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Friday, 21 November 2014

A Night of Indian Food

Great curry and Indian food is an art form, which is why I don't usually make it for my customers.  The subtle blending of spices and flavours to create a unique dish takes many years to master and requires an understanding of the ingredients that really only comes with having been brought up with them.  In the UK Indian food is the most popular restaurant take away food, but here in Spain the Spanish have yet to catch on, although with a growing expat community, there are now some great Indian restaurants.

As I said I don't make curry for my customers but I love spending a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing some Indian dishes for my wife and me.  I grew up near Birmingham, UK which is pretty much the balti and curry capital of England so I try to get the spicing as accurate as possible from taste memory after all those great baltis of my youth!

To start we had a couple of poppadums with a yoghurt, mint & turmeric dip and an onion, coconut & coriander dip.

As a starter course we had poori with prawn chat -  a fried pancake with a sauce of prawns, chickpeas, tomato and some spicing with cumin and garam massala.  The pancakes are made using flour, oil, warm water and flavoured with cardamon seeds.  
Roll them thin and circular then deep fry them for 45 seconds.
For the sauce sweat down some onion and garlic, add tomatoes, reduce and add some prawns and chickpeas.  Season with cumin, garam massala and paprika.

For the main course - chicken balti, basmati rice and garlic & coriander naan. Balti actually refers to the dish that it is served in but in recent times has come to represent the flavour and spicing.  A balti tends to be full of flavour without being blow your head off hot.  A blend of spices including fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin and garam massala then finished with yoghurt and fresh coriander.  I normally make a paste using fresh spices and onion and also use quite a lot of tomato and fresh chillies in the sauce to add some heat.  As with all Indian cookery there is a large amount of onion and garlic involved.

To make naan bread combine flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, egg, yoghurt and clarified butter (ghee).  Knead it like you would bread and set aside for a couple of hours.  Roll it out thin and then pan fry it in some ghee.