Saturday, 20 November 2010

Garam Masala Swede Cakes

The Swiss chard, lentil and mango chutney pie I made a few days ago has been shrinking happily in quantity. However, the puff pastry no longer flaky, but claggy and soft. So it was not enough to reheat and serve two hungry people an evening meal. So I decided to remove the pastry and accompany the the remains with Garam masala Swede cakes. In Urdu and Hindi, Garam means warm and masala means mixture. Garam masala is a traditional condiment used in traditional South Asian cuisines to impart a certain flavour, much in the same way salt and pepper is in Western cuisine. As a child, I used to like shaking it all over homemade (orange lentil) dal. Every South Asian (M)Ummy jee (Mama) has her own take or family recipe on garam masala, but traditionally it includes black cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cardamon, coriander, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm not a huge fan of cardamon, so don't often include it in mine. But then again, I don't make my own. I always get my mother to make me some. She always manages to put in the right quantity and gets the balance right. It stores well too.

Anyway, back to this recipe. The swede has been sitting in my vegetable basket now for over two weeks. I have to admit, I had bought the Swede to make some Garam masala Swede soup, but I think a change is in order as I've eaten a number of meals in the past few days with a spoon. So instead of making the named soup, I used the same flavours, just different presentation. These Swede cakes are not firm as other vegetable cakes featured on my blog. Swede is a mushy veg, so the cakes with be soft. But that should be okay for those of you who like your mash.
Spiced Garam Masala Swede Cakes
Makes about 8
Medium Swede, peeled and chopped
200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chilli falkes or 1 red chilli, sliced (remove seeds if you wish)
Salt to taste
Fresh or dried breadcrumbs for coating*
Olive or sunflower oil for shallow frying
In two separate pots, either steam or cook the swede and potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes or until soft.
While it cooks, slowly fry the garlic and shallots in the oil, until soft and caramelized – this will take about 15 minutes. Halfway through the process, add the spices and cook for a few minutes more.
Drain the swede and potatoes in a sieve. When cool enough, mash both until smooth. Then combine the mashed vegetables along with the shallot mix. Season with salt to taste, before forming into cakes.
Spread breadcrumbs into a dish and coat the cakes on both sides in the breadcrumbs. Put into fridge to firm up, until ready to cook.
Drizzle enough oil in a frying pan. Heat until quite hot and carefully add each cake. Cook until golden on each side, about 3 minutes. Make sure the sides of the cakes get browned as well.
*Optional: I have added a pinch of red chilli flakes and salt to the breadcrumbs for extra flavour and colour.


  1. Do you think your Ummy jee would send us all a packet of Garam Masala? )))) Thanks for the translations, "I didn't know that!".

    Bet these cakes were delicious, especially with the secret recipe and the flakes of chilli. Beautifully presented I might add.

  2. excellent! it's funny because i have a whole bottle of garam masala and wanted more ideas for using it :)

  3. I'm not sure what a swede is? They do look good though!

  4. You are so welcome and Thank you and Gardening Bren.
    I shall ask her :D
    We still have 5 in the fridge. Some to be consumed tomorrow (maybe) or later in the week.
    The evenings are getting dark, so the photographs are not the best at the moment, but I do appreciate your lovely comment.

    I am so pleased that you will now start shaking your bottle of garam masala over veg. Soup is certainly is brilliant way to use it.

    Hi Becky.
    I should have taken a photograph of the Swede, as it does cause confusion in parts of the U.K. Some peopel calling it Turnip, others Swede. If you follow the link for the Garam masala swede soup and read the comments, you will either become enlightened or confused more. Kind wishes.

  5. These look lovely. It's a very wet, windy day here (spring has vanished for the weekend) and I think these will make a fabulous dinner. Thanks!

  6. Thank you so much KitchenMaid.
    Sadly the sun is hiding here too and winter is coming in too soon for my liking.
    I would advise putting them in the fridge to firm up before you shallow fry them. Sincerely Hope you enjoy.

  7. I didn't like swede as a child and really must give it another chance, especially as these look so good

  8. LOL, we must be magically connected. I just posted my recipe for vegetable cutlets :-) I am looking forward to trying these though, can I substitute turnip for swede, do you think? I have about a kilo of turnips that need using up.

  9. I have yet to warm up to the humble swede, and yet they keep arriving in the organic box. Perhaps a bit of garam masala would improve things. I'll have to try this.

  10. Well, I really must start eating swede now! :-)


  11. Great idea MC. I've managed to grow tons of swede so I need more swede recipes!.

    Don't like cardamon??? Mind you the ones sold here are pretty much dehydrated. My daughter brought some back from India (they were mysteriously packeted in bags in surplus prawn packets - nothing waste) and were large with sticky seeds. We've run out now and bemoaning how hard it is to get the real thing here. (I just wouldn't use the "East End" product anymore after this.)Anyone have a supplier?

  12. I find garam masala quite sweet but use it sometimes - however I have learnt to buy it from a proper Indian shop not from a supermarket. I like the idea of these cakes - they would be just the thing for your stew

  13. molto sfiziose e gustose...ciao buona domenica

  14. Thank you Nicisme.
    So lovely to hear from you. It has been a while. I have to admit i don't like swede much, but have found it palateable spiced up a little.

    Thank you Michelle Peters - Jones.
    I think you may be right :)
    I think you should be able to substitute turnip for swede, the flavour will be slightly different though, but still flavourful.

    Please do make either this recipe of my soup recipe and I am convinced you will warm up to the humble swede. Its not a veg. i'd ordinarily pick, but liek the cauliflwoer - I am giving it another chance and finding ways that I have been enjoying eat it.

    Thanks Alessandra.
    Please do give these a go or the soup :-)

  15. Thank you so much Mal.
    I have to be honest, Swede is not a veg. I particularly enjoy eating or grew up eating, but I am pleased to say that I am finding ways of enjoying it, esp during the cold days.

    I can eat cardamon, but if given the choice I prefer not to. My mother used to make milky chai in my childhood days and the chai was heavily spiced with cardamon. I am sure this has got something to do with my aversion to cardamon in my adult days.

    I agree those sold in the U.K are dehydrated, but unfortunately that is all that is available to us here. It is very unlikely you will get the fresh version with sticky seeds. And as much as I hate to admit it, "East End" is one of the best brands there is.

    Perhaps one of my readers will be able to respond to your request of a supplier of fresh cardomon in the U.K. I have to admit though, I have never ever seen fresh here.

    PS I have not forgotten your request.
    Kind wishes

    Johanna GGG.
    I guess it depends what brand you get, if it is sweet I am assuming it contains a lot of cardamon which I would avoid, as it should not be sweet at all, but delicately spicy. Glad to note that you have found a proper Indian shop - they are more likely to sell brnds that South Asian families are likely to use at home, unlike those brands found at some supermarkets.

    Thank you So, so much Puffin.

  16. I guess I am not familiar with the humble swede either, Mango, but I would liken it to a parsnip perhaps? Your swede cakes would be reason enough to eat it, though.

  17. Hi Barbara.
    Promise to post a photograph of the Swede in the very near future. I am sure I will be cooking with it again, esp. with St Andrews Day in Scotland.

    Its very different from parsnip, though it does have a sweetness.

  18. oh wow, these look fantastic! I love garam masala and what a fun way to use it! I will definitely give this a try soon. Great job!

  19. Thank you so much Ellen.
    If you do get roudn to making these, please do come by and let me know. Many thanks.

  20. Yum, I could happily eat a few of them right now...will have to go searching in the fridge to find something to substitute.

  21. Appreciate the reply MC.

    BTW I have posted pictures of my current crop chez moi!

  22. Thanks Mal.

    You know that I'll be coming over with my big Brown envious eyes.


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