Kidney Bean Curry with Cardamom, Ginger and Chilli by Maunika Gowardhan

Serves: 4

This is pure comfort food.

Like any good bean chilli, honestly, by itself with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt, on the couch with a glass of red, this dish could help Monday night fly by.

As part of a Thali we prepared from Maunika Gowardhan’s new book – Thali – it was the knockout addition. Compared to the spices and uniqueness of some of the dishes, here came this wonderful, muted comfort in the form of kidney beans and a thick gravy.

A total joy to eat.

(And there is enough left over for Monday night!)

(Read about this dish as part of a grand thali we recently served.)

Ingredients

2.5cm ginger root
5 garlic cloves
3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
4 black cardamom pods, whole*
5cm cinnamon stick
1 onion, finely chopped
2 heaped tbsp tomato paste
2 x 400gm tins of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
Pinch of asafoetida (substitute garlic or onion powder)
350ml boiled water
Salt, to taste
Pinch of garam masala
Chopped coriander, to garnish

Method

  1. First, put the ginger root and garlic cloves into a blender with a splash of water, and blend to form a smooth paste.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add the black cardamom pods and cinnamon stick, letting them fry for 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 30 seconds as the raw flavours cook through.
  3. Increase the heat to medium, add the chopped onions and cook for 14 – 15 minutes as they soften and go light brown. Stir well, making sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the tomato paste and fry for 2 minutes, then add a splash of water and scrape off any sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Now add the red kidney beans, along with the ginger and chilli powder, as well as the asafoetida. Stir well and fry for 1 minute, then add the water and season to taste.
  5. Cover and cook over a low heat for 17 – 18 minutes, stirring halfway through. Crush some of the beans with the back of a spoon to thicken the gravy slightly. Finish with the garam masala, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

* If you can, don’t substitute green Black/brown cardamom pods add a beautiful smokiness.

Spicy Sweetcorn with Ginger and Green Chilli by Maunika Gowardhan

Serves: 4

This vegetarian accompaniment is Indian simple, Indian quick and particularly Indian delicious.

We used canned sweetcorn kernels and it was tremendous. And wow, you won’t see the roasted peanuts and lime coming.

Hard to see how this will not sit aside every thali we serve going forward!

(Read about this dish as part of a grand thali we recently served.)

Ingredients

520gm tin of sweetcorn, drained
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida (substitute garlic or onion powder)
1 heaped tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed
Juice of 1/2 lime

For the chilli and ginger paste

1 green bird-eye chilli
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
5cm ginger root, roughly chopped

Method

  1. First, make the chilli and ginger paste by placing all the ingredients into a blender, along with 3 tbsp of the sweetcorn, and blitz to a coarse paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the asafoetida and mustard seeds, and fry for a few seconds until they splutter.
  3. Add the prepared chilli and ginger paste and fry for 1 minute, stirring well. Add the turmeric and stir, then adding the sweetcorn and fry for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, season, and add the fresh coriander and crushed peanuts. Cover and cook for 1 more minute. Finish with the lime juice and serve warm.

Ajoy Joshi’s Pepper and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Another cracking Ajoy Joshi recipe, where according to Ajoy, this recipe began life at the Nagarjuna Restaurant in Bangalore where it is renowned for this Tamil Nadu dish.

The steaming of the chicken is clever, finishing it in ghee (Ajoy asks for oil and unsalted butter) until golden.

We served this on steamed rice with mint sauce, lots of chutney and coriander… and it was excellent. It reminded us of eating Nilgiri’s (Ajoy’s wonderful lower North Shore restaurant) and on that basis, it has to be typed.

Ingredients

1 cinnamon stick, about 7.5cm long
2 tsp green cardamom pods
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1/3 c chopped fresh coriander
36 fresh curry leaves
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 fresh mild long green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and halved crosswise
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 unsalted butter (N.B. We substituted oil/butter with ghee)
Mango pickle/chutney to serve
Steamed rice to serve
Coriander to serve
Mint sauce to serve

Method

  1. In a spice grinder, combine cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and grind to a fine powder. Transfer ground spices to a small food processor and add coriander, curry leaves, juice of 1 lemon, chilli, garlic, ginger, tamarind, turmeric, and salt. Process until a paste forms.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a non-reactive bowl. Add remaining juice of 1/2 lemon and turn to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add paste and turn chicken to coat well. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
  3. Line a large bamboo steamer with baking paper. Arrange chicken on a single layer on paper, cooking in 2 batches if necessary. Place basket over a wok or other pan of simmering water, Cover and steam until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 12 – 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat oil and butter (or ghee) over a medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 1 – 2 minutes per side. Serve with rice, fresh coriander, mint sauce and chutney.

Healthy Mai Thai

Makes: 2 cocktails

How good are summer holidays.

Nothing to do, essentially all locked in our houses thanks to Sydney’s current Covid situation (🖕🏻😖😷), long afternoons under the umbrella reading and typing recipes.

And drinking this amazing cocktail by Nat.

I could get very used to this.

Ingredients

I cup fresh cut pineapple
2 large vodka shots
1.5 shots of Malibu
3cm ginger
1 tsp of honey
2.5 shots of coconut water
Lime slices to garnish
Ice to serve

Method

  1. Whiz together the pineapple, ginger, honey and coconut water in a blender. Strain and return to the blender.
  2. Add the vodka and Malibu and whiz once more.
  3. Serve with lime slices and ice.
  4. Repeat.

Steamed Chinese Chicken with Ginger and Shiitakes

Serves: 4

This is one of the simplest, most effective, tastiest dishes you can cook.

And the most healthiest.

Read through the ingredients and you’ll understand why you are almost obliged to serve it with some steamed rice… because otherwise, there is almost literally nothing there.

Which is not to say it is subtle, though it is delicate.

Thank the rice wine, sesame oil and ginger for that.

I promise you will cook this again and again and you will never be bored of it.

Brilliant.

Ingredients

4 x 150gm chicken breast fillets
Salt and white pepper
1 ½ tbsp Chinese rice wine
8cm piece ginger, cut into matchsticks
6 small dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, stalks removed and sliced
1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots
1 bunch Chinese broccoli (gai lan), chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
Spring onions, thinly sliced to serve
Coriander leaves to serve
Steamed Jasmine rice

Method

  1. Slice the chicken on an angle (1cm slices) and combine with the rice wine, salt and plenty of white pepper in a bowl. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Place chicken, overlapping onto a heatproof plate. Scatter ginger and mushrooms over the chicken.
  3. Place in a bamboo steamer and steam for 8-9 minutes or until cooked. (If you have a multi-level steamer, place the carrots and chopped broccoli on a plate on top of the chicken for the last 3 minutes of chicken cooking time until just tender; otherwise, blanch in boiling water.)
  4. Divide chicken, carrots and broccoli among serving plates. Drizzle oil on top and scatter with onion and coriander. Serve with steamed rice.

Kylie Kwong’s Stir-fried Pork Fillets with Honey and Ginger

Serves: 4 as part of a meal

This simple to prepare, fast to cook number tastes as if you have ordered in… or are eating out.

It really is very good and something you can marinate overnight ready for a simple, mid-week dinner.

Enjoy with a side of egg fried rice.

Ingredients

600gm pork fillets cut into 5mm pieces
¼ cup vegetable oil
6 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 10cm pieces
1 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp water
2 limes, halved

Marinade

2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp shao hsing wine or dry sherry
2 tbsp finely diced ginger
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp five-spice powder
½ tsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Combine pork with the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add half the marinated pork and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon and set aside; heat the remaining oil in the work and add the remaining pork and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Return the reserved pork to the wok with the spring onions, vinegar, soy sauce, water and lime halves. Stir fry a further minute or until the pork is cooked through and slightly browned.

Nigella’s smashed avocado

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Oh yeah! 

Serves: 2

I type this recipe up on Valentine’s Day morning and so you can guess what I have just eaten and been made for breakfast!

This is better than any Hallmark card. In fact, it is better than any smashed avocado and tomato number that you’ll likely get at your local breakfast haunt, what with the addition of the chilli, ginger, dill, a squeeze of lemon and the radish sprinkled on top.

I added a few slices of tomato to my plate as well.

This is my new healthy breakfast favourite. Except for Nat’s incredible Mexican Eggs, reserved for my once-a-year birthday.

Happy Valentine’s Day turtle. You are the one.

(Thanks also Nigella!)

Ingredients

1 avocado
Juice of half a small lemon
Half a bunch of dill, chopped
Good pinch chilli flakes
2 good pinched of grated ginger
Rock salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
2 thinly sliced radishes
2 – 4 slices of toasted soy and linseed bread
1 tomato, sliced 

Method

  1. Mash the avocado together with the lemon juice, dill, chilli flakes, ginger and salt and pepper.
  2. Spread the avocado mixture liberally on the toast.
  3. Throw a few radish slices on top and the tomato if using.
  4. Enjoy!