In­dian ad­ven­ture

Cook­ing In­dian-take­away-style food at home is ac­tu­ally much eas­ier than you think, says Rachel Allen, who has some de­li­cious recipes for you to try. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tony Gavin

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - APPETITES -

The food of In­dia has al­ways in­trigued me. Be­ing a coun­try the size of 40 Ire­lands put to­gether, it has myr­iad cuisines and cul­tures. I vis­ited the coun­try once, for the in­ter­na­tional aid char­ity Goal, to see the in­cred­i­ble work that it does out there, and was blown away by what I ate in Kolkata, New Delhi and Mum­bai.

I long to go back again to dis­cover more parts of this noisy, colour­ful and lov­able sub­con­ti­nent, but, in the mean­time, I’ ll have to make do with the In­dian-style food here.

If you’re want­ing to rus­tle up some take­away clas­sics at home, here’s a lit­tle se­lec­tion of recipes that I adore to make when I want some of those full-spiced, aro­matic flavours that the In­di­ans just do so well.

A jalfrezi is an In­dian ver­sion of a Chi­nese stir­fry, with a thick to­mato sauce. This ver­sion, above right, with chicken, de­liv­ers on the quick-and­con­ve­nient front, and has a great flavour kick.

The right, is some­thing that I ate a lot of while in In­dia. means spinach; while is a soft, fresh cheese that you can buy in many Asian food shops — or you can make it — see the recipe, right. Peo­ple some­times call it cot­tage cheese, but it’s not at all like the cot­tage cheese that you buy here. It’s more like Ja­panese silken tofu, although un­like tofu, it is un­fer­mented and made with cow’s milk rather than soy­beans.

I was al­ways sur­prised in In­dia by how they cook their spinach a lot more than we do here. In a clas­sic the spinach is melt­ingly ten­der, rather than be­ing fresh, bright­green and with a bite.

And when I want some­thing com­fort­ing but su­per-warm­ing too, I’ ll of­ten turn to a big curry, such as this co­conut curry, far right, which gets even bet­ter if it is made a cou­ple of days in ad­vance.

saag paneer, paneer Saag saag paneer,

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