Andhra Curry Leaf Chicken

Serves: 4

There is yet to be a Christine Manfield curry that hasn’t amazed and this one is no different.

It is moorish, spicy, colourful with a few layers of flavour, the cashew paste adding a wonderful creaminess at the end: we added more of the cashew paste than was asked and didn’t look back.

The real winner however – as Nat observed – is the fried curry leaves and the fun and flavour they add.

And it’s a simple dish. Marinate overnight, cook in under 30 minutes the next night.

I’ve written it many times, though the excitement for us in cooking Indian food is finding new flavours and styles. Christine does not let anyone down with this one.

Ingredients

1.2kg chicken thighs, cut into 4cm chunks
1/3 cup cashew paste
2 large dried red chillies
2 tbsp shredded curry leaves
2 tbsp fried curry leaves

Marinade

1 tsp chilli powder
1 large dried red chilli, broken into small pieces
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
3 tomatoes, chopped
150gm thick natural yoghurt

Method

  1. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper in a bowl. Add chicken chunks, mixing to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes (or overnight).
  2. For the cashew paste, blend equal parts raw cashews and water in a food processor to make a thick, smooth paste.
  3. For the fried curry leaves, heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan to 170c and fry fresh batches of curry leaves for 20 seconds until their colour darkens. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  4. For the ginger and garlic paste, process equal parts garlic and ginger in a food processor with a little water until smooth.
  5. Tip the chicken and marinade into a large, non-stick frying pan. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 10 minutes or until the mixture is not too wet and the marinade has reduced and is coating the chicken.
  6. Stir in the cashew paste, chillies, 1 tsp salt and the shredded curry leaves and cook for another few minutes.
  7. Serve sprinkled with the fried curry leaves.

Christine Manfield’s Five-spice Duck and Shiitake Mushroom Pie

Serves: 8

Preamble: We are typing up this recipe as part of a tribute to our awesome friends Leesh and Josh who are getting married – at last – this weekend. Being awesome means they are awesome on the food front: cooking, eating, discussing and pairing wines with.

Here is to many meals in the future guys. We are proud to be your friends.

Enjoy the copper and cooking this pie one rainy Saturday. Keep the champagne near.

Love

Nat and Rob

Christine Manfield is unquestionably one of Australia’s most talented chefs that you’ve never heard of… unless you’re a foodie.

Her Paramount restaurant was arguably Australia’s best restaurant for many years and the breadth of her capabilities is stunning. One downside is the complexity of much of her work where a sauce is reduced and added to another sauce which is then reduced and worked into another sauce.

Tuesday night cooking it is not.

Conversely, every recipe I have cooked from her beautiful Indian cookbook Tasting India has been so unique, so wonderful that the decision to invest the time is simply one about what sphere of eating you want for that night.

Her food is not incrementally good. It is revolutionary good.

From Indian to this recipe is a jump, though you’ll understand my point about the range of her abilities. It is one of the finest bits of food I have cooked.

Indeed, this pie is one of her signatures and she says of it:

“This was a constant on my Paramount menus from the very beginning to the restaurant’s final night, selling out on a nightly basis,” says Christine Manfield. “People still stop me and request it. It pays homage to the French Pithiviers, a hand-moulded dome, while its filling is a nod to Chinese flavours. Where the humble meat pie holds special significance for many Australians, this version elevates it to a refined status. Don’t be daunted by the process – the workload can be spread across a couple of days and the result is a triumph, so please persevere.” Manfield suggests making the pastry and balls of duck-mushroom filling the day before, and then rolling out the pastry rounds and assembling the pies on the day of baking.”

All I can say is that after a day in the kitchen, this pie will blow your socks off. You’ll have bonded, you’ll have opened a wine at 5 and you’ll be so pleased with yourself and so you should be.

Do it.

Ingredients

4 Duck Marylands (250gm-300gm each), trimmed of excess fat
½ tsp ground Sichuan pepper
½ tsp Chinese five-spice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2star anise, broken into pieces
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 litres brown chicken stock

Mushroom mixture
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
250 gm shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
250 gm chestnut mushrooms, trimmed (see note)
1 tbsp five-spice salt (see note)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Crème Fraîche Pastry
2 ⅓ cups) plain flour
250 gm chilled unsalted butter, diced
250 gm crème fraîche
Eggwash, for brushing

Ginger Glaze
1 onion, thinly sliced
1small red chilli, thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger, plus 1 tbsp extra, cut into julienne
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
100 ml Stone’s Original Green Ginger Wine
25 ml Shaoxing wine

Method

  1. Prick duck skin with a skewer. Combine Sichuan pepper, five-spice and 2 tsp sea salt in a bowl, then rub into duck.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in deep frying pan large enough to hold duck in a single layer over medium-high heat and fry duck, skin-side down, until browned (2-3 minutes), turn and cook other side for 2 minutes. Set duck aside, tip fat out of pan, add remaining oil and onion and sauté until onion is softened and translucent (4-5 minutes).
  3. Add garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onion and fry until softened and just starting to colour (6-8 minutes). Add whole spices and fry for another minute or so until fragrant. Add stock, bring to the boil, add duck in single layer so it’s covered by stock, reduce heat to low and simmer until duck is tender (50 minutes to 1 hour).
  4. Remove duck from stock (reserve stock), then, when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones (discard skin, bones and sinew). Finely chop and set aside.
  5. Strain stock through a fine sieve, cool, then refrigerate until fat sets on the surface (2-3 hours). Skim off fat, discard and refrigerate stock until required.
  6. For mushroom mixture, heat oil in a frying pan and sauté onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Stir in mushrooms and toss to coat, then sauté until softened (8-10 minutes). Season with five-spice salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, stir to combine and remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the spring onion and parsley, cool slightly, then add to duck meat and mix well with your hands. Roll into 8 balls roughly the size of a tennis ball, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate until cooled and firm (2-3 hours).
  8. For the crème fraîche pastry, process flour, butter and 1 tsp sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs – don’t overwork. Add crème fraîche and pulse until just incorporated. Tip out onto a bench, form into a disc about 3cm thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for 2 hours.
  9. Cut pastry into 4 even pieces. Keep remaining pieces refrigerated as you work with each; roll out each and cut out two 11cm-diameter rounds for the 8 lids, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate. Re-roll pastry and cut out eight 7cm-diameter rounds for the pie bases, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  10. Working with a pastry base and lid at a time and keeping remaining pastry rounds chilled, lay a small pastry round (base) on a lightly floured surface, brush edges with eggwash and place a ball of duck mixture in the centre. Place a larger pastry round (lid) over the top, gently mould pastry over duck mixture with your hands, press edges with a fork to seal, then trim edges with a paring knife. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate while you assemble the remaining pies. Brush pastry with eggwash and score seven arcs from centre of lid down the dome with a paring knife, then refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
  11. Meanwhile, for ginger glaze, fry onion, chilli and chopped ginger in oil over medium-high heat until soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add spices and fry until fragrant (1 minute). Deglaze pan with ginger wine and Shaoxing wine, and boil until reduced by half (3-4 minutes).
  12. Add 300ml reserved duck stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half (40-45 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve and season with salt to taste. Just before serving, bring to a simmer, adding julienned ginger at the last minute.
  13. Preheat oven to 200C. Bake pies until golden brown (18-20 minutes). Serve with ginger glaze.

One Hundred Almond Curry

One Hundred Almond Curry

Serves: 8

This is an absolute pearler of a curry.

Just wonderful.

Unique, hot, creamy, moorish and all at the same time. That we had it with an indulgent medium-grain rice made it all the better.

From Christine Manfield’s Tasting India, it is one of those curries we have been lucky enough to cook that you will never have at a takeaway or your local Indian restaurant. It is far too good and sophisticated for that.

Not that you would get that from the ingredients at first glance.

It is the almonds that make it so special – something I have written about in the past – and it is their slight crunch, the flavour, the colour and again, the creaminess that makes it work just so damn well.

This recipe from the Himalayas is unquestionably worth doing. Another example of a curry you’d never know existed until you tried it and one you will absolutely love.

Ingredients

2kg lamb leg on bone, cut into pieces
1 tbsp black peppercorns
6 slices ginger
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
3 litres chicken stock
1 ½ cups (240gm) blanched almonds, skins removed
1 onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (essentially, half/half ginger and garlic)
12 dried Kashmiri chillies, broken into small pieces
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp white poppy seeds (we substituted white sesame seeds)
3 tbsp ghee (we substituted canola oil)
300ml coconut milk
70ml Tamarind Liquid
3 tomatoes, quartered, seeled and sliced lengthways

Method

  1. Put the lamb, peppercorns, ginger, bay leaves and salt in a large, heavy saucepan and pour in the stock. Bring to boiling point over a medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer for at least an hour until the meat is very tender. This could take up to an extra hour so be prepared.
  2. Remove the lamb from the stock and set aside. Strain the stock, discarding the solids.
  3. Blend the almonds with the onion, ginger garlic paste, chilli and cumin, coriander and poppy seeds to make a fine paste.
  4. Heat the ghee in a large pan and fry the almond paste over a low heat for a few minutes until it starts to colour. Add the coconut milk, tamarind liquid and 2 cups of the strained stock, stirring to combine. Simme for 15 minutes until it has reduced and thickened slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  5. Add the lamb and the tomato to the gravy and stir well to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomato breaks down.
  6. Serve with rice.

Black Pepper Chicken Fry

Serves: 4

This recipe is from Christine Manfield’s gorgeous book, Tasting India.

If you ever needed convincing to visit India, leaf through her book and you have it; an afternoon with this wonderful book was enough to seal it for us and in 2017, we’re heading there!

This dish is from the Chettinad region and is as unusual as it is tasty. It isn’t spicy, though the pepper gives it a lovely peppery taste. Really unique.

It’s also pretty easy to prepare, something we did for an Indian-dinner at Nat’s sister’s place.

If you love curry like we do, this is definitely one to try.

Ingredients

5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3cm piece cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom pods, cracked
2 white onion, finely sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tsp salt
1kg chicken thigh fillets, chopped into 3 cm pieces

Pepper Masala

3 tsp fennel seeds
3 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
4 small dried red chillis

Method

  1. To make the pepper masala, dry roast the spices over a gentle heat. Cool, then grind to fine powder.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the cinnamon and cardamom over a moderate heat for 30-seconds until fragrant. Add the onion and stir for a few minutes until golden. Add half the pepper masala and stir until fragrant. Add the ginger garlic paste and the tomato and fry for a few minutes, then season with the salt and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and stir until they are coated. Fry for 3 – 4 minutes until the chicken is beginning to colour. Add 2 cups (500ml) water, then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the chicken is cooked and tender; remove the lid, and cook down any remaining liquid until you have a thick gravy. Serve.