Curry, Indian, Seafood

Meen Molee (Fish curry cooked in coconut)

Meen Molee (Fish curry cooked in coconut)

Serves: 2 – 3

I’ve done a few Molee and this recipe is a wonderful, rustic and rather simple fish version.

It isn’t as complex or subtle as some I have done, though it is the simplicity factor that earns the write-up; and it tastes just awesome too.

Weekday, Saturday lunch, this is a great number.

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves
3 green chillies
5cm piece of ginger, peeled
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
6 curry leaves
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp salt
200ml coconut milk
160ml boiling water
500gm firm white fish, cut into 3cm pieces
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Basmati rice and coriander to serve

Method

  1. Place the garlic, chillies and ginger in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan to a medium-heat and fry the onion with the curry leaves for 4 minutes until softening. Stir in the garlic, chilli and ginger mixture together with the turmeric and salt. Fry for 2 minutes and then add half the coconut milk and the boiling water.
  3. Simmer for 2 minutes and add the fish; gently simmer for 5 – 6 minutes. Add half the tomato and remaining coconut milk and simmer for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Garnish with the remaining tomato and serve on basmati rice with plenty of coriander.
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Curry, Indian, Poultry

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Served: 6 – 8

This is a great – really great – curry.

Though it could have ended in tears.

We found it after a coin-toss between staying in or going out for dinner last Saturday, the appeal of the couch, cuddles and some shitty TV shows winning hands-down.

Found on my phone after a few searches and keywords, we had the ingredients, we had our PJs on and we were ready to go.

Except that the instructions were completely unaligned to the ingredients.

We almost had two sets of ingredients: those in the list of ingredients and those in the method.

Normally we would read the instructions or at least give them a glance before cooking, though we were on a phone when we chose the dish, we were still distracted, comprehending our coin-toss and besides, we cook plenty of curries.

We know the drill.

What ghee are you asking for? Marinate what fish? Who’s Fred?

So we winged it.

And the winging came up good. Great in-fact.

Determined not to lose to the madman that pulled the original monster together, we pushed on and here you have that curry.

Neither will you be a loser if you do this number.

It is just great!

Ingredients

1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp garam masala
6 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
5 dried curry leaves
2 dried red chillies
1 kg chicken thighs, cut into 3cm pieces
15 fresh curry leaves
2 tbsp freshly squeened lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp garlic, minced
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
240ml coconut milk
1 tsp brown sugar
Yoghurt and coriander to serve

Method

  1. Heat your salamander to high and peel your prawns. (Monster).
  2. Heat all the spices in a dry pan for 1 – 2 minutes until aromatic. Place in a grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Fry the oil in a large saucepan of a medium heat and add the fresh curry leaves and fry for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until slightly browned and soft.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes and add the spice powder, tomato paste and 250ml of warm water. Mix well and cover, cooking for 45 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cook for a further 15 minutes or until you have a thickened gravy. Add the sugar and salt for taste.
  6. Serve with coriander and a dollop of yoghurt.
  7. Turn off the salamander.
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Curry, Vegetarian

Potato Pallya

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Potato Pallya, about to be folded into a dosai!

Potato Pallya

Serves: 4 – 8 dosai

Lordy, this is a seriously fine dosai filling.

In fact, it is as good as I have had at any restaurant.

The trick is to ensure that the final product is not too oily. If anything is going to kill the delicate shell of your dosai, it is oil.

Otherwise, be as adventurous with the spices as you want with this recipe. Make it sing with flavour, smoke, spice and flavour. And don’t worry that the lentils will be crunchy… that is half the fun.

Boom!

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tbsp split chickpea lentils
½ tbsp split black lentils
1 – 2 dry chillis, torn
¼ tsp Asafoetida powder*
¼ turmeric powder
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
Half an onion, sliced
Salt to taste
250gm potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
¼ bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the black mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  2. Add both the lentils and cook on a medium heat, stirring constantly until the lentils turn a light golden in colour.
  3. Add the chillis and the asafoetida powder and cook for a few moments.
  4. Add the turmeric and the curry leaves and cook for a few moments.
  5. Add the onions and salt and cook until the onions turn translucent. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  6. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes, checking the seasoning.
  7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  8. Use as the filling of a dosai. Or just eat it because it is seriously that good!

* I know, I had only heard of this once and I didn’t know what it was. Like turmeric which is really only used to enhance colour (and flavour), so too is Asafoetida powder. Though more so to reduce flatulence as far as I can tell. If you can get it, awesome, if not, not to worry.

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Curry, Indian, Vegetarian

Dosai

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Nat skillfully folding a dosai. With the hands of Fred Flintstone, it was suggested I photograph. A good suggestion.

Dosai

Serves: As many as you need

If you haven’t had dosai, you’re missing out on one of the better Southern Indian delicacies.

If you have had dosai, you’ll know what I mean.

A wonderful, thin, crispy pancake with a glorious, soft, spiced filling of potato, mince or vegetables; the contrast of the incredibly light, incredibly thin, crunchy pancake against a wonderful filling is just awesome.

So much so, that learning how to cook them was on my cooking bucket list.

And two weeks ago, I ticked that box!

The batter itself is easy enough to prepare. The real trick is in making the dosai pancake, because unlike a Sunday-morning pancake, you need to spread out the dosai batter by hand as opposed to a breakfast pancake that does all the spreading for you.

The more you spread, the thinner the dosai, the better the dosai.

Oh, and the spread needs to be circular. Our boys might eat the strangely shaped pancakes we serve them on weekends, though dosais are about having a round, dinner-plate sized disc.

To do this, pour a ladle of the batter in the middle of the heated, dry pan.

You then spread the batter evenly in concentric circles until it reaches the edges of the griddle. Something with a small, flat-bottom will do this job just fine.

Your first few attempts will leave you with dosai far too small, thick in parts and with tears and holes, though you’ll get the knick of it.

And the batter lasts for 6-months, so you’ll have plenty of time.

It might seem an effort, though once you get the handle of it, you’ll be the master of one of the finer foods you can cook from Southern India. And seriously, the contrast in textures, is to die for.

Ingredients

3 parts fine to medium rice flour
1 part split black lentil flour
Water for the batter
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil or ghee to pan-fry the dosai

Method

  1. Mix the rice and lentil flours with just enough cold water to form a thick, fine paste. Don’t mix too heavily as the lumps will disappear overnight.
  2. Add salt to taste and leave the batter in a warm place overnight to ferment
  3. Mix the batter thoroughly the next morning.
  4. Heat the pan until it is hot; if you can hold your hand for 10 seconds around 4cm from the top of the pan, you’re at the right temperature.
  5. Pour a ladle of the batter in the center of the pan and spread evenly in concentric circles till it reaches the edges of the pan.
  6. Drizzle a small amount of the oil or ghee on the pancake to baste. Cook on a medium heat until the dosai is golden brown.
  7. Place the filling of your choice in center of the dosai and roll or fold the dosai as desired.
  8. Serve hot with fresh (coconut) chutney and sambhar.
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Curry, Italian, Poultry, Uncategorized

(Not) Butter chicken

(Not) Butter chicken

Serves: 4

The last ‘generic’ curry I I typed up, I commented that I had always steered clear of the Indian take-away favourites – Rogan Josh, Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken – because, well, they’re the sold-out, hardly Indian curries. 

In fact, butter chicken was the worst of the lot.

Often a flavourless, nuclear yellow/orange goop, I literally only entertain it because the boys will eat it: validation that it must be bland. (Sorry boys).

So by typing this up, you must have guessed it.

This is a seriously good curry. A seriously good, rich, flavoursome, moorish butter chicken, so much so, that you’d say it isn’t butter chicken.

So maybe after-all I haven’t cooked butter chicken.

Either way, you will love it. Just tell them it’s not butter chicken.

Ingredients

1 kg chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 stems, curry leaves
1 red chilli, chopped including seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 x 400gm can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
165ml coconut cream
1 tsp golden syrup
½ concentrated chicken stock cube

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Season the chicken thighs well and add to the pan; cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Add the butter to the pan and when heated, add the onion and cook cover a medium heat until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the curry leaves, chilli and spices and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and coconut cream; add the golden syrup and stock cube and stir to dissolve.
  5. Return the chicken and cook on a low heat for at least an hour; several more if you have the time.
  6. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with the fresh coriander and steamed white rice.
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Curry, Indian

Chicken, Pumpkin and Cashew Curry

Chicken, Pumpkin and Cashew Curry

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a really neat curry from The Blue Ducks’ ‘Real Food’ cookbook, a book we really like and have had some early success from.

It is unusual, both in terms of the amount of curry powder you need for it, as well as the wonderfully fragrant paste of ginger, garlic, curry leaves, lime leaves, coriander roots and lemongrass; though it definitely, definitely pulls together.

Just ensure that you get the curry powder to a powder, even if it means a second vino whilst working the mortar and pestle.

It is warm, comforting, fragrant and fun to pull together. Comfort being the operative word; this is simply a great chicken curry you’d happily eat every night with rice – or cauliflower rice as we did.

The original recipe asks for a whole chicken cut up, though we used 1kg of chicken thigh.

Final point: Kashmiri chilli powder.

Most of Rick Stein’s curries ask for it. Among many others.

Sure, you can substitute other chilli powders, though if you can, make the effort and get some Kashimiri chilli powder from an Indian grocer. It is mild and adds a wonderful red hue rather than simply being the Sherman Tank so many chilli powders are. It is worth it.

Ingredients

3 tbsp ghee (or vegetable oil)
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
5cm piece of ginger, chopped
10 – 15 curry leaves
3 kaffir lime leaves (remove the spine)
1 bunch of coriander, leaves picked and roots and stalks reserved
1 lemongrass stem, white part only, chopped
1 x 1.6 kg chicken, 10 – 12 pieces, skin on and bones in (or 1kg of chicken thigh)
200ml coconut milk
500gm peeled and deseeded pumpkin, cut into 5cm dice
400gm can diced tomatoes
100gm roasted cashews
1 heaped tsp salt flakes
Natural yoghurt

Curry Powder

75gm coriander seeds (yes, a lot!)
50gm cumin seeds (ditto)
8 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
6 black peppercorns
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 dried chillies
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

Method

  1. For the curry powder, toast the coriander seeds cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves in a dry frying pan until fragrant and lightly coloured. Tip the spices into a spice grinder – or mortar and pestle – and grind until a fine powder.
  2. Place the garlic, ginger, curry leaves, lime leaves, coriander roots and stalks, and lemongrass in a blender or small food processor and blitz to a paste.
  3. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the ghee and fry the onion until it is just turning golden. Add the curry powder and cook over a medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the spices don’t burn.
  4. Add the paste to the pan and fry for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the chicken, coconut milk, pumpkin, tomatoes, cashews, salt and half the coriander leaves. Slowly simmer over a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Sprinkle with the remaining coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice (or cauliflower rice) and a dollop of natural yoghurt.
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Beef, Curry

Indian Beef Short Rib Curry

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a wonderful, western take on an Indian curry.

From the book – and restaurant – The Blue Ducks, it isn’t just the beef short rib that makes it so rich and special, though that is a pretty good start.

It’s that everything just works, right down to the late inclusion of the chickpeas, yogurt and coriander.

It really is wonderful.

I’ve written in the past about various curries that have changed the dial.

This is undoubtedly one of them and one that you should definitely try as a Sunday night treat.

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
1.5kg – 2kg beef short ribs
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 star anise
½ tsp chilli powder
1 cinnamon stick
5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
400gm can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp honey
500ml chicken stock
400gm can chickpeas, drained
100gm natural yoghurt
½ bunch of coriander, leaves picked

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over a medium-high heat; season the ribs and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs and reduce the heat the medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the spices and ginger and cook for a few more minutes, stirring.
  3. Return the ribs to the dish, add the tomatoes, honey, stock and 400ml of water. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 3 hours; until the meat completely comes away from the bone.
  4. Remove the ribs from the dish and remove all bones, sinew and fat, discarding all but the meat; reduce the consistency of the remaining liquid on the stove until thickened. Once reduced, add the chickpeas to heat through and then the beef, half the yoghurt and half the coriander.
  5. Serve on rice with a dollop of the remaining yoghurt and coriander.
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