Don’t Tell Aunty in Sydney’s Surry Hills has won diners over with its “inauthentic Indian” since opening the doors to its peacock-blue and sherbet-pink space last October. It doles out butter chicken that doesn’t have any butter in it, deep-fried cauliflower that’s served with a Manchurian sauce and naan “pizza” made with spiced tomato sauce and topped with fontina cheese and green-mango pickle-butter. It’s Indian food, but not as we know it – much like these kebabs, which owner Jessi Singh also calls croquettes.
“These soft and creamy kebabs are a great starter and very easy to make. I was born in North Punjab to a farming family so I grew up surrounded by a lot of buffalos and cows,” he tells Broadsheet. “I have an incredibly distinct memory of my whole family getting up at 4am every day to milk the buffalos. That was my first introduction to the dairy world. Yoghurt was the first thing I ever learned from my mum so making handmade yoghurt, butter and lassi has been the foundation of my cooking career.
“Normally in India we only use buffalo milk to make yoghurt as it’s incredibly creamy. But in Australia, it can obviously be very hard to find fresh buffalo milk, so it’s completely fine for people to substitute with other yoghurt options.”
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You need hung yoghurt for this dish. Hung yoghurt is yoghurt drained of all its water and can be made easily at home. Tie yoghurt in a muslin cloth and leave it hanging overnight or until all the water drains out.
Yoghurt kebab with beet and ginger sauce
Makes 4–6 pieces
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus draining yoghurt
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients for kebabs:
400g hung yoghurt
30g fresh ginger
20g garlic, peeled
30g small green chilli
5g cardamom powder
Salt, to taste
Ingredients for beet and ginger sauce
200g hung yoghurt
100g beetroot, washed and cut into small pieces
5g fresh ginger
Sugar and salt, to taste
To make the kebabs:
Put ginger, garlic and chilli in a food processor for a few minutes to make a thick paste.
In a large bowl, gently combine the paste, yoghurt, cardamom powder, sugar and salt to taste.
Divide into 4–6 small patties and coat with breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat and cook patties gently until brown on both sides.
To make the sauce:
Put beetroot, ginger, chilli and salt and sugar in a blender and make a fine puree.
Combine the beet puree with the hung yoghurt.
Serve yoghurt kebab with beet sauce.