"The greatest Indian cook in Britain"Jay Rayner "The Observer"
"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Saturday 4 April 2020

My top tips to survive this time at home!

My top tips to survive this time at home!

Firstly if your struggling with shopping to be delivered try local producers many do deliver other than supermarkets
the big small shop is a good example - there are many cheese/dairy suppliers, meats and bakery  companies to your local area that deliver search for them online and use your local shops too

  1.      .. Try to eat foods and flavours that you are really in the mood for if you can- that way you will be far more satisfied and will tend to eat less. So... this will help with shopping for less and wasting less food. You will feel better mentally too!

2.     Think! How much food have you got in your home that you can get creative with? In your cupboards and freezers. Now is the time to use them up and with recipes and don't be afraid to substitute ingredients.

3.     Makes batches of soups from dry ingredients as the water content is high in most soups these are great ways to use fewer ingredients (dry broth mixes are brilliant and cheap and often neglected) chuck in only a few fresh vegetables to help it along. Tinned tomatoes use half the required amount and add in tomato puree topped up with water so to make things stretch. Soups can be used as sauces too.

4.     Batch freeze homemade soups in that now that emptier freezer. and or share your offerings this is so appreciated. Sharing has really hit home and taken on a new meaning -a good feel factor for the receiver and the giver. I hope this is something not forgotten when out on the other side. It can be very isolating if one lives alone and even more so now more important to reach out to each other.

5.     Stocks cubes, anchovies, soya sauce, spices, strong hard cheese, feta, tomato puree, marmite, and yeast have strong flavours and you don't need a lot of to flavour dishes. Helping things go a long way. 

6.     Have a rough plan of your shopping list before you head off- working around what you already have in, buy things that complement the store cupboard ingredients. Remember, not everything past its use-by/ best before date is ready for the bin!

7.     Look forward to mealtimes - you have the time to cook, as if it's a little adventure for that creative interaction with the family, pop the music on and enjoy cooking! 

8.     Use up flours at the back your cupboards to make pancakes, wraps, flatbreads, bread, and Yorkshire puddings which you can fill with all sorts for the main mealtime. Try my two ingredients bread recipe.

9.     Use up flavoured/fruit teabags to cook rice by adding into the boiling water - Jasmin and Lemon and ginger or any that take your fancy.  They are great!

10. Keep your lemon, lime, orange and clementine peels- cut out as much of the pith as you can - stick them on a tray in your airing cupboard. When they are totally dry- grind them down using pestle and mortar or your coffee grinder to create a powder that will jazz up plain yogurts and drinks and desserts.

11. Freeze grapes if you have too many and fear of them going off – they are yummy frozen! Most fruits freeze well.

12. Bulk dishes out with pulses lentils and beans from those cupboards. I find soaking them in flavoured water (use herbs and spices) works well as they good at absorbing. the water can then be used for stocks, soups, and sauces

13. Breadcrumbs are a great way to substitute pastry and if you can’t make them or buy them try roasting cream crackers and crumbling them up. I add salt and pepper to the crumb before sparkling it over meals

14. Use up overripe fruit by pureeing it and have it over cereal or plain yogurts or desserts- no need to through them away.

15. Ripe bananas - freeze them (peel and cut into chunks first and pop them into a freezer bag). When you fancy some ice cream whizz the frozen bananas in the food processer for instant ice cream or mash a ripe banana in a bowl, add an egg - mix and make pancakes from the batter. No flour needed!

16. If you can’t find yeast in the shops and want to make bread, try my simple yeast starter recipe that anyone can make at home. 

17. If you are struggling to find bread flour, try my two-ingredient bread recipe that uses yoghurt instead of yeast made without bread flour and uses no oven!

18. If your lucky enough to have a garden - plant edible seeds herbs they a good idea as they grow fast and it’s rewarding seeing them flourish for use at mealtimes. I think the garden will be a lifesaver. Get the children involved 

19.If you don't have antibacterial/anti-virus spray as it seems to be like gold dust in these strange times-mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 4 litres of water and use an empty spray bottle on your kitchen surfaces to kill the germs and bacteria and viruses- this mild solution should be fine on most surfaces - test a little area first if you're worried.
     (I am spraying down any parcels delivered on the drive - and leaving them out there for 1 hr before opening and bring in the contents which I spray again and keeps washing those hands- hand cream has come in very handy but a touch of almond oil works well - I added a drop of lavender oil to a bottle and use that. 

20. Look after your wellbeing and by changing that mindset and make the most of the fact that your safe in your home and think about all those books you want to read and not just the cooking onesie my case. Finding a new routine will help. Stay connected with your friends and family and think about starting a new hobby -there are lots of free online courses too.  

21.Drink plenty of water its good to stay hydrated as the body simply functions better for you and calories free /fat-free and it’s a tap away. You can add in flavoured ice cubes with pieces of lemon, oranges or a bit of juice and enjoy a refreshing drink!

22. Enjoy exercise every day even if it’s only 10 mins and get that into your daily routine it a great way to feed yourself the good stuff and feel fabulous.
Stay grateful for all you have and thanks to all the great scientists, medics and technologists and front-line workers who we take out hats off to that will get us to through to the other side!  Stay safe, keep creative and connected. I would love to hear from you and what your tips are.
Gita x
(c) Gita Mistry2020

Home made yogurt - quick and easy!

I love yogurt and it's so versatile for a range of sweet and savoury dishes. If you're struggling to find yeast to make bread, you can use this yogurt recipe in my easy two-ingredient bread recipe.

This yogurt recipe takes me back to my parents 4ftx 4ft  kitchen space and how industrious my Mummy was with a real passion for everything being homemade.

Our home was a fridge free zone for most of my childhood - in the city of Bradford (UK). My parents would store most of their ingredients in tins that my father would paint in different colours. Bottles and jars were recycled - empty sweet glass jars were picked up from Mr. Thomas s corner shop. - big 5llb jars with a wide mouth and screw lids. I used to think they were massive as a child! Each filled to the brim with shiny lentil, different types of flours, rice, grains, and homemade spice mixtures and garamasala.

Anything that needed a cooler environment was stored on the cellar steps or in the cellar itself.
I think not owning a fridge was also down to cash flow problems and due to that fact that preserving  (fridging/freezing) was an unfamiliar process to my Mummy s cooking world.

Twice a week we made a large pot of yogurt that was made just before I went to bed.
The pot of milk that was combined with a starter yogurt that sat neatly balanced on our only gas fire in the house, whilst it set overnight. I would rush out of bed to monitor its result with great delight. We always ate yogurt on the first day it was produced and then the rest got separated off for recipes.

I used to beg her to let me help her make it, I say beg because my Mummy was very strict in her kitchen, most of my learning was done through watching listening and being guided by her methodical techniques, generally by observation and being told off a lot!
This way it enabled me to develop my senses and the art of judging from my inner gut to perfect the art of spice of composing with spices and ingredients for balanced tastes and to complement dishes together on the plate. Looking back "the training" was so rigorous and boy at times I would explode with so much expression in the kitchen - but she wanted me to learn really precise techniques and to develop my inner judgment and an understanding of how the importance of judging naturally and of time in the cooking process was also a key ingredient. I am very grateful now.

She would not rely on weights, measurements, and scales first. She would rarely taste anything that used to amaze me!  And yet it all tasted so good but that is something I don't advocate. Taste away!

I remember once counting the rotis for all the guests that were coming to ours just to make sure we had enough to go round and she stopped me in my tracks and she would say "you just know and you will too in time." I thank her now.

She was given a set of scales in the 1970 s from my best friend's mother Wendy. She accepted the gift gracefully, but rarely used them and only to check if the local grocers had not overcharged her as she weighed her shopping of different flours and grains and other amazing ingredients to check. Which I found amusing. Her cupboards were well-stocked with shelves of shiny stainless tins filled with spices and homemade Farsan as are mine which has really helped me out with the current situation we are in.

My 8th generation family home 
This simple yogurt recipe has been made in our family for many generations using their dairy cattle for milk. The recipe has traveled from Indian to Africa and finally brought to England.
I have visited many regions in Indian and returned many times to explore and research spices, cuisine and ingredients, and recipes. At my 8th generation family home in south Gujerat at a village called Undach, I learned how to make this yogurt from scratch so this recipe has a lot of connection for me.

The great UK food critics I have cooked for gave me much praise which I was delighted with telling me I was a very technically very accomplished cook. I remember it made me cry however not with sadness but with great joy, as it was jolly tuff work mastering the spice judgment and many techniques over decades and with a lot of patience

I have added measurements here for ease


  • Heat one pint of full fat or semi-skimmed cows milk and let it come to the boil once and them take off immediately.
  • Fill the sink with cold water and let the pan of milk sit in the cold water and allow it to go cold completely
  • Add in 1 level tablespoon of starter yogurt- which has been reserved form the previous batch of yogurt made or if don't have any use a shop-bought yogurt to start with and give it a stir or a gentle whisk
  • Pour the mixture in a clean stainless still container and allow to set overnight in a warmish place
Making yogurt in Indian with  my family

  1. The more starter yogurt you use the firmer the yogurt will set. Using a fresh yogurt starter will give you a milder yogurt and an older yogurt starter used will give you a more sour taste.
  2. Try not to be tempted to put your fingers in the boiled milk while cooling as it can interfere with the setting process- use a clean sterilized spoon to test its temperature
  3. I like to make a hot yogurt spicy sauce (Kirdhi) and Chaz  (cold spiced flavored curds and whey) which is great served with vegetable or dhal khichri- savory rice)Eaten in the summer months. One of my other favorites is to serve it over over peaches soaked in ginger r and honey and a touch of cinnamon and pureed fresh strawberries with cardamom
  4. Many Indians eat yogurt to wish themselves luck, before an interview or an exam, as it is believed that the yogurt acts as a coolant for the stomach where much stress can be held.
Good luck with the recipe - Give it ago and let me know!
(c)Gita Mistry2020

Monday 30 March 2020

Two Ingredients bread recipe - yeast free and oven free!

picture wildcard

From my travels and cooking trips to Europe over the last 30 years which includes visiting Poland. I found a recipe for bread that I adore which has only two ingredients in it and pinch of salt, it very easy to make and its yeast-free for those that are struggling to find yeast in the shops.

I grew very fond of the country and enjoyed all its offerings including their food. After my initial cooking booking. I was very happy to be invited back many times as they loved the spice influenced cuisine which I prepared whilst educating and entertaining.
The polish people loved my Indian cuisine and I loved this bread recipe they shared with me... featured on the BBC Radio 4 Food program
This is the perfect way to fill the gaps we are facing with our shopping in these difficult times and this recipe is a stress-free way to make bread which will serve your family well and uses no oven! 

If you wish to also make bread with yeast and if you are struggling to find yeast you can try making your own yeast at home with this recipe


200g yogurt
200g plain flour or self-raising flour
pinch of salt

Sieve the flour into the yogurt and add a pinch of salt to form a dough. Using your hands to bind it together.

Leave the dough to rest for 15 mins placing a clean cloth over the bowl and then separate it into 6 balls- flattened them out like burgers and 1/2 inch thick and cover allow the baps to rest for further 5 mins

picture- wildcard
Heat a heavy bottom frying pan and smear it with some cooking oil - remember we are not shallow frying here merely lining the pan so the bread does not stick and turns golden brown on each side.

Cook on each side for 10 mins with the lid on a low to medium heat.  The baps will turn golden brown on each side and the steam will cook the bread inside -allow them to cool on a rack and slice in half and eat with a savoury or sweet filling of your choice.

Sunday 29 March 2020

Homemade yeast

Homemade yeast – easy recipe! 

Photo credit Mark Breadmd
It has become increasingly difficult to buy yeast in light of the current situation, so I been playing around with some homemade recipes and this one which I have tried and tested. I have found it to be the easiest and have had some good great results from it, which I share with you here. It is really great used for sourdough bread...

I suggest you first, read the full recipe before you start. Gather all your ingredients and equipment. Feed the process calmness and love and it will sure- help you make lovely a sourdough bread.
So here goes!

 Equal parts spring water (bottled water) and flour (plain flour – also known as all-purpose) 
 I used 1 cup of flour and one cup of spring water
(make sure the water it’s not chlorinated – it can also be labelled filtered)

  1. Stir the non-chlorinated/filtered spring into the flour -use a large bowl or a jar with a wide mouth and lid and give it a good mix. Cover loosely with a cloth or place the lid on loosely on the jar and let it sit on a kitchen counter for 60-72 hours (2-3days) or until bubbly before use.
  2. To use and feed your starter; take out the amount needed for your recipe and then replace that amount with equal parts of flour and spring water. (the feeder ratio is the same as the initial measurements)
  3. If you keep your starter at room temperature feed it every other day, and if it's refrigerated, feed it weekly. If you accumulate more starter than you need, simply share. (Make sure if you are sharing that you stay safe within the guidelines given and not to sneeze or cough over it whilst making it.)

  • Leave the starter dough in a dry warmish place covered with a cloth or pop the lid on loosely if using a jar.
  • Make sure you use non-chlorinated (filtered) bottled water as this will help not to kill the yeast
  • The bubbles formed are carbon dioxide and the yeast must be foaming before you use- so watch out for those lovely holes
  • If you see a layer of water on the top – that is normal just use less liquid when feeding it next time
  • Beware of the smell it’s all normal! However, you know if it’s gone off - it will not just smell yeasty but really fowl so if this happens to it start again!

Give it a go and let me know- I would love to hear your thoughts, comments & see your pictures

Stay safe!
                                                                                                                                  (c) Gita Mistry 2020

Saturday 28 March 2020

Plain flour or all purpose flour bread recipe

If you can't find bread flour try this recipe using plain flour ( all-purpose flour) 
A recipe shared with me so I am resharing with few changes as I find this works better.

• 8g fast-action dried yeast
• 1 tsp white caster sugar
• 500 g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
• 1 tsp fine table salt
• 1tsp olive oil, for greasing and 1 tsp for dough mixture
• 300ml warm water do not use boiling

•1. Place the yeast and caster sugar in a bowl with the warm water. Set it aside10 minutes until it begins creates holes in the mixture
•2 Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt, making sure it is evenly distributed. Create a well and then gently pour in the liquid and one teaspoon of oil. Bring together to form a dough. If the dough is a little dry at this point, add a little more water and make sure it is fully combined. Dust the work surface with a little flour and knead the dough for 15-20 minutes until smooth and stretchy.
•3 Shape the dough into a round or oval then place on a baking tray dusted with a little flour. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 230°C, fan 210°C, gas 8.
•4 Remove the cling film, dust the top of the loaf with a little flour. Turn the oven down to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and bake for 20 minutes. Then check every 1-2 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and tap the base of the bread to check it is cooked – it should sound hollow. The loaf is best enjoyed warm from the oven. 

Tip: plain flour requires more kneading than strong bread flour in order to form the gluten and brush with butter to get softer crust if fancy

I will be posting out an old family recipe for creating yeast at home next... as many are struggling to find any and have sent me requests for it and other recipes with or without yeast

Enjoy                                                                                                                             (c) Gita Mistry 2020

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Gita Mistry debut food demonstration in Belfast at Indie Fude

Indie Fued
30 Castle Street, Comber, Co Down, BT23 5DZ
Gita Mistry will be demonstrating at Indie Fude on 28th August 2019 at 1.30pm. Just in time for lunch….
Her demonstration will include dishes from India as well as dishes to her own design and spicing, including her award-winning dishes of potato, cashew nut and lime leaves with onion seeds accompanied by a cucumber raita from many generations back.

She won BBC TV's Eating with the Enemy competition-  Britains best cook- beating tens of thousands of entrants and winning over top food critics.

Critics say she is
 “The greatest Indian cook in Britain” 
  Jay Rayner the Observer

 "Gita touched the cornerstones of food enjoyment and it was - better than sex"             Kate Spicer The Times

" Gita s food is magnificent- well balanced and judged 
   Charles Campion author of the London restaurant Guides

“Top Cooking and tremendously skill full "
  James Martin BBC, ITV

Gita Lives in Bradford and travels with her work nationally and internationally. She was taught to cook Gujarat style food by her mother who was a very accomplished cook. She received formal training at Leeds College and the in the kitchens at Atul Kochhar and Philippe Gaertner In France. She has received commissions to cook and demonstrate and present In Austria, France, Germany, Poland the UK and USA and even India, her style of food is influenced by much travel and her influences of being brought up in the UK. She addresses audiences and discusses food and cooking in her online publication (Blog), social media and in-person through to radio and or TV when asked.

Monday 2 November 2015

Navaratri and Indian fudge

Saffron and Cardamon Penda

Hindus in India and around the world have been celebrating Navatri . This is a 9-day festival of dance and song.  The name comes from “nava” which means “nine” and “ratri” which means “night”.  The festival leads up to Diwali which means “festival of light” and takes place between 11 and 15 Nov this year.

Navatri occurs  in Autumn which is a time of renewal.  Just as the shedding of leaves makes way for fresh growth so Navaratri rejuvenates the inner spirit.  The festival encourages us to look inwardly, to find renewed energies for the spirit and to feel creative with our lives.

 Garba dance

The festival is celebrated in many ways. Local community groups get together for dancing and feasting.  Garba and Dandiya rass danced to worship Goddess Durga s. The sticks dance representing her swords. Representing good over eveil. There are special foods to cleanse the body none of which contains meat.  It has to be remembered that India has 400 million vegetarians - several times the population of the UK - a topic to which I shall return on another occasion.

One of those special foods is saffron and cardamom penda which is a bit like fudge.  I made some for the festival and here is my recipe.


1½ cups milk powder . ½ cup sugar . ½ cup ghee . ½ cup  milk.2 to 3 strand of saffron . Drop orange food colouring.10- 15 cardamon pods ( green) . Pistachio s to decorate.


1. Boil the milk add a few stands of saffron and simmer on a lower heat. Add the sugar and dissolve and ghee and allow it to cook though for 4- 5 mins until the milk has reduced a little. Stir regularly.

2. Lower the heat further and stir in the milk powder along with some cardamom seeds powder to taste. Remove seeds from the pods and crush using a pestle and mortar. Cook for further 3- 4 mins. Stirring continulously. You will know when its done as it starts to come away from the pan sides.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the food colouring and stir in and allow it to cool for15 mins.

4. Spread  it out evenly on a baking tray until set and cut into cubes and press in a half cut pistachio into each cube.

5. Alternatively omit the food colouring and make little round balls and flatten between your hands and add shavings of pistachio nuts on top.

These can be stored for up to 2 weeks in  an airtight container. These pendas can be presented to the goddesses for their blessing. The blessed food is called Prashad to be shared out amongst friends and family.