How to cook… Grandma’s Beef Curry

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

This is a classic 1960s-style ‘curry’ just like British grandmas used to make. The first recipe for “Indian Currey” appeared in English cookbooks in the 18th century and the Hindoostane Coffee House, considered to be the nation’s first curry restaurant, opened in London in 1810. But it’s unlikely the average British households had many spices in their cupboard till many years after that. When they did bravely venture into the world of Indian cooking it’s likely to have been a generic curry powder that found its way to a place next to the more common staples. Adventurous grandmas would have simply added a couple of spoonfuls of this spice mix to a beef stew along with other exotic (at the time) ingredients such as coconut, sultanas and chutney for sweetness. Hey presto! Grandma’s Beef Curry. Of course, beef is not found in too many parts of India, but that would have escaped many of these cooks. Just adding the curry powder was enough at this stage.

What you need…
• 600g stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 2 Tablespoons flour
• 1 Tablespoon oil
• 1 large knob of butter
• 1 cooking apple (or 2 Granny Smith apples), peeled and cored, and cut into chunks of about 1.5cm
• 2 onions, chopped
• 2 tablespoons cornflour, mixed with water to make a thin paste
• 2 Tablespoons curry powder
• 2 tomatoes, chopped
• 400ml beef stock
• 1 Tablespoon brown sauce
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
• 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks of about 4cm
• 1 Tablespoon desiccated coconut
• 2 Tablespoons sultanas
• 1 Tablespoon sweet chutney (optional)


How to make it
1. Heat the oil to a medium-high heat in a pan. While it is heating coat the beef in flour. Once the pan is ready add the beef and cook until all the pieces are sealed (about 4–5 minutes). Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
2. Turn down the heat and add the butter. Once it’s melted add the onion and apple and cook gently until everything has softened (about 8 minutes).
3. Add the cornflour mix and curry powder and keep stirring for 3 minutes. Add a splash of water to stop it sticking if needed.
4. Add the beef (with any juices), tomatoes, stock, brown sauce, salt, pepper and potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and cook for on a low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the coconut, sultanas and chutney, mix well and continue cooking, uncovered for 10 minutes. The beef should be soft and the ‘curry’ thickened.
6. Add a sprinkle of coconut and a few sultanas to garnish and serve.

CHEF’S TIP
This is what many people in Britain would have experienced as their first taste of a curry. Don’t temped to add more spices.
Grandma’s Beef Curry would have been seen as exotic in many British households in the 1960s.

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Check out 5 Best Goa Curries

What do you sing after getting served this dish. “Grandma, I love you!”

How to cook… Chicken Korma

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Having shaken off the reputation of being the “beginner’s curry”, the mild Korma is gaining in popularity again. And it’s no surprise that chicken is the preferred choice for this delicious dish. This recipe avoids the sickly sweetness and coconut dished up by some restaurants and mixes onions, yoghurt and cream to create a creamy smoothness.

What you need…
• 1.5 onions
• 3 Tablespoons ghee
• 4 Tablespoons milk
• pinch turmeric
• 800g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
• 1 Tablespoon garam masala
• 100g yoghurt
• 150ml double cream
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 1 Tablespoon almond flakes
• few coriander leaves, for garnish

How to make it
1. Chop the onions and blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. This removes the bitterness. Purée the onions in a blender.
2. Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee in a pan to a low-medium heat. Add the milk and turmeric and once warm add the chicken to colour it. This should take 1-2 minutes.
3. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the rest of the ghee. When hot add the onions and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the garam masala, yoghurt, cream and salt, and cook until the chicken is cooked. You can add a little water to get the consistency you prefer.
6. While it is cooking turn the grill to a high heat and roast the almonds. This takes less than a minute so be careful not to burn them.
7. Serve, garnished with the roasted almonds and coriander leaves.

CHEF’S TIP
Because this dish is so mild it is nice with the sharp, tanginess of some lime pickle or mixed pickle.
Chicken Korma is the favourite for curry fans who don’t like it hot.

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I went for a curry the other night but it went badly wrong when my nan was taken ill and slipped into a Korma.

How to cook… Chicken Dhansak

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

A thick, sweet and sour dish, Dhansak originates from Persia (Iran). The dish was introduced to India by a group of Parsees (from Persia) spread south to Gujarat to escape persecution in 1500BC. Lentils and mixed vegetables are added to some Base Curry Sauce, with sugar and lime (or lemon) juice adding the sweet and sour tastes.

What you need…
• 120g red split lentils, washed and well rinsed
• 3 Tablespoons ghee
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 600ml Base Curry Sauce
• 400g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 400g mixed (frozen or tinned) vegetables, cut into small pieces
• 1 green chilli, chopped
• 1 Tablespoon tomato ketchup
• 1 Tablespoon mild curry powder
• 1 Tablespoon garam masala
• 1 Tablespoon sugar
• 1 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice
• salt, to taste

How to make it
1. Boil the lentils with water until cooked (about 25–30 minutes).
2. While they are cooking heat the ghee in a pan to a medium heat. Add the turmeric and 3 Tablespoons of the Base Curry Sauce. Once warmed through add the chicken and stir fry until all the pieces are sealed (about 2 minutes).
3. Add the rest of the Base Curry Sauce, the cooked lentils and the rest of the ingredients, mix well and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine.
4. Stir, add a little water if needed, and continue cooking until all the chicken pieces are cooked through.

CHEF’S TIP
If you are really looking for a really old-school version of this dish you can add a couple of chunks of pineapple.
Chicken Dhansak, sweet and sour, and full of flavour.

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Don’t have a food fight with Dhansak. It’s only funny lentil someone gets hurt.

How to cook… Chicken Korma

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Having shaken off the reputation of being the “beginner’s curry”, the mild Korma is gaining in popularity again. And it’s no surprise that chicken is the preferred choice for this delicious dish. This recipe avoids the sickly sweetness and coconut dished up by some restaurants and mixes onions, yoghurt and cream to create a creamy smoothness.

What you need…
• 1.5 onions
• 3 Tablespoons ghee
• 4 Tablespoons milk
• pinch turmeric
• 800g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
• 1 Tablespoon garam masala
• 100g yoghurt
• 150ml double cream
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 1 Tablespoon almond flakes
• few coriander leaves, for garnish

How to make it
1. Chop the onions and blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. This removes the bitterness. Purée the onions in a blender.
2. Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee in a pan to a low-medium heat. Add the milk and turmeric and once warm add the chicken to colour it. This should take 1-2 minutes.
3. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the rest of the ghee. When hot add the onions and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the garam masala, yoghurt, cream and salt, and cook until the chicken is cooked. You can add a little water to get the consistency you prefer.
6. While it is cooking turn the grill to a high heat and roast the almonds. This takes less than a minute so be careful not to burn them.
7. Serve, garnished with the roasted almonds and coriander leaves.

CHEF’S TIP
Because this dish is so mild it is nice with the sharp, tanginess of some lime pickle or mixed pickle.
Chicken Korma is the favourite for curry fans who don’t like it hot.

If you like this you should try our
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I went for a curry the other night but it went badly wrong when my nan was taken ill and slipped into a Korma.

How to cook… Lamb Bhoona

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

The use of the whole spices produces an earthy and aromatic dish and work excellently with lamb. Lamb Bhoona is a dryish dish, with the chunks of meat coated in the thick sauce. This is achieved by using less Base Curry Sauce than with other dishes and by cooking the sauce in batches slowly to reduce and thicken it.

What you need…
• 2 Tablespoons ghee
• 800g lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 400ml Base Curry Sauce
• small handful fresh coriander (chop up the stems to add to the curry and set aside the leaves for garnish)
• 2 Tablespoons yoghurt
• salt to taste

Spice Mix 1
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 2 cardamon seeds, cracked open but not crushed
• 2 cloves
• 5 curry leaves

Spice Mix 2
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon garam masala

How to make it
1. Heat the ghee to a high heat. Add the Spice Mix 1 and fry for 15 seconds. They whole spices should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding one cumin seed.
2. Now add the lamb and stir fry until all the chunks are sealed. This should take 2–3 minutes.
3. Now add a quarter of the Base Curry Sauce and stir fry for 10 minutes. Add another quarter of the sauce and repeat. When you add the last quarter of the sauce also add the Spice Mix 2 and coriander stems. The sauce should be thick by the end of the 40-minutes process.
4. Add the yoghurt and salt, mix well and stir fry until the lamb is tender (about 5 minutes).
5. Serve, garnished with the coriander leaves.

CHEF’S TIP
If you don’t like whole spices in your finished curry you can put them in a little spice bag before dropping them in the ghee. You then remove the bag just before serving. If using the spice bag, cook the spices in the ghee for an extra 5–10 seconds at stage 1 to ensure the flavours are released through the bag into the ghee.
Lamb Bhoona, chunky meat in a thick, dry sauce.

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What’s your favourite curry?

How to cook… Medium Lamb Curry

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Lamb Curry is a classic curry house favourite and this medium-strength recipe is easy to make, with some garlic and spices added to the Base Curry Sauce and simmered until the lamb is tender.

What you need…
• 2 Tablespoons ghee
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 800g lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 600ml Base Curry Sauce
• 2 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
• salt to taste
• small handful fresh coriander (chop up the stems to add to the curry and set aside the leaves for garnish)

Spice Mix
• 1 Tablespoon curry powder
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon garam masala

How to make it
1. Heat the ghee to a high heat. While it is heating up mix the Spice Mix with the vinegar and enough water to form a sloppy paste.
2. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 15 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding one seed.
3. Add the garlic paste and cook for 1 minute on a lower heat. You may have to remove the pan from the heat initially to stop the paste burning. (If it burns then throw it away and start again.)
4. Add the lamb and stir fry until sealed (about 2–3 minutes).
5. Add the Base Curry Sauce and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to avoid it sticking.
6. Add the Spice Mix and tomato ketchup, mix well and cook for 20 minutes.
7. Add the salt and coriander stems and continue cooking until the lamb is tender (about 5 minutes). Add water, as needed, to maintain the consistency.
8. Serve, garnished with the coriander leaves.

CHEF’S TIP
Keeping turning the lamb chunks during the cooking process to make sure they all absorb the flavours of the sauce fully.
Classic Lamb Curry. Dark, rich sauce with meaty chunks of lamb.

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What do you call a quiet lamb? … One that is asheeeeep.

How to cook… Butter Paneer

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Paneer works excellently with this creamy, buttery and super moreish sauce. Fry the paneer chunks first so they are crispy on the outside and enjoy the rich sauce. The dish will be much better if you make your own paneer.

What you need…
• 1 teaspoon ghee
• 800g paneer, cubed
• 150g unsalted butter
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 1 teaspoon ginger paste
• salt to taste
• 6 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, if you like it sweet)
• 150ml cream
• coriander leaves for garnish

Spice Mix
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 1 teaspoon cumin powder

How to make it
1. Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee in pan to a low-medium heat. Add the paneer cubes and fry until they brown. This should take about 3–4 minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Heat 100g of the butter on a low-medium heat until melted, add the onion and cook until it starts to brown (about 4–5 minutes).
3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add in the Spice Mix, salt and the chillies, stir well and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add 250ml water and cook for a further 2–3 minutes.
6. Transfer the ingredients to a blender (or use a hand blender) until smooth.
7. Return to pan and reheat for a couple of minutes. You can now add in the optional sugar.
8. Add the paneer, cream, the other 50g of butter and and cook on a low-medium heat until everything is warmed through.
9. Serve garnished with the coriander leaves. The dish also looks good with a small swirl of cream and/or tiny knob of butter in the middle of the dish (it will melt quickly).

CHEF’S TIP
When you remove the paneer chunks and move on to stage 2 you do not need wipe out the remaining ghee. It’ll stop the butter burning and what’s a bit more oil between friends when it comes to such a rich dish?
The crispy paneer chunks are excellently complimented by the creamy sauce.

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What cheese do cyclists take on holiday? … A paneer.

How to cook… Sag Paneer

Recipes

Serves 4 as a side dish

Sag Paneer is an excellent side dish, with the crispiness of the pre-fried cheese – especially if you make your own paneer – beautifully complemented by with the wilted, bright green spinach leaves. The addition of the red chilli can add a nice kick as well as a lovely splash of colour.

What you need…
• 2 Tablespoons ghee
• 200g paneer, cut into chunks about 2-3 cm square
• 0.5 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 2 teaspoons garlic paste
• 1 teaspoons ginger paste
• 200g Base Curry Sauce
• 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• small handful coriander leaves, chopped
• 200g spinach (fresh or frozen), chopped

Spice Mix
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 1 teaspoon coriander powder

How to make it
1. Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee in pan to a medium heat. Add the paneer cubes and fry until they brown. This should take about 3–4 minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the rest of the ghee and heat to high heat. While it is heating up mix the Spice Mix with enough water to form a sloppy paste.
3. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 15 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding one seed.
4. Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for 1 minute on a lower heat. You may have to remove the pan from the heat initially to stop the paste burning. (If it burns then throw away and start again.)
5, Add the Spice Mix paste and cook for 2 minutes. It should now be thick and gloopy.
6. Add the Base Curry Sauce, (optional) chilli and salt and cook for 2 minute.
7. Add the paneer and coriander and cook until all the pieces are all well-coated. This should take 1–2 minutes.
8. Add the spinach and cook until all the moisture has evaporated and the spinach has wilted. This will take about 5 minutes.

CHEF’S TIP
An easy way to ‘chop’ up the spinach is to put it in the freezer, then just before you need it bring it out and beat it with your fist. The spinach will snap into small pieces and defrost very quickly.
Sag Paneer, makes an excellent side dish with its crispy cheese chunks and dark green spinach leaves.

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The waiter in our local restaurant is always asking questions about my orders… It’s like the Spinach Inquisition.

How to cook… Prawn Korma

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

The beautifully mild Korma is a delicious dish when cooked well. This recipe avoids the sickly sweetness and coconut dished up by some restaurants and concentrates on the creamy, smoothness of a great dish served with plump prawns.

What you need…
• 1.5 onions
• 3 Tablespoons ghee
• 4 Tablespoons ghee
• 4 Tablespoons milk
• pinch turmeric
• 800g prawns, shelled and deveined
• 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
• 1 Tablespoon garam masala
• 100g yoghurt
• 150ml double cream
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 1 Tablespoon almond flakes
• few coriander leaves, for garnish

How to make it
1. Chop the onions and blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. This removes the bitterness. Purée the onions in a blender.
2. Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee in a pan to a low-medium heat. Add the milk and the turmeric and once warm add the prawns to colour them. This should take 1-2 minutes. Remove the prawns and set aside.
3. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the rest of the ghee. When hot add the onions and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the garam masala, yoghurt, cream and salt, and cook for 3 minutes.
6. While it is cooking turn the grill to a high heat and roast the almonds. This takes less than a minute so be careful not to burn them.
7. Add the prawns until cooked.
8. Serve, garnished with the roasted almonds and coriander leaves.

CHEF’S TIP
The smoothness of this dish means you’ll be able to actually taste a delicate accompaniment such as Saffron Rice or Lemon Rice.
Smooth and creamy Prawn Korma.

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What’s Boy George’s favourite curry? … Korma Chameleon