Monday, 10 February 2014

Cooking with Vini & Bal's: Sweet Potato & Roasted Pepper Mirchi

It's fair to say that I'm not known for my excellence in food blogging (Exhibit A.  Exhibit B).  I am slapdash in the extreme in the kitchen and my photography is no better.  But I do love a curry; the more authentic the better, so when Vini & Bal's approached me to see if I'd like to try out their range of rustic Indian curry sauces, I was only too pleased to give them a go.  After all, they combine two of my favourite things (curry and laziness), so I knew that you lot would love them as much as I do.

Quick bit of info before we get started:  Vini & Bal's are a range of award winning, fresh curry sauces, invented by a husband and wife team who brought their home cooking to the market because they were frustrated with the poor quality, artificial flavouring and preservative packed jars of curry sauce that are available in the UK.  All four sauces in the range are vegetarian and gluten free with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and are very versatile, being used as marinades, cook-in sauces, soups and toppings.

Here I am, ready to cook and posing cheesily with their packaging.  Albeit back to front because I'm incapable of taking a selfie with the camera the right way around.

I decided to use the Fiery Mirchi sauce for this recipe because I'm bad-ass (you might wish to use the Jeera instead if you're less hardcore), and I teamed it with sweet potato and roasted peppers because it was the only stuff left in the fridge I felt that the sweetness would counteract the heat of the Mirchi nicely.


Tub of Vini & Bal's Fiery Mirchi sauce.
Sweet potato: some.
Whatever peppers you've got mouldering away at the back of the fridge.
Bit of onion.
Cooking oil spray.

1. Get out all your ingredients and admire.

2. Chop the peppers and onion.  Peel and chop the sweet potato into bite sized pieces.  You don't have to put everything into separate Emma Bridgewater dishes at this point, but if you do, you are clearly winning at life.

3. Put the peppers on a baking tray, spray with oil and put in a medium oven to roast while you wang on with the curry.

4. Sweat the onions in a little oil for 5 minutes, then add the sweet potato and the sauce (apart from a couple of tablespoons full which you're going to save in the fridge because I'm going to show you a seriously slack and filthy way to use this up later on this month).  Chuck in a cup of water or so, cover the pan and wander off to do something else for 20 minutes while the sweet potato softens and the sauce reduces.  I cleaned the bathroom in a bizarre fit of conscientiousness, but you don't have to resort to such an extreme activity.

5. Stroll back into the kitchen, take the peppers out of the oven and stir into the curry.  You might need to leave the pan uncovered so the sauce can reduce some more, or you might not.

6. Serve with rice.

Absolutely delicious and so easy.  Almost zero effort required and it tastes just as good as anything from the takeaway but much healthier.  The Mirchi was too hot for Rich, but that was OK with me because I got to put his portion in the fridge.  If there's one thing better than a curry, it's cold curry the next day.  I'm eating it right now.  Yes, I know that it's only 10am.  Yes, I'm aware that I am properly disgusting.

Give Vini & Bal's a go and let me know how you get on.  Their sauces are currently available at Ocado, Sainsbury's and Booths.  I'm just off to Twitter to try and prod Waitrose into stocking them in store because they're my local supermarket.  I'll be back with a couple more Vini & Bal's recipes throughout the month so keep your eyes peeled for more inspiration.


  1. I always knew you were a kindred spirit. If anything, I prefer cold curry the next day. I'm so jealous.

  2. Cold Curry on Toast is also good
    If i can bear the horror of waiting for a delivery might order some of Vini & Bal's sauce - if its as good as Masala Masala 's which was on sale in Waitrose.

  3. Cold curry the next day... You are such a student. Good in ya Lise