To get the feast started, we had aloo tikki (North Indian pan-fried potato cakes) with a fresh coriander chutney and a grilled tomato chutney. The lamb with green chillies, a southern Indian curry with a kick, came next, accompanied by pulao rice, naan and a cauliflower and potato curry. What a treat for the tastebuds.
Simple Indian is an excellent book, the chutneys are a revelation and the dishes are exceptionally tasty. These are traditional Indian dishes packed with flavour, really quite healthy and we imagine authentic.
The introduction in the book explains the appeal of Indian food - the diversity of flavours, textures and colours as a result of the varied regions, religions and cultural influences on the subcontinent. Atul describes how to achieve flavour in different ways by using whole or ground spice, by roasting, frying or by using spice as a seasoning.
As the name of the book would suggest, the recipes on the whole are relatively simple to cook and the ingredient lists not too extensive. I have tried most of the dishes from the book with only one failure - the naan bread. Unfortunately, my failure was replicated on the night by Angie who also couldn't get the naan right. Perhaps Atul will reveal the secret of success at some point?!
If we were to be picky, we'd have to say that there just aren't enough photographs in the book. As well as inspiring you to get cooking, a photograph goes a long way in providing guidance when cooking a dish, especially when many of the dishes are new to people.
Tried, tested and recommended you cook tonight:
- coconut fish curry
- Deccan fish curry
- tandoori salmon
- spicy chicken with spinach
- peppery chicken curry
- home-style chicken curry
- achari chicken
- lamb biryani
- Chettiar aubergine
- cauliflower, carrots and peas
- stir-fried spinach
- mushrooms with coriander leaves