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Holiday Festive Food with Sushil
To celebrate the festive season, we’ve partnered with some of the very best home chefs in Australia to show you how they do family celebrations in delicious style.
We were excited to speak to Sushil Kumar, a Sydney-based Chef who loves family and food. An experienced, award-winning Indian food expert Chef, Sushil shares some of his recipes for the festive season and talks about his journey to Australia.
I was born in India, Delhi in 1960. I trained in Hotel Management from 1979 to 1982, training in the major 5-star hotel groups that were well known in India.
I came to Australia in 1994 as a chef and worked at the most popular Indian restaurant at that time in Sydney. I came to Australia due to the opportunities for myself and my family to live a higher quality of life with more opportunities.
I worked at that restaurant for 8 years originally, and then opened our own family business. Since then, we have owned restaurants for the past 19 years. Currently I am managing Kumar’s Taj Indian Restaurant in Quakers Hill. We have been here for 6 years now and have even won Menulog restaurant of the year for the Blacktown and surrounds in 2016, which I am proud of. I love my work.
During Christmas we always get together and make the most of our time together as a family during the break. We do a big Diwali celebration in November which is our version of the new year, and we also celebrate Christmas just as festively.
The recipe I’ve chosen to share is Aloo Poori which is a potato curry with golden fried bread. This is a popular dish that is only usually found at Indian homes and not restaurants. It is specifically made during the festive seasons or during celebrations at home or special occasions.
Our family has enjoyed this dish since we were all young and it continues to be a popular staple that brings us all together with food that is great to eat and something we have all grown up with and can enjoy as a family.
I learnt this dish from my mother when I was young, and it is close to me as it’s something that is enjoyed by all. I have passed the recipe on, and our family enjoys this dish with or without me. A gift that keeps on giving.
My favourite holiday memories involve getting together with family during the festive seasons. I love it when we go away as a family and no matter where we go, we are able to enjoy our own cuisine. Some of my favourite memories have revolved around eating familiar, comfort food that the family can enjoy whilst being in new holiday getaways. A perfect combination of the familiar with something new, which always makes food and holidays more exciting.
We are celebrating at home this year, with a small group of close friends, eating well and having lots of laughter and good memories.
Food brings our family together because one meal has generations of love, commitment and legacy in each bite. Cooking food and eating it together reminds us of our roots and what’s important and teaches us to appreciate it together.
Food is timeless, as is family. A perfect combination.
Sushil’s Aloo Sabzi and Puri recipe’s
Preparing the Aloo Sabzi (Potato Curry)
2.5 Tablespoons Oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon green chilli finely chopped
50g chopped coriander
2 medium sized tomatoes finely diced
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon Indian Chat Masala
4 medium sized potatoes
- 1. Boil the potatoes. Cut and dice into bite size pieces.
- Heat 2.5 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and fry them until they make a crackling sound.
- Then add the finely chopped ginger, green chilli, fresh green coriander (save some to garnish), and tomatoes. Saute until the tomatos become soft. Stir and mix well, make sure the smell of raw ginger is no longer present.
- Add the turmeric powder, a pinch of asafoetida (hing), red chilli powder, and Indian Chat Masala. Stir and Mix well.
- Add the boiled potatoes, 2 cups of water and salt to taste (1/2 tablespoon if unsure). Mix well together. Leave to boil for up to 20 minutes. Look out for when the gravy gets a little thicker, or "infused" so you can see the colour of all the ingredients coming together. Then remove from heat and it’s ready to serve.
- Sprinkle Chopped fresh coriander to garnish and serve with Pooris (The bread).
Making the puri (or poori)
- Knead 2.5 to 3 cups whole wheat flour (atta) into a stiff dough with water and oil.
- Put a small dab of oil in the palm of your hands, and then take a small peice of dough and roll into small balls of dough, about the size of a golf ball.
- Put oil in pan (around 1 litre of oil) and set to medium heat for frying.
- Using a rolling pin Roll the dough ball evenly into circles that are neither too thin or thick.
- Place the rolled poori in a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel, so that they don’t dry up.
- To fry the Poori: You can test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small dough ball into the oil. If it floats, it means the oil is hot enough. If it sinks to the bottom, it means that the oil is not yet hot enough for frying.
- Add one Puri at a time, wait until it starts to puff up and turns golden in colour. Then flip the poori over to ensure that it is cooked on the other side as well. Both sides should be golden (If the Puri's are too brown, please turn down the temperature of the oil).
- Have some butter paper, or napkin laid out on a plate and once the poori is fried, let them sit on the napkin to drain any excess oil.
- Serve the Poori with the Aloo Subzi (Potato Curry) and dig in!
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