Bake Off star Chetna Makan’s no-fuss vegetarian Indian dishes transform family suppers into tasty good-for-you feasts.
Summer brings plenty of fresh veg to choose from and I’ve found broad beans to be hugely popular with all my friends who grow their own veg at home. It might seem like a labour of love to peel broad beans but it’s worth it. If you find a kilo too much work, halve the quantity of broad beans and add some potatoes instead. This tastes amazing with rice or chapatti.
Podi is a southern Indian spice powder made with a blend of different lentils and spices. The recipe varies from region to region and from family to family. When I visited my friend Jayashree, she made this gorgeous potato dish. Making your own podi is worth the effort. This is great served with naan, chapatti or some bread – it’s also amazing in a wrap or toastie, with chutney and salad on the side.
Soft, scrumptious naan – no oven required! Chutney is the only thing needed to serve with these flavour-packed flatbreads, though you could choose raita, or use the naan to accompany a curry. They’re so tender they also make a perfect wrap.
There’s not much to do in this recipe – just combine everything and let the oven do the rest. The spicing is very simple, too. Serve as part of a feast table, or with yogurt and salad on the side. It’s super with naan or chapatti, and great in a wrap for lunch or a picnic.
Spinach and lentils is a typical combination and I have a few ways to cook them together, but this recipe is special. It flavours the spinach with lovely spices and coconut, making the taste unique. You can eat a bowl of this on its own or serve it with rice.
I’ve been told by friends that I should put this aubergine raita into jars and sell it in shops – they think it’s the best thing ever. The recipe was given to me by my friend Animesh’s mum Bharati, and I am so thankful to her for sharing it.
Turn to this cumin dal when you’re short on time and need something healthy, delicious and comforting. Moong dal takes very little time to cook and needs only the simplest tempering to make it perfect. I would happily eat this as a bowl of soup but my kids love it with yogurt and chapatti.
This is hands-down my kids’ favourite paneer recipe. They happily eat it with chapatti, naan or rice. The ingredients are simple and the paneer gives just the right amount of sourness and creaminess – awesome.
I enjoyed this bengali khichdi at the home of Ranjana, who runs a takeaway business in Delhi called Bhaat. I love that it’s such a simple, one-pot meal – incredibly comforting – yet the flavours are truly amazing. All it needs is a side of raita.
The aniseed flavour of carom seeds makes a lovely change from the more typical cumin in this recipe. It demands so little effort, it’s great for midweek meals and can be enjoyed with whatever you have at home: bread, naan, roti or rice – it goes well with everything.
Now buy Chetna’s brilliant book
Our recipes are from Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian by Chetna Makan, which is published by Mitchell Beazley, price £20. To order a copy go to octopusbooks.co.uk