For many people, the Boxing Day feed consists of a beautiful pink roast ham in the centre of the table or some cobbled together leftovers. For me, it’s fast becoming a tradition that I make a curry banquet using recipes from Rick Stein’s fabulous India cookbook.
This year was no exception. Three days before Christmas, my mum, dad and I got to work on preparing no less than five curries to feed 11 people on Boxing Day.
Here’s what was on the menu this year (you can find all the recipes in Rick Stein’s brilliant India book, which I thoroughly recommend).
Lamb Rogan Josh – you can find this on page 258 of the book. This dish was surprisingly easy to make, you just need a bit of time to allow the lamb to cook. With all of the curries in this cook book, I really do think it’s worth trying to find the listed ingredients. We bought all our spices on a website called the Asian Cookshop, which sells just about every spice you can think of. I can’t imagine that this dish would be the same without the distinctively pungent and heady hit of dried Kashmiri chillies. This curry has such a rich depth of flavours and is one I will make again soon.
Butter chicken – this is on page 210. I would say that all round, this was most people’s favourite dish. It takes a lot more work than the other curries we made as it needs two different marinades, but the results are simply stunning. The first marinade is lime juice, Kashmiri chilli powder and salt. The second, which you leave for four hours, consists of a whopping list of ingredients, including yoghurt, cream, ginger, turmeric, cumin and beetroot powder, to name but a few. You then need to grill the chicken on skewers as well as make a sauce. There may be a lot of steps involved as well as a lot of ingredients. But believe me… it’s worth it!
Tarka dal – My brother Simon and his girlfriend Jess don’t eat dairy or meat so I decided to make three different vegetarian curries as I knew everyone would want some of these as well. Tarka dal is one of their absolute favourites and I think what really made this dish was the sizzling tarka that you put on top just before serving. This is made of black mustard seeds, shallots and Kashmiri chillies and adds a real zing to the dal. Find this on page 106 of the book.
Vegetable makhanawala – I boosted our vegetable intake for the Boxing Day curry feast by throwing in cauliflower, potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots and courgettes into this simple but tasty dish. I stirred in a bit of extra garam masala towards the end of cooking as I think it needed a bit more depth. You can find this recipe on page 84 of Rick Stein’s India.
Chana masala – this is on page 98 of Rick Stein’s India. Now, this is a vegetarian curry that I could easily eat in the place of a meat curry any day of the week. Mum and dad soaked a huge batch of chickpeas overnight beforehand, which really did make all the difference. The chickpeas were firm to the bite and full of flavour, which is more than would have been said had we used the tinned versions.
As for accompaniments, I made pilau rice and Indian spiced roast potatoes. Simon and Jess told me that these were the best potatoes they’d ever eaten which made me feel rather chuffed. Plus, the curry even got a thumbs up from my grandma who isn’t usually fond of spicy flavours.
Looks like curry will be on the menu for Boxing Day 2016 too…