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Lunchbox by Carolyn Caldicott, Photographs by Chris
Spicy Paneer Cheese Toastie with Mango Chutney, some Chickpea
Dokla (bite-sized snacks tempered with toasted coconut and
mustard seeds), or perhaps some Carrot and Pistachi Halwa,
a sweet and sticky afternoon pick-me-up, washed down with
NimboboPani (a sweet and salty refreshing lime soda); the
recipes in Bombay Lunchbox have exotic names with flavours
Renowned for her imaginative yet accessible recipes, Carolyn
Caldicott combines anecdotes and recipes from Anglo-Indian
cookery with the culture of the ‘Tiffin’ lunchbox, cooked
at home and delivered to the workplace in characteristic stainless
steel tiered tins. Carolyn’s collection of sweet and savoury
recipes for lunch, afternoon tea or any snack eaten between
breakfast and dinner, will appeal to anyone who loves India
and Indian food.
Bombay Lunchbox is illustrated with a mixture of vintage
imagery and new photographs by Chris Caldicott, bringing together
the spirit of the Raj with the brightly coloured buzz of modern
India’s culture, religion and society.
For many years, Carolyn and Chris Caldicott owned
the World Food Café in London’s Covent Garden, where they
cooked and served delicious vegetarian food from recipes collected
on their travels. They are the co-authors of World Food Café,
The Spice Routes, World Food Café 2, World Food Café Quick
& Easy, and The Vegetarian Bible, all published by Frances
Carolyn now works as a full-time author, food stylist
and cook. As well as writing on food and
travel for Elle magazine, she is the author of Vintage Tea
Party and Rosehips on a Kitchen Table,
also published by Frances Lincoln.
Chris is a journalist and photographer, and his photographs
appear in a wide range of newspapers
and magazines, including the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times,
Condé Nast Traveller, House &
Garden and Vanity Fair.
Bombay Lunchbox Book Review
With a title like Bombay Lunchbox you know from the outset
the sort of recipes you will be reading about. This is Indian
cooking. A fascinating little book with some interesting commentary
and different recipes to what you would expect in an Indian
I was immediately drawn to the opening section How
Tiffin came about as Tiffin is something I always remember
being mentioned regularly in one of the famous Carry On films.
At the time it was just a piece of humour in the film and
not something anyone stopped to think about. You can read
for yourself all about Tiffin, what it means and how it came
about as this is what the book is basically about.
You may not have come across a Tiffinwallah from Bombay but
now is your chance to be enlightened as to what food and drink
they sell on the streets of Bombay!
The book contains recipes that are both savoury and sweet,
as well as recipes for some of the Indian drinks. Like most
Indian recipes they require quite a few ingredients, which
does not present any problems as most are now readily available
in UK supermarkets. There is a good cross-section of recipes,
many of which are vegetarian, so there should be something
to suit the tastes of anyone who enjoys Indian food.
One of the great attractions of Bombay Lunchbox is its photography
which, not only illustrates the food beautifully, gives a
colourful insight into Indian life. This leads to the only
criticism I have of the book which is its size. It is only
a small book and the wonderful photography would have benefited
from a larger format but don't let that put you off adding
Bombay Lunchbox to your kitchen library.
Bombay Lunchbox SAMPLE RECIPES
Eggs and potatoes simmered in a rich tomato curry sauce
is a rather excellent legacy of the British Empire. Serve
with chapatti or rice.
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3cm / 1¼ inch fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
6 free-range eggs, hard-boiled
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
1 small cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods, slit
4 bay leaves
3 medium tomatoes, diced
275ml / ½ pint water
1 teaspoon jaggery or soft brown sugar
salt and pepper
How to make
the roughly chopped onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor
until a paste forms. Stir in the turmeric and chilli flakes
and set to one side.
the hard-boiled eggs and slash the whites a few times with
a knife. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise.
the oil in a wok or large frying pan. When it is hot fry
the eggs until golden. Remove the eggs from the pan and
set to one side.
the diced potato to the same pan and stir-fry until brown.
Scoop the potatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon and
set to one side.
the sliced red onion in the oil remaining in the wok. When
the onion becomes translucent add the cinnamon, cardamom,
cloves and bay leaves, stir-fry for a further minute or
so, then add the onion spice mix and stir-fry until soft.
the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes before stirring
in the water, fried potatoes and jaggery. Season the sauce
to taste with salt and a good grind of black pepper, lay
the eggs on top (yolks up) and gently simmer until the sauce
is reduced and the potatoes are soft.
Serves 4 - 6
are the perfect size to bridge that gap. Street
stalls and cafés offer freshly made samosas ready and
waiting. Samosas are simply inseparable from masala chai;
together they are a marriage made in heaven.
If you prefer a healthier alternative to fried samosas,
bake on a greaseproof tray in an oven preheated to 200°C
/ 400°F for 15 minutes or so, until golden brown.
225g / 8oz ready-made shortcrust pastry
1 medium mashing potato (approx 250g / 9oz), peeled and
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, diced
3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cumin
50g/2oz fresh or frozen peas
sunflower oil for deep-frying
How to make
the diced potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain and
roughly mash the potatoes until they start to break down,
but are not completely smooth.
the oil in a small frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and when
they start to crackle, add the onion and chilli. Fry together
until the onion is soft.
the garam masala, ground cumin and peas, stir- fry for a
few minutes and then stir in the mashed potato. Tip the
filling into a bowl and set to one side to cool.
assemble the samosas, roll out the pastry on to a lightly
floured surface until thinnish, but still thick enough to
handle without breaking up. Cut into 10cm / 4inch rounds,
then cut each round in half to make a semicircle. Take a
semicircle of pastry, wet the edges, fold in the straight
edges to make a cone shape and pinch the edges together
to ensure a good seal. Fill the pastry cone with a generous
teaspoon of the potato / pea mixture and seal the remaining
edges together. Repeat the process until all the ingredients
have been used up.
enough sunflower oil in a wok to deep-fry the samosas, and
fry in batches of 6 until golden brown. Allow the samosas
to drain on kitchen paper before serving.
Makes about 18
omelette makes a super-quick mid-morning snack or late breakfast.
Serve Coffee House style with hot buttered toast.
2 free-range medium eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped
a large pinch of ground turmeric, garam masala and ground
butter to fry
How to make
the eggs and milk together until light and fluffy.
in the remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt to taste.
a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan. When the butter
starts to foam, add the omelette batter and swirl it around
the pan until evenly coated.
the heat to a medium temperature and cook the omelette until
golden brown and nearly set.
the omelette and cook for a further minute (dont overcook
the omelette at this stage or it will become rubbery), before
turning out on to a warm plate.
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