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A feast fit for a Raj

March 11, 2011

Birthday dinner

It’s H’s birthday, and he fancied an Indian feast. I decided to try to re-create our typical take-away order: poppadoms and a chutney tray, chicken makhani, lamb rogan josh, pilau rice and a naan bread.

Preparations began two days ago, when I made the lamb rogan josh using a BBC recipe and a chicken makhani courtesy of Both curries have been refrigerating for two days, the flavours slowly mingling and deepening.

Today I began by preparing the dough mix for the naan, which I was delighted to find I could make in our much-loved breadmaker, using Sarah’s fabulous recipe. The dough cycle takes an hour and a half, which was plenty of time to wash the rice and leave it to soak while I got on with the rest of the meal.

Our ‘chutney tray’

We’re big fans of ‘poppadoms with a chutney tray’, so I bought ready-to-fry poppadoms and mango chutney and made Jamie Oliver’s spicy lemon pickle (from his 30 minutes book), raita using a BBC recipe and an onion salad from Hubpages.

The poppadoms make a fantastic noise when they hit the hot oil and start to expand – it all looked rather dangerous for someone as accident-prone as I am, so I left H in charge. I used to have little metal bowls that I’d have loved to have served these in, but they’ve gone AWOL, so I ended up dumping them in tupperware. They compensated for their poor presentation with their fabulous flavours.

At this stage I started to reheat the rogan josh and the makhani, and cracked on with yet another BBC Food recipe, this time for fragrant pilau rice, using saffron as well as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. This is the closest I’ve ever got to making real Indian restaurant-style rice, and I was delighted with how well it turned out. Definitely one for special occasions though, as I’m planning to be very mean with my more-expensive-than-gold shreds of saffron.

Pilau rice, chicken makhani and lamb rogan josh

The naan was really simple to knock out, bake and grill, and looked and tasted just like the real thing. The lamb for the rogan josh was done to a turn and the makhani managed to be both creamy and spicy.

To really ramp up the authenticity, I served this with chilled Kingfisher Premium lager and we ended the meal with After Eight Thin Mints.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2011 1:59 pm

    Hi there…

    Your Indian feast looks absolutely gorgeous and i’m pleased you enjoyed the naan Recipe 🙂


    • March 12, 2011 9:34 pm

      Thank you – it was delicious and so easy! I’ll have to try your Chelsea bun recipe next!

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