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Family friendly Indian meals

Written by Lucie Carr


I’m delighted to introduce mum of four, Clare Keylock’s, next food post. My husband, Dave, and I are excited to try all these recipes as we are huge fans of Indian food. I think this stems from our time spent in Glasgow – Indian food is a huge deal there. We miss it! Luckily for us, our local convenience store, which has been run by the same couple for 31 years, has a large stash of homemade curries in the freezer section of the shop for us all to buy. They certainly help to fill the massive curry void we felt when we moved down south! In fact, I think we might be Rekha’s best customers!

Take it away Clare…


A few months ago we set off on an amazing trip to India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It was a fantastic trip; enriching, eye opening and full of moments we will never forget. And the best thing? I was with my little (or big in most people’s eyes!) family for 3 whole weeks, just wonderful.

My family and I sat on the “Diana” bench in front of the amazing Taj Mahal. Not hot at all!

It was a chance to unwind, discover 3 new countries, sample new foods and enjoy our children wholeheartedly without any distractions.

India has always been top of my ‘go to’ list. Since my textile days at college I had always wanted to go there; see the gorgeous fabrics, the beautiful architecture, and to taste the wonderful cuisine.

Old Delhi – high up on the rooftops of the spice market

I’ve had a food crush on India for as long as I can remember so I was ‘over the moon’ to be finally going. We are very fortunate to have friends that live in Gurgaon; great friends who we met when we lived in America. It was fantastic to see them and hit India together, to be shown around by folks that really know the area was brilliant and we squeezed tons into our 4 days there thanks to their knowledge and great planning. They really did spoil us.

One of the many fruit and veg stalls in Old Delhi

The food was a major treat for us all from the way it is displayed (gorgeous market stalls full of fruits and veg), to the locals cooking on the side of the roads.

Bags of dried red chillies

The spice markets where the fantastic aromas fill the air were incredible and the children were transfixed watching the old and the very young carrying rice, spices and all sorts on their heads (see lady carrying cowpats for fuel in the photos).

Amazing Indian lady carrying a mountain of cow pats! The boys particularly liked this!

All just totally amazing and so so different to what we are used to seeing in our daily lives.  The children were gob smacked, for want of a better word, and we all were in complete awe of this totally different and amazing place.

Delivering fruit and veg in style

Now we are back I love to hear William tell our family and friends of his love of a good dal, it’s especially funny when he adds in “oh and the spaghetti bol, I ate a ton of that too!” Small steps, hey!!  I was so happy that they tried it all though and now we are back they are keen for me to cook it.

I’ve done lots of experimenting in the kitchen this month; I have tried out lots of curries for the children and made naan bread with Evie. The recipes below are some of the children’s favourites. The tandoori chicken was also amazing in mini pittas, perfect for a packed lunch or a picnic.

Cooked naan breads

Naan bread

My children love bread; they especially love tucking into naan bread. I was really excited to make this and see how it would turn out. It’s the most famous leavened bread from North India, traditionally cooked on the walls of a tandoor (clay oven).

I was keen to try and use wholemeal flour so I tried Organic Khorasan flour. Khorasan flour is a pale stoneground flour, milled from the whole khorasan grain. It’s perfect for baking gourmet breads.


500g Organic Khorasan flour or Plain flour

300ml milk

2 teaspoons dried yeast or 15g fresh yeast

2 teaspoons of kalonji (nigella seeds)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp. ghee or coconut oil

185ml plain yoghurt

Makes around 10


Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. I then slightly warmed the milk. In a small bowl add the yeast, a small pinch of flour and a little milk, whisk quickly and add enough milk so it does not become too thick. Once nicely mixed, set aside.

Next back to the flour, add the kalonji, baking powder and salt and mix. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, oil/ghee and yoghurt and then pour into the flour, adding the milk last and mix to form a nice soft dough. Prepare a floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place and see it double in size. Evie was delighted to see how much it grew.

Preheat the oven to 200c (400F/Gas 6).

To provide moisture when you are cooking the naan I half -filled a roasting tray with water and placed it in the bottom of the oven, this will prevent the bread from drying out.

Evie and I kneading the dough

Evie proudly showing off her naan bread

Knead the dough briefly and then divide into 10 equal portions. Traditionally the nann is shaped in a teardrop shape so we tried to create this.

Naan breads going into the oven

Bake on the top shelf for around 7 minutes and then flip over for another 5.  Remove from the oven and if you like you can smear with a little ghee or coconut oil – delicious!

Spinach and tomato dal

Spinach and Tomato Dal

I had fun trying different flavours  in this dish, one of my family’s favourite. I found spinach and tomato worked really well.


250g Mung dal yellow

2 large vine tomatoes

½ green chilli (add more if your children like a bit of spice)

12 curry leaves

¼ tsp. turmeric

¾ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground coriander

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. ghee or coconut oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

3 garlic cloves

2 handfuls of fresh spinach


Rinse the dal thoroughly and drain. Pour into saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Or follow the recipe on your dal packet as it may vary.

Chop the tomato into cubes, remove seeds from the chilli and slice finely.

Drain the dal and place in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chilli, curry leaves, turmeric, salt, coriander and the lemon juice. Combine and simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat.  In a frying pan fry the garlic and cumin seeds for 2 minutes in the ghee or coconut oil, or until the garlic is slightly browned. Add to the dal and combine well. Keep on a low heat and add the spinach, it wilts pretty quickly. Serve once wilted with the naan, tandoori chicken, chana masala and brown rice.

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

A lovely vegetarian curry.  For speed I used tinned chickpeas, which worked well, but you can also soak dried chickpeas overnight, they would need to be boiled/simmered for 45 minutes to an hour once soaked.


2 tins of chickpeas or 250g dried chickpeas

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 onion finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic

5cm ginger, finely grated

1 green chilli, finely chopped without the seeds (if you want it hotter add the seeds)

2 tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. ground turmeric

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. chilli powder

350g ripe vine tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tbsp. lemon juice

300ml water

Follow the instructions on the packet if using dried chickpeas.


Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the chopped onions and fry until nicely golden. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli and fry gently for around a minute. Stir in the spices apart from the garam masala and fry for a few seconds. Next add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and salt. Pour the water and bring to a gently simmer. Cook for around 15/20 minutes; finally add the garam masala and the lemon juice.

Cooked tandoori style chicken

Tandoori style chicken


For my large family I used a chicken breast per person.

Marinade 1:

Juice of 2 limes

1 tsp. chilli powder

1 tsp. salt

Marinade 2:

50g natural yoghurt

50g double cream

4 gloves garlic

5cm ginger, grated

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. turmeric

¾ tsp. ground cumin

Wooden skewers – soak for an hour

Marinade 1


In England the curry houses like to use food colouring to make this dish red. I haven’t added it in this dish as I think it’s unnecessary. You can buy beetroot powder in some supermarkets now that you could substitute instead of the colouring if you prefer to use it.

Soak wooden skewers in water for an hour if using.  Cut up the chicken into bite size cubes. Mix the ingredients for the first marinade together in a large bowl/dish and add the chicken and rub in the marinade. Cover and chill in the fridge for an hour.

The chicken coated in marinade 1

Onto the second marinade, put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until nice and smooth. Once the first marinade has been chilling for an hour add the second marinade mixture to the chicken and combine well. Cover again and chill in the fridge for 4 hours.

The chicken coated in marinade 1 then marinade 2

Preheat the oven to 240C/Gas 9

Once the four hours are up, thread the chicken onto the skewers. I lightly oil the skewers before I start threading. Leave space in between each piece of chicken. I placed a wire rack over a roasting tin and placed the skewers on the rack and I also used a grilling tray with a build-in rack. Roast for around 35 minutes or until cooked through. They should look slightly charred in places.

I hope you enjoy this Indian meal, let us know how you got on, we would love to hear. Of course the whole meal doesn’t have to be cooked together but it all works really well when served up together.

Also check out Evie’s beautiful dress from The Wee Department Store, from Indikidual, it’s gorgeous and now in the sale! 

Inspiration for the tandoori chicken and chana masala was from Rick Stein’s India the other recipes are my own.