D.I.Y. Saturday night takeaway - how to create your favourite Indian meals at home
If you'd like a weekend treat without paying takeaway prices, here are three recipes that won't let you down, writes Katy McGuinness
A takeaway Indian meal at the end of a busy day can be tempting, but often doesn't live up to expectations. It can be greasy, for one thing, with a calorie count that's likely to be alarming.
And many takeaway operations are not as focused on the provenance and quality of the ingredients as they should be - cooking at home allows you to use good quality meat and less cream and butter, while not scrimping on taste.
Of course there are some high quality Indian takeaways, but they tend to be pricey and with a little forward planning - many Indian dishes involve marinating the meat or chicken for a few hours - you can produce a takeaway at home that's great quality and better for you than one that you order in. Here are three of my favourite Indian recipes. As always, be sure to check what spices you already have in the house before you head to the shops. It's frustrating to duplicate.
Lamb rogan josh
1kg lamb pieces
250ml natural yoghurt
Pinch saffron threads
30g crushed almonds (optional)
50g ginger-garlic paste
3 tbsps vegetable oil
3 tbsps garam masala
350g onions, finely sliced
10g red chilli powder
10g coriander powder
3g garam masala
5g turmeric powder
60g tomato paste
1 small bunch coriander, finely chopped
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Combine the yoghurt, almonds, saffron, salt and half the ginger-garlic paste and marinate the meat for two hours.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the garam masala and stir until the aromas are released.
Add the sliced onions, stir and cook till golden brown. Add the lamb with the marinade, stir, and cook till meat is browned and three-quarters cooked.
Add a little water if it is too dry. Add the dry spices and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining half of the garlic-ginger paste, the tomato paste and a good pinch of salt and stir until the lamb is cooked.
Serve garnished with coriander and the finely chopped ginger.
Red lentil dhal with spinach
400g red lentils, rinsed
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 bag spinach
Salt and pepper
Put the lentils in a saucepan and add water to cover to a depth of 3cm. Bring to the boil and skim off any froth. Reduce to a simmer and add the turmeric and half of the butter.
Simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are completely softened and the water is absorbed. While the lentils are cooking, heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and dry fry until toasted and aromatic (about 1-2 minutes).
Remove the cumin seeds from the pan and set to one side. Add the remaining butter to the pan and, once melted, fry the garlic and chopped green chilli for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic turns light golden-brown, and the chilli is softened.
Add the toasted cumin seeds back to the pan and remove from the heat.
Once the lentils are soft, stir in the chilli and garlic mixture (including any butter) into the pan with the lentils, stir in the bag of baby spinach until it wilts, and mix well.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve with rice.
4 chicken legs, skin removed
2 tsp salt
Juice of two lemons
425ml plain yoghurt
½ onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
Thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 green chilies, sliced
2 tsp garam masala
1 lemon cut in wedges, to serve
Cut each chicken leg into two pieces: drumstick and thigh. Make two deep slits crossways on each piece, deep enough to reach the bone.
Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pour over the lemon juice. Rub the lemon juice and salt into each piece. Set aside for 20 minutes. Combine the yoghurt, the onion, garlic, ginger, chilies and garam masala in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Put the chicken and all its juices into a large bowl and cover with the marinade. Rub the marinade into the slits in the meat, then cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, remove the chicken from the marinade and spread out in a single layer on a baking tray, discarding the leftover marinade.
Place the tray in the top part of the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges.