Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hot Chilli Chicken

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 

To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #9, click here

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My selected cookbook for this month at Cookbook Countdown #9 is 500 Curries, by Mridula Baljekar.

I absolutely love spicy food, and when I've read that this dish, as described in the book, "not for the faint-hearted, this delicious fiery, hot curry is made with a spicy chilli masala paste", of course I must cook this!

Upon going through the ingredients list, I must say that it does not really sound that spicy after all. I have therefore increased the chilli powder and the dried chillies to double the amount.



This is not a fiery dish for me, it is only mildly spicy. But it is quite tasty. We had this with plain fluffy white rice for dinner along with some turmeric cabbage stir-fry, Indian-style. 


Hot Chilli Chicken
(adapted from "500 Curries", Mridula Baljekar)
Serves 4
2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 green chillies, roughly chopped
5 dried red chillies
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp curry paste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
400gm can chopped tomatoes
2/3 cup water
8 chicken thighs, skinned
1 tsp garam masala
fresh green chillies, seeded and sliced, to garnish
chapatis and natural (plain) yoghurt, to serve

  1. Put the tomato puree, garlic, green and dried red chillies, salt, sugar, chilli powder, paprika and curry paste into a food processor or blender and process to a smooth paste. Alternatively, grind all the ingredients together to a paste using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan or wok and fry the cumin seeds for about 2 minutes. Add the onion and bay leaves to the pan and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spice paste to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until it releases a fragrant aroma. Add the remaining ground spices and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and the measured water to the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  5. Add the chicken and garam masala to the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the chicken is tender. Serve with chapatis and natural yoghurt, garnished with sliced green chillies.



I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #9 hosted by 




Monday, September 26, 2016

Aromatic Vegetable Curry

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 

To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #9, click here

************************

My selected cookbook for this month at Cookbook Countdown #9 is 500 Curries, by Mridula Baljekar.

I've made Aromatic Vegetable Curry with Mushrooms and Beans. I have made a few changes to the recipe. This is pretty much a basic vegetable curry, and you can use whatever veggies you have in your fridge. I did not have any mushrooms, but I have a quarter of a cabbage left, so I've used that instead. Instead of using butter to saute the spices, I've replaced with canola oil. And have substitute the heavy cream with coconut milk.

Also the recipe indicated that after the veggies are cooked, they are removed to a plate, then the curry liquid is heated until it has reduced a little. At this point, season with salt and pepper, stir in the yoghurt, cream and garam masala. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and serve immediately with rice. I have, however, did it differently. I did not remove the veggies from the curry gravy, but added the yoghurt, coconut milk and garam masala along with the salt and pepper during the last ten minutes or so of cooking the curry. And I have increased the amount of spices, using 1-1/2 times more than indicated in the recipe.



This is a very mild curry (even though with the increased amount of spices). And according to the author "here the aim is to produce a subtle curry rather than an assault on the senses".  Seeing how mild this curry is, it would be great as a side dish along with some spicy dry meat curry served with rice.


Aromatic Vegetable Curry 
(adapted from "500 Curries", Mridula Baljekar)
Serves 4
50gm (1/4 cup) butter (I use canola oil)
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 in piece fresh root ginger, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
6 cardamom pods
2 in piece of cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 potato, peeled and cut into 1 in cubes
1 small aubergine (eggplant), chopped
115gm (1-1/2 cups) mushrooms, thickly sliced (I use cabbages, shred to chunky pieces)
3/4 cup water
115gm green beans, cut into 1 in lengths
4 tbsp natural plain yoghurt
2/3 cup double (heavy) cream (I use coconut milk)
1 tsp garam masala
salt and ground black pepper
fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish
plain boiled rice, to serve

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy pan. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the cumin, coriander, cardamom pods, cinnamom stick, turmeric and finely chopped chilli. Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the potato cubes, aubergine and mushrooms and the water. Cover the pan, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the beans to the pan and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a warmed serving, dish and keep hot.
  4. Allow the cooking liquid to bubble up until it has reduced a little. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the yoghurt, double cream and garam masala. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve the curry immediately with plain boiled rice.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #9 hosted by 


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fish Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce

It's Potluck Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For this week, I've cooked with Yotam Ottolenghi, a fish dish taken from his cookbook "Jerusalem". 

According to Ottolenghi, Chraimeh is the "queen" of all dishes, just as famous as gefilte fish (another fish dish) for Tripolitan (Libyan) Jews. Families pride themselves on their particular chraimeh. This dish certainly looks delicious from the photo in the book. At a glance it looks like fish cooked in sambal sauce, but upon reading the ingredients list, it is entirely different. 

He has advised to use any type of white fish meat, the best would be large sea bass. In the recipe, he has used salmon because they are the most widely available as steaks. I have used snapper steaks. He has suggested to double the sauce since it is so tasty, so that there is more to dip with bread, or serve with couscous or rice. I have made one and a half times more of the sauce.



To prepare the sauce, first dry-toasted some caraways seeds, then ground. Caraway seeds has a lovely minty fragrant, but once they are dry-toasted, they smell incredibly nice. The ground caraway is then mixed in a food processor or blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients ; garlic, sweep paprika, ground cumin, cayenne, ground cinnamon, green chilli and oil, to a thick paste.

The fish steaks are coated with some seasoned flour, heat some oil in a skillet and sear on high heat on both sides until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove and put aside. Heat some oil in the skillet, fry the spice paste for just 30 seconds, then add some water and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer, add some sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put the fish in the sauce, bring to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook until the fish is just done, depending on the size of the fish, about 7-11 minutes. I turned the fish halfway during cooking. Remove from the heat, take the cover off the pan and leave to cool down. Serve just warm or at room temperature, with some chopped coriander and a wedge of lemon.



This is quite delicious! We had it at room temperature and it tastes even better when I tasted it right after cooking. I did not squeeze the lemon juice over because the sauce is good as it is. But be sure to add lots of chopped coriander, it makes the dish taste even better! 


Salmon Steaks In Chraimeh Sauce
(adapted from "Jerusalem", by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)
110ml sunflower oil
3 tbsp plain flour
4 salmon steaks, on the bone, about 950gm (I use snapper)
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp caraway seeds, dry-toasted and freshly ground
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/3 tsp cayenne
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
150ml water
3 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp caster sugar
1 lemon, cut into four wedges, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice (1 tablespoon lemon juice)
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
salt and black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a large frying pan for which you have a lid. Place the flour in a shallow bowl, season generously with salt and pepper then toss the fish in it. Shake off the excess flour and sear on a high heat for a minute or two on each side, until golden. Remove the fish and wipe the pan clean.
Place the garlic, spices, chilli and 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a food processor and blitz to form a thick paste. You might need to add a little bit more of the oil to bring everything together.
Pour the remaining oil into the fyring pan, heat well and add the spice paste. Stir and fry it for just 30 seconds, so that the spices don't burn. Quickly but carefully (it may spot!), add the water and tomato puree to stop the spices cooking. Bring to a simmer and add the sugar, lemon juice, 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Taste for seasoning.
Put the fish in the sauce, bring to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook for 7-11 minutes, depending on the size of the fish, until it is just done. Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid and leave to cool down. Serve the fish just warm or at room temperature, garnished with coriander and a wedge of lemon.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
IHCC September Potluck!




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