Indian Basics

 

Pomegranate Crush

This is a pure and simple delight, both visually and to the palate. It is sweet with a slight sour undertone and has a delicate bouquet. The skin should be a rich red because only these will contain the beautiful ruby-red, juicy seeds inside. The seeds are ideal as a garnish for fruit salads and pilau rice. Pomegranate has been declared a super food because they are a good source of antioxidants which fight the free radicals.

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Potato Salad

Potato is an excellent vegetable for a low fat diet as it is 99% fat free and is also a source of carbohydrate which is easily digestible. Besides containing a small amount of protein, potato is a good source of iron, vitamin C and B vitamins.

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Stir Fried Cabbage

This dish is cooked with just three spices with an amazingly delicious taste. The cabbage retains all the nutrients because of the quick cooing method.

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Cumin Rice

Cumin flavoured basmati rice is perfect even with the simplest curry.

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Sag Aloo

This traditional and highly popular dish is easy to make and is a perfect accompaniment to most meals.

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Jeera Aloo

This is a very easy side dish to make and can also be used on sticks at drinks parties. The warm and assertive flavour of cumin with garlic and chilli is hauntingly delicioius! Do boil the potatoes in advance and let them cool; it will be much easier to cut them into neat pieces. I often cook them in the microwave and cool and chill them first. It makes it faster to prepare the dish

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Idli

Hot, soft and fluffy steamed cakes (Idlis) served with spiced lentils (Sambar) is Tamil Nadu’s (South India) signature dish. There are two types of steamed cakes. One is made with a combination of rice and lentils which are soaked and ground, then left to ferment before steaming. Ready to use batter is available in Indian stores. This recipe is easier and quicker and I have used soda water to speed up the process further which also makes the idlis deliciously soft and spongy. Idli-Sambar is a complete vegetarian meal which is also balanced and nourishing.

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Sambar

This is a superb lentil dish known as ‘Sambar’ which can be served with plain boiled basmati rice or with its traditional partner, Steamed Rice Dumplings (Idlis). You can use any vegetable combination of your choice. Diced aubergine on its own makes an excellent choice.

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Plain Boiled Rice

In order to cook rice successfully, just follow a few simple rules, (1) wash the rice in plenty of cold water until the water runs clear, (2) soak it in cold water for 15-20 minutes and drain well, (3) once the lid goes on the rice never lift it until the rice is cooked and (4) allow the cooked rice to rest for a few minutes before serving. You can, of course, cook rice like pasta, i.e. boil and drain the water, but I prefer the absorption method, especially when it comes to the exquisite basmati rice.

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Green Beans with Mustard, Cumin & Garlic

One of the quickest and simplest ways to cook fresh green beans. It is equally at home with simple Indian meal with a lentil dish or with a dinner party menu as a side dish. Green beans contain vitamins, minerals and plant derived micronutrients. They are also low in calories and contain an excellent amount of dietary fibre.

 

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Tarka Daal

‘Tarka’ or ‘Tadka’ means seasoning. When preparing the seasoning for Tarka Daal, the ingredients can vary quite a lot from one region to another. This recipe is one of the simplest.

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Apricot Chutney

This is a glorious chutney which is good with all kinds of food such as roast turkey at Christmas or roast pork, cold meat sandwiches and a strong cheddar cheese sandwich.

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