Asma Khan’s acclaimed Darjeeling Express started life as a supper club, serving just 12 people at a time. It’s since grown to a full-sized restaurant, but it still serves the same family recipes that have been lovingly cooked in Indian households for generations. Its all-female kitchen staff creates dishes inspired by the street food of Calcutta, where Asma grew up, with some influence from her royal Mughal ancestry. The resulting menu takes diners on a journey from east India to Hyderabad in the south, in the form of sharing platters packed with texture, colour and flavour. This is food that’s meant to be enjoyed with family and friends in true feast style.
Listen to Asma speak about why lifting up and helping others is her idea of success and demanding a seat at the table for women so is important to her. She also shares a recent disaster and how she was amazed at the offers of help pouring in to help her. Tune in to the first episode of our triumphs and disasters podcast here.
Asma Khan's recipes
A classic Indian side dish (and a vegan one at that), this is a celebration of Jersey Royals, cauliflower and peas.
Make the most of mutton mince by adding cardamom, Indian bay leaves and cumin seeds to the mix.
Green and red chillies elevate this spinach and chickpea curry, the perfect veggie Indian side dish.
Attae ka paratha
Make the dough for Asma Khan's Indian flatbreads in advance, then roll out, fry until freckled and serve as a warm snack.
Darjeeling Express menu decoder
Dried red chillies
These have a medium heat and, as they’re dried, add a deep, concentrated chilli flavour to dishes, as well as a mild spice.
Made from green, unripe mangoes, this ground powder adds a vibrant, citrussy, sour flavour.
A ubiquitous spice blend used on the Indian subcontinent that usually includes cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and toasted and ground cardamom.
This is from the same family as cinnamon – it’s harvested in the same way but has a stronger flavour.
Green cardamom pods
Cardamom pods are the seeds from a plant in the ginger family. They have an aromatic sweet and spicy flavour.