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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Appetizers to Help You Curry Favors

Groaning with exhaustion, I am only able to roll myself around on the carpet to propel my way forward. The reason: glutting myself on Indian food. Feasting, overdoing it, behaving like a wee little pig.


Why is it that certain cuisines lend themselves to gluttony? Chinese and Indian come to mind. I suppose it is a largesse of hospitality that inspires guests to eat not one but a dozen and one dishes at once; piling all the dishes onto the plate, not finishing the naan, but moving on to the curry, then scuttling back to a mouthful of raita, and on it goes. Eat until you can no more -- but just a bit of curry and bread to mop up the sauce.


Generally I take time over a dish -- but not tonight. I have delegated the big bit -- the curry to others; everyone can turn their hand at curries now the spices can be found. I prefer to potter around with the fiddly bits around the side. They make the feast fun.


My recipes come from the BBC Good Food magazine, and the bread recipe serves six. Look for bread flour at Stockmann's, Sadko and Siwa and just about everywhere else in between. Baffled by what the label says? Look for the pictures to help you over the linguistic barrier (I can proudly tell people I don't speak Finnish, but I read Finnish pictures perfectly).


Raita is the best part of any Indian feast, particularly if, like me, you have set your mouth on fire with a curry and need a tastebud fire extinguisher. And finally, what to do with that bunch of coriander in the bottom of the fridge? Home-made chutney.





Spiced Naan Bread


675 grams strong white bread flour


1 teaspoon salt


1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds


1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds


3 tablespoons butter


1 tablespoon superfine sugar


1 sachet of dried yeast


450 ml warm milk


1/2 tablespoon butter or ghee, melted





Mix together the flour and fennel and cumin seeds and the salt and then rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk. Mix the ingredients together to form a dough. Turn the bread out to a floured surface and knead away for about 10 minutes or until you find the dough elastic and quite smooth. Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic and allow to rise for about an hour in a warm place until the dough has doubled.


Knock the dough back down, then divide into six equal portions. Roll out each piece into a large thin teardrop shape, then with a fork make holes all over the dough.


Warm a large baking sheet under the grill until hot. Place one piece of the raw dough onto the hot sheet and grill the naan for a few minutes on each side until it starts to brown in parts.


Remove and brush with melted butter and keep warm in foil in the oven until you have made all six portions of naan.


Raita


2 cups natural yogurt


1/2 cucumber finely diced


1/4 cup fresh mint finely diced





Mix the yogurt and the cucumber together. Stir in the mint and leave for an hour before serving.





Coriander Chutney


1 medium onion


2 garlic cloves


2 green chilies


1 cup fresh coriander, chopped


2 tablespoons ground almonds, toasted


Juice of one large lemon


3 tablespoons vegetable oil


2 teaspoons sugar


1 teaspoon salt





Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. Scrape the sides well, but don't over process. Transfer to a bowl and leave for at least an hour before serving.





And just one more, specially for those of you who don't think Indian food must be consumed with liters of lager. Try this recipe for a sweetish Lassi, an Indian yogurt drink.





Sweet Lassi


1/2 liter natural yogurt


3 level tablespoons sugar600 mls iced water


600 mls cold milk


Ground cinnamon to serve





Whisk all the ingredients except the cinnamon together in a large bowl. Whisk it up until the liquid is quite foamy. Pour into a tall jug and serve in tall glasses, each with a sprinkle of cinnamon.