350g basmati rice
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
10–12 fresh curry leaves
1 large-ish onion, sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, choppedsalt, to taste
½ tsp turmeric
½–1 tsp chilli powder
36 long Japanese aubergines, stalks cut off, cut into 2–3 pieces (depending on length)
2 tsp tamarind paste, dissolved in 4 tbsp of boiling water
2 handfuls of chopped coriander leaves
2 handfuls of fresh grated coconut (optional)
2 tbsp Bengal gram (chana dal), well washed
1 tbsp skinned and split black gram (urad dal), well washed
6 green cardamom pods
7cm cinnamon stick
3 tsp coriander seeds
2/3 tsp fenugreek seeds
1½ tsp cumin seeds
12 black peppercorns
Wash the rice well in several changes of water and leave to soak in enough water to cover well.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and, once the popping dies down, add the curry leaves and the onion; cook until the onion starts to colour on the edges. Add the garlic and cook over a gentle flame for 40 seconds or until the garlic starts to colour. Add the tomato, salt, turmeric and chilli powder with a splash of water and cook over a medium-high flame, stirring often, for four to five minutes.
Drain the rice, then add it and the aubergines to the pan and give them a good stir in the spices. Add 375ml of water, bring to the boil, then cover and cook over a really low flame until the rice has cooked through, around eight to 10 minutes.
As the rice cooks, roast your spices. Heat a frying pan (I use a small cast-iron pancake pan), add the Bengal gram and cook, stirring often, until the lentils turn a lovely golden brown; pour into a spice grinder or mortar. Add the smaller lentils to the pan and repeat until these have gently browned; add to the other lentils. Add the remaining spices to he pan and roast, shaking, until the cumin and coriander have darkened and become aromatic. Add to the lentils and grind to a fine powder.
Once the rice has cooked, uncover and add the spice powder and tamarind. Stir well with a fork, adjusting the seasoning as you do. Then cover and leave to steam for a few minutes. Stir in the coriander and sprinkle over the coconut, if using.
Anjum Anand is the new face of Indian cookery. Her first six-part prime-time BBC2 series Indian Food Made Easy aired in 2007 to a fanfare of positive publicity. Anjum was described as ‘the Indian Nigella’ and a wonderful advocate for simple, healthy, colourful, low-fat Indian food. Her first television tie-in book, INDIAN FOOD MADE EASY, published by Quadrille, remained in the bestseller list for eight weeks and has sold more than 275,000 copies. Quadrille has also published ANJUM’S NEW INDIAN, the tie-in to Anjum’s second six-part BBC2 television series in 2008, and ANJUM’S EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR BODY TYPE, which became one of the best-selling health books of 2010. Anjum was voted Personality of the Year at the 2009 British Curry Awards and her fifth book, I LOVE CURRY, published by Quadrille in 2010, is the essential book for all lovers of Indian food. Anjum Anand’s first book INDIAN EVERY DAYwas published by Headline in 2003 and remains an Indian cookery ‘must have’. Anjum was also a Guest Director at the 2011 Times Cheltenham Literary Festival.
In spring 2011, Anjum and her husband, Adarsh Sethia, launched a new range of authentic and traditional Indian sauces called The Spice Tailor. Each sauce comes with specially selected spices which give the dishes their homely flavour, for which Anjum is famous. In November 2013 the company also released its first range of chutneys. Anjum’s book, ANJUM’S INDIAN VEGETARIAN FEAST, was published by Quadrille in September 2012 and her new book, ANJUM’S QUICK AND EASY INDIAN COOKERY, was published in March 2014.
Anjum lives with Adarsh, and their children, Mahi and Aditey, in north London but travels regularly to visit her family in India.