(cooked by Anishya Kumar a food writer and chef from Ascot)
When I was asked to review what I was told was a Dansak meal I had quite a good idea as to what I was about to sample, or so I thought. What I was expecting was a sizzling dish of chicken or meat, richly coloured with food dye and some pilau rice. Not being all that fond of food colouring and having quite a sensitivity to it at times I wasn’t sure this was something I wanted to do. However when I asked can I have it without colour I was greeted with a surprised look on Anishya’s face. I was reassured that proper Dansak does not include any food colouring and neither does the rice it comes with. She explained that she prepares her own spices from scratch and uses mainly organic ingredients, low sodium and as little fat as possible. I could not say no to that. So I agreed to share the meal with the Berkshire Woman team and see what happened.
When the food was delivered, this is what we were presented with: Lamb Dansak, brown rice, Katchumbar salad, homemade aubergine pickle, homemade mini pappadums and Anishya’s special Paneer cottage Pie. Suffice to say that despite being curry lovers we had never heard of most of the dishes and had no idea what to expect.
The meal was quite a sight: a huge dish full of fragrant brown rice, rich with whole cinnamon pieces, cloves, sweet caramelised onions, whole cardamoms and some other spices we could not recognise. The rice was full of flavours and slightly spicy. It was very moreish and quite filling. The onions were delicious and went quite well with the rest of the flavour mix. Around the rice there were small tasty pork and lamb meat balls. The Lamb Dansak was a delicious creamy mix of meat pieces and lentils. The lentils tasted creamy and slightly hot. Rice and Dansak were a perfect match to be eaten at the same time.
The slightly spicy combination was cooled down by Katchumbar salad. The salad was very fresh tasting with tomatoes, onions and fresh herbs all finely chopped and dressed. It very much complemented the rest of the food. We also had quinoa and bulgur salad with beetroot, tomatoes and mixed herbs with vinaigrette dressing.
We finished by sampling Anishya’s special Paneer cheese cottage pie which was completely vegetarian and delicious. She wanted us to sample this dish which wasn’t part of the Dansak meal as she is particularly excited about this recipe. She promised it would be like nothing we had tried before and she was right. It was very different, very tasty but also mild – the sort of meal you would definitely share with a child without worrying about too many spices.
We loved this feast especially because this was the first time we had tried an organic version of an Indian meal. We also felt the whole experience was completely new for our taste buds. We will try this again.
For any of the mentioned food pop over to Anishya’s stunning website mybombaykitchen.co.uk