Category Archives: Indian

Meen Molee [South Indian Fish in Coconut Milk]

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Very quick and very straightforward. I made this, just about, after coming home from an 80 km bike ride with feet I couldn’t feel and hands I couldn’t stop shaking. And it still turned out alright. So it can’t be that hard…! Adapted from Mighty Spice.

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves
2.5cm ginger
2.5cm fresh turmeric (use a teaspoon of ground turmeric)
1 large onion, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
500g white fish fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
400ml can coconut milk/cream
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp curry powder
handful of green beans
1 carrot, peeled into slivers

Method

Mince the garlic, ginger and turmeric together into a paste. If you have one use a mini blender, but I don’t so I made do with a stick blender, a large mug and a little oil.

Fry up the onions for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the paste and tomato and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime juice and season with salt. Stir, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the fish. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the carrots and beans then continue until fish is cooked through (approx. 3-4 minutes).

Sorry, no piccy. Wouldn’t have been able to hold the camera probably…

Homemade Chai in a Bottle

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Makes approx. 1.5 litres chai concentrate

Ingredients
10 tea bags
2 cinnamon sticks
80g light brown sugar
3-inch piece of root ginger, grated
10 whole cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 whole star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
peel of one orange (I peeled it like an apple, so the large strips won’t fit through the sieve at the end)
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Method

Add all ingredients except the teabags and vanilla extract to a large saucepan along with a litre of water and bring to the boil. Boil around 800ml water in a kettle and add to the teabags. Leave to soak for a few minutes and squeeze. Add the tea to the pan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes before straining to remove the bits. Add the vanilla extract and decant into bottles whilst still warm. Seal the bottles and allow to cool.

Store in the fridge once cool. I would guess (though this hasn’t been tested) it would keep for 2-4 weeks unopened and 2 weeks once opened. When required, pour out around 2cm of syrup (more or less depending on taste) into a cup before topping up with hot milk or boiling water.

Makes a great Christmas gift all dressed up with ribbons, tags and a cinnamon stick and would also be nice as a flavouring in cakes and traybakes.

Curried Aubergine Pie

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Up until recently aubergine hadn’t really registered on my radar. I think before this month I’d only ever used one once, as a layer in a vegetarian lasagne. However I am now developing rather a taste for them, they’re excellent flavour carriers (they are the sponge of the vegetable world) and, so long as they’re not cooked to death, have rather an interesting texture. This recipe takes inspiration from one on BBC Good Food, but adds a few ingredients to really liven it up.

A note on my measurements. I use specific measurements in recipes to make it as straightforward as possible, however I for one never actually measure 2 tbsp tomato purée, I just put in what looks “about right”. Please go with whatever seems reasonable to you – if you really like ginger, add more ginger, if you don’t like ‘hot’ food, use less chilli!

Ingredients

1 large aubergine, cut into 3 cm cubes
4 large old potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cm fresh root ginger, grated
handful curry leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7. Put the potatoes onto boil – they’ll need about ten minutes, though check every so often to make sure they haven’t gone to mush as potatoes are extremely variable I find. Drain and set aside when soft.

In a large saucepan gently fry the onions in oil until starting to go translucent, add a little water whenever they start to stick. Add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, chilli powder, tomato purée, ginger and curry leaves and fry for a further 5 minutes. The turmeric will give the dish (and your cooking utensil!) a wonderful ochre hue. I think that’s possibly the first time I’ve ever used the word ‘ochre’ in a sentence. Blimey, I’ve just done it again! Continue to add water whenever it starts to burn/stick.

Set aside roughly a quarter of the onion mixture before adding the aubergine and frying off on a medium heat for a further 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and reduce until ‘gloopy’ rather than runny. Pour the mixture into a large oven proof dish and top with the potatoes. Top with the onion mixture you set aside earlier – I smeared it all over to imbue (imbue! look at me and my fancy vocabulary today) the potatoes with the turmeric colour.

Bake in the oven for half an hour or until the top layer of potatoes is golden and crispy. No picture this time I am afraid!

J

Lamb, Spinach & Potato Curry

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Courtesy of the Hairy Bikers from their dieting book. Not that either of us are dieters. Not that it’s even our book.

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

600g lamb steaks, cut into 3cm cubes
2 large onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
5cm piece fresh root ginger
1 medium red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin spinach*
curry paste**
4 bay leaves
3 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
200ml coconut milk
water
salt and pepper

*I used tinned simply as that’s all we had. If you have fresh (and it will undoubtedly taste better if you do) use 200g of that!
**I haven’t given a quantity here as curry paste varies so much. To put the recipe into context I used 4 teaspoons of Patak’s “extra hot” and I reckon it could have done with at least 1 more

Method

Preheat the oven to 190oC/375oC/gas mark 5 and set aside a bowl. Heat some olive oil in a large casserole dish, brown the lamb with some salt and pepper and place in the bowl. Add the onions to the casserole dish and cook over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes before adding the garlic, chilli, curry paste and grating in the ginger. Cook for a further five minutes before removing from the heat and blitzing to a paste with a hand-blender.

Return the lamb to the paste and return to a medium heat, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes or so until throwing in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, potatoes, bay leaves and enough water to cover everything. Season with salt and pepper and add a spoonful of sugar, give a good stir before adding the lid and whacking in the oven.

Cook for 60 minutes, check then stick back in for half an hour. Remove from the oven add the tomatoes, spinach and cook on the hob, for five minutes. Serve with a lovely curry-soaking flatbread.

J

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Potato & Toasted Chickpea Curry

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Originally I intended this to be a sweet potato and chickpea curry, however when I went to retrieve the desired ingredients the “sweet potato” in my cupboard turned out to be a very red-skinned standard potato! Shocking, I know.

Not to be deterred however, I bravely soldiered on and thus present you with the fruits of my labour. I really think toasting the chickpeas is worth it, you get so much more from the spices and it’s not exactly much of a faff! It looks like a lot of ingredients but it really isn’t complicated to cook. That’s one of the reasons I love curry – you can turn out something incredible with very moderate effort!

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 large waxy potato, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 medium carrots, cut into rounds
2 medium onions, quartered and sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli (or more if you’re a fan of heat) finely chopped
1 tin chickpeas, drained, washed and patted dry
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
1-2 cups frozen peas
handful green beans
1 cinnamon stick
1 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
glug of golden syrup
parathas to serve

Spice mix

3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly ground
2 tsp fennel seeds, roughly ground
salt and pepper

Method

Mix up the spices and set aside. In a large casserole dish heat a little oil over a medium heat and add the onions. Sweat for 8-10 minutes before adding a glug of golden syrup, garlic, grated ginger and 2/3 of the spice mix. Give a good stir and cook for a further five minutes, adding a splash of water every now and again if anything starts to stick.

Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, potato and cinnamon stick, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Make sure everything is covered in liquid – if not add a little water. Cover and leave to simmer to 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to remove anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check the potato and carrot every now and again with a knife – once they start to go soft add the peas and beans and cook for a further five minutes.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a separate frying pan. Add the drained/patted dry chickpeas and fry for 5-6 minutes over a medium-high heat. Shuffle regularly to get an even covering. Add the remaining spice mix and continue to toast for a further couple of minutes until golden brown. Throw into the curry, stir everything around, season to taste (I always keep the spices I have used to hand during cooking so they can be added when necessary). Chug in one final glug of syrup and serve with a paratha.

Look, I even managed to take a photograph this time!

J

Yummy Scrummy Curry

‘Don’t-Ignore-Me’ Chicken Korma

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I get the impression Chicken Korma is somewhat of an unloved second-cousin to what springs to most people’s minds when they think of curry. This reputation is no doubt bolstered by the fairly weedy offerings from supermarkets and take-aways and in my opinion is completely undeserved.

Korma can be delicious. Creamy, nutty, spicy, it’s a wonderful taste experience. This recipe is taken almost verbatim from John Gregory-Smith’s Mighty Spice cookbook, a Christmas present from my sister. It’s extremely quick – although you will need some kind of processor/blender – so if you’re after curry-in-a-hurry you could probably knock this up quicker than you could order and receive a take-away.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

2 medium chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces
1 tin coconut milk
50g cashew nuts (or almonds)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot chopped into thin strips
2.5cm piece fresh ginger
1 small chilli
1 heaped tsp coriander
1 heaped tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
good few twists of pepper
1 heaped tsp hot curry powder
juice of 1 lime

Method

Add the coconut milk, nuts, ginger, chilli, coriander, cumin and salt to the food processor and whizz until smooth.

Heat a little oil in a decent-sized frying pan/saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Sweat for 5 minutes then add the curry powder, stirring to coat the onions. Add a little water if it starts to stick to the pan. After a couple more minutes add the chicken and cook, stirring every so often. After a further five minutes throw in the coconut paste and stir to cover everything. Squeeze in the lime juice, bring to the boil then add a lid and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for approx. 15 minutes, stirring every now and again. With 10 mins to go throw in the carrots and for the last 5 minutes, remove the lid and increase the heat to thicken up the sauce – if it gets too thick just add water.

Serve with:

– rice
– naan
– bhaji
– raita
– mango chutney
– all of the above

Sorry, again no photo. Really need to get back into taking pictures of things before I scoff them! You could totally throw in some spinach or kale into this to up the veg content too.

J

Lovely Jubbly Vegetable Curry

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Let’s face facts, vegetable curry sounds boring – I had to change the title in an attempt to stop people just skipping over this recipe. I hope it worked because it is simply not the case. This curry is bloody scrummy and, I can honestly say as a full-on flesh-loving carnivore, would not be improved by the presence of meat. (Which is great if you’re a student, looking to save a few pennies).

Stolen almost ingredient-atim from The Hairy Bikers Ride Again cookbook. There are a lot of ingredients here, but you could easily cut out half/add other vegetables in and please don’t let it put you off. For example, bulking up with potatoes would make it go further on a lower budget and, despite the ingredient list length, this is very easy to do; it’s literally: add ingredients, cook, stir, add ingredients, cook, stir etc. Simple!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 large onions, red or white
½ large butternut squash, chopped (2×2 cm)
1 large sweet potato, chopped (2x2cm)
3 medium carrots, chopped, (1x1cm)
½ cauliflower, in small florets
2 courgettes, chopped into rounds
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 bowl peas
100ml coconut milk
300ml vegetable stock
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Spices

2-3 chillis (leave whole)
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, finely chopped
handful curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds, slightly crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp hot curry powder
1 tsp sugar
fresh coriander to finish

Method

Heat some oil in a deep pan/casserole dish, add the onions and sweat until translucent (approx. 5 minutes). Add the turmeric, curry leaves, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and curry powder, cook for a couple more minutes then add the sweet potato, butternut squash, chickpeas, garlic, ginger and whole chillis. Stir continuously, ensuring an even coating of spices throughout.

After 5 minutes add the carrot, stock, tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and sugar, give a right old stir, stick the lid on and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cauliflower, lid back on and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring every now and again, before throwing in the courgettes, then a couple of minutes later the peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper and any other spices you may fancy.

Make sure everything is heated through, your sweet potato, squash and carrot are all tender and your sauce is well-reduced.

Serve, sprinkled with fresh coriander, with naan-breads – shop bought, or preferably homemade (they’re easy!)