Renowned British-Indian, Michelin star chef Rohit Ghai has rustled up traditional Diwali home cooked recipes with extra special twists. He has created three mains including a lamb curry.
Bharwan Aloo in a Sea of Sauce
Cooking time 20-25 minutes – Serves 4
Rohit said: “My first recipe is a little bit complex, but it is a fun one to make with others, so get your kids, partner or friends involved too. The sauce added to this Indian classic gives it the ultimate, warming finish and will certainly impress guests.”
For the potatoes:
- 8 large potatoes
- 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- 100g Paneer
- 50g grated boiled potatoes
- 4-5 green chillies seeded and chopped
- 10-15 cashew nuts chopped
- 10 raisins
- 1 ginger chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp lime juice
For the marinade:
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tbsp fry fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp lime juice
For the sauce:
- 100ml rapeseed oil
- 1kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 50g ginger, roughly chopped
- 30g garlic, roughly chopped
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 2–3 green chillies, roughly chopped
- 3–4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp mace powder
- 150g unsalted butter
- 40g ginger & garlic paste
- 1 tbsp crushed dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 150ml double cream
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp ginger, cut julienne
- 1 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds
Prep the potatoes:
Start by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into halves. Using a sharp knife and spoon scoop out the centre of each half, leaving a medium-size hole.
Heat some oil in a deep cooking pot and deep fry the scooped-out potatoes over medium heat until a light golden colour.
Once golden, drain the oil then set the potatoes aside on absorbent kitchen towel.
Then, take a large bowl and add in the following ingredients: paneer, green chillies, cashew nuts, raisins, salt, ginger and dry ginger powder. Mix all the ingredients together and when the texture is evenly mixed, stuff this into the fried potato shells, pressing firmly to make sure you are using the whole carved out space. Set these aside.
Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl then cover the stuffed potatoes evenly with it.
Skewer the marinated potatoes and cook in a Tandoor for about 6-8 minutes. If using an oven instead, set the temperature to 180° and also cook for 6-8 minutes.
Once they start to char remove them from the Tandoor (or oven) and put to one side, covered with a metal lid or a plate to keep them warm.
Make the sauce:
Next, heat a bit of oil in a deep-frying pan and add in the tomatoes, half the Kashmiri chilli powder, roughly chopped ginger and garlic, green cardamoms, green chillies, bay leaves, cumin seeds, mace and a pinch of salt.
Add 450ml of water and cook until the tomatoes are fully broken down, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, blend the mixture and put through a fine sieve to achieve a smooth textured paste.
Next, heat the butter in a pan, add the blended paste then cook until fragrant. Add the rest of the Kashmiri chilli powder and the blended tomatoes and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes. Add the crushed dried fenugreek leaves and mix all ingredients together. Check the seasoning, then add in honey and garam masala and cook for a further minute, gently stirring. Finally, add the fresh cream, mix well and turn off the heat.
Combine the two:
Pour the sauce into a serving dish, cut the charred stuffed potatoes in to two lengthwise slices, add the sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds, chopped coriander and julienned ginger.
Serve with a roti or naan bread.
Makhani sauce is known around the world for its excellent flavour. Also, when you make it, you can hold onto it for your next dish as it is easily made in bulk and can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also use any other vegetables or chicken with this sauce, and it can be made vegan, using dairy free products.
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Tellicherry Cauliflower with a Fried Surprise
Cooking time 15-20 minutes – Serves 2
“The crispiness of the cauliflower makes this recipe one of my favourite Diwali dishes,” Rohit said.
“What’s more, you can make different variations of the recipe, as you can swap out the cauliflower for other vegetables or meat.”
For the cauliflower:
- 1 large cauliflower
- 1l vegetable oil
- Tomato chutney
For the marinade:
- 120 ml Buttermilk
- 1 tsp coarse Tellicherry black pepper
- 1 tsp chopped green chilli
- 2 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 25ml apple cider vinegar
- Few fried curry leaves
- 2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
- 150g plain flour
Start by prepping the cauliflower. Make sure to wash it under cold water and once dried, dice into bite-size florets.
Next, grab a large bowl and combine all the marinade ingredients (except the flour) with the cauliflower, ensuring all pieces are evenly coated by the marinade.
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. This will allow your cauliflower to absorb the flavours of the marinade and make it more flavoursome. The longer you leave it the better, I like to do my own for up to several hours.
Plug in your deep fat fryer and set it to 170° (or grab a deep pan if you don’t have a fryer), then take your cauliflower florets out of the fridge and evenly coat them in flour. Once your fryer is ready, slowly and gently start adding in in the florets and fry until golden.
The temperature might drop once the cauliflower is in and heats the oil, this is not a problem, just make sure you maintain the heat around 170°.
Deep fry the cauliflower for 6-8 minutes on each side (or until deep golden). Once you switch off the fryer, leave the cauliflower in for a couple of minutes to ensure the batter stays intact.
Gently take out the pieces and place them on a wire rack (with paper towels underneath) to drain the oil, then sprinkle with salt to draw out the last bit of moisture.
Serve piping hot.
Garnish with fried curry leaves and a side of tomato chutney.
If looking for a meaty option, swap the cauliflower for chicken. I love marinading chicken as it really absorbs the flavour from spices. If you are looking to make this dish completely gluten free, then you can opt for corn or rice flour. I actually like to mix the two together (60/40 ratio) for great flavour and texture.
Lavish Lamb & Coconut Curry
Cooking time 45 minutes – Serves 3-4
“This curry recipe is the perfect Diwali dish, offering a depth of flavour and various nutritious ingredients. Easy to make and delicious, I highly recommend this for a family dinner,” Rohit said.
For the main dish:
- 500g boneless lamb leg diced (or lamb shank)
- 250g sliced onion
- 150g tomato purée
- 6 tbsp rapeseed oil (or ghee)
- 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
- salt as required
- 400ml water
- Spices – whole
- 4 whole cloves
- 5 green cardamom seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 black cardamom seeds
- Spices – powder
- 2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/8 tsp mace powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1tbls ginger, cut julienne
- 1 small pot of coconut yogurt
- Desiccated coconut
Start by cleaning your lamb pieces. Gently wash these in cold water and pop on a clean plate, leaving to air dry or you can also dab with a paper towel.
Heat a bit of oil in a heavy-bottom pan and add in all of the whole spices. Sauté these for a minute before adding the sliced onions and salt. Sauté again for a couple of minutes, until the onion turns light brown in colour.
Next, add in the ginger and garlic pastes, cooking the mixture until fragrant.
Add the lamb pieces and cook them over a high heat for 10-12 minutes, then add in the remaining powdered spices except for the garam masala and stir for a few minutes.
Next, add in the tomato purée, mix well and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Make sure to cook this until the oil separates from the masala (the mixture we’ve created so far) and the lamb pieces are evenly coated.
Let this cook for another 4-5 minutes and then add in a bit of water. Stir this well and check the seasoning, feel free to add more salt/ other spices to suit your preference.
Finally add chopped coriander leaves along with the garam masala powder, giving the mixture a quick stir.
Cook for another 25 minutes to ensure that the lamb is perfectly juicy then take it off the flame and dish it up in one-serve bowls.
Add a spoonful of coconut yogurt on the side for a cool and creamy twist then garnish with desiccated coconut, chopped fresh coriander and the julienne ginger.
Serve with rice or naan bread.
When cooking onions always make sure to add a little bit of salt. It helps to bring the moisture out and will result in your onions cooking down quicker. It also speeds up the caramelisation process so you will get that lovely, golden colour faster.
Romy Gill MBE recently shared her definitive tips for a classic chicken curry recipe.
She said: “The secret to a good chicken curry dish is to give your chicken a lot of care and attention, as well as properly prepping your meat before you cook.”
To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail, as they say, and this is true when it comes to your curry.
Romy said: “A key factor is the richness of flavour, so it’s important to marinate your meat for at least 30 minutes.
“You can do this by simply rubbing salt and spices onto the meat (whilst raw) or coating it in lime or lemon juice.”