I am passionate about flavoursome, light Indian cooking and a firm believer in the health benefits of spices. With Wimbledon fever upon us, I wanted to create a light and brothy curry, packed with energy enhancing and health boosting ingredients such as chia seeds spices and wholegrain rice, to give Andy Murray the extra edge he may need to clinch the Wimbledon title.
With a summer of sport ahead of us, this is a perfect time to give healthy Indian cooking a try. Here is my recipe so you can try it at home…
- 4tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 tbsp Goan red spice paste (see recipe below)
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 700g chicken joints, skinned
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
Goan Red Spice Paste
- 2 largish, mild, fresh red chillies, deseeded
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1½ tsp coriander seeds
- 3 cloves
- 6 black peppercorns
- ¾ tsp turmeric
- 9 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- good-sized piece of cinnamon
- 1tsp tamarind paste
- ¾ tsp sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- 5tbsp white wine vinegar
Blend all the ingredients together to make a fine paste.*
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and cook until browned, around 10 minutes. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and salt, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and reduced. Uncover the pan and toss the tomatoes in their own juices for another 6-8 minutes or until they have become a good shade darker.
Add the chicken and toss well in the pan for a few minutes. Add 250ml water, bring to the boil and cover. Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes if the joints are small, 25 minutes if large. Uncover, turn the heat up and boil off the excess moisture in the pan, tossing the chicken in the reducing gravy all the time. Doing this for 3-4 minutes will finish off the chicken, deepen the flavour and darken the colour. The gravy should be a dark red and quite thick.
Serve with wholegrain brown rice.
* The paste can be stored in a sterilized jar in the fridge for 1 week.
Anjum’s recipe for Beetroot Halva is featured in February’s edition of The Guardian Cook, top 10 beetroot dishes.
One of the most delicious dishes you can make with beetroot.
- 2 large, fresh beetroot
- 1 litre milk
- 3 tbsp. caster sugar
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. raisins
- A small handful of chopped cashew nuts
- A pinch of ground cardamom
Coarsely grate the beetroot. Place in a large non-stick saucepan with the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk has dried off. It will take more than an hour
Add the caster sugar and 4 tbsp. of butter and cook, stirring, for another 15-20 minutes to help the beetroot caramelise. It will turn a lovely, deep red colour
Meanwhile, gently heat 1 tsp. of unsalted butter in a pan, then fry all the raisins with the cashews and a pinch of ground cardamom until the nuts are lightly golden.
Stir into the halva, Taste, Adjust the sugar and serve hot
Why not impress your friends with this tasty vegetarian option as either a light lunch or as part of your main meal with this tasty PLT sandwich.
- 150 gms Paneer, cut into long 1cm thick slices
- 4 slices wholemeal bread or other bread, cut into thin or medium slices
- A few lettuce leaves (I use Iceberg lettuce)
- 1 small vine tomato, finely sliced
- A few finely sliced rounds of red onion, separated
- 4 tsp. mayonnaise (can be light mayo, if preferred)
- 1 tsp. Greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. milk, or more
For the Marinade
- 2/3 tsp. fresh ginger paste
- ½ tsp. fresh garlic paste (2 small garlic cloves)
- 4 tsp. lemon juice
- 70g Greek Yoghurt
- 2/3 tsp. each red chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala and paprika
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 black cardamom pods (optional)
Stir together the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, dried spices, lemon juice, oil and season to taste. Grate in the cardamom (I use fine microplane grater but a nutmeg grater will work too) or use a pestle or mortar
Place the paneer in the marinade and leave to absorb the flavors for at least 20 minutes. Place a piece of foil on the floor of the grill and put the grill on high.
Transfer the paneer to the grill rack and cook for 10 minutes or until the edges are charring. Meanwhile, toast the bread. Stir together the mayo, yoghurt, lemon juice and milk and season slightly
Spread the mayo over one piece of toast, add the red onions, then a layer of tomatoes and then lettuce and finally top with the paneer and the last toast. Slice in half and serve the sandwich immediately
As a mother, I am always trying to keep the children healthy, especially at this time of the year. The medicinal power of spices is very much woven into Indian heritage and I wanted to create a curry to show families that they don’t have to hit the medicine cabinet with the first sign of a cold. In fact, they are likely to have some great cold-busting products sitting on their kitchen shelves!
This tomato based curry, where the vegetables take centre stage, is packed with immunity boosting ingredients including pomegranate, turmeric, garam masala, ginger and garlic that really can improve your overall health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of everyday infections.
Anjum’s tips: You can make a jhalfrezi curry with any vegetables so I have listed a few options to give you some ideas and have suggested a volume amount to get the quantities right. Look for a good mix of colours, shapes and textures for the widest range of nutrition. If you can find baby vegetables, definitely make this dish with them, it will make it even more special. Pomegranates are in season in Autumn so kernels should be sweet and juicy but if they are sour use sparingly as they will add too much sourness to the curry. I like the dish to be quite spicy so add crushed chillies in at the end but I leave it to you as I do with the addition of pomegranate kernels at the end, they add a burst of freshness and sweetness to the dish, but again, it is an added option. Ideally, serve with naan.
Vegetable options – aim for around 2 cups of prepared vegetables
Fingerling or baby potatoes, (cooked whole, peeled and then halved or quartered lengthways)
Courgettes, cut into slices at an angle and then halved lengthways
Japanese eggplants, halved lengthways (leave the stalk on) and quartered
Wedge of butternut squash or pumpkin, skin cut away and cut into wedges or pieces
Carrots, peeled and cut on the angle into long slices and halved lengthways
Green beans, mangetout or green peas, beans trimmed and halved
5 tbs. vegetable oil or a mix of butter and oil
4-5 green chillies, whole but pierced with the tip of a knife
15g ginger, peeled, half grated and the other half sliced into fine julienne
2 large ripe tomatoes, quartered and blended until smooth
2 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, crushed between your fingers
2 rounded tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. garam masala powder
½ small red bell pepper, cut into fine strips
¼ tsp. crushed red chillies (optional)
Good pinch of dried pomegranate powder (optional)
2 tbs. single cream
Handful of fresh pomegranate kernels (optional)
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is cooked and starts to colour, around 1 minute. Add the green chillies, tomatoes, coriander and garam masala powders and salt. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the tomatoes have completely reduced down and the sauce releases oil on the base of the pan. Taste, it should taste harmonious.
Meanwhile, cook the vegetables. Peel vegetables that need peeling, cut into cubes or long slices. Boil a large pan of water and have a bowl of heavily iced water ready. Working in batches, blanch the vegetables in the water, scooping them up and putting them in the cold water to arrest cooking process and then spoon out and place on a plate. The vegetables should be cooked until done.
Whilst the tomatoes are cooking, cook your chosen vegetables. Bring a pot of water to the boil and season lightly. Add the vegetables in batches, I start with two or three of the starchier vegetables and cook until just tender, spoon out and reserve continue with the others (peel potatoes and halve lengthways, if using). Reserve the cooking liquor.
When ready to serve, add the red pepper strips, ginger julienne, dried fenugreek leaves and 150ml of the cooking liquor (or water) into the sauce and bring back to the boil. Add the vegetables and stir well to coat them in the light tomato sauce; add a small splash of water if the sauce is too thick, it should be of coating consistency. Add cream and pomegranates, taste, adjust seasoning and add crushed chilli (if using). Serve, adding a little swirl of cream, coriander and pomegranate kernels for garnish.