Healthy, meet spicy: GBBO’s Chetna Makan’s no-fuss vegetarian Indian dishes

Bake Off star Chetna Makan’s no-fuss vegetarian Indian dishes transform family suppers into tasty good-for-you feasts.

chetna makan recipes
Image: Nassima Rothacker

Broad bean curry

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.

chetna makan broad bean curry
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Podi potatoes

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.

chetna makan podi potatoes
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Chilli naan

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.

chetna makan chilli naan
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Roast cauliflower and red onions

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.

chetna makan roast cauliflower
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Spinach and lentil dal

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.

chetna makan spinach and lentil dal
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Aubergine raita

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.

chetna makan aubergine raita
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Cumin dal

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.

chetna makan cumin dal
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Masala paneer

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.

chetna makan masala paneer
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Bengali khichdi

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.

chetna makan bengali khichdi
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Aubergine and green pepper sabji

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.

chetna makan aubergine and green pepper sabji
Image: Nassima Rothacker. Food styling: Sian Henley. Props styling: Morag Farquhar

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Now buy Chetna’s brilliant book

chetna mayan healthy IndianOur 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