Food

Three Indian-inspired recipes from Christine Manfield’s latest cookbook, Indian Cooking Class

Written by The Frontier Post

Web Desk

After more than 40 trips to India, chef Christine Manfield was able to draw on a rich collection of recipes and taste memories for her latest cookbook, Indian Cooking Class. Some are traditional, others have been adapted or invented drawing on memories of her travels over the past three decades, viewed through a contemporary Western lens.

She wants readers to think of the book as a personal masterclass, a chance to get better acquainted with India’s distinctive flavours and to develop intuitive, confident cooking.

“These approachable, everyday recipes have been inspired by my excitement for Indian flavours and traditions, yet are adapted to suit our modern lifestyles and tastes.”

Black pepper chicken and onion curry

This dish is an enduring favourite from Hyderabad, where black pepper is a prominent seasoning and heavily used in the robust, Andhra-style cooking. Subtlety is not key here, there should be a very obvious pepper kick to this curry, so add a little more if your palate prefers. For extra zing, I like to add a few extra grinds from the pepper mill just as I serve.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (see note)
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 x 180g chicken marylands, cut into thigh and leg joints
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 2 brown onions, sliced lengthwise
  • ½ cup onion puree (blend 1 white onion with 2 tbsp vegetable oil)
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded ginger
  • 4 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fried shallot slices

METHOD

  1. Place the ginger-garlic paste, salt, lemon juice, turmeric, coriander, chilli and half the pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Rub into the chicken. Place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add the remaining black pepper and the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened and starting to colour. Reduce heat slightly, stir in the onion puree and cook for a further 10 minutes or until onion is browned. Increase heat to medium-high, add the chicken with its marinade and cook for 5 minutes to remove any excess liquid. Add 1 cup (250ml) water and simmer, turning the chicken halfway through, for 15 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Check seasoning and add a little extra salt, if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with shredded ginger, coriander leaves and fried shallots.

Serves 4

Note To make ginger garlic paste, roughly chop equal quantities of garlic cloves and peeled fresh ginger and blend in a food processor with a spoonful of water to form a smooth paste. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container and use within 2 days.

Tamarind eggplant

I collected this recipe years ago in Rajasthan and it’s one of my all-time favourite eggplant dishes. I use it at any opportunity. I love its deeply satisfying sweet and sour notes. Serve it with other vegetable dishes on a shared table or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or barbecued meats.

INGREDIENTS

  • 600ml vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 4 x 300g purple eggplants, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 3 small red onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 5 small green chillies, minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh curry leaves
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 400ml tamarind puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 3 tbsp fried shallot slices

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large pot to 180C. Fry the eggplant, in batches, for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Set aside. Reserve the oil.
  2. To make the tamarind sauce, heat ⅓ cup (80ml) of the reserved oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, chilli and garlic and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute or until beginning to colour. Add the curry leaves and cook for 1 minute or until wilted. Add the sugar, tamarind, cumin and salt and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. There should be equal balance between the sweet, sour and salty flavours.
  3. Add the fried eggplant, stir to coat thoroughly and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir through the diced tomato and coriander leaves. Scatter with fried shallot slices to serve.

Serves 6

Spiced chickpea dhal

Chole bhatura is a Punjabi staple that makes use of humble pantry ingredients. Chole is a chickpea curry served with puffed bhatura bread, a dish that has been widely embraced in other regions of India. The dhal preparation can vary across districts depending on its blend of spices and this version was my favourite breakfast during my travels through Sikkim staying in village houses.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ cups (250g) dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight, drained
  • ¼ cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 small red onions, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (see note)
  • 2 small green chillies, minced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder*
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 150g thick plain yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fried shallot slices

METHOD

  1. Cook the chickpeas in large pot of boiling water for 45 minutes or until soft. Drain, reserving 50ml of the cooking water. Place 1 cup chickpeas (leave the rest whole) and the reserved water in a food processor and blend to form a puree. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger-garlic paste and green chilli and cook for 30 seconds or until coloured. Add the tomato and cook for 4 minutes or until softened. Mix the ground spices together in a small bowl and add to the onion and tomato mixture. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the whole chickpeas, chickpea puree and salt, stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the yoghurt and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir through the coriander leaves and lemon juice. Scatter with the fried shallots and serve.

Serves 8

Note Kashmiri chilli powder is made from mildly hot chillies and is available in some supermarkets. If you can’t find it, substitute sweet smoked paprika mixed with a little cayenne powder.

Courtesy: goodfood

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