Well, okay, we’ve not had an Indian summer, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to either. We have had one of the coldest, wettest summers ‘since records began’ (as they like to say on the television). But fear not, you can always bring a little bit of the warmth that’s missing outside into your home with some warming, spicy foods. The reason I made so much was because I’d invited one of my friends and her new fella over for dinner. It didn’t quite work out, but what are friends for but telling your problems to so that I can tell you that he’s not right for you anyway and that it’s his loss because you are a terrific person. And she is.
The full menu was
- Spiced Onions
- Vegetable Pakora
- Indian Daal
- Quorn and Spinach Curry
- Basmati Rice with dried fruit and nuts, coloured with Tumeric
- Fresh Fruit Salad with Ice Cream
And currently, my freezer is heaving with Pakora, Daal and Quorn with Spinach curry leftovers.
- 2 large, mild onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 tsp hot red chilli pepper
- 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp mint sauce
Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Put the bowl into the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop. Serve as part of the appetisers.
- 300g gram flour
- 200g frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tsp each of garam masala, red chilli powder and cumin
- 2 large tbsp of tomato ketchup
- 2 tsp dried mint
- vegetable oil for frying
- Salt to taste
Place the gram flour in a large mixing bowl. Add enough water to make a thick paste. Add the spices and herbs, the tomato ketchup, onion, salt and frozen mixed vegetables. There’s no need to defrost them first. Mix everything together. Heat the oil until it shimmers and take a dessertspoonful (a tablespoon just seems too big, and a teaspoon to paltry) and gently drop a couple of spoonfuls into the oil. Turn them over once or twice until they are browned all over then take them out and drain the excess oil on some kitchen paper. Continue until all the batter is used up. They can be served at once, or else reheated in an oven then you’re ready to eat. They also freeze well.
- 14 sheets of filo pastry
- Oil for brushing
- 3 large potatoes, boiled and roughly mashed. You don’t even have to peel them.
- 75g frozen peas
- 1 tsp each of garam masala and cumin
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 fresh chillies, deseeded and chopped finely (I used one green and one red, but you could use only one type)
- 2 tsp dried corriander
- 2 tsp dried mint
- Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat your oven to 200c (gas mark 6)
Cut each sheet of filo pastry in half lengthways. Lightly brush the strips with the oil. Toss all the filling ingredients in a large bowl until they are well blended. Taking one strip of pastry at a time, place 1 tbsp of the filling at the end and fold the pastry diagonally over. Continue folding like this to form a triangular shape and then brush the samosas with oil. Put the samosas on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- 500g red lentils
- 10 cups of water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 100g of ghee or butter
- 2 tbsp grated ginger (buy a jar!!!!)
- 2 tbsp garlic (likewise, available in jars, lasts ages and doesn’t sprout)
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 400 can of chopped tomatoes
- Fresh coriander for garnishing
Wash the lentils and put them in a pan with the 10 cups of water. Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the lentils thicken. Fry the onions in the ghee until golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic, salt, chilli powder, turmeric and garam masala to the onions and fry for a few more minutes until well amalgamated. Add the tomatoes and stir until well blended. Add all these ingredients to the cooked lentils and mix well. Garnish with the coriander and serve.
The Quorn and Spinach Curry…………..hmm, what can I say? I didn’t write it down. I was tasting and adjusting and completely lost track of exactly what went in, and in what quantities. I’ll just leave you with a photo of it, so you can drool.
The rice was just 2 cups of basmati rice, coloured with a tsp of turmeric while it was boiling and I added some raisins and chopped nuts with sunflower seeds afterwards. Easy peasy.