Butternut Squash Ceviche Taco…a Peruvian journey.



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My older son Evann came home with a piece of paper and the header screamed “House MasterChef” at his school. Along with it the rules of combat and the ingredients that need to be used. So we spent a weekend chatting, Bhanu, Evann and myself.

We looked back upon our many journeys to Guadalope, Pacasmayo, Trujillo and realised that we never ever wrote in this blog about our journeys in Lima, the local cuisine is highly influenced by the Incas and the cuisines from Europe( mostly Spain,Germany and Italy), Asian( predominantly China & Japan). Peru’s staple food is Corn, Potatoes, Tubers and Quinoa. They still use many ancient grains and beans in their food. Peruvian food has become more popular in the recent years. It is a very interesting country simply for the produce you find there like prickly pear, guanabana, or the dragon fruit to name a few. I have always been intrigued on my many journeys, and  the time spent with locals cooking fresh fish with Aji Peppers would remind me of humble an origin this cuisine has. It is simple but tasteful purely because of the local produce and cooking traditions.

I would need an entire year to write of the Peruvian culture and food. This blog today we present a dish influenced by the Peruvian cuisine and the extensive use of Corn. To keep with the brief that my son brought home we made a Ceviche using butternut squash, and you will be surprised that it does not require to be cooked, the ceviche dressing will slowly mature the squash, and its presented in a fun way way that kids love to eat – a Taco. We then gave the dish a Mexican twist by using Pico De Gallo, Guacamole and a Lemon Mayonnaise and of course with a shot of Virgin Mojito. Buen Provecho !!

Butternut  Squash Ceviche Taco.

Taco :

10″ Corn Tortilla – Cut into a 7cm x 7cm and using the back of a muffin tray lay it with the curved side at the bottom in between the mould and cook at 165c for about 6-7minutes, ensure you don’t burn it. Leave aside to cool.


Tortilla for Taco

Butternut Squash Ceviche:

Ceviche Dressing –

Lime – 2 Lime, with the juices squeezed

Garlic – 1/2 teaspoon, finely chopped

Red Onion – 1 teaspoon, finely chopped

Coriander – 1 teaspoon, finely chopped

Red Chilli – 1/2 teaspoon, finely chopped

Salt – to taste

Butternut Squash Prep:

Peel and chop finely, 60gm of Butternut Squash. Then add 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Rest for ten minutes then add Ceviche Dressing for 20 minutes, strain and leave aside.

Virgin Mojito:

Sugar – 2 tablespoons

Hot Water – 1 teaspoon

Lime – Juice of 1 lime

Mint – 4 Leaves

Ice Cold Water – 2 tablespoons

Put hot water into the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then add the lime juice and mint and bruise the mint with a spoon, add cold water and strain through a fine strainer and store chilled in a shot glass rimmed with salt.

Pico de Gallo:

Baby Plum Tomato – 50gm, diced small

Red Onion – 1 tablespoon, finely chopped

Red Chilli – 1 teaspoon, finely chopped

Coriander – 1 tablespoon, finely chopped

Lime – juice of 1/2 lime

Salt – to taste

Mix together all the chopped ingredients add seasoning.


Avocado – 1/2, skin removed

Garlic – 1/2 tsp, finely chopped

Coriander – 1 tsp, finely chopped

Red Pepper – 1/2 tsp, finely diced

Red Onion – 1 tsp, finely chopped

Salt – to taste


Iceberg – 30gm finely shredded

Red Radish – 3 thinly sliced rounds

Red Pepper – 1 tsp, finely chopped

Lime Mayo

Mini Tortilla Crisps

Coriander Leaves





Street Foods of the World



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Street Foods of the World – Bhajia/ Bhajji/ Pakora ….

Street foods are ready to eat, small pieces of food that originate from a region or a street or even a mere common place on a street. Vendors sell them or hawkers in uniquely presented vans, booths or trucks. The Taste Magicians endeavor to bring to you in a series of blogs, from our travels around the world, from Pompeii to the Grand bazaar of Istanbul, to Cairo, to the streets of Spain and as far as Lima and New York City. We even take our journey to Japan, Jakarta, Singapore to China and India.

In this series we visit India for its famous Bhajia/ Bhajji/ or Pakora. Call it what you may, but these are definitely the most popular street foods that have found their way into every Indian restaurant in the west. But in reality these are freshly cooked at every nook and corner in India. In the south, the “tea kadai” or the “chai walla” in the north, often has these cooking around the clock. But evening is probably the best time to cherish these delicacies and with a cup of “cutting chai”.


Bhajji – freshly cooked at a Street Shop

We have here recipes of Gujarat Na Bhajia – the Gujarati origin, but made famous in West Kenya, by migrant Indians. There is also the Loyola Vengayam (onion) Pakora. In England an Onion Bhaji will merely be a big chunk of Gram Flour with some onions in it, made famous by the Bangladeshi Restaurateurs. But the south of India these pakoras are loads of onions, softened with salt and gram flour dusted on it to absorb moisture.

Onion Pakora :

This is a recipe from Arun’s Tea Kadai (Tea shop) opposite Loyola College in Chennai where I was pursuing my Degree in the 90’s. He would make this just as our break was about to begin. That coupled with a glass of tea from the ‘master’ (as the chef was called), was divine. We have tweaked it; after all we are the magicians of taste!


4 – Onions, medium size, sliced lengthwise

2 Tbsp Mint leaves chopped

2 Tbsp Coriander leaves chopped

2 Tbsp Curry Leaves chopped

1 Tsp Fennel

1 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Ajwain (Carom Seeds)

2 Green Chillies finely chopped

1 Tbsp Ginger finely chopped

½ Tsp Salt

½ Cup Gram Flour

2 Tbsp Rice Flour

1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder

1 Tsp Cumin Powder

½ Tsp Turmeric Ground

¼ Tsp Asafoetida (Hing)

¼ Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Oil for Deep-frying.


  1. To the onions add all the ingredients up to the salt, rest for about 30 minutes. This is where the salt draws out the water from the onions.
  2. Pre heat the oil to 165-175°C
  3. Now add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. The gram flour should just about coat the onions and hold it together.
  4. Take lemon sized balls of the onion mix and flatten and carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry till golden brown and remove on to kitchen paper towel to absorb excessive oil.

Onion Bhajji and Gujarat Na Bhajiya with Chai.

Gujarat Na Bhajiya:

This is a recipe preserved and mastered by Bhanu while he was in Vadodara, honing his Chef skills. It’s a traditional Gujarati recipe made famous by Maru’s in West Kenya. We have here a traditional version.


3 Potatoes – Large Maris Piper

½ Tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Ginger finely chopped

1 Tbsp Garlic finely chopped

1 Tbsp Green Chilli finely Chopped

1 Tbsp Coriander fine chopped

½ Tsp Turmeric Ground

½ Tsp Red Chilli Powder

½ Tsp Garam Masala Powder

¼ Tsp Chaat Masala

5 Tbsp Gram Flour

1 Tbsp Rice Flour

1 Tbsp Corn Flour

½ Tsp Lemon Juice

¼ Tsp Asafoetida


  1. Wash and peel Potatoes, then using a mandolin slice them very thin (about 2mm)
  2. To the sliced potato add all the ingredients up to the chaat masala. Rest for about 30 minutes.
  3. Pre heat the oil to 165-175°C
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Deep fry until golden brown and rest on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.


1/2 Cup Cucumber grated

1 Cup Tomato finely chopped or grated

2 Tbsp Carrot finely grated

2 Cloves Garlic, crushed and chopped

2 Tbsp Coriander finely chopped

4 Green Chillies finely chopped

2 Tbsp Lemon juice

1 Tbsp Sugar

½ Tbsp tamarind pulp

2 Tsp Salt


Blend together all of the ingredients for the chutney, until coarsely puréed. Alternatively place in a chopper and use the pulse to grind coarse, to make it rustic you could just grate or chop all the ingredients and mix together. Keep chilled in a refrigerator.

Don’t forget there is nothing like a glass of ‘chai’ made with tea leaves, ginger, cardamom and mint, and whole milk.


The Taste Magicians – bringing, Street food of the World to you!

The Tomato Soup Trail… the journey to the passion called FOOD


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The Journey called Food – my soup trail…

Soup has always been my comfort food, the bowl I could fall back on, when I need my palate to be awakened. In this blog we bring you a soup that we’ve all been fond of since our childhood. Probably, the best known of soups and the most consumed. Topped with some fresh cream and a crunchy crouton it’s a foodie heaven. We introduced this version to some children at a school and they loved it! We won too we got them to have a fair share of their daily intake of healthy vegetables minus the ‘Fuss’. Brings back childhood memories, eh! Now why don’t you make this for you children or for yourself and join us in this journey to the Passion called Food.

Cream of tomato soup

Cream of Tomato soup

buon appetito!

Cream of Tomato Soup – Ingredients

1Kg Tomatoes, ripe

4Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion, medium, chopped

1 Carrot, peeled & diced

1 Celery stick, peeled  & diced

½ Courgette, diced

½ Red Pepper, diced

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

2Tbsp Tomato Puree

½ Cup Basil, chopped

1Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

600ml Vegetable Stock

1Tbsp Sugar

¼ Tsp Black Pepper, ground

¼ Tsp Salt

2Tbsp Double Cream


  1. Bring to boil a pot of water.
  2. Cut an ‘X’ on the tomato, and blanch in the boiling water for about a minute and immediately plunge into ice cold water. Then peel the skin and chop the tomatoes.
  3. In a pan put oil and sauté the onion, carrot, celery, courgette, red pepper and garlic. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Now add the tomato purée and cook for another 2-3 minutes taking care not to burn it. Add the chopped tomato.
  5. Now add the vegetable stock and all the other ingredients, except the Double cream.
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes
  7. Blend to a fine puree and serve with Bread and a swirl of double cream.

Can Life Be Defined In 3 Courses

A Passion Called FOOD – a Journey

 Can life be defined in three courses?

I sat down to a prix-fixe meal recently and pondered this question as a quite waiter effortlessly served me meal after plated meal. Could I define my life in three courses? Could I choose three dishes that have irrevocably influenced my life?

Sure, why not? But it was easier thought than done because my passion for food is wrapped around memories of growing up and influences of flavours and tastes from various milestones in life. It is never easy to choose three dishes from millions to portray life as it is happened so far. But, here and now I’m going to try and link places, memories and tastes that have forever changed my life.

my passion for food is wrapped around memories!

So let me turn to the very first influence in all our lives; that strong force that guides our tastes even before we have understood what it means – our parents.

I still turn to my Mother when I am stuck at a particular point in a recipe or the Chef in me has lost his direction. She always bails me out with simple, classic ideas. While her cooking holds supreme influence in my life, the choices I have made are personal and cannot be compared to her cooking. Keeping that in mind, my Starter choice has to be from the place of my birth – Mumbai.

my mothers cooking holds supreme influence in my life!

To love Mumbai is to love its street food. Nothing can beat the flavours and tastes of Chowpatty. I retain fond memories of my uncle taking me on a 45-minute journey to the beach and the smorgasbord of food it offered afterwards.

So for the starter I have chosen three dishes that look complicated to make, but are actually simple to execute, and the tastes will have you tripping to a different tune. The undisputed kings of Mumbai Street food are the Vada Pao, Paani Poori and Bhel Puri.


I have broken down the recipe and documented every part minutely. Not one step or process can be missed out if you want to experience Chowpatty itself on your taste buds. The three dishes are a tribute to the progress I have made from Dharavi to where I am now.

Moving on to the main course; it’s a dish from a community that was important to lifestyle, my music and my way of living. I learnt from them dance and making tasty food using minimalistic provisions. Anglo-Indians are a community of mixed Indian and British ancestry. They are folks with a large heart and no house visit is ever complete without a drink and a hearty meal.

my lifestyle, my music and my way of living

One such hearty meal that captured my senses was the quintessential Ball Curry and Coconut rice combination. And, of course, which Anglo household is complete without Pepper Water? So these form the main body of the second course.



The human soul craves comfort, and nothing comforts us more than a beautifully cooked dessert. One such dessert is Gajjar Ka halwa – my claim to fame dish when in catering school. This dish defines my all consuming passion for food. It needs a lot of patience to cook… there is no way it can be rushed, and it has to be cooked mesmerizingly slowly.


This was the first dish I perfected in college; I still recall the moment I was making it with great passion. There is a lot to learn from this dish made with the humble carrot, but which with time and patience turns out to be an elegant end to a meal.

time  &  patience  &  elegance

Just like no journey or passion is complete without the stories we tell about it, no dish is complete without being perfectly presented. A well-presented dish becomes a visual landscape of captivating beauty. Here, on this blog, I hope to give you a visual experience to match the culinary explosions of taste, smell and texture.

Stay with me. Journey with me. Discover your passion with me. Define your life in three courses with me.

Define Your Life in 3 Courses?

The Sweetest Dessert.. in this journey to the passion called food..

My Journey to the Passion called food, will never be complete without the first dish I learnt to make at Catering school, ooops…my blog has been hijacked by my 10-year-old son Evann (he has now decided that he will write the next blog for me…

My Dad has a sweet tooth, he loves his Indian sweets but he just loves carrot halwa (Gajjar Ka Halwa in Hindi). It had begun from when he was in catering college; he adores this dish because it was the first dessert he ever made. He also loves eating sweet’s. This dish will stay in his heart forever, as it is the most special dish for him. My father still has this dish stuck in his mind and he can never stop talking about how he made it the first time, it so fresh in his memory. He has made this dish before for us, and it had an amazing taste. He is the best cook at home and makes the best food for my family and me. He is the best father to have and we all love him dearly and always will, he gives me everything I need. He is the best dad ever! My name is Evann Noel Sasikumar and I’m the son of this amazing father, Amal Sasikumar. I will now be writing these blogs for my dad. I am ten years old and I’m in grade 5 my school’s name is Corpus Christi, it is a catholic primary school and is in New Malden, my birthday is on the 25th of December (Christmas day). I stay in a small house with my parents and my siblings; both my parents give my siblings and me a good upbringing. Every day we’re learning something new in the world because of my fantastic parents.

I am proud to present to you this blog on Gajjar Ka Halwa, the recipe has been triple tested and you will need to tweak it according to your sweet tooth. If you like this please leave a comment below but most importantly like the page and share with your friends.   Evann Noel Sasikumar



The Recipe for Gajjar Ka Halwa ( A carrot cake)

Serves : 12         Preparation Time: 45 Minutes


1 kg Carrot

500 ml Milk

250 gm Khoya

1 cup Sugar

2 Tsp Ground Cardamom

4 tbsp Desi Ghee

Kewra Essence – few drops

25 gm Sultanas

10 gm Pistachio

1 Edible Silver Paper


  1. Take a heavy bottom pan and add 1 tbsp of Ghee and sauté the carrot for about 2-3 minutes, then add the milk and reduce the flame and let it simmer till all the milk dries up.
  2. To the dry mix add sugar and powdered Cardamom and the rest of the ghee and let that also dry then add khoya (reserve 25g for garnish), cook until the ghee leaves the sides
  3. Add the essence and raisins cook for a minute and let it set cool in a square tray
  4. Garnish with pistachios. Edible Silver paper and grated khoya




Street Food – Where seriously good food and passion meet.


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This gallery contains 1 photo.

Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is where I spent my childhood in , through the lanes by the ‘100 feet road’, every evening …

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up next …….The Journey to the Passion Called FOOD!!


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Can life be defined in three courses?

I sat down to a prix-fixe meal recently and pondered this question as a quite waiter effortlessly served me meal after plated meal. Could I define my life in three courses? Could I choose three dishes that have irrevocably influenced my life?

Coming up Next on this Blog….


The Big Mexican Breakfast – Huevos Rancheros

Breakfast is a Vital part of our day, having a balanced breakfast keeps you energetic and helps you get through your day having accomplished a lot more, here in this blog and a few more to follow we are going to table a series of breakfast quickies, so what are you waiting for lets have a Mexican Breakfast, here we present to you a very classic Mexican dish that can be had any time of the day not just breakfast and if you love eggs you can have it all day, so Salud! ENJOY!


6 tbsp olive oil1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 dried chillies, finely chopped
1 scant tsp smoked paprika
400 g (14.1oz) can chopped tomatoes
0.5 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300 g (10.6oz) cooked waxy potatoes, cut into 2cm (3/4in) dice
200 g (7.1oz) spicy chorizo, cut into 2cm (3/4in) dice
4 eggs2 
tbsp chopped coriander



Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a small, heavy saucepan. Add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chillies, and paprika, and fry gently for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and parsley, and bring to the boil. Season, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.When the salsa has reduced to a thick, dark sauce, remove from the heat and mash it with a potato masher. Set aside.In a large, heavy frying pan, heat the remaining oil. Fry the potatoes for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry for 5 minutes more, until everything is well browned.Take the pan from the heat and stir in the tomato salsa. Make 4 large holes in the mixture and crack the eggs into the holes.Return the pan to the heat and fry the eggs for 5 minutes, or until cooked as you prefer. Sprinkle with the coriander and serve from the pan, with tortillas or crusty bread on the side.