Indian heirloom recipes to try at home

Aussie super-chef Christine Manfield shares three heirloom recipes straight from the kitchens of India

Food & Drink
29 November 2011

Christine Manfield spent five years visiting the kitchens of India to collect heirloom recipes for her book Tasting India. The recipes are so authentic that India Today has called for her book to be a mandatory wedding gift for newly married Indian couples.

Christine lists three of her favourite recipes below.

Ladakhi chicken curry

Serves 4

A typical Ladakhi preparation, this simple yet fragrant chicken curry is a recipe of Yeshi and Paul, the chefs at the Stok house in Ladakh.

2 red onions, roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp roughly chopped ginger
2 green chillies, roughly chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
800g chicken breast fillet, sliced into thin strips
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Put the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, tomato and chilli powder into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken. Fry over a medium heat for one minute only, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Tip the onion and tomato paste into the same pan and fry over a medium heat for 40 minutes until softened and sauce-like, adding a little water if it appears too dry.

Add the chicken and stir into the sauce until well coated. Cook for three minutes, then season with the salt and remove from the heat. Stir through the fresh coriander and serve hot with steamed rice.

Sweet & sour tomatoes

Serves 4

This is one of my all-time favourite tomato preparations. From Rashmi at Rohet Garh, it epitomises the food of the desert. It can be served with other vegetable dishes and makes a great accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken, especially during summer when clean, light flavours are in demand.

80 ml vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
4 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Heat the oil in a kadhai or wok and fry the cumin and mustard seeds over a medium heat until they splutter. Add the tomato and stir until coated with the seeds, then stir in the ground spices, salt and sugar.

Add 250 ml water, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes – not too long, or the tomato will break down. Sprinkle with the fresh coriander to serve.

Spicy scrambled eggs with tomato

Serves 4

Just one of the many breakfast egg dishes in Jamshyd’s Parsi repertoire and a favourite in the mountains most mornings, providing perfect fuel for the brisk mountain walks that lay ahead of us each day.

40g butter
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, finely diced
2 small green chillies, minced
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
8 eggs, beaten

Heat a frying pan and melt the butter, then fry the onion until it starts to brown. Add the turmeric and stir to combine, cooking for a few minutes until the onion is brown. Add the garlic and stir, then add the tomato and chilli and stir to combine. Cook until softened, then add the fresh coriander.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes so the mixture is not too hot when the eggs are added. Return the pan to a low heat and add the eggs, stirring gently to scramble them. Season with salt, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.

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