker so the texture is slightly different, but they taste divine!

3 Cups Plain flour

11/2 Tsp Sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ cup milk

1/3 cup yoghurt (I usecreamy Gopla yoghurt which you can get in the supermarket)

1 tbls melted butter

Topping options – poppy seeds, chopped coriander, cumin seeds, mint, chilli flakes or a combination (optional)


Sift flour and add all the dry ingredients, mix to combine.  Make a well in the centre and add the milk, yoghurt and melted butter with approx. ¾ cup of warm water.

Knead the dough until smooth. Divide into 6-8 balls. Roll out in to oblong naan shapes.  On a non         stick frying pan, cook the naan on one side and then place on a baking tray, do this with the remaining naan, brush the raw side with melted butter ( with the topping of your choice) grill until browned and blistered. Serve hot.

Makes 6-8


Roast Vegetable and Halloumi Salad, with a Chilli and Coriander dressing

I created this salad to celebrate some amazing seasonal vegetables and their vibrant colours. Salty fried haloumi is delicious with the sweetness of the roasted veges, and this dressing gives it all a great kick. 
2 parsnips 2 beetroot 2 kumara (any colour; i use golden) 3 carrots olive oil 200g block haloumi (you can also use paneer) 1 packet fancy lettuce Dressing:                          4-5 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar juice of 1/2 lemon 3 tablespoons chopped coriander 2 teaspoons liquid honey 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (more if you like a kick)
Heat oven to 180°C. Peel and chop parsnips, beetroot, kumara and carrots
into chunks of about 2cm. Place in a large oven dish and drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Roast about 45 minutes or until cooked and golden. Meanwhile, prepare haloumi and dressing. Cut haloumi into thin slices and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan over medium heat and cook haloumi until golden on both sides. Set aside to cool. Mix all dressing ingredients together in a blender (I use a hand-held one) and season with salt and pepper. You can add a dash more salt, lemon juice or chilli depending on your taste. When vegetables are cooked, cool to room temperature then assemble salad. Place half the packet of salad leaves in a large dish, add half the roast vegetables then repeat. (If you think you have too many vegetables you can put some in the fridge for another day.) Scatter haloumi over and drizzle with dressing.

Serves 4 - 6

As seen in NZ House & Garden

Photo by Manja Wachsmuth


These little pastries are a great way to feed a crowd and are also good for picnics. They’re simple to make and handy to have in the freezer – freeze them unbaked and cook from frozen for about 30 minutes. 
1 tablespoon olive oil 500g chicken mince 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric ½ cup frozen peas ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste 5-6 sheets ready-rolled flaky pastry 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
Heat oil in a saucepan and brown mince. Add spices, peas, salt and pepper and stir for a minute then cover and cook over low heat until mince is cooked. The mixture should be quite dry but clinging together; you may need to add a splash of water if the mince is sticking to the pan. Allow to cool before making up the pastries. Heat oven to 190°C. Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares and brush edges with a little beaten egg. Add a spoonful
of mince to each square and fold over to make a triangle, pressing the edges together with a fork. Brush top with egg, sprinkle with cumin seeds and lay on a lined baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve with fresh tomato chutney (below) or another chutney of your choice.  Makes 20-24
This uncooked chutney is quickly whizzed together.
1 bunch coriander 1 large tomato 2-3 green chillies Juice of ½ a lemon 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoon tomato sauce (ketchup) 1-2 teaspoon chilli powder ½ teaspoon brown sugar
Combine all ingredients using a hand blender or whizz and season to taste.  Makes about ¾ cup

Enjoy.  Till next time Ashia


Till next time Ashia

Cardomom Chocolate Puddings

Cardamom Chocolate Puddings Serve this gorgeous rich dessert in small glasses, about shot glass size. Freshly ground cardamom seeds will give the best flavour but you could use ¼ teaspoon or less of cardamom powder if you don’t have the pods.
300ml fresh cream 200g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped 2-3 cardamom pods  Pinch of ground cinnamon 2 egg yolks 200g mascarpone  cream, pistachios and edible gold leaf for     garnish (optional)
Gently heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Whisk until melted. Crush cardamom pods and remove the black seeds. Grind these and add them to the chocolate mixture along with the cinnamon. Whisk egg yolks into the mixture then whisk in mascarpone. Divide between small glasses and chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours or until set. Decorate with cream, nuts and edible gold leaf if desired.  Serves 8-10
Photo by : Manja Wachsmuth as featured in NZ House & Garden June 2013

Coconut Chicken Curry

Coconut Chicken Curry This easy, delicious curry is one of my mother’s signature dishes. Serve it with basmati rice and naan or poppadoms.

4 green chillies, seeds removed 1 small bunch coriander 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 3 onions, sliced 2 chicken breasts (about 500g), diced 1 teaspoon crushed garlic 1 teaspoon salt 200g (½ tin) chopped tomatoes 1 teaspoon coriander powder ½ teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon ground turmeric 250ml coconut milk Fresh coriander, coconut chips and     extra green chillies for garnish

Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend chillies and coriander to a paste. Reserve 1-2 teaspoons for this dish. The remainder can be frozen for later. Heat oil in a medium saucepan or lidded frying pan and cook onions until soft and translucent. Add chicken, chilli/ coriander mix, garlic and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes and spices, cover and cook 15-20 minutes. Add coconut milk and cook over low heat until heated through. Garnish with coriander, coconut chips and extra chillies, chargrilled, if desired.  Serves 4

Photo by Manja Wachsmuth as featured in NZ House & Garden June 2013

Photo by Manja Wachsmuth as featured in NZ House & Garden June 2013

Summer sweetcorn

Not the greatest summer, but we have had an abundance of sweet, juicy sweetcorn.  I have great memories of growing up in Malawi, we had a big field behind our house, with sweetcorn growing in it. I remember running through it chasing my sisters and playing hide and seek.

There are so many different ways you can have sweetcorn, salt, pepper and butter, or drizzled with a tangy tamarind sauce.  But for me the best way is hot and spicy.

For 4 corn on the cobs


1/2 tbl oil

1 tbl butter

1/2 tsp salt


1/2  tsp ground chilli powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp tumeric powder, 

1/2 tbl tomato paste, heat everything together, ( around 1 -2 min)  with a drop of water, careful not to overheat as the butter and spices will burn, serve drizzled over hot corn ( either chargrilled on the barbie or i do mine in the microwave, 3 min each side in the husks.



Seeded Crackers

These are the best home made crackers, easy, healthy and so moorish. I cannot take credit for the recipe though, this was given to me by a colleague, not sure which uber healthy cookbook its from, note to self, I must find out! But in the meantime, here it is, serve with cheese, dips, or nibble on them any time of day  to your hearts content.


1/2 Cup Sunflower seeds

1/4 Cup Linseeds

1/4 Cup Sesame seeds

2 Tbls Chia seeds

1 tsp Sea salt (plus more to sprinkle)

1 cup Spelt flour ( I used wholemeal, but you can use white too)

1/2 Cup water

1/3 Cup Olive oil (you can use extra virgin olive oil if you wish)

Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Put all the seeds, salt and flour to a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the water and oil and mix to form a dough. Divide the dough in half and roll each one between two sheets of baking paper. Approx 3-4m thick.

Transfer to baking trays and remove the top sheet and sprinkle with sea salt, bake for 15-20 min or until slightly golden. Cool on wire racks and then break into chunks, they keep well in an air tight container for 1-2 weeks.





Cooking up a storm with "Cook the Books"

Culinary Workshops

I have had the pleasure of starting up some modern Indian culinary workshops in collaboration with Cook the Books in Grey Lynn.  I love the concept of having a store completely filled with cook books! Whats not to love? An array of beautiful, insightful culinary treasures to drool over!

Then a gem in the back of the shop, a completely kitted out demonstration kitchen to have workshops and cooking sessions with people who share your passion.

I have been busy, sharing my recipes and stories with lovely people who have been coming to my workshops and feasting and learning about my style of cooking.

It has been a great few weeks, i have had three workshops and they have all been well received, with people going away with a spice pack for one of the recipes, promising to recreate the dish and share with family and friends.  Its been fun and and i am hoping to do more before the end of the year, so look out on my Facebook  and Instagram pages for details of upcoming events.

Here are a couple of photos from the three workshops.


Eid Celebrations


Fasting is one of those very personal rituals, which you only understand if you have gone through it yourself. People often ask me, don't you get hungry or thirsty?? And really, you cant even drink water??

As a Muslim you grow up with this yearly ritual, Ramadan, and it cleanses, your body, mind and soul.  Like anything in life, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Although you abstain form eating and drinking during the daylight hours, at the end of the day, the kitchen is buzzing with preparations to end the fast of the day.

And for me , living so far from family, I hanker for those memories which I grew up with, and food was a big part of this.  So I will share with you some of the food I cooked in Ramadan, finishing with the lovely sweet Burfi which I made for Eid, which is a lovely Indian fudge, which is my mum's recipe.

I am also hoping to start some culinary demonstrations very soon so watch this space!

Enjoy! Till next time.


Spice up those winter evenings

Burtho (Aubergine Curry) and Roti

To me the cold, dark evenings in winter  mean comfort food. And I love pies and soups, but my comfort food is home cooked Indian food. It is my soul food, its what I was bought up with.  I have travelled all over the world, having lived in Africa and then England and travelling all over Europe and America and then settling here in beautiful New Zealand. I always find that when I am away from home,  I love experiencing all the exotic and different flavours, but really miss my home made curries and it is probably one of the first things I make when I get back from being away.

Bhurtho is one of those gorgeous dishes and is one of my favourites. Funnily enough I refused to eat this as a child, and I remember having countless arguments with my mum about why I wasn't going to eat my dinner when she served this up on my plate!

1 large Aubergine                                                 
I onion (sliced)
2-3 Tbl Oil                                                                       
1 -2 cloves crushed Garlic
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1/4 Tsp Cumin
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Paprika (optional)
1/4 Tsp Chilli powder
2-3 chopped tomatoes or you cab use chopped tomoatoes in a can (3/4 can)

1. With a fork prick several holes all over the aubergine and place under a pre heated grill for 20-30 min, turning a couple of times. You will know it is cooked when it goes all soft and looses the firmness.  It needs to be "mushy" when you slit it open.

2. While the aubergine is cooking, in a medium saucepan heat the oil and add the sliced onions.  cook until pale and soft

3. Add the chopped  tomato and all the spices and cook over a low heat for about 10-15 min.

4. Meanwhile when the aubergine is cooked, (it will be very soft - this is desirable) slit it open, hold on to it by its stalk and roughly mash it with a fork .  Remove the skin and stalk after mashing.

5. Add the mashed aubergine to the tomato mixture and cook on a low heat for a further 5-7 min.

Serve with hot Rotis.    (recipe for roti to follow - you can buy some pretty good roti/chappati from the supermarkets, although I love making my own, its an art that takes years of practise but I will put a step by step guide for any easy to follow recipe.


Till next time



Easy Homemade Naan

Naan is a delicious, puffy Indian bread, made with milk and yoghurt, it is perfect for mopping up spicy curries.  I love making these, and although they are easy, its best to make them just before serving as they are gorgeous hot off the grill!

3 Cups Plain flour

1 1/2 Teaspoons sugar

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

4 Tablespoons milk5 Tablespoons yoghurt

1 Tablespoon of melted butter ( also more for brushing)

poppy seeds (optional)

Sift flour and add all the dry ingredients, mix to combine. make a well in the center and add the milk, yoghurt and melted butter with 90-100mls warm water.

Knead the dough until smooth.  Roll out into an oblong naan shape. On a hot non stick frying pan, cook the naan on one side and then place on a baking tray, brush the raw side with butter and ( seeds if using), grill until browned and blistered. Do this until all your naan are cooked, brush with more butter and add chopped coriander and serve hot.

Makes approx.  6-8



Summery Lemon Cake

I joined a club recently, this is no ordinary club, here you bake your cake and eat it (and other cakes too!)  Its called the Clandestine Cake Club, it was started in the UK by Lynne Hill and now has clubs all over the world.  We meet once a month, the location is revealed a couple of days before and you bake to a theme, I have met some lovely people, and its great to be part of something you enjoy.

February's theme was a summery cake, so I thought, lemons and blueberries, a perfect combination.  This is such an easy cake to make, its been featured in one of Annabelle Langbien's web pages. Using a pot of 150 g of dreamy lemon yoghurt, you make this cake in a few simple steps.

  • 150g pot of dreamy lemon yoghurt
  • Pot of a neutral oil (eg sunflower or grapeseed)
  • 2 pots castor sugar
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 pots of plain flour

Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and pour into a lined 20cm baking tin.  Fan bake at 170 for 40-50 min.

For the glaze -  1/2 pot icing sugarand 2 tablespoons warm lemon juice, mix together and pour on the cake once the cake is cool. Decorate with lemon rind and blueberries!






Zara's 11th Birthday

Zara's 11th Birthday

My baby turned 11 in February,  and as I refelct on the past year, sometimes I cant help thinking, how time flies and we have to cherish every moment.

It is a tradition in our family that I always bake a cake for both my children's birthdays. So they tell me what flavour and style of cake and I endevour to deliver!  (within reason of course!)

So this year Zara had seen a gorgeous cake she wanted, a moist chocolate cake (4 layers) with pale pink buttercream icing, and a topping of hundred's and thousands, with a surprise inside!

I baked 2 whole cakes and 2 with a hole in them, and once cool and ready to be iced, I started with a whole cake, then adding the cake with a 'hole', sandwiching with butter icing, then the 3rd cake with the 'hole', then adding 6-7 pkts of smarties, and then the final whole cake on top.  Then butter icing to all 4 layers, with a generous sprinkling of hundred's and thousands. A cake fit for a princess!