Hope and Spice recipe book Amanda Clegg and Victoria Byrne

Recipes: An Extra Serving of Hope and Spice

Horrified by the devastating effects of lockdown in the Delhi slums, Kingston residents Victoria and Amanda have spent lockdown producing a new digital recip-e-book – An Extra Helping of Hope & Spice, to raise vital funds

For the families living in the slums in Delhi, lockdown has had a devastating effect. Most of the slum dwellers are daily wage earners, so as they had no work and immediately lost their income. Families were literally starving, living in one or two rooms, often without running water. So charity Asha set up an amazing team of Corona Warriors made up of young people from the affected communities. They have run an amazing campaign educating people about the virus, distributing food, and medicines and bringing much needed comfort to those who are frightened, hopeless and feel forgotten. Their volunteers have been bringing food parcels and nutrition packs to the under fives.

Inspired by this work, Victoria and Amanda have published An Extra Serving of Hope and Spice which compiles recipes and stories sourced from women living in the slums. It tells the moving story of Madhu, a student who lives in one of the poorest communities, who is studying hard and hopes to change the course of her life, with Asha’s help.

Their e-book book gives a handful of new recipes plus a guest recipe by Anjula Devi.The book costs £6 and all proceeds go to Asha for their life-saving, hope-bringing work.

You can support this work by downloading the recipe book from Amazon

Scroll down for Arhar Dal recipe by Madhu

Hope and Spice Delhi Slum

Madhu, Student, from A-Block Seelampur Slum

Madhu cooked this for us when we were in Delhi last autumn; it was one of the highlights of our trip. She cooked this with a twinkle in her eye and was an excellent teacher. Not having had any electricity in her home for the previous 4 months, she moved the small portable gas burner to the doorway of her small home so that we could more easily watch her cook and write notes. This simple dal is made by cooking the lentils first, adding just salt and turmeric, then making a ‘tarka’ of hot, spiced, flavoured oil that is swirled through the dish before serving. Do try it, it is delicious, nutritious and supremely comforting.

Recipe: Arhar Dal

Serves 4


  • 150g (5oz) yellow split peas, arhar dal (split pigeon peas) or toor dal
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Indian bay leaves (omit if you don’t have them)
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2–3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced


Rinse the lentils well. Put them in a pan with about 600ml (3 cups) water and bring to the boil. Cook over a medium heat for 20–30 minutes until the lentils have just absorbed all the water, then take off the heat and mash with a fork until you have a smooth mixture. Sprinkle over the turmeric, salt and add enough water to create a lovely soupy texture (as thick or thin as you like). Set it back on a low heat to keep warm. (You can prepare it up to this stage and leave it to cool. Just reheat it over a low heat when you are ready to finish the dish.)

Now make the tarka: heat the oil in a karhai or small frying pan until really hot. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and dried chillies, stirring for a minute or two, as they sizzle and release their flavour. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and stir-fry until fragrant and golden brown. Tip this gorgeous mixture into the warm dal and swirl through.

Serve immediately in a deep bowl, with fluffy rice or fresh hot chapatis.


If you are eating this as a one-pot dish and want more vegetables, you can add 2 medium chopped tomatoes to the tarka once the onions have finished browning. Cook this mixture for an extra 2 minutes until the tomatoes are soft, then stir through as above.

Please support this work by downloading An Extra Serving of Hope and Spice recipe book from Amazon