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Reena Pastakia
Stories written by Reena Pastakia
Reena grew up thinking Indian cooking was a dark art where the quantities of spices required in each dish were innately known to a chosen few. It was only after she married an Englishman with a voracious appetite for Indian food that she started phoning home for cooking tips. She started her blog (coconutraita.com) in an attempt to document her family’s recipes and make Indian cooking accessible to all.

Chilli-Roasted Cashews

Chilli-Roasted Cashews

This super-addictive snack is not for the faint of tastebuds, all that chili creates some serious heat.…

Egg Bhajia

Egg Bhajia

This is a vegetarian version of a scotch egg with a layer of mashed potatoes between the crispy crust and the hard boiled egg.…

Chili Chicken Curry

Chili Chicken Curry

You can adjust the number and type of chillies in the recipe to suit your desired heat level.…

Rocky Road Candies

Rocky Road Candies

The trick to elevating these treats above your normal store bought candy is to splurge for high-quality chocolate. …

Virgin Bombalada

Virgin Bombalada

The virgin bombalada - a spicy remake of the classic cocktail the virgin pina colada. Enjoy.…

Shallots in a Tamarind Sauce

Shallots in a Tamarind Sauce

Shallots have a more subtle flavour than onions and when they are cooked they are almost sweet.…

Easy Masala Mushroom Mix

Easy Masala Mushroom Mix

The yogurt makes this low fat recipe taste much richer than you would expect whilst also muting the intensity of the spices.…

Pink Ginger Cordial Drink

Pink Ginger Cordial Drink

Pink ginger cordial is the perfect drink for both summer and winter. On a hot summer day it makes a refreshing beverage when served over ice.…

Masala Spice Blend Chai Tea

Masala Spice Blend Chai Tea

Masala chai is tea prepared with a blend of spices. The tea leaves are heated with the water, milk and spices from cold as opposed to already hot water.…

Masala Mackerel with Cumin Spiced Mushy Peas

Masala Mackerel with Cumin Spiced Mushy Peas

The cumin spiced mushy peas in this recipe are both simple and delicious.…

Spiced Mushroom Tart

Spiced Mushroom Tart

Enjoy Reena Pastakia's awesome spiced mushroom tart that costs nothing to make.…

Cheap Mini Break – Parisian Treats

Cheap Mini Break – Parisian Treats

On a recent trip to Paris, Reena Pastakia selflessly spent ten days eating her own body weight in tasty delights.…

Blackberry and Aniseed Sorbet

Blackberry and Aniseed Sorbet

Reena Pastakia shows us her amazing blackberry sorbet recipe.…

Tamarind Margaritas

Tamarind Margaritas

These are perfect - not so frozen so they'll give you head freeze, and perfectly balanced.…

Bangladeshi Lamb with Rice

Bangladeshi Lamb with Rice

Despite the long list of instructions this is really simple to make - give it a go.…

Star Anise and Vanilla Poached Pears

Star Anise and Vanilla Poached Pears

Here is a fantastic recipe for Valentine's - a reasonably healthy dessert with flavours that will surely cleanse your palate.…

Diary of a Trainee Chef

Diary of a Trainee Chef

Last year, Reena Pastakia quit her job to sign up for an Intensive Cordon Bleu Diploma course. Here she tells us about the first weeks.…

Golden Chocolate and Almond Burfi

Golden Chocolate and Almond Burfi

This recipe is significantly less sweet than the shop bought variety, covered with a chocolate ganache to give it a luxurious quality.…

Interview with Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar

Interview with Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar

Atul Kochhar is an Indian born, British based chef and is widely acclaimed for his take on modern Indian cuisine. Reena Pastakia visited him in his restaurant Benares.…

Dream Job Interview – Fortnum & Mason’s Confectionary and Bakery Buyer – Natalie Griggs

Dream Job Interview – Fortnum & Mason’s Confectionary and Bakery Buyer – Natalie Griggs

Thinking that being a confectionary and bakery buyer at a luxury food and wine store would be a dream job? Well, you're probably right.…

Film Review – Canned Dreams

Film Review – Canned Dreams

Reena Pastakia checked Canned Dreams at the London Film Festival. Here she shares her thoughts about it.…

An Interview with Eric from Books for Cooks in Notting Hill, London

An Interview with Eric from Books for Cooks in Notting Hill, London

It is perhaps surprising that while most independent bookshops are struggling, Books for Cooks - a bookshop dedicated to cooking is thriving. …

London – An Interview with Sustainable Caterers Squid and Pear

London – An Interview with Sustainable Caterers Squid and Pear

Squid and Pear is an award winning, UK based street food and event catering company run by sisters Claire and Lisa.…

Russian Ambitions – An Interview with Michelin-starred Chef Hélène Darroze

Russian Ambitions – An Interview with Michelin-starred Chef Hélène Darroze

Hélène Darroze’s third restaurant is scheduled to open in Moscow at the end of October. Reena Pastakia met with her to find out more.…

Does Food Have to be Authentic to be Good?

Does Food Have to be Authentic to be Good?

Why are we so obsessed with the authenticity of a recipe or a dish? Isn't it more important that it actually tastes good?…

Sixty Second Interview with Shelina Permalloo – MasterChef 2012 Winner

Sixty Second Interview with Shelina Permalloo – MasterChef 2012 Winner

Shelina Permalloo was crowned winner of UK MasterChef 2012. Reena Pastakia managed to squeeze into her schedule to ask her a few questions.…

Eating in London – Catering in Canary Wharf

Eating in London – Catering in Canary Wharf

In the second of a two-part series Reena Pastakia shares some of the best places to eat in Canary Wharf. By Reena Pastakia If you are visiting London on business there is a high probability that you will be visiting…

A Perfect Day of Eating in Warsaw, Poland

A Perfect Day of Eating in Warsaw, Poland

For breakfast, lunch and dinner in Warsaw, Poland, Reena Pastakia has a suggestion for the perfect day.…

Eating in London – Sustenance and the City

Eating in London – Sustenance and the City

In the first of a two-part series Reena Pastakia shares some of the best places to eat in the City of London. …

Wimbledon 2012 – Where to Eat and Drink

Wimbledon 2012 – Where to Eat and Drink

If you were lucky enough to secure tickets for the tennis at Wimbledon this year, here are some of the best places to eat and drink.…

Interview with Angela Malik – Founder of the Angela Malik Cook School

Interview with Angela Malik – Founder of the Angela Malik Cook School

Reena Pastakia caught up with Angela Malik to find out more about her “five taste sensations” ethos and her career to date.…

Burma – a Gourmet Getaway?

Burma – a Gourmet Getaway?

Reena Pastakia had high expectations on Burmese cuisine. Did it live up to them?…

Guide – Where to Eat and Drink in London, England

Guide – Where to Eat and Drink in London, England

If you are planning to visit London this summer, here are a few refreshment stops to provide sustenance as you travel between events.…