Courgette curry

A simple, easy to cook and delicious vegetable. Once you have the base done, it cooks pretty quickly – it really is worth cooking down the base as detailed below.

2 medium size courgettes, washed and sliced;

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 green chillies, finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used a mix of 8 cherry tomatoes and some passata)

t tbsp tomato puree/paste

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup water

handful of fresh coriander leaves

1 tbsp kasoori methi

1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala

Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start sizzling, stir in the onions, ginger garlic and green chillies, Cook till the onions are soft and translucent. Don’t let the onions brown – add the tomatoes and a little water. Bhun on medium heat till the oil separates, and if need be, add a little bit more water and cook it down. The tomatoes have to cook till very very soft, so much that they mush with the back of your spoon and disintegrate in the sauce.

At this point, stir in the masalas and the courgettes. Combine well, making sure the masala coats the courgettes well and cover the pot, reduce the heat. The courgettes don’t need stirring much, or they will turn to mush. Let them cook on low heat, stirring gently once or maybe twice just to mix the masala gravy on them. They will be cooked in 10 minutes. Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves and some kasoori methi for some fragrance and serve hot.

Aloo mattar (Potatoes and peas)

A simple, comforting dish that most people love. It’s something that’s grown on me over the last few years and I don’t make it as often as I should.

Aloo mattar aka potato and peas

6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed

1.5 cups frozen peas

1 onion, finely chopped

2-3 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tsp garlic paste

1 cup chopped tomatoes (1/2 can)

1 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp coriander powder

2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 tbsp kasoori methi

Heat oil in a pot, add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start to sizzle, stir in the onions and green chillies. Saute until the onions are soft, translucent and golden in colour. Add the ginger and garlic paste, and continue to saute for a minute before stirring in the chopped tomatoes. Cover the pot and let the tomatoes soften and cook down until the oil separates. You should be able to mash them with the back of your spoon kind of soft.

I use a hand blender and blitz it to a smooth gravy at this point, but that’s optional.

Stir in the spices and cook them for a few seconds before adding the tomato paste. Add the peas and 3-4 cups of water, along with the potatoes. Stir well, cover the pot and let it cook on medium heat until potatoes have cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). Sprinkle the fresh coriander leaves and the kasoori methi. Season with salt and black pepper. Adjust the thickness of gravy to your taste by adding water. If you want it thicker, remove the lid and let the water bubble away.

Let it bubble away for a few more minutes before serving with rice or freshly made chapattis. The leftovers are fabulous the next day for breakfast with fresh paranthas.