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Season 2 Episode 12 - Kumeu

This week on Neighbourhood, restaurateur Ganesh Raj shows us around his neighbourhood - the rural town of Kumeu, north west of Auckland.

We’ll savour the unique taste of a South African barbecue and visit a local school where meditation is an important part of the curriculum. We explore the village home of a Croatian wine maker – in miniature – and see a mix of Maori and Celtic influences in the art of a British jeweler.

Curator Bio

Ganesh Raj and his wife Jo own the Tasting Shed restaurant in Kumeu. Ganesh was judged Metro Restaurant Personality of the Year in 2012 by public vote.

In Singapore, Ganesh worked as a television director and as a VJ on MTV Asia.


This week on Neighbourhood, restaurant personality of the year, Ganesh Raj of The Tasting Shed, shares the recipe for his mum’s special chicken curry.


This is a rich and pungent dish. If a milder curry is preferred, reduce the amount of curry powder to suite one's taste.


1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

7 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

10 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup curry powder (see curry powered recipe below)

1/2 cup water

1 chicken, cut into about 20 bite-size pieces

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 cups thin coconut milk or regular milk

1 pound small potatoes, peeled and halved

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 loaf French bread, cut into serving slices


1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound, in this order, the ginger, the garlic and the shallots until they are fine. The ingredients may also be finely ground in the container of a blender or food processor.

2. Mix the curry powder with one-half cup water and blend to a paste. Mix half the curry paste with the pounded ginger, garlic and shallot mixture, and rub all over the chicken pieces. Marinate at least one-half hour.

3. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. The oil should be very hot. Add remaining curry paste and fry for three to four minutes, or until paste is fragrant and turns a rich, dark brown.

4. Add the marinated chicken and reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes, or until spices are cooked.

5. Add the regular milk or coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes and salt, and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender and potatoes cooked. Note that this dish is better the second day. If the curry will be reheated later, slightly undercook at this stage so that the potatoes do not become mushy. Traditionally, this dish is served with fresh hot French bread for soaking up the thick gravy.



2/3 cup coriander seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 cup cumin seeds

1/4 cup anise seed

1/4 cup dried chili peppers

3 tablespoons turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

1 whole clove

1 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg



1. Combine the spices and dry-fry in a wok over low heat, stirring constantly so the spices do not burn. Fry them for eight to 10 minutes, or just until they begin to brown and are fragrant.

2. Remove from the wok to cool, then grind in batches in a small coffee mill reserved for spice grinding. The blend will keep for several months stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.