Dahl Curry, Basmati Rice with Cucumber and Mint Riata

A wonderfully spiced and authentic tasting lentil curry with carrot and potatoes. Served with Basmati rice and a delicious cucumber and mint riata.

Sorry I haven’t written many recipes lately as I have been extremely busy, however I think I have made up for the delay with this one. Tastes like it is straight from a very good Indian restaurant, and it is so easy to make!

I also served this with shop bough roti breads, these are entirely optional.

Serves two

Cooking time 45-50 minutes

Ingredients and Method

Broken down into three sections – curry, rice and riata. It is best to soak the rice before you start, add make the riata and finish the rice as the lentils simmer.

Dahl curry

100g red lentils – rinsed thoroughly

50g potato – peel, cut into 3-4cm cubes, pre cook in boiling water for 6-7 minutes

3 red onions – diced

1 carrot – thinly slice on diagonal

15g ginger – peel and grate

6 gloves garlic – crushed 

5 green cardamom pods

5 cloves

6 fresh curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground fenugreek

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 bay leaf

2 round tomatoes – cut into 1/8ths

2 sliced green chillies

1/2 tsp salt

water – approx. 500ml of water, enough to submerge lentils.

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

3tbs roughly chopped coriander leaf

Method: Start by heating the vegetable oil over a medium heat, once hot add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and the curry leaves. The leaves should sizzle and keep heating until the mustard seeds start to pop, a bit like popcorn.

Add the onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pods then fry, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until onions soften and start to colour.

Add the lentils, turmeric, fenugreek and asafoetida then stir well until combined. Fry for 1-2 minutes stirring frequently.

Now add approx. 500ml of water (around the same volume as mixture in the pan, enough to submerge the lentils) and bring to the boil, stirring frequently so lentils don’t catch on the pan. Once boiled and add the pre cooked potatoes, carrot and salt then cover pan and simmer for around 35-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent lentils catching and burning.

You may want to adjust the seasoning or thickness of the sauce to your preference, either by adding more water or cooking uncovered for a few minutes to cook the liquid off. Before serving add the sliced tomatoes and coriander – cooking just long enough to warm the tomatoes through but not long enough to cook them (not long enough that skins start to peel).

Ladle into bowls or Balti dishes and enjoy!

Basmati rice

120g basmati rice – rinse well and soak in water for 30 minutes before cooking

Method: soak the rinsed rice in water for around 30 minutes, this plumps up the rice and makes a real difference.

Once soaked cook the rice in the same volume of water as the rice in a covered pan for 10-12 minutes or until rice absorbs all the water.

Fluff up the rice before serving.

 

Cucumber and Mint Riata

150g greek yogurt

1/4 lime – juice only

40g cucumber – peel, deseed, finely dice

5-6 mint leaves – bruise then chop

salt – just a pinch

Method: start by peeling, deseeding then finely dicing the cucumber. Many recipes will call for this to be grated, however I prefer the texture of the diced cucumber. Lay the diced cucumber on a clean kitchen towel or absorbent paper and the place more on top. Press gently and leave for 10-15 minutes to remove excess liquid.

In a bowl mix the yogurt, lime juice, cucumber, mint and a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.

This is best eaten the same day but will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days – any leftovers make a great dip for chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir Fried Chicken and Cashew Nuts

Skinless an boneless chicken thigh meat, marinated in a delicious sauce then stir fried with mixed vegetables and cashew nuts.

A really quick and easy recipe which rivals your local Chinese take-away. I use thigh meat as it works far better in stir fry dishes than breast meat.  The wonderful flavours in this dish come from the marinade and are locked in by cooking quickly over a very high heat. This is so easy that really anyone should be able to make this dish.

Serve with your choice of boiled rice, fried rice or egg noodles.

 

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Serves two

Cooking time – less than 10 minutes

Ingredients

6-8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs – cut in half

25g cashew nuts – soak in water for 30 minutes before cooking

2 tbsp. wok oil

150g sliced water chestnuts

1 carrot – peel, thinly slice into discs

1 stick celery – dice

1 red pepper – dice

1 medium size white onion –  slice or cut into small chunks

For the marinade:

3 dessert spoons soy sauce

3 dessert spoons vinegar

3 dessert spoons honey

3 dessert spoons oyster sauce

1 dessert spoon sesame oil

1/2 tsp five spice

Thumb sized piece of peeled root ginger – cut into fine matchsticks

1 red chilli – deseed and finely slice

5 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

Method: Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl until combined, add the chicken, cover and marinade at room temperature for 45-60 minutes. You can marinade for longer in a fridge, just remember to take it out 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature for even cooking.

Cooking instructions

Heat 2tbsp of wok oil in a wok or large frying pan until smoking hot. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the hot pan, take care as it will spit as the chicken meets the oil. Stir fry the chicken on a high heat for 3-4 minutes until the chicken browns and starts to caramelise.

Change your stirring spoon for hygiene then add the cashew nuts (discard the soaking water), carrots, water chestnuts, celery, onion and red pepper. Stir fry for  2 minutes on your cookers highest heat setting to cook the vegetables but retain some crunch.

Pour in the marinade and stir through the dish, then use the stirring spoon t push the chicken and vegetables to the sides of the pan so the marinade heats through. Let the marinade bubble away and reduce slightly for 1 minute.

Give the dish a good stir, remove from the heat and serve immediately, enjoy!

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King Prawn Dhal Curry

King prawns, potatoes and carrots in a delicious spiced lentil and tomato curry sauce.

A easy to make curry dish guaranteed to impress your friends and family – they won’t believe you didn’t pick it up from your local Indian restaurant.

Serve with choice of rice or Indian bread.

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Serves two

Preparation and cooking time around 1 hour

 

Ingredients and method

200-250g raw king prawns – devein, butterfly

100g peeled new potatoes – cut into small pieces to cook quickly

5-6 round vine tomatoes – cut into quarters

75g red spilt lentils – rinse thoroughly until water runs clear

1 medium/large carrot – peel and thinly slice into discs

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 medium size white onions – peel and dice

2 medium size red onions – peel and dice

1 small bulb of garlic – peel, crush

15-20g ginger – peel, thinly slice

1 heaped dessert spoon sliced Almond

2 bay leaves

5 cardamom pods

5 cloves

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground fenugreek

80g red split lentils – rinse thoroughly

1 tsp salt – plus extra to taste

water – see method

20-25g butter – cut into cubes

2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaf

Note: You require a stick blender (or glass blender) for this recipe

 

Method: Start by boiling the potatoes for 7-8 minutes , then drain them and set aside ready to add to the curry.

In a deep pan heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil over a medium high heat and add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. Let the oil heat until the mustard seeds start popping like popcorn. Add the onions and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions start to colour. Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, tomatoes and sliced almonds and stir through the fried onions. Next add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground turmeric, ground coriander and a quarter of  ground fenugreek. Stir well and fry the mixture for 4-5 minutes.

Next add the washed lentils and stir well, then add enough water to completely submerge the mixture (I added 2 and a half mugs of water) and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  After this remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cloves from the sauce and blend into a smooth sauce.

Add the cooked potatoes and the thinly sliced carrot (these are both cut into small pieces so they cook quickly) and gently simmer in the sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently as lentils can stick to pans and burn. Taste test the sauce – you may want to add more salt or add more water, depending upon how thick you like your sauce. If your sauce is too runny simply continue to simmer until it reduces to your preference.

When the sauce add the cubes of butter and stir them into the sauce, this will add flavour and the classic gleam to the curry sauce. Complete the dish by adding 1 tbsp. of chopped coriander and the raw king prawns – let them gently poach in the sauce and serve as soon as they turn from grey to pink.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with the rest of the chopped coriander, enjoy!

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Roasted Marinated Chicken with Tomato Curry and Toasted Almonds

Oven roasted Chicken on the bone marinated in yogurt, spices and garlic. Served with a delicious medium spicy tomato based curry sauce and garnished with toasted almonds.

I love it when you design a recipe and it tastes just as you had hoped, this is definingly one of those occasions. The roasted chicken on the bone marinated in yogurt, garlic, turmeric, chilli, fennel seeds and garam masala is wonderfully moist and flavoursome. The medium spicy curry sauce made from tomato, onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, mustard seeds, cardamom, cloves and some butter is the perfect accompaniment to the chicken. A garnish of coriander leaf and some toasted almonds complete this dish.

Serve with choice of rice or Indian breads.

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Serves Two

Preparation time 15 minutes (plus 2-3 hours for marinating chicken)

Cooking time 35 minutes

 

Ingredients and method

For the marinated chicken:

2 large chicken thighs, on the bone – remove skin and membrane

6-8 dessert spoons Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp salt

3 cloves garlic – thinly sliced

Method: Combine the yogurt, garlic, salt and spices in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and mix well until covered in the marinade, cover bowl and put in a fridge for at least two hours (overnight is even better).

To cook the chicken, remove the bowl from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature. Heat your oven to 200°c, place the marinated chicken in a roasting tin and cook for 35 minutes. Rest the chicken for 5 minutes before serving.

For the curry sauce:

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 large round tomatoes – quarter

5 cloves garlic – peel, crush

Root ginger (thumb sized) – peel and thinly slice

2 bay leaves

2 large red chillies – remove stalks and seeds

2 small red onions – peel, dice

2 medium white onions

5 cardamom pods

5 cloves

15-20g flaked almonds – for sauce, extra below for garnish

1 tbsp.  brown sugar

Water – see method below

20g unsalted butter –  cut into cubes

Salt – to taste

Handful of almond flakes –  toast in a dry hot frying pan until coloured on both sides

Handful of coriander leaf – roughly chop

Method: Start by heating the vegetable oil over a medium high heat, add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to pop (like pop corn). Add the onions and fry for 4-5 minutes until they soften and colour. Next add the bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, chilli, ginger, garlic, flaked almonds and tomatoes. stir well and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add water to the pan, enough to cover the mixture (around 200ml), bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 – 12 minutes.

Once the mixture has simmered remove the bay, cardamom and cloves.  Use a stick or standalone blender to blitz sauce until smooth. You may wish to add a little extra water depending upon how thick you like your curry sauce, take care not to add too much as it will dilute the flavour.

Bring the smooth sauce to a simmer then add 1 tbsp. sugar and season with salt to taste (I used 1 tsp salt), stir until dissolved into the sauce. Add the cubes of butter and stir as they melt into the sauce, they will bring the classic gleam to your sauce as well as adding flavour. Once the butter is melted into the sauce it is ready to serve.

To serve ladle the sauce into the serving plate, place chicken on top then garnish with toasted almonds and chopped coriander.

 

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Stir fried Scallops with Roe sauce

Stir fried scallops and vegetables with a delicious scallop roe sauce.

A recipe of my own design. Stir fried scallops with green beans, onion red pepper and spring onion. Served with a delicious sauce made from scallop roe, chilli, garlic, ginger, honey, oyster sauce, dark soy, Shaoxing and vinegar.

Serve with boiled rice, fried rice or noodles.

Serves two

Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes

Ingredients and method

For scallop roe sauce:

Roe from King scallops – from 4-6 scallops

1 large red chilli – remove stalk and seeds

4 cloves garlic – peel

Thumb of ginger – peel, cut into matchsticks (for smoother sauce)

2 dessert spoons honey

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

2 dessert spoons oyster sauce

1 dessert spoon Shaoxing rice wine

1 dessert spoon vinegar

Method: Use a mini chopper or food processor to blitz into a smooth sauce. Retain ready to add to the wok.

 

For the main dish:

4-6 King scallops – slice in half 

1 small carrot – peel, cut into 3-4cm batons

1/2 a red bell pepper – dice

1 medium size white onion – peel and slice

3 spring onions – slice white on diagonal, keep green tails for garnish (slice very thinly)

10-12 green beans – trim ends and cut into 3-4cm batons

3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil – 2 tbsp. for frying scallops, 1-2 tbsp.  for the dish

1 red chilli – slice for garnish

Method: Start by frying the scallops. Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in the wok over a high heat, once oil is smoking hot add the scallops. Cook for 60-90 seconds on each side, until some caramelisation appears, then remove from wok and drain on absorbent paper. Wipe the wok clean ready to cook the dish.

Heat 1-2 tbsp. of oil in the wok over a high heat until smoking hot. Add the peppers, onion, green beans and spring onion and stir fry for 2 minutes. Next add the scallop roe sauce and stir through the vegetables, keep on a high heat and stir fry the sauce for a further 3 minutes, until the sauce starts to reduce and thicken slightly. Add the cooked scallops and finish them in the sauce for a further minute.

Serve immediately with rice or noodles, using the thinly sliced spring onion greens and sliced chilli for a garnish. Enjoy!

 

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Chicken Makhani with Pilau Rice

Marinated chicken roasted on the bone with Makhani style sauce and pilau rice.

Skinless chicken thighs marinated in spices and yogurt then roasted on the bone in a hot oven, giving the chicken deep Indian flavour and also keeping the chicken wonderfully moist. The sauce is made from onion, tomato, almonds, garlic, chilli and spices – it is a match for even the best of Indian takeaways here in the UK. The pilau uses chicken stock to cook the rice along with garlic, shallots and spices to give that authentic flavour.

This recipe is fairly straightforward and tastes so good that you may never order an Indian takeaway again.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 25 minutes (plus 2-3 hours to marinade), cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For marinated chicken

4-6 chicken thighs – skin off but keep on the bone

250g Greek yogurt

3 dessert spoons desiccated coconut

1/2 tsp cayanne pepper

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garam masala

Juice of half a lemon

Root ginger – 1/2 thumb sized piece, peel, finely chop

4 cloves garlic – peel roughly chop

Method: Combine the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined. Add the skinless chicken thighs, mix well, cover and set aside in a fridge for at least 2-3 hours (overnight is even better). Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature. To cook add the chicken to a large roasting dish and cook uncovered in a hot preheated oven (200ºC fan) for 30 minutes. Leave to cool in tray for 10 minutes before serving.

For Makhani style sauce

2 dessert spoons vegetable oil

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods

8 curry leafs

2 bay leaf

2 white onions  – diced

4 cloves garlic – roughly chopped

1 large red chilli – sliced

2 dessert spoons flaked almonds – keep a few as garnish

2 tsp grated ginger

6 plum tomatoes –  remove skin then cut into wedges

Approx 200ml water

25g butter – cut into cubes

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

Salt to taste – approx 1 tsp

Coriander leaf – as garnish

You require a stick blender for this recipe

Method: In a deep pan heat the oil over a medium heat then add the onions and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until browned. Add the chilli, garlic, bay leaf, curry leaf, cloves and cardamom and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Next add the tomatoes, ginger and almonds and stir fry for 2 minutes before adding approx 200ml water. Stir well and bring back to a simmer, leave to reduce and break down the tomatoes for approx 10 minutes.  Remove the bay and cardamom from the sauce then use a stick blender to blitz into a smooth curry sauce, if the sauce has reduced too much add a little extra water to loosen it. Add the sugar and the butter to the sauce and stir until combined, the butter will give the sauce the classic gleam of Indian curry sauces. Add salt to taste, when serving garnish with a few flaked almonds and coriander leaf.

For Pilau rice

4 shallots – finely chopped

2 cloves garlic – thinly slice

15g butter

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Chicken stock – twice the volume of the rice

150g basmati rice – rinse well

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 bay leaf

Pinch saffron

Method: Use a pan with a tight-fitting lid, a dutch oven style one works best. Heat the butter in the pan then fry the shallots and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Next add the Cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and fry gently in the butter for a minute, take care not to burn the spices. Add the rice, cardamom, cloves and bay and stir gently so that each grain of rice is coated in the fried mixture. Add the chicken stock along with a pinch of saffron, bring to a simmer then place lid on the pan. Let the rice cook away until all the liquid is absorbed (approx 10-12 minutes on a low/medium heat) then fluff up with a fork before serving.

 

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