Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation: Britain’s 100 Favourite Curries by Madhur Jaffrey, EPUB, 0091949939

January 29, 2017


Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation: Britain’s 100 Favourite Curries by Madhur Jaffrey

  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press
  • Publication Date: February 4, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J10K1G
  • ISBN-10: 0091949939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091949938
  • File Format: EPUB





List of Recipes

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page




Appetisers, snacks and soups

Lamb, pork and beef

Eggs and chicken

Fish and seafood



Rice, breads and pancakes

Salads, pickles, chutneys and relishes

Drinks and sweets

Spice mixes

Seasonings, techniques and kitchen equipment




Copyright Page



List of Recipes


Aduki bean curry

Almond and cardamom kulfi

Aubergine with nigella seeds

Beetroot raita

Black dal

Boatman’s curry

Braised lamb shanks (nihari)

Cashew nut and curry leaf rice

Cauliflower with potatoes (aloo gobi)

Chana dal cooked with mung dal


Chicken biryani (kachche murgh ki biryani)

Chicken kebabs (dhora kebabs)

Chicken in a coconut sauce (kukupaka)

Chicken with cream (chicken malaidar)

Chicken with spinach (chicken palag)

Chicken in a wok (karhai chicken)

Chickpeas with tomato (chhole)

Chickpea flour spread (pitla)

Chilli mutton chops (chilli champ)

Coconut barfi

Coconut chutney

Coconut rice

Cucumber, onion and mint raita

Curried lamb’s kidneys

Dal fritters (dal vadas)

Dry okra (sookhi bhindi)

Dry coconut chutney

Egg curry

Fenugreek chicken (methi chicken)

Fire-roasted aubergines with garlic and tomatoes (bharta version I)

Fire-roasted aubergines with curry leaves (bharta version II)

Flatbreads stuffed with potatoes (aloo paratha)

Fish balls in masala (fish kofte)

Fish in a Bengali-style sauce (macher jhol)

Fresh coriander chutney

Fried puffed breads (bhatura/padora)

Fried savoury biscuits (matthias)

Goan pork vindaloo with potatoes

Goan prawn curry

Green masala minced chicken (hare masala ka chicken keema)

Green mango, coconut and cashew nut chutney

Ground greens in the Punjabi style (sarson ka saag)

Gujarati vegetable samosas

Gurkha-style pork curry with choi sum

Himalayan salad

Hot Punjabi king prawn curry

Kale cooked in an East African style (sukuma wiki)

Kashmiri-style rich lamb curry

Keralan fish curry

Lahore lamb biryani

Lamb browned in its sauce (lamb kosha)

Lamb meatball curry (kofte)

Lamb with okra (bhindi gosht)

Lamb with potatoes (aloo gosht)

Lamb with beetroot (chukandar gosht)

Lamb with whole spices (khara masala gosht)

Lemonade (nimbu pani)

Mango pickle

Mango salsa

Mango-flavoured yogurt drink (mango lassi)

Madhur’s chicken tikka masala

Madhur’s hot and sour aubergine

Masala chai

Minty beef meatballs (pudinay vale kofte)

Mixed black dal

Nagore chicken curry

Nepalese potato salad with a sesame dressing (aloo ko achar)

Onion bhajias

Pakistani lamb curry

Pakora, pea and potato sabzi

Pan-roasted whole chicken with carom seeds

Peas with fresh Indian cheese (matar paneer)

Plain yellow rice

Prawn curry with spinach

Potato and spinach curry

Potato and long bean curry

Potato filling for masala dosa

Potatoes with fresh fenugreek (butteta ne methi)

Prawn salad (prawn bharta)

Red lentil and chana dal

Rice cooked with chicken in an aromatic chicken broth (yakhni pullao)

Rice with peas (matar pullao)

Rice with toor dal and vegetables (khichri version I)

Rice and mung dal (khichri version II)

Roasted masala potatoes

Rogan josh shepherd’s pie

Salty spiced lassi (taaq)

Seared halibut with Bengal dopiyaza sauce

Semolina halva (sheera)

Southern savoury pancakes (dosa)

Spiced banana tarte Tatin

Spicy chickpeas, potatoes and beans in a tamarind sauce (chana aloo chaat)

Split pea and tomato sauce with noodles (dal dhokri)

Sprouted mung bean salad

Stuffed aubergines (vengan na raviaya)

Sweet mango curry

Sweet yellow rice (meetha pullao)

Sweet yogurt ‘custard’ with cardamom (bhapa doi)

Tangy rice pancakes (khatta puda)

Tangy, spicy fruit salad (fruit chaat)

Tamarind chutney

Tapioca pearl fritters (sabudana vadas)

Tapioca pearl and sweet potato fry (sabudana usal)

Tomato chutney

Whole roasted masala chicken

Yogurt sauce with broad beans (kadhi)



About the Book


Madhur Jaffrey presents the nation’s best curries

Travelling across the UK, Madhur visits local Indian and other South Asian communities. Through more than 100 authentic recipes Madhur shows how it’s possible to sample virtually the whole of Indian cuisine without ever leaving the British Isles.



About the Author


Madhur Jaffrey first introduced the West to the delights of Indian food almost 30 years ago and is the authority on Indian cooking. With several hit TV series to her name, she is returning to the UK to reflect on how attitudes have changed towards her native cuisine. Her bestselling titles include Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible and Curry Easy .





If Britain once colonised India, India has now returned the favour by watching spellbound as its food completely colonised Britain.

The Hindostanee Coffee House was the first Indian restaurant ever to open its doors to the British public in the early nineteenth century. Its owner, Dean Mahomed, had served under a British officer in India and followed him to Britain. The restaurant was situated on George Street, near London’s trendy Portman Square, and offered diners the comforts of the hubble bubble pipe as well as ‘Indian dishes, in the highest perfection, and allowed by the greatest epicures to be unequalled to any curries ever made in England’. It filed for bankruptcy within two short years, as it could not entice enough customers.

Shift the scene to 2012. Today there are about 10,000 Indian restaurants, employing 80,000 staff, making the industry worth £3 billion according to one source, and accounting for two-thirds of all those who dine out. ‘Going for an Indian’ has become a commonplace way to spend the evening. Indian food in supermarkets alone is worth well over £600 million. This includes ready-meals and spicy sandwiches. Each Thursday night, every branch of the popular Wetherspoons pub chain turns into a Curry Club, offering ‘a curry and a pint’ for a reasonable price. It sells more than 70,000 curry meals every Thursday, or 3.6 million annually.

How times have changed. The sad Hindostanee Coffee House, Britain’s first Indian restaurant, has now been recognised, some 200 years later, with the Mayor of Westminster unveiling a green plaque at the site. What is more, the country’s former favourite dish, fish and chips, has been replaced by chicken tikka masala, leading the former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, in a speech celebrating Britishness, to declare, ‘Chicken tikka masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences. Chicken tikka is an Indian dish. The masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of the British people to have their meat served in gravy.’ Wetherspoons sells 15,000 servings of it every single week, apart from all the other curries. Marks & Spencer sells 18 tonnes of it a week. If all the chicken tikka masala served in Britain in one year was piled up, it would form a tower 2,270 times taller than the Millennium Dome.

Very recently, I was sitting in front of a mirror in Leicester being made up for a film. The make-up artist, Meinir Jones-Lewis, told me a story in her lilting Welsh accent. A friend, a Welsh actor, was visiting her in London. He wanted to go to a proper Indian restaurant, which would surely be superior to anything in Cardiff. Once there, he called the waiter and ordered ‘a chicken vindaloo, ’alf and ’alf.’ The waiter looked puzzled. The actor repeated his request, slowly, more clearly and more loudly. The waiter still did not understand. The actor then turned to the seemingly dim-witted waiter and yelled, ‘Chicken vindaloo with ’alf rice and ’alf chips!’ That is how some people eat it in Wales.

Britain has, indeed, adapted Indian ‘curry’ to the way it wants it and this varies in different parts of the country. The meaning of the word itself has changed and evolved, in keeping both with the demands of the British people and with the changing, complex relationship between Britain and India.

This relationship started in 1600 with the formation of the East India Company. By the start of the eighteenth century, trade with India was flourishing. As it expanded and East Indiamen spread out into the Indian heartland looking for spices, saltpetre (for gunpowder), salt and indigo, they had to eat, and the only fresh food to be had was Indian. Many took to it with a passion and, in letters home, often included recipes to set out a fuller picture of their exotic lives. Those who had profited mightily from their trading returned home early with their newly acquired wealth and, sometimes, Indian servants in tow and, now designated ‘nabobs’, settled down on newly bought country estates to eat curries and prosper. If they did not have Indian servants, they had their wives and mothers cook the curries for them. When in town, they could stop at some of the coffee houses that had started serving curry meals by the late eighteenth century and have their fill of curry there.

Curries began to appear in cookery books. The first such recipe is in Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy , published in 1747. It is hardly a curry and more of a gravy, having just a bit of roasted coriander and black pepper in it to give it an exotic flavour and a spoonful of rice for thickening. It was as if the author could just about manage to dip a tiny part of one toe in the unknown, exotic waters. In a later edition, she removed the coriander and rather boldly added turmeric, for its colour, and some ginger! So, already, there were two types of curry in Britain, a robust, almost macho one, sometimes eaten with additional chillies and swigs of Madeira, favoured by returning all-male members of the East India Company, and the ‘barely there’ version for the uninitiated.

During the nineteenth century, women began to join their men in India, running households with dozens of servants who cooked elaborate Indian meals on demand. Not a single dish was called ‘curry’ by the Indians. But the British, having already borrowed the Tamil word ‘kari’, meaning ‘sauce’, for the Indian food they ate and looking for an umbrella name to cover the variety laid out on the table, began to call all the dishes ‘curry’ and the entire meal ‘curry and rice’. And that seems to have stuck. Queen Victoria, who had Indian servants, seems to have enjoyed her curry, though on her menus its name was written out in French!



While curry eaters with fond memories of real Indian food remained, curry for the general public in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had progressed slowly from Hannah Glasse’s minimalist recipe. During World War I, when thrift was called for, recipes appeared teaching housewives to perk up leftover roasts with sauces using curry powder, butter, milk, sour apples and lemon juice. Curry powder was king and could be added to soups, dressings, jellied veal and fish soufflés.

Veeraswamy’s, the second major Indian restaurant to follow the Hindostanee Coffee House, opened in 1926 right off Piccadilly Circus. It was fashionable and immediately attracted royalty and nobility. By 1955, according to the Good Food Guide , there were nine Indian restaurants in London and four outside it.

I arrived as a student in 1957 and, soon after, witnessed the curry heavens opening up. In the 1960s and 1970s, near-identical Indian restaurants, each copying the other’s menus word for word, began to spring up on every High Street. The curries were generalised, often coming from no specific region of India. Whether the restaurant owners were Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian, they all cooked the same things and all food was ‘Indian’.

All the dishes served in these eateries were given standardised names and were assumed to have standardised amounts of heat. So korma began to represent the mildest, madras and vindaloo the hottest. In Britain, these distinctions are now firmly entrenched. I have heard a schoolboy boast, ‘Oh I don’t eat korma any more. I order bhuna or madras.’ Indians, who make no such distinctions and who cook local dishes according to their family’s tastes, would not know what this boy was talking about. Britain was creating its own British curry world that could be grasped and understood. But the curry world was to move on even as part of it stood still.

The reason for the great surge in restaurants could well have been the surge in immigrants of South Asian descent. Immigration was much easier for members of the Commonwealth before 1962. The textile mills in West Yorkshire and Lancashire were booming in the 1950s, and many Pakistanis, Kashmiris from Mirpur, took advantage of the cheaper fares to find jobs there. Those who eventually became restaurateurs, such as Mumtaz Khan of Mumtaz in Bradford and Leeds, insisted on adding their own Kashmiri spice blend, basaar mix, to the foods they served.

Many of the Punjabis who came from India settled in London’s Southall, opening eateries that served parathas (pan-fried flatbreads) stuffed with potatoes, lassis (yogurt drinks) and aloo gobi, a classic made from cauliflower and potatoes.

Bengali seamen, mainly from Sylhet, had been coming to Britain since the seventeenth century as lascars for the East India Company. With the formation of Bangladesh in 1971, thousands of them poured into Britain. Today almost 90 per cent of Indian restaurants in Britain are owned by Bangladeshis, with many of them forming the staff as well. Ironically, they rarely serve Bangladeshi food. They reserve dishes such as fish balls in masala for their home cooking.

The 1960s and 1970s brought another large group of Indian immigrants, those from Africa. Rising African nationalism and resentment from leaders such as Idi Amin caused Indians who had settled in East Africa to flee. They had British passports and so most came to Britain, often in multi-generational family groups. Many Gujarati East Africans settled in the Midlands, often in the same small houses once owned by English mill workers. Today, a drive through Leicester could take you to Bobby’s, which declares itself ‘passionate about vegetarian food’. It serves Gujarati specialities, including one of my favourites, dal dhokri, a spicy split pea and tomato broth with fresh, handmade noodles. Drive south to Coventry to find Bimal Parmar’s Gujarati-African food. Kukupaka is a delicious chicken with a coconut sauce, while mogo pili pili are cassava chips with African chilli sauce. None of these would be found in a traditional curry house.

In 1982, I made my first television series for the BBC. That same year the Bombay Brasserie opened just off Gloucester Road in London. I was cooking authentic, home-style Indian dishes for a British public that seemed very ready for them, and the Bombay Brasserie was serving very authentic regional Indian foods in an elegant club-like setting that was inviting and appealing. The public raised its arms and embraced us both.

The journey of Indian food into British hearts has been steady and almost inevitable. In this multi-cultural nation, curry today is as British as pork pies and is available any way it is desired. You want chips with curry sauce? Well, come with me to a little place in Glasgow where a Turkish manager takes some yellow powder out of a can proclaiming that the contents are ‘made in China’, pours it into a bucket, adds boiling water from an electric tea kettle, then mixes it all with a hand-held blender. This he pours over some fat chips.

Do you wish to see little seven-year-olds learn how to make a Kashmiri potato and spinach curry? There is an ambitious programme to bring inner-city children from Leeds and Bradford together with farming kids from the Yorkshire Dales, so they can get to know each other better. They live in bunk barns and, among other things, make each other’s foods. They have already made a shepherd’s pie. Now they are making a curry. Two heads, one dark, the other light, are bent over a chopping board, touching each other. Very slowly and earnestly, both children are slicing hot green chillies.

In the Curry Nation that is Britain today, you may go to a pub and order your chicken tikka masala with a pint and have the satisfaction of getting exactly what you expect, or you could go to the glamorous Cinnamon Kitchen in what was once a warehouse for the East India Company and see what modern fantasy of French techniques and Indian seasonings the chef, Vivek Singh, may conjure up for you. If you want the best of home-cooked Gujarati food, look up Gujarati Rasoi on the Internet. You will either find them in London’s Borough, Broadway and Exmouth Markets or at their new restaurant.

You wish to dine at home? Indian cookery books are in every book shop and there are plenty of Asian grocers to fill up your basket with their wares. Okra, curry leaves, green chillies, ginger, tamarind paste, chickpea flour? Almost every ingredient needed for South Asian cookery is now available, sometimes imported directly from India, even batter to make dosas (pancakes) and Alphonso mangoes, the best India has to offer.

Right now a talented Bangladeshi author may be in her kitchen preparing a mustardy prawn salad (bharta) for her husband, a young, energetic Pakistani wife may be washing rice for an elaborate, saffron-inflected chicken biryani to entertain a dozen guests, a Gujarati gentleman from East Africa may be getting ready to cook up some dhora (chicken) kebabs, and a young, pretty former student may be boiling potatoes to make a delicious Nepalese potato salad with a sesame dressing for her Gurkha father.

It is the best of times for this Curry Nation. You may go out and enjoy any kind of curry your heart desires. If you wish to eat at home, remember: a lot of the recipes I have mentioned are in this book!



Spicy chickpeas, potatoes and beans in a tamarind sauce (chana aloo chaat)

Sprouted mung bean salad

Fried savoury biscuits (matthias)

Onion bhajias

Tapioca pearl fritters (sabudana vadas)

Dal fritters (dal vadas)

Tapioca pearl and sweet potato fry (sabudana usal)

Gujarati vegetable samosas

Chicken kebabs (dhora kebabs)

Chilli mutton chops (chilli champ)

Split pea and tomato sauce with noodles (dal dhokri)



Spicy chickpeas, potatoes and beans in a tamarind sauce (chana aloo chaat)


Yesmien Bagh Ali, Skipton, Yorkshire


Serves 6

Chaats are popular Indian snack foods that tantalise the taste buds with their salty, sweet and sour combination of flavours. They may be made from fruit such as guavas and star fruit (for a fruit version, see here ), from vegetables such as sweet potatoes and potatoes, from dumplings and crispy noodles, or from boiled dried chickpeas. Here, in a modern British twist, Yesmien finds a good use for canned kidney beans and chickpeas.

Yesmien uses a bottled, shop-bought tamarind sauce. see here to make your own Tamarind Chutney instead.

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 large potato, boiled, peeled and chopped

150g (5½oz) pomegranate seeds (optional but lovely)

1 large red onion, halved and finely sliced

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tamarind sauce, or to taste

6 teaspoons chaat masala (ideally Yesmien’s Chaat Masala, see here )

4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

salt, to taste

lime wedges, to serve (optional)


Put all the ingredients except the coriander leaves, salt and lime wedges into a bowl and mix gently. Taste and add salt as required.

Sprinkle the coriander leaves over the top and serve with lime wedges, if you like.



Sprouted mung bean salad


Sarojini Gulhane, London


Serves 4

This is a typically Central and North Indian dish, eaten at breakfast, lunch or just as a snack. Sarojini’s mother cooked it for her brothers and sister on school days, when school started at half past seven in the morning! I remember my mother making it for breakfast on Sundays.

All sprouts are much easier to digest than the beans themselves. Unlike East Asian sprouts with long tails, South Asian sprouts have tails that have barely emerged. You can buy them from South Asian grocers, or sprout them yourself over two days.

100g (3½oz) whole, green-skinned mung beans

4 teaspoons olive or sunflower oil

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ medium onion, finely chopped

½ hot green chilli

½ teaspoon finely grated or crushed garlic

½ teaspoon peeled, finely grated root ginger

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

½–¾ teaspoon salt

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

2–3 tablespoons freshly grated coconut, or frozen grated coconut, defrosted, or desiccated coconut, to garnish


Put the mung beans in a large bowl and pour over an excess of cool water. Leave to soak overnight.

Drain the beans. Spread them out on a large white plate. Carefully pick out and discard any small mung beans that have not swollen. These ‘bullets’, as Sarojini calls them, will remain hard and may cause alarm if chewed!

Cover the remaining mung beans with a well-dampened tea towel and leave in a dark, warm place (such as the turned-off oven) for 24 hours. Tiny shoots should emerge.

When ready to cook, set a karhai, wok or medium-sized pan, about 18 centimetres (7 inches) in diameter, over a medium heat. Pour in the oil. When it’s hot, add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop for 15 seconds. Add the cumin seeds and stir and fry for a further 15 seconds, then add the onion. Sauté the onion for five minutes, or until translucent. Mix in the chilli, garlic and ginger and stir and fry for two minutes, adding a splash of water if anything threatens to stick. Stir in the chilli powder, turmeric and salt, then add the tomato and stir for one minute, or until it just starts to soften.

Tip in the mung beans and coriander and fold in gently, ensuring they are well coated in the spice paste. Cook, stirring, for two minutes. Spoon out the salad into a serving dish and garnish with the coconut to serve.



Fried savoury biscuits (matthias)


Surinder Wariabharaj, London


Serves 8

Matthias are savoury, deep-fried biscuits, generally eaten at tea time, either plain or with a sweet mango chutney. They may be flavoured with any number of spices, though the most common and traditional is carom seeds (ajwain). All Indian grocers sell these and, as they contain thymol, they taste a bit like thyme. You may substitute cumin seeds if you like.

250g (9oz) plain or matthia flour, plus more to dust

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)

2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil, plus more to deep-fry


Mix all the ingredients, except the oil for deep-frying, in a large bowl, sifting the flour through your fingers to incorporate the oil, then add 6 tablespoons of water. Knead to a stiff dough.

Take a golf ball-sized piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to 3 millimetres (⅛ inch) thick. Then, using a sharp knife, cut into 3 centimetre (1¼ inch) strips. Make parallel cuts, at an angle to these, 1½ centimetres (¾ inch) apart, to make rhomboids. Gently gather and place on a plate. Repeat until all the dough has been used.

Pour the oil to deep-fry into a large karhai, wok or deep, sturdy pan for deep-frying and set it over a medium heat. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a piece of dough: it should sizzle easily but not brown immediately.

Gently place a batch of biscuits – without crowding the pan–in the oil and stir gently, for three to four minutes, until light brown and puffy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat to cook all the matthias.

Allow the biscuits to cool, then store them in an airtight container. They will keep for up to two weeks.



Onion bhajias


Nikita Gulhane, London


Serves 4

A popular snack eaten throughout India and Britain. The humble chickpea forms the basis of so many Indian dishes. In this case the flour, often called ‘gram’ flour or ‘besan’, is used to make the batter for the onion slices. Other vegetables may be used, such as slices of aubergine, cauliflower and broccoli florets, mushrooms or even chillies! They are perfect with tomato ketchup or Tamarind Chutney (see here ).

130g (generous 4½oz) chickpea (gram) flour

4 tablespoons yogurt

1½ teaspoons finely grated or crushed garlic

1½ teaspoons peeled, finely grated root ginger

¾ teaspoon cumin seeds

¾ teaspoon hot chilli powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric

12 fresh curry leaves, shredded

4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

¾–1 teaspoon salt

1 large onion, halved and finely sliced

olive or sunflower oil, to deep-fry


Place the chickpea flour in a large bowl and measure in 4 tablespoons of water. Add the yogurt and beat together to create a thick paste. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, curry leaves and chopped coriander. Mix well and add salt to taste. Fold the onion slices into the batter, making sure they are well coated.

Set a karhai, wok or deep, sturdy pan for deep-frying over a medium heat and pour in the oil. Test it is hot enough by dropping in a small piece of batter: it should sizzle immediately. Have a small bowl of water close to hand.

Working quickly, take small pinches of onions and, making sure they are well coated in the batter, drop three or four into the hot oil. Some will form small spidery clusters, others may separate to be individual slices. Cook the bhajias for 20–30 seconds before turning with a slotted spoon. Continue cooking for about one minute, turning occasionally, until they are a reddish-golden colour. Remove and drain in a colander.

Wet your fingers, then pick up another pinch of battered onions and repeat the process. Serve hot.



Tapioca pearl fritters (sabudana vadas)


Parul Patel, London


Makes 16

These fritters, eaten frequently during fasts in India, but great as snacks at any time, are crisp, chewy, tangy and crunchy all at once. Serve them with Parul’s Green Mango, Coconut and Cashew Nut Chutney (see here ), or any chutney of your choice. You will need to soak the tapioca pearls for five hours, so do bear this in mind when you come to make the dish.

300g (10½oz) medium-sized tapioca pearls

50g (1¾oz) skinless roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

3 teaspoons finely chopped hot green chilli

3 teaspoons peeled, finely chopped root ginger

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon salt

5 teaspoons lemon juice

250g (9oz) potato, boiled and mashed

olive or sunflower oil, to deep-fry


Pour the tapioca pearls into a bowl with 300ml (10fl oz) of cold water. Cover with cling film and leave to soak for about five hours, stirring occasionally. The pearls will swell to two or three times their dried size, and should feel plump and soft when squeezed. Drain.

Mix the tapioca, peanuts, chilli, ginger, sugar and salt together. Thoroughly stir in the lemon juice. Now carefully stir in the potato, making sure there are no clumps.

Pour the oil into a large karhai, wok or deep, sturdy pan for deep-frying and set it over a medium heat. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a tapioca pearl: it should sizzle immediately.

Wet your hands and make a ball of the tapioca mixture the size of a golf ball (about 40g/1½oz). Put the ball in one palm. Press and rotate firmly with the other palm so it becomes a patty about 6 centimetres (2½ inches) in diameter. Repeat to use up all the mixture.

Carefully place three or four of the vadas at a time in the hot oil and cook for about four minutes, carefully turning over every minute, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Make all the vadas in this way. Serve hot, with chutney.



Dal fritters (dal vadas)


Chaat House, Leicester


Makes 16

These make for a great snack when eaten with tea; there has to be a dipping chutney on the side, of course! They may also be served with a meal whenever a ‘crunch’ is required.

This recipe is barely spiced and so the vadas may be eaten by children. If you wish to make them spicier, add 2–3 chopped hot green chillies and ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds to the dal mixture just before blending it.

The distinctive split mung dal – with pale centres and black skin – that you need is often sold as ‘mung dal chilka’. You’ll have to start this recipe the night before, to soak the dal.

200g (7oz) split mung dal (mung dal chilka)

2 tablespoons chana dal

15g (½oz) coriander leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

¾ teaspoon salt

olive or sunflower oil, to deep-fry


Pick over both dals separately and rinse them well, then soak them separately overnight in generous amounts of water. The next day, plunge your hands into the mung dal bowl and rub them between your palms to remove the skins, allowing them to float to the surface. Skim them off and repeat until they have all been removed, adding more water to the bowl if necessary. Drain both types of dal.

Add the chana dal to the mung dal and grind to a coarse paste in a blender. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the coriander, onion and salt. Take small handfuls, each about 25g (scant 1oz), and form small golf ball shapes. Flatten each in your palm to 5 centimetres (2 inches) in diameter and 2 centimetres (¾ inch) thick and arrange on a plate.

Pour the oil into a karhai, wok or deep, sturdy pan for deep-frying and set it over a medium heat. Test to see if it is hot enough by dropping in a scrap of the batter: it should sizzle immediately. Place four or five vadas in the oil and fry for two to three minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Make all the vadas in this way. Serve hot, with chutney (try them with Tomato Chutney, see here ).



Tapioca pearl and sweet potato fry (sabudana usal)


Sarojini Gulhane, London


Serves 4

You might describe this as a morning cereal, except that there are no grains in it and it is generally spicy. Sarojini likes to cook it on fasting days, when no grains are allowed. Her grandmother used to cook it for her and now, with its combination of fresh coconut and crunchy peanuts, it’s still something of a treat. Generally, tapioca pearls are made from the tapioca or cassava root, but they can also be made from the pith inside the trunk of the sago palm. The two sources seem interchangeable. Get the medium-sized pearls.

150g (5½oz) medium-sized tapioca pearls

2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

10–15 fresh curry leaves, shredded

1 teaspoon finely sliced hot green chilli

2 teaspoons peeled, finely chopped root ginger

70g (scant 2¾oz) peeled sweet potato, finely chopped

3 tablespoons raw peanuts, coarsely ground

¼ teaspoon hot chilli powder

¾ teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons roughly chopped coriander leaves, plus more to garnish

freshly grated coconut, or frozen grated coconut, defrosted, to garnish


Pour the tapioca pearls into a bowl and add 150ml (5fl oz) of water. Cover with cling film and leave to soak for five hours, stirring occasionally. The pearls will swell to two or three times their dried size, and should feel plump and soft when squeezed.

Set a karhai, wok or small frying pan, about 18 centimetres (7 inches) in diameter, over a medium heat. Add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, tip in the cumin seeds and curry leaves and allow to sizzle for 10 seconds. Mix in the chilli and ginger, stirring and frying for 10 seconds more, then stir in the sweet potato pieces and fry them for three minutes. Add the peanuts, chilli powder and salt. Stir and fry, then add the drained tapioca pearls. Gently stir and fry for three more minutes, adding most of the coriander.

Serve garnished with the grated coconut and a few more coriander leaves.



Gujarati vegetable samosas


Ranjan Davda, Leicester


Makes 12

This classic Indian snack, found over much of Britain, has many variations. This particular one comes from a Gujarati home and has a sweet and sour flavour. It is generally served with ketchup or tamarind sauce.

For the filling

200g (7oz) peeled potato, finely chopped

80g (3oz) peeled carrot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus more to deep-fry

¼ teaspoon mustard seeds

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

⅛ teaspoon ground asafoetida

230g (generous 8oz) frozen peas, rinsed and drained

1–2 hot green chillies, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, finely grated

½–¾ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon hot chilli powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons caster sugar


For the pastry

170g (scant 6oz) plain flour, plus more to dust

pinch of bicarbonate of soda ½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sunflower oil


Simmer the potato and carrot until just tender. Drain. Set a medium-sized pan, about 18 centimetres (7 inches) in diameter, over a medium heat. Pour in the 2 tablespoons of oil and, when it’s hot, add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop, then add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Stir and fry for 30 seconds, then add the potato, carrot and peas. Reduce the heat to low and cook for three to four minutes. Sprinkle in the chillies, garlic and salt, then mix in the other ingredients for the filling, tip on to a large plate and cool.

Put the ingredients for the pastry into a bowl, rubbing in the oil, then add about 4 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Knead to make a firm dough, then divide into six. Dust a work surface with flour. Take one ball and roll it into a thin 15–18 centimetre (6–7 inch) round, about 2mm (less than ⅛ inch) thick. Cut it in half with a rounded edge facing you. You now want to make a cone. Bring the left corner of the cut end towards you, folding it over just past the halfway point. Wet the outside edge of this fold. Bring over the right hand corner and tuck it 5 millimetres (¼ inch) over the left. Gently press the join together. Hold the cone open and fill with 2 tablespoons of filling, packing it to 1cm (½ inch) from the opening. Seal by wetting the edges on the inside and pressing them together. Repeat to fill all the samosas.

Set a sturdy pan for deep-frying over a medium heat and pour in the oil. Let it get very hot. Now reduce the heat to low, allow to cool for a minute, then add four samosas. Cook for one minute, turn, then cook for two minutes, turning a few times, until each side is golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Increase the heat to medium-low and fry the remaining samosas in the same way.



Chicken kebabs (dhora kebabs)


Bimal Parmar, Coventry


Makes about 30

Bimal Parmar, a large man with laughing eyes, is a Gujarati, born in Mombasa, Kenya, but raised in Tanzania. He delights in serving foods of mixed heritage, as well as East African foods beloved by Indians.

He recommends Coconut Chutney (see here ) as the ideal accompaniment to these dhora kebabs.

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

1kg (2lb 4oz) minced chicken

300g (10½ oz) white breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon peeled, finely chopped root ginger

1 tablespoon finely chopped hot green chilli

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ tablespoon garam masala

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons salt

500ml (18fl oz) olive or sunflower oil

lime wedges, to serve (optional)


Place the onions in a blender, or use a stick blender, and process them to a purée. Mix them with all the ingredients except the oil and lime wedges to form a sticky ‘dough’. Using wet hands, shape into golf ball-sized patties, then flatten each to about 5 centimetres (2 inches) in diameter.

Pour the oil into a 25 centimetre (10 inch) frying pan or flat-bottomed karhai or wok and set it over a medium heat. (It will seem like a lot of oil, but in fact will come just halfway up the sides of the kebabs.) Check to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a small piece of the mixture: it should sizzle immediately. Now fry about six kebabs at a time for two to three minutes on each side, or until a deep golden colour.

Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Make all the kebabs in this way. Serve hot, with lime wedges, if you like.



Chilli mutton chops (chilli champ)


Suniya Quoreshi, London


Serves 6

Suniya is a busy working mum and this dish is excellent as a quick and easy starter (though do bear in mind that the meat must be marinated overnight). Mutton is readily available in most Asian butchers, but you may use lamb if you wish. Serve with a mint chutney.

Mango powder, or amchoor, is a souring agent and is sold by Asian grocers. If you cannot get it, use an extra 2 teaspoons of lemon juice instead.

1kg (2lb 4oz) mutton chops, about 1 centimetre (½ inch) thick

¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2½ teaspoons chilli flakes

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

¾ teaspoon amchoor (green mango powder, or see recipe introduction)

4 teaspoons finely grated garlic

1½ teaspoons peeled, finely grated root ginger

¾–1 teaspoon salt

juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve (optional)


Put the chops in a non-reactive bowl. Add all the other ingredients except the lemon wedges and rub well into the meat. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, when you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6. Place the chops and their marinade in a casserole dish or baking tray. Cover with a lid or foil, place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and turn the chops over. Add 120ml (scant 4fl oz) of water to the dish or tray to loosen the spices and create a thin sauce. Stir well, cover again and cook for a further 15 minutes. Serve the chops coated with their sticky sauce, with lemon wedges if you like.



Split pea and tomato sauce with noodles (dal dhokri)


Bobby’s Restaurant, Leicester


Serves 4

This dish is a winner. The unctuously smooth noodles in a spicy tomato and toor dal sauce could seduce most mortals I know. In spite of the many ingredients, it’s fairly simple to make.

South Asia has scores of noodle dishes, and this Gujarati speciality is one of them. First a soupy sauce is made with split pigeon peas (toor dal) and tomatoes, then freshly made noodles are dropped in to cook. It is hot, slightly sweet and sour and quite scrumptious. This particular recipe is from a family that came to Leicester from Uganda in East Africa.

Gujaratis serve this dal in small, individual bowls, with other vegetarian specialities, rice and breads. I like to serve it, Western-style, in old-fashioned soup plates as a starter.

For the sauce

125g (4½oz) oily or plain toor dal, washed and drained

675g (1lb 7oz) tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato purée

2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

⅛ teaspoon ground asafoetida

2 hot dried chillies

2 tablespoons raw peanuts with skin (small are better)

2.5 centimetre (1 inch) cassia bark or cinnamon stick

4 cloves

¼ teaspoon mustard seeds

¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

handful of coriander leaves

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

¼–1 teaspoon chilli powder

1½ teaspoons garam masala

1½–2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1½–2 tablespoons caster sugar, or to taste


For the noodles

100g (3½oz) plain flour, plus more to dust

2 tablespoons chickpea (gram) flour

1 teaspoon peeled, finely grated root ginger

¼ teaspoon very, very finely chopped hot green chillies

½ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

1 tablespoon sunflower oil


First, make the sauce. Combine the dal and 475ml (17fl oz) of water in a small pan – 13 centimetres (5 inches) would be ideal – and bring to a boil. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes, or until the dal is tender. Meanwhile, roughly chop the tomatoes and purée them in a blender. Mash up the dal with a potato masher and mix it with the tomatoes, tomato purée and 475ml (17fl oz) more water in a bowl.

Place a larger 15 centimetre (6 inch) pan over a medium-high heat and pour in the oil. As soon as it is hot, put in the following in quick succession: first the asafoetida and dried chillies, then the peanuts, cassia and cloves, then the mustard seeds, then the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Now stir in the dal and tomato mixture and add all the remaining ingredients for the sauce, with salt and sugar to taste.

Bring to a boil, then stir and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring now and then, or until the peanuts have become tender and the sauce is amalgamated. Set aside. (You could make this a day in advance, then cover and refrigerate.)

When you are preparing to eat, pour the sauce into a 15–20 centimetre (6–8 inch) pan and stir in 350ml (12fl oz) of water. Set aside.

It is best to make the noodles shortly before you eat them. Put all the ingredients in a bowl in the order listed. Mix and rub the flour with your fingertips to incorporate the oil, so it begins to look a little like coarse breadcrumbs. Slowly add about 3½ tablespoons of water, or just enough to form a dough. Work the dough for a minute, then form it into a smooth ball. Break it into three equal pieces and roll each into a smaller ball.

Flatten one ball into a patty, dip it in flour and roll it out into a 19 centimetre (7½ inch) round on a well-floured surface. With a sharp knife, first cut it lengthways into 5 centimetre (2 inch) wide strips, then across at 4 centimetre (1½ inch) intervals, to achieve stubby, rectangular noodles. Keep the pieces separated and lightly floured. Working quickly, repeat for the remaining two balls of dough.

Bring the sauce to a boil and drop in the noodles, stirring as you do so. Reduce the heat to medium-low; it should still be at a vigorous simmer. Cook, stirring now and then, for about 10 minutes, or until the noodles are just done. Serve immediately.



Lamb meatball curry (kofte)

Lamb with okra (bhindi gosht)

Lamb with potatoes (aloo gosht)

Lamb with beetroot (chukandar gosht)

Lamb browned in its sauce (lamb kosha)

Lamb with whole spices (khara masala gosht)

Kashmiri-style rich lamb curry

Pakistani lamb curry

Braised lamb shanks (nihari)

Curried lamb’s kidneys

Rogan josh shepherd’s pie

Gurkha-style pork curry with choi sum

Goan pork vindaloo with potatoes

Minty beef meatballs (pudinay vale kofte)



Lamb meatball curry (kofte)


Jagdish Kaur, Punjab’n de Rasoi, Edinburgh


Serves 6

There are no standardised recipes at Punjab’n de Rasoi. The women who cook there prepare food according to their personal preferences. Jagdish Kaur is one of the stalwarts at this unique eatery and this is her recipe. You may use low-fat minced lamb if you prefer.

Serve this on rice, or eat it with chapatis. A simple salad may be served on the side.

For a fuller Indian meal, a dal and a vegetable dish may be added as well.

For the meatballs

1kg (2lb 4oz) minced lamb

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

4 hot green chillies, finely chopped

1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated root ginger

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves


For the sauce

5 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 medium onions, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed

1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated root ginger

1¼ teaspoons turmeric

2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

4 hot green chillies, finely sliced

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons garam masala

3 cloves

5 centimetre (2 inch) cassia bark or cinnamon stick

2 cassia leaves or bay leaves


Put all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl. Mix well and, with wetted hands, form golf ball-sized meatballs about 4 centimetres (1½ inches) in diameter. Set aside.

To make the sauce, pour the oil into a large pan 25 centimetres (10 inches) in diameter and set it over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 10 seconds, tip in the onions and stir for eight minutes, or until they brown lightly. Stir in the garlic and ginger, loosening with a splash of boiling water if they stick. Add the turmeric and stir for one minute. Add the tomatoes and stir for two minutes, then add the chillies and salt. Stir and cook for five minutes, again adding a splash of boiling water if they stick. Add the garam masala, cloves, cassia bark and leaves and stir for two minutes.

When the oil separates, place the meatballs in the pan. Cover and cook over a low heat for five minutes. Shake the pan to loosen the meatballs. Leave for a further five minutes and shake again. The meatballs will now be firm enough to be moved. Gently rearrange them so they all have a chance to sit covered in the bubbling sauce. Pour in 250ml (9fl oz) of water, again shimmying the pan to work the liquid into the sauce. Continue cooking, covered, for 30–40 minutes over a low heat, shaking now and then, and serve.



Lamb with okra (bhindi gosht)


Mumtaz, Leeds and Bradford


Serves 4

At Mumtaz, where the karhais (Indian woks) are lined up in long rows, they use an old- fashioned style of restaurant cooking, one much popularised by the balti houses. Most of the red meats are pre-cooked in a pressure cooker. Then, as orders come in, a quick sauce is made in a karhai, according to what a particular dish requires, the meat and some oil are added, then the sauce is cooked down until oil glistens at the edges. But Mumtaz Khan is smart: he uses his mother’s Kashmiri spice mixes to enliven his food, so it tastes really good.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, bring the ingredients for the first stage to a boil with 250ml (9fl oz) of water. Cover, cook gently for 1¼–2 hours, then follow the rest of the recipe.

For the pressure cooker stage

500g (1lb 2oz) boneless lamb, in 3 centimetre (1¼ inch) chunks

1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated root ginger

1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

¼ teaspoon ground asafoetida

1 teaspoon ground coriander

3 tablespoons yogurt


For the okra

about 4 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

300g (10½oz) okra, halved, then chopped


For the karhai stage

2 teaspoons basaar mix (ideally Yesmien’s Basaar Mix, see here )

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and crushed (see here )

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 medium tomato, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons yogurt

1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves

3 hot green chillies, sliced lengthways

1 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, to serve


Rinse the lamb, drain and place in the pressure cooker. Mix it with the other ingredients for the pressure cooker stage, plus 120ml (4fl oz) of water, and set it over a high heat. Seal the lid and bring up to full pressure. Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to drop. Now for the okra. Pour half the oil into a large frying pan, karhai or wok. Add half the okra. Sauté for up to four minutes, or until all stickiness has been cooked away. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the second batch in the same way.

To finish the dish, empty the pressure cooker into a large karhai or wok and bring to a boil. Add the okra and all the ingredients for the karhai stage except the coriander leaves. Mix well. Cook over the highest heat for 10–11 minutes, stirring gently from the bottom. Add 120ml (4fl oz) of water if you want more sauce. It is ready when the oil separates. Spoon off as much oil as you desire, then transfer to a warmed serving dish and garnish with the coriander.


Madhur Jaffrey, television’s most-loved Indian cook, returned to our screens for a major new series for the Good Food Channel in October 2012.

Travelling across Britain, visiting local Indian and South Asian communities, Madhur revealed how it’s possible to sample virtually the whole of Indian cuisine without ever leaving the British Isles.

In the official tie-in book to the series, Madhur Jaffrey showcases her favourite curry recipes with influences from all over the subcontinent: Punjabi, Goan, Parsi and Bengali amongst others. Carefully selected and adapted by Madhur, the recipes conjure up the colour and vitality of this vibrant culture, but keep to her mantra that Indian food doesn’t need to be complicated. Always innovative and contemporary, Madhur will even give some of these traditional Indian recipes a twist – pairing Aloo Gobi with a very British roast lamb, for example.

Whether it’s the spicy, lentil-based specialities of Rajesthan, kebabs and kormas from Delhi, or coconut-infused curries from Kerala, we accompany Madhur Jaffrey on her very personal tour of our modern-day Curry Nation.


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