The radish in this curry is daikon, Japanese radish. It's - one of it's - attributes is the ability to absorb the flavour of the liquid it's cooked in, at the same time becoming soft, sweet and refreshing. Another attribute - it has pretty much zero calories.
Creamy but zesty, and hearty without being stodgy.
A heavenly flavour trio of earthy mushrooms, tangy tamarind and milky coconut.
You may have a reliable bottle of ready-made green curry paste, but there's nothing like the vivacity of a freshly made green curry. You'll just need a mortar and pestle or processor to wizz up your spice concoction.
This Sri Lankan curry is pure sunshine. The key to mastering not just this dish, but all pumpkin curries, is to not let the pumpkin reach mush point - you want it soft, but with some body, so that you can bite into it and release the all the fragrant flavours it's been infused with.
Consider this quick and flavour-packed curry your weeknight best friend. It uses spices you most likely have on hand (turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic), and can be cooked in under 30 minutes. Serve it with rice, pappadums, raita and pickle for an expanded curry feast.
Unripe mangoes are used commonly in Southeast Asian cooking, and work particularly well as a feature ingredient in curries, with firm flesh, and nutty and sour qualities that vary in strength depending on the mango variety. This version is served with a tangy Sri Lankan mustard, which won't take you long to make, and will mean you’ll have plenty left over to keep in the fridge and add excitement to other meals (eg. boiled eggs on toast for breakfast).
This curry has a real ratio for success: a short ingredient list and brief cooking time, but maximum flavour. Garnish it with some coriander, and serve it with your favourite chutney or pickle - or just a dollop of natural yoghurt.
Cooking this curry is sheer aromatic bliss, and gives you an indication of the taste sensation that awaits: it starts out with curry leaves, chilli, onion and pandan leaf sizzled in oil, and finishes with coconut cream and roasted curry powder. The cashews are soaked first for an hour, to make them plump and meaty. All in all, a real dazzler of a dish.
10. Aloo chana chaat
"Chaat" are snacks in Indian cuisine, but this dish could easily qualify as a light meal or a substantial side. It offers plenty of textural fun, with crunchy chickpea noodles (available from Indian and some Asian grocery stores), soft chickpeas, crisp potatoes, and little pops of black mustard seeds.
11. Chilli paneer
You have options available on the paneer front for this recipe: buy it from an Indian grocer, make it using a mixture of milk, yoghurt and lemon juice (try this recipe - you won't need to worry about preparing the marinade), or substitute it with haloumi, ricotta salata, or tofu (which would make this dish vegan-friendly). Either way you go, you'll be glad you did.
Stop by your local Indian grocer and pick up some yellow lentils (toor dhal) and Kashmiri chilli powder to create this one-pot wonder.
13. Palak paneer
DIY this eternal Indian curry shop favourite. Fried paneer cheese cooked in a smooth and vibrant sauce of pureed greens.
Rather than purely just vegetables, this is a curry of chickpea dumplings, called "gatta". They're made by mixing up a dough of chickpea flou, yoghurt and spices, rolling the dough into little ropes, cooking these in boiling water, then slicing them into coin shapes. This treasure bounty of coins is then cooked in a lively tomato-yoghurt sauce.
This is mild saag paneer is a great way to use up greens, whether they're beetroot tops, silverbeet leaves, spinach or kale.
My mum taught me this pakora recipe. The chickpea dough is quite dry, not like a batter at all, so when they are fried, they get extra crisp on the outside, while still being nice and soft in the centre. I've added coconut milk to make the flavours pop.
Many of my Asian patients with blood sugar problems tell me that they struggle to replace flatbreads or chapattis in their diet. Unfortunately, most shop-bought flatbreads these days are made of highly refined wheat flour, whereas in India they are traditionally made with wholemeal chickpea flour, which is relatively lower in carbohydrate and high in protein and fibre. It is also gluten-free.
Dosa, or Thosai, originated in South India. It is traditionally a breakfast dish of a fermented crepe with a spiced potato filling. This full-flavoured, low-fat and high-fibre option includes dried spices for a healthy meal.
Canned lentils are a great, mid-week time saver and this quick cook dhal can be pulled together from mostly pantry staples in less time than it takes for delivery to arrive.