Indian Made Easy with The Food Fox

This new book from Amanda Uppal is simply stunning. I love the lay-out, the fonts, the simplicity of the colours, and the photographs too. Amandip also chose to do something interesting with her recipe lists, listing fresh ingredients together, spices together, and pantry ingredients together. It makes a lot of sense when you shop for the ingredients, or when you get your get everything together before cooking, but I found that some inexperiences cooks might become confused mid-cooking when an ingredient is mentioned but it does not appear in the order of the cooking process.

For our readers’s ease, I’ve rearranged the ingredients below in the order of how it will be used. Amandip’s recipes are really flavorful and beautiful to look at - an easy intro to the fabulous world of Indian cooking!

Charred Broccoli with Chilli and Fennel (serves 4)

• 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 large red chilli, seeded (optional) and thinly sliced
• 600 g broccoli spears, cut down the middle lengthways
• salt, to taste
• 2,5 cm piece ginger, peeled and cut into julienne
• toasted coconut, pomegranate seed and coriander (page 238, for garnish)
• handful of coriander (for garnish)

1. Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds and fry until the crackle and pop.
2. Add the garlic, chili and broccoli and fry until the broccoli is slightly charred in colour. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, until cook the through.
3. Uncover, season with salt to taste and add the ginger. Toss through and gently cook for 20 seconds.
4. Garnish with a scattering of tasted coconut, pomegranate seeds and coriander and more coriander leaves and stalks.

My notes: This recipes is also excellent served at room temperature.

Spinach & Mint Yoghurt

• 5-6 mint leaves
• a large pinch of dried mint
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
• a large pinch of salt
• 225 g cooked spinach, chopped
• 225 g natural or Greek-style yoghurt
• 2 cm piece ginger, peeled & grated (for garnish, optional)
• fine slivers of red chili (for garnish, optional)

Put the mint leaves, dried mint, garlic, cumin seeds and salt in a mortar. Grind with the pestle to make a smooth paste. Place the spinach into the bowl, together with the mint paste and stir in the yoghurt. Garnish with the ginger and chilli, if liked.

Plain Naan (makes 7-8)

• 7 g sachet dried yeast
• 1 teaspoon golden caster sugar
• 200 ml warm water
• 400 g strong bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
• 2 tablespoons melted ghee or oil
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 tablespoons ghee or melted butter, for brushing after baking

1. Mix the yeast, sugar and water. Stir well with a fork and leave for a few minutes. Place the flour, 2 tablespoons gee or oil and salt into a wide bowl and make a well in the centre.
2. Using one hand, pour in a little of the yeast mixture and with the other hand use a fork to gradually bring the flour in and mix together. Keep pouring a little water while mixing. Flour your hands and begin to knead and form a ball. Add enough water to make a soft, but not sticky dough and keep kneading for about 5 minutes, or until smooth pliable and soft. The consistency should bot be very soft or hard. Cover and rest for 20-25 minutes.
3. Using slightly oiled hands, divide the dough into about 8-10 equal sized balls. Place on a lightly oiled tray, leaving gaps in between each ball and over with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes until the balls have doubled in size.
4. Preheat the grill to medium-high with a heavy based baking tray on the top shelf. Roll out the dough balls thinly and evenly. One by one, place the rolled out naan onto the baking tray, brush lightly with water and grill for about 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until lightly browned and puffed up. Lightly brush with ghee and serve hot.

My notes: The recipe didn’t state how/where to roll out the dough, so I did it on a floured working surface (some naan recipes call for an oiled surface). Be sure to also dust the baking tray lightly with flour to prevent the naan from sticking to it.

Classic Lamb Curry (serves 4)

• 3 onions, finely chopped
• 2 small green chillies
• 4 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
• 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons oil
• 1/2 x 250 g tin chopped tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon garam masala
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, plus a large pinch for sprinkling
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
• 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
• 1 kg leg of lamb, chopped into 2,5 cm cubes
• 2 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt, whisked with 200 ml water
• 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

1. In a blender or using a mortar and pestle, grind the onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, oil and tinned tomatoes into a smooth paste.
2. Mix the paste with the garam masala, cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Place the lamb in a large bowl and cover in the paste, making sure all the pieces of lamb are well coated.
3. Put the lamb in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, cover and cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring frequently until the meat is tender and the oil has separated.
4. Add the yoghurt, then cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring constantly over a low-medium heat.
5. Remove from the heat, then sprinkle with the chopped coriander and a large pinch of ground cumin and serve.

My notes: I’ve found that the meat needed longer time to cook than mentioned 35-40 minutes. I cooked mine over a low heat, covered, stirring every now and then to prevent the bottom of the pot from turning too dark, for about 2,5 hours until it was really tender.

About the author

poetry team

Book featured: Indian Made Easy by Amandip Uppal. Intro paragraph & notes: Ilse van der Merwe