Tag Archives: Indian Food

Simple Samosa Recipe

Simple Samosa Recipe

Simple Samosa Recipe

My simple samosa recipe came about because I’m not that keen on making pastry.  I don’t have the patience for a lot of the recipes, you know the ones where you have to chill it for hours, that kind of thing.  So, I’m always looking for ways to make the pastry part of baking as easy as I can.  One of my favourite ways is to swap various sorts of pastry for ready-made filo.  Not only is this a easier option, but a healthier one too as it has less fat (relatively).

This is a great snack to have as part of a curry based meal, or it has proven a firm favourite when friends gather for beers to watch various sporting events.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Time to Build the Samosa’s : 30 minutes
Baking Time: 15 to 20 minutes

 Ingredients for about 25 to 30 Samosa’s
2 x tbsp of sunflower oil
6 x spring onions chopped finely
1 x tbsp of honey
2 x tsp tomato purée
400gr / 14 oz. of potatoes, boiled, cooled and crushed roughly with a fork
2 x tsps garam masala
2 x tsps ground turmeric
1 x tsp ground coriander
1 x tsp chili powder (more if you want it hotter)
200gr / 7 oz. frozen peas (de-frosted) or of course you can use fresh
4 large sheets of filo pastry (or about 400 to 500gr / approximately 1lb)
Sesame Seeds or poppy seeds to decorate.
Salt to taste.

Simple Samosa Recipe

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Line a roasting tray (s) with baking paper.
  3. Heat half of the oil in a non-stick pan and add the onions, cooking on a medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Add the spices allowing it cook through for a minute of minutes, add the honey and tomato puree and mix through.
  5. Then add the potatoes and the peas mixing them through the curry spice until covered. You may need to mash a little to get a paste sort of consistency. If you find it a bit dry, just add a little water, a few drops only though, about a tbsp or so.
  6. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed, remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. Cut a sheet of filo into 4 strips or strips of about 5cm / 2in. depending on the size of your filo sheets.
  8. Brush each strip of filo around the edges with a little oil.
  9. Place about a tbsp spoon or so at the bottom end of one or your filo strips, slightly to the left corner.
  10. Taking the area where you have placed the filling, lift it and fold it to meet the other edge at the bottom of the strip at a diagonal, giving you a triangle shape. Repeat this process from left to right until you reach the end of your strip of filo
  11. Repeat until you have used your mix, brush with a little oil, sprinkle with seeds is you wish and place roasting tray and then into the oven.
  12. Place each samosa onto your lined baking sheet.
  13. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they are nice and brown

Tips and Variations

  • Serve with some sweet chili dip sauce or some mango chutney.
  • For a meaty version try with minced beef or lamb instead of potatoes, or even as well as.
  • The filo is pre-bought and I find it in the freezer area of the supermarket – but you can also try Turkish shops.

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Simple Samosa Recipe

Southern Indian Vegetable Curry

Southern Indian Vegetable Curry

Southern Indian Vegetable Curry

Before I say anything else, please, please don’t be put off by the list of ingredients for the curry.  It’s mostly just spices, and in no way means that this is a complicated recipe, in fact it is pretty simple.

Ok, now that’s out of the way I can tell you that as a confirmed meat eater this is a really satisfying dish.  I’ve said (sorry if I’m beginning to repeat myself) that there is only one place I could consider being vegetarian, and that’s Sicily.  Well, I have to eat my words (and believe me, if it were possible I would) and tell you that India could also persuade me to give up meat.

It’s the spice I think that does it, it charms and disarms the carnivore and before you know it you realise that you’re not even looking at the ‘non-veg’ options on their menu’s.  Of course it’s got something to do with the environment you’re in, the culture, the climate, I know how that can affect eating habits, but even after coming home I found myself eating less meat and turning more and more to spice.

Although I love meat, I don’t eat a huge amount and one of the many things I learnt in India was that I wanted to eat even less.  So, if you feel like cutting down a little too, but not giving up on the flavour or enjoyment of your food, this could be a really great place to start.

South Indian Vegetable Curry

Preparation Time:  25 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Serves 4 to 6
For the Curry Paste
1 x tsp of fennel seeds
2 x tsp of cumin seeds
2 x tsp of coriander powder
2 x tsp turmeric
2 x tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1 x tsp cinnamon
½ tsp asafoetida (optional)
6 x tbsp. of desiccated coconut
3 x red chilies, stalks removed and halved
4 x large garlic cloves
2 x medium tomatoes, quartered
1 x red onion, quartered
1 x tbsp. of tomato puree
4 x tbsp. of water

For the Vegetables
2 x tbsp. of vegetable oil (I normally use sunflower)
1 red onion sliced thinly
700gr / 1.5lb cauliflower florets (a small cauly will do).  Cut or tear the florets into quite small,  bite sized sections.
1 x aubergine (eggplant), diced
2 x red peppers with the seeds and stalks removed and then diced
200gr / 7oz. x green beans, topped and tailed and cut into 2cm / 1 in. pieces
1 x tbsp. of honey
1 x tbsp. of red wine vinegar (or other vinegar if you don’t have the red wine variety)
Salt to taste

To Serve
Some natural yogurt and fresh coriander leaves.

Method

  1. Grind the fennel and cumin seeds. If you are feeling particularly worthy or in need of some exercise you can do this by hand with a pestle and mortar, but, if like me you just want your dinner, do it in a little electric spice or coffee grinder.  Oh, but if you use a coffee grinder, keep it for spices only.
  2. Place the ground fennel and cumin with the rest of the ingredients listed under the heading ‘for the curry paste’ in a blender and whizz up until you get a smooth puree. If it is not blending as smooth as you want it, add a little more water to loosen up the mix.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom soup or stew pan and add the sliced red onion, frying on a medium high heat until it browns.
  4. Add the curry paste, a little salt, the vinegar and honey, stir through and cook at a medium simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the red pepper, stir through, cover with a close fitting lid and cook for about 7 minutes. Check after a minute to make sure your temperature is correct, it should be simmering gently.
  6. Then add the cauliflower and aubergine (eggplant), again stir through to cover it in your curry paste, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Then it’s the beans, cook for a further 7 to 10 minutes.  The curry is ready when the vegetables have softened but still retain a little bite.
  7. This curry should be quite thick, but because of all the vegetables and depending on how much water you added to blend your paste, it may be thinner than you wish. To thicken, remove the lid from the pan, turn up the heat and allow to reduce for a minute or two.
  8. Check your curry for seasoning, you may need to add some more salt or you may want a little more heat in the form of fresh or powdered chili. You can even add more sweetness with an extra squeeze of honey.

Tips and Variations

  • You can vary the combination of vegetables as much as you wish – it’s a really handy recipe for using up veggies lurking in the back of the fridge that are perhaps past their best. Just remember different vegetables have different cooking times – you don’t want it turning to mush.
  • Try this mix with peppers (red and green) and tofu, this is one of my favourite variations.
  • Asafoetida is a powder that you will find in some specialist shops or Indian deli’s. It’s derived from a root and is often used in Southern Indian vegetable dishes and has an earthy, oniony flavour.  It’s not to everyone’s taste and can take a bit of getting used to.  To be honest I tend not to use it as I find at home I really don’t enjoy it the way I did when travelling in India.
  • This curry is a bit of a mix of a Goa style and Kerala curry. You can see the Goa influence with the addition of a little bit of vinegar – this came from the time when the area was colonized by the Portuguese.  And of course no Kerala curry would be complete without the use of coconuts.

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Spinach and Paneer Curry

Spinach and Paneer Curry

Spinach and Paneer Curry:

Ever since my south Indian travels I’ve been working on getting to grips with some of my favourite food from the trip.  This curry with spinach and paneer (Indian fresh cheese) is really fresh and light and, it uses a very (in my opinion) exotic spice –  asafoetida.  This spice has a sort of earthy onion type aroma and flavour and in its raw form is a root like ginger or turmeric.  In the South of India they use it in a lot of vegetarian curries.  I had heard of it, but I had absolutely no idea how to use it.  That’s the great thing about travelling to the places where your favourite food originates, you get to taste how it should taste and that makes it so much easier to understand how to use it.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes 

Serves 4
500gr / 1.1 lb. of paneer cut into cubes (you can also use tofu)
For the Curry
2 x tbsp of sunflower oil
2 x red onions, quartered
2 x large tomatoes, quartered
4 x large garlic cloves
2 x tsp of cumin
1 x tsp of turmeric
3 x tsp of coriander
3 x tsp of cardamom
1 x tsp f fenugreek
¼ tsp of asafetida (optional)
¼ tsp of salt

For the Spinach
500gr / 1.1 lb. of fresh spinach, cleaned and the most woody stems removed.
2 x green chili’s
2 x large cloves of garlic
75gr  / 2.5 oz. piece of peeled ginger

Method 

  1. Place the spinach leaves in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes.  Remove them and plunge them into a bowl of iced water.  This keeps the vibrant green colour.
  2. Put all the curry ingredients (except for the oil) into a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Set aside.
  3. Drain the spinach and put  it in the food processor with the chili’s, garlic and ginger and blitz until smooth.
  4. Heat the oil in a non stick pan and cook the curry sauce for about 3 minutes.  Add the spinach mix and stir through, cooking on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Add the paneer, stir through and check for salt before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • This can be served as a main dish or without the paneer it makes a great side dish to a curry menu.

Spinach and Paneer Curry

Spiced Griddled Indian Paneer Cheese

 

Spiced Griddled Indian Paneer Cheese Spiced Griddled Indian Paneer Cheese

So, now that you’ve made your cheese (or maybe you haven’t – don’t worry, I wouldn’t do that to you, there are other options below) here’s a great idea to spice it up.  This is something I ate in Kerala as a starter to a fabulous fish meal at the Bait Restaurant just outside Kovalam.  Some of this cheese, dipped in mint chutney and a cold Kingfisher beer – what better way to start off your curry night? 

Preparation Time: Less than 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes. 

Serves 4
400gr (just under 1 lb.) of paneer cheese cut into oblongs (about pinky finger sized)
1 x large garlic clove
1 x green chili
1 x tsp nutmeg
2 x tsp honey
1 x tbsp sunflower oil
Juice of a lime (about 2 x tbsps)
A handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
4 x tsps of coriander powder
2 x tsps of cumin powder
8 dried curry leaves (or 4 fresh)
A pinch of salt

Method 

  1. Place all the ingredients, except for the cheese, in a food processor and whizz up until everything is very fine. Check for salt.
  2. Rub the mix over each piece of your cheese to cover each side as best you can.
  3. Heat a grill pan until it is very hot. Place each piece in the pan turning them every 30 seconds or so to brown each side and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Tips and Variations

  • If you can’t get a hold of paneer cheese try this with halloumi or tofu.
  • Serve with some mint chutney, mango chutney or chili style dip.
  • Great served with a cold beer.

Mint Chutney

Mint Chutney

Mint Chutney:

This is a great little recipe for a curry night.  Something fresh and aromatically spiced to go along with your breads or papadum for dipping.  Super easy too, just whizz everything up and your done.  I ate it every day on my trip to India, they serve it with or at the beginning of it seems, every meal.  In the photo above you can see that I’ve served the mint chutney with some spiced griddled paneer.

This is one of those recipes that you can adjust to your own taste.  You can make it hot and spicy or cool and mild.  Try it as is at first and then go for it.

Preparation Time: Less than 10 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
1 or 2 green chili’s
200ml full fat natural yogurt
The fresh mint leaves from about 10 stalks
A handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
50gr / 1.7 oz. of fresh ginger, peeled
1 x shallot
2 x tsps coriander powder
3 x tsps cardamom powder
1 x tsp mango powder
2 x tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste

Method 

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz up until everything is completely smooth, check for seasoning and flavour balance before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • This is served as a dip with all kinds of breads or cracker style snacks in India.
  • I serve it with some spiced, griddled paneer cheese as a nibble before a curry night.
  • You can use buttermilk or a mix of buttermilk and yogurt for a thinner mix.
  • The amount of chili you use depends on how hot you want your chutney.