Quick and easy Indian meals to try during lockdown

Quick and easy Indian meals to try during lockdown
Source: Pexels, Gagan Kaur

The many lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 have meant that more and more people are looking for activities that can be done at home, including cooking. But what is surprising is that the lockdown has also led to an increase in online cooking course sign-ups, as people look to refine this domestic trade.

According to London-based Indian cookery school, Cooking With Monisha, “We now have students from all over the world attending [our online courses].”

From the internationally acclaimed cookbook, “Indian in 7 – Delicious Indian recipes in 7 Ingredients or Fewer,” chef Monisha Bharadwaj shares a few quick and easy recipes for delicious Indian meals. Since its publishing at the end of 2019, “Indian in 7” has gone on to win the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Indian Cookbook in the World.

Bombay Fried Prawns with Chili and Garlic (Tava Kolambi)

Bombay Fried Prawns with Chili and Garlic
Source: Monisha Bharadwaj

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves 4


600g large fresh, raw prawns, shelled and deveined

Vegetable or sunflower oil for shallow-frying

4 tablespoons rice flour or fine semolina

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

For the marinade

1 teaspoon medium hot chili powder

6 garlic cloves, grated or finely crushed

Salt, to season


  1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and then toss the prawns in it until coated. If you have the time, cover and leave this mixture in the fridge overnight.
  2. Heat enough sunflower oil in a large frying pan to lightly coat the base of the pan.

Roll the marinated prawns (a few at a time) in the rice flour or semolina until coated and then shake off any excess.

  1. Fry the prawns (in batches) in hot oil on a high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until crisp and golden. Remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and keep hot in foil while you cook the remaining prawns in the same way.
  2. Serve hot, drizzled with the lime juice.

Hearty Chickpea Salad (Channe ka Salaad)

Hearty Chickpea Salad
Source: Monisha Bharadwaj

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: none

Serves 4


1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 can (410g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

5 tablespoons mixed peppers, deseeded and diced finely

Salt, to season

A generous pinch of sugar

2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil

Dash of lemon juice

3-4 stalks of coriander, chopped finely


  1. Warm a small frying pan and add the cumin seeds. Keep a mortar and pestle close by. As soon as the pan gets hot, in a matter of seconds they will go a couple of shades darker and develop an aroma. Tip them into the mortar or a spice mill and crush them to a fine powder.
  2. Combine the chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients. Serve at room temperature.
  3. If you are making this salad in advance, combine the oil, salt, sugar and lemon juice in a small jar and combine the rest of the ingredients, including the toasted cumin powder in a separate bowl. Store both in the fridge. Just before serving, shake the bottle well and drizzle the dressing over the salad.

These recipes were contributed by chef Monisha Bharadwaj, an award winning author, food historian and a food writer based in London, United Kingdom.

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