I know how annoying it is when people like me say: please go out of your way to find this impossible ingredient, I promise it is worth it. But it is! In this journey we have taken together over seven and a half years of blogging, we are all now toasting and grinding our own spices, right? And doesn’t it make a big difference? Well, trust me when I tell you that getting your paws on some fresh turmeric makes a huge difference here too. It is also fairly straightforward. I always used to peel it, but the chef that I cooked with in Malaysia (at The Meritus Pelangi Hotel) made a paste with it unpeeled and it made no difference. I now consider myself educated. I was fussing unnecessarily, which is really not how I like to roll.
Fresh turmeric is having a bit of a hipster moment, but some of us (cough) have been using it for a long time. The hipsters are on to a good thing with their turmeric tea though. It is ridiculously good for you. It is a really potent anti inflammatory agent, is brilliant for easing burns (the powder mixed with double cream – thank you Maunika for that tip) and there is lots of research that indicates that it is helpful in cancer treatment. It is very tasty too.
I suspect many people store dried turmeric in their cupboard for ages and then think it is tasteless. Dried turmeric, like all spices, needs to be fresh and stored in an air tight container. Fresh turmeric is very different and is an aromatic delight. A rhizome like ginger, it has some similar properties, but is floral by comparison. A lot of supermarkets stock it in the UK these days. Indian food shops do too. [Read more]
Green curry is misunderstood in many places outside of Thailand. Often perceived as a mild curry that you would give most chilli phobics (certainly in the UK and Ireland), it is often bland and dull, full of green peppers and mushrooms and to my mind, unless you are somewhere very good, not very interesting.
In Thailand, green curry is hot. Very hot and aromatic. Packed with flavour (which is the signature for most Thai food in my experience), you can choose the heat level you want if you make it yourself, so when we made this at the cooking school at the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market, we went for a compromise medium heat which was just perfect and not medium for our palates at all. Hot, so fresh and really delicious.
Several things make this recipe flavourful: fresh homemade coconut milk and cream, fresh pounded curry paste (you must – so much better than shop bought), the wonderful herbs and aromatics, the fish pounded to a paste with fish sauce (which Thais use instead of salt on the table) and lots of chilli.
It won’t be possible to replicate this entirely outside of Thailand but I will suggest where you can make substitutions as you go. As long as you make the paste from scratch – this is key – you will have a great dish. Everything else is a bonus.
Enjoy – it is a fantastic curry. I have adapted this recipe, but it comes from Siri, so thank you, Siri!
Note: if I don’t suggest an alternative, the ingredient is relatively easy to source via Asian supermarkets – some are online too.
So, round about the time I started this blog, just under a year ago, I blogged one of my favourite dishes – Prawn Curry. We were eating it about once a week, it’s tasty, healthy and quick, and fit in perfectly on those evenings where you’ve had a long day in the office and all you want is something quick and tasty with a glass of wine. On some of these evenings, the wine may even be the most important part ;)
Now, when I like something, I tend to talk about it, and friends of mine were hearing alot about this prawn curry. Then they started to think that perhaps I was making it up! How can she be making a curry from scratch after work when she only leaves the office at 7pm? How?! So, to salvage my reputation I had to gather some of them together and cook it for them. Then they would see!
The recipe is based on a Goan recipe I found online some years ago. It requires using masses of fresh tomatoes and a fresh coconut. I urbanised it by using a tin of tomatoes and a tin of coconut milk, which makes it quick and convenient – almost a storecupboard dish. It really is super quick once you’ve ground the spices, I would estimate no more than half an hour, although try to buy peeled prawns to save your self time. I vary the amount of coconut milk depending on whether I want the fruity flavour of the tomatoes or the creaminess of the coconut milk to dominate. This time I went with the tomato so used one tin of tomatoes and half a tin of coconut milk. It works well 50/50 though if you prefer that.
Before I begin, I will stress that this isn’t truly tried and tested but it was nice so I will post it. It’s a curry sauce that I do already changed on a whim to fit a mutter paneer dish. I will change it next time I do it as I am not 100% happy with it – it’s a nice curry but it’s not truly a mutter paneer. The sauce is thicker than it should be and it’s quite tomato-y. I wanted to make it mainly with things that I already had and quite quickly as I want another quick after work curry to add to my quick dishes. I am over-analysing perhaps – I did enjoy it and I will make it again. I blame Sabras, I want all my curries to taste like theirs now and I don’t have any of their recipes.
Before I begin I should mention that the goats milk paneer is delicious! I thought it might be too strong but it was not dominant. The goat milk flavour was actually really nice and delicate (I don’t like drinking goats milk so was a little concerned). The texture was lovely and spongy too. It’s definitely worth making the effort to make.[Read more]
Another chickpea recipe. I don’t think I can take many more for a while so I promise this will be the last one for a bit.
This is a lovely summery curry. Very sweet and works well with a glass of dry white wine on a bright evening. It’s based on a recipe that I found on the Post-Punk Kitchen. For those of you that don’t know it the Post-Punk Kitchen is a public access vegan cooking show in the US. I have never seen it but I love their website mainly for their recipes. They also published two great cookbooks – Vegan with a Vengeance & Vegan cupcakes take over the world.
Pumpkin, Banana & Chickpea curry
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
500g onion squash (or any other squash/pumpkin), peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tablespoon hot curry paste – I prefer to make my own, but you can use shop bought
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 dried red chillies or 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
300ml vegetable stock
400g chick-peas cooked from dry after soaking* or 1 tin chickpeas drained & rinsed
1 under-ripe banana
Handful chopped flat leaf parsley
Dry fry the coriander and cumin in a frying pan until they pop and grind in a pestle & mortar.
Heat 2 tbls. of the sunflower oil in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic, red pepper, ginger, ground spices and cinnamon stick and fry over a medium heat until the onion is lightly browned.
Place the chopped squash in a bowl, add the curry paste and mix ensuring that the pumpkin is coated evenly.
Add the chopped tomatoes, chillies and stock to the onion mixture, and bring to the boil, simmering gently for 15 minutes or so.
Fry the coated squash for 5 minutes.
Add to the tomato sauce with the chickpeas, cover and cook for 15 minutes
Peel and slice the banana and stir into the curry
Cook for a further 5 minutes or so or until the squash is cooked (you should be able to put a fork through it).
Stir in the chopped parsley, saving a little to garnish once plated.
Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
I like to serve this with brown basmati rice that has been cooked in salted water with a couple of cardamom pods, 2-3 cloves, a cinnamon stick & some black peppercorns.
* I much prefer the taste and texture of chickpeas that are cooked from dry. They have a slightly nutty texture and a better taste. To prepare them soak overnight in cold water and boil for an hour or so until tender. As they come to the boil some white foam will rise to the surface. Scoop this off as it appears as it has a really bitter taste. The age of the chickpeas will determine how long they take to cook so best to check them from half an hour or so in. Needless to say, the younger the chickpeas the better.