Despite the fact that Britons once voted Chicken Tikka Masala as one of the nation's all-time favourite dishes, Indian cooking isn't only about popping down to your local curry house for a good old Ruby Murray and a pint.

In fact, many modern Indian dishes are far simpler and healthier than they are given credit for - and ideal for keeping out the cold as temperatures drop.

"For many the idea of Indian food is one of high-fat, high-calorie dishes cooked in saturated fat and swimming with oil.

"But the truth is that Indian food can be light and healthy, with fresh flavours, fabulous colours and delicious textures," says Sunil Vijayakar, chef and author of new book Fresh Indian.

"Fresh Indian offers a modern approach to traditional Indian cooking, creating classic flavours and dishes using nutritious, low-fat ingredients and making use of healthy cooking techniques to achieve perfect, guilt-free, and authentic results."

And there's far more than the tikkas, tandooris and kormas people might recognise, with recipes for dishes like Beef Brochettes with mango salsa, Barbecued Corn with chilli and lime, Mixed Vegetable and Coconut Stew, breads, pickles and desserts.

Vijayakar advises would-be Indian chefs that a well-stocked pantry of basic ingredients and spices is essential. He suggests paying a visit to an Indian or Asian market to stock up with a range of quality ingredients.

"Don't let yourself be intimidated by ingredients that may be new to you - just make sure you have everything laid out and on hand before you start to cook, and the rest will be easy," he says.

"At the end of the day, the main ingredient to have at hand is love, enjoyment and passion for food, cooking and eating - and don't be afraid to experiment."