Courgette bhaji with a spiced pea, ricotta and dill puree in a wrap-National Vegetarian Week

20 May

Courgette bhaji with a spiced pea, ricotta and dill puree in a wrap

Courgette bhaji with a spiced pea, ricotta and dill puree in a wrap

I took the 7.12 train into Euston today wearing tights and a business suit. I thought I would feel like the old me, but I didn’t.

I felt hot, but seasoned with plenty of protective products. My face didn’t sting in the heat in the way it used to because maybe I am less sensitive, but I did feel the pangs because I had left whilst my tot was asleep. This was a first for us. I fully anticipated that when I settled into that train, I would make no eye contact with my fellow passengers and as I looked around I wondered how proud, fulfilled, happy or self-assured these folk were.  The pretty lady with gorgeous nail colour; did she look happy?  That loud, on-an-important-call banker, every line he spoke sounded like a routine verse etched into my memory from my own experience. ‘Let’s touch base, see where we are at, I mean it is what it is, look I’m going to be honest… great to engage with you Kate’.  Was Kate rolling her eyes as I was? My mind whizzed with upbeat and self-coaching quotes about success and failure both being fleeting sensations. My emailed pinged with disappointment and polite bluntness. My physiology didn’t react, today.

Do you know what though? I spoke (not on any social media, I looked up long enough to really talk) to a friend (and ex-colleague) who told reminded me that even though it has been a few years, I would surprise myself today. I listened, but didn’t really accept it. She kept telling me that what I have learned is ingrained, inbuilt, unspoken, invaluable, and great. It hasn’t left me; it is just that I left myself. I now had to summon the confidence to do myself justice.

So, in my business suit, hairspray and make-up I made mildly inappropriate jokes, learned about people; their interests, direction, loves and losses. I read, I ate plentifully and I talked and gesticulated whilst doing so, in a natural accent and walking up and down, bouncing on a heel at times. I saw two men in the audience smile and raise eyes at each other approvingly and I knew. Do you know what? My friend was right. It was all there, it is all there. After three years there has been a turnaround in my own thinking. Three years. Three years of doubt, three whole years of submerged confidence. My friend was right, I am better than.

Here is what I ate afterwards. Crisp courgette bhaji (Indian spiced, gram flour coated courgette fritters) give way to juiciness and they are enveloped in a dill and ricotta soaked pea puree. fresh pea shoots add crisp freshness. I have used red oxtail as I was lucky enough to be given some from the London produce show. I felt comforted, cajoled, soothed and utterly satieted. Perfect for National vegetarian week, for picnics, for eating in the garden or eating out and about, on-the-go.

Courgette bhaji with a spiced pea, ricotta and dill puree in a wrap

Makes approximately 6-8 wraps


Oil for deep frying

100g watercress or pea shoots

6-8 plain flour tortilla

For the batter

140g gram flour

200ml water

One large courgette, thinly sliced into 1-2cm rounds

1 tsp. minced ginger

1 tsp. amchur powder (dried mango powder) or the juice of half a lemon

Salt to taste

½ tsp. chilli powder

For the pea, ricotta and dill puree

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

3 spring onions, finely chopped

1 tsp. cumin seeds

3 tbsp. freshly chopped dill

125g ricotta cheese

350g frozen peas, defrosted

Salt to taste

1 tsp. coriander powder


  1. Heat the oil for deep frying.
  2. Prepare the batter by combining all of the ingredients and beat it to a smooth (not lumpy) consistency.
  3. Dip the courgette slices into the batter and quickly lay them into the oil to fry. Allow them to catch a golden colour before removing them onto kitchen paper.
  4. Heat the cooking oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, allowing them to sizzle before stirring in the spring onions. Sauté with the salt and then add the peas, ricotta cheese, chilli and coriander powder and then once it has simmered for 4-5 minutes on a low flame, blitz It to a chunky puree.
  5. Simply assemble the wraps with a couple of tablespoons of pea puree, watercress and courgette bhaji.



50 Responses to “Courgette bhaji with a spiced pea, ricotta and dill puree in a wrap-National Vegetarian Week”

  1. simplyvegetarian777 May 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

    I think your recipe is awesome! More than anything I loved that spicy dip there. I am not sure what were you talking about exactly while narrating the whole thing but I had a similar day today. Not that I was traveling anywhere but an emotional roller coaster kinda day, figuring out things :).

    • Deena Kakaya May 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

      Thanks Sonal, the pea purée is smothered into the wrap, it’s wonderful!

      I hope your day turned ink fruitful and happy stuff x

    • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Hope you’re okay Sonal xx

  2. Anita Menon May 21, 2014 at 3:19 am #

    All the best Deena. I am sure whatever you have embarked on is on its way to be a big success.
    The wrap looks delicious , hearty and appetizing.

    • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 7:25 am #

      Thank you Anita, I don’t think the new thing is the thing that will be a big success, but actually a change of thinking will yield more. Glad you like the wrap x

  3. Sophie33 May 21, 2014 at 5:50 am #

    A tasty lunch! I know that peas, ricotta & dill go beautifully together so I know that I will love to savour these tasty beauties! 🙂 MMMMM! Tasty finger food!

    • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 7:27 am #

      Really was ‘mmmm’ hope you’ll try it x

  4. Katie @ Whole Nourishment May 21, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    The pea and dill puree looks like a great all-around spread in wraps or as a dip. And now that it’s finally warming up here, I can actually think about picnics to take on hikes or in the park!

    • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 7:28 am #

      Isn’t it wonderful to be able to eat outdoors? I’m so excited. The simple things eh? Thank you Katie x

  5. Selma's Table May 21, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    You are amazing – believe in you and the rest follows as you saw!! Also, I just wanted to reach out and engage with you…haha!

    • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      Thoughts are so powerful aren’t they?

      Ha! I love it when you engage with me 😉 x

  6. Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    What an interesting day you had! I just can’t imagine ever doing that commute ever again

    • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

      Didn’t think I would be doing it again but you just never know wafts around the corner eh x

    • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

      Where did you commute to Elaine x

      • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

        From Milton Keynes into Euston then all over the West End and City. You?

        • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

          Oh what did you do for work?

          In my very early career I went to bank and Victoria but then I worked for 8 years a 25minute commute away. After the merger I did a bit of work in paddington and some still locally x

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

            I was a sales manager for an international architectural sign company and my clients to were architects and designers all over London. I packed it all in when Ben was 4 and a half and starting school and I set up my first business.
            What did you do?

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

            Oh I didn’t even know you ran a businesses, I’ve seen you label pots of food…what else is there? I was senior pricing manager for tmobile

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

            Oh cool 🙂 I was an independent personal shopper amd image consultant for six years, I closed that business last year. The food range and services is completely new this year

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

            You are so bold and I love that! I hope you are much happier this way x

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

            Bold? You think so? I just do what I do 😉 I am indeed much happier xx

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

            Yes because so many people I know have dreams that they aren’t brave enough to follow or they just don’t know what makes them happy x

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

            Ah, that’s the key 🙂 understanding what makes you happy, what really matters in life 🙂 and having an extremely supportive husband xx

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

            We are totally blessed eh. X

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

            We are 🙂 how about you? How you doing? You’ve achieved amazing things haven’t you??

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

            Gosh it never feels like I’ve achieved enough. Aarav is so young right now that most of my energy is spent on him. X

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

            Don’t undersell yourself honey!!! Being a Mum is hard work and the most important job in the world AND you’re developing recipes and inspiring people!!

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

            I am proud of the wonderful person I’ve shaped so far. I am also struggling to keep my head above water! But I am enjoying this phase of life x

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

            It’s tough, I remember it well xx you can do it, and it will get easier xx

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

            Yes it is full of love and charms too, all for me xx

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

            All for you xxx

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

            And of course the recipe work now too ☺️ the food based work has all occurred completely organically as a result of my blog, which is amazing and wonderful and so unexpected!! I wasn’t looking for another business…it’s just occurred..

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

            Isn’t that wonderful! So you make and package food and where does it go? X

          • Elaine @ foodbod May 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

            To local a few customers at the moment, plus wonderfully supportive friends and family (all paying of course!!)

          • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

            That’s fabulous! I love seeing people follow their heart xx

  7. spiceinthecity May 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Love the description of this dish and the pictures too! Must taste amazing:)

    • Deena Kakaya May 21, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

      Oh it really, really does! Mmmm x hope you are well and thank you for your kind comment x

  8. Joanne May 22, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    These are such fun wraps! Perfect for the hot weather!

    • Deena Kakaya May 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      Thanks Joanne, they are indeed fun to eat x

  9. recipesfromapantry May 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    I am currently stuffing my face with oreos for lunch and would much rather be eating these delish looking wraps.

    • Deena Kakaya May 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Ha, I will bring the wraps you bring the Oreos 😉 x

  10. Lisa May 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Your flavor combinations always amaze me. xo

    • Deena Kakaya May 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

      Lisa, your words always flatter me and your recipes make me hungry! X

  11. coconutcraze May 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    I have never imagined those flavours would work with each other! Nice way of mixing two things together. You are very creative!

    • Deena Kakaya May 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

      Thank you Sridevi! The flavours are such a natural and sigh-some fit together. X

  12. kellie@foodtoglow May 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Beautiful, beautiful recipe. I have amchoor and am always looking for different ways to use it (often not at all Indian). I haven’t done the work-train thing in many a year, but as I didn’t have to often do it I was always vastly entertained by my fellow travellers, even concocting little scenarios in my head about who they were and what they did. I hope what you are about to embark upon (if indeed you are) is fulfilling and nourishes you. If you know what I mean.

    • Deena Kakaya May 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Kellie, thank you for your encouragement and kind words. You always make me smile and I look forward to hearing from you each time. Anchur has to be one of my current kitchen faves, I love the easy citrus of it as it’s not sharp like lemon.

      Ha! I know what you mean about concocting stories, I do it too. It’s one way to pass journey time.

      The past three years have been full of change, some uncomfortable and some definitely blessings. I tell myself that each one will lead to better things but I have somehow lost a bit of that affirmative feeling on what gave me ‘nourishment’. Thank you xxx

  13. fabfood4all October 5, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    This looks totally lush Deena – glad you had your confidence restored:-)

    • Deena Kakaya October 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

      Thanks so much Camilla, it’s been an interesting few years x

Let me know what you think about this recipe

%d bloggers like this: