As most will attest, the British love a good curry, it’s even been voted at Britain’s favourite dish! I am like many of my fellow Brits in loving Indian food but it does not top the food lover’s charts here in the States quite so much as back home. There are a couple of Indian restaurants in here in Providence- one of which I have tried so far, and whilst it’s undeniably delicious it didn’t quite satisfy my need for some (albeit British style) Indian food.
My favourite curry is the creamy and rich chicken korma (recipe in the archives!) but it’s just too hot here for my acclimatised taste buds for that sweet, creamy sauce (yes I get the irony and am aware that India is also a bit warm now and again). So here is my nod to the Indian influences I love in a climate appropriate and fussy-Holly-satisfying style….
Paneer cheese- I allowed a chunk the size of standard size matchbox per person
3 tablespoons of yoghurt per portion of paneer
½ teaspoon of mint per portion
1 garlic clove per portion
1 teaspoon or garam masala
½ teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds
½ teaspoon of crush cumin seeds
The juice of half a lime per portion
Salt and pepper
Indian style chop salad (this will serve 4/6 people but can be kept covered n the fridge for a few days undressed as left overs)-
1 romaine lettuce head
1 small red onion
A fist of fresh coriander leaf (cilantro)
For the dressing-
1 tablespoon of mango chutney
The juice of half a lime
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
The roti (this will make enough for 4 roti)-
1 cup SR flour
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 table spoons of ground almonds
4 tablespoons of butter
For the best results you are going to want to get you paneer in the marinade and leave it in the fridge 24 hours before you want to cook and serve it. Finely mince the garlic cloves them mix all of the marinade ingredients together, cut your paneer into portions but don’t cube it any smaller than the ‘whole’ portion size. This way you can slice the paneer after it has been cooked and serve it with a beautiful spiced crust but a virgin white inside. Immerse the paneer in the yoghurt marinade ensuring it is completely covered then pop in the fridge for 24 hours.
To make the chop salad, simple finely chop all the ingredients together- removing the water seeds from the inside of the tomatoes first. The act of chopping is your method for mixing the salad also, it’s almost like a dry salsa. To prevent yourself from loving any of your ingredients off the side of you surface, make sure you use a large board and knife, using the knife to scoop and mix the ingredients back to the center when they start to escape.
Make the dressing by whisking the mango chutney, lime juice and olive oil together then salt and peppering to taste. I wouldn’t dress the salad before serving it or dress any salad that you intend on keeping in the fridge as it degrades the freshness of the salad when stored.
To make the roti make a well with you flour on a board or in a large bowl and shake over your salt, add you oil and work through the flour to create bread crumbs that are almost like wet sand. Add cold water little by little until the flour comes together in a dough, knead for 10 mins. Pop you dough in the fridge covered in cling film and leave for about an hour.
The roti stuffing a simple ground almonds mixed with softened butter, you can make this whenever you want but if you make it in advance be sure to remove it from the fridge 10 minutes before making the roti as it will need to be spreadable.
To stuff the roti, divide your dough into eight equal sized pieces, deal with you roti one at a time to stop the dough drying out, return the unused dough to a covered bowl whilst you make each roti. Roll out two pieces of the dough into two thin circles, the thickness of a greeting card- the easiest way to do this is to sandwich the dough between greaseproof paper to get it very thin without sticking to the surface, add a little flour if you have trouble. Spread a tablespoon of the almond mixture onto the one of the dough circles keeping a board of about half an inch around the sides. Using a little cold water as glue on the edges, place to second circle of dough over the almond covered circle and press together to seal. I tend to cook these as I go along, dry fry the roti in a large flat pan on a medium/high heat for about 2/3 minutes either side. You want the roti to be, generally, a pale creamy colour but with spots of darker brown across the surface. Repeat this until all your roti are cooked, you can pre-make the roti then reheat them in a pan before serving or piled together wrapped in foil in a low oven.
To cook the paneer, heat a large frying pan to a medium high heat, do not put any oil or butter in the pan. Remove the paneer from the marinate and scrape away any excess yoghurt from the surface, a light coating is good but you don’t want any large chunks of garlic or big splodges of yoghurt. Dry fry the paneer on each of its side for about 10 minutes in total, the cheese is of a consistency similar to halloumi so it will not melt. When each of the sides has been fried and acquired a darkened colour removed from the pan and slice before serving to reveal the lovely clean, white inside.
I serve the paneer with the above accompaniments and a drizzle of minted yoghurt… a nice cold glass of wine also goes down a treat!