Spice it Up

27th April 2012

We may not have the white sands of Goa or the tropical lagoons of Kerala – but you can easily create your very own Indian Summer (indoors or outside) here in the UK thanks to some quick hints and tips from TV chef and cookery writer, Anjum Anand.

Anjum’s cookery credentials are impeccable; she has written five books (four focused specifically on Indian food), and has done much to popularise the tasty cuisine of the sub-continent for home cooking as well as eating out.

Her two BBC 2 television series, Indian Food Made Easy, established her as an empathetic, warm, confident and capable presenter, with the knowledge and expertise of a top class chef…

Indian Chopped Salad (Kachumber)

Serves 4

2 ripe vine tomatoes • 120g cucumber (I keep the skin on) • 4 small radishes • ½ small onion, finely chopped • 1 - 2 green chillies, seeded and chopped (optional) • Salt, to taste • 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste • ⅓ tsp roasted cumin powder • Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method:

Chop the tomatoes into small dice. Slice the cucumbers lengthways, discard the seeds and cut into small cubes the same size as the tomatoes. Do the same with the radishes. Toss together all the vegetables and chillies (if using), season, stir through the lemon juice, roasted cumin powder and chopped coriander, and serve, or keep at room temperature until you are ready to eat.

Blackberry Lassi

Serves 2

300g blackberries • 200ml natural yoghurt • ½ tsp lemon juice • 1½-2½ tbsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries) • Ice cubes and mint leaves, to serve

Purée berries, yoghurt, lemon and most of the sugar with 140ml water. Sweeten to taste. Pour through a sieve to remove the seeds. Serve chilled over ice, with a mint leaf on top for colour and freshness.

Spiced Chicken Burgers with Herbed Mayonnaise

Serves 4

For the burgers:

400g chicken mince • 6g ginger, peeled and finely chopped • 10g garlic (approximately 3 large cloves), peeled and finely chopped • 1 small onion, peeled, half finely chopped (for the burgers), half sliced into rings (for serving) • large handful of fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped • 1 heaped tsp salt • 3⁄4 tsp garam masala • 11⁄2 slices of medium-cut bread, crumbed • 1 egg • 1 tsp cumin powder • 1 tsp lemon juice • 1-2 green chillies (optional), chopped and seeded • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling the pan

For the mayonnaise:

7 tbsp light mayonnaise • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves • 2 tsp chopped fresh mint leaves • 1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste • salt, to taste • 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp black pepper, or to taste • 4 burger buns, halved • lettuce leaves, shredded • 1 beef tomato, sliced

Method:

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the burgers, leaving out the onion rings. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

2. Mould the mince into four burgers and place on an oiled baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.

3. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise with the coriander and mint leaves, lemon, salt and pepper.

4. Warm the burger buns in the oven for the final 2 minutes of cooking time.

5. Place a small handful of the lettuce on the bottom of each bun with the sliced tomato and onion rings and a good dollop of the herbed mayonnaise. Top with the burger and finish off with the top half of the bun.

Paneer & Vegetable Skewers

Makes 6

For the marinade:

125ml Greek-style yoghurt • 5g fresh ginger, peeled • 10g garlic (approximately 3 large cloves), peeled • Salt, to taste • ¼ - ½ tsp chilli powder, or to taste • 1 tsp garam masala • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste • 2 tbsp vegetable oil • 1 tbsp gram flour • 1 tsp cumin powder • Seeds of 6 cardamom pods, powdered with a pestle and mortar

For the skewers:

300g paneer, cut into 2.5cm cubes • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes • 1 green and 1 red pepper, cored and cut into 2.5cm cubes • Vegetable oil, for greasing • 6 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour • 2 tbsp melted butter • Chaat masala, to sprinkle

Method:

1. Purée all the marinade ingredients until smooth, then place in a non-metallic bowl. Add the paneer and the vegetables and allow everything to soak up the flavours for 30-40 minutes, or longer, in the fridge.

2. Thread the vegetables and paneer alternately onto the skewers. Grill for 7 minutes on a hot barbecue, drizzle over the melted butter, turn and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until charred at the edges. (Alternatively cook in an oven preheated to 200°C/ 400°F/gas mark 6 for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway).

3. Sprinkle the skewers liberally with chaat masala and serve with bread.

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