A Delhi Street Food Feature For Feast Magazine

Here’s a link to a feature I wrote for the Australian food magazine ‘Feast’. Photographer  Alan Benson and I did this in May when it was boiling, boiling hot and even I was finding it hard to eat huge amounts of deep-fried food!  At Dilli Haat craft market we were literally the only people at the food court.

Alan’s  photos are gorgeous though – Old Delhi never looked better and happily, there are no shots of my red, sweaty face in there!

Feast Feature


Orange and Cardamom Fig Rolls








In all the excitement of the article about me in The Telegraph, I completely forgot to post last weekend’s Mint recipe. I’ll confess my head was temporarily turned.

A huge thank you, though, to Telegraph food writer Xanthe Clay  who, along with photographer Heathcliff O’Malley came out from London a few weeks ago to attend one of our Upar Wali Chai tea parties.  They also ventured into Old Delhi to sample some of my favourite street food. Xanthe’s feature is lovely and Heathcliff’s pictures gorgeous – including a sweet one of the whole family – Spike the dog and all.

Anyway, back down to earth.  The fig rolls I wrote about in Mint last week are one of the best things I’ve made recently.  If, like me, you ate the packaged variety as a kid, you’ll wonder why you never tried making this far superior home made version.  The orange and cardamom are perfect partners for the soft sweet figginess.

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A Round-Up of Delhi’s Best Street Food

I recently put together this street food list for The Guardian newspaper to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.  I’m not sure how many athletes or officials have managed to get beyond the Games Village canteen to sample Delhi’s incredible street food but for anyone  intrigued by Delhi’s wonderful  street food, these are just a few of my all time favourites.

Best korma: Ashok and Ashok

If you only eat out once during your stay in Delhi, head for Ashok and Ashok: the chicken and mutton kormas here have been known to make grown men crumple. As well as boasting an edgy gangster heritage, A&A make chicken korma every day, mutton korma on Wednesday and Saturday (invariably sold out an hour after opening at 1pm) and biryani. The meat just melts, hinting at a magical mystery masala (apparently up to 30 different spices), pistachios, and a devilish pact with the ghee (clarified butter) tin.

42 Subhas Chowk, Basti Harphool Singh, Sadar Thana Road, Sadar Bazaar, Old Delhi

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Eat and Dust in Femina Magazine

A little feature in Femina magazine this week

Her wishes really are horses!
Specials: The foodventures of a Desi Videsi Sep 15, 2010 – 05:57 PM 

What are the odds of bumping into a British lady in the gullies of purani dilli, gleefully tucking in cholé kulchas, and daulat ki chaat, as if soon they’ll be out of fashion? Pretty high, if you go by the contents of Pamela Timms’ blog Eat and Dust.

Journalist and columnist, Pamela has been living in Delhi for five years now: tasting, eating, and chronicling Indian street food. In conversation with Rajani Mani, Pamela talks about her delicious obsession with India’s streets.

What inspires you to blog about food?
“I’ve been blogging now for just over a year.  I started Eat and Dust simply to chronicle all the wonderful food I eat in India.  I’ve always been obsessed with food but I also felt that Indian street food is often overlooked despite being some of the best food in the world.  I wanted to put that right and urge people to come away from food courts and get back out on the street.”

So what’s it like being out on the streets in Delhi?
“I think the Old Delhi-wallahs are quite amused at seeing an expat lady stopping at all the backstreet joints although some of them know me quite well now.”

What’s your favourite street food?
“One of the most memorable street food dishes I ever had was the Chole Kulcha at Old and Famous Kulcha in Amritsar.  I’m also a huge fan of the Korma at Ashok and Ashok in Sadar Bazaar and Bade Mian’s kheer in Lal Kuan.”

And your favourite cooking smell?
“I love the smell of anything being baked and I especially like the smell of raspberry jam being made – it reminds me of my mum’s kitchen. When we were kids we used to picks tons of raspberries during our holidays in Scotland and my mum used to turn it into jam for the inter.”

What are you craving for, at the moment?
“My ultimate comfort food is probably some kind of stew with dumplings and a huge pile of mash… or a perfectly-cooked steak with fries and béarnaise sauce and an extremely good red wine.  Having said that, a good Chole Bhatura is what I most often find myself craving these days.”

Where are you most likely to source your recipe from?
“I do occasionally use the internet for recipes but I’m a bit old school – I still much prefer cookbooks and return over and over to old favourites like Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson and Claudia Roden.  I’m also a huge admirer of Ottolenghi, the British-based Israeli chef.  I also have a huge collection of recipes I’ve cut out of magazines over the years.

Here’s a wonderful, summery recipe, a fresh cherry cake from one of my favourite old cookbooks, ‘La Cuisine Pour Tous’ by Ginette Mathiot.”


600g black cherries, washed, stalks and stones removed
125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g peeled and finely ground almonds
100 – 150g leftover brioche
100ml milk
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C

1. Melt the butter.
2. To the melted butter add the sugar, salt and ground almonds.  Beat well to mix.
3. Put the brioche in the milk to break it up then mix it into the butter mixture.
4. Beat in the eggs one by one then mix in the cherries.
5. Butter a tin (it should be a Charlotte mould but I use a deep rectangular baking tin) then pour in the mixture.
6. Bake for 30-45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7. Serve cold, sprinkled with Kirsch.

An Aunt’s Recipe and a Little Black Dress of a Cake

Here’s today’s ‘Piece of Cake’ column in Mint Lounge newspaper – it features a  family recipe for yogurt cake and this is what my kitchen looked like when photographer Priyanka was trying to get a shot of it….

Piece of Cake | Pamela Timms

I recently read about a woman who’d vowed to take her much-loved masala recipe to the grave, unmoved by pleas of family and friends to share. My heart breaks for her daughters: Despite having a cookbook collection which could fill a medium-sized library, the only one I’d brave a burning building for is my mum’s old handwritten recipe journal. It contains the story of my childhood and the food that made me the eater, cook, person I am.

Click here to view a slideshow on how to bake a yogurt cake

A good cook is made not born, her best recipes have been handed down, tweaked, transformed and adjusted; they have a personal history, a lineage, a soul. I don’t cook everything the same way my mother did—margarine has certainly been banished—but I always feel her at my shoulder in the kitchen, her mother and grandmother not far behind. And that’s an immensely comforting and inspiring kitchen to work in.

Decadent: Raspberries and lemon glaze turn this simple sponge cake   into a treat. Priyanka Parashar / Mint

Decadent: Raspberries and lemon glaze turn this simple sponge cake into a treat. Priyanka Parashar / Mint

Today’s yogurt cake comes from another relative and began its passage to India on one of Scotland’s far-flung islands back in 1975, when my aunt and uncle found themselves posted to Skye. While all their belongings, including kitchen scales and measuring cups, were still in storage, auntyji (as we refer to her after a recent visit to India) had been unable to do any baking. So she was delighted to tune into the Jimmy Young Programme, a popular radio show at the time, one morning and hear a recipe for yogurt cake requiring no special equipment, everything being measured out in the yogurt pot.

Auntyji’s cake is a moist, no-frills, never-let-you-down, little black dress of a cake; you can take it anywhere, dress it up, dress it down, reduce the sugar, omit eggs, and it will still be eager to please. In its unadorned 1970s form, it’s a soothing bite to accompany a cup of tea; with fruit and icing it becomes a gooey pudding. It’s had to adapt to life in India—the yogurt pots are a different size here—but has also already started winning friends. I took a mulberry-laced version to a dinner party the other night. We ate half of it immediately, then the host devoured what was left of it during a midnight raid on the fridge. The next morning, she was on the phone for the recipe.

Also See Previous columns by Pamela Timms

Here, I’ve made it into something quite decadent, with the addition of raspberries to the sponge and a tangy lemon glaze. And in the universal spirit of recipe-sharing, here it is.

Lemon and Raspberry Yogurt Cake


1 small (200ml) pot of natural yogurt

2 pots caster sugar

1 pot sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs

Zest of 2 small lemons (take care not to grate in any of the bitter white pith)

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 pots plain flour

1K tsp baking powder

K tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

200g fresh raspberries or other soft fruit

For the glaze

2 pots icing sugar

Juice of 2 small lemons


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, then line a loaf tin with baking parchment paper (it’s worth investing in real baking parchment instead of butter paper as it’s completely non-stick). I use a rectangular tin that measures 10×5 inches (26x13cm).

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In another large bowl, mix the yogurt, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla essence, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat the mixture well until smooth.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet until everything is well incorporated. The mixture will be more like a thick batter than a traditional cake mixture.

Pour half the mixture into the tin, sprinkle half the raspberries, then cover with the remaining mixture. Add the remaining raspberries, then put the tin immediately into the hot oven.

Make the glaze by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl and mixing with the juice of about two lemons.

When done, the cake should be firm on top and lightly brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. If not, put it back for 10 minutes.

When the cake is ready take it out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. When it’s cool enough to handle, turn it out on to a plate and drizzle with the glaze

Feature on Desi Thrift in Daily Telegraph

Shop and save the Indian way

Don’t waste your family budget on surplus food.

By Pamela Timms
Published: 12:00PM BST 23 Jul 2009

Shop and save the Indian way: Pamela Timms gets tips on food shopping from her friend Anita Dhanda at Hauz Khas market in New Delhi

Waste not, want not: Pamela Timms gets tips on food shopping from her friend Anita Dhanda at Hauz Khas market in New Delhi Photo: Tom Pietrasik

There’s a well-heeled woman at my gate handing over a couple of rupees for two slices of bread from the “boxwallah”, one of the legion of hawkers who tour Delhi neighbourhoods selling everything from carrots to clothes pegs. What kind of skinflint buys bread by the slice from a skinny man on a bicycle?

I can hardly believe it, but that woman is me. These days I’m just another thrifty local, but there was a time when I would snigger at the lengths to which middle-class Indians would go to save a few rupees. There was the billionaire who owned a shopping centre the size of Bluewater standing over her gardeners to make sure they saved every blade of grass for replanting; the old-money types saving elastic bands and wood from 30-year-old sofas; and our first landlady regularly checking our rubbish for signs of decadent Western waste, once scolding us for throwing out a half-empty box of sweets.
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Buns in the Basti

Photo by Tom Pietrasik

Photographer Tom and I had a lot of fun in Nizamuddin Dargagh the other day taking pictures for a feature on Scottish food in India.

Photo by Tom Pietrasik

Photo by Tom Pietrasik

I look like a mad Memsahib but this chap was a star.

photo by Tom Pietrasik

Photo by Tom Pietrasik

Not  many takers for my buns at the tandoor – one little boy took one then picked out all the currants.