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- Prep time:
- 45 min, plus soaking time
- Cook time:
- 1 hr 10 min, plus standing time
Throw away that takeaway menu, Paul Merrett has easy recipes for a home-made feast of Indian kebabs
Method1. For the rice: heat a lidded saucepan on the stovetop. Add the washed rice and 2 tbsp oil, then fry for a minute or so, stirring briefly. Add enough cold water so that it rests about two inches above the rice, then bring to the boil. Cover the pan with kitchen foil and then the pan’s lid and leave to boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pan to stand undisturbed for 20 minutes.
2. For the chicken skewers: whisk the eggs in a large bowl then add the spices, herbs, cashews, onion, oil, chicken and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well then divide the mixture into 18 equal pieces. Take 6 long wooden skewers and soak them in cold water for about 1 hour. With wet hands, shape three pieces around each skewer to form long sausage shapes. Refrigerate for an hour to firm up.
3. For the aubergine bhaji: in a saucepan, fry the onion, garlic and ginger together in a little oil until well browned – this can take 10 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and simmer until the mixture is fairly dry.
4. Meanwhile, cook the aubergine wedges on a ridged griddle pan until they are charred with criss-cross lines, then set aside.
5. In a shallow saucepan, heat a little vegetable oil. Add all the spices and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add half the tomato mixture you made earlier, then pour in 150ml of water. Stir in the charred aubergine and simmer for 15 minutes until thick (this dish should not be too saucy).
6. Cook the refrigerated chicken skewers over a medium-high heat on a flat griddle plate, a ridged griddle pan, or in a large nonstick frying pan, turning once or twice. They are done when the meat is browned at the edges and cooked through.
7. For the minted mango yoghurt: mix together the yoghurt, mango chutney and mint sauce. Taste and adjust the quantities if needed.
8. Place the aubergine bhaji in a serving dish and finish with the yoghurt and coriander. Fork through the rice and serve both dishes with the chicken skewers, minted mango yoghurt and poppadoms.
For the rice
- 400 g basmati rice, washed thoroughly
- vegetable oil, for frying
For the chicken skewers
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 60 g coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 4 tsp finely grated root ginger
- 12 cashew nuts, ground
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 kg chicken breasts, minced
For the aubergine bhaji
- 1 onion, very finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 5 cm piece root ginger, grated
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
- 2 aubergines, cut into 4cm long wedges
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 large pinch dried red chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 10 fresh or dried curry leaves
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
For the minted mango yoghurt
- 150 ml natural yogurt
- 2-3 tbsp good quality mango chutney
- 1-2 tbsp mint sauce
- spicy and plain poppadoms, to serve
Tips and suggestions
- Any butcher should readily agree to mince a chicken breast or two for you. Tell them to mince them on a medium blade.
Soaking the skewers before cooking stops them from burning during cooking.
Ground spices and curry powders should be used fresh and must be kept in airtight containers. Stale spices add nothing but grit to your dishes and will leave you disappointed with the results. Ideally, grind whole spices yourself just before using them.
A common mistake with Indian food is adding no salt on the assumption that there is so much flavour from the spices that you don't need it. This is wrong: you should always taste your dish and season towards the end if needed.