Curry feast

I saw this recipe in the Guardian during the week and decided to attempt it at home over the weekend – with added chana masala (one of my favourite curries), dahl (because lentils are tasty) and naan (because I am silly). I’ve posted them all together here, but obviously if you have less time or are less mad, then make one or two, buy the naan, have the curries with rice etc…

Using every saucepan we own except the wok…

Mattar paneer (peas and paneer cheese)
Index-finger-sized chunk root ginger
Pack of paneer
Tin of tomatoes/carton of passata
½ tsp chili powder (ours is super-hot)
2 tsp turmeric
2 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Entire bunch fresh coriander
2 cloves garlic

Heat a layer of oil in a pan until very hot. I used about 1/2cm oil, but you can also deep-fry the paneer if you are so inclined. Cube the cheese and drop one piece into the hot oil. When bubbles form around the cheese chuck in the rest VERY carefully. The moisture in the cheese makes it spit – mine jumped about so much that some of the cheese pieces jumped right out of the pan. Turn the pieces over carefully after about 2mins and brown the other sides. Use a slotted spoon/spatula to remove cheese from oil and drain on lots of kitchen paper.

Scary jumping cheese

Mince the garlic and ginger. Use a little bit of the oil to gently fry the ginger and garlic, then add the spices and tomatoes, along with a bit of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the sauce thickens. Stir the cheese back into the sauce and add the peas. Cook until the peas are hot but not mushy. Roughly chop as much fresh coriander as you can get your hands on, and stir through the curry.

Mattar paneer
Mattar paneer


Chana masala (spicy chickpeas in tomato sauce)
Can chickpeas
A lemon
An onion
2 cloves garlic
Knuckle-sized piece ginger
1 tsp chili powder
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
Can tomatoes/carton passata
Plain yoghurt

Fry the onion in a little oil, and add the minced ginger and garlic. Sitr in all the spices and drained chickpeas. Fry for a minute or two, and mash the chickpeas up a bit with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and bit of water. Bring to the boil, and then simmer until the sauce thickens. Add the juice of the lemon (I only used half because my lemon was huge). Just before serving, mash the chickpeas up a bit more with the spoon and stir in 2-3 dessert spoons of plain yoghurt.

Chana masala, before the sauce cooked down

Dahl with spinach
Red or yellow lentils
Bouillon powder
4 cloves garlic
Knuckle-sized piece ginger
Bag spinach
An onion

Put the lentils in a pan and cover with boiling water. Add a good pinch of stock powder, couple of slices of peeled ginger and a smooshed garlic clove. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer. When some of the water has been absorbed and the lentils are getting soft (keep stirring every so often so they don’t stick), add the rest of the ginger, minced, and three crushed cloves of garlic. Fry an onion until soft, and wilt the spinach in the same pan. Cook the dahl gently until almost all of the water has been absorbed. Fish out the garlic clove and ginger slices. Sitr in the spinach and onions.

Amazingly garlicky dahl

Naan bread
Tsp dried yeast
150ml warm water
1 dessert spoon sugar
2 tblsp milk
1 egg
½ tsp salt
3 cups bread flour

Dissolve the yeast by sprinkling it onto 150ml warm water (1 part boiling, 2 parts cold) and whisk until frothy. Leave to activate for about 15mins in a warm place. Beat the egg. In a large bowl, mix sugar, milk, egg, salt, flour and about 100ml of the yeasty water to make a sticky dough. You may not need all of the flour, depending on how big your egg is. Mine was super sticky, so I added extra flour. It should make a smooth dough, eventually, but I had to knead mine for a good 10-12mins.

Sticky naan dough

Leave to rise for about an hour, under a damp tea towel, then punch down again and knead for another min. At this stage, knead in minced garlic/coriander/any other flavours. Divide into six pieces and roll into rough balls (about golf-ball-sized). Leave to rise on an oiled tray under damp tea towel for another 15mins – they should roughly double. Make sure your tea towel is quite damp, because the dough is sticky and will rise into the towel and get stuck!

Turn the grill up as hot as it will go, and let it heat up with a very lightly oiled metal tray under it (you’re trying to recreate a clay tandoor!). Squish one of the naan out into a flat oval in your hands, and then flip onto the hot tray. Grill, very close to the heat, for about 2mins on each side. They should puff up and turn brown.

All three curries, and lovely puffy, chewy naan

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