‘My perfect summer lunch is a big, boisterous family affair with everybody chipping in’.
My perfect summer lunch is a big, boisterous family affair – al fresco, if the weather’s good – with everybody chipping in. Last week, we had exactly that. My sister Sunaina, who is in charge of wine at our restaurants, brought some great bottles, while I took care of the cooking with her husband Karan, and we let my older brother Jyotin have a go on the barbecue. For a bit, anyway. My mother and our wives drank and relaxed outside while we destroyed the kitchen; their contribution was to clear up afterwards.
Clay pot methi aloo salad
An Indian take on potato salad, and a Sethi family favourite. The potatoes are traditionally made in a clay pot, but you can bake them instead. The methi acts like a fragrant salad leaf, while the peas and broad beans are a nod to British summer. Serves six.
2 tbsp oil 2 tsp cumin seeds 8 par-boiled new potatoes, skin on 1 tsp sea salt 2 tbsp diced onion 1 tsp finely chopped ginger 1 tsp finely chopped garlic 1 tsp finely chopped green chilli 3 tbsp boiled podded peas (fresh, ideally) 3 tbsp boiled podded broad beans, skinned (fresh, ideally) 2 tbsp caramelised onion (peeled and chopped onion fried gently in a little oil until golden) 5 tbsp fresh methi leaves, picked and deep-fried 1 tbsp fresh ginger, cut into julienne strips, to serve
Heat half the oil in a clay pot on a medium flame, add half the cumin and fry until the seeds start to crack and turn golden. Add the par-boiled potatoes, fry until they turn golden and crisp, then season with salt. (Alternatively, heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7, put the par-boiled potatoes on a greased oven tray, scatter over the oil, cumin and salt, and bake for 20 minutes.)
Put the remaining oil in a hot pan, add the remaining cumin and fry until golden. Add the diced onion, ginger, garlic and green chilli, fry to soften, then add the peas and broad beans. Toss gently, season lightly with salt, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Lightly crush the roasted potatoes with the back of a fork. Combine in a bowl with the pea and broad bean mixture, then stir in the caramelised onion, deep-fried methi leaves and strips of ginger. Toss gently, making sure you coat the potatoes all over with the dressing, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.
Kasundi wild tiger prawns
This is a simplified version of a popular dish at our restaurant Trishna: if you can get hold of British wild tiger prawns (increasingly common, by the way), so much the better, but otherwise red prawns (carabineros) are ideal. To be honest, though, there’s no need to be too precious: any good shell-on prawn, langoustine or even lobster tail would work. The French and English mustard in the marinade are not quite as strange a choice of ingredient as they might at first seem: mustard seed is one of the mainstays of Indian cooking. Serves six (ie, one big prawn each).
2 tbsp oil 1 tbsp mustard seeds 1 tbsp finely sliced curry leaf 1 tbsp wholegrain Dijon mustard 1 tbsp English mustard 1 tbsp mustard oil 1 tsp ginger and garlic paste (puree 2 garlic cloves and a 4cm piece of ginger with a little water, and store in the fridge) 1 tsp salt ½ tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder 1 tbsp chopped coriander stem 6 tiger prawns
Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to crack. Turn off the heat, then stir in the curry leaf. Combine with all the remaining ingredients except the prawns, then smear the mixture all over them.
Barbecue the prawns (or cook under a very hot grill) until charred, and serve hot. I like to serve them with a puffed rice garnish, not least for the texture it adds: heat half a tablespoon of oil in a pan, add half a teaspoon each of turmeric and red chilli powder, and a pinch of salt, then add six tablespoons of puffed rice (mamra) and toss for a minute. Take off the heat, stir in a handful of mustard cress, a tablespoon of finely diced cucumber and half a teaspoon of chaat masala. Scatter over the prawns before serving.
One of the simplest of all summer desserts, and one of the tastiest, too. Alphonso mangoes are the best in the world, but they have a very short season: if you see some, snap them up. Any Asian food store worth its salt should be filled with boxes of them right now. If you can’t get alphonsos, use kesar mangoes instead. Serves six.
90g sugar 1 litre Greek yoghurt ½ litre mango pulp (blended fresh mango flesh) 1 tsp cardamom powder A few strands of saffron, heated in 2 tbsp milk and left to infuse 2 tbsp chopped pistachios 6 tbsp chopped fresh mango
In a large bowl, gently stir the sugar into the yoghurt until it dissolves. Add the mango pulp, cardamom powder and saffron and its soaking liquid, stir until everything’s well incorporated, then put the bowl in the fridge for a couple of hours.
To serve, spoon the chilled shrikhand into individual glasses or bowls and garnish with the pistachios and chopped mango.
• Karam Sethi is chef/owner of Gymkhana and Trishna, both in London; his new restaurant, Hoppers, opens in Soho, London, in October.
Fiona Beckett’s wine match The beauty of off-dry German riesling is that not only can it handle spice (it’s a great foil for Thai food, too), but it’s also wonderfully low in alcohol, making it ideal for daytime drinking. The Wine Society’s mouthwateringly grapey 2013 Saar Riesling is just 10% abv and a bargain at £9.50.