Curries have a firm place in British food culture. Everyone knows the classics; the intimidating vindaloo, the pitiful korma, and of course, the Glasgow-born national favourite, chicken tikka masala.
But let’s not forget that India is the seventh biggest country in the world, and the second most populated, so the very idea that the country’s cuisine can fit on an Indian takeaway menu is mad. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the brilliant Maunika Gowardhan, who can cook curries the names of which we can’t pronounce from places we’ve never heard of. Jamie recently joined her to cook a simple butter chicken, and she taught him a thing or two about spices – and how spicy some of them can be…
Maunika lives in the UK but was born and raised in Mumbai, and frequently goes on foodie adventures across Asia to dig up more gold from a country with an astonishing food culture. That’s how she came across santula, a gem from Orissa on the east coast of India.
Santula is a simple, fragrant vegetarian curry that’s given a lovely nutty edge by frying off the aubergine and adding it for the last bit of cooking. Maunika says: “Oriya cuisine, from Orissa state, is rich and diverse – mustard oil is commonly used and seafood is a big part of the local diet. However, you can’t go wrong with santula, a classic vegetarian dish with simple spices that lift the flavour of the humble veg.”
It’s a cracking curry recipe that goes amazing with some chappatis and sweet pickle.
Recipe writer: Maunika Gowardhan
Photograph: Sam Stowell
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium aubergines, cutin 2cm cubes
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2.5cm ginger, finely chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled, cut into2cm cubes
- 440g carrots, cut into 2cm cubes
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 2 green chillies, sliced lengthways
- ½ bunch of coriander, leaves picked and chopped, to serve
- Chappatis and sweet pickle, to serve
Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan, add the aubergines and fry for 4–6 minutes over a medium heat. Stir well, until cooked and coloured on all sides, then set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and as soon as they pop add the onions and fry for 5–7 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute, then add the potatoes, carrots, turmeric and cumin and fry for another 2 minutes. Pour in 100ml of water, bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid on for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add a little more water if required.
Add the aubergines and milk, pop the lid on and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and mix the chillies through the curry. Scatter over the coriander and serve with the chappatis and sweet pickle.
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