The idea for India Express: Fresh and Delicious Recipes for Everyday was inspired by a conversation with Iyer’s parents, talking about the 24-hour train journeys they used to take when courting in India. After hearing about the delicious food they’d eaten on their trips, she travelled to India with them to recreate one of the journeys, travelling from her mother’s hometown Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) to her father’s native Chennai (formerly Madras) and learning all about her family recipes.
The result is a collection of easy weeknight one-tin and one-pan curries, everyday Bengali, and South Indian recipes with snack and brunch ideas and a more ambitious, weekend project section. Think Chilli Cheese Stuffed Parathas, Mushroom and Pistachio Biryani, Malai Prawns, Saffron, Almond & Paneer Festival Pulao and Mango and Cardamom Lassi. ‘I hope these recipes, from lazy brunches to easy weeknight curries and weekend feasts, will become a part of your go-to everyday repertoire, as they have in my house.’ Rukmini Iyer
Here is one of our favourite recipes from the book – very tasty and extremely quick to make:
Chilli, Coconut & Lime Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Once you’ve tried this South Indian seasoning – blitzed coconut, chilli, mint, garlic and lime – you’ll be putting it on absolutely everything: white fish, chicken, paneer, roasted veg. . . Here it seasons a salmon and cherry tomato traybake, forming a crust for the salmon and a wonderful flavouring for the roasted tomatoes and onions. A nice quick one-dish dinner.
For: 2 Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes
4 tablespoons desiccated coconut 2 tablespoons neutral or olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 fresh red chilli
Handful mint leaves, plus extra to serve 2 cloves garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1 red onion, thinly sliced
250g vine cherry tomatoes, halved
2 sustainable salmon fillets
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas 6.
Tip the coconut, chilli, mint leaves, garlic, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the sea salt into a spice grinder or high-speed blender or Nutribullet and blitz roughly until the chilli looks evenly incorporated through the coconut (you’ll have a reddish, greenish rubble).
Mix the sliced onion and cherry tomatoes in a medium roasting tin along with the remaining oil. Make space for the 2 salmon fillets, place them in the tin skin side down, then pat a tablespoon of the coconut-chilli mixture evenly over each fillet. Scatter the remaining mixture over the onions and tomatoes.
Transfer to the oven to roast for 20–25 minutes until the salmon is cooked through. Scatter with mint leaves and serve hot, with rice alongside if you wish.
NOTES: You can substitute the salmon for cod, haddock or another firm-fleshed white fish – it’ll take about the same time to cook. To carb it up in the same tin, start by roasting off cubed sweet potato with a little olive oil and salt in your roasting tin for 30 minutes, before continuing with the recipe as above.