This was not the case when I bumped into a former work colleague from a previous life quite by chance outside the tube in Chiswick and agreed to meet him for a drink. Catching up on old times and discussing future ambitions, the years were condensed into minutes and the ‘quick’ drink turned into a couple of hours. So relaxed was the evening that when I got home, I realised I had completely forgotten about food.
I fancied something spicy (steady on!) I had just had a couple of drinks and was in that spice and carbohydrates I-have-now-had-two-glasses-of-wine-and-don’t-care-anymore mood, so why not? A Thai or Indian curry to take away. Dial a number, make a choice, wait for a delivery. But for one person they can be too expensive and wasteful (something I really hate). Pizza also came to mind. Again, I could order one for delivery. A flabby, bog standard one where the flavour of the cardboard has seeped into the pizza base. But why waste the money?
And there in the corner of the kitchen was the Eureka moment. That sign. That message. That mug. The one with “Make do and mend” on the side. Someone somewhere was telling me something. And so, taken with the idea of some culinary austerity, I opened the fridge: chicken breast, an individual naan bread and some herbs. My face fell flat. Not really very much is it?
However, with other ingredients lying around, a bottle of Pinot Noir and a swig of Dutch Courage, I decided on a course of action. Ok, it is not original. And ok, someone has invariably done it before. But yes, even though it was my own variation, I had reinvented the wheel.
1 naan bread
1 chicken breast
Yoghurt (Garlic, Lemon, Coriander)
First, take the chicken, slice it and ‘marinade’ it in the curry paste, if you have more time then you can mix the yoghurt and curry paste together and let it sit for a few hours. My time was limited, so I mixed the garlic (purée for cheats) and lemon juice with some chopped coriander in a separate bowl.
Next, throw the seeds into a pan and heat until they start to turn. Remove and fry a sliced onion. Add the chilli flakes and the tomato, and reduce until thickened.
Fry the chicken in a separate pan. Spoon the tomato onion mix on the naan, and place in a heated oven about 5 minutes. Spoon on top of that the yoghurt (if separate) and then the chicken slices. Return for a couple of minutes and then scatter some coriander on top to garnish before serving.
Did it work?