Just after Christmas the Beeb re-showed the Hairy Dieters mini-series. I liked it because unlike so many other “diets” it dispensed with the nonsense fad ideas and went for the basic point: if you want to lose weight you have to reduce your calorie intake and do a bit of exercise. Eat less, do more.
The bikers then showed how to make some “real” food but with changes to reflect the new low-calorie paradigm. There were lard-free pies, tasty-looking wraps and, most importantly, curries.
I haven’t got the book yet because Amazon had sold out when I looked but yesterday I made a curry based on their Masala-marinated chicken recipe. My version would comforably serve four.
I took the instructions for the masala marinade:
6 cardamom pods
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground fenugreek
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp paprika
1-2 tsp hot chilli powder (the more you use, the spicier the dish)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp flaked sea salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
40g/1½oz piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
100g/3½oz low-fat natural yoghurt
To make the marinade, split the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Put the cardamom seeds in a dry non-stick frying pan and discard the husks. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, cloves and black peppercorns and place the pan over a medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly until the spices are lightly toasted – you know they’re ready when you can smell the spicy aroma.
Tip the toasted spices into a pestle and mortar, or an electric spice grinder, and pound to a fine powder. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the fenugreek, turmeric, paprika, chilli powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the garlic, ginger and yoghurt, then mix well and leave to stand while you prepare the chicken.
I divided the amounts of spices in three because I was “only” cooking 500g of chicken breast. I replaced fenugreek with fennel seeds because Sainsbury’s failed to deliver the fenugreek with my online order earlier in the week. I put in a bit more than a third of 100g of yoghurt.
I marinaded the diced chicken in the amazing-smelling, amazing-looking gloop for about four hours.
Then I departed completely from their recipe.
I chopped two large onions and crushed two cloves of garlic and lightly fried them in a teeny-weeny bit of oil. When they were soft I poured in all the gloop from the first stage, a carton of chopped tomatoes and some green beans that needed eating. I brought them up to the simmer and plonked the whole dish in the oven at gas mark 4/5 for about 45 minutes.
I meant to check on it after half an hour but I got side-tracked installing a wifi bridge for my Sky box.
After 45 minutes the curry had lost all its liquid so I added the rest of the carton of yoghurt and stirred it in. I then put it back in the oven for as long as it took to cook some rice.
I can safely say that it was a top notch meal. Highly recommended.