The Full Indian Monty

Back in the day when Europe was desperate for more people to work for us, a lot of countries invited what we in Denmark call “guest workers” up………. only problem was that after 10 years of working and living here, when there wasn’t that much work, they wouldn’t go back….. can you believe the cheek? Imagine coming up here – INVITED, as a GUEST to work and then not wanting to leave once you had established a life, learned the language and your kids the same? SCANDALOUS!!!

Anyway, in Denmark, we invited the Turks and once we didn’t have any more manual labour for them, many of them started making pizza shops!

In England, the Indians were invited and instead of pizza shops, the UK populations got Indian restaurants (consider yourselves lucky) galore.

Anyway, this is my take on why we in Denmark have crappy pizza shops and England has beautiful Indian restaurants – I actually have no idea if this is what happened!

In Århus, where we live, there are two Indian restaurant and I don’t know which is worse…. they are both run by Indians and as such I can’t rate the quality of the food, I can only say that the Indian meals I was used to enjoying in the UK are a far cry from this bland, boring stuff I have been served in these restaurants: the main dishes were like soup, the naan breads little different from the supermarket bought ones, but worst of all: THEY DIDN’T HAVE ONION BHAJIS!!!!

So I decided to embark on my own, Indian food adventure and scoured the internet for recipes. I found step to step guides of my favourite Indian take-away dishes cooked by a beautiful, young Indian woman, head chef at the Maharaji in London….. and she know her sh!t!

These were the dishes, we used to order:

  • Johanne: Onion Bhaji, Chicken Tikka Balti, Saag Aloo, Naan bread
  • Matt: Lamb Samosas, Lamb Rogan Josh, Saag Aloo and Chapati

So what are these dishes? For Danish people they are just weird Indian names, but for me they are mouthwatering memories:

  • Onion Bhaji: sliced onions in a spicy, thick batter (pandekagedej), with chili and coriander, cooked in oil till crisp

Onion bhajis

Chicken Tikka Balti

  • Saag aloo: a spicy potato and spinach dish:

Saag Aloo

  • Naan bread: a small, flat, slightly sweet bread baked with both yeast and baking powder. Originally cooked on the inside of a clay oven, but here cooked in the oven:

Naan bread

  • Lamb samosas: little filo pastry parcels filled with a spice and hot minced lamb filling:

Lamb samosas

Lamb Rogan Josh

  • Chapatti: Indian flatbreads baked on a pan:

Chappati

  • I serve these dishes with a homemade mango chutney and boiled basmati rice. If you like your rice fragrant, you can add some turmeric and cardamom pods to the water, but personally, I think the food has enough flavour.

Be aware, though – this is NOT fast food – when I cook all this food (which I only do for special occasions), it takes me more or less a whole day. On the other hand it is an achievement to have made so many dishes and see the look on people’s faces when they tuck into the spicy dishes…………and then you know how much (or how little fat) you added to the dish – much healthier this way!!!

The curry dishes are easy and fast to make, so you can easily try those out any night of the week – the time consuming part is if you want the full Monty (all of the dishes), the bread and the starters…….. but go ahead, try it out!!!

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