Christmas is at last coming, and it is one of my favourite times of the year. Over these happy holidays, family, food, fun and lots of rest are ideally the order of the day. And the hope that struggles are eased.
The one from the wish list that I can help with is food. I’ve created some recipes here combining local seasonal ingredients with spices that offer something a little different from the standard festive fair. These are ideal for impressing at parties, offering some twists and turns on curries, all generous dishes full of Indian joy.
I’m often told that cooking Indian food can seem a little daunting, maybe even to the point of being deterred from giving it a go. I’ve tried to simplify things and use ingredients that are becoming increasingly easy to find and can be picked up at supermarkets. The more speciality-type ingredients are available at your local southeast Asian food shop and certainly all are available online.
So, get prepared, turn on the carols and sing along – you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to cook with Indian flavours and beautiful vibrant, spices. Keep jingling those bells!
The spicy potatoes and purple aubergine (aloo baigan) is my take on a delicious, tangy Punjabi classic. I love fried aubergines with anything, but in combination with tomatoes and spices, they sing. Serve with naan, paratha or simple boiled basmati rice.
The smoky feather blade beef Madras, stout, carrots and chestnuts is a mix of spices all bought together by a Rajput influenced, hearty dish. A great one to make for the cold winter nights reflecting flavours typical of Rajasthan, a region to the west of India.
There’s a spiced seafood dish famed on the Atlantic coast of France, called mouclade, a dish of mussels in a creamy sauce, gently spiced. I’ve added cider, mango and ginger to take it to a new and wholly delicious level to make a northern Indian-Irish collaboration – salmon and mango curry, crème fraîche and cider. Serve it with pistachio and rose pilau, or some plain steamed basmati rice.
All of the recipes can be easily sized up, doubled or tripled, to feed a group. The beef dish can be made ahead and chilled overnight. Gently reheated, it will taste even better the next day.