Parveen The Spice Queen: Making something out of nothing

Straight from the ovenStraight from the oven
Straight from the oven
Isometimes get accused by my family and friends of being a drama queen. I do declare - I don't know what they mean?... well I suppose I do really, I'm only jesting. Those of you who know me, know that I DO have flair for the dramatic... my husband often says that I make something out of nothing!.. and he doesn't mean in terms of my food, he means in life. Well, yes, I CAN make something out of nothing - and I am talking about food now, not life. I am just not a fan of throwing food away, and I hate waste.

So, I will often used leftovers to make a meal. We live in such a throw-a-way society, people can be too quick just to discard food as well as things like, clothes, furniture, shoes... etc.

Ok, I am going to get off my soap box now and talk about how to make the most of your leftovers. I believe with a right method, little spice, and lots of TLC, you can make a meal from a lonely leftover leek, a slightly wrinkled bell pepper and a sweet potato which is feeling a little sorry for itself - see, I told you I had a flair for the dramatic! The reason I mentioned these particular vegetables, is because that exactly what I used to make a meal at the weekend. I did my one hour show on Hochanda TV, where I demonstrated how to cook chicken masala and pan fried tandoori chicken. Even though its only an hour on screen, I worked over 10 hours to prep, organise, cook, tidy and clean. I got home ready to kick back and watch Strictly and XFactor but realised that I had raw chicken that needed to be cooked or it would go off. Not wanting to throw it away, I decided to cook it but actually had no energy to pan fry my pan fried chicken!.. my feet were killing me and all I wanted to do was sit down. So, I made myself a well deserved cup of tea, sat at my kitchen table and sliced up a red onion, a leek, sweet potato and a yellow bell pepper, added a little yogurt, oil, lemon juice, salt, chilli and cumin. It took 5 mins to prepare. I then threw it in a hot oven on high for 30mins - job done! As you can see by the photo, it came out quite well even though I do say so myself.

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For a free spice bag to make my pan fried tandoori chicken, just email me at: [email protected]. For further tips, watch me cook it on my Youtube Channel.


Prep time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Makes between 20 to 25 pieces


2 chicken breasts

1 tbsp plain yoghurt

1 tsp of chilli powder*

1 tsp of tandoori powder*

½ tsp of coriander seed powder*


2 tsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled

1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil

1 tsp salt


1. Cut chicken into medallions (1cm thick) pieces.

2. In a large bowl, add the yoghurt, salt, lemon juice, chilli powder, coriander powder, tandoori powder and mix together. Now add chicken pieces and coat thoroughly. Leave to marinade at room temperature for 5 mins.

3. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of oil into a frying pan and heat until oil is hot.

4. Carefully place chicken pieces in the pan. Make sure you leave space between each piece, so you should be able to pan fry 6 or 7, depending on the size of your pan.

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5. Cook on high heat for about 1 min on each side to seal the chicken, then a further 2 minutes on each side to make sure the chicken is cooked through.

6. Clean the frying pan with kitchen paper between each batch of chicken and continue to cook all the chicken. Serve straight away or store in air tight container in fridge - use within 3 days.

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