When I originally set myself this challenge (it’s actually my New Years Resolution to keep it up) I wasn’t going to do any countries that we would enjoy usually anyway and Indian is right up as there we love it. But having researched the dishes properly there is so much more to it than just pouring a ‘Pataks’ over some chicken or dialling the local takeaway. The precision of the spices to give you a distinguished dish and the way the side dishes are created are something else. This was the most flavoursome meal ever and everything tastes exactly how it would had you ordered it in a traditional restaurant. You may however notice there is no pudding this month? I have to be honest none of the dessert options appealed to me at all. There is a lot of saffron and ginger used in pretty much everything and those are two flavours I really dislike. After something so spicy I am the sort of person who needs something sweet as a dessert and there really wasn’t anything of that kind so I chose a side to make instead. If you fancy trying out a curry from scratch or having a go at a samosa keep on reading.
Onion Bahji With Mint & Cucumber Raita
(For the bhaji’s)
2 onions chopped finely
100g plain flour
1 green chilli de~seeded
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch of salt to taste
100ml cold water
Olive oil for frying
What I did
•Pop the flour, baking powder, spices & chilli into a bowl & mix thoroughly.
•Pour 100ml cold water into the bowl & mix to create a firm batter.
•Throw in the onions & a pinch of salt to taste & mix again thoroughly.
•Heat a pan or wok with approx 5cm of olive oil until it’s boiling hot. Create a little larger than golf sized balls with the mixture then gently lower into the oil. Fry for approx 2 mins on each side or until golden brown then set aside on some kitchen towel to drain.
(For the raita)
1/5 cucumber peeled & finely chopped
250g plain yogurt
15g fresh mint
What I Did
•Chop the cucumber & mint & simply mix into the yogurt.
Chicken Bhuna & Garlic Rice
(Stage 1~The Base Gravy)
A base gravy is the foundation for every curry you can make. So basically you make this same base gravy (sauce) for any curry you want and it’s the unique group of spices and their quantity which gives you your desired dish. When preparing the base gravy everything can be roughly chopped as it will all reduce down once simmered.
2lbs white onions
1 red bell pepper
1 large carrot
25g garlic (approx 7 cloves)
1tablespoon tomato purée
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tin of tomatoes
1 large green chilli
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Good handful fresh coriander
1 pint cold water
What I Did
•Peel & roughly chop all of the ingredients.
•Throw all of the ingredients into a large pan with lid, add 1 pint of cold water & let simmer for 1 hour.
•Add all of your spices & stir thoroughly.
•Using a hand blender, blend into a liquid.
(Stage 2~The main curry makes 4)
This amount is precisely enough for 4 people so if you are making for more then double amount likewise reduce for less. Not only is this bhuna full of spice you don’t just get heat you get so many different flavours that come through and the chicken pieces are so infused with it, it will make you want to toss out your convenience jars and do it like this every time.
5 chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon garlic & ginger paste
1 onion diced
1 green bell pepper
Handful of fresh coriander
What I Did
•Cut the chicken into decent sized pieces and poach in a pan of boiling water until cooked through
•Meanwhile, soften the onion and green pepper in a frying pan
•Add the chicken, the onion and green pepper to the pan of base gravy and simmer for approx 20-25 mins
•Meanwhile boil and drain your rice, you can add chopped garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin to your rice to give it some extra flavour and colour or if you prefer to let the curry do the talking keep your rice plain.
I would like to say rolling out and folding these little gems is a flipping art form and one I wish I had given a go before hand. I found this a little tricky to be honest I suggest typing ‘how to fold a samosa’ into YouTube if you want to get it perfect but hey this is real life and I’m a typical Mum cook, so this pastry came out a little thick, but let me tell you the flavour did not disappoint! My husband said they were the best tasing samosas he’s had! 100 times better than any bought ones and the filling was so authentic and full of flavour~I’ll take that 🙂
(For the pastry)
225g plain flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
What I Did
• Pop the flour & salt into a bowl and make a well.
• Pour in the oil & water then form into a dough by kneading for approx 5mins.
• Divide the mixture into 6 equal pieces and roll out into a circle of approx 15cm
• Make a fold half way into almost a triangle shape, bring in the other side until you create a sort of cone shape. Hold on your hand as you would an ice cream and fill with the filling. Using water to help the edges stick pull down the remaining top section & pray it sticks like I did 😉
• Heat a pan of oil & fry for approx 3 mins on each side or until golden brown.
(For the filling)
1 onion chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic
1 potato (150g approx) diced finely
1 carrot (100g approx) diced finely
100g frozen peas
2 tsp curry powder
200ml vegetable stock
What I Did
• Soften the garlic & onion in a frying pan for approx 2-3 mins
•Pop into a pan then add all of the chopped & diced ingredients including the peas & curry powder then pour over the vegetable stock.
• Simmer for approx 30mins so the veggies have softened enough but still keep their form. Now it’s ready to fill your samosa pockets.
Garlic and coriander naan bread and popadoms completed this epic Indian extravaganza and of course a nice cold bottle of Cobra Indian beer. I say this after every single themed meal but this one is definitely a firm favourite and will be extremely hard to beat next month!
Let me know in the comments if this is something you would like to have a go at?
I’d also love any suggestions you may have for next months themed dinner ~ pop them below I may just feature it next time:)
✨Thankyou so much for taking the time to read today✨