Tag Archives: indian

indian style aubergines and potatoes

I bought a pack of baby aubergines at the weekend – I’m not normally seduced by such things, but they were so pretty …  We had about a third of them in the roast veg on Sunday, and I was left with not enough for moussaka, but some.  There were also some cold cooked new potatoes lurking in the fridge. So:

Heated some groundnut oil in a shallow pan, and put in some black mustard seeds. Added a chopped red onion, and cooked till translucent.  Lobbed in some standard Indian spices, ground (tumeric, cumin, coriander) and a fresh red chilli, sliced. Stirred it all round.

Added the aubergine and potatoes, cut into largish dice. Stirred round some more. Added about 1/2 mug of water, put lid on, left for 15 minutes.  Stirred in a load of fresh coriander at the end.

It was utterly lovely – we shall be eating *that* again!

We used up the last of the button mushrooms in a poor man’s mushroom pilau – shallot, cinnamon, mushrooms, rice.

lemony coriander chicken

As I’ve mentioned before, our local CoOp is really not bad, and I always take a beak at the reduced section where they put the items that have reached their sell-by date.  About three weeks ago, I picked up two packs of chicken thighs – 11 thighs for £3.30.  I stowed them in the freezer under the stairs, as had no particular plan for them.

Pete came home from his foraging on Saturday with a big bunch of coriander, and so we decided to make lemony coriander chicken.  This is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe that we have refined over the years, and one of our favourites.

I did ours in the slow cooker, but I’ll give you the destructions for the more conventional means.  If you want to use a slow cooker, bung everything in, and cook on low for about 6-7 hours.

Brown the chicken pieces in groundnut oil in a shallow pot, ideally wide enough to keep the chicken in one layer – I usually use a Le Creuset saute pan.  Set the chicken to drain on some kitchen paper.  Keep the oil.

Chop up some garlic small.  Blend some fresh ginger with about 4 tablespoons of water – as much as you like, we use lots, as we like things gingery.  Chop up 1/2 – 1 green chilli; up to you whether you use the seeds or not, depending on your chilli tolerance.  Take some ground coriander seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric, and possibly a pinch of cayenne.  Chop up lots and lots of fresh green coriander.  Halve a lemon.

Re-heat the oil, and add the garlic – stir till browned.  Add the ginger/water paste and stir about for a minute or so.  Add the ground spices, the green chilli,  juice of the lemon, and the coriander.  Stir a bit.

Put the chicken back in; I put the lemon halves in too – shame to waste them.  Bring up to a simmer, put a lid on and cook for about 40 minutes.  Turn the chicken pieces part way through if you feel like it – I don’t generally bother.

Eat with basmati rice – utterly delicious, I assure you.

lentil dosas

lentil dosas

I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I spotted them in one of my bread books, but I’ve never been organised enough to do it – they’re remarkably simple, but you need to start them 32 hours in advance, according to the book.

Take 3/4 cup of long grain rice (I used Basmati, as we had no long grain), 1/4 cup of red lentils, and combine in a bowl with 1 cup of warm water.

Cover with clingfilm, and leave for 8 hours.

Then, blitz the contents of the bowl in a food processor, and return to the (rinsed out) bowl, recover with the clingfilm, and leave for 24 hours.

Then stir in some salt, ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp (ish) of turmeric.  The recipe said to add fresh coriander; we didn’t have any, but I did lob in some grated fresh ginger.  It claimed it would make 6 x 6″ dosas, but I made them a bit smaller for ease of scoffing – just heat up a heavy based frying pan, add some oil, and cook them like drop scones or whatever.

They were utterly delicious – we ate them with some leftover black-eyed peas in tomatoes that I cooked up at the weekend to accompany our (home made) chicken dansak.  We shall be having them again!

keralan vegetable massala

As mentioned, we needed to make inroads into the veg glut. This is an adaptation of a recipe from Anjum Anand, and we replaced the chicken with some veg. It worked remarkably well, and would serve four greedy people, or six more restrained souls.

1 bag spinach
some groundnut oil (I never use as much as they say)
3 black cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
5cm piece of cinnamon stick
2 green chillies, pricked with the tip of a knife
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large aubergine, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
fresh grated ginger (lots is an appropriate amount)
fresh garlic (ditto)
1 can tomatoes
2 tsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp natural yogurt
salt to taste

Make a purée of the ginger, garlic and tomatoes (blender or food processor required). Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan (I used a Le Creuset casserole), and add the cardamon, bay leaves and cinnamon, and fry for a few seconds, then add the onion and chillies and fry until the onions are brown.

Add the tomato/ginger/garlic purée, and the aubergine and sweet potato, and cook for about 30 minutes.  Add some salt to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp).  While this is going on, clean the blender / food processor, and pureé the spinach (you might need to add a bit of water to make it mulch).

Add the yogurt to the pot and keep stirring to reduce the sauce for about 15 minutes, then add the spinach and carry on with this for another 10 minutes or so.

Eat with basmati rice or flat bread.

a pound of mince? Meatballs!

As mentioned, we had a pound of mince to use up, as it wouldn’t fit into the new freezer regime.

I minced some garlic and a shallot, and chopped some fenugreek leaves small, while Pete ground spices (black cumin, lots of coriander seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon, allspice, black pepper), and made that lot into meatballs with a bit of sea salt.  It made 16, I think.

I cut an onion in half and half again, and cut it into thin rings, then fried it in ground nut oil (together with more garlic) till it was translucent.  Then we added more spices (more coriander and cumin, ajwain, nigella, fennel) and cooked it down for a bit.  In went a jar’s worth of roasted yellow peppers, sliced thin, and I set it to cook over a low heat.

I browned the meatballs in more groundnut oil, and tipped them (and the oil) into the pepper sauce.  Left them to cook while I did some basmati, to which I added a shallot, some cardamon seeds, and a generous pinch of Marigold veg bouillon.

lamb massaman

We’re trying to clear out the freezer in the shed, so we can replace it with another, smaller one.  And there was a shoulder of lamb, so I thought I’d give this a go.

for the massaman sauce:
4 dried chillis, soaked in boiling water for about  20 minutes
1 tsp each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, and 2 tsp black peppercorns, dry fried then ground
1 onion and about 12 cloves of garlic, chopped, and fried off (I used the remnant of the lamb frying oil, and a dollop of sesame oil to top it off)
a knob of fresh ginger
juice of a lime
some kaffir lime leaves
some bay leaves
half a cinnamon stick
some sea salt
a tin of coconut milk (except I discovered I didn’t have any, so used coconut powder).

other ingredients:
about 2lbs or so of lamb
1 aubergine, 2 sweet potatoes (peeled), 1 butternut squash (peeled and deseeded) all diced
honey
fish sauce

The slow cooker recipes I found said 8-9 hours, which I didn’t have, so I cut some corners and pre-cooked some stuff, and cooked it for seven hours – it would have been ok at six hours, I think.

I started dicing the meat off the shoulder of lamb, but it was a tedious job, and I gave up part way through, figuring it would be much easier when it was cooked 🙂  The lamb was then browned in some groundnut oil, including the large bit with the bone in, then put in the slow cooker, which I turned on to keep the meat warm.

All the ingredients for the massaman went into the food processor and were comprehensively whizzed.  Then, as part of the speeding up process, I put the paste into the frying pan I’d used for lamb and onions, fried it off for a minute or so, and added the coconut milk.  Brought it up to the boil and put it in the slow cooker.

I simmered the aubergine, sweet potato and butternut squash for about 8 minutes to get them started, and put them in.  Then a good squirt of honey, and some fish sauce into the pot.

We then had to put up with the smell all day, which wasn’t easy.  It was sublime.

I don’t know why some people say that slow cooking doesn’t give you the flavour – I’ve never made any sort of curry that flavoured the meat so well.  And there’s at least two tubs’ worth for the freezer too.

We ate it with brown basmati rice (which I still don’t really like but needs eating up) and some potatoes fried up with Indian spices).

3lbs of stewing steak

I wanted to make Anjum Anand’s Gujerati lamb with fenugreek dumplings at the weekend, so sent Pete out to the icy wastes of the outdoor freezer to fetch some lamb.  He returned without, as he couldn’t find any, and it’s all gummed up with ice and we need to defrost it.  But he was clutching about 3lbs of Dexter stewing steak.

Anjum’s book isn’t big on beef, so we compromised, switched things round, left it to cook a lot longer over a low heat – I did most of it, while Pete struggled with a recalcitrant RAID array in our Linux server, and then he did the dumplings.  And delicious it was too.

But I only used half the beef – we’re not big meat eaters, so I put in far more chickpeas than she recommended, and thus was left with the same amount again to deal with.

On Monday, we stirfried some with some tinned black beans from the chinese supermarket (gorgeous – but half a tin was too much; wonder if they freeze), and green pepper and so forth.

And on Tuesday lunchtime, I whipped up the rest of it into a pie filling.  Fried off the beef, then quickly sautéd a chopped onion, some garlic, three big mushrooms chopped, and a couple of carrots, diced.  In a big casserole dumped the beef and veg, a slosh of red wine, a small tin of tomato purée, a slug of balsamic vinegar, a little water, a bouquet garni and some seasoning.  Brought it to the boil and then put it on a very low heat on a diffuser, and we suffered the smell wafting up the stairs all afternoon.

Cheated, and got some puff pastry out of the freezer to make the pie, which we had with potatoes roasted in olive oil, and broccoli and cauliflower.

So, that 3lbs of beef made:

  • 8 portions of beef curry (I put three tubs in the freezer)
  • 4 portions of pie (we shall have the rest of it tomorrow or Friday)
  • 2 portions of stir fry

Which I think is not at all bad.

cauliflower and potato, indian style

using up: cauliflower.

This didn’t go quite to plan, but turned out utterly delicious.  I don’t suppose we’ll ever be able to recreate it, though.

I set a pan of potatoes to parboil, intending to deep fry them later, and put a cut up cauli in the steamer on top.  Pete did Indian spices – coriander, cumin, tumeric, fenugreek, cardamon seeds and allspice – and whizzed up ginger and garlic and a green chilli.  The timer went, and I put the steamer on the draining board while I finished emptying the dishwasher.  And forgot all about it!

When I remembered, the potatoes were pretty mushy.  I turfed them into a wok with some groundnut oil, but they were very soft, and wouldn’t take a crispy edge.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Pete fried off the ginger and garlic, while I added the spices to the potato mush, and then the cauliflower.

We then put a small tin of tomato purée in with the ginger garlic, cooked it down a little, then tipped that into the vegetable mess.  Served it with rice, and it really was lovely – just the sort of texture I like from comfort food!

It made a second tub for the freezer too!

indian vegetarian meal

[no photo – sorry]

Pete brought a huge bunch of coriander home from the Indian supermarket on Saturday.  We had some with a vegetable tagine, some with sour pork with rhubarb, but there was still a reasonable wodge left.

We have lots of spuds to eat too, as the rain got through the shed roof and into the sack, and I don’t know how long they’ll last.  So …

We had:

  • Madhur’s potatoes with ginger and garlic
  • basmati rice, cooked with cinnamon and black cardamon, with a big mushroom chopped up to make a sort of pillau
  • a small tub of lentils and spinach that I found lurking in the freezer at the weekend

We sprinkled a lod of coriander over it all.  A feast fit for anyone, for peanuts.  The potatoes are utterly lovely – highly recommended.

indian spiced cabbage

indian spiced cabbage

One of our favourite dishes, this – especially when we’re in a hurry. The weather here has been quite warm recently, and neither perlmonger nor I are particularly keen to stand over the stove in that sort of weather.

Riverford brought us a pointy cabbage last week, so we turned it into Indian Spiced Cabbage – you can make this from a standing start in less than half an hour, if you want rice with it. About 20 minutes if you don’t.

Somehow, we never expect it to work, because of the frying of the yellow split peas, but it does, and it’s delicious. Fab for vegans too.