Curry Favour with Easy Indian – There’s something rather fabulous about curries in hot weather! Maybe it is my happy childhood memories of going to the Marsa Club in Malta for a Curry Tiffin on Sunday lunchtimes, but as the temperature soars, my thoughts turn to making a good curry. Apparently the spicier it is, the better it is for cooling down. This rather strange anomaly of eating hot to stay cool has to do with the way the body reacts when you eat an extremely spicy dish. Put simply, the heat of the spices makes you sweat, and sweating cools you down.
Whatever the reason, a great new cookbook has recently been published by Watkins Publishing. It’s Easy Indian Cookbook – by Manju Malhi – published by Watkins Publishing at £14.95. It’s a top-quality paperback packed with my type of recipe: simple and with only a few ingredients! Manju Malhi is a teacher, writer and award-winning chef and she appears regularly on, BBC, ITV and Sky.
But don’t let that simplicity fool you – the results are fabulously tasty! The opening chapter covers a veritable encyclopaedia of spices you need to have in your spice rack as well as giving an overview of the basics of Indian cuisine. There are recipes for chutneys, raita, spice mixes, breads and rice. She also covers different events and allows you to self-cater, from a romantic dinner for two, a midweek family meal, to a fully-fledged cocktail party with all the trimmings. Manju gives suggestions for the best, most flavourful dishes, along with an extremely handy time plan, letting you know exactly when to start making a dish, how long it will take and when to start the accompanying dishes – all to maximise your time and effort! Here are a few recipes from the book which I thought perfect for this time of year. I love cardamom – I’ve tried the salad recipe adding a drop or two of cardamom essence too and it’s fab and really easy.
1. PUT the carrots, onion, chilli, tomato, lemon juice, sugar, salt and peanuts, if using, in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside.
2. HEAT the oil in a frying pan or skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the curry leaves, if using, and mustard seeds and fry, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds, or until they splutter. Watch carefully so the mixture does not burn.
3. ADD the turmeric, then drizzle the hot mixture over the salad. Stir well.
4. SET ASIDE until the salad cools completely, then cover the bowl with cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate until required. Serve chilled.
Cardamom Ice Cream (Elaichi Kulfi)
Serves 4 • Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus at least 6 hours freezing time • Cooking time: 5 minutes
½ tsp cornflour (corn starch)
2 tbsp milk
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup evaporated milk
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup condensed milk
200ml/7fl oz/¾ cup plus 1 tbsp extra-thick double (heavy) cream
seeds from 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
1. PUT the cornflour (corn starch) in a small bowl and slowly stir in the milk until blended, then set aside.
2. POUR the evaporated milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the condensed milk, double (heavy) cream, cardamom seeds and the cornflour mixture to the boiling evaporated milk and continue boiling, stirring constantly, for a further 1 minute.
3. REMOVE the pan from the heat and leave the ice cream mixture to cool slightly.
4. TRANSFER the mixture to a blender or food processor, or use a hand-held mixer, and blend for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
5. POUR the mixture into a freezer-proof container with a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours, or ideally overnight, until the ice cream is set. Take the ice cream out of the freezer 10–15 minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly. Serve 2 small scoops per person.