Simple Curry Sauce (v)

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This is a quick and simple curry sauce that tastes just like the sauce base you get from the takeaway. Play around with the heat to adjust to taste and add other embellishments depending on mood and what needs to be used up – some cream or yogurt perhaps or some butter or even some desiccated coconut instead of the ground almonds.

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1″ piece of ginger, chopped into pieces
  • 2 finger chillies (adjust to taste, we like a spicy curry!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp stock powder
  • 1 tsp each of turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin and curry powder
  • About 200ml water
  • 3-4 tbsp ground almonds
  1. Begin by placing the tomatoes, onion, garlic and ginger in a blender and smooshing to a smooth consistency.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan until hot and then add the curry leaves. Cook out for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes and stir to fry off in the oil.
  4. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat. Cook for about 10 mins until the raw smell of the onions has eased off a little.
  5. Add everything else apart from the almonds. Cook out for another 5-10 mins, adjusting the seasoning, heat and consistency of the sauce to suit.
  6. If you’re making this into a curry e.g. chana masala or paneer etc add these now and heat into the sauce.
  7. Finish by adding the ground almonds to thicken and lighten the sauce, adjust the seasoning again if necessary and scoff. You can add a spoonful of cream, yogurt or butter at this stage too to enrich the sauce if you want.

We had it as paneer curry the first time and as a sauce for a vegetable and chickpea biryani last night, yummy!

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Two Ingredient Flat Breads

Dhal, curry and flat bread.

I’ve never made these before but fancied some bread with our curry last night. These are ridiculously simple and were fluffy on the inside.

You need equal quantities of natural yogurt (dairy free works fine) and self raising flour. I used 150g of each which made enough for the three of us. Mix together to form a dough then break off pieces and roll flat on a floured surface, don’t roll them too thin. Heat a griddle pan until hot and dry fry until puffed and light golden. Eat whilst hot.

Cook till puffed.
Light golden brown ūüėć

Classic Quick Curry (v)

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When you’re in a rush for tea, can’t decide what to cook and are running low on fresh vegetables, this curry is the one to make! Quick, nutritious and delicious. What more do you need, apart from someone else to make it for you!

For four portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 fresh chilli, chopped
  • 2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, garam masala & ground tumeric
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp vegan stock powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 1 can each of drained kidney beans & black eyed beans (or whatever pulses you fancy)
  • Boiled brown rice to serve.
  1. Saute the onion, garlic and ginger in the oil for 5 mins until softened.
  2. Add the chilli and dried spices. Cook out for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add everything else to the pan and bring the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins. Check the seasoning and serve.

Vegetable Biryani with Chapatis (v)

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I’ve been craving this for a while now, but have been reluctant to make it as I never end up with perfect rice. Determined to succeed this time, I dug deep into google and came up with two recipes that looked promising. I liked the idea of soaking the rice from this Instant Pot recipe¬†but not the soggy veggies you usually get from pressure cooking. I also liked the idea of roasting the vegetables and cashews first to char them a little in this BBC recipe. So I combined the two and the end result was very pleasing. Woohoo.

For 4-6 portions you need

Biryani

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 3-4 broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 8 sprouts, peeled and cut in half
  • Handful cashews (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp each:
    • garam masala
    • ground cardamom
    • ground allspice
    • ground cumin
    • ground coriander
    • ground turmeric
    • chilli flakes
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear then soaked in 2 cups of water for 20 mins
  • 1.5 cups water

Chapatis

Makes 4 small chapatis

  • 70g wholemeal flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 90ml (or thereabouts) of warm water
  1. Begin by placing the vegetables, cashews, seasoning and oil into a large oven proof pan and roasting on 180 degrees for about 20 mins. Stir a few times but you want to let the cashews, broccoli and sprouts begin to char a little.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the rice and leave to one side.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the dry spices. Cook for 15-20 secs then add the onions. Sautee for 5 mins until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
  4. Add everything to the ovenproof pan and mix well. Cover with foil or a close fitting lid and cook for a further 20-30 mins. Once the rice is done, remove from the oven and allow to steam gently whilst you cook the chapatis.
  5. Combine all the chapati ingredients and knead into a smooth dough (about 7 mins). Be careful not to add too much water!
  6. Divide into 4 balls and roll each out on a floured surface
  7. Heat a pan until smoking hot, add a little oil and fry each chapati until cooked. You can tell when your pan is hot enough as the chapati will puff up like this when it hits the pan. Make sure you have your windows open as it will smoke a lot! We served ours with some dhal from the freezer. Delicious.

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Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A¬†kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add¬†a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose¬†what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime¬†pickle ūüėÄ

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1¬†cauliflower broken¬†into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Rice and Peas (v)

This is proper Indian kichiri, with none of the Anglo-Indian trimmings. Just rice and peas and spices. It’s a fab side dish to any curry and the pulses in boost the protein content making it a good whole meal in itself.

For 6 portions you need
1/2 cup moong dhal, rinsed clean and soaked in cold water for 4 hours
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed clean and soaked for an hour in cold water
3 tbsp butter or oil
2 indian bay leaves
2 cloves
1 tsp whole coriander
1 tsp whole cumin
3 cardamon pods, crushed to release the seeds
1″ piece of cinnamon bark
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the spices for 2-3 mins until the aromas are released. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until browned and crispy. Add the drained rice and peas and stir fry to coat in the oil and spices.

Add 2 and 2/3 cups of water and bring to the boil. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 20-25 mins until the rice is light and fluffy and the peas are cooked.

Mixed Vegetable Makhanawala (v)

I am slowly working my way through Rick Stein’s India, a very fine book on curries and Indian food. This recipe caught my eye as I was meal planning over the weekend, and Abel and Cole obliged by providing most of the ingredients for it in their weekly box this week. The curry is delicious, rich and creamy but not heavy. Spiced and fragrant with a little kick of heat but not searingly hot. It might look complicated but it’s not, it was very easy to make and was definitely worth the effort.

For 4-6 portions you need
800g mixed vegetables – I used potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and french beans
50g butter or oil
1 medium onion, sliced
5 large garlic cloves, finely minced
5cm stick of ginger, finely grated
400g fresh tomatoes pulverised to make passata (don’t use tinned or a jar, you want the lightness of fresh tomatoes)
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, garam masala and tumeric
1 tsp desiccated coconut
1.5 tsp salt
25g cashew nuts
1/2 tsp sugar
75ml yogurt/soya yogurt
4 tbsp double cream/soya cream (or coconut cream)
Handful of fresh coriander leaves to finish

Begin by boiling the carrots and potatoes until just cooked. Drain and leave to one side.

Melt the butter in a large heavy based pan and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 5 mins. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Add the spices, salt, coconut and 100ml of water and cook for a further 10 mins.

In a mini food processor blitz the cashew nuts with a little water until smooth. Add this to the pan along with all the vegetables apart from the potatoes. Add another 100ml of water and simmer for 10 minutes until the veggies are cooked. Add the yogurt, cream and potatoes and heat through for 2-3 mins. Serve garnished with the coriander. It’s truly delicious.

Goldilocks Tarka Dhal (v)

So called because I have made it three times… The first time we used scotch bonnet chillies and it was too cold. The second time I used thai chillies in quantities as per the recipe and it was too hot. The third time I used Indian chillies and it was juuuuuuust riiiiiiiight. You do need to soak the chana dhal for a good couple of hours beforehand or it will take ages to cook. This recipe is from the very fine Rick Stein’s India, a fabulous book about Indian food!

For 4-6 portions you need
For the dhal
200g chana dhal, rinsed and soaked in cold water for 1-2 hours
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, chopped
2 green chillies, left whole and slit, seeds left in
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp tumeric

For the tarka
1 onion, thinly sliced
large knob of butter/vegan spread
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp asafoetida
Small handful of fresh curry leaves
Fresh coriander leave to serve

Place the soaked chana dhal in a pan with the rest of the dhal ingredients. Cover with water to about 2cms above the level of the chana. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour until the chana is cooked. Mash a little to break up some of the dhal but leave some texture in.

For the tarka heat the oil and butter/spread until hot. Add the mustard seeds and asafoetida and cook until the seeds pop. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until brown and crispy, but take care not to burn it!

Pour the tarka into the dhal and serve with bread or rice or whatever you fancy.

Chickpea and Red Lentil Vindaloo with Vegetables (v)

This was a vindaloo simply because that was the only curry paste I had left in the cupboard. Despite the name, it wasn’t too hot! Use any combination of vegetables and pulses that you like, this is simply what we needed to use up ūüôā

For 4-6 portions you need
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp oil
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup red lentils
200ml water
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sugar

Begin by sauteeing the onion and garlic in the oil. Once soft, add the curry paste and cook out for a few mins. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 mins or so until the red lentils are done. Check the taste and adjust salt, sugar or chilli according to taste. Serve with rice, pickles and indian salad!

Aloo (Potato) Curry (v)

It was a friends 40th at the weekend and we went out for a curry to celebrate, but I wasn’t hungry enough to truly appreciate the food so recreated curry night last night to satisfy a craving. I love the flavours of curry with potatoes but have never had much success making this type of side dish before. The potatoes either didn’t cook properly, or they stuck to the bottom of the pan, or I’d burnt the spices and they tasted bitter, but thankfully the curry gods were smiling last night as this was DELICIOUS!

For 4 portions you need
3-4 cups peeled and diced potatoes. I’d suggest a 1cm dice but don’t worry about making them¬†mathematically¬†perfect…
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp each black mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds, dried red chill flakes, garam masala, tumeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, coriander seed.
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
150ml boiling water

Place the oil in a heavy based pan and heat. Add the curry spices and ginger to it and cook for 2-3 mins until the seeds pop and it’s come together into a paste. Add the potatoes and water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or so. Stir often to ensure the potatoes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add a little more water if necessary but the aim is to steam the potatoes, not boil them.

Serve on their own or as a side dish for a curry.