Sarah Todd cooks Indian for Breast Cancer Awareness

Masterchef contestant and restaurateur Sarah Todd is hosting the Three Course Challenge. Picture: Supplied
Masterchef contestant and restaurateur Sarah Todd is hosting the Three Course Challenge. Picture: Supplied

Food lovers all over Australia will be encouraged to "stay in and entertain" this October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to support clinical trials research that aims to save every life from breast cancer.

World-leading research organisation, Breast Cancer Trials, is spicing things up with a mouth-watering Indian themed Three Course Challenge that will take place from August until November.

All those concerned they don't have the culinary prowess to pull off a three-course Indian dinner party, need not worry, they will have former Masterchef contestant and restaurateur Sarah Todd by their side.

My Indian Kitchen, by Sarah Todd. Are Media Books, $24.99.

My Indian Kitchen, by Sarah Todd. Are Media Books, $24.99.

Renowned for her sumptuous Indian flavours, Todd has curated a fresh, healthy menu that is sure to appeal to every palette. All registered Three Course Challenge dinner party hosts who raise more than $150 can join Sarah for a live-streamed cooking class on Saturday, October 16, giving them tips and tricks to ensure their dinner party will be a delicious success. Hosts will have the chance to interact with Sarah, asking her questions about her menu inspired by the flavours of India throughout the livestream.

Todd is passionate about supporting breast cancer clinical trials research as her own mum Lorraine was diagnosed with the disease 13 years ago on her 50th birthday. Todd was only 21 when her mum received the devastating news.

  • BCT is also hosting a virtual seminar on September 30 titled "Breast Cancer Trials: Let's Talk About Sex", hosted by Annabel Crabb. To register go to breastcancertrials.org.au
  • For more information about the Three Course Challenge and Breast Cancer Trials go to 3coursechallenge.com.au

Eggplant curry with cumin rice

Eggplant curry with cumin rice. Picture: Supplied

Eggplant curry with cumin rice. Picture: Supplied

You can't get any more typical North Indian than the Baingan curry. The eggplant is often referred to as "The King of Vegetables" and is high in fibre and low in calories. The eggplant's absorbent flesh will absorb and amplify the rich flavours of the curry. Serve with cumin rice.

Ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 large eggplant (500g), cut into 2cm cubes

2 cups tomato curry base (see below)

1/2 cup coriander leaves

Method

1. Heat oil in a medium deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant, in batches, until browned all over (approximately two minutes). Remove from pan; drain on paper towel.

2. In the same pan, over medium heat; cook tomato curry base, stirring, until fragrant (five minutes). Return eggplant to pan along with 12 cup water. Cook, covered, until eggplant is tender and mixture has reduced and thickened (30 minutes); season. If curry mixture is too thick, add some water, a little at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.

To serve: Divide eggplant curry on serving plates with cumin rice and kachumber salad topped with coriander leaves. Serve with coriander chutney.

Serves 4.

Tomato curry base

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp brown mustard seeds

1 sprig fresh curry leaves

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 fresh long green chilli, roughly chopped

1 tsp each garlic paste and ginger paste

400g can chopped tomatoes

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

tsp ground turmeric

Method

1. Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add mustard seeds; cook until they splutter (30 seconds). Add curry leaves; cook (30 seconds).

2. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and chopped chilli; cook until onion is soft and browned (five minutes).

3. Add garlic and ginger pastes; stir until fragrant (one minute). Add tomato; bring to the boil.

4. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens (approximately 15 minutes). If mixture is too thick add a little water, to achieve desired consistency.

5. Stir in spices, cook until fragrant (one minute).

Serves 4.

Cumin rice

For the perfect fluffy rice full of flavour, toasted cumin seeds create the right balance of slightly sweet and slightly bitter crunch.

Ingredients

1 cup long grain basmati rice

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

Method

1. Cook rice as per packet instructions.

2. Melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat (one minute). Increase heat to high. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf and cinnamon stick; cook, stirring often, until cumin seeds start to crackle (30 seconds). Reduce heat to medium. Add rice; cook, stirring, until each grain is coated in spice mixture (approximately two minutes). Season to taste.

Serves 4.

Lentil and vegetable stew

Lentil and vegetable stew. Picture: Supplied

Lentil and vegetable stew. Picture: Supplied

I make this fuss-free dish every week as it makes my weeknight cooking a breeze. This vegetable stew is jam-packed with flavours, spices and protein. To add lamb or chicken, you'll find an optional pro tip below.

Optional

At step 1, before adding the onion, cook 400g diced lamb or 400g diced chicken thigh fillets until brown all over; remove from pan. Continue with recipe, returning lamb or chicken to pan with the stock at step 2.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp each garlic paste and ginger paste

1 tsp each ground turmeric, ground cumin and red chilli powder

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

1 medium zucchini, diced

400g can diced tomatoes

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp lime juice

1/4 cup coriander leaves

Method

1. Heat oil in a large heavy- based saucepan over medium- high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until softened (three minutes). Add garlic and ginger pastes; cook, stirring (one minute). Add ground spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant (one minute).

2. Increase heat to high. Add stock, lentils, zucchini, canned tomatoes and garam masala to pan; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer until lentils are almost tender (10 minutes). If mixture is too thick add a little water, until you achieve the desired consistency. Remove pan from the heat; stir in lime juice. Season to taste.

3. To serve, spoon stew into bowls; top with coriander. Serve with roti and raita.

Serves 4.

South Indian madras curry with prawns and coconut rice

South Indian madras curry with prawns and coconut rice. Picture: Supplied

South Indian madras curry with prawns and coconut rice. Picture: Supplied

This rich curry is one of my favourites and you will often smell the aroma wafting from my kitchen. Its creamy, coconut flavour resonates with everyone's palate. And my take on it includes prawns - perfect for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients

400g medium uncooked prawns

2 cups coconut curry base

1 1/2 tbsp tamarind puree

600ml coconut milk, plus extra to serve

1/2 cup Thai basil leaves

1 long red chilli, thinly sliced

4 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthways

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Crispy garlic:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Method

1. Peel and devein prawns.

2. Heat coconut curry base in a large saucepan over medium-high heat (two to four minutes).

3. Add tamarind puree and coconut milk. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring, until mixture starts to boil (two minutes). Stir in the prawns; cook until flesh changes from translucent to opaque (three minutes).

4. To make crispy garlic: Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring until golden brown and crispy (one to two minutes). Remove garlic using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towel.

5. To serve, ladle prawn curry over coconut rice in serving bowls. Drizzle with extra coconut milk; top with basil, chilli and crispy garlic. Serve with cucumber, red onion and malabar roti.

South Indian coconut rice

Often, we serve a delicious Indian curry with a serving of simple boiled rice. This is a missed opportunity and adding the perfect amount of aromatics will kick your dish up a notch.

Ingredients

1 cup long grain basmati rice

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Method

1. Cook rice as per packet instructions.

2. Melt coconut oil in a heavy- based saucepan over medium- high heat (one minute). Increase heat to high. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves; cook, stirring, until mustard seeds start to splutter (approximately 30 seconds). Reduce heat to medium. Add coconut; cook, stirring, until coconut is lightly toasted (two minutes). Add rice; cook, stirring, until each grain is coated in spice mixture (approximately two minutes). Season to taste.

Serves 4.

Pork vindaloo

Pork vindaloo. Picture: Supplied

Pork vindaloo. Picture: Supplied

This traditional dish from Goa, is an adaptation of carne de vinha d'alhos, a dish introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th Century. Translated, it means "meat with wine and garlic". The Goans tweaked the recipe by substituting red wine with palm vinegar and adding red chillies and other spices. Apart from requiring it to be slow cooked, my version is a toned down one in terms of spice but for those of you who like it spicy, go ahead and add some serious chillies.

Ingredients

500g piece pork loin, trimmed, cut into 2.5cm cubes

1 tbsp each garlic paste and ginger paste

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

toasted cashews, crispy curry leaves, coriander leaves, steamed rice and lime wedges, to serve

Vindaloo paste:

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp each ground cardamom and ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

3 dried red chillies, soaked, blended to a paste

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

Method

1. To make vindaloo paste: Combine spices, seeds, chilli paste, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar in a small bowl. Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until golden brown and crispy (six to eight minutes). Remove onions with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel; reserve oil in pan. Blend or process onions with two to three tablespoons of water, until smooth. Add to spice mixture in bowl; stir to combine.

2. Heat reserved oil in pan over medium-high heat. Cook pork, in batches, until browned on all sides (approximately two minutes); remove from pan.

3. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and ginger pastes to pan; cook, stirring, until fragrant (one minute). Add ground coriander and turmeric; cook, stirring, until fragrant (one minute).

4. Return pork and any juices, to pan, along with the vindaloo paste and one cup water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and pork is tender (approximately one hour).

To serve: Top pork vindaloo with red onion, cashews, crispy curry leaves and coriander. Serve with steamed rice, lime wedges and malabar roti.

Serves 4.

  • My Indian Kitchen, by Sarah Todd. Are Media Books, $24.99.
This story Save lives, one tasty course at a time first appeared on The Canberra Times.