Rick Stein shares his favourite recipes from his TV show, Rick Stein's India, including his cod curry, chicken korma and vegetarian curry
Much-loved celebrity chef, Rick Stein is on a mission in his six-part TV show, Rick Stein’s India, in which he journeys through one of the biggest and most colourful continents on earth in search of the perfect curry. Where better to learn the art than its home and from experts who cook it day in, day out, using the same recipes that have been passed down for generations.
“Whenever I hear the word curry, I’m filled with a longing for spicy hot food with the fragrance of cumin, cloves and cinnamon,” Rick explains. “I see deep red colours from lots of Kashmiri chillies, tinged with a suggestion of yellow from turmeric. I think of the tandoor oven, and slightly scorched naan shining with ghee and garlic. When Indians talk of their food, they talk about their life. To understand this country, you need to understand curry.”
His quest for the perfect curry takes him from Bengal in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south; featuring home cooks using traditional family recipes to street vendors cooking up a storm in the local market. Each area provides a different take on the traditional dish, from fragrant kormas, delicate spiced fish and slow-cooked biryanis.
Rick Stein is a much-loved and respected British chef with a love of locally sourced produce and delicious flavour combinations in both the recipes in his restaurants and cookbooks. He is best known for his passion for cooking sustainable fish in a refreshing and original way. This passion is reflected in the fact that he runs a seafood cookery school where he inspires the love of cooking fresh fish in young chefs.
Be transported to India with these three wonderful recipes that Rick has shared from his Indian odyssey?
“As I watched this dish being cooked in Pondicherry, I thought it was the perfect recipe for our own cod; you could also try it with pollock, haddock or hake,” says Rick. “Another simple, fresh and fragrant curry from Southern India, and, as I’m rather too fond of saying, if we could get fish dishes like this anywhere, everyone would love fish.”
“One of the questions I constantly asked myself in India was whether I could get food like this back in the UK,” says Rick. “More often than not the answer was probably no, and with this korma the answer was emphatically no. Lucknow, with its history of Nawab rulers, is famous for the finesse of its dishes, and Rocky Mohan’s korma carries on that tradition. I had the most fabulous day cooking with him. The black cardamom added at the end of cooking is an essential flavour in this particular dish.”
“Thoran is a dry vegetable curry from Kerala made from whatever fresh vegetables are around – snake beans, unripe jack fruit, sag (leafy vegetables), even green tomatoes,” says Rick. “Taking a very common and normally in season vegetable in the UK, like cabbage, I’ve worked on this dish to produce my own version, which means I’ve kept faithful to the essental ingredients of mustard seeds, green chillis, ginger and, above all, grated coconut, but I have made the dish as quick as possible to produce.”
Inspired? Take a look at our curry recipe collection.