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This article was first published 7 years ago  » Getahead » Food » MasterChef Recipes: 4 classic Indian dishes to make at home

MasterChef Recipes: 4 classic Indian dishes to make at home

Last updated on: May 11, 2016 15:35 IST
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Satisfy your food cravings with these unique stir-fried recipes.

A big shout out to all you foodies.

We got popular chefs from MasterChef Australia to share their favourite recipes with us.

Happy cooking!

Desi Murgh -- South Indian Chicken Curry with Appam

Desi Murgh -- South Indian Chicken Curry with Appam

Gary Mehigan

English Australian chef and MasterChef Australia judge Gary Mehigan shows his love for Indian food by cooking South Indian Chicken Curry and Appam.

The chicken curry full of flavour, involves basic ingredients for which you don't even have to go out shopping!

And to make sure the food is not too spicy, he has used semolina for appam.

It's a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk.


  • 1/3 cup peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 1 small chicken of about 1.2 kg (jointed into 8 pieces)
  • 2 large onions (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tsp garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp ginger (finely chopped)
  • 4 to 5 tomatoes (skinned, seeds removed and finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 and 1/2  tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup Greek-style yoghurt
  • Coriander sprigs (for garnishing)

For appam

  • 1 tbsp fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For tempered spices

  • 1/3 cup peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup curry leaves
  • 6 to 8 dried chillies
  • 6 green cardamom pods


For the curry

  • Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium to high flame.
  • Cook chicken for about five minutes until lightly golden. Remove and keep aside.
  • Add onions and cook for about six minutes or until golden, scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Transfer onions to a small food processor and blend it into a paste. Set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium flame. Add garlic and ginger, and stir fry for about 20 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes and stir well. Cook for two minutes.
  • Add turmeric and chilli powder. Stir again.
  • Pound cardamom, cloves, coriander and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle until they're ground.
  • Add this ground mixture to the contents in the pan. Cook for five to six minutes. Stir well.
  • Add onion paste and yoghurt. Keep stirring.
  • Add chicken pieces to the mixture in the pan with a cup of water, or more to taste.
  • Cover with a lid and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Make sure the chicken is cooked through and is tender. Add more water if necessary, throughout cooking.

For appam

  • Whisk semolina and water in a saucepan.
  • Put the pan on the gas and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  • Stir regularly for two to three minutes until semolina is smooth.
  • Remove from heat and set aside for one to two minutes to cool slightly.
  • Add coconut cream to pan, sprinkle in dried yeast, and whisk to combine.
  • Place rice flour and sugar in a separate bowl and form a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the coconut mixture and whisk vigorously to a smooth batter.
  • Cover bowl with a cloth and set aside for at least four hours, preferably overnight until the yeast activates and sours the mixture.
  • Add salt to the batter and whisk to combine.
  • Heat an appam skillet over a high flame for around a minute until it gets hot.
  • Ladle about 60 ml or one fourth cup of batter into the centre of the pan.
  • Use the handles of the skillet to gently swirl the mixture, till there is a thin lacy layer of batter around the pan with a slightly thicker amount in the base of the pan.
  • Lower the flame and cook for one or two minutes until the sides of the appam begin to dry and release from the side of the pan.
  • Cover with a lid, and cook gently for two minutes. Make sure the base of the batter is cooked well and golden.
  • Remove appam from pan. Cover with a dry cloth and repeat with remaining batter.

For the tempered spices

  • Heat oil in a frying pan.
  • Add the spices together and swirl pan until spices pop and are fragrant.
  • Turn off heat, and carefully tip this spice mixture over the curry.

To serve

  • Divide curry among bowls and garnish with coriander. Serve with appam.

Goat Curry with Fried Bread, Cucumber Raita and Pickled Onions

Nidhi Mahajan

For 30-year old India-born call centre worker Nidhi Mahajan, Indian food is her strength.

She loves to experiment with other cuisines too.

She is one of India's favourite contestants on the latest series of MasterChef Australia.

Here she whips up something all meat eaters will love.

It's a popular Indian non-vegetarian delicacy and is usually served with Indian breads.


For fried potatoes

  • 500 gm potatoes (quartered)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

For goat curry

  • 800 gm young goat leg meat (diced)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground chilli
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 dried chilli
  • 2 pieces of mace
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 large brown onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 cm piece ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2 green chillis (finely chopped)
  • 600 ml Indian or Greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • Reserved fried potatoes
  • Salt to taste

For pickled onions

  • 1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 40 ml white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 green chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves (chopped)

For cucumber raita

  • 250 ml Indian or Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 Lebanese cucumber (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves (chopped)
  • Salt to taste

For fried bread (luchi)

  • 150 gm flour
  • 20 ml vegetable oil (keep more for frying)
  • Salt to taste

For garnishing

  • Coriander leaves (chopped)
  • Ginger (julienned)
  • Pappadums


For fried potatoes

  • Fill a large saucepan with vegetable oil and heat it on a high flame.
  • When the oil is hot, add potatoes and fry until golden for about five minutes.
  • Remove from heat and place the fried potatoes on a paper towel.

For goat curry

  • Coat diced goat meat in turmeric and chilli powder for marination and set aside.
  • Heat mustard oil in a large heavy based casserole dish over medium flame.
  • Add cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin, chilli and mace and toast off. Stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and cook. Stir continuously until onions become translucent.
  • Add marinated goat meat, yogurt, fenugreek leaves, coriander and cumin and stir to combine.
  • Cover with a lid and cook on low flame for around two and a half hours. Make sure the meat is tender.
  • Once done, stir in fried potatoes and ghee.
  • Cook uncovered (for about three minutes) until curry has dried out slightly.

For pickled onions

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover with cling film and set aside.

For cucumber raita

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste and refrigerate.

For fried bread (luchi)

  • Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.
  • Add oil and mix together. Gradually add water and knead into a smooth dough.
  • Divide into 8 balls and coat with some oil. Roll out into 5 mm thick discs and keep aside.
  • Fill a large fry pan with vegetable oil to 2 cm high, heat over high flame.
  • Put the bread discs into the hot oil carefully. Move it around continuously with a large slotted spoon.
  • When the bread or luchi have puffed up and turned golden, remove from heat and keep it on a paper towel.

To assemble

  • Place goat curry on the plate. Garnish with chopped coriander and ginger.
  • Spoon some raita and pickled onions onto the plate and serve with fried bread or luchi and pappadums.

Indian Style Mussels

Emma Dean

This is a very popular dish in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.

Chef Emma Dean jazzes up the mussels with white wine, lemon zest along with other basic ingredients like onion, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds.

You can serve this dish with steamed rice or any Indian bread.


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1 long red chilli (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 400 gm tomatoes (can diced)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 kg mussels (debearded and cleaned)
  • 1 small bunch English spinach (trimmed, washed and roughly chopped)
  • 1 lemon zest (finely grated)


  • Heat a frying pan over medium flame.
  • Toast cumin, coriander and fennel seeds for two minutes until fragrant.
  • Once done, pound the above mixture in a mortar and pestle until finely ground.
  • Process onion, garlic and chilli in a food processor to a paste.
  • Place oil in a frying pan and set over low flame.
  • Cook the paste for about five minutes until onion has softened. Stir well.
  • Add spice mixture and turmeric. Cook for another two minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add white wine and cook for a minute.
  • Add tomatoes, salt, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add mussels. Mix properly.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about two minutes or until the shells open. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in spinach and lemon zest to combine.
  • Divide mussels between bowls. Serve.

Coconut Fish Curry

Matthew Hopcroft

This is a favourite dish among Mumbai diners.

Satiate your taste buds with John Dory, an imported coastal fish.

It has firm textured white flesh with moist, fine flakes and a mild, sweet flavour with a low fat content.

Chef Matthew Hopcraft scoops out this popular dish on the show.

And he takes it to another level with coconut curry!


For fish

  • 2 John Dory
  • Turmeric powder
  • Grape seed oil (for frying)
  • Salt to taste

For curry paste

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 1/2 long red chillis (seeds removed)
  • 2 to 3 cm piece ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled)

For curry sauce

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 3 long green chillis (seeds removed and finely chopped)
  • 2 cm piece ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • 250 ml coconut cream
  • 300 ml fish stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste

For chapati

  • 200 gm wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 125 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For eggplant chutney

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 long red chilli (finely sliced)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

To serve

  • A bowl of cooked basmati rice
  • 1 long red chilli (finely sliced)
  • Coriander leaves (finely sliced)


For marination of fish

  • Fillet the fish and cut each fillet into three pieces.
  • Sprinkle lightly with salt and turmeric and refrigerate.
  • Once done, heat grape seed oil in a frying pan.
  • Add fish fillets, skin side down and cook until skin is crispy (for about six minutes)
  • Turn fish over and continue cooking for another minute.

For curry paste

  • Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a dry fry pan on medium heat.
  • When the seeds start to pop, transfer the mixture to a mortar and pestle and crush.
  • Add the crushed spices in a food processor.
  • Add chilli, ginger and garlic and process with just enough water (about two tablespoons) to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

For curry sauce

  • Heat ghee in a saucepan over medium flame.
  • Add onion, chilli and ginger and fry until onion is translucent.
  • Add curry paste and turmeric. Stir frequently until oil starts to separate. Cook for around about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and cream and allow to simmer for five minutes.
  • Add fish stock and simmer for 20 minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Add lime juice and tamarind. Adjust the taste and strain.
  • Heat grape seed oil in a small frying pan with mustard seeds. Cook for about six minutes until oil is fragrant.
  • Strain oil and add to the sauce. Mix well. Keep the sauce aside (Keep it warm)

For chapatis

  • Mix wheat flour, ghee and salt together. Add enough water and knead into a dough.
  • Knead lightly and wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into eight portions and roll them like a chapati (up to to three to four mm thick).
  • Fry each side of the chapati in a dry pan for three minutes over medium flame.
  • Remove from pan and wrap in a dry, clean tea towel to keep it warm.

For eggplant chutney

  • Cut eggplant into 1 cm cubes.
  • Heat ghee in a frying pan over medium flame. 
  • Add eggplant and red chilli. Fry until softened.
  • Add lime juice and sugar.
  • Make sure the eggplant is cooked well and caramelised. It should take around five minutes.

To assemble

  • When you are ready to plate, place a circle of basmati rice in the middle using a ring as a guide.
  • Top it with a layer of eggplant chutney and three pieces of fish with the skin side up.
  • Garnish with chilli and coriander and pour hot curry sauce around the rice.
  • Serve chapati on the side.

Photographs: Kind Courtesy

MasterChef Australia Season 8 airs at 9 pm, Monday to Friday on Star World and Star World HD in India.

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