It’s National Curry Week from tomorrow (13-19 October 2014) and I’m getting involved with a week of Indian recipes starting with these inspired – and facilitated – by TV chef Anjum Anand’s Spice Tailorventure.
Over the years, I have created dozens of curries in the Recipe Shed, many dreamt up by my own fair imagination, many inspired by the likes of The Curry Guy Dan Toombs, Rick Stein, Pat Chapman and Atul Kochhar.
I like to cook from scratch – everything from the base spice masala to bespoke sauces. But there is one ingredient I have never used: chutney.
I’ve always regarded chutneys (in their many forms) as an accompaniment for poppadoms in an Indian restaurant.
But the chutneys created by The Spice Tailor have changed all that.
First of all, let’s dispense with the word ‘chutney’. To Anjum, they’re ‘chutnis’ – which is the Hindi word for ‘lick’. I’m loving it already!
And she takes that lickability to a whole new level, with a selection of innovative, authentic and inspiring chutni combinations: Mint Leaf, Green Papaya, Peanut and Tamarind, Tomato Garlic Chilli.
The Spice Tailor also has a range of quick and easy straight-to-pan sauces (just add chicken, prawns, lamb or veggies) but as tasty as they are, I prefer the creativity that comes from using her chutnis as a base ingredient for some truly delicious – and unusual – flavour combinations.
Anjum explains: “I use the Indian spelling for ‘chuntni’ as authentic Indian ones differ in character and breadth from Western chutneys.”
Chutni and, er, chutney may sound the same but they’re quite different. The British chutney is generally sweet and vinegary and eaten with cheese, meats and at Christmas.
An Indian chutni is ingredient-led, whether herby, nutty or fruity, tangy, sweet and spicy.
The Spice Tailor says: “They can be used as pastes to enrich a curry or a sauce, be stirred into vegetables or added to stir-fries.
“They can be used as marinades for a BBQ but equally, added to a little yoghurt, mayonnaise, sour cream or other, they can be lovely dips to complement any grilled or roasted meal or spread over bread to make a sandwich, wrap or burger.”
Anyway, that’s enough background. Here’s a recipe. Enjoy! We did.
GRILLED HERB TANDOORI-STYLE CHICKEN
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp lime juice
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated into a paste
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper or to taste
1. Slash the chicken thighs 3-4 times over the top, down to the bone. Mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, taste, adjust the seasoning and then add the chicken; coat well in the marinade. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight. Remove from the fridge and let the chicken come to room temperature, about 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Preheat your grill. (I use the grill setting in my oven.) Place the chicken on top of a baking tray lined with foil. Grill in the centre of the oven for 8-10 minutes (depending on their size), turn over and repeat on this side or until the chicken is cooked through and charred in places. The chicken should feel firm when lightly pressed. Serve hot with any pan juices drizzled over the top with lemon wedges.
½ small red cabbage, finely shredded (I couldn’t find red cabbage, so doubled up the spring cabbage)
½ small pointed spring cabbage, finely shredded 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated 1 spring onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 tbsp The Spice Tailor Mint Leaf Chutni
4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp lime juice, or to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Small bunch of mint, roughly chopped
1½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1½ tbsp black onion or nigella seed
1. Put the shredded cabbage, carrot and spring onion into a large bowl.
2. Stir together the mint chutni, mayonnaise, lime juice and seasoning to taste.
3. Pour two thirds of the dressing over the vegetables and mix well.
4. Add half the chopped mint, sesame seeds and nigella seeds and fold through.
5. Use the remaining chopped mint as a garnish.