Archive for the ‘Curry’ Category

Cooking for my friends is my way of saying I love them (see my first post) and this week I was able to cook  my home friends a dish which had become a signature dish whilst at uni.

butter chicken

First stolen from one of my Dad’s plethora of Indian cookbooks and since adapted to suit budget student needs and my personal taste, it became my go-to dish when I was asked to provide visiting musicians a yummy curry. The prepare in advance nature means it is also the perfect dish for entertaining, not to mention the one pot wonder of it meaning less washing up and the ability to multiply the quantities endlessly with just a bit of simple maths (aided by my phone calculator…)

Serves 5-6 with a vegetable side dish, 4 alone

  • 2cm  ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic  chopped
  • 100g flaked almonds or ground if you don’t have a hand blender
  • 1 to 3/4 pot of Greek yoghurt (low fat if you’re feeling virtuous)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 stick cinammon
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • salt to taste (about 1 1/4 tsp)
  • 500g/6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion fine chopped
  • 6tbsp chopped fresh coriander
If you have a hand whizzer put the yoghurt, ginger, garlic and almonds into a tall pot (I used to use a jug) and blend until combined. If not, finely chop the garlic and ginger and use ground almonds. Combine all the ingredients apart from the onion and butter in a dish. Chop the chicken and stir into the mixture. Marinade in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight. Preheat the oven to 170C and fry the onions in the butter until browned in an oven dish. The dish should  be shallow and wide, but anything will do. Add the chicken and marinade and stir to combine with the onions. Pop it in the oven for 1 and 1/2 to 2hrs, I normally go for 2 and turn it down if it looks like its going too brown/drying up, or cover it with foil. About 30 mins before it’s finished you can check if you put enough salt in. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving with a sprinkling of coriander, if you remembered to keep some aside…
chickpea and spinach vegetable side dish

This is vaguely based on a spicy aubergine recipe (which, by the way is THE most perfect way to eat aubergines ever ever ever) and was something I knocked up the other night with store cupboard ingredients to make the meal a bit less of a meat-fest. It was a hit and I was requested to write it down for posterity. As far as the seeds go, I tend to throw in whatever I can find in the spice cupboard, so don’t worry if you only have some of these or use others such as white mustard or cumin.

  • 1 tsp kalonji seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 blocks frozen spinach or 300g fresh spinach
  • 1 tin chick peas
  • 2 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
  • Cup of water
Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and put in all the whole seeds. Wait until they start to pop then add the garlic. Once the garlic as browned add everything else in no particular order, apart from the water, which you should add gradually as the sauce begins to dry up. Cook until the spinach has melted/wilted and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until everyone has arrived to eat!
 perfect rice for curry
I know everyone has their own way of doing rice and there are all sorts of tricks out there but this is my key to perfect fluffy fragrant rice using that new-fangled invention, the microwave oven. I have been forced by quantity to cook rice on a hob (for which I would employ a similar method using a heavy pan/oven dish on very low temperatures) but it was very much done under protest. As far as quantities go this worked well in a house full of hungry students, and I  blinking love rice, but others have been known to be strangely underwhelmed by its fluffy joys, in which case, follow the rule of 1:2 rice to water, but maybe reduce it by a third…
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice per person
  • 1 cup recently boiled water per person
  • 1 clove (per 4 people)
  • 2 cardamon pods (per 4 people)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (per 4 people)
  • 1 tsp salt (per 4 people)
put it all in a microwave bowl, cover with cling film and pierce to stop it exploding. Heat on full power in the microwave for 10-15mins, or until all the water is gone. Stand for 2 minutes and fluff with a fork, removing the whole spices and serve.

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