|Freshly cooked garlic naan bread|
Back in the day, I loved eating vegetable curries but had no clue how to go about making one. I knew that it was best to use a blend of spices rather than commercial curry powder, but had no idea where to begin. To be honest, the idea of combining all those Indian spices intimidated me and that froze me into inaction. Curries were a rare treat, made by someone else or bought from the local Indian restaurant. Then around 6 years ago, my lovely generous Indian work colleague ("R") offered to have some of us round to her house one night a week over the course of several weeks, to teach us how to cook authentic Indian dishes. I learnt so much, and can now cook a range of vegetarian Indian dishes confidently. But still naan bread was a mystery. Then for my birthday in January this year we had a potluck Indian feast with some friends (was originally going to be a whale-watching boat trip, but Sonny Jim broke his leg, which put that plan on hold!) The Wifie made some absolutely delicious naan bread, as well as a couple of curries for our shared dinner. The naan bread was amazingly good! Anyway, that gave me confidence to have a go myself and my first attempt is pictured above and below. It was surprisingly easy and delicious!
|Naan bread cooking on the griddle, brushed with melted butter - yum!|
This afternoon I decided to make Aloo Gobhi, which is a simple potato and cauliflower curry taught to me by "R" all those years ago. Here's how you do it:
Cut a whole cauliflower into small florets (save the stalks for soup?) and peel and chop 4-5 potatoes into small cubes. Heat a splash of oil in a big frying pan and add 2 inches grated ginger, a couple of teaspoons of coriander seeds, 2 tsps ground turmeric and 2tsps salt. Fry for a minute, then add the cauliflower and potato. Cook on a low heat.
Meanwhile, roast and crush the spices. In a small frying pan, dry roast 2 tsps whole coriander seeds, 1 tsp whole black peppercorns and 1 tsp cumin seeds.
Roughly crush these in a pestle and mortar.
Add the crushed spices to the cauliflower and potatoes. Cook for a while longer, then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander if available (it wasn't!)
Bear in mind ALL quantities are approximate. This is supposed to be a dry curry, not a wet one with a sauce, but I often find the mixture starts to get too dry and sticks as it cooks. In that case, add a bit of ghee, butter, oil or water depending on what you have to hand and whether you are trying to keep the fat content down or not.