National Curry Week

Yes, National Curry Week and we’re rather spoilt for choice when it comes to sharing a few recipes from our books over the years. Most recently, there’s been Atul Kochhar’s masterful Curries Of The World. You can get a great glimpse of that book here, courtesy of our friends at Bloomsbury. For this page though, we thought we’d treat you to a couple of recipes from Vivek Singh’s wonderful 2008 book, Curry: Classic and Contemporary. Something very simple and something a little more adventurous for you. Enjoy!


Home-style Curry of Potatoes and Cauliflower

(Aloo Gobhi)

This is probably the most common and basic vegetable curry you will find anywhere in India. Cooked pretty much nine months of the year, it is one of those recipes that sparks an intense debate over authenticity. One of the disadvantages of its universal appeal is that there is no such thing as a universal recipe!

Serves 4

3 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
4 green chillies, slit open lengthwise
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm (1-inch) dice
1 cauliflower, divided into florets
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
2 tomatoes, chopped
half a teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
5cm (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, cut into fine strips
juice of half a lime

Heat the oil in a wide, shallow pan and add the cumin seeds, followed by the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft, then add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a few seconds longer. Add the green chillies and potatoes and sauté over a high heat for a couple of minutes. Tip in the cauliflower, turmeric and salt, mix well, then reduce the heat. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Add the tomatoes and garam masala and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are completely tender. Sprinkle in the chopped coriander and the ginger, squeeze over the lime juice and serve – either with chapattis or as a side dish.

Cook’s notes
* If you cut the cauliflower florets slightly bigger than the potatoes, they will cook in roughly the same time, rather than overcooking and disintegrating before the potatoes are done.
* It’s important to use a wide, shallow pan for this dish. If you use a deep pan or a wok instead, don’t overcrowd it with the vegetables or they will start to disintegrate.

Modern Raan

Traditionally, raan is braised, but I find that if the meat is good quality it can be roasted instead and works just as well, if not better. I’ve added a step of tunnel-boning the leg (you could ask your butcher to do this) to create a pocket, which can be filled with paneer cheese and dried fruits. This makes it truly special, just as a raan should be! Also, roasting this way keeps the meat moist compared to braising, where the meat is cooked through and therefore can be dry.

Serves 4

1 leg of young lamb, weighing about
1.5 kg (3-and-one-quarter lb)

For the marinade
250g (1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
2 tablespoons fried onion paste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
half a teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
1-and-a-half teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil

For the filling
60g (half a cup) khoya (reduced milk cakes, available in Indian stores), grated
75g (half a cup) paneer, grated
60g (half a cup) Cheddar cheese, grated
2 onions, sliced and fried until crisp
4 dried figs, cut into 5mm (quarter-inch) dice
4 dried apricots, cut into 5mm (quarter-inch) dice
1 tablespoon raisins
2 tablespoons cashew nuts, fried in a little oil until golden
5cm (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, chopped
4 green chillies, chopped
half a teaspoon royal (black) cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime

For the onion salad
2 red onions, thinly sliced
half a cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into thin strips
1 tomato, deseeded and thinly sliced
half a teaspoon salt
half a teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted in a dry frying pan and then crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
juice of half a lime

Trim the excess fat off the lamb and, if your butcher hasn’t tunnel-boned it for you, remove the thighbone by cutting around it carefully with a carving knife to leave a cavity. Prick the leg on the outside with a fork.

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Rub the marinade over the leg of lamb, both outside and inside the cavity, and leave for 15 minutes.

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients and then use to stuff the lamb leg. Truss the leg using a butcher’s needle and twine to close the open part completely. Transfer to a roasting tray and place in an oven preheated to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and cook for a further 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the onion salad. Put all the cut vegetables except the tomato in a bowl of ice-cold water for 10 minutes to crisp them up. Strain and sprinkle with the salt, cumin and fresh coriander. Squeeze the lime juice over.

Cut the meat into slices 1cm (half an inch) thick and serve with the onion salad.

Cook’s note
* For something like this to be enjoyed at it’s best, it is very important to rest the meat before serving. This makes it more tender and you won’t lose the juices when you slice it.

Recipes taken from ‘Curry: Classic and Contemporary’ by Vivek Singh. Photography © Cristian Barnett.

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