Maunika Gowardhan on Tandoori Home Cooking

Raised in Mumbai, Maunika Gowardhan creates dishes that are influenced by traditional Indian home cooking. Her recipes are full of flavour and spice. Here, she tells Sous Chef which ingredients she always has to hand in the kitchen. And which recipes she's most excited about in her her book, Tandoori Home Cooking

Discover the dishes and ingredients that inspire Maunika below, then have a go at her stunning recipes:

Aslan Spiced Butter Chicken recipe

Recipe for Mango & Pistachio Kulfi

Creamy Mango Yoghurt

Tandoori Home Cooking by Maunika Gowardhan (Hardie Grant, £25) Photography by Issy Croker.

What's the one dish to make anyone fall in love with your new book?

Definitely the Green bell pepper stuffed with spicy potatoes, chilli and dried mango. Apart from the fact that its a family recipe, it's truly delicious.

What ingredients are always stocked in your pantry? 

How do you balance tradition and innovation in your cooking?

For me my recipes begin and end with flavour. When we talk about it ‘tasting like home’ its all about recreating memories I remember from my growing up or perhaps even through my travels. But with that in mind I am also very aware that leading busy lives we all want recipes that are accessible and simple to navigate!

MORE: Browse all Indian food and ingredients, and find more inspiration!

What new tips, tricks or ideas have you learned while writing the book?

There are lots of secrets in Tandoori cooking that to be honest have not been widely known. Like the double marinade technique, adding smoked butter and how to end the cooking with ground spices to dial up the flavour. I share all those in the book.

What are the components of a fantastic meal for you?

I’m truly a curry rice girl and its comfort food that always wins my heart! So lots of curries, pulao, salad and something fried or crispy on the side.

What is one kitchen tip everyone should know?

Adding ground spices to a couple of tablespoons of water before adding in a hot pan to prevent them from burning.

MORE: The ingredients top chefs love to use

What dish do you make most often?

There is a Kombdicha Rassa (spicy coconut chicken curry with ground spices and dried chillies) that is one of my favourites. I have shared it in my previous book Thali and serving that on a Sunday with ghee rice is simply joyous.

What's your favourite ingredient to cook with right now?

I don't think its right now but has always been in my repertoire. The Smoked butter from Tandoori Home Cooking is definitely one that is versatile not just on tikkas and kebabs but perfect to finish off curries too for a wonderful smoky earthy flavour.

What is one recipe everyone should try from the book?

Zafrani Murgh - Saffron Roast Chicken. Apart from being simple to cook its truly delicious. The marinade includes ground almonds which is the key to ensuring the marinade clings to the roast chicken adding depth and flavour.

What will surprise people in your book?

The diversity and variety there is with tandoori cooking. That the Indian subcontinent is a plethora is delicious recipes, flavoursome kebabs and this style of cooking has only just scratched the surface in my book Tandoori Home Cooking.

MORE: Discover more flavour in our collection of recipes from India

How did you decide what recipes you were going to include - and which to exclude?

I always want a balance and a good mix of vegetarian and meat dishes. But this book also include fresh salads which are usually an after thought in Indian cooking! Delicious chutneys, pickles and homemade flat breads.

Where do you find inspiration?

From my upbringing in India. The food I ate was regional, diverse, layered with depth and flavour. So my starting point has always been my family home in Mumbai India which works as a guide on how I want to celebrate regions across the country.

And which do you think is the biggest crowd-pleaser (and why?)

A roast chicken or slow cooked spiced roast lamb definitely and there are a few to choose from in Tandoori Home Cooking. Accompanied by large platters of fresh zingy salads.

Natco Kashmiri Chilli Powder, 100g

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?

Kashmiri chilli powder.

How do you source your ingredients and what do you look for when selecting them?

I love Sous Chef for the variety of spices and ingredients so its my to go space online. Also my local Asian grocers for fresh ingredients. For me quality is key!

Can you tell me about a particularly memorable meal you have had and what made it so special?

Celebrating my birthday in Mauritius a few years ago with my family and having a full Thali cooked with Indian and Mauritian food influences. The fish curry was cooked with fish we caught that morning off the boats while at sea.

Tandoori Home Cooking by Maunika Gowardhan (Hardie Grant, £25) Photography by Issy Croker.

Chaat Masala Mangal, 100g

Tamarind Paste - Tamarind Concentrate, 454g

Terre Exotique Green Cardamom, 40g

Anardana Powder, 100g


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