Light, easy, healthy Indian summer recipes

Tandoori monkfish, vegetable kebabs, Goan salmon, chickpea patties, vegetable curry

Arun Kapil’s blackened Goan salmon tail with turmeric, cucumber, mint and radish riata

Arun Kapil’s blackened Goan salmon tail with turmeric, cucumber, mint and radish riata

 

These Indian recipes are a mixture of simple and straightforward on the one hand and a bit more complex on the other, but they are all healthy and nutritionally balanced. In other words, a million miles from the fat-heavy, calorie-laden realm of the average takeaway.

It’s a point that Gráinne Flynn, who runs the Kerala Kitchen restaurant and takeaway on Baggot Street, Dublin, along with her husband, Lewis Cummings, is keen to make.

“Our food isn’t like that and it’s something I want to keep driving home. Nothing is ever greasy here. Even the lamb, we use really good, lean Irish lamb. It’s our policy and has been from the beginning. I couldn’t in good conscience serve food that’s not healthy – it’s not me. You have to have a conscience when you’re feeding a load of people every week.”

Flynn cooked the three vegan dishes photographed here at her holiday home in Donegal, using recipes she worked on with her head chef, Bhupal Singh.

“We chose to shoot in Donegal, as that’s where Lewis and I would have more time to cook and really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. It’s where we both try new Indian recipes and invite our family and friends around to sample them. We have since cooked the shashlik on the barbecue, which went down a treat.

“The recipes are easy to cook at home and reflect how we like to cook in the restaurant, where the dishes may be more complicated, but the healthy ethos is the same. Fresh ingredients, always locally sourced where possible, fresh herbs and freshly ground spices, literally everything made from scratch.”

Flynn sees a noticeable increase in the numbers of customers ordering vegan and vegetarian food. “I see a huge shift in the way people are eating. There are far more vegans – big vegan men, too.”

Flynn and her husband eat meat, “but tend to gravitate towards vegetarian dishes”. Their four-year-old son has a palate that many parents of small children would envy. “He eats everything – curry, rice and beans is his favourite food.”

The fish recipes on these pages are by Arun Kapil, founder of Green Saffron, which sources, roasts and blends Indian spices in Co Cork. There may be a little more work involved in executing them than the vegan recipes, but they are highly original and worth the time.

Arun Kapil’s tandoori monkfish steaks. Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet
Arun Kapil’s tandoori monkfish steaks. Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet

Arun Kapil’s tandoori monkfish steaks, charred greens and watermelon, hot tamarind dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 monkfish steaks or darnes, cut thick, 30mm cross-section through the bone
1tbsp rapeseed oil
1 sachet Green Saffron Tandoori spice blend, or 2tsp garam masala, 2tsp powdered turmeric, ½tsp cayenne pepper, 1tsp ground coriander, 1tsp sea salt
150g sugar snap peas, strings removed
1 courgette, sliced into very thin lengths (a mandolin is best for this)
2 baby gem lettuce, quartered through the poles, top to tail
½ watermelon, skinned and cut into thick chip-shaped blocks
handful of radishes, halved through the poles
bunch of watercress
2 limes
2 sprigs of mint, leaves only

For the hot dressing
225g onions, peeled and finely diced
10g grapeseed oil
60g tamarind paste (TRS brand is the best)
1 unwaxed lemon, dropped into boiling water, cooked whole for 20 minutes, deseeded, blitzed to a fine pulp
80g fresh root ginger, skinned, grated finely
½tsp fine sea salt
75g runny honey

Method
1
In a small bowl, mix the spice blend with the oil and pour over the fish, coating well. Cover and set aside in your fridge for 30 minutes.

2 Make the hot dressing by gently frying the onions in the sunflower oil until soft. Add the tamarind, 250ml of water, the lemon pulp, ginger and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer, bubble for a minute or two only. Remove from the heat and blitz to a smooth paste. Add honey to taste. Set this aside and keep it warm.

3 Pop the monkfish steaks on to a barbecue or a griddle pan and cook for about two to three minutes each side, until just cooked, depending on the thickness of the steaks

4 Cook the green vegetables, lettuce and watermelon steaks on the barbecue or griddle until nicely charred. Place the peas, courgette slices and watermelon in a bowl and lightly mix with the juice of one lime.

5 Arrange the green vegetables, lettuce, watermelon, radishes and watercress on a platter with the monkfish, pour a little hot dressing over everything and top with the lime wedges and scatter with torn mint.

Subji shashlik. Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet
Subji shashlik. Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet

Kerala Kitchen subji shashlik (vegetable kebabs) with mint chutney

Bright, colourful, delicious, this is a personal favourite. Quick to make and healthy.
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 head broccoli, cut into florettes
1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper, cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into chunks
1½tsp red chilli powder
1 pinch turmeric
2tsp cumin powder
2tsp coriander powder
1tbsp malt vinegar
1tbsp rapeseed oil
Salt to taste

For the mint chutney
1 big handful fresh mint (100g)
1 handful fresh coriander (50g)
3 green chillis
2 garlic cloves
2cm fresh ginger, peeled
150g natural yogurt
½ lime
Salt to taste

Method
1
Mix all the ground spices in a bowl with oil and vinegar, then marinate the vegetables for an hour in the spice mix.

2 While they are in the marinade, make the chutney. Blend the mint, coriander, garlic, ginger, green chillies and half a cup of water in a blender to a smooth paste. Mix this into the yogurt. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

3 Now skewer the vegetables, and heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Sear the kebabs for a few minutes each side until nicely charred, then reduce the heat until they are cooked to your preference.

4 Drizzle a little mint chutney over the vegetables and serve the remainder on the side.

Arun Kapil’s blackened Goan salmon tail with turmeric, cucumber, mint and radish riata
Arun Kapil’s blackened Goan salmon tail with turmeric, cucumber, mint and radish riata

Arun Kapil’s blackened Goan salmon tail with turmeric cucumber pickle and mint and radish raita

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 fresh salmon tail, about 20cm long from tail fin, descaled, fins removed and tail fin trimmed

For the marinade
1 lime, boiled for 15 minutes
2 stems lemongrass, roughly chopped
1 sachet Green Saffron Red Lentil Dahl, or 2tsp ground black pepper, 1tsp powdered turmeric, ½tsp ground cumin, 1tsp ground coriander, ½tsp ground cloves, 1tsp sea salt
1tbsp white-wine vinegar
5 fat cloves of garlic, peeled
2tbsp grapeseed oil, or a vegetable oil of your choice
7 leaves of fresh basil
1tsp sugar
1 fat red finger chilli, finely diced
2tbsp Greek yogurt
2 lemons, halved, charred under the grill, on a barbecue or on a griddle pan

For the turmeric cucumber pickle
½ cucumber, peeled, halved down its length, deseeded, chopped into chunks
½tsp sea salt
½tsp turmeric
50ml cider vinegar
75g sugar
Small handful of dill, chopped

For the mint and radish raita
5 radishes, halved through the poles
Small handful fresh mint leaves, sliced
200g Greek yogurt
100g creme fraiche
Sea salt to taste

Method
1
Heat your oven to 180 degrees/gas 4.

2 Cut evenly spaced incisions across the body of the fish, only just a little more than skin-deep.

3 Blitz all the marinade ingredients in a food processor, then generously coat the scored fish, popping a coating in the cavity, too.

4 Place on to an oiled sheet of greaseproof paper, then on to a roasting tray. Pop this on to a middle shelf of your oven and bake until the fish is cooked and the marinade has charred nicely – about 15 minutes per 500g. Set aside the fish and keep it warm.

5 Make the turmeric cucumber pickle by mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl. Make the radish raita by mixing all those ingredients together in another bowl.

6 To serve: Place the baked fish on a tray, pop the sides into small separate serving bowls, and add the charred lemon halves to the platter.

Chickpea patties: Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet
Chickpea patties: Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet

Kerala Kitchen chana tikki (chickpea patties)

Pan-seared chickpea cakes are an Indian street-food classic.
Serves 4

Ingredients
300g chickpeas, cooked
1tbs fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Small handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Pinch carom seeds (replace with cumin if you can’t get carom)
½tsp black pepper, crushed
2tbsp cornflour
Salt to taste

Method
1
Mash the chickpeas. Add all of the ingredients to the chickpeas and mix well.

2 Shape them into small patties.

3 Pan fry till golden on both sides.

Kerala Kitchen Kovalam subji curry (vegetable curry). Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet
Kerala Kitchen Kovalam subji curry (vegetable curry). Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney; styled by Lesiele Juliet

Kerala Kitchen Kovalam subji curry (vegetable curry)

As close as you can get to coastal Indian cooking without flying to Kerala and inviting yourself to dinner. Brings us back to long days on Kovalam beach.
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 large red onion, chopped
1tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1tsp garlic, crushed
½ head broccoli, cut into florettes
½ head cauliflower, cut into florettes
2 carrots, diced
Handful green beans, roughly chopped
1 red chilli
4 tomatoes, chopped
4 curry leaves
1 sprig fresh coriander, chopped, for garnish (about 1tbsp of leaves)
1 bay leaf
4 green cardamom
1 green chilli, seeds removed and slit in half
1tsp tamarind pulp
¼tsp turmeric powder
½tsp cumin powder
½tsp coriander powder
½tsp chilli powder
½tsp black mustard seeds
100ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

Method
1
Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot, add green cardamom, whole red chilli and mustard seeds and cook until they crackle.

2 Add curry leaves, chopped onions, bay leaf and green chilli, and cook till the onion turns brown, stirring continuously.

3 Add chopped ginger and garlic, and cook for two minutes. On a low heat add turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powder. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for five minutes.

4 Add all of the vegetables to the sauce along with a cup of water. Cook for five minutes.

5 Add tamarind paste and coconut milk and cook till the vegetables are tender, then add salt to taste.

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