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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Swimming Crab with Spiced Paella Rice

Spiced tomato based Paella rice dish with chunks of blue swimming crab

This recipe, like many good recipes came from me experimenting with store cupboard ingredients and some leftover fresh ingredients. I wished to make a rice dish which was distinctly different from classic rice dishes such as risotto, paella and jambalaya. I am so happy with the results I have decided to share this recipe with you, in the hope you will give it a try.

The flavour base of the dish comes from a fried mixture of chilli, bell pepper, garlic, celery and red onion. This is softened then rice is added along with a spice mixture, this is fried and gently stirred until each grain is coated. White win is then added and cooked off followed by diced tomato flesh, stock, a little water herbs and seasoning. The rice is simmered until it has softened and the juices have almost been cooked off. For the last few minutes chunks of blue swimming crab are carefully placed on top, the steam and residual heat gently warms the crab through. Just before serving the crab is gently stirred through the rice using the back of a wooden spoon, to ensure the chunks don’t break up and get lost in the rice.

I think this dish is a real winner, its simple to cook with a simply fantastic flavour.

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Serves two people

preparation 15 minutes, cooking time 35-40 minutes

Ingredients and method

150-170g Blue swimming crab chunks (from tin)  – drain before adding to rice

2 large red chillies – remove stalk/seeds, finely dice

1 yellow bell pepper – finely diced

4 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

2 sticks celery – finely diced

2 red onions – finely diced

150g Paella rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

75ml dry white wine

6 round tomatoes – remove skin and seeds, then dice

500ml chicken stock

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1.5 tsp smoked sweet paprika

Pinch saffron

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

150-200ml water

2 tsp brown sugar

Generous handful coriander leaf – roughly chop, half for dish, half for garnish

Lime wedges – for garnish

Sea salt and black pepper – for grinding

 

Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep flat frying pan then add then chopped chilli, garlic, celery, red onion and yellow bell pepper. Fry over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.

Add the rice then add the spice mixture – 1 tsp cumin, coriander, chilli and 1.5tsp smoked paprika. Stir well until the rice, spices and fried mixture is combined and each grain of rice is coated. Fry and gently stir for 1-2 minutes until all liquid in the pan is absorbed by the rice then pour in the white wine and stir gently until it is cooked off.

Once the wine is cooked off add the diced tomato flesh, 500ml chicken stock and a generous pinch of saffron. Next add 1 tsp dried oregano, basil and parsley, 2 tsp brown sugar, 150ml water , half the chopped coriander and sprinkle of salt (not too much as there is salt in the stock) and a generous amount of ground black pepper. Gently stir, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the liquid is nearly cooked off and the rice is plump and tender. If the rice is not ready simply add an extra 50ml water, stir through and give it an extra 5-10 minutes.

Once the liquid is nearly cooked off add the crab chunks along with a little more chopped coriander, place across the surface of the rice as it simmers away allowing the steam to warm the crab through. Once the liquid has been fully cooked off use the back of a wooden spoon and very gently fold the crab through the dish. Serve with a garnish of coriander leaf and lime wedges.

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Thai King Prawn Red curry

Delicious curry made with a fresh homemade curry paste, with King Prawns, green beans and Thai herbs.

Like all good Thai curries the secret is using a fresh homemade paste. Don’t use the ones in jars from the supermarket, they simply don’t have the flavour. This recipe gives enough paste for two meals, simply store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze it – it defrosts well and doesn’t loose its flavour. I will feature a number of other recipes using this paste in the coming weeks.

The dish itself is very quick and easy to cook and will bring back those memories of Bangkok or sitting on a perfect Thai beach. I wish I was there now!

Serves two people

Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time approx. 15 minutes

Ingredients and method

For the curry paste

8 cloves garlic – peeled

thumb of ginger – peeled and slice thinly

2 large red chillies – remove stalk, keep seeds

4 red bird eye chillies – remove stalk keep seeds

Zest and juice of 1 lime

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tsp tamarind paste

2 tsp shrimp paste

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. coriander stalks

4 dessert spoons brown sugar

3 dessert spoons desiccated coconut

6 black peppercorns

2 sticks lemongrass – bruise, remove outer husk, slice thinly

Handful of peanuts

8-10 Thai basil leafs – remove stalk

2 lime leafs

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

Method: Use a mini chopper, food processor or mortar and pestle to pound into a smooth paste. Slicing ginger and lemongrass beforehand makes it much easier to form a smooth paste. Once a smooth paste has been formed separate into two even portions. As mentioned above the spare portion can be frozen or stored in an airtight refrigerated container for up to 5 days.

For the main dish

2 portions of jasmine rice – cook as per packet instructions

200g raw King prawns –  shell and head removed

200ml coconut milk

150ml water

70g fine green beans – cut into 4-5cm batons

2 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf

4 spring onions (white part only) – slice diagonally into 4cm lengths

8-10 Thai basil leafs – remove stalk

1 lime – cut into wedges to garnish

Method: Start by frying the paste in a non stick pan, as there is oil in the paste there should be no need to add extra, if paste sticks to pan loosen with a little water rather than adding oil. As the rice takes a similar time start to cook it now as per packet instructions. Fry paste for 4-5 minutes until the paste moves round pan as a single mass, take care not to let paste stick to pan and burn. Add the coconut milk and the water and stir well until fully combined, bring to boil and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the green beans and the spring onion and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the raw king prawns to the sauce and poach them, bring back to a simmer and continue to cook until the prawns change from grey to pink. Remove from heat and serve immediately along with the cooked jasmine rice. Garnish the dish with the coriander, Thai basil and lime wedges.

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Spiced Chicken and Rice

Chicken on the bone, with paella rice, vegetables, herbs, spices and garlic mayonnaise. A true one pot wonder.

It was a little hard to name this dish and really “spiced chicken and rice” doesn’t really do it any justice. This really is absolutely delicious, if I don’t say so myself! I wanted to make a dish like paella but with a very different flavour. I am very happy with the results and cant wait to cook this again, I hope you like it too!

The dish uses chicken wings with the skin removed, cooked on the bone this gives the chicken flavour and keeps the meat moist as the dish cooks. You could substitute wings for thighs or legs, but I think wings work best.

The wings are browned in a pan before adding a mixture of onion, garlic, red pepper, celery and red chilli. This is fried until the vegetables start to soften then a little sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin and chilli powder is added then stirred through the vegetables. Paella rice is added and stirred through the mixture to coat every grain in the flavour base. A glass of white wine is added then cooked off, followed by some tomato paste, chicken stock and a little water. The heat is turned down and the dish is left to simmer until the rice is cooked. The dish is garnished with some freshly chopped coriander, lime wedges and a generous drizzle of garlic mayonnaise.

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 Serves two

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients and method

500g chicken wings – skin and connective tissue removed

4 cloves garlic – peeled, crushed and finely chopped

2 medium sized red onions – finely diced

1 red pepper – finely diced

150g Paella rice

125ml dry white wine

1 tsp Smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp. olive oil

500ml chicken stock – keep hot to add to rice

175ml water – add extra if liquid cooks off before rice is ready

2 tsp tomato paste

Black pepper – to taste

Salt – to taste

3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf –  add to dish and for garnish

4 lime wedges – garnish

Garlic mayonnaise – in squeeze bottle to drizzle over dish

Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide deep frying pan, then add the chicken wings and brown over a medium high heat. Once chicken is browned add the celery, garlic, onion, chilli and red pepper, stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chilli powder, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tsp of brown sugar and stir through the vegetables. Next add the paella rice and stir well until each grain is coated in the spice mixture, then add a glass of wine and stir until it is cooked off. Add 2 tsp of tomato paste and stir through the rice then add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander, 500ml chicken stock and 175ml water. Gently stir through the rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave uncovered for around 25-30 minutes until the rice is cooked. If required you can add a little extra water and cook for longer if rice is not ready, the chicken will only get more tender and fall off the bone delicious. Before serving check the rice for seasoning then add salt and pepper to taste. Complete the dish by adding lime wedges, sprinkling coriander, then drizzling a generous amount of garlic mayonnaise over the dish.

 

Indonesian Prawn Curry

A delicious Indonesian curry with King prawns and potatoes.

This curry uses the same paste used for my two other Indonesian dishes currently on my blog, Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng. The paste is fried in a little oil, then par boiled potatoes, fish stock, coriander leaf and coconut milk are added.  The curry is simmered for 35 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and absorb the wonderful aromatic flavours. Just before serving butterflied king prawns are added and poached in the sauce.

The dish works well with rice, noodles or breads such as Paratha. It is quite filling by itself due to the potatoes.

You only require half the paste for this recipe, the same as Nasi and Mee goreng. The remainder can be stored in an airtight refrigerated container for up to 5 days or stored in a freezer – it defrosts really well and doesn’t lose its flavour.

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Serves 2 people

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 35-40 minutes

Ingredients and method

For the curry paste:

1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Handful peanuts
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 white onions – peeled
Thumb of root ginger – peeled, roughly chop
2 stalks lemon grass – discard outer husks, thinly slice
6 cloves garlic – peel
2 large red chillies
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 dessert spoon brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Ketchup manis
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Method: Use a min blender to blitz into a smooth paste. Chopping the tough ingredients before blending helps make a smooth paste. Only use half for this recipe, the remainder can be frozen or stored in the fridge (see notes above).

For the main dish

1/2 the curry paste

1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil

350g raw king prawns – peel, devein, butterfly

2 portions of potatoes – cut into 3-4cm cubes

350ml fish stock

500ml coconut milk

2 tsp dried coriander leaf

Method: start by par boiling the potatoes in boiling water for 6-7 minutes, rinse and drain then set aside. Heat 1-2 tbsp. of oil in a wok or deep frying pan then fry the paste for 4-5 minutes, add a little fish stock if it begins to catch on the pan. Add the potatoes, dried coriander, 300ml fish stock and the coconut milk, stir well. Heat until sauce starts to bubble then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce has reduced too much then add a little extra fish stock to loosen the sauce. After this add the prawns and poach them in the sauce until they turn from grey to pink. Heat sauce until it starts to bubble again then serve.

 

 

Turmeric, Chilli and Lime Salmon with Lentil Dahl curry and Pilau rice

Salmon fillets, marinated in lime and turmeric then pan-fried. Served with a Dahl style lentil curry and pilau rice. Garnished with some sliced tomato, red onion and coriander.

This dish may look a little yellow, but don’t let that fool you – this is one of best curries I have designed in a while.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 50-60 minutes

Ingredients

For the salmon:

2 skinless salmon fillets

Juice of two limes

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 red bird eye chilli – thinly sliced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil – to fry salmon

Method: In a bowl mix the turmeric, sliced chilli and lime juice. Put salmon in bowl and give a god coating on all sides. Put in a fridge for at least an hour before cooking (best 2-3 hours) and remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature. The marinade will change the salmon from pink to yellow and infuse it with a wonderful flavour. To cook, heat two tablespoons of oil in a wide frying pan over a medium high heat. Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes on each side then remove and place on absorbent paper to drain before serving.

For Dahl curry

125g red lentils – washed thoroughly

2 -3 round tomatoes – remove skin and seeds

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large white onion

3-4 cloves garlic

1 green chilli – thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon ground asafoetida

1 teaspoon salt – extra to taste

water

8-10 curry leafs

Garnish – 1 sliced tomato, 1 sliced red onion and chopped coriander

Method: Start by heating the oil in a deep pan over a medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry until the begin to start to pop then add the onion, chilli, tomato and the garlic. Fry for 3-4 minutes then add the turmeric, stir well and fry for an additional minute then add the washed lentils and stir well. Add enough water to completely cover the lentils and bring to a simmer. Add the curry leafs , a  teaspoon of salt and the asafoetida , stir well,  and reduce heat to a simmer for 50 minutes, checking each 10 minutes and adding extra water as the lentils thicken and water cooks off. The dish is ready when the lentils break down and the sauce is at your chosen consistency. Before serving taste for seasoning and add additional salt to your taste. Add some sliced tomato, red onion and coriander as a garnish to the dish when served.

Pilau rice

150 basmati or long grain rice – rinsed thoroughly
1 white onion – diced
2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
15g butter
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
Bay leaf
Pinch saffron
Chicken stock – twice the volume of the rinsed rice

You require a medium to large pan with a tight-fitting lid (glass is best)
Method: melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat then add the onion, garlic and all the spices. Stir and fry for around 4 minutes until the onion softens and the spices become aromatic. Add the rice and stir through until the rice is fully coated and the mixed through the spiced onion mixture. Add twice the volume of stock to the volume of rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and leave on a low heat. Let the rice drink the stock as it cooks, it should take around 10 minutes for the rice to fully absorb the stock. Once stock is fully absorbed carefully remove pan lid and fluff rice with a fork before serving.