Being huge lovers of hosting dinner parties the team often chats about the meals we've made for our friends and family through the years. We have our comforting favourites, our fool-proofs, and the crowd-pleasers. But also, we talk about food we want to learn to cook better, or new ways to reinvigorate the recipes we already know. At the top of the list for us is Indian food.
So, we've invited the ever-vibrant and incredibly talented Amandip Uppal to do a Masterclass and book signing of her new cookbook, Indian Made Easy on Wednesday February 15th at School.
Just to get everyone even more excited we sat down and had a chat with Amandip about her inspirations, and got to pick four (because three wasn't enough) recipes from her cookbook we simply couldn't resist sharing!
[Interview with Amandip Uppal]
Was your soon to launch website, ChiliHotChocolate always in the grand master plan? If not what sparked the move into the culinary world after being with The Times and Conde Nast Traveller for so many years?
I've been cooking beside my parents since the age of 9 but fashion was my other passion so I later went on to study Fashion Journalism and Illustration. Whilst working at Conde Nast Traveller I had the opportunity to cross over into food related features. ChiliHotChocolate has ended up being the perfect platform because it combines my love of casual gatherings, beautifully laid tables and kitchen settings. Also, my fashion background has allowed me to look at most things with a border less attitude, this reflects the way I cook, eat and style my home.
How would you describe 'Indian Made Easy' and what makes it so different?
The aim was to write a book based on traditional recipes but with a hand-held attitude towards Indian Cuisine. I then blended in my vision of what an up-to-date Indian cookbook should offer...other than the obvious. This meant including recipes you'd love to introduce among your busy week and not just turn to when hosting a full Indian themed supper. The book has a two-way approach - for first timers, and for those who already have the spices but would like new ways to consider using them.
Is there a dish that is most special to you? And why?
Tadka Dhal as it is the very first dish my mother taught me to make using her fabulous methodical style.
If you could create the ultimate table for an evening, what would you chose from S&B?
Oh gosh! There's just too much to choose from - but I especially love all the beautiful 'Perspectives' and 'Fade' tablecloth collections. They make such an exquisite back drop for any tableware. Then there's also the gorgeous hand blown Lagoon glasses, the Vintage Style Champagne Coupes and those fabulous
Astier de Villatte Candlesticks!
In your opinion, what's the secret to a great dinner party?
Definitely have 1-2 statement dishes that can partly be prepared a few days in advance. I make concentrated pastes for curries and marinades 1-2 days ahead of time. The rest of the menu I keep very simple. Set the table the night before as all you want to do is compile the dishes on the night, making sure you spend more time with your guests.
If you could invite any 5-10 people to dinner who would they be?
David Bowie and Albert Einstein (both for my daughter), Coco Chanel, Stephen Fry, Danny Boyle, Annie Lennox and of course my mum who just loved anything I cooked.
What are your go-to tunes for a dinner party?
I have such a global, eclectic taste in music...it would be anything from moody jazz to tribal sounds. I play what ever appeals to my imagination and the mood I want to try create.
I just adore Rick Stein... I could listen to him all day. He absorbs himself into the culture and history of any country he visits, making you feel inspired and that you're right there with him.
My dad - He's like a mad spice scientist!
Hanging out with my friends, which is a real treat as we're all spread across London. The other thing I love to do is have breakfast in bed and watch 'catch-up' TV for as long as I can get away with it.
I'm lucky enough to be able to get right out of London and go to Yorkshire, where I'm originally from - as London can feel quite hectic. It's so fantastic being able to step right out of it and breathe! I'm also intrigued by fabulous European cities such as Copenhagen, Salzberg and Istanbul.
I'm looking forward to some exciting collaborations (but its still a secret at the moment!) and quite possibly a new book.
A Glimpse Into 'Indian Made Easy'
a few stunning recipes from Amandip's cookbook
[Carrot & Chickpea Pancakes]
5cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 green chilli, seeded (optional) and finely chopped, or large
pinch of red chilli flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
¼ teaspoon ajwain seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
125g fine chickpea flour (besan)
1–2 tablespoons ghee or oil
Place all the ingredients, except the ghee or oil into a large bowl and mix, gradually adding 80–100ml cold water, until the batter mix resembles the consistency of double cream.
Dip some paper towel into the ghee or oil and carefully wipe the inside of a non-stick crêpe or frying pan to coat the entire pan. Heat the pan over a medium heat, then gradually pour in one ladleful of the batter and swirl the pan to get a nice even layer.
Cook for about 35–40 seconds, then gently lift out with a palette knife to check if it is golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side for about 35–40 seconds. Continue this process until all the batter is finished. Serve.
[Shallots with Tamarind & Toasted Coconut]
[Photo: Lisa Linder]
6 garlic cloves
2.5cm piece ginger
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
½ large onion, thinly sliced
1kg skinless chicken on the bone, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
5cm piece cassia or cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
2 black cardamom pods
6–8 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
450ml vegetable or chicken stock or water
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons oil
250g basmati rice, thoroughly washed
1 lime, cut into wedges
*Note: Chicken on the bone releases a more intense flavour to the dish.
Using a mortar and pestle, make a fine paste with the garlic and ginger. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and stock or water. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add the whole spices and fry for 20 seconds, then add the onion and fry for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn up the heat, then add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 1–2 minutes.
Add the chicken, ground spices and salt and mix together well. Cover with a lid and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add half the yoghurt stock, stir through, bring to the boil, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the rice and coriander and the remaining yoghurt stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 16–18 minutes, or until the rice liquid has evaporated and the chicken and rice are tender. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 5–7 minutes with the lid on. Sprinkle with ground cumin and serve immediately with lime wedges.
[Chili Hot Chocolate]
[Photo: Lisa Linder]
750ml full-fat milk
75ml single cream
1 dried red chilli
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of grated nutmeg
25g drinking chocolate powder
150g good-quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
small pinch of red chilli flake
6 tablespoons whipped double cream and grated chocolate
Heat the milk, cream, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and chilli in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat.
Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside for 8 –10 minutes to infuse.
Strain into a clean pan and reheat over a low heat for 2–3 minutes (don’t boil).
Reduce the heat, add the chocolate powder and chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth and melted.
Serve with whipped cream, grated chocolate and a very small sprinkle of chilli flakes, adding extra sugar, if liked.
Click here for more information and to book tickets for Amandip's Workshop
Wednesday 15th February 2017
7 - 8:30 pm
100 Portland Road
+44 (0) 207 221 4566