Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Summer curry: Goan fish curry

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So, since we moved, my weight has been a bit up and down like a yoyo.  It’s all to do with finding a rhythm at the gym now, and also avoiding the biscuits at work.

This week I’m recommitting to the gym and trying to be healthier.  Many people think curries aren’t healthy, but they can be, and this is a good example of one.  Using fish as well, means it’s a lot lighter and good for summer eating.  At 238 calories per serving this is a great healthy dinner.

I do find that fish isn’t the cheapest thing to buy, but you can get good deals.  Our local co-op often has meat discounted towards the end of the day, and the haddock I got was one such example.  I also got prawns as they were reduced too, but you can leave them out as they can be expensive.

You can use any firm white fish for this – pollack or coley would work well and are often a lot cheaper.

This is a delicious curry and really simple to make.  No making pastes, and just use ground spices. I found it on trusty BBC Good Food but from a reader and not the usual chefs.  I served with boiled rice, but naan or chappatis would be good too.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1121651/goan-fish-curry

Goan Fish Curry

Serves 2

  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 long green chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 mushrooms, quartered (you can add whatever vegetables you like)
  • 70ml reduced fat coconut milk
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 250g skinless haddock or any firm white fish cut into chunks
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 12 raw prawns (I used cooked king prawns as couldn’t find uncooked)
  • 1tbsp fresh chopped coriander
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying or sauce pan.  Add the onions and cook until browned.
  2. Next add the chilli, garlic, ginger and dried spices, and mushrooms cooking for a further minute, until the spice aromas fill the kitchen.
  3. Add the coconut milk and tomatoes.  You may need to add some water here
  4. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for about 5-10 minutes, or until thickened slightly.
  5. Add the fish chunks and cook for about 10 minutes until cooked through (add the prawns after 5 minutes if they’re raw)
  6. Add the cooked prawns and the coriander, and lime juice and cook through for a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve with boiled rice and enjoy the light fish with spicy flavours

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Chicken Channa Dhal

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I know, it’s been a while. My new job is being quite demanding, as it my social life! I can’t promise more posts in the near future, but I do promise, whatever I do post will be quality.

Mr J and Kaz were both in need of comfort food. It was post a big weekend (what weekend isn’t one of those at the moment?!) and they were feeling delicate. And so I made Chicken Dhal. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing more comforting than dhal. We had it with naan. It’s also very healthy and low in fat and calories and all those things so great for the bikini diets – maybe have it with chappattis instead of naans. You can, of course, eat it with rice too.

According to my calories in recipes site, theres 352 calories, so with a naan of about 150 calories, you’ve got a perfect dinner meal at 500 calories. Or just leave out the naan if you’re really going for it!

Channa Dhal is really dried yellow split peas rather than strictly lentils but they still come in the same category.

I found the recipe here and more or less followed it, just adding in mushrooms for more vege, and leaving out the leeks, replacing them with onions. I also added garlic and ginger because they’re great for stomachs and no Indian recipe is without them as far as I’m concerned.

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/miscellaneous/fetch-recipe.php?rid=misc-chicken-chana-dhal

And here’s my version:

Chicken Channa Dhal

Serves 3

  • 100g channa dhal, rinsed
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower, vegetable, walnut, peanut oil etc
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • pinch of curry leaves
  • 3 small red chillis, finely chopped (de seed if you don’t want too spicy or replace with 1 large chilli)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 6-7 closed cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp amchoor powder (use 1tbsp tamarind puree or lime juice instead if you don’t have)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Boil the dhal in plenty of water until cooked through – this takes about 20-25 minutes (channa dhal takes longer – you can tell when its done when the middle goes from opaque to more transparent and they double up in size). Then drain and set aside until needed.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the coriander seeds until they start to pop. Then tip into a pestle and mortar and grind to a rough powder
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok. When it’s hot add the onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, fresh chillis, coriander seeds and mustard seeds. Fry for a few minutes until the onion starts to brown and the mustard seeds pop.
  4. Then add the chicken and mushrooms and cook until the chicken whitens on the outside.
  5. Add the tomatoes, amchoor powder, salt & pepper to taste and chilli powder.
  6. Reduce the heat and dry fry, stiring constantly until the chicken is cooked through – about 7 minutes.
  7. Add the cooked lentils and the coriander and stir through for a minute.
  8. Serve immediately with naan or chappattis.
  9. Enjoy 🙂
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Tamarind and lime chicken curry

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As you know, I love tamarind. So when I found this recipe for tamarind and lime curry, I had to try it. There was a distinct lack of chilli in it though, so I added some quite generously! And it was absolutely delicious – let the sauce simmer and thicken for quite a while – it’s just delicious and perfect for dipping naan bread in. Plus the longer you cook the chicken the more it just falls off the bone. It’s still very doable as a midweek meal though – I think it would take 40-45 minutes.

This curry doesn’t have much vege (and you know how I love to have vege in everything) so we had a potato and aubergine takari side dish, which was also very delicious and I’ll blog about in a later post. It went with the curry very well. We didn’t bother with rice, we just had some naan with it (which we didn’t really eat much of either – the potatoes being filling enough).

The original recipe is here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1852638/coconut-and-tamarind-chicken-curry

I did vary it somewhat. I didn’t bother to bake it, I just did it all on the hob and bunged the chicken in the sauce to cook. I also didn’t bother with coconut cream – and it really didn’t need it. And I used low fat coconut milk to reduce the calories.

It’s actually a pretty healthy option – the original recipe is 466 calories a serving, without the cream and with reduced fat coconut milk – it’s going to be less – perhaps nearer to 400 calories. With the takari and naan – you’re looking at 6-700 calories max.

You could also replace the chicken with a firm white fish for a fish curry version, or add veges to keep it vegetarian and vegan friendly – or for a lower fat option.

Tamarind and lime chicken curry

Serves 3-4

  • 6-8 skinned chicken leg pieces (thighs and drumsticks) on the bone
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 small green chillis, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used peanut, but sunflower, vegetable etc is also good – not olive or sesame)
  • 1.5 tsp mustard seeds
  • small handful of curry leaves
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • small piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 can tomatoes plus 200ml passata or 2 cans tomatoes and 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can reduced fat coconut milk
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 large green chillis, sliced
  1. Put the chicken in a dish enough for it to spread out. Add the lime juice and zest, small green chillis, salt & pepper. Mix well to coat and set aside until needed.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole dish (that has a lid). Add the mustard seeds & curry leaves until they start to pop. Then reduce the heat, add the onions and cover. Allow to cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until softened and browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Whilst the onions are browning, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry on either side until browned. You may need to do this in batches. Set aside.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions and turn up the heat again. Cook for about 30 seconds before adding the paprika and chilli powder. Stir well.
  5. Then add the tomatoes and passata or puree, chicken stock and sugar and place the chicken in the pot, covering them with the liquid. Cook on a low heat, covered for about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Then remove the lid and turn up the heat, until the sauce is thickened and reduced.
  7. Then stir through the coconut milk and tamarind. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the sauce is a nice deep red in colour and thick.
  8. Add the coriander and chilli slices, stir again and serve immediately with naan or rice.
  9. Enjoy the delicious tart and sweet flavours 🙂
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Stuffed roasted peppers

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This is a super easy midweek recipe. And healthy too. It’s a bit like keema dhal in a pepper. I found the original recipe on BBC good food but because I didn’t have much mince (just some left over in the fridge) I added the lentils as well.

You can easily do with it beef or turkey mince instead, or quorn. It’s very versatile and really great for something different.

Here’s the original recipe http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/13311/peppers-baked-with-lamb-and-rice

And here’s mine!

Keema dhal stuffed peppers

Serves 2

  • 150g minced lamb
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80g red or green lentils
  • 50g raw rice (or 100g cooked)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • a pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley , chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flaked almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Cut the peppers in half, leaving the stalk on, but removing the pith and seeds. Place on a baking tray and drizzle over a little oil and some salt. Put in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. Drain off any water that collects in the peppers.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the rice as per your usual method, and boil the lentils in salted water until soft. Drain both and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until translucent but not coloured. Add the spices and stir for another minute. Then add the mince and fry until browned, breaking it up with the spatula.
  4. Add the tomato puree, chicken stock, almonds and parsley. Stir well to combine, then reduce the heat to low and allow to bubble off some of the liquid.
  5. Stir the rice and lentils into the mince mixture and remove from the heat.
  6. Remove the peppers from the oven and spoon the mixture into each until its over full.
  7. Return to the oven and cook for a further 20-30 minutes or until crispy on top and the peppers chargrilled.
  8. Serve and eat immediately! 🙂
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Dining with a difference: The Spice Club Supperclub

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On Friday, hubby (apparently now called Mr. J!) and I had a very special treat. We went to a supper club. Supper clubs are also sometimes called underground restaurants. It’s kind of a cross between a dinner party and restaurant eating. Or a dinner party for strangers perhaps. They’ve been slowly growing in popularity over the past few years. Basically, it’s private individuals, friends or family, cooking delicious food and opening their home to strangers. They operate on the fringes of legality so they’re secreta and you find out about them through word of mouth and contact them through email and the internet. We were text our location 24 hours beforehand. Which all adds to the excitement and mystery of an ‘event’.

So I thought, I’d break with tradition, and blog about our experience. And maybe, change the tradition and blog more about the restaurants and other culinary experiences we have, not just about the food I cook. What do you think? It was a suggestion some of our fellow diners suggested.

I kind of stumbled across it a few months back and thought it would be fun to try out. It’s great to try new dining experiences, meet new people and I loved the more informal nature of it compared to restaurants.

We chose The Spice Club, because it had great reviews, we love Indian food, and they had an event in January, which fitted with our other engagements. You can find out about them here http://spiceclubmanchester.com/ I found The Spice Club, through this website, which is a brilliant site for finding out more about the supper club movement in the UK http://supperclubfangroup.ning.com/

If you want to read more about supper clubs, here’s a guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/sep/29/best-london-supper-clubs

In order to get around some of the legal issues, instead of getting a bill at the end, you give a donation, and at this supper club, they suggested a minimum of £25, which we were happy to pay – it was money very well donated! 10% of the donations are given to charity as well – there’s more about that on their website. The other thing you do is you take your own drinks – so they don’t have to worry about alcohol licenses.

We had a great time. The food was fantastic, the hosts were welcoming and friendly and had a lovely home. Our fellow guests were really lovely and the conversation hardly stopped all night! There were about 24 of us, on three tables in the host’s dining room. It was great to meet new, like minded people and have a more relaxed dining experience. If you went to a restaurant you only really talk to the people you go with – here you get to talk to complete strangers but it doesn’t feel strange at all. Whilst eating, fantastic home cooked food.

We had a five course Indian supper. And it was just beautiful. We started with Chaat, which I absolutely love! Never eaten them as a starter though, I’v always had them as a snack. They were so fresh and light and the spiced marsala veges were great too. Then we had lots of sharing dishes including Afghani chicken, a delicious chaana dhal, koftas, spiced potatoes served with raita, chapattis and rice. Every time the dishes started getting low, they’d be topped up with more, til we were so stuffed we could hardly eat any more!

And then came dessert of kulfi with jalebi (which I didn’t know that was what it was called but I used to eat it all the time in Nepal and India – love it so much!) and chai, which I adore (and has to be drunk with sugar in it – it’s the law). In fact, I am quite inspired to try and make my own chai from scratch….I shall research and experiment and come back on here and tell you all about it. I literally had to be rolled home. When I woke up the next morning I was still stuffed and didn’t eat at all until the evening (when I was starving again and we had chippy, but that’s another story!).

If you get the opportunity to go to a supper club, I highly recommend it. It’s a very different experience and a lo

t of fun. Even Mr. J enjoyed himself, and he’s not one for new social situations…he

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takes his time getting to know people first but he was happily chatting away like everyone else.

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Spicy chicken curry and coriander flatbreads

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I absolutely loved this meal. It was so delicious. I made it a few days ago, and I’m still thinking about it! I’m definitely making this again soon. It’s not the lowest in calories if you’re on a diet, but it’s pretty good. It’s a great option instead of a takeaway on a Friday night. This is very spicy, so not one for the timid. But guaranteed to get rid of any lurking coughs and colds.

As per the original recipe, I made my curry powder from scratch. And I’d say it’s worth it – the smells coming from it are so much more than pre-made curry powders. It made it so tasty. But if you don’t have all the ingredients, or can’t be bothered, substitute with garam masala or madras hot curry powder. It’ll still taste very good.

The flatbreads are a piece of cake to make, and take minutes, as they don’t have yeast in them, there’s no hanging about waiting for them to rise. Plus, you’re less likely to bloat and are much more friendly for me to eat! They need gram flour. This flour is lighter than normal flour, so it makes the flatbreads very light and easy to eat. Not stodgy at all. Gram flour is made from chickpeas – so it’s also good if you’re gluten intolerant. Just substitute the normal flour for more gram flour. You can find it in Indian supermarkets and probably most large normal supermarkets these days – in the world foods bit, or the ‘free from’ section. Sometimes its called garbanzo flour or chickpea flour.

Calories wise – I worked out there’s 121 calories in each flatbread and 512 in the the curry – per serving. You can reduce the calories in the curry by leaving out the coconut milk and putting in less chicken. But it won’t taste as nice.

Here are the original recipes. This is the curry http://deliciouscravings.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/spicy-chicken-curry/ and this is the flatbreadshttp://elephanteats.com/2011/09/22/no-yeast-cilantro-chickpea-flatbread/

Spicy chicken curry with coriander flatbreads

Serves 2 (and the flatbreads will serve more or keep)

For the curry powder:

  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods (seeds removed)
  • 3 dried curry leaves
  • 1/2tsp whole black peppercorns

For the curry:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 pepper, finely choppped
  • small handful of curry leaves
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (de seed if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • small knob of root ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (use less or leave out if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces, or use chicken on the bone – about 2-300g
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 250ml water
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander

For the flatbreads:

  • 90g plain flour
  • 120g gram flour (plus extra as needed)
  • 200-250g plain low fat yoghurt
  • 2.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. First, if you’re making the curry powder, grind all of the spices together in a pestle and mortar until a fine powder, or use an electric grinder. It will make more than you need, but you can keep it and use it as and when, for several months.
  2. Next, to make the curry, heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok on a high heat. Add the onion, green chilli and curry leaves. Fry until the onion starts to brown.
  3. Then add the spices, garlic and ginger (but not the curry powder or salt), carrot and pepper and fry for another couple of minutes.
  4. Then add the chicken, mixing well to coat it in the spice mix.
  5. When its whitened on the outside, add the water (enough to just cover the chicken), tomato curry powder and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and you have a thickish curry sauce. Then stir through the coconut milk and coriander and simmer for a couple of minutes before serving.
  7. Meanwhile, put all the flatbread ingredients together in a large-ish bowl and mix well (hands are good for this). Slowly add a little gram flour or yoghurt (I did it by the spoonful) until you have a wet dough that’s just holding together.
  8. Then turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Split into 8 pieces and roll into balls.
  9. Then roll flat (a couple of rolling pin rolls either side is enough).
  10. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, on a low-medium heat (I found medium too high, and kept it quite low). Place 2-3 flatbreads in the pan and cook either side for about 2-3 minutes or until turning golden brown and rising slightly. Then turn out onto kitchen paper. Add more oil as needed, and cook the remaining flatbreads in the same way, so they don’t burn but brown, and cook the remaining flatbreads in the same way.
  11. Serve immediately with the curry and enjoy all the wonderful smells and tastes.

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Healthy comfort food: Root vegetable dhal

Continuing with the health kick but in need of some comfort as I had a bit of a cold, I thought I’d do something with lentils.  And as you know, I love dhal and I had left over veges from my Christmas vege box that I didn’t know  what to do with, so this seemed like the perfect answer.

My original inspiration came from here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1364/spicy-root-and-lentil-casserole

But to me, this isn’t a casserole, it’s dhal, and I ate it with chappatis.  I kept it more or less the same as the recipe, but substituted the parsnips for swede as that’s what I had and it turned out very well.  And I added a tin of tomatoes and some tomato puree and reduced the amount of stock used.  Also, the recipe makes way more than 4 portions.  I’d say at least 6.  So it’s great for freezing for another day when you dont’ want to cook.

I checked the calories for 6 servings on my recipe and it comes to 292 calories, so this is a very tasty, very filling ,very healthy, very comforting meal – absolutely perfect for January!  It’s also high in vitamins A &C – so great for boosting your immune system, high in calcium and iron as well.  Very low in fat and high in fibre.  Bonus!

Root vegetable dhal

Serves 6

  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2inch piece root ginger, grated
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped or 1 tsp chilli powder (leave out if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp curry paste (I used pataks jalfrezi paste as that’s what I had – or substitute for madras hot curry powder)
  • 700g potatoes, peeled and small cubed
  • 4  carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 swede, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 100g red lentils
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok on high.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, frying until the onion starts to brown.
  3. Then add the chilli and garlic and fry for a further minute.
  4. Add the dried spices, mixing well to combine for another minute or until they start to smell fragrant.
  5. Then add the curry paste, breaking it up with the spoon or spatula.
  6. Add the veges and turn the heat down to medium.  Stir well to coat with the spice mix and fry for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  7. Then add the lentils, mixing in well with the spices.
  8. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with the spatula, if they aren’t already.  Then add the tomato puree and the stock.
  9. Mix well, turn up the heat until it starts to boil.
  10. Then turn down the heat to a low simmer and leave to simmer, stiring occasionally to prevent sticking, for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are mushy and the vegetables are cooked through.  Add extra water if it starts to get too dry.
  11. Add the salt, pepper and coriander to taste and bubble of any additional water until you have quite a thick sauce.
  12. Serve with naans or chapattis and enjoy!
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Aloo Gobi Anda: Potato, cauliflower and egg curry

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I ordered veges from my local farm delivery company for Christmas, to make things that bit easier for me. And they put a cauliflower in the box. As you know, I’m not a fan of cauliflower so it’s been languishing in the box for the past couple of weeks whilst I thought about what to do with it.

And then I found this recipe http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1436/cauliflower-egg-and-potato-curry

It said that even cauliflower haters would be convinced, so I thought I’d put it to the test and see. I love egg curry, so that’s a good start. And it’s a vege curry, which is always handy for the January detox. Eggs are wonderful. I absolutely love them and probably eat far too many of them! But they’re a great source of protein and energy whilst still being low in calories and high in good fats. And now I get them from a lovely lady that has a farm – they’re even better than ever!

The one downside to this recipe is the coconut milk. It’s very high in fats and calories – but it you use reduced fat and as you’re only having 1/4 of a can, it shouldn’t be too bad. For the curry paste I used a Pataks Jalfrezi one. I don’t think it really matters what one you use, although you’ll get a slightly different flavour depending on the paste. I was wondering about making my own but since I had an open jar in the fridge, I figured I may as well use it.

Aloo Gobi Anda

Serves 4

2 tbsp sunflower (or vegetable) oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

a piece of root ginger, peeled and grated

1 small red chilli, finely chopped (de seed if you don’t want it too spicy)

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 tbsp curry paste

1 medium cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 can reduced fat coconut milk

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved

2 tbsp toasted chopped almonds

handful of chopped fresh coriander

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok on a high heat. Add the onion and fry until it starts to brown. Then add the garlic, ginger and chilli along with 1/2 tsp of salt. Fry for a further couple of minutes.
  2. Then add the potato. Fry for a few minutes until the potato starts to soften. Then add the curry paste. Stir well to mix and coat the potatoes.
  3. Then add the cauliflower. Fry for a few minutes, mixing well to coat in the mixture.
  4. Then add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover.
  5. Simmer until the sauce is nice and thick and the potato and cauliflower are cooked through.
  6. Stir through the almonds and coriander.
  7. Serve with the egg halves piled on top and some naan or plain rice.
  8. Enjoy!
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South Indian chicken curry

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As I write this, I’m eating my lunchbox salad of beetroots, green beans and goats cheese. And very nice it is too. Perfect for lunches as it’s low in carbs and high in protein – giving me the boost for this afternoon and not making me sleepy! Whilst the dieting mantra is no carbs after 5, actually this doesn’t make sense in terms of how your body functions. You want to avoid carbs at lunch as they’ll make you sleepy and stock up on protein to give you a boost, and eat carbs for dinner to slow you down and give you a good nights sleep (and to avoid a glucose crash in the middle of the night, waking up with a headache). This will be my next post (the salad, not dieting tips – I’m not sure I have any of them, I just use common sense – this being one such example).

Now, for those of you who are dieting (I’m not, by the way, I don’t do diets, I just try to eat sensibly) this is a very good option. It even has coconut milk in it, which normally is a ‘no no’ for dieters, but according to the recipe, it’s only 320 calories. Have it with a bit of rice or a chappatti, and you’ve got a very healthy 500 calorie-ish meal. Perfect for dinner. The only thing I would say is, I made half of this recipe for 2 people and we ate all of it. So 6 servings is probably unrealistic unless you are very committed to your diet. So probably 450 calories is more realistic – which still isn’t bad. If you use reduced fat coconut milk you could probably lose a few more too.

For those of you not dieting, don’t worry, it’s full of flavours and utterly delicious. I think I may even prefer it to the chicken and cashew nut curry I posted last week.

I do not love the name though, because it suggests that this is the only South Indian Chicken curry, when of course there are many, and I’m not sure I ever ate one in the 2 years I lived there that had coconut milk in it. Maybe it’s more of a Keralan version. Anyway, as it’s a very generic title I’m not sure what else to call it and have kept the unsatisfactory name.

Here’s the original recipe, but I of course changed it a bit. Not by much though: http://www.womanandhome.com/articles/food/recipes/291512/southern-indian-chicken-curry.html

South Indian Chicken Curry

Serves 2

  • 1 small green chilli, roughly chopped (de seed if you don’t want too spicy, add another if you like a good kick)
  • 5cm piece root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and one roughly chopped, the other sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil (groundnut, sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed – whatever)
  • 5 curry leaves (can be bought from most Indian and some Chinese supermarkets, and often local Indian corner shops – keep in freezer and take out when needed)
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts (or 1 large if from a butcher), chopped into bitesized pieces
  • vegetables – I used mushrooms but carrots, peppers, peas, beans – whatever you have, will work just as well
  • 1/2 tin coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 large green chillis, chopped on the diagonal (de seed if you want – they aren’t very hot anyway)
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Wizz the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, ground spices, salt and small chillis in a food processor or blender to make a paste (or you can do it by hand with a pestle and mortar). Add a bit of the oil if it’s sticking and not very pasty (the recipe suggests water – I found that this made it too watery and when adding to the hot oil in the pan, made it spit at me).
  2. Heat the oil in the pan. Add the paste and cook out for a couple of minutes.
  3. Then add the onions. Cook until starting to brown. Then add the chicken, stiring well to coat in the paste.
  4. Cook until the chicken turns white on the outside before chucking in your vege, mixing again.
  5. Cook for a further couple of minutes until the veges start to soften.
  6. Add the coconut milk, tamarind paste and lime juice.
  7. Cook for a few minutes until you have a nice thick curry sauce and the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Toss in the coriander and chillis, stirring through.
  9. Serve immediately with boiled rice, naans or chappatis.
  10. Enjoy!
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Diet friendly creamy curry: chicken & cashew nut curry

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This is one of those that I cook on a fairly regular basis but keep forgetting to take photos of, so this is the first time its made it on here! This is a great curry, pretty easy to make, low in calories and fat, high in taste and deliciousness, probably even fairly kiddy friendly as it’s not super spicy and the nuts are ground up.

The best thing about this curry is, wouldn’t know it was low calorie at all, just from eating it. It’s quite creamy but doesn’t have any cream or coconut milk in it – it’s all provided by a tablespoon of yoghurt and some cashew nuts! And the cashews give it a really great earthy flavour too. It’s also quick to make so it’s a great midweek option.

I had friends over on Saturday so I thought I’d make this to line our stomachs for the drinking that was coming after it! We had it with rice and naan.

Chicken and cashew nut curry

Serves 4

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp low fat plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp oil (rapeseed, groundnut, sunflower, vegetable)
  • 4 chicken breasts, chopped into bitesized pieces (or two if very large breasts)
  • handful of sultanas (or raisins)
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g frozen peas, defrosted, or chopped green beans
  • 1 mug of water
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Put the onions in a mini food processor and grind first before adding the garlic, ground spices, tomato puree, yoghurt and cashew nuts – and blending to form a rough paste (doesn’t need to be smooth – the little bits of cashew nuts in the sauce are quite nice). Alternatively, if using a large food processor – blend all at once to form a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok on a medium heat. Add the paste and cook it out for a few minutes until it starts to darken in colour (add more oil and lower the heat if it starts to stick).
  3. Then add the chicken and mix well to coat in the sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes until the chicken is cooked on the outside.
  4. Then add the raisins, mushrooms and peas or beans. mix well again to coat, before adding the water and mixing well again so that there’s a nice creamy sauce.
  5. Bring to a simmer, and allow to gently cook for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is quite nice and thick (but not so thick its not a sauce anymore!).
  6. Chuck in the coriander and stir through.
  7. Serve with rice, naan, chapattis, and enjoy!
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