Anjum Anand’s Best Ever Burger with Spiced Onions

Makes: 5 – 6

Looking back on every recipe I have typed from Anjum Anand’s cookbook I love India, I always start by praising the book and just how great it is: unusual recipes, great food photography, passionate stories, amazing meals.

So let’s not do that, nor dwell on how I start each burger recipe by talking about how much I love burgers and how the best burgers are about simplicity blah blah blah.

Instead, let’s talk about why you must set aside a lunch in the next week to cook this just awesome burger. I’m talking top three for me. 1. being Gordon Ramsay’s 1-Million Subscriber Burger, 2. being Neil Perry’s classic beef burger with cheese and bacon and 3. being this burger.

We didn’t invest as much in the mince as we usually would and second time round with a mixture of freshly ground chuck, brisket and lamb mince, I reckon this burger would nudge 2.

Possibly 1.

Don’t delay.

Ingredients

For the burgers
500gm minced beef or lamb (including some fat)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 tsp garam masala
1 egg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 – 6 burger buns
1 large tomato, sliced

For the roasted green chilli yoghurt
3 large green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with the tip of a knife
2 rounded tbsp thick Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp crème fraîche (or mayonnaise)
Good handful of chopped coriander

For the spiced caramelised onions
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp panch phoran (or garam masala)
2 red onions thinly sliced

Method

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the burgers except the tomatoes and the buns, season with 1 1/2 tsp salt and rest for 30 minutes.
  2. On a BBQ or a pan, cook the chillies until charred and blistered on all sides. Once done, wrap in cling wrap.
  3. Heat the oil in a fry pan and when hot, add the panch phoran. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the onions and add a good pinch of salt and cook over a high heat until they have coloured and are well browned on the edges. Adjust the seasoning and set aside.
  4. Mix together the yoghurt, crème fraîche and coriander for the topping, adding a good grinding of black pepper and salt lightly. Once the chillies are cool, peel off their skins, slit lengthways and deseeded, discarding the seeds. Chop the flesh, add to the yoghurt and set aside.
  5. Heat the BBQ/grill to HIGH. Make 5 – 6 large patties out of the minced meat mixture, remembering to make a little flat indent in the centre with your fingers; this will help them cook evenly and not puff up in the middle. (I did not know this, haven’t tried this though good point and will.)
  6. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until charred, flip and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes. Split the buns and char on the grill.
  7. Place 1 slice of the tomato on each bun, top with a burger, a generous dollop of the yoghurt and some onions. Place on the lid and eat immediately.

Sticky Rice with Mung Beans (Kichiri Qoroot)

Serves: 4 – 6

Yes I agree, sticky rice with mung beans doesn’t sound amazing.

Though trust me, it is. Just bare with me.

Over the Christmas break, I read an article in the Washington Post of the best cookbooks of 2020.

It featured an Afghani cookbook called Parwana and knowing how much Nat and I love Middle Eastern, it was promptly ordered on Amazon. (Plus the featured photo was amazing!)

What I didn’t realise is that it’s is an Australian cookbook from an Afghani family and restaurant in Adelaide, SA… called Parwana. Reading their backstory made me so happy.

Anyway, this is the first dish we had, wonderfully cooked by Nat.

We went through a bit of a Ethiopian phase a few months back and even did an Ethiopian feast and whilst the spice and flavours are unique, they’re not moorish.

Afghani food is.

It’s more honest, more homely than say Turkish. (Possibly this is a reflection of the home cooking nature of the book.)

And it’s unique in a particularly good way.

According to the book, this is traditionally a winter dish where the qoroot is a tart, reconstituted yoghurt which is something of an acquired taste; thus substituted with plain yoghurt which it is here. (There you go.)

We will cook much more from this book. I suspect many of the recipes will be typed up.

How fun.

Ingredients

4 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp tomato puree

For the mini kofta

1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
1 long fresh red chilli, coarsely chopped
Small handful fresh coriander, leaves and stems coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
250gm lamb mince
250gm lean beef mince
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the rice

1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 large brown onions, finely diced
1 large ripe tomato
2 cups medium-grain rice, rinsed
1 cup mung beans

For the toppings

3 cups Greek-style yoghurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Red and green long fresh chilli, thinly sliced, dried mint and mild paprika to garnish

Method

  1. To make the kofta, finely blend the onion, chilli, coriander and garlic in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and blend again to form a fine paste. Place the lamb and beef in a large mixing bowl, add the blended paste with the ground coriander, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix to combine well with your hands for 5 minutes or until the ingredients are re fully incorporated and the mixture is slightly sticky.
  2. Shape teaspoons of the kofta mixture into balls, place them on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to become slightly firm.
  3. Meanwhile, finely blend the tomato and garlic in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large frypan over a medium-high heat and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the blended tomato and garlic and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the sugar, curry powder, vinegar and 2 tsp salt and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste and mix well to co,nine. Add 3 cups of water to the sauce, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add the kofta to the pan, shaking the pan gently to make sure they are al submerged. Increase the heat to high, bring to the boil then reduce the temperature to medium. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened and is rich in colour. (This too us more than 25 minutes of course.)
  6. While the sauce is cooking, make the rice. Add the oil to a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the tomato has softened. Add the rice and mung beats with 6 cups of water and 3 tsp salt.
  7. Bring to the boil then reduce to low and stir in 1/2 cup more water. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the rice is cooked, soft and sticky, though not mushy.
  8. To make the toppings, whisk the yoghurt, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl to combine. (This will be poured into the centre of the kichiri qoroot.
  9. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a high heat to 170c. Remove from the heat and stir in the turmeric. Keep the oil hot.
  10. Before serving, ensure the mini kofta and sauce are hot. Spoon the rice out onto a large serving plater, making a well in the centre. Embed the mini kofta into the rice, drizzling some of the sauce over the rice as well. Garnish with chilli slices.
  11. Dot some yoghurt dressing around the kofta and pour it into the well in the centre of the rice. Sprinkle over the dried mint and paprika, then pour the hot turmeric oil over the yoghurt to create a sizzling centre on the plate. Serve immediately.

Christine Manfield’s Mughlai Chicken

Serves: 4

Christine Manfield‘s Mughlai Chicken is just another brilliant curry from her wonderful book, Tasting India.

It was just luscious, so unique and perfectly executed by Nat. Local Indian restaurant this is not.

Served alongside another wonderful cauliflower and potato curry, we had an old friend over for dinner, decanted a cracking red and had a memorable Saturday night in.

Doesn’t get much better than this.

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
50gm finely sliced white onion
2 tsp minced ginger
2tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
500gm chicken thigh, cut into 2cm cubes
100gm thick plain yoghurt, whisked
300ml white chicken stock
3 tsp mint chutney
50gm finely chopped spinach leaves
100gm spinach puree
2 tsp salt
20 fried curry leaves, slightly crushed
1 tsp ghee, melted

Mint Chutney

100gm mint leaves
75gm coriander leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 small green chilli, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
5 tbsp thick plain yoghurt
2 red shallots, finely diced
2 tsp chat masala
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pinch of chilli powder

Method

Mint chutney

Blend the mint, coriander, lemon juice, chilli and ginger to make a smooth paste. Stir in the yoghurt, shallot, chat masala, salt and chilli powder. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spinach puree

Blanch spinach leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and chop then puree in a food processor.

Fried curry leaves

Heat some vegetable oil to 170c and fry fresh curry leaves in small batches for 20 seconds

The Curry

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli over a high heat until softened. Add the chicken and toss to combine. Fry for a minute and then add the yoghurt.
  2. When the mixture starts to simmer, add the stock. Bring back to the simmer and then stir through the chutney and spinach leaves. Cook for 10 minutes until the chicken is tender and the gravy reduced.
  3. Add the spinach puree and salt and stir until combined and heated through. Stir in the curry leaves and ghee and serve with steamed rice.

Lamb Rump with Almond, Sour Currant and Cauliflower Rice

Serves: 4

After my birthday in June this year, we both agreed that after months and months of fine food and wine – at home and out – the time had come to reverse course.

There were a few strategies that worked.

One of them – calorie counting – was great. It helped eliminate snacking, put an end to my morning cappuccinos and made me make informed (and smarter) decisions about how much olive oil I should be drizzling on salads

(I.E. none at all.)

Another was the world of 300 calorie meals where I learnt of zoodles (zucchini noodles), squash pasta (substituting pasta for pumpkin), cauliflower pizza bases (amazing) and cooking with plenty of prawn and turkey.

Cauliflower rice is something I have previously written about as a genius alternative to rice and during our few months of lean cooking, I really dialled up Cauliflower rice and what we did with it. (After it is cooked, try toasting it in a wok: amazing.)

This dish cooked by Nat last night is excellent on quite a few levels.

Firstly, it is just plain delicious. It’s really tasty, it’s light, it’s aromatic.

Secondly, it’s healthy.

Thanks to the wonderful cauliflower rice.

I’ve learnt a long time ago that healthy eating didn’t mean compromising on flavour. More recently, I learnt that healthy eating didn’t mean smaller portions and being hungry.

Save your carbs and calories for the weekend and give this cracker a go.

Ingredients

1 tbsp garam masala
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 lamb rumps (about 200gm): we used lamb backstrap
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
Plain yoghurt and vinegar to serve

Cauliflower Rice

600gm cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 eschallot, finely chopped
1cm piece ginger, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 tsp nigella (cumin) seeds
1/3 cup currants
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1 cup coriander, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Combine the garam masala, garlic and half the oil in a large bowl, season to taste, add lamb and massage to coat well. Heat the remaining oil up a large frying pan over a high heat, add the lamb and fry until well browned all over. Transfer the lamb to a baking tray and roast for around 10 – 12 minutes for medium-rare. Cover loosely with foil, rest for 10 minutes and then slice.
  2. For the cauliflower rice, bring vinegar to the boil, add the currants and remove from the heat.
  3. Process the cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the eschallot, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes until tender. Add the turmeric and nigella seeds, stir until fragrant and then add the cauliflower and stir until tender: 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Strain the currants, add to the pan along with the roasted almonds and coriander and season to taste.
  5. Top cauliflower rice with lamb, scatter with coriander and serve with yoghurt.

Nigella’s Beef and Eggplant Fatteh

Serves: 4

Hats off Nigella, as simple – and predictable – as this recipe seems, when everything comes together; especially cooking everything as slow as you can, it is a wonderful weekend meal.

And it is quite literally is about it al coming together: the toasted pita chips, the mince and dollops of the warm yoghurt/tahini mixture.

Throw on top toasted pine nuts, shredded mint and pomegranate seeds* and you really couldn’t ask for more except for a second glass of wine as you watch Masterchef** on Monday night.

Hats off again. A cracker.

Ingredients

Base

4 pita breads, slit open and cut into nacho-sized triangles.

Topping

500gm Greek yoghurt
75gm tahini
45ml lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 – 2 tsp salt, to taste

Eggplant-beef layer

3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground paprika
1 – 2 tsp salt, to taste
500gm minced beef

Garnish

125g pomegranate seeds
50gm pine nuts, toasted
1 – 2 tbsp finely shredded mint leaves

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c.
  2. Spread the pita triangles on a large baking tray and toast in the oven until toasted, moving them around regularly to ensure even toasting. Set aside until needed.
  3. Bat the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and 1 tsp of salt together in a heat proof bowl which will later be used to sit over a saucepan. Check the salt levels and adjust as needed.
  4. Warm the oil over a low heat in a wide, heavy frypan. Add the onion and sauté for 10 – 15 minutes until softened and caramel.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium, add the eggplant cubes and stir well to mix with the onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until the eggplant is golden, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in the cumin, coriander and teaspoon of the paprika and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to high and add the beef mince, breaking it up. Cook until browned. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning.
  7. Heat a saucepan of water and bring to a slow simmer. Place the bowl of tahini-yoghurt mixture on top, ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Beat until the yoghurt is slightly above water temperature and has the consistency of lightly whipped cream.
  8. To assemble, arrange the crisp pita triangle on a large plate. Top with the eggplant-beef mixture, followed by the tahini-yoghurt sauce. Sprinkle with paprika to give a light dusting. Scatter over pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts and then finish with the shredded mint leaves.

* In a rush, I grabbed a Fuji fruit rather than a pomegranate. Laughs all round.

** Where we saw this recipe.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.
  5. Serve with the yoghurt.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.

Roast Lamb with Whipped Feta and Mustard Dressing

Serves: 4 – 6

You can’t really go wrong with roast lamb.

As soon as you carve it it, fingers appear to grab pieces and why not? Picking at food is never decorum though roast (or BBQ) lamb is an exception.

It is what roast lamb exists for.

This wonderfully simple dish puts the emphasis on the dressing rather than the roast lamb; no sticks of rosemary and garlic or anchovies here.

And that is just fine.

Accompany with an equally simple parsley and red onion salad and you have the basis of a wonderful dinner on the table.

If you’re lucky, lunch the next day too.

Ingredients

1 boned leg of lamb (around 1.5kg)
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
100gm feta
250gm plain yoghurt
1 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard
2 lemons
4 tsp sumac
½ bunch parsley, leaves torn
1 small red onion, finely sliced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Season the lamb and roast for 55 minutes; set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the feta, yoghurt, mustard, juice of 1 lemon and 2 tsp sumac until smooth.
  4. For the salad: peel, segment and dice the remaining lemon. In a bowl, combine diced lemon, parsley, onion and remaining sumac.
  5. Carve the lamb and serve drizzled with the feta and mustard dressing and the salad at the side.

Simple Open Moussaka with Yoghurt Dressing

Simple Open Moussaka with Yoghurt Dressing

Serves: 4

We’ve been using a food service – Marley Spoon – for the past few months.

It came recommended and at its best, it is really pretty good; I certainly referred it onto a few friends.

You select your meals for the week and a few days later, a box is delivered containing individual paper bags for each meal and very clear recipe cards. The ingredients – especially the meat, poultry and seafood – are fresh, very high-quality and in their own chill-bags for the period they sit on your doorstep.

Each dish is relatively easy to prepare and except for one outlier where we were still hungry, a week where we seemed to eat Soba noodles every night, and one or two other meals that just didn’t quite make the taste grade, Marley Spoon has been great.

I say ‘has’ been great because this week, we stopped.

The convenience factor and the quality of packaging and instructions factor no longer trumped the value factor… and the meals just stopped feeling unique and the formula behind Marley Spoon seemed exposed to us.

When baby #3 arrives in June, I’d imagine we’ll start again, though for now, we just want to start cooking our own recipes again.

And having enough for lunches the next day.

And being rich again.

After tonight’s second last Marley Spoon dinner however, it turns out that Marley Spoon gifted us one better than just another week of their high-gloss recipe cards and crisp paper bags.

They gifted us this healthy Moussaka and it was really, very good.

Especially considering how easy it was to prepare.

Nothing beats a 3-hour Moussaka production on a Sunday afternoon, though equally, nothing beats a 30-minute Mousakka on a Thursday evening.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 eggplants
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500gm lamb mince (we had lean beef mince and it was just fine)
2 cups, chicken stock (hot)
2 cans, 400gm chopped tomatoes
1 lemon
200gm low-fat Greek-style yoghurt
60gm tahini
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
100gm baby rocket to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220c. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Trim the ends from the eggplants and slice lengthways; you’ll need 12 – 16 slices about 5mm thick: 3 – 4 per person.
  2. Place the slices on the prepared tray and lightly brush with oil. Season and roast until softened and golden: around 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. Heat 1tbsp oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Increase the heat to high, add the mince and cook, stirring over a high-heat for 5 minutes or until the mince is browned.
  4. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered over a medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Squeeze 2 tbsp lemon juice into a bowl. Stir in the yoghurt, tahini, combine well and season.
  6. Arrange an eggplant slice on each plate and spoon over some of the lamb mixture. Top with another slice of eggplant and repeat until all used. Top with a few dollops of the yoghurt dressing and serve with rocket leaves and a cold vino.

Turmeric fish skewers and garlic greens

Turmeric fish skewers and garlic greens

Serves: 4

My respect for Adam Liaw grows with every recipe of his I have cooked.

He is grounded and his recipes have always been excellent including that they are more than achievable on any given, adventurous weekday night.

I have a bunch lined up to cook and I really can’t wait.

This recipe is no different.

It is super healthy, really easy to prepare and really quite exciting for a Monday night when we had it.

Double it and you have a great Tuesday lunch on your hands and a great start to the week.

Ingredients

½ cup (fat-free) Greek yoghurt
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
600g ling fillets, cut into 5cm cubes (or another firm white fish)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
1 bunch broccolini, cut into 5cm lengths
½ bunch spinach, cut into 5cm lengths
1 small bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
Lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Heat a grill/griddle to very high, or a barbecue until it’s very hot.
  2. Combine the yoghurt, turmeric, coriander, chilli powder, salt and pepper and coat the ling fillets in the mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes then thread the fish onto soaked skewers and cook, turning occasionally, until the fish is cooked through, about five minutes.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add the olive oil, garlic and spring onions, and fry until fragrant.
  4. Add the broccolini and fry for about three minutes, then add the spinach and kale, season with lots of salt and pepper and fry for a further two minutes, stirring well.
  5. Arrange the greens on a platter and top with the fish skewers. Serve with lemon wedges.