No more lemsips, whisky toddies or mustard baths, I have found the cure for the common cold! Yesterday I had that ‘broken glass’ feeling at the back of my throat and the start of a streaming cold – this morning, well, not totally cured but a whole lot better. Why?
The curative power of curry! I made chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce, battered fried fish with yoghurt and mint dip, and a deep-fried tortilla masquerading as poori. It rocked! (when the computer has been comprehensively disinfected (yeah, thanks a fucking bunch, hackers) I will post pics)
I bumped up the garlic count significantly which, combined with the chilli heat, did wonders for my sinuses. Maybe you’d like the recipes?
Fish – one fillet of haddock (which needed to be used, as it wasn’t quite as sea-fresh as it had been a couple of days previously – you can, of course, use fresh) Make a batter using 50g gram flour, 25g rice flour, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, garlic powder, salt (spices to taste) and 100ml water (I used half fizzy and half plain). Add the wet to the dry and whisk it up, dip the fish in and deep fry until golden.
Yogurt dip: 1/3 onion minced in the mechanical chopper, handful of finely chopped mint, good grinding of black pepper, little bit of salt, small slosh of vinegar (jings, you’re going to hate me if you are very precise in your recipe-following – sorry about that), 1/2 tsp chilli powder, three big spoons of greek yoghurt and maybe half a teaspoon of sugar, but taste as you go so it’s not too sweet. Just enough to temper the vinegar is all you need. Stick it in the fridge for half an hour or so if you can, to allow it to mingle nicely.
Chickpeas: chop the rest of your onion and crush four or more fat cloves of garlic and brown them in some veg oil. Then add some curry leaves – you might like to count them so you can get them all back out again, which I didn’t do, but they didn’t whizz up very well in the blender, so there were leafy bits all through the sauce which I had to pick out while trying not to burn my fingertips, cos, obviously that’s the kind of maneouvre you want to do while the pan is still on the heat and bubbling away merrily. Uh-huh. So fry the curry leaves til fragrant, but if you’re cooking this while bunged up, just wait til they start to go a wee bit translucent on the tops of their leaves, and add a tablespoon of cumin seeds and fry them too. Then chuck in chilli – fresh, dry or harissa, tablespoon garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric, shake of lemon juice, 1/4 tsp amchoor and a teaspoon of sugar. Fry for a few stirs of the pan, slosh in some water to stop it burning, then add 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes and cook for five or ten minutes, until it starts to separate and the oil floats on top. Take off the heat and put into a blender. Go and put out the recycling and the rubbish. (ok, not strictly necessary, but blending really hot stuff is kind of scary. plus it was our bins collection day today and we had loads of prunings to get rid of in the compost bin) Back? Right, blend until it’s as smooth or chunky as you like. I don’t like it too chunky and I’m lazy about chopping, so this step suits me fine. Back into the pan, add a tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed of the yucky tinning gloop, plus a wee bit more water to keep it all loose and cooking, and simmer on a fairly low heat for five or more minutes. Ta-da!
Tortilla: remove from packet, slide into hot oil, fry until puffed and brown at the edges. Try not to eat it all up before the rest of the food is ready
And restored health will be yours! Or at least, a really tasty tea :)
Recipes adapted from: Cooking like Mummyji by Vicky Bhogal, Ali and Munsif Abbasi’s No Worry Curries and Indian: Simple ways to success by Das Sreedharan (no amazon link there) all of which I recommend wholeheartedly!