During a quiet weekend Adam and I decided we would make ourselves a thali dinner. It was great fun, we really enjoyed cooking and eating the feast together – it was the perfect Indian food experiment, ready for our honeymoon in Kerala!
Thali for Two
Lamb Rogan Josh
1 Onions , Quartered
1.5 tbsp Sunflower Oil
1.5 Garlic Cloves (Crushed)
1 tsp Piece Fresh Root Ginger , (peeled & grated)
2 tsp Madras Curry Paste
3/4 tsp Paprika
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
2 Green Cardamom (bash to break shells)
1 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Tomato Purée
400g Lean Lamb (cut into cubes)
50ml Greek Yogurt
Chopped Coriander (garnish)
Put the onions in a food processor and whizz until very finely chopped. Heat oil in a large pan, fry the onion with the lid on, stirring occasionally until golden and soft. Add garlic & ginger, fry for 5mins.
Tip the curry paste, all spices & bay leaf into the pan, with the tomato purée. Stir well & heat for about 30secs, then add the meat & 300ml water. Stir to mix, turn the heat down & add the yogurt.
Cover the pan, gently simmer for 40-60 mins until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Serve with rice & scattered with coriander.
Lentil Dhal with Grilled Aubergine
100g Red Lentils (rinsed)
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp Tamarind Paste
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Medium Onion (thinly sliced)
1 Garlic Clove (finely chopped)
3cm Piece Ginger (grated)
1 tsp Curry Powder
1 Medium Aubergine (cut into 2cm slices)
Cover the lentils, turmeric and tamarind paste with 500ml water. Add salt and boil for 15mins or until very soft. Skim off any foam that forms on the top.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil and cook the onion, garlic and ginger until golden, about 5mins.
Add the curry powder & cook for further 2mins. Pour in the lentil mixture and cook for another 10mins.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan until very hot. Rub the remaining oil over the aubergine slices and season. Cook for 2-3mins each side until cooked through & charred.
Onion & Chilli Bhajis with Raita (makes 6)
1 Red Onions
50g Chickpea Flour (Gram Flour)
1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Curry Paste
1/2 Green Chilli (deseeded, finely chopped)
For The Raita
75g Tub Natural Yogurt
1 Tbsp Chopped Mint
Small Garlic Clove (crushed)
Chop half the onion finely and thinly slice the other half. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the curry paste, chopped chilli and a good amount of salt. Add about 75ml of cold water to make a thick batter. Stir in the chopped and sliced onions until they are well coated.
Mix together the raita ingredients with a little salt and pepper, then spoon into a small bowl.
Heat about 5cm of oil in a wok or deep pan. Add a tiny speck of batter, if it rises to the surface surrounded by bubbles & starts to brown then the oil is hot enough.
Add heaped tbsps of the onion mix to the pan, a few at a time and cook for a few mins, turning once, until they are evenly browned and crisp, about 3-4 mins.
Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with a little salt and keep warm while you cook the remaining bhajis. Serve with the raita.
Herb & Spice Paneer Fritters (makes 6)
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
110g Paneer (coarsely grated)
Small Handful Coriander (stems & leaves finely chopped)
Small Handful Mint Leaves (finely chopped)
1 Spring Onion (finely chopped)
1 tsp Piece Ginger (Grated)
1 Garlic Clove (finely crushed)
1 Egg (beaten)
1 tbsp Plain Flour
Sweet Chilli Sauce (to serve)
Toast the cumin seeds in a large, non-stick frying pan for about 1min, taking care not to burn. Remove from the heat and place the seeds in a mixing bowl.
Add everything else, except the oil and chilli sauce, to the bowl. Season well and mix thoroughly. Using wet hands, take walnut-size handfuls of the mixture, then press into flat little cakes or patties. They can now be chilled until ready to cook, or cooked straight away.
Reheat the pan over a medium flame and add enough oil to cover the base of the pan. When hot, add the fritters, cook until golden, then turn over to cook other side. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm as you cook batches. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.
Mango Chutney Naan Breads (makes 4)
225g Strong Bread Flour (extra for surface)
3.5g Sachet Fast Action Yeast
175ml Warm Water
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 tsp Mango Chutney
Mix the flour in a bowl with 2 tsp salt and the yeast. Make a well, add the water & oil then mix to a rough dough. Leave it to sit for 5mins as it is. Flour the work surface and hands, knead the dough for 1-2mins until smooth and springy. Leave it to sit for 10mins in a warm place, covered with oiled clingfilm.
Cut the dough in to 4 even pieces, roll each one out into a thin circle. Spoon 1 tsp mango chutney into the middle of the circle, then fold one side over to make a semi-circle shape. Press the edges together. Heat the grill to high. Dust a baking sheet with flour, then grill the breads for 1-2mins on each side until puffed and golden. Serve with the curry.
Letting the dough sit after mixing the liquid into the dry dramatically cuts the time it takes to knead.
It was all absolutely delicious and we were so stuffed that we had some of the sides and extras leftover, so I froze them and we had them with the next curry I cooked!