Walk into any supermarket and you’ll see a wealth of Indian dishes and ingredients – fresh and frozen ready meals and snacks, chutneys, breads, poppadoms and sauces. There’s no denying the popularity of Indian food in the UK – but how many of us actually cook our favourite dishes from scratch, at home?
Many Indian recipes feature lengthy ingredient lists, requiring apparently every spice in the supermarket, which can be offputting for some – partly because of the expense, and partly because of the risk of never using said spices again, leaving them to languish at the back of the cupboard. The truth is, however, that not every Indian dish is complicated and ingredient-heavy: creating your own authentic Indian meals at home can be simple and affordable, using surprisingly few ingredients.
Curry in a hurry
While there are sixteen basic spices that make up a beginner’s Indian store cupboard, there are plenty of Indian curries that can be made with just a few. While packet jars and sauces may be appealing because of their ease of use, they also limit the dishes you can make: making your own curries from scratch puts a whole host of new recipes at your fingertips.
The coconut-scented Keralan fish curry meen molee features a surprisingly short list of ingredients, while this simple chicken dhansak recipe uses garam masala – an aromatic blend of spices that can be bought in any supermarket and is a staple of Indian cuisine, saving you from buying a lengthy list of individual spices. For vegetarians, dishes such as this pumpkin, spinach and black bean dopiaza, and this chickpea curry with tomatoes and spinach are satisfying, simple to make and require very few ingredients.
It’s not just about curries…
While many of us think of curries when talking about Indian food, there are plenty of other main course dishes that can be prepared with ease. Tandoori chicken can be cooked on the grill or on the barbecue in warmer months, with a marinade that requires only yoghurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric. Leftover garam masala, ginger and garlic can also be used to make dishes such as a whole roasted masala chicken as a Sunday lunch alternative.
While making your own Indian food may seem daunting, there are plenty of simple recipes out there that make for a tasty meal. You’ll have the benefit of knowing exactly what’s in your food and where it comes from, and there’s not much better than the satisfaction of sitting down to a delicious meal that you’ve created with your own hands. With just a few simple ingredients, it’s easy to start cooking authentic Indian food at home – and to build up your spice cabinet and your recipe repertoire for the future.
If you’re looking for great Indian snacks to accompany your home-cooked meal, check out the Cafe Asia range, available in 500 Iceland stores across the UK.
Image via Pixabay. Creative Commons CC0.