Chilli & Mint – Indian Home Cooking from a British Kitchen – Chilli & Mint is a lovely cookbook that’ll find a permanent place in your kitchen if you’re interested in food and spice (but not necessarily spicy food!) and the intricacies of Indian home cooking.
Written by Torie True, an established food writer and cookery teacher, It contains over 100 recipes and full-colour photographs. Torie shares plenty of her tips and tricks for successful dishes, alongside a wealth of information on Indian spices, suppliers, kitchen equipment, fresh ingredients, and menu ideas. It will encourage you to bring a little more spice into your culinary repertoire, and by following her accessible step-by-step recipes, any home cook is able to explore India’s wonderfully diverse cuisine.
Published by Meze Publishing at £25, hardback, many recipes are based around vegetables (as most of India’s population eats mainly vegetarian food), but there are chapters showcasing some delicious meat and fish curries too. As well as meals to feed the family, the book takes you from breakfasts worth getting up for, comforting dals and punchy chutneys, savoury snacks, sweet treats, and drinks, through to staple Indian bread and spice blends.
Here are a few recipes to tempt you to buy a copy:
1 heaped tsp finely grated fresh ginger or ginger paste.
4 cloves of garlic finely sliced or chopped.
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
½ -1 tsp salt, to taste
4 medium-sized tomatoes, diced.
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, to serve.
Place the whole aubergines over an open flame. If you have a gas hob or can barbecue them, this works well as you get the smoky flavour coming through. Otherwise, place them in the oven at 210°C/190°C Fan/415°F/Gas Mark 6½ for 45 minutes or until the flesh softens. If you are cooking the aubergines over a flame, it will take around 8-10 minutes and you will need to keep turning them using tongs so that the skin is charred evenly. Once they are soft and the sides have shrivelled, remove the aubergines from the heat and place them on a plate to cool.
Remove the charred skin from the aubergines and run them under water to remove any remaining skin. Place in a bowl and mash using a fork or potato masher.
Using a non-stick pan on medium heat, heat the oil and then add the cumin seeds. Allow them to fizzle in the pan for 15 seconds before adding the green chilli, red onion, ginger and garlic. Move everything around the pan to soften for 6 minutes.
Now add the Kashmiri chilli powder, ground turmeric, coriander and salt. Stir well. Add the diced tomatoes and mashed aubergine, then move around the pan for a further 5 minutes.
Transfer the spiced aubergine mixture into a serving bowl, scatter the fresh coriander on top and eat warm or at room temperature
1kg boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces.
1 x 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk
2 medium potatoes, quartered.
160ml coconut cream (optional)
1 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground garam masala
In a deep pan – cast iron works well – add the coconut oil. When hot, add all the whole spices (peppercorns, mustard seeds, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, dried chillies, curry leaves, cloves, star anise) and move them around the pan for 20 seconds before adding the salt and diced onion.
Leave this mixture to cook for 5 minutes so that the onion softens and the raw smell dissipates. Add the ginger and garlic and cook gently for a further 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat.
Now add the chicken and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the tin of coconut milk. In Kerala, typically you add the thin coconut milk at this point and the thicker creamier part later on. I realise this is hard to achieve with some brands of coconut milk so you can just add the whole tin at this stage.
Simmer the curry for 20 minutes and then add the potatoes and give it a good stir. Let the chicken and potato simmer on medium-low heat. After 15 minutes, use a sharp knife to check if the potato has softened sufficiently and the chicken is cooked through. If it needs a little longer, keep it simmering for an extra 10-15 minutes. If you are using chicken on the bone, it will require about 40-50 minutes of cooking time in total.
At the very end of the cooking time, turn the heat down very low and add the coconut cream if using. Do not let it boil or it will split.
Add the ground black pepper and garam masala. Taste the curry to check the salt levels and add a little more if required before serving. Notes: You can also cook this on the bone with chicken thighs or by using a whole chicken, skinned, and chopped into 10-12 pieces
Preheat your oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F/Gas Mark 3 and place the halved strawberries on a baking tray. Sprinkle the caster sugar and half of the freshly ground black pepper over them, then place the tray in the oven for 10 minutes. This helps to accentuate the flavours.
Transfer the heated strawberries to a blender and blitz until you have a smooth purée. Pour this through a sieve and then transfer it back into the blender.
Add the double cream, condensed milk and remaining black pepper to the blender. Blitz this mixture until smooth, then taste and add a little more pepper to balance the sweetness if needed.
Divide the mixture between 6 silicone ice lolly moulds or ramekins and then leave them in the freezer for at least 4 hours, until the kulfi sets completely.
When you’re ready to remove the kulfi from the moulds or ramekins, dip them in a shallow bowl filled with warm water for a few seconds and go around the edge with a knife to loosen it. Put a bowl or side plate over the top of the ramekin and then flip over to release the kulfi, or simply slide them out of the lolly moulds.
Notes: If you want to make a bigger batch, double or triple the ingredient quantities and freeze the kulfi in a Tupperware instead of individual moulds or ramekins.