A Taste of India

Since moving to SF, something I have been consistently told by Americans is that English food is disgusting.  Fish and Chips, Shepherds Pie, Roast Beef…  Compare these dishes with Meatloaf, Mac & Cheese and Sloppy Joes…  Americans, I think its time to get down off your soap box.

This weekend is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so be prepared for numerous Patriotic posts over the coming days.  What better way to start than with a real English classic… Chicken Tikka Massala.

I am sure some of you are wondering how this is an ‘English’ classic, when clearly it is something you would order at an Indian restaurant.  Well, in 2011, my fellow countrymen voted it as their favourite dish, and I don’t blame them.  There’s quite possibly nothing better than a takeaway curry washed down with a few beers, in front of the TV after a long week at work.

The Brits are lucky to have such fantastic Indian influences all over the UK, from Brick Lane in London to the Curry Mile in Manchester.  I am yet to find an Indian restaurant in SF that can compete.

So, Americans, I am on a mission to prove to you, that the food you will find in England can be delicious… it just needs to be cooked the right way!

For my Chicken Tikka Massala I used Jamie Oliver’s recipe.  He is one of my favourite British cooks, and although he is most definitely not Indian, I think he has a great understanding of the spices required to get the taste just right.   I would usually just serve with basmati rice, but on this occasion I felt like giving Saag Aloo a go.

It is a delicious mix of potatoes, spinach and spices that makes you feel like you are stepping into India with every bite.  In fact, my roomies might tell you that it really did feel like stepping into India…  the entire house smelled like an Indian restaurant by the time I was finished.  I baked them my chocolate sour cream cupcakes the next day to make up for it!

Saag Aloo


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • 400g spinach
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste


  • Peel and chop the potatoes and place in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the cumin over a high heat until just starting to brown.
  • Turn heat down to medium and add the onion and cook until soft (about 5 minutes)
  • At this point add the potato, garlic, turmeric, ginger and garam massala. Fry for 5 minutes then place the lid on.
  • Depending on how cooked the potatoes are you may need to add a little bit of water – do this 1/4 cup at a time.  Be careful not to add too much, or overcook the potatoes because they can turn to mush.
  • Add the spinach, stir, then place the lid on the pan until the spinach has wilted.  Mix to combine.
  • Serve with curry of choice, rice, naan and BEER (ideally a Kingfisher!)

My potatoes definitely ended up being a little overcooked – I blame getting caught up cleaning the house!  Next time I might puree the spinach and add a little cream at the end to give it a softer texture.  This was definitely a learning experience, but still resulted in a delicious meal.


3 thoughts on “A Taste of India

  1. Well, thumbs up to Jamie Oliver whom I have followed since he was proverbially knee high to a grasshopper [huh? everyone know that saying?]. And to chicken tikka massala which I was surprised some time ago to learn the Brits now claimed as their own! Oh no, we’ll keep it on my side of the world 🙂 ! Sag aloo has been a fave for many years: more than used to picking spinach strands from between my teeth! Well, since Australia is still part of the Commonwealth I dare say we are allowed to cook chicken tikka in honour of Her Majesty also!! 🙂 !

  2. Pingback: Chicken Fit For A Queen | epicuriousbrit

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