How to cook… Chicken Jalfrezi

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Jalfrezi has become one of the most popular curries with some Base Curry Sauce mixed with different coloured peppers, onions, tomatoes and chillies to create a lovely range of tastes and colours. In true British restaurant-style it has evolved into something quite different from the original Chicken Jalfrezi, where the ingredients are cooked in their own juices.

What you need…
• 3 Tablespoons ghee
• 5 garlic cloves, sliced
• 4 cm chunk of ginger, cut into 2cm matchsticks
• 0.5 red pepper, cut into thin slices
• 0.5 yellow (or green) pepper, cut into thin slices
• 4 green chillies, chopped
• 600g Base Curry Sauce
• 800g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
• small handful fresh coriander (chop up the stems and some of the leaves to add to the curry but set aside a few of leaves for garnish)
• 1 onion, sliced
• 2 tomatoes, cut into segments
• salt to taste

Spice Mix
• 1 Tablespoon mild curry powder
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin powder
• 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon vinegar

How to make it
1. Heat the ghee to a medium heat. While it is heating up mix the Spice Mix with the vinegar and enough water to form a sloppy paste.
2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Turn up the heat and add the peppers and chillies and cook for 2 minutes. You will soften the peppers and slightly char it (to mimic the tandoor taste).
4. Turn the heat down and add the Base Curry Sauce and Spice Mix and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add the coriander, onion, tomatoes and salt, and cook until the chicken pieces are all cooked through. The pepper, onion and tomato should be just soft but not mushy.
7. Serve, garnished with the coriander leaves.

CHEF’S WARNING
There are a lot of ingredients in this dish so stir gently to avoid breaking them up.
With its tasty mix of onions, tomatoes and peppers Chicken Jalfrezi has become one of the most popular restaurant curries.

If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Dopiaza

What was the Osmonds big curry hit in 1972? … Jalfrezi Horses.

How to cook… Chicken Phall

Recipes

Serves 4 as a side dish

The Phall is the hottest curry you’ll find in most restaurants and many do not even put it on their menu. Expect rolling eyes from the waiter when you order it and watering eyes from yourself when you are eating it. Base Curry Sauce.

What you need…
• 2 Tablespoons ghee
• 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
• 3 dried red chillies
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 600ml Base Curry Sauce
• 2 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
• 800g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 Tablespoon garam masala
• salt to taste

Spice Mix
• 1 Tablespoon mild curry powder
• 2 Tablespoons chopped chilli pickle
• 4 teaspoons chilli powder

How to make it
1. Heat the ghee to a high heat. While it is heating up mix the Spice Mix with enough water to form a sloppy paste.
2. Add the peppercorns and chillies and fry for 15 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding one peppercorn.
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 Spice Mix and cook for 2 minutes. It should now be thick and gloopy.
5. Add the Base Curry Sauce and the tomato and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Add the chicken, mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add the garam masala, salt and continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked.

CHEF’S WARNING
Be very sure you can handle a lot of spice before eating curries this hot.
Chicken Phall, with chilli powder, chopped chilli paste, peppercorns and dried red chillies. Might just be hot then.

If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Dopiaza

If you order a curry and it’s not hot enough it could leave you in a Phall mood.

How to cook… Egg and Potato Curry

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Egg and Potato Curry is a hugely popular dish in India yet it’s difficult to find outside the sub-continent. This Punjabi-style recipe is easy to make. Boiled eggs are sealed in oil then added to a tomato sauce that has been infused with aromatic whole spices.

What you need
• 8 eggs
• 3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
• salt to taste
• 3 Tablespoon oil
• 1.5 onions, finely chopped
• 2 teaspoon garlic, roughly chopped
• 2–3cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
• 400g chopped tomatoes
• small handful coriander (chop up the stems to add to the curry and set aside the leaves for garnish if you want garnish).

Spice Mix 1
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 cloves
• 2 cardamom pods (cracked open but not crushed)
• 6 peppercorns
• 3 whole dried red chillies (or a teaspoon of crushed dried chillies)
• 1 bay leaf

Spice Mix 2
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 0.5 teaspoon chilli powder (more if you like your curries hot)

How you make it
1. Hard boil the eggs and remove the shells. Set aside.
2. Pat dry the potatoes with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
3. Heat the oil to medium-hot in a pan and fry the potatoes until they are cooked through and just start to brown. Set aside.
4. Fry the eggs in the same oil for about 5 minutes, rolling them frequently to avoid them crisping. Remove eggs and set aside.
5. Turn up the heat to ensure the oil is piping hot. Add the whole spices and cook for 15 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding a cardamom pod. You want to infuse the oil with the flavours of the whole spices but if they burn you will have to do stage 5 again.
6. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, mix well, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Add the tomatoes, Spice Mix 2, coriander stems, mix well and cook for 10 minutes. Add water, as needed, to keep the sauce pourable.
8. Add the potatoes and eggs. Make sure the eggs are coated with the sauce but be careful not to break them up. Heat through for about 5 minutes.
9. Serve, garnished with the (optional) coriander leaves.

CHEF’S TIP
We’ve worked on two eggs per person. If people with larger appetites are coming for dinner then simply boil extra eggs.

If you like this you should try our
Sindhi BiryaniMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Why did the chicken cross the road? … To chat to the egg and see who crossed first.

How to cook… Prawn Dopiaza

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Originally a dish from Persia, Dopiaza means “two onions” and gives it name to this curry because onions are used twice in the recipe (in the Base Curry Sauce and towards the end when the fried onions are added). You’ll need to quickly seal the prawns in butter and brown the onions first, then create the sauce before re-adding the prawns and fried onions again at the end.

What you need…
• small knob of butter
• 800g prawns, shelled and deveined
• 3 Tablespoons ghee
• 1 onion, sliced
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 600ml Base Curry Sauce
• 2 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
• small handful fresh coriander (chop up the stems to add to the curry and set aside the leaves for garnish)
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• salt to taste

Spice Mix 1
• 1 Tablespoon mild curry powder
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon vinegar


How to make it…
1. Heat the butter to a medium heat. While it is heating up mix the Spice Mix with the vinegar and enough water to form a sloppy paste.
2. Add the prawns to the butter and stir fry until they are pink. This should take about 2 minutes. Remove the prawns from the pan and set aside.
3. Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee to a medium heat and stir fry the onions until they are starting to brown. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
4, Heat the rest of 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.)
7. Add the Spice Mix paste and cook for 2 minutes. It should now be thick and gloopy.
8. Add the Base Curry Sauce and the tomato and cook for 2 minutes.
9. Add the prawns, mix well and cook for five minutes.
10. Add the garam masala, salt, coriander stems and prawns and cook for 2 minutes.
11. Add the fried onions and continue cooking until the prawns are fully cooked.
12. Serve, garnished with the coriander leaves.


CHEF’S TIP
Caramelising the onions creates a sweet and slightly sticky dish so it’s complemented nicely with a spicy chilli pickle or tart lime pickle on the side.

If you like this you should try our
Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Last time I was in a fruit and veg shop the owner told me that his onions could sing a Bee Gees song. I had to stay a bit longer to listen but then I noticed it was just the chives talking.

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.

If you like this you should try our
Prawn MadrasPrawn RoganPrawn VindalooPrawn DopiazaMughlai Malai KoftaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaButter ChickenChicken Dopiaza

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

Recipe… Handi Chicken

Recipes

Handi Chicken.jpg

Handi Chicken
Serves 4

What you need
• 3 tsp ghee
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
• 3 whole chillies
• 3 onions sliced
• 2 tsp ginger paste
• 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 1 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• 1 tsp dried fenugreek
• salt to taste
• 750g chicken cut into bite-sized chunks
• 5-6 tomatoes chopped
• 1½ cup plain yoghurt
• 1 cup cream
• Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

How you cook it
1. Heat ghee in a pan.
2. Add the cumin seeds, crushed coriander, whole chillies and fry for 20 seconds (to test if ghee is hot enough put in one cumin seed. It should sizzle immediately).
3. Add the onions and fry until they are golden brown.
4. Add the ginger paste, chopped garlic, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, dried fenugreek, salt and stir well.
5. Add in the chicken and cook until all the pieces are white (but not fully cooked). This should take about five minutes.
6. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
7. Add in the yoghurt, cream and most of the fresh coriander (keep a small bit for the garnish), stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Ensure that the chicken is cooked through.
8. Once ready put into a serving bowl and garnish with the remainder of the fresh coriander.
9. Serve with rice, chapati and a yoghurt and tomato raita.

Kedar
Recipe by Kedar Chandra, chef at Pakbo restaurant in Flic en Flac, Mauritius.

 


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Recipe… Gateaux Piment (Chilli Cakes)

Recipes

 

Gato Piment 4 Low Res

Gateaux Piment (Chilli Cakes)
This is a popular street-food snack in Mauritius, which is sold in small shops or from homes of people looking to earn a bit of extra income. It is particularly popular at breakfast time. You may also see these advertised as Gato Pima, which is the Creole spelling of the snack.

Enough for about 15 pieces

What you need
• Half a cup of yellow split peas (soak in water overnight and drained)
• 1 onion finely chopped
• 2 spring onions chopped
• Pinch of cumin powder
• 1 or 2 chopped chillies (to your taste)
• 1 tsp salt
• 4 tbls cooking oil

How you cook it
1. Grind split peas to a paste. Use a little water if necessary.
2. Add all the other ingredients (except the oil) to the peas and mix.
3. Form the mixture into small (about 2cm diameter) flat pancakes. Use a little water in order to bind the pancakes, if necessary.
4. Heat oil on a medium heat.
5. Add the pancakes, turning occasionally, and cook until golden brown.
6. Drain the pancakes and remove any excess oil with kitchen paper. Serve with bread and butter or your favourite chutney.

Gato Piment 1Gato Piment 2

Gato Piment 3


 

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

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Recipe… Kashmiri Rogan Josh

Recipes

Rogan Josh Kashmiri by Purabi Naha 1

Just like Biryani, this is another royal Indian dish, believed to be introduced in India by the Mughals. In Persian, the word “Rogan Josh” means something which is boiling, hot and red in colour. Rogan Josh is a signature dish in Kashmiri (Wazwani) cuisine and probably, one of the finest meat dishes in India.

Kashmir takes its cuisine very seriously. In fact, I have heard many Kashmiris saying that they regard cooking as a form of art and it is almost like their second religion.

Rogan Josh: Nuances in the Making
The authentic Kashmiri cooks (called wazas) have perfected signature Kashmiri dishes, such as Rogan Josh, with their skills and experience. For them, Rogan Josh is not just a dish, but an extension of their culinary skills in its epitome!

· The oil to be used in making an authentic Rogan Josh is mustard oil. You can replace mustard oil with a mixture of plain oil and ghee if mustard oil is not available.
· Use the freshest and best-quality mutton (meat of a male goat) for this dish. The shank or the shoulder of a male goat have the most succulent meat and are preferred highly in many Indian mutton preparations. The size of the meat pieces should be medium (chopped roughly into two-inch-sized pieces), so that the flavours percolate down the meat very well. Mutton can be replaced with lamb meat. Please note that the meat is never marinated in the traditional Rogan Josh preparation.
· Tomatoes should not be used to prepare Rogan Josh. The rich red colour is from the addition of an indispensable ingredient in this authentic Wazwani (Kashmiri) dish: Kashmiri red chilli powder, which imparts a gorgeous red colour and is mildly hot compared to other red chilli powder varieties. To reduce the hotness even further and still get the same, rich colour in your Rogan Josh, you can mix equal quantities of Kashmiri red chilli powder and paprika.
· The Hindus of Kashmir do not use any onion or garlic in this dish, but use yogurt or curd, fennel powder and asafoetida to impart richness. For the same curry, the Kashmiri Muslims, however, use onions and a special ingredient called maval/mawal, described next.

· An ingredient called rattan jyot/ratan jot ormaval/mawal, which is actually dried cockscomb flower, is traditionally added to the dish (for its deep red colour) at the end by boiling it with equal quantity of water. In addition, saffron dissolved in a little milk is added to give it a subtle enrichment in its flavour. But don’t worry if you don’t get these ingredients: your Rogan Josh will still taste very good without them.

A word about Indian chillies
Just like Mexican and Korean cuisines, Indian cuisine also involves extensive use of chillies. Interestingly, some kinds of chillies are not hot, but just add flavor and colour to a particular dish. Indian cooking makes use of chillies in varied ways to impart distinct tastes and colours. There are a number of dry red chilli (sookhi laal/lal mirch) varieties used in Indian cooking, the prominent ones being the Kashmiri red chillies, the ‘fake’ Kashmiri red chillies (called dubby), single reshampatti, double reshampatti, yellowish red chillies, byadgi, Goan small and pointed red chillies, Guntur red chillies and Nellore red chillies. The good news is that, rogan josh demands the use of Kashmiri red chilli powder, which is just mildly hot!

The traditional Kashmiri Muslim banquet: Wazwan
A feast fit for kings, Wazwan is a grandiose of different kinds of meat preparations and delicacies (prepared traditionally by master chefs called waza). Comprising of almost 36 courses (salute to the royal Kashmiri appetite!), more than half of the Wazwan dishes are meat-based. A traditional Wazwan meal is generally served in group of four, where people sit together and eat from one huge plate. Wazwan, which involves hours of hard work, is an example of Kashmiri hospitality, in which the guest in the house is the first to be served with an array of delicacies

A traditional Wazwani dinner at a Kashmiri household or restaurant involves cleaning the hands with warm water (in a traditional vessel) before anything else. The delicacies include popular names, such as tabak maazrogan josh and rista, along with an assortment of kebabs and vegetable preparations. Finally, another unparalleled meat dish called gushtaba is served, before moving on to the dessert. Phirni is the common dessert cooked here, with rice and milk as the main ingredients. Last but not the least, the Wazwan is never complete without a cup of warm kahwah tea!

In Kashmiri cuisine, the use of curd or unsweetened yogurt (dahi) is very common, as are asafoetida (hing), aniseed (saunf), Kashmiri red chillies, saffron, dry fruits, nuts and dry ginger (saunth).

Kashmiri Rogan Josh
Note: This recipe is an amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim ways of cooking traditional Rogan Josh. That is why, both onion and curd are used together. Also, exotic ingredients, such as ratan jot, have been replaced to make it compliant with the global palate.

What you need
• Mutton of a young goat (cut into two-inch-sized pieces, along with bones): 1 kg
• Garlic cloves (finely chopped): 4
• Kashmiri chilli powder: 2.5 tsp
• Curd or unsweetened yogurt: ½ cup
• Shallots (chopped): 250 g
• Mustard oil or a 1:1 combination of any light oil (except olive oil and groundnut oil) and ghee: ¼ cup
• Cloves: 4
• Large, black cardamoms: 2
• Green cardamoms: 5
• Cinnamon: 1-inch stick
• Bay leaf (dried): 1
• Mace: 1 blade
• Coriander powder: 1 tsp
• Fennel powder: 1 tsp
• Dry ginger powder: 1 tsp
• Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
• Salt (according to taste): 1.5 tsp
• Water: 4.5 cups
• Warm milk: 4 tbsp
• Saffron strands: 8
• Garam masala powder: ½ tsp
• Coriander leaves (chopped): to garnish

How to cook it
1. Boil the mutton (along with the bones) with the garlic, half the salt and water, until the mutton is half done. Remove from heat and strain the stock. Keep the boiled meat aside.
2. Whisk the curd properly with 3 tbsp water and set aside.
3. Mix the saffron with warm milk and keep aside.
4. Fry the shallots in oil, until they are just light brown. Add cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms and the mace and fry for 1 min.
5. Add the coriander, ginger, fennel and turmeric powders dissolved in a little (around 5 tbsp) of the reserved mutton broth. Lower the heat and add the curd to this and stir continuously to avoid the curd getting lumpy (that is why, while whisking, water is always added to the curd).
6. After 5 min, add the boiled meat. Sauté for about 15 min, until the liquid almost evaporates and the sauce coats the mutton well. Add the remaining salt, garam masala powder and the mutton stock and stir thoroughly.
7. Add the chilli powder, cover and boil for 15 more minutes, or till the mutton is soft, yet chewy and the gravy looks thick and creamy. Add the saffron-milk mixture and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well.
8. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve with pilau, steamed rice, roti or naan.

Courtesy of Cosmopolitan Currymania

Recipe… Butter Chicken

Recipes

Butter Chicken (Flicr).jpg

Butter Chicken
Serves 4

What you need
• 1 cup thick yoghurt
• 1 tbsp peeled, grated ginger
• 1 tbsp peeled, grated garlic
• 2 tbsp Tandoori Masala
• 1/4 canned tomato puree (I used tomato paste)
• 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
• 2 tbsp melted butter/ghee
• 1 whole chicken, cut into 14 pcs. Slit the pieces to allow the marinade to penetrate.

For the sauce
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp peeled, grated ginger
• 1 tbsp peeled, minced garlic
• 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
• Salt to taste
• 1 green chilli, snipped fine
• 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
• 1/2 cup cream

How you cook it
1. Mix together all the ingredients including the chicken. Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for 1.5 hours.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake the chicken (along with the left over marinade) for 30 mins or until the juices run clear.
3. During the last 15 mins of cooking you can start with the sauce.
4. In a large pan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 30 secs.
5. Add in the chopped tomato and cook for 10 mins, mashing it up with the back of your spoon as you go. By the end of 10 mins you should have an orange sauce with hardly any pieces of tomatoes to be seen.
6. By now the chicken would have been cooked to perfection.
7. Add the chicken, the remaining marinade, salt, chilli and fenugreek leaves. Simmer, covered, for 10 mins
8. Add the cream and simmer for a minute then serve hot!

Recipe courtesy of Indian Tiffin, the site for spice tins, organic spices and teas, roti kits and other curry utensils.

Photo: stu_spivack (Flickr)

Mushroom pilau

Recipes

• 1 cup basmati rice
• 1tbs groundnut oil
• 1tsp cumin seeds.
• 1 large clove garlic crushed
• 1/2 inch ginger grated
• 1 medium onion chopped into small pieces
• 1 stick cinnamon
• 10/15 closed cap mushrooms
• 1/4tsp tumeric
• 1/4tsp salt
• 3 cups water

1. Wash the basmati rice until water comes out clean. Soak rice in cold water for half an hour.
2. Warm the oil in a pan over medium heat.
3. Add the cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle then throw in the garlic and ginger. Let it cook for 1 min.
4. Add cinnamon stick.
5. Add onions and cook until they start to go brown at edges
6. Add rice and make sure it is fully coated with onion/oil mix.
7. Add salt and tumeric and stir well.
8. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes continually stirring so rice does not stick to the pan.
9. Add the water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until water is absorbed.
10. Check the rice is fully cooked, if not then add a bit more water and simmer.

Courtesy of Plummy Mummy

Whisky and curry

Recipes

Mandeep Grewal, Johnnie Walker brand ambassador, pairs his whiskies with some classic Indian dishes.

• Chicken Tikka Masala (tandoor-cooked chicken in a creamy tomato sauce)
A classic dish deserves a classic like Johnnie Walker Black Label. Although Chicken Tikka Masala seems a fairly simple dish the preparation is very complex: from marinating the chicken with selected balanced spices to putting it on charcoal fire and then using a number of natural flavours like tomatoes, nuts, spices and fresh cream. There is a lot that goes behind the scenes. In a similar way the natural flavours of Scotch whiskies present in Black Label make it a complex but a very balanced whisky, using whiskies from all the regions of Scotland. There are creamy vanilla notes from the Lowland Grain whiskies, fresh fruit and citrus notes from the Speyside malts, rich and dried fruits from the Highlands and a hint of smoke or barbecue from the Islands and Islay. Also, just like the slow marination and slow cooking process of Chicken Tikka Masala, nothing is rushed to produce Black Label. Only whiskies aged in oak casks for 12 years or over are selected for the blend. Try the whisky on rocks or with a splash of spring water.

• Lamb Vindaloo (very hot with a little vinegar)
This robust classic deserves a robust beauty such as Lagavulin 16 year old malt from Islay. It is the only whisky that can tame the fiery nature of this dish. Also Lagavulin has a meaty body that complemnets the red meat in the dish. Try this whisky with a splash of mineral water.

• Prawn Dhansak (sweet and sour with vegetables and lentils)
Fairly hot, sweet and sour prepared with lentils this is a great sea dish that would be complemented by the only whisky from the Isle of Skye – Talisker 10 year old malt. The flavours of the sea in the prawns are further enhanced by the sea weed, salty notes and a warm peppery finish of Talisker. Try this whisky with a single cube of ice or a splash of chilled mineral water.

• Chicken Korma (mild, aromatic and creamy)
This extremely pleasant and mild creamy dish can be lifted up by the balanced flavours of the sea, forest and fruit present in the blended malt Johnnie Walker Green Label. The four signature single malts in this blended malt – Cragganmore (Speyside), Talisker (Isle of Skye), Caolila (Islay) and Linkwood (Speyside) – are subtly apparent but work in harmony to form a smooth flavour that changes each time you pick up a glass. Each of the single malts in the blend are matured for a minimum of 15 years in oak casks. The smoothness of Green Label complements the smooth and nutty flavour in Chicken Korma. Try this whisky with just 2-3 ice cubes and let the ice melt slowly while sipping it.

• Onion bhaji (spicy onion in batter)
This spicy and herby starter is balanced with the robust blend Johnnie Walker Red Label. These Indian dumplings are fried with flavour and work just right with the younger whiskies present in Johnnie Walker Red Label. As it is a starter I would recommend to enjoy Red Label with lots of ice topped up with either soda water or dry ginger ale. It’s a great refresher that would complement this classic starter.

• Kulfi (Indian ice cream)
Finally the dessert whisky. My choice would be frozen Johnnie Walker Gold Label or frozen Clynelish 14 year old. Gold Label is a blend of whiskies aged 18 years or more and is the lightest blend in the range. The malt whisky that sits at the heart of this blend is Clynelish whose distillery’s water prospectors once panned for gold deposits released from the red granite rock. When frozen these whiskies give a honey heather flavour that finishes with some dark chocolate notes, making it a unique dessert or after dinner drink. Serve from the freezer and sip from a frozen shot glass along with the creamy kulfi.

This article first appeared in the SA Whisky Handbook 2009

Sag paneer

Recipes

Every time I go to an Indian restaurant, I order this dish as I enjoy it.  The best version in London that I have had is the one from the Punjab in Neal Street.  The vagar (sauce it is cooked in) is similar to many of my shaks but hey, it works so why not stick with it!

It is possible to make paneer at home which has a nicer consistency in my view than the shop bought ones. However, I have had some luck with versions bought in Sainsbury and Tesco. It is normally found in the cheese section. Indian groceries will often sell paneer in their chiller sections too.

If you have time, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves and cardamon in a flat pan. Dry roasting means you don’t put in any oil you just add the stuff and let it cook. Cook until you see vapour coming off the ingredients then take off heat. This helps release the flavours.

A general note about the spices – the quantities are not set in stone. You should amend them to fit your taste. The only thing I would watch is the salt as spinach tends to become quite salty. But if you are not a fan of a particular ingredient then leave it out!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large dried bayleaf
  • 1 large white onion – diced very finely
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 1 – 2 chillies chopped finely
  • 2 sticks cinnamon (about 5 cm long each)
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 green cardamon
  • 1tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes chopped into very small dice. Get very red tomatoes that are fresh.
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 pack paneer – open and chop into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 pack baby spinach – wash out all grit
  • Squeeze of lemon juice1

 

1. Heat oil in a pan and add bayleaf. Heat should be set to medium – you don’t want to burn anything!

2. Add cumin seeds and wait for them to start to sizzle.

3. Add the onion and let them cook until they start to caramelise/brown.

4. Add garlic, ginger and chillis and allow to cook for a few seconds.

5. Add cinammon, cloves and cardamon – again let cook for a few seconds. Keep stirring all these ingredients as you add spices.

6. When spices have had time to cook out (a few minutes), add the tomatoes and curry leaves. Up to this stage, you are making what is known as vagar. It’s the sauce you will put your main ingredients into. The intention is to let the tomatoes reduce.

7. Add the paneer and ensure it is well coated with the vagar.

8. Add the spinach and let it wilt down.

9. Add a little water and turn down the heat to a simmer. Let this cook for about 20 minutes. The paneer should be soft and have absorbed much of the vagar. The spinach should be completely wilted

10. Squeeze in the lemon juice, stir, cook for another 2 minutes, then turn off to heat

 

I personally think this should be cooked at least 1 hour before it is needed to allow the ingredients to combine. When you are ready to eat it, then you can heat it through gently then garnish with coriander and serve with rice.

Courtesy of Chili Paper Chains