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My Favourite Indian Cookbook

Pav Baji

My first job (that didn’t involve doing sheep farm work with my Dad) was waiting tables at a small Indian restaurant up the road from New South Wales University. It was a tiny place that wasn’t ever very busy. Which was lucky given my limited waitressing skills.

I did learn two valuable life lessons in my short tenure.

First, I am crap at waiting tables.

Second, I love Indian food.

Growing up in a meat-and-veg household where spaghetti bolognese was about as exotic as it got, I couldn’t believe the flavour explosions I experienced with each new curry the kindly Indian chef sent home with me. Butter chicken, saag lamb, beef vindaloo, dahl, mango chicken… Yum yum yum.

Talk about a party in your mouth.

Over the years I’ve had a go at recreating my Indian faves at home but had never found an Indian cookbook that matched my love of simple, fresh ingredients. Until I was researching my cookbook ‘wish list’ for Santa this year…

‘Made In India, Cooked In Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen’ by Meera Sodha has answered all my silent Indian cookbook prayers (that I didn’t even know I had!)

The recipes are relatively simple, not in the 5-ingredient range but still manageable. The ingredients are mostly easy to find. Everything I’ve made from the book has been just delicious. And really authentic tasting.

We’ve been having an Indian night most weeks since Christmas and I’m yet to be disappointed.

Plus there are loads of recipes with potatoes which means my men are happy.

If you want to expand your Indian cooking repertoire, I can’t recommend this book enough!

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Pav Baji-2

Pav Baji

I’ve been making these with my Magic Low-Carb Burger Buns and they are just soo, soo good. Even Fergal (my 3.5 year old) was happy to chow down on one. The eggplant curry is equally delicious with cauliflower ‘rice’ or steamed rice if you’re in the mood for a more proper curry.

enough for: 2
takes: 45 minutes

1 large onion, peeled & diced
1 large eggplant (aubergine), diced
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 can tomatos (400g / 14oz)
2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
large hunk butter
buttered buns, salad leaves and lemon wedges to serve

1. Heat a medium saucepan on a medium high heat. Add a good glug of olive oil and cook onion, covered until soft and a little browned. Will take about 8 minutes.

2. Add eggplant and more oil and stir fry for a few minutes before adding ginger, tomatoes and garam masala / curry powder. Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes, stirring every now and then until eggplant is really tender.

3. Add butter and allow it to melt in. Taste and season with salt and pepper and more butter or spice if needed.

4. Divide eggplant mixture between your buttered buns, top with salad leaves and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

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Variations

more substantial – add a handful roast cashews or peanuts for extra protein and crunch.

dairy-free – use coconut cream instead of the butter.

hot! – add a few chopped chillies with the spices. Or use a hot curry powder or add some dried chilli to taste.

low carb – use these low carb burger buns or serve on a bed of cauliflower rice instead.

more veg – add chopped mushrooms, zucchini and/or capsicum (bell peppers) with the eggplant. Or stir in some baby spinach to wilt at the end.

herby – use fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves instead of the salad. Mint or basil are also good.

With love,
Jules x

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ps. Had any cookbook discoveries recently?

I’d love to hear about your favourites in the comments below. And if you do leave a comment you’ll be in the running for the monthly prize of a free copy of my print book, ‘5-Ingredients, 10-Minutes’.

The and the winner of the ‘commenter of the month’ prize for April is Maggie H!

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Asa 4 April, 2017, 9:19 pm

    I LOVE Made in India! I’ve made dozens if recipes from it. The Fig Chicken curry is amazing, as is the Cilantro Curry. I haven’t tried this recipe yet; and those low carb buns look great too.

  • Lawrence 4 April, 2017, 10:32 pm

    Hello Jules I like your recipes. One question: is this supposed to be a burger patty or a curry dish? Kind regards from Lawrence

  • Anne Maxfield 5 April, 2017, 6:32 am

    OMG I love that book!! I’ve made so many dishes from it. I now make perfect basmati rice every time. The spinach with black pepper and lemon has become my new way to do spinach in a hurry and the roasted cauliflower I’ve made with cauliflower or broccoli, switched up the spices etc and it’s always a hit. Made in India and David Leibovitz’s My Paris Kitchen are my two most used favorites!

    While I’m commenting, does anyone have a good way/system to remember recipes from books that you want to try?

  • Anita Nessin 5 April, 2017, 6:48 am

    I too love Indian food. I was luck enough to spend a month there in ‘o9 doing a volunteer program. I’m sort of puzzled that this recipe uses “2 tsp garam masala or curry powder” interchangeably as they have very different taste profiles. Garam Masala can be quite spicy and curry powder contains turmeric, which garam masala does not.
    My go to Indian cookbook, out of the several I have, is Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking.

  • CHRIS COWLAND 5 April, 2017, 11:00 am

    There is an amazing Indian restaurant in Vancouver, and the owners have published two cookbooks called “Vij’s at home” and just “Vij’s”. I have made many recipes from both books, and they open up a whole new taste sensation. I now roast and grind my own spice mixes, and although I often cheat and just crack open a jar of Patak’s, if I have the time I make curry powders from scratch.
    I’ll have to see if your book is available here in Canada, thanks for the recommendation.

  • Jenny 5 April, 2017, 8:39 pm

    Hi Jules
    Try these naan
    http://www.madbanditten.dk/2017/03/10/naan-broed/
    the recipe is in Danish, but google translate usually does a great job

  • Diandra 5 April, 2017, 9:10 pm

    I love Indian food! It’s a bit annoying though to have to have all spices on hand, and some are hard to get by even in our city. The book oyu mentioned has been on my wish list for quite some time, I may very well give it a try one of these days …

    Some of my favorite recently acquired cookbooks are the “Skinnytaste” ones, they have easy, healthy recipes with not too many calories – which is pretty important if you are a glutton like me and like to have more than one serving. And the guy at home has not complained about missing out on taste, either. ^^

  • gigi clark 10 April, 2017, 5:19 pm

    I love Indian food. I was in India for 2 months. The first thing that I really enjoyed is Indian food. I fall in love with it and thank you for sharing recipes with us :)

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