Wednesday, July 29

Curry night - part three

The side dishes

Cheesy peas - almost certainly more properly known as matar paneer, but always cheesy peas in our house!


1 tbsp each butter & oil
1 clove of garlic
2 -3 small shallots (or an onion, leek, whatever...)
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, garam masala & ground ginger (or an inch-long chunk of fresh, finely chopped)
chilli to taste
2-3 cups frozen peas
1-2 cups passata or canned tomatoes
cheese - ideally paneer, but wensleydale, feta or halloumi work too. Cut into bite-size chunks. This time out, I'm going with fresh mozzarella, just because it's what I've got in the fridge and it's piddling down out there!


Crush & chop garlic & shallots and sweat in half of the oil/ butter mix. Once softened, stir in the spices the add the peas & passata. Simmer gently for at least 15 minutes (but it won't come to any harm if it's left longer.)

In a separate pan, heat the remaining oil & butter and quickly fry the chunks of cheese - when ready to serve, stir these into the peas.

Cucumber raita

Mix chopped cucumber, finely chopped mint and a little salt into plain yoghurt to make a cooling relish.

Curry night - part two

The house curry


1/2 tbsp each oil & butter
1 onion (or leek, or a few spring onions)
1 tsp each black mustard seed, coriander seed, cumin seed
1 tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric
chilli (fresh, dried or powder) to taste
any combination of veg, meat or fish that are to hand & take your fancy (tonight I'm using courgette, chickpeas & a handful of swiss chard), prepared & cut into bite-size chunks
a little water
1 cup passata or canned tomatoes
2 oz creamed coconut
plain yoghurt or creme fraiche, to taste


Sweat onions in the oil & butter mix, & when softened add the whole spices. Once whole spices are toasted, add ground spices then meat/ veg (though leave any leafy stuff until later) and a splash of water, and give the whole lot a good stir to ensure the spice mix coats everything evenly.

Mix in the passata and crumble over the creamed coconut, add a little more water if necessary to give a reasonably fluid sauce, cover the pan & leave to simmer gently.

A couple of minutes before you're ready to dish up, stir in any leafy veg you're using, then the yoghurt*

Serve with any combination of rice, naan, chapatis, poppadoms...

* A top tip I read in one of Nigel Slater's wonderful Observer columns is to whisk in a teaspoon or so of gram (chickpea) flour per 1/2 cup of yoghurt or low-fat creme fraiche before using it in a hot dish - this helps to prevent curdling.

Curry night - part one

Hello, it's been a while...

A house update will follow, but for now, while this is fresh in my mind, I must get it down - my pseudo-naan bread recipe.


1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups strong white (bread) flour
1 tsp easy-blend yeast
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp kalonji (black onion seed)
a generous pinch of salt
2 fl oz cold water
4 fl oz boiling water
6 fl oz plain yoghurt


Pre-heat oven to its highest setting with a pizza stone in it (or a sturdy baking sheet.)
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, and wet ingredients in a jug, then mix the two together.

Knead well until the dough is elastic & not too sticky, cover with a cloth & leave in a warm place to rise while you make your curry. I'm not especially fussy about how long this stage lasts - if I'm organised enough to start the dough a couple of hours in advance, that's great, but as little as half an hour seems to work ok, too.

When ready to cook, split the dough into 4-6 pieces and roll, pull & stretch into flat ovals. Dust with a little flour if they're sticky, then slap straight onto the stone or baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes - they'll look puffy & golden & browned in patches when they're ready. Wrap in a clean cloth to keep warm at the table!

Curry recipe to follow...