Chicken Kapitan

kapitan

The one nationality of food that I crave the most is Malaysian. I just love the stuff. From the delicious soups, to stir fries, rice dishes and salads to the awesome curries and stews – I love them all. Sweet, spicy, sour and salty – a marvellous combination of spice and texture. This kapitan curry is one of the tastiest I’ve eaten. I normally make my kapitan curries mega spicy as that’s how I like them – I also have a chilli bush in my garden that’s growing like a weed and producing thousands of chillies at the moment, so I hate to see a good chilli go to waste. This recipe has been toned down from my original, but it still packs a moderate punch – about a 6 out of 10. You can scale it up or down to your own taste naturally.

INGREDIENTS:
Spice Paste:

10 small shallots (peeled)
4cm piece galangal (sliced)
4cm piece fresh turmeric (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
4 garlic cloves (peeled)
10-15 fresh Thai chillies (seeded)
6 candlenuts
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon salt

Other:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1kg chicken thigh fillets (cut into chunks)
2 lemongrass stalks (bruised with rolling pin)
5 kaffir lime leaves
1 400g can coconut milk
1 lime (juice of)

DIRECTIONS:
Using a food processor or hand blender, blend all the spice paste ingredients together into a smooth paste.

In a work or deep pan, heat the oil over a moderate heat until hot. Add the spice paste and stir fry for 10 minutes. If it begins to stick, add a little coconut milk.

Add the chicken, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and turn up the heat. Stir fry for a further 7-10 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, fill up the empty can half way with water and add this to the pan too. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the lime juice and and adjust seasoning if needed.

SERVING:
Serve with plain boiled rice or the altogether more fancy coconut rice.

South Indian Seafood Curry

fishcurry

This is fast becoming one of my favourite curries. I make it very regularly. It’s one of the easiest and most fuss free curries I make. There are lots of ingredients sure, but there’s very little other preparation, and hardly any chopping! Unlike most curries, this one doesn’t have any onion, garlic or ginger. But you’d never know or miss them. The flavours are rounded, intense and amazingly addictive. The thin but creamy sauce works very well with all seafood – I have made it using chicken too and I have to say it just didn’t work. It’s much better suited to seafood. I generally use salmon or trout but this version with a mixture of seafood was exceptional.

INGREDIENTS:
3 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

Spice Mix 1:
10-15 fresh curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
5 black peppercorns
2 dried red chillies
1 cinnamon stick

Spice Mix 2:
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 X 400g can coconut milk
1 large tomato (diced)
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp

500g mixed seafood. Prawns (peeled & deveined), calamari (cleaned and cut into rings), fish (skin off cut into chunks), mussels (out of shells).
1 cup frozen peas

Fresh coriander for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
In a wok, heat the oil until hot. Add spice mix 1 and stir for 30 seconds until aromatic.

Add spice mix 2, the tomato and about 1/2 cup coconut milk. Let this come to a sizzle, stirring constantly to avoid sticking and burning. Stir this way for 10 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is thick and unctuous and the oil has separated.

Add the remaining coconut milk. Refill the can about 2/3 with water and add this too. Now add the palm sugar and tamarind and bring to a simmer. Add all the seafood and peas and cook for 7 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from the heat, adjust seasonings of salt & tamarind to get the right salty sour balance, then sprinkle over the fresh coriander and serve.

SERVING:
I almost always serve this curry with an amazing fragrant lentil rice called kitchari. The two work perfectly together.

Konkan Black Pepper & Coconut Curry

photo

After a forage through my freezer tonight I managed to cobble together 1kg of chicken thighs from various half opened packets and unlabelled bags of ‘meat’. After a few days of no spice for whatever reason, my body was craving the hit of spice. After another brief scout of the cupboards and fridge, I settled on this dish. It’s an unusual curry in that most of the heat doesn’t come from chilli, but instead black pepper. Before chilli populated India from Central & South America, black pepper was used to give food a kick. I do love using pepper in this way – it is a really interesting, intense spice that leaves a long hot lingering hit. The coconut milk dampens the heat a little, but we’re till left with a rich, spicy sauce that really is quite magnificent. A word of note is to really spend the time with the first half of the recipe. The intensity of heat and roundness of flavour is much improved when you spend the time reducing the onions and spice – if you short cut it, it’ll affect the flavour.

DIRECTIONS:

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods (lighly bruised to open slightly)
1 stem fresh curry leaves (about 20)
2 whole dried chillies
1 onion (finely diced)
4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (finely chopped)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 large tomato (diced)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1kg chicken thigh fillets (cut into bite sized chunks)
250ml coconut milk

DIRECTIONS:
In a pestle & mortar, pound together the peppercorns and mustard seeds until ground (not too finely). Set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat until hot. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, curry leaves and dried chillies. Let them splutter and sizzle for 30 seconds before adding the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir well for 2-3 minutes. Splash in about 1/4 cup water and sizzle for a further 2-3 minutes until the water has evaporated and the onions are frying again. Repeat this process of adding water and reducing for about 10 minutes.

Add the ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, garam masala and the ground pepper/mustard and stir well. Add 1/2 cup water and stir again. Like before, let this mixture reduce until almost dry then add 1/4 cup water. Stir constantly to avoid sticking.

Add the tomato, salt and sugar and another 1/4 cup water and reduce again. Repeat this process of water and reduction, like before, for about 20 minutes until the paste is thick and smooth and the oil begins to separate.

Now, Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Stir fry for 10 minutes before pouring in the coconut milk and about 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thick and unctuous.

SERVING:
Serve with lots of fluffy basmati rice.

Fondant Potatoes

Bjo_Yq9IEAA-bOE.jpg-large

I’m always interested in different ways to eat potatoes. They’re one of the most versatile vegetables, with literally thousands of options. I’ve eaten fondant potatoes many times, but never made myself. I figured they were cheffy and complicated, but was very wrong! Normally, the potatoes are cut into perfect little cylinders, but this homestyle version is much less fuss and waste nothing of a good potato. Fondant potatoes are fried then baked in a bath of stock in the oven, which gives them a delicate, creamy texture inside and a crisp top. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a meat dishes and really rather delicious.

INGREDIENTS:
4 medium potatoes (Desiree, King Edward)
salt & pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
20 sprigs thyme
4 knobs butter
400ml good quality fresh chicken, beef or vegetable stock

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 200ºC

Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Cut a slither off the base of each potato to enable them to sit without wobbling. Season well with salt & pepper.

Place a small, deep baking pan on the stove top over a high heat. Heat the oil until just smoking hot. Place the potatoes face down into the oil and cover with thyme. Fry for 5 minutes on one side, until browned. Turn over each potato then add the butter. Let this melt and bubble for a minute or so before pouring in the stock so that it reaches about 1cm from the top of the potato. Bring this to the boil then remove from the heat and place in the oven.

Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potato feels soft when pierced by a sharp knife.

SERVING:
Great with meat or poultry.

Mushroom Lasagne

MushroomLasagne2

This is an updated recipe from a couple of years ago. While the previous incarnation was as delicious as I had described it, I felt it could be stepped up a little to incorporate more intensity and richness. I do love mushrooms so getting all the mushroom flavour to be its best is key. This recipe finally elevates this simple and quite humble dish into something really special. A must try.

INGREDIENTS:
For the bechamel sauce:
40g butter
4 tablespoons plain flour
500ml cream
1 litre milk
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
40g grated parmesan
40g grated cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper

For the lasagne:
1kg button mushrooms (thinly sliced)
25g dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in 300ml hot water)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 celery stalk (finely chopped)
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh sage
Pack of dried lasagne sheets
4 tablespoons truffle pecorino (grated) mixed with 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated) (or just 6 tablespoons parmesan)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 180ºC

To make the sauce:

In a saucepan, melt the butter then stir in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes then pour in the cream and milk, whisking constantly. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk until the consistency of double cream (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan and cheddar until melted then set aside.

Drain the porcini mushrooms, keeping the liquid. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic and celery and fry gently for 4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the rosemary, sage and both the button and porcini mushrooms and fry for about 10 minutes, until most of the water from the mushrooms has evaporated. Stir in about 1/3 of the béchamel sauce along with the soaking liquid from the porcini mushrooms. Let this simmer for 3-4 minutes until rich and creamy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a rectangular casserole dish, spoon a thin layer of the mushroom mix over the base. Add a sheet of lasagne, then a light sprinkling of truffle pecorino and parmesan and finally a few spoons of the béchamel sauce. Repeat the process three or four times, ending with a layer of mushrooms with the remaining bechamel sauce spread over. Sprinkle the top with the remaining pecorino and parmesan. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Increase the heat to 220ºC and bake for another 8-10 minutes to brown the top.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly for 10 minutes before serving.

SERVING:
Serve with a simple rocket and tomato salad.

Pork Steaks with Mustard, Sage & White Wine

pork

Something I often fall back on is this simple recipe for the perfect sauce to accompany pork or chicken. I’ll often make it differently, adding what I have in the fridge at the time, mixing herbs and other ingredients to suit. This time, I made with pork and sage a perfect marriage. It’s easy and quick, which is occasionally just what I want. It’s delicious too by the way.

INGREDIENTS: SERVES 2
4 small pork steaks (you can use chops, loin, escallop etc).
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (finely sliced)
7-8 fresh sage leaves
2 anchovies (mashed)
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup white wine
salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Season the pork steaks with salt & pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan until hot. Cook the pork until just cooked (4 minutes per side – depending on thickness). Remove from the pan onto a plate. Tip out the oil from the pan then replace with the remaining oil and butter. Add the shallot, garlic and sage and stir fry for 1 minute before adding the anchovy and mustard. Stir this briefly to combine everything then pour in the wine. Let this sizzle and reduce for about 1 minute before pouring in 1/2 cup water. Shake the pan or stir to combine and let this reduce for a further 1 minute. Return the pork to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated. Spoon the sauce over the steaks then serve.

SERVING:
It was end of the week food so there were only potatoes in my kitchen. So, I ate mine with mashed potatoes and it was rather lovely and satisfying. I dare say an appearance by some vegetables would have been even lovelier.

Spanish Eggs Baked in Tomato

bakedeggs

I like something simple to eat in the morning – something with no fuss. Sadly, this often means sticking a couple of slices of bread in the toaster – which in time can become a little depressing. This dish is a little more involved than that, but not much. I always forget about my clever little tapas dishes which can be put directly under the flame of the stove. This creates an instant pan/eating vessel solution, saving you time and washing up. I just cook everything in there and dispense with the fuss. The dish is simple, understated but very yummy indeed. I eat mine with a spoon and some crusty bread and could wish for nothing more. A fabulous start to any day.

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 spring onion (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet)
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
200g best quality canned tomatoes (chopped)
salt & pepper
2 eggs
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat grill

In a medium flame proof tapas dish or small frying pan, heat the oil over a moderate heat until hot. Add the spring onion and fry for 1 minute. Add the paprika, sage, salt and pepper and stir briefly before adding the tomatoes. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat then break the eggs into the tomato mixture. Place under the grill for 4-5 minutes until the whites are set. Serve.

SERVING:
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve alongside crusty bread.

Parsi Eggs

BgzelMNCUAAJE-5

The Parsi community of India are descendants of the Persian settlers from the 8th-10th Century. Their dwindling community can still be found all over India, and particularly in Mumbai. Their cuisine is notably different from standard Indian cookery, taking influences from Iran and the Middle East. There are a scattering of excellent Parsi cafes and restaurants in Mumbai, one such place served Parsi eggs. Soft, spicy eggs, scrambled with fresh vegetables and herbs along with spices. The results are mind-blowing! This recipe is fairly close to the eggs I ate, but omits the minced lamb which they used. You can add 1/2 cup of minced lamb to this recipe (just after frying the onion) – it’s amazing just how good it tastes! That said, without the meat is every bit as tasty perfect for breakfast or a lunch snack. Give this a try.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 fresh curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 spring onions (chopped)
1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (grated)
1 small hot red chilli (finely chopped (seeds in or out, you decide)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tomato (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh fenugreek (chopped) (optional)
6 eggs (beaten)
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (chopped)
1 lime (cut into wedges)

DIRECTIONS:
In a medium pan, heat the ghee until just hot. Add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, pepper and salt and stir for 30 seconds before adding the onion. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes then add the garlic, ginger and fresh chilli. Stir for 1-2 minutes then add the turmeric, chilli powder and stir once or twice before adding the tomato and fenugreek (if using). Let this cook for 1 minute then pour in the eggs. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked through and still creamy. Remove from the heat, stir in the coriander and serve.

SERVING:
Serve with Indian breads such as roti, paratha or naan, alongside some fresh lime wedges to squeeze over.

Beef Rendang

beef_rendang

If there’s a curry that epitomises everything I love in a curry, it’s a Malaysian rendang – meltingly tender meat, intense rich sauce and a fragrant complex flavour. The Malaysian rendang delivers top marks in all categories. It’s one of my all time favourites. A thick, clingy sauce coats big chunks of butter-soft beef – no knife required. It’s also one of the easiest curries to make. The key is time, giving it long enough to cook. There’s a world of difference to a well cooked rendang and a badly cooked one. So don’t get too excited or greedy and take to off the heat too early. Give it plenty of time to cook until the meat is soft enough. A great way to intensify the flavour is to make it 24 hours in advance. The flavours will develop and make it that extra bit special – if you have the will power to wait. See for yourself why this curry is one of the most amazing creations ever…

INGREDIENTS:
Marinade:

1kg beef chuck steak (cut into large 100g pieces)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

Paste:
2 lemon grass stalks (white parts only, thinly sliced)
2 French shallots (finely sliced) (or 1/2 sliced medium red onion)
1 tablespoon fresh galangal (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (chopped)
5 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
15-20 dried red chillies (soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 30 mins)
4 fresh small red chillies (seeded and chopped)
4 candle nuts (or macadamia nuts) (pounded)
1 teaspoon shrimp paste

Other:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
550ml coconut milk
salt

DIRECTIONS:
Marinate the beef in the soy sauce and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a food processor, blend together until very smooth all the paste ingredients and 100ml of the coconut milk.

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat until hot. Add the beef in one layer and cook for 3 minutes each side to brown well. Pour over the paste and the remaining coconut milk together with 250ml water. Bring this to a simmer, then reduce the heat to very low to simmer gently. Cook, covered for 3-4 hours until the beef is very tender. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to moderate to reduce the sauce so that is very very thick and clings to the beef (about 15-20 more minutes). The oil may separate – this is normal and is the sign of a great sauce.

Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary.

SERVING:
I prefer mine served with Malaysian style roti bread (buy the frozen ones – they’re great), but it’ll also work with rice.

Chettinad Chicken with Tomato & Black Pepper

chettinadchicken

I was pretty exhausted and dare I say a little grumpy after a day filled with work, and general ‘stuff’. I was in the mood for something that would make me feel like it had all been worthwhile. Curry (and beer) go a long way to making this happen, and there’s none better than this amazing Chettinad chicken curry – flavoured with regional spices such as cinnamon, fennel and predominantly black pepper. This curry is spicy, fragrant and rich. But not at all heavy – the curry leaves at the end add a lovely fresh finish to this dish and the lingering heat of the pepper creates a welcome difference from the usual chilli hit. Grumpiness be gone!

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
4 dried red chillies
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 onion (sliced)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1kg chicken thighs (cut into 1/4 portions)
200g can chopped tomatoes
3 hot green chillies (chopped, seeds in)
20 fresh curry leaves
2 teaspoons black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan over a moderate heat until hot. Add the mustard seeds and sizzle for 30 seconds before adding the chillies, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and cardamom. Cook for 1 minute, then add the cloves, cinnamon stick and fennel seeds and cook for a further 1 minute. Add the onion slices and cook for 7-8 minutes until soft and golden. Now add the ginger and garlic and fry, reducing the heat slightly to avoid sticking, for 1 minute. Now add the ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, salt and 1/4 cup water and stir continuously for 1 minute, before adding the chicken, tomato and chillies. Let this cook for 7-8 minutes until the sauce is thick and the oil begins to separate.

Add 400ml water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 45 minutes (remove the lid after half way). Stir in the curry leaves and pepper and serve.

SERVING:
Serve alongside lots of fluffy basmati rice.

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design