Saag Aloo (v)

A short tale of small dishes of Indian cuisine.

Last weekend during a trip to London we headed off in to the East of the capital to Brick Lane. Once associated with slum living and the crimes associated to Jack the Ripper, Brick Lane is now, as well as being the hub of London’s Bangladeshi community, a hive of market trading, art and social activity. There are so many restaurants you could probably spend month’s down there and not sample all there is to offer. Delicious smells fill the air as ¬†restauranteurs stand at the doorways, luring you in with offers of free wine or beer, all claiming to have the best curry in London.

Brick-Lane-Street

Ordinarily I don’t like places that have faded photographs of their food outside the restaurants, it reminds me too much of 1980’s Spain in largely British resorts where chips and egg were the dish of the day but, I saw a photograph of a tray of Thalia outside this little place on Brick Lane and I was sold.

And I was not disappointed. Tiny dishes of saag aloo, spicy vegetable curry, creamy yogurt and mint dip, sweet onion bhajiis, little fried parcels of fresh vegetables, carefully folded aromatic chapati and crisp fresh poppadoms, and the most delicate rice I have ever tasted. Everything was cooked perfectly and the flavours married up together so well.

All week I have been planning my own Thalia and I am pleased to share with you my simple recipe for saag aloo. It  will serve 4 as a side dish and sits happily alongside curries or grilled fish or chicken.

  • 300g Potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled until tender
  • 200g spinach, chopped
  • Half a red chilli, finely sliced
  • Half a large white onion, roughly chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Half a teaspoon each of mustard seed, cumin seed, ginger powder and turmeric
  • A little water or coconut milk

In a blender mince up the onion, garlic, mustard seed, cumin seed, ginger powder and turmeric. Heat a little oil in a pan and sweat off the mixture for a few moments before adding the cooked potatoes and enough water or coconut milk to make a thin sauce. Add the chilli. Cook for a few moments before adding the spinach. Leave the spinach on top of the potatoes whilst it wilts, then stir it in. Serve as a side dish to other curries or on its own with rice and chapati.

 

 

Oven Baked Chicken Curry


Baked Chicken Curry

Introduction

I am a huge fan of Indian style cuisine. I love the mixes of aromatic spices, juicy onions and chillies, fresh herbs, meats and vegetables. I love the fact that you don’t really need cutlery to eat it, just a piece of naan bread or a warm chapati to scoop up the deliciousness. This recipe is a favourite in our house and we hope you like it too.

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  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of mustard seed
  • Pince of sea salt
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 green chilli*
  • 1 red chilli – finely sliced for garnish
  • 1 red pepper – de-seeded and sliced
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 400g can of tomatoes in juice
  • 400g can of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of Coconut oil
  • Chicken**

Ingredients

Tips

*Chillies vary in their heat intensity depending on the type and where you buy them from. Before throwing in a whole chilli, see how hot the chilli is to avoid spoiling your dish. Remember, once its in the is no getting it back out again, so my advice would be to add a little at a time.

**I have just put chicken on the ingredients list. As a rule I use one chicken breast per person but there is no reason not to use chicken thighs or even left over roast chicken in this dish if you prefer.

Method – to serve 2 as a main meal

In a food processor blend the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli into a paste.

In a large, wide, oven proof pan heat the coconut oil and brown off the chicken. Add in the onion paste and cook off for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the spices and salt.

In the processor blend together the tomatoes and coconut milk. Add this to the pan.

Bring the pan to a simmer on the hob, add in the sliced red pepper and check the sauce for its heat. If needed add a little more chilli.

Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. Sprinkle over some fresh red chilli and the chopped coriander.

Serve with some rice, chapati’s and some pickles of your choice.

Pickle Tray