Life Food & Drink

Friday 29 August 2014

Curry favour

Let Madhur Jaffrey take you on a tour of India - in your kitchen

Published 28/04/2013 | 05:00

  • Share
Aduki bean curry
Hot Punjabi king prawn curry

Madhur Jaffrey is to curry what Delia Smith is to a Sunday roast. That's how the culinary world celebrates the cookery genius of Madhur, who introduced TV viewers and cookery book fans to the delights of Indian food almost 30 years ago.

  • Share
  • Go To

Irish palates have embraced spicy foods and curries, and they are now among the most ordered meals in restaurants and takeaways.

In her new book, Madhur shares more than 100 authentic recipes in which she shows how it's possible to sample virtually all of India's cuisine without leaving home. There are fish curries from Kerala, whole roasted masala chicken, braised lamb shanks and an impressive range of side dishes.

Each of three dishes we share this week require preparation the night before, so remember to plan ahead.

Recipes from Madhur Jaffrey's 'Curry Nation' (Ebury Press)

Aduki bean curry

From Gujarati Rasoi, London. This is a very fine curry that I first ate at the Gujarati Rasoi stall in Borough Market, London. It was served with a rice dish made with cumin seeds.

Serves four to six.


200g/7oz aduki beans

2 tbsps brown sugar

5 tbsps olive or sunflower oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

3cm/generous 1in cassia bark or cinnamon stick

1 dried chilli

1 clove garlic, roughly sliced, plus 1 tsp garlic, finely chopping

2 tsps root ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 hot green chillies, finely sliced

2 tsps ground coriander

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garam masala

60g/2oz onion, finely chopped

125g/4½oz tomato passata

15g/½oz coriander leaves, chopped

6 tbsps fresh coconut, grated, or frozen coconut, grated and defrosted

3 tbsps lemon juice


Rinse the beans well and soak them overnight in 1.5 litres/2¾ pints of water in a pan about 20cm/8in in diameter.

The next day, set the pan over a high heat, add the sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and cook for an hour and a half, or until the beans are very soft and broken up. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

Clean the pan and place it over a medium heat. Pour in the oil. Check it is hot by dropping in a few of the mustard seeds; they should sizzle and pop immediately.

Working quickly, add the cassia bark or cinnamon stick, followed almost immediately by the dried chilli. Allow this to darken all over for 20 seconds, then add the remaining mustard seeds and let them pop for a few seconds.

Add the sliced garlic clove, swirl the pan and then add, all at the same time, the ginger, green chillies, ground coriander and cumin, turmeric, salt and garam masala. This process should take about one minute.

Stir for a further minute, then add the onion and the finely chopped garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir and fry for two minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Add the passata and cook, stirring, for three minutes. Return the beans and their cooking liquid to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for a further 10-15 minutes. Add water if it's too thick, to achieve a consistency you like.

Add the chopped coriander, coconut and lemon juice. Give the dish one final stir, then serve.

Hot Punjabi king prawn curry

From Jagdish Kaur at Punjab'n de Rasoi, Edinburgh. This simple curry may be served with shop-bought naan or with rice, and it goes well with green coriander chutney. You may wish to add a vegetable dish to the meal. Serves four.


For the marinade 600g/1lb 4oz raw king prawns, peeled and de-veined

6 tbsps yogurt

2 hot green chillies, finely sliced

½ tsp salt For the curry 4 tbsps olive or sunflower oil

½ tsp cumin seeds

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped or crushed

1 tsp turmeric

2-3 hot green chillies, finely sliced

2 tsps garam masala

½ tsp salt

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

½ tsp chilli flakes

4 tsps coriander leaves, finely chopped


Rinse and drain the prawns. Pat them dry and put them in a non-reactive bowl. Add the yogurt, chillies and salt. Mix well, cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.

When ready to cook the curry, pour the oil into a karhai, wok or heavy-based pan, about 23cm/9in in diameter, and set it over a medium heat.

Spoon in the cumin seeds, swirl and brown for 10 seconds. Add the onions. Sauté for about 10 minutes, or until brown all over.

Add the garlic, reduce the heat to low, stir and fry for two minutes. Mix in the turmeric and stir for one minute.

Now add the green chillies, increase the heat to medium and stir for one minute. Mix in one-and-a-half teaspoons of the garam masala and stir for one minute.

Add half the salt and all of the tomatoes and chilli flakes. Cook for two minutes, then add 120ml/4fl oz of boiling water. Combine to make a thick sauce. Simmer for three minutes, then add the remaining salt.

Stir in the prawns and their marinade and cook over a medium heat until they are just opaque and cooked through. Sprinkle the remaining garam masala over the top and stir. Fold in the chopped coriander and serve.

Pan-roasted whole chicken with carom seeds

From Sumayya Jamil, London. Here is a chicken marinated overnight in a yogurt spice mix, then cooked in a pan. Serve it with rice and a side dish of beans, okra, or dal. Serves four to six.


For the chicken 1.5kg/3lb 5oz whole chicken, skinned

2 tbsps lemon juice

1 tsp coarse sea salt

3 tbsps olive or sunflower oil For the marinade 500ml/18fl oz yogurt

2 tbsps ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)

1 tsp chilli flakes

¼ tsp turmeric

2 tbsps olive or sunflower oil

½ tsp salt

½ tsp root ginger, peeled and finely grated

½ tsp garlic, finely grated or crushed For the garnish 2 tbsps coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges


Rub the chicken with the lemon juice and the coarse sea salt. Tie the legs together as you would do when roasting. Place it in a large, non-reactive container.

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and use it to coat the chicken inside and out. Cover and marinate overnight.

Heat the three tablespoons of oil in a large, deep pan with a lid, about 30cm/12in in diameter, and set it over a medium-high heat. Put the whole chicken in and fry it, turning it over to seal all sides, for four to five minutes. Use a pair of tongs, gripping half inside the cavity and half out, to manipulate the chicken.

Pour in the remaining marinade from the container and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for about one-and-a-quarter hours, or until done. Test by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, between the leg and the body. If the juices run clear with no trace of pink, it is cooked. Cook for a little longer if needed.

Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and place on a warmed serving dish. Reduce the remaining juices to create a thick gravy.

Pour these juices back over the chicken and garnish with the chopped coriander and lemon wedges.

Weekend Magazine

Read More

Editors Choice

Also in Life