Friday, 24 January 2014

Ditch the takeaway – try this…

There’s a misconception that all Indian cuisine is fattening, calorie-laden and generally unhealthy. But step away from creamy curries and deep-fried starters and you’ll find a host of fresh, flavourful dishes that are not only kinder to your waistline, but good for your health, too.
Sabbir Karim, Best Innovative Asian and Oriental Chef of the Year 2013 and owner of London’s Namaaste Kitchen and Salaam Namaaste, is an advocate of healthy Indian cooking. 

"I’m not sure where this misconception began that made people think that all Indian food is high in saturated fats, calories and overall just unhealthy for you. In the past, it's true, more attention used to be given to the taste of the food, rather than considering the nutritional value. But as more and more chefs have become aware and educated in the healthy eating and healthy cooking concept, they have shifted their focus to the nutritional value and how the Indian food is prepared. The fact is that when we cook traditional Indian food, unlike some of the takeaways people are used to, we use fresh ingredients and produce and we also incorporate a lot of vegetables into our dishes. Indian cooking also requires using a lot of spices that are considered to have healing properties, such as turmeric, ginger and garlic – all of which are healthy ingredients."

So this weekend, ditch the takeaway menu and treat yourself instead to Sabbir’s signature recipe…

Lahori Tawa Lamb Chops (lamb chops marinated in fresh ginger paste, papaya, herbs and spices)  

Prep 20 min + marinating
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

For the lamb chops
2tbsp ginger paste
2tbsp garlic paste
1½tbsp papaya paste (½ papaya, deseeded but skin on, blended with 2tbsp cooking oil)
4 large lamb chops, trimmed and flattened slightly
1tbsp lemon juice
2tsp garam masala
½tsp chilli powder (to taste)
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
5tbsp natural yogurt
½tbsp fenugreek seeds
½tsp chilli flakes
½tbsp cooking oil
1tsp English mustard
2tsp mint sauce

For the sauce
50ml cooking oil
4 onions, chopped
3tbsp ginger paste
2tbsp garlic paste
2tsp tomato purée
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
4tsp makhani cooking sauce (available from Waitrose and Ocado)
1tsp chilli powder
2tsp ground turmeric
245g natural yogurt
2tsp lemon juice
1½tsp ground coriander
2tsp chopped fresh mint
½tsp kewra water or rose water
2tsp garam masala
Watercress, to garnish

1. First, prepare the lamb chops. Combine the ginger garlic and papaya pastes in a large mixing bowl, then massage into the lamb. Cover, then transfer to the fridge to marinate for at least 40 min.
2. Put the remaining lamb chop ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to a fine paste. Take the lamb out of the fridge, then add the paste to the bowl and turn to coat the chops. Cover, then return to the fridge for at least 1 hr.
3. Preheat the oven to its hottest setting. Lift the lamb chops out of the marinade on to a baking tray, then cook for 10–15 min. Set aside and keep warm.
4. Next, make the sauce. Heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onions until golden. Add the ginger paste, garlic paste and the tomato purée and mix well. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until soft. Stir in the makhani sauce, then add the chilli powder, turmeric and yogurt. Add the lamb chops to the frying pan with the lemon juice, ground coriander, chopped mint and 500ml water, then simmer for 3–4 min until the sauce is reduced and thick. Stir in the kewra water or rose water and the garam masala.
5. Divide the lamb among 4 plates, then garnish with watercress and serve with garlic naan or basmati rice, if you like.

Per serving
30g protein
26.9g fat
6.6g saturates
28.6g carbs
20.3g sugar
4.1g fibre
2.1g salt
293mg calcium
5.1mg iron

Low sat fat
Low sugar
High protein
High calcium
High iron
Gluten free
1 of 5-a-day

Health tip: why this dish is good for you

Lamb is a good source of vitamin B12, needed for normal cell division as well as neurological and psychological functions, and to prevent fatigue.

Garam masala (a blend of traditional South Asian spices, such as cumin, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves) is great for adding flavour, so you don't need any salt.
Ginger is good for soothing the digestive system and may also help alleviate pain linked to arthritis.
Yogurt is a good source of protein and is rich in calcium, needed for healthy bones and teeth.

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