Do historic Indian recipes still work?

curry_2912353bFood historian Angela Clutton talks to Anjum about how curry recipes from the 19th century measure up to the dishes we eat today. Click here for details.


The Murray Curry

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…

Serves 4-5

  • 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

Makes 100ml

  • 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.

Beetroot Halva featured in The Guardian Cook

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.

Serves 4

  • 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

Cook Vegetarian Coverage

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.


Courtesy @ Emma Lee

Makes 2

  • 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