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Easy recipe: Quick-fire vegetarian Indian food by Former Great British Bake Off contestant Chetna Makan

Chetna Makan.
Chetna Makan.

Former Great British Bake Off contestant Chetna Makan has a new cookbook, Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian, filled with recipes designed to be swift, straightforward and “happen to be good for you”.

“People think Indian food will take forever to cook – ‘I’ll have to soak this, I’ll have to make this and then I’ll have to marinate this’ – actually, everyday Indian food is not like that,” said Chetna who shares two recipes with us.

The first is jackfruit rice khichdi.

Chetna Makan.

“If you are looking for a dish you can put in the middle of the table for everyone to share and don’t want to fuss about vegetable sides, this is the answer,” she said.

“There is so much going on in the rice that every mouthful tastes different.

“Just serve it with some yogurt or raita and you’ll have a feast.”

The second recipe is she says, perfect for picnics, lunchboxes, or a light meal at home.

Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian by Chetna Makan is published by Mitchell Beazley and is priced at £20.

Jackfruit rice khichdi

(Serves 4) 


For the rice:

  • 100g green lentils
  • 250g basmati rice

For the jackfruit:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 x 400g tin of jackfruit in water, drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced 2.5cm thick
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp chilli powder


  1. Bring 2.2 litres of water to the boil in a deep pan and add the lentils.
  2. Cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes, until the lentils begin to soften.
  3. Add the rice to the same pan and continue cooking on low-to-medium heat for eight minutes, until the rice is tender.
  4. Drain the lot and leave to cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a wide pan and add the jackfruit.
  6. Cook on a low-to-medium heat for 10 minutes, until the jackfruit turns golden.
  7. Add the remaining tbsp of oil and the onions and cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  8. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper and cook for five minutes, until the tomatoes have softened.
  9. Add the salt, garam masala and chilli powder and mix well.

Cheese and potato chapatti sandwich

(Makes 4) 


For the chapattis:

  • 200g chapatti flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 140ml water

For the filling:

  • 100g paneer, grated
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 small potato, boiled and grated
  • ¼tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp amchoor (mango powder)
  • 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
  • 10g fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

For toasting the sandwiches:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Black mustard seeds


  1. To make the chapattis, put the flour and salt into a bowl and gradually add just enough of the water (or a little more, if necessary) to form a soft dough.
  2. Knead for two minutes, then cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into eight equal portions.
  4. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface to a circle 15-18cm across.
  5. Heat a skillet until hot, and cook each chapatti for one minute each side on a low-to-medium heat, until slightly golden.
  6. To make the filling, combine the ingredients in a bowl.
  7. To toast the sandwiches, use the same skillet you used to cook the chapattis.
  8. Drizzle with a tiny bit of oil and, once hot, add a pinch of mustard seeds.
  9. When they start to sizzle, place a chapatti in the pan and spread with a quarter of the filling.
  10. Place another chapatti on top and cook for a minute on a low-to-medium heat, until the underside is golden.
  11. Turn and cook for a minute on the other side, then remove to a plate.
  12. Repeat until you have four, delicious toasted sandwiches.

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