Chetna Makan: ‘How to make simple, healthy Indian food’

-Jan 25, Caroline Blight, Nutrition -

Chetna Makan reveals all about her hugely popular London supper clubs and tells us the secret for how to make simple, healthy Indian meals

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Chetna Makan won us over in The Great British Bake Off tent with the spice infused bakes and quite confidence. But life after the marquee has treated her to a culinary adventure she could have only hoped for as she swapped life as a fashion designer and Kent-based mum for that of a celebrity chef and cookery book writer. Here she tells Lumity Life magazine how to make cooking Indian food simple, and how she keeps up with the other Bake Off stars.

Chetna Makan, 40, has just released her third book, Healthy Indian, which will teach us how to enjoy nourishing food that tastes delicious. And, despite what some people may think, is not over complicated and time consuming. To celebrate this achievement Chetna is hosting a supper club on February 2nd at Great Guns Social, London.

Lumity caught up with her – just before she started making a cake naturally – to find out more.

How did your upcoming supper club come about?

I have been to supper clubs at Great Gun Social and I loved the space, had amazing food and that’s how I found out about it. I was looking for a venue for my book launch and I thought that while it’s launching, if they would be happy to do a supper club with me and they loved the idea. 

You are an experienced cook – is choosing the menu actually the hardest part of the process?

Yes that is the hardest bit – cooking is not the hard bit actually! I can easily make a menu and know what dishes will compliment one another but in this case I wanted to get all the flavours from the book in. Things can’t be too similar so it has a wide range from the book. If I was doing a normal supper club without the book it would be easier! 

It’s crazy to think it’s been five years since you appeared on Bake Off.

I was thinking about this morning how I need to say I have been out of Bake Off for five years not four now. I can’t believe it and it’s crazy. I have no idea how I have got to book number three, I genuinely don’t know how that has happened. 

Do you stay in touch with the other bakers on your series?

Yes we have a WhatsApp group and we are constantly in touch. Martha Collison is getting married this year so we are looking to have a nice catch up then but we are very close friends and stay in touch all the time – always someone is saying something in that group! We’ve not been out of touch since Bake Off. 

That’s so lovely! And do you find you have a connection with those who have done the show as well even if it was not your series?

Yes you have the connection with them and I have met quite a few of them. Some, after meeting we have stayed in touch, but when you meet them there is a feeling of ‘you’re one of us’. I don’t know how or why it is but that feeling is there.

It’s a very special show in that way, I’m not sure there are any others like it out there.

I think there is no other show like it. It’s so friendly and homely and you are part of the family type feel. Obviously it’s harder because we live all over the place and have our own families but when we do bump into each other we really know each other.

You new book Healthy Indian food is perfect for anyone wanting to make ‘diet food’ delicious rather than boring, but it’s not the way we usually view Indian food is it?

A vegetable curry can be all vegetables with spices for plenty of flavour – even healthy food uses a little bit of fat like butter. But this is all minimum oil but maximum flavour with the spices. I have tried to really keep the ingredient list as short and small as possibly compared to other Indian books so it’s not intimidating. 

That’s what often scares people off – the spice list…

Exactly so I have tried to keep it simple. I’ve not gone out to make a health book but instead just what I would cook for my family, Indian food in the home is so different from what you would find in a takeaway.

Are you already thinking about book four?

No and that’s not a bad thing! I do want to do book four but right now I’m literally thinking about the events for this one – I have no time to think about the next book!

Chetna’s Supper Club takes place on Feb 2 at Great Guns Social, check out for tickets. You can follow Chetna on Instagram. If you found this interesting, we also spoke to Mary Berry who told us why she loves her wrinkles, and find out why Nadiya Hussain insists that anyone can be a great baker.

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