4 delicious Indian dishes to warm up your winter

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We bring you a selection of easy and nutritious Indian recipes that are super healthy too.
With its aromatic spices, rich ingredients and heady flavours, Indian cuisine ranks high up on the list of the most satisfying comfort foods. On the downside, it’s often exceptionally calorific thanks to unhealthy preparation methods, lashings of ghee and oil, and larger-than-life portion sizes. But there’s no need to write off your favourite Indian foods in the name of health, as Great British Bake-Off star and bestselling author Chetna Makan reveals in her latest recipe book Chetna’s Healthy Indian. This enticing cookbook contains healthy home cooking at its best, for crowd-pleasing flavour that doesn’t compromise on nourishment and comfort. Enjoy!



1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2.5cm dice
1 tbsp + 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
1¼ tsp salt
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can chickpeas
400ml boiling water
100g spinach leaves, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
2. Spread out the squash pieces on a roasting tray.
3. Sprinkle over 1 tsp of the oil and ¼ tsp of the salt, then rub the oil over the cubes with your fingers. Bake for 40 minutes, until the squash is soft and starting to brown.
4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over a medium to low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, until it begins to colour.
5. Add the remaining salt to the saucepan, along with the cinnamon, cumin and chilli powder, and mix well.
6. Tip in the canned tomatoes, the chickpeas (along with the canned water) and the boiling water. Give everything a good stir, then cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, until everything is cooked down and well combined.
7. Stir the roasted squash and spinach leaves into the saucepan. Cover the pan with the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Serve immediately.



8 skinless chicken pieces on the bone (I use 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 curry leaves
2 small green chillies, finely chopped
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can chickpeas

1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1 lime

1. Put the chicken pieces into a bowl and sprinkle over the marinade ingredients.
2. Now rub the chicken pieces so they are well covered with the marinade. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes while you prepare the onions.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4.
4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in an ovenproof saucepan over medium–low heat.
5. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom pods and cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Stir in the curry leaves and green chillies and cook for few seconds more, then add the onions, increase the heat to medium and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, until the onions are golden brown.
6. Stir the garlic into the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes, then push the onions to the side of the pan.
7. Increase the heat to high, add the marinated chicken and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until it takes on some colour.
8. Stir in the salt, ground cumin and garam masala. Next, tip in the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas, plus their canning liquid, and mix well.
9. Cover the pan with a lid or kitchen foil, transfer it to the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and bake, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
10. Remove the pan from the oven, cover again and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Serve warm.



700g cod fillet, cut into 2 – 3cm pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground turmeric fresh coconut, very finely chopped, to garnish (optional)

1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
3 shallots, ground to a paste using a mini food processor
1 tsp fresh root ginger paste (made using a mini food processor or pestle and mortar)
1 tsp garlic paste (made using a mini food processor or pestle and mortar)
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp tamarind paste
400ml can coconut milk

1. Put the cod into a large bowl and rub the pieces with the salt and turmeric. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until the curry is almost ready.
2. To make the curry sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When it is smoking hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. After 1 – 2 minutes, once they start to pop, stir in the shallot paste and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, until golden. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the coriander, turmeric and salt. Once combined, add the tamarind paste and coconut milk. Mix well, then cover the pan with a lid and cook for 8 – 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
3. Add the fish pieces to the sauce and cook gently for 3 – 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
4. Garnish with the fresh coconut, if liked, and serve immediately.



3 gelatine leaves
200ml milk
200ml double cream
100ml coconut cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 2 limes
30g caster sugar
85g Alphonso mango purée
1 mango, diced, to decorate

1. Put the gelatine into a bowl of cold water and set aside to soak.
2. Combine the milk, double cream, coconut cream and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. As soon as the mixture begins to bubble, take it off the heat and add half the lime zest and the sugar. Whisk well to dissolve the sugar.
3. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add them to the hot cream mixture. Whisk again until the gelatine dissolves, then add the mango purée and whisk again.
4. Pour the mixture into 5 ramekins, then transfer to the refrigerator and leave to set for 2 – 3 hours.
5. Turn out the panna cottas on to serving plates. Top with the fresh mango, sprinkle over the remaining lime zest, and serve chilled.

These recipes were extracted from Chetna’s Healthy Indian by Chetna Makan (Mitchell Beazley publishing, R437, photography by Nassima Rothacker)

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