Yudhika Letang: Picture Warren Haltman
Yudhika Letang: Picture Warren Haltman
Recipe: Lamb breyani.
Recipe: Lamb breyani.

When chef and cookbook author Yudhika Sujanani and Rob L’Etang planned to get married they decided to have two ceremonies.

For the first Rob whisked Yudhika off to Thailand for a private and intimate affair on a beautiful beach, then Yudhika insisted on sharing the happy occasion with her friends in a traditional Indian ceremony at their home.

With the help of her kitchen assistants, Nothando Ndlovu, Pilisiwe Ncube and Patricia Happiness Moyo, Yudhika prepared, cooked and served a sumptuous meal for 40 guests.

Standing over steaming pots in her beautiful traditional wedding sari she added all the final touches to her dishes.

After the ceremony guests sat down to a glorious feast. The bride had to resort to covering her sari with a tea towel while she served the hungry guests.

* Yudhika may be contacted at [email protected]



Serves 6

4 medium-sized potatoes, sunflower oil, for frying

2 onions, finely sliced

60ml sunflower oil

1 large cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

4 cardamom pods

5ml cumin seeds

1 large onion, finely chopped

7.5ml coarse salt

15ml crushed garlic

20ml crushed ginger

30ml red chilli powder

1kg lamb knuckles

10ml ground coriander

10ml ground cumin

7.5ml garam masala

2.5ml turmeric

100ml fresh cream

2 x 400g canned lentils, drained

1250ml cooked cooled basmati rice

60g butter

15ml Magic Masala optional

200ml boiling water

a few drops of egg yellow food colouring

fresh coriander, to garnish

Peel the potatoes and slice them into thick rounds. Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until tender. Remove from the oil and leave to drain. Gently dab the excess oil with absorbent paper towel.

Fry the onion slices until light golden brown. Remove the onion from the oil and leave in a colander to drain. Spread the onion slices over absorbent paper towel.

Heat 60ml sunflower oil in a large thick-bottomed pot. Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaves until fragrant.

Add the cardamom pods and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the onion and salt. Sauté until the onion is light golden brown. Add garlic and ginger. Stir for a few seconds and then add the red chilli powder.

Add the lamb knuckles and continue stirring until the meat begins to stick. Lower the heat and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric.

When the spices on the bottom of the pot start to brown, pour in boiling water to cover the knuckles. Simmer the knuckles on a low heat, adding more water if necessary.

When the knuckles are tender and the sauce has reduced, layer the fried potatoes over the lamb.

Pour in the fresh cream and then layer half the lentils over the potatoes.

Layer the basmati rice over the lentils and scatter the remaining lentils on top.

Dot the rice with pieces of butter and sprinkle the Magic Masala over.

Pour the boiling water into the pot and add a few drops of egg yellow food colouring over the rice.

Sprinkle the fried onion slices over the rice and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.

Simmer the breyani on the lowest heat setting until the rice has steamed through.

Gently toss the breyani and garnish with fresh coriander.



Serves 4

2 large brinjals

fine salt to sweat the brinjals

sunflower oil for frying brinjals

45ml sunflower oil

1 onion, finely chopped

5ml coarse salt

2 dried lime leaves

15ml crushed garlic

10ml red chilli powder

2 tomatoes, blanched and chopped

10ml ground coriander

5ml ground cumin

5ml garam masala

2.5ml turmeric

15ml Magic Masala

400ml coconut milk

Fresh coriander to garnish

Slice the brinjals into 2cm wedges and sprinkle with fine salt.

Leave the wedges in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. Dab off excess moisture with a paper towel. Heat oil in a large pan and fry the brinjal until golden brown.

Put the brinjal in a colander to drain, then pat gently with absorbent paper towel to remove excess oil.

Heat 45ml sunflower oil in a pot and sauté the onion with coarse salt until light golden brown. Stir in the lime leaves and crushed garlic. Sauté until fragrant before adding the red chilli powder.

Stir for 3-5 seconds and add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for a minute, stirring continuously to break the tomatoes down.

Add the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric. Simmer until the tomatoes resemble a thick paste. Add the Magic Masala and coconut milk. Simmer for 2-3 minutes on a low heat. Gently place the brinjal wedges in the sauce and warm through for a minute. Garnish with fresh coriander.

* Magic Masala is a spice blend bottled by Yudhika. Available at Broadacres Spar.



Makes 4 to 6

500ml fresh cream

4 green cardamom pods

10ml rose extract

6 egg yolks

75g sugar

red food colouring

castor sugar, to brûlée custards

rose petals, to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 140°C.

Place the cream and cardamom pods into a thick-bottomed pan.

Warm the cream until it bubbles up, remove from the heat, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Mix the egg yolks and sugar into a thick paste.

Re-heat the cream until comes to the boil. Gradually add the hot cream into the egg paste and whisk continuously.

Pour the mixture into a sieve placed over a large jug to remove any bits of egg and cardamom pods.

Add a few drops of red food colouring to tint the mixture.

Place the ramekins in a bain marie and pour in the custard mixture.

Fill the bain marie with boiling water until it reaches two thirds up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. The custards should still be wobbly in the centre. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight before serving.

TO SERVE: Sprinkle a teaspoon of castor sugar over the baked custards and caramelise with a blow torch.

Garnish with rose petals and serve immediately.



Serves 4 to 6 as a starter

750g cleaned Falklands calamari tubes

sunflower oil, to stir fry

salt to season

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 green chillies, finely chopped

500ml white wine

250ml fresh cream

juice of 2 lemons

freshly ground black pepper

chopped coriander

2 spring onions, chopped

Cut the cleaned calamari tubes into rings. Heat an electric pan or wok on high. Pour 30ml sunflower oil into the pan. Cook the calamari in batches and allow to brown before stirring. Season each batch with salt.

Remove from the pan and place in a warm dish. After the last batch has been cooked, turn the heat down and pour 10ml sunflower oil into the pan. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and light brown in colour.

Pour in the white wine and deglaze the pan. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid by half. Pour in the cream and chopped chillies.

Simmer until the sauce thickens. Pour the lemon juice over the calamari and stir well. Place the calamari in a serving dish and pour the creamy sauce over.

Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper, chopped coriander and spring onions over the calamari.



Serves 4

50ml sunflower oil

5ml carom seeds (ajwain)

1 large onion, finely chopped

7ml coarse salt

2 sprigs of curry leaves

4 cloves garlic, crushed

25ml red chilli powder

1 x 400g tinned whole tomatoes, chopped

10ml ground coriander

5ml ground cumin

5ml garam masala

2.5ml turmeric

1kg shelled and de-veined prawns

50ml fresh cream, optional

fresh coriander, to garnish

Heat the sunflower oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot. Add the carom seeds and sauté until they begin to splutter. Stir in the chopped onion and coarse salt. Sauté the onion until it turns a light golden brown.

Add the curry leaves and garlic and stir for 3-5 seconds. Move the onion and garlic over to the side of the pan. Add the red chilli powder on top of the cooked onions – this prevents the red chilli from burning.

Stir this for 3-5 seconds and then add the chopped tomatoes.

Sprinkle the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric over the tomatoes. Stir the mixture until the tomatoes soften and the sauce thickens. Use the back of a wooden spoon to break down any lumpy bits of tomato. Add the prawns to the sauce and simmer until the prawns turn pink. When the tails start to curl switch off the heat and stir gently. Pour the fresh cream over the prawns and garnish with fresh coriander.

* Carom seeds (ajwain) can be purchased at any Indian spice shop. Or use 5ml cumin seeds. - The Star