Despite a degree in European business, Anjum Anand's love for Indian food drove her to become a chef. Though she grew up in London, lived and studied in Paris, Madrid, and Geneva, she developed a strong affinity for native Indian cuisine with its curries and spices. She worked in innovative restaurants in the US and India to develop and hone her culinary skills. But her primary interest lay in delicious and sophisticated Indian dishes, easy to cook at home.
The common perception about Indian food is that it is greasy, heavy on the stomach, and complicated to cook. It is this notion that Anand wants to challenge and popularize home cooking Indian food in the United Kingdom. She is a published cookbook author. 'Indian Every Day: Light, Healthy Indian Food', published in 2003 was her first book. Her recipes cater to the needs of health-conscious cooks. Her comprehensive yet easy-to-follow recipes offer healthy ways to cook the best Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
Indian Food Made Easy
Chef Anjum Anand's book, 'Indian Food Made Easy', launched in 2007 was at the top of Amazon's best selling list for the year. She garnered very good reviews for the book. 'Anjum's Vegetarian Feast' is another of her best-selling books that has a rating of 4/5 on Goodreads. Her latest book, 'I love India' is a collection of recipes for lovers of authentic Indian food who prefer healthy, vegan, and gluten-free diets.
Anjum strongly believes that tasty food need not necessarily imply unhealthy food that will harm the well-being of the human body. In fact, the principles of Ayurveda strongly influence her culinary practices. Anand's focus on creating healthy recipes and eating right stemmed from personal experience of countering weight issues growing up.
The authenticity of Anjum Anand's recipes stems from her first-hand knowledge of the Indian culinary traditions from her frequent visits to the country. She has family homes in the cities of Delhi and Kolkata. The inspiration she gets from these visits coupled with the fresh ingredients that are available in the UK, helps her to give life to her recipes.
Quick and Easy Indian Food Recipes
Anjum Anand chef recipes promise to deliver on health without compromising on taste. Her dishes have authentic and bold Indian flavors. She has developed easy recipes on lamb curry, fish curry, daal, snack items, and a host of other delectable dishes. Given below are some of her popular recipes.
Recipe for Black Masala Chicken Curry
- For the chicken
- 20g peeled ginger
- 5 large peeled garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium chopped red onions
- 2 medium roughly tomatoes
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 x 31g pack chopped coriander
- 850g chicken joints with bones (about 8 medium-sized joints)
- 2 tsp tamarind paste or lemon juice to taste
2. For the Black Masala spice mix (makes 150g, you will need three tbsp)
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 4 tbsp sesame seeds
- 45g coriander seeds
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 8 cloves
- 2 whole black cardamom pods
- Seeds of 4 green cardamom pods
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- ½ stick cinnamon
- 2 star anise
- Make the Black Masala spice mix. Dry fry 50g desiccated coconut in a large frying pan until it has become quite golden, then put it aside in a bowl.
- Toast 4 tbsp sesame seeds until golden, then add to the bowl and repeat with 45g coriander seeds.
- Now add 2 tsp vegetable oil to the pan with 2 tbsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp caraway seeds, 8 cloves, 2 whole black cardamom pods (optional), the seeds of 4 green cardamom pods, ½ tsp black peppercorns, ½ stick cinnamon, and 2 star anise. Fry over low heat, stirring, until aromatic and lightly toasted.
- Add the spice mix to the bowl. When cool, grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder, or with a pestle and mortar.
- Purée the ginger and garlic in a small blender with a little water until smooth. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Add the onions with some seasoning and fry until well browned on the edges, around 8-9 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste, cook to remove the moisture, and gently fry until the garlic smells cooked, around 40-50 seconds more.
- Blend the tomatoes to a purée, add to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oil starts to release from the sauce at the edges of the pan.
- Add the garam masala and 3 rounded tbsp black masala and half of the fresh coriander along with a splash of water and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken; stir well to coat in the masala mixture. Add enough water to come 3⁄4 of the way up the chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook gently on medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the lid and finish cooking the chicken as you reduce the sauce, over higher heat. Stir and turn the chicken in the sauce as it reduces. This takes 10-15 minutes, by which time the chicken will be cooked.
- Season, taste, and, if you want, stir in extra black masala, to taste. Add the tamarind or lemon juice and the remaining coriander leaves and serve.
Recipe for Palak Paneer
- 750g baby spinach
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into long julienne
- 1½ tbsp chopped garlic
- 1-2 green chilies, whole
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- salt, to taste
- 250g/8¾oz ready-made paneer (available from some supermarkets and Asian grocers), cut into cubes
- ½-1 tsp garam masala
- 6 tbsp whole milk, or 4 tbsp double cream
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
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