Recipes from the Desi Kitchen: Hearty summer meals
In the middle of summer it can be all too tempting to veer towards cooling salads and smaller, lighter meals, as spending long periods in a hot kitchen becomes increasingly unappealing in the warming weather. Sometimes though, it’s natural to crave something hearty and filling without the heaviness or unhealthy associations that come with some traditionally ‘stodgy’ meals. Making use of slow cookers, pressure cookers and BBQs is often a good way to get around this, taking the heat out of cooking even the hottest of dishes.
So if you’re looking for something to fill up a few hungry bellies and satisfy food cravings all day, without putting in hours in a steaming kitchen to get there, look no further. We’ve gathered together some fantastic recipes that will hit the spot in no time!
Spiced Sirloin Steak
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 500g sirloin steak
- 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 green chillies, halved
- 12 curry leaves
- 3 red onions, sliced thinly
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coriander, chopped
- 1/2 lime, juiced
For the spice mix:
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
- 5cm piece of cinnamon stick, whole
- 3 cloves
- 2 green cardamom pods
- Dry roast all of the spice mix ingredients in a pan, then crush coarsely using a heavy pestle and mortar. Sprinkle a generous pinch of the mix onto the steak, making sure to cover both sides, and set aside for around five minutes.
- Heat 1bsp vegetable oil in a pan and heat to smoking point. Alternatively, if using a BBQ heat the grill up to very hot and brush the oil directly onto the steaks instead. Cook the steak over a high heat for several minutes without moving it, then turn over an cook for around 3-4 minutes to finish. Feel free to cook for longer if more well-cooked meat is desired. Set aside to rest for 4 minutes.
- While the meat is resting, heat the remaining oil in a pan and stir fry the ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves and onions until the onions soften and turn translucent. Sprinkle in the remaining spice mix and salt, then reduce heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk. Continue cooking until the liquid evaporates.
- Slice the steak into strips and serve tossed with the spiced vegetable mixture. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime juice, and eat with steamed rice.
Perfect BBQ Ribs
- 2 stock cubes (chicken or beef)
- 2 bay leaves
- 5kg of meaty ribs, either pork or beef
- 1 bottle of good quality BBQ sauce
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp mustard sees
- 1 tsp black peppercorn
- Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker, and top with around 4 tbsp of BBQ sauce and enough water to cover completely. Cook on a low heat for around 8-9 hours until very tender, but not falling off of the bone entirely.
- If using an oven, heat to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 7, or if using a BBQ, heat until nice and hot. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker carefully, as the meat is tender and may start to fall off. Baste liberally with the remaining BBQ sauce and either cook on a foil-lined oven tray or directly on the BBQ until beginning to crisp.
- Serve with sweet potato fries and sweet corn – and plenty of napkins!
Grilled Paneer Parcels
- 1/2 red onion, chopped finely
- 25g butter
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 2 x 225g blocks of paneer
For the grilling paste:
- 25g mint leaves
- 85g coriander leaves, with stalks left on
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3cm piece of ginger, peeled
- 1 small green chilli
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp double cream
- 3 tbsp greek yogurt
- 1/2 tbsp carom
- To make the grilling paste, tip your herbs into a food processor or blender along with the garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon juice, oil, garam masala and 1 tsp salt. Process until fine and smooth, then stir in the yogurt, carom and double cream. Adjust any of the seasonings to taste as needed.
- Cut each block of paneer into 3-4 pieces, then piece with a fine skewer. Coat the cheese in the grilling paste then leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as possible, preferably around 1 hour.
- Heat the grill or griddle pan and prepare two sheets of foil. Place four pieces of paneer on each, then top with the chopped red onion and a knob of butter. Bring the foil together to create a parcel.
- Place the parcels straight onto your grill or griddle pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the paneer is hot and slightly charred on the bottom. Serve immediately in the hot parcels, with the chaat masala sprinkled on top.
Healthy Summer Vegetable Curry
- 2 onions, chopped roughly
- 1 aubergine, diced
- 75g red lentils
- 50g garden peas
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into wedges
- 100g baby spinach, chopped roughly
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 1-2 tbsp red thai curry paste
- Heat the curry paste in a large saucepan with a small splash of vegetable stock. Fry the onions until beginning to soften, then add in the diced aubergine and cook for a further five minutes. Add a little more stock as needed.
- Add in the lentils, coconut milk and the remainder of the stock, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add in the peppers and cook for 5-10 minutes or more. Stir through the spinach and peas and cook until the spinach has wilted and peas are cooked to your liking.
- Serve hot with boiled rice and mango chutney, with a garnish of lemon, coriander and chopped spring onion if desired.
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