We may not have the white sands of Goa or the tropical lagoons of Kerala but you can easily create your very own Indian Summer here in the UK thanks to some quick hints and tips from TV chef and cookery writer, Anjum Anand.
King of the grill...
"No barbecue is complete without burgers so why not try these succulent chicken burgers with an Indian twist? The coriander, cumin and chillies add a delicious spice and depth of flavour and the burgers taste great with chutney flavoured mayonnaise or simply with ketchup.
400g chicken mince
6g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
10g garlic (approximately 3 large cloves), peeled and finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled, half finely chopped (for the burgers) and half sliced into rings (for serving)
large handful of fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp salt
3⁄4 tsp garam masala
11⁄2 slices of medium-cut bread, crumbed
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 green chillies (optional), chopped and seeded
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling the pan
7 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
salt, to taste
1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
4 burger buns, halved
lettuce leaves, shredded
1 beef tomato, sliced
Mix together all the ingredients for the burgers, leaving out the onion rings. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Mould the mince into four burgers and place on an oiled baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.
Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise with the coriander and mint leaves, lemon, salt and pepper. Warm the burger buns in the oven for the final 2 minutes of cooking time.
Place a small handful of the lettuce on the bottom of each bun with the sliced tomato and onion rings and a good dollop of the herbed mayonnaise. Top with the hot burgers and finish off with the top half of the bun.
Don't forget a veggie option!
Vegetarians often get a raw deal at barbecues: a side salad just isn't enough! The Indian cheese paneer is very versatile, tastes great grilled, tandoori-style and is now widely available in supermarkets. These Paneer and Vegetable Skewers are full flavoured, have lots of texture and are very satisfying regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or not. Tandoori food is often served with sliced or chopped tomatoes, red onions and cucumbers seasoned and drizzled in lemon juice, and some green chutney.
Paneer and Vegetable Skewers
Makes 6 skewers
300g paneer, cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 green and 1 red pepper, cored and cut into 2.5cm cubes
Vegetable oil, for greasing
6 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
2 tbsp melted butter
Chaat masala, to sprinkle
125ml Greek-style yoghurt
5g fresh ginger, peeled
10g garlic (approximately 3 large cloves), peeled
Salt, to taste
¼ - ½ tsp chilli powder, or to taste
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp gram flour
1 tsp cumin powder
Seeds of 6 cardamom pods, powdered with a pestle and mortar
Purée all the marinade ingredients until smooth, then place in a non-metallic bowl. Add the paneer and vegetables and allow them to soak up the flavours for 30 - 40 minutes or longer in the fridge.
Thread the vegetables and paneer alternatively onto the skewers. Grill for 7 minutes on a hot barbecue, drizzle over the melted butter, turn and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until charred at the edges. (Alternatively cook in an oven preheated to 200 C/ 400 F / gars mark 6 for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway). Sprinkle the skewers liberally with chaat masala and serve with bread.
A bit on the side
A salad is essential at a barbecues, giving some lightness to the heavier meat dishes. This Indian chopped salad usually accompanies a curry but tastes just as good with grilled meats and vegetables.
Indian Chopped Salad (kachumber)
2 ripe vine tomatoes
120g cucumber (I keep the skin on)
4 small radishes
½ small onion, finely
1 - 2 green chillies, seeded and chopped (optional)
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
1/3 roasted cumin powder
Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves
Chop the tomatoes into small dice. Slice the cucumbers lengthways, discard the seeds and cut into small cubes the same size as the tomatoes. Do the same with the radishes.
Toss together all the vegetables and chillies (if using), season, stir through the lemon juice, roasted cumin powder and chopped coriander, and serve, or keep at room temperature until you are ready to eat.
Keep the drink flowing
If it's hot outside you need to keep hydrated and lassis are the perfect accompaniment to Indian flavours. My blackberry lassi is light and refreshing - served over ice it's an ideal barbecue drink.
200ml natural yoghurt
½ tsp lemon juice
1 ½ - 2 ½ tbsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)
Ice cubes and mint leaves, to serve
Purée the berries, yoghurt, lemon and most of the sugar with 140ml water. Sweeten to taste. Pour through a sieve into glasses to remove the seeds. Serve chilled over ice cubes, with a mint leaf on top for colour and freshness.
And what if the weather's bad?
We can never predict or guarantee the British weather, so if the heavens do open or if it's too cold to set outside, you need a back up plan. My range of cooking sauces, The Spice Tailor, allows you to cook authentic and delicious curries at home in just 10 minutes. With seven in the range, Rustic Rogan Josh, Delicate Korma, Spiced Spinach Curry, Keralan Coconut Curry, Punjabi Tomato Curry, Original Tikka Masala and Mangalore Herb Curry, there's one to suit every taste. The Spice Tailor is available to buy in Waitrose stores nationwide and online at www.thespicetailor.com
Here's to a long and glorious Summer - Indian style!
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