Rick Stein’s “Amma’s” Pork Curry with Green Chillies and Tamarind

Serves: 6

It’s getting cold at night.

Which means we light a huge outdoor fire. Decant a cracker red:

And dial up the curries, braises and stews.

Last night we cooked this wonderful Rick Stein curry. Pork shoulder cooked down for a few hours, a salad of pineapple and red onion to cut through the richness and a pilau rice at the side.

Perfect.

Honestly, sitting by the fire with Nat on an autumn Saturday night with a bowl of this and a glass of red, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Ingredients

For the curry

6 large banana shallots (eschallots) sliced
20 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
6cm ginger, finely chopped
6 green chillies, roughly chopped with the seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
4cm piece of cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1kg boneless pork shoulder cut into 4cm chunks
1 tsp salt

To finish

2 tsp coriander seeds
75ml tamarind liquid
3 green chillies, thinly sliced lengthways, without seeds
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Flash pickled onion and pineapple salad to serve
Pilau rice to serve

Method

  1. Put the eschallots, garlic, ginger and chillies in a food processor with a splash of water and blend to a rough paste.
  2. Fry the mustard seeds, cumin, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute until toasted and aromatic. Add the turmeric and fry for another 20 seconds. Cool, then grind to a coarse powder.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the pork, in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned. With all the pork in the pan, add the eschallot, garlic, ginger and chilli paste, the ground spices and salt, and fry for a further 5 minutes, adding a splash of water if the paste starts to stick.
  4. Pour over enough water to just cover, turn the heat down to low and put on a lid and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens to a gravy.
  5. To finish, fry the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute until toasted, then grind to a powder. Add the tamarind liquid, green chillies and garlic to the pork and cook for a further minute, then stir in the ground coriander.
  6. Serve with pilau rice and salad at the side.

Casarecce with Pork Sausage, Cavolo Nero and Chilli

Serves: 4 – 6

It has been a busy couple of months for us.

Moving house, overseas, work, kids, weddings, kids and more kids.

We’ve also been super calorie focused, with no meal exceeding 300 calories. No kidding!

But now we’re done.

And with a new courtyard, a new kitchen and Spring finally feeling like Spring, we’re back into cooking wonderful weekend lunches.

Like this one, which is as good as you would get in a restaurant.

It is surprisingly light, with the garlic, chilli and fennel creating a really sophisticated base. The casarecce is a great pasta (found at Harris Farm) and the cavolo nero (kale) fills the whole thing out in a really clever way.

This is definitely a pasta you should try and one that we would cook again.

9 out of 10.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
6 thick pork and fennel sausages, skins removed, broken into bite-sized pieces
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 cups (firmly packed) roughly torn cavolo nero (1 bunch)
500gm dried casarecce (or penne or rigatoni)
50gm finely grated Parmesan plus extra to serve
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a large casserole over a high heat, add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until well browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic, rosemary and spices to the pan, season to taste and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Deglaze with the wine and reduce until almost evaporated, then return the sausage to the pan together with the stock and cavolo nero. Cover with a lid and cook until the the cavolo nero is just wilted.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Toss with with the sausage sauce, Parmesan and parsley, season to taste and serve, topped with extra Parmesan.
  4. And wine.

Turkish-style eggs with Tomato, Green Chilli and Mince

Serves: 4

Every special occasion in our house calls for a special breakfast.

And that generally means something like this number: a spiced mince cooked with eggs.

This past Mother’s Day, Nat – sensibly – opted to run to the gym before an afternoon of champagne, great food and celebration.

Breakfast was spared.

I proceeded nonetheless.

It wasn’t until Monday that Nat handed in her verdict and it was a 10/10. The breakfast we should have had on Sunday: except that you take every opportunity to get out when you have three boys and limited time on your hands and why wouldn’t you?

It’s Mother’s Day.

Well done Nat. You are the best Mum in the world.

Oh, and enjoy this amazing mince breakfast.

It is awesome.

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter
1 onion finely chopped
6 green peppers, deseeded, finely chopped
250gm lamb mince
3 tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 eggs
Sea salt
Toasted, buttered, Turkish Bread to serve

Method

  1. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Stir in the peppers and lamb mince, increasing the temperature, stirring, until the lamb is browned.
  2. Tip in the tomatoes, half a cup of water chilli flakes, pepper and a good pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly and simmer on a low heat for 30 – 60 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.
  3. Push the back of a spoon into the mixture to make 4 wells and crack the eggs into the wells. Cover the pan and cook for until the eggs are just set.
  4. Serve with the Turkish Bread and ideally Champagne if you have it!

Porteno’s (Christmas) Porchetta

Serves: 8

This is a wonderful Argentinian recipe from Porteno, an equally as wonderful Sydney restaurant.

I’m not sure how you could go wrong with this one: pork belly, chilli, herbs and plenty of cooking time. Go further and over a high heat on your grill, crispen the skin even further for 15 minutes once you’re done with the oven.

Even better than the night before, the pork is incredible on a roll the next day with a bit more of the chimichurri, butter and some of the crackling.

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy this one though at the very least, you would be mad not to do this at Christmas during that crazy time between Christmas Day and New Years.

This is what it is all about.

Ingredients

3 – 4kg pork belly, deboned, skin on
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp fine salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
Extra fine salt

Chimichurri
1 cup flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup coriander (loosely packed)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Method

  1. For the pork: Start preparing the pork belly the day before cooking. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the fennel seeds, salt, chilli flakes, peppercorns, garlic and rosemary together to make a paste. Rub the paste on the inside of the pork belly.
  2. Roll the pork belly lengthways and using butcher’s twine, tie the meat at 2 ½cm intervals to hold it together. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. Remove the porchetta from the fridge and uncover. Season with fine salt all over the skin. Leave for 1 to 2 hours to draw out the moisture. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove the salt.
  4. Heat the oven to 150c. Place the porchetta on a rack inside a baking tray. Put in the oven and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Increase the heat to 200c for 15 minutes to crackle the skin.
  5. For the chimichurri: Pulse the ingredients in a food processor until you have a paste.
  6. Serve the pork with the chimichurri.  

Kourtney Kardashian’s ‘Don-approved’ Guilt-free Chilli

 

kourtney-kardashian
A Google search says this is her.

Kourtney Kardashian’s ‘Don-approved’ Guilt-free Chilli

 

Serves: 6

I don’t really know much about Kourtney Kardashian – in fact, I know pretty much nothing – though I suspect that her figure is important to her.

She is on a TV show I think.

This is Kourtney’s (famous) chilli that Nat found in the sort of magazine Kourtney Kardashian is featured in and the chilli isn’t bad at all.

In fact, it is a pretty good, spicy chilli.

I added sliced carrots, 2 red chillis and capsicum to it and dialed down her 3 tablespoons of chilli powder to 1 ½ tablespoons. Of course, if you want your heart to explode through your chest, go with her suggestion, though for the rest of us with only 10 minutes to eat lunch, stay with the dialed down version I have written up below.

Not sure of what the old Kourtney has given us food-wise otherwise, though thank you for the mince.

She is a good, simple, healthy mince.

(And double it of course as with all minces and freeze.)

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
500gm ground turkey
1 ½ tbsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
1 x 800gm can diced tomatoes
2 x 400gm can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado and coriander to serve

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil over a low heat in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion (and fresh chilli if using) and saute until golden.
  2. Add the mince, using a spoon to break it down. Cook until all of the liquid as evaporated.
  3. Stir in the chilli powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Add the tomato, kidney beans and other vegetables you might want to add.
  4. Bring to the boil and then cook for 45 mins to an hour or until thickened. Season.

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.

Coconut chutney

Serves: A dinner of dosai, as a side

Dosais are not the least expensive things on your Southern Indian restaurant menu and even then, I doubt they make much money from them.

There are plenty of ingredients that go into the whole show, they take time and technique and importantly, a truly wonderful chutney like this lasts… 24 hours. Time and economies of scale are not on your side.

The silver lining of course is that a good dosai is to die for and this chutney is simply part of the story. It is amazing.

The extra touch that turns the dial from 11 to 12. The addition that completes the meal, taking you into fine Indian cooking territory. The secret weapon in your cook-off that nobody saw coming.

Sure, you have 24-hours to get from bench to plate, though in-between making your dosai batter, your filling and a wonderful side of lentils, you’re signed up to the task right?

And the fact is, you cannot lose any cook-off – or dinner – if you pull the whole thing off.

Tie maybe, but who the hell are you cooking against?!

Ingredients

Half a coconut, grated
2 fresh green chillis
½ bunch fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp fresh ginger
Salt to taste

Tempering

10ml vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ asafoetida powder
1 sprig fresh curry leaves

Method

  1. Grind the coconut, chillis, coriander leaves, ginger and salt in a blender, adding a little water if required.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves and temper the chutney by pouring the mixture on top.
  3. Serve as an accompaniment to dosai.

** Enhances colour and flavour and settles the stomach; unless you have it or feel inclined to get it, you can live without.

Paneer Chilli Fry

FullSizeRender.jpg
If you tell them you made the cheese, who knows how they’ll react. Because who the hell just makes cheese for dinner?!

Paneer Chilli Fry

Serves: 4 as a starter

Nat and I did the Nilgiri’s cooking class last Saturday and it was excellent.

The class, run by Indian restaurateur Ajoy Joshi, is pretty famous in Sydney and it wasn’t hard to see why. As a restaurateur, Ajoy has been very successful and we have eaten at all his restaurants including Tellicherry which serves upmarket, really clever Indian food backed by personable service.

In terms of the class, we learnt new techniques and gained a greater appreciation of the use and background of different spices and ingredients.

Case in point was this Paneer Chilli Fry, only the second time we have made cheese as part of a dish.

A combination of the cheese, the spices and the buttermilk, it is just wonderful. Really special in fact and definitely something you would look like a genius presenting as part of an Indian feast.

The cheese (Paneer: homemade Indian Cottage Cheese) component requires a little concentration at the beginning, though it isn’t tricky and I’ve written the instructions to keep it as foolproof as possible.

If you, like me, are on a never-ending quest to find better and better Indian food to cook, this is absolutely something you must try.

Just ensure that you don’t try and use anything but full-fat milk. Cheese needs an 8% fat content, with the addition of the cream in this dish making up the 4% fat content of the full-fat milk. Skim milk simply won’t leave you with anything but wasted milk.

Ingredients

Paneer

1 liter cream milk
100ml fresh cream
½ cup white vinegar
Muslin cloth (for straining)

Marinade

1 tbsp fresh ginger, crushed
1 tbsp fresh garlic, crushed
1 ½ tbsp fresh green chillis (including the seeds)
4 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tbsp chilli powder
Salt to taste

To prep/serve

2 – 3 tbsp vegetable oil
300ml buttermilk
Juice of one lemon
Chat Masala to taste
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method

Paneer

  1. Place a saucepan over a medium-heat and add the milk and cream. Stir in a figure of eight, ensuring that you are scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure none of the milk/cream sticks.
  2. When steam starts to come off of the milk, stop stirring. Continue to heat until it starts to boil. Take off the heat and ensure that it doesn’t overflow and spill; this likely means blowing on it to cool it.
  3. Tip in some of the vinegar and the substance will curdle. Add enough vinegar until this is happening.
  4. Scoop the curdled milk pieces into the muslin cloth using some sort of strainer or slotted spoon. Discard the whey from the saucepan.
  5. Tie the cloth reasonable tightly and place the cloth/curdled milk in a colander to allow additional whey to drain out; place the saucepan on top of the cloth and weigh down so that you have an inch-thick compact disc. Allow to drain and compress for at least 20 minutes to allow all the whey to drain out.
  6. Cut/shred into dices and set aside.

Marinade

  1. For the marinade, mix the ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander seeds, chilli powder and salt.

To serve

  1. Heat the oil in a pan until it smokes. Add the marinade to the pan, reduce the heat and cook until the marinade caramelises. Add the buttermilk and reduce until well heated and slightly thickened.
  2. Add the diced paneer and toss until coated in the marinade.
  3. Sprinkle with the freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste) and fresh coriander leaves.

Blue-eye baked in a bag

Serves: 4

I love fish baked in a bag.

Easy, full of flavour, fun and generally, really healthy.

This particular number from Tobie Puttock is especially good. As far as weekday dinners go, it is a complete win. (A 240 calories per-serve win.)

We served this with steamed beans and twice cooked and roasted baby potatoes: steam your potatoes, lay them flat on a baking-paper lined tray and half-flatten them with a large spoon, drizzle with olive oil, season and cook until golden.

You will enjoy.

Ingredients

4 blue-eye cod fillets or similar (we used ling)
100ml white wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Long strips of the zest of 1 lemon
2 birdseye chillis, cut in half and partially seeded
Small handful of dill sprigs
Sea salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Tear off 4 pieces of foil, about 30cm long, then 4 pieces of baking paper, 25cm long. Lay the baking paper on-top of the foil. Fold and crease into wells with walls all around to hold the fish and liquid.
  3. Combine the wine, olive oil, lemon zest, dill, chilli and a good pinch of salt and peppe. Stir to combine and then carefully add the fish fillets and turn them to coat with the marinade.
  4. Place a fish fillet into each well; share the dill, chilli, lemon zest and remaining liquid with each fillet. Close and seal the foil bags.
  5. Place the bags on a baking dish and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Let sit for a few minutes, transfer the bags to serving plates and open carefully at the table.

Asian Chicken & Mushroom Croquettes with Baby Cos

Serves: 4

Wow, this is an absolute weekday cracker.

And it is Bill Granger. A man I have doubted but am now totally buying into!

I suspect that our addition of the chilli flakes was a necessary addition – and don’t hold back on the hot sauce if you like it hot – though the rest could not be doubted. Great flavor, moist and so easy to prepare.

And healthy. Seriously healthy.

Wow.

Bill, you won me over with this one. The doubt is gone – your simple cooking is a real winner!

(Double this recipe as we did; you will have the best lunch at work the next day! He claims it served 4 though it is so good and so healthy, just keep going.)

Ingredients

4 tbsp canola oil
250gm button mushrooms, stalks removed, finely chopped (or food processed as we did)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500gm chicken mince
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger (do 1 tbsp and you won’t look back)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 heads of cos lettuce, leaves separated
1 small red onion, sliced into thin rings
Small handful of coriander leaves
Hot sauce

Method

  1. Heat a large frypan over a medium-low heat, add 1 tbsp of the oil and cook the mushrooms and garlic until nearly all the moisture has evaporated; remove the mushroom mixture from the pan and cool.
  2. Combine the mince, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, chilli flakes and mushroom mixture and mix well. Use 2 tbsp of the mixture at a time to role the small, football-shaped croquettes.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the croquettes, turning occasionally for 5 – 7 minutes or until golden all over and cooked through.
  4. Serve the chicken in the lettuce leaves with a few onion rings, a small handful of coriander and a good squeeze of hot sauce.
  5. Thank me later!