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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soups

Menu Page for my soup recipes

Click on links below for recipes

Asian soups

Chicken noodle soup

Tomato egg flower soup

Laksa

Mussels in Laksa Broth

Mediterranean  soups

Char Grilled Pepper and Butternut Squash Soup

Pan Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

My Ultimate Tomato Soup

Tomato soup

 

Mexican soups

Mexican Soup

Mexican Prawn and Crab Soup

Spiced Bean Soup

 

Scottish soups

White Cabbage Soup

Scottish Parsnip Soup

Carrot and Coriander Soup

 

 

 

Tomato and Cucumber salad

A simple salad of tomatoes, red onions, romano peppers, herbs, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil

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Ingredients

3 plum tomatoes – sliced

2 small red onions – sliced

10cm cucumber – sliced

1 red romano pepper – diced

10 fresh basil leafs – bruised, chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle of good quality olive oil

Method: layer the tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and romano peppers in a flat serving plate or casserole dish. Season with a little salt and pepper then add the herbs. Finish by drizzling a little olive oil over the salad, this will help bring out the flavours. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving, during this time the flavours will intensify.

Blackened Salmon with flame roasted vegetable rice salad

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blackened Soy Salmon with rice salad

Salmon marinated in dark soy sauce, wok oil and brown sugar, pan-fried with crispy skin. Served with a rice salad with flame roasted and crunchy fresh salad vegetables. Completed with a dressing made from soy, sugar, lime juice and coriander leaf.

A really healthy dish but one that is packed with flavour. It is also a great excuse to use my favourite kitchen gadget – my blowtorch. Dont worry if you don’t have one, simply dry roast the vegetables in a very hot oven for 5-7 minutes.

The salmon is marinated several hours ahead of cooking and is left with a black coating that caramelises when cooked in a hot pan. Cooking skin side down for most of the cooking to get the skin nice and crispy – after all nobody likes skin on a fish if it isn’t crispy.

Brown salad rice is cooked then cooled ready for the vegetables, half of which are roasted using the blowtorch for deep flavour and the rest are left raw to give the dish some nice crunchy texture.

The dish is completed with a dressing made from brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and coriander.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 25 minutes (plus 1-2 hours to marinade), cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the salmon

2 Keta Salmon fillets – make 2-3 diagonal slices  in the skin to help skin crisp up

1 dessert spoon Dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon wok oil

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

Marinade – the soy, oil and sugar in a bowl until combined. Add the salmon coating on both sides then place in fridge for 1-2 hours. Remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature.

For the rice salad

150g brown rice – cook, drain and cool

2 red onions – diced, add to pan for roasting

2 red bird eye chillies – add to pan for roasting

2 green bird eye chillies – add to pan for roasting

1 romano red pepper – add to pan for roasting

3-4 tbsp sweetcorn – add to pan for roasting

4 plum tomatoes – skin, deseed, chop, add to pan for roasting

10cm cucumber – peel, deseed, dice. Raw for crunch

1 small carrot – cut into fine batons. Raw for crunch

1 stick celery – dice, raw for crunch

3 spring onions – finely slice, raw for crunch.

Method: Retain the fresh vegetables in a bowl ready to add to rice. For the roasting vegetables add to a stainless steel pan and use a blowtorch to roast the vegetables until charred. Alternatively add vegetables to a dry baking tray and roast in a very hot oven for 5-7 minutes.

For the dressing

2 dessert spoons brown sugar

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

Juice of a lime

Handful coriander leaf – very finely chop, retain a little for garnish.

Method: Mix well in a bowl until combined. Give a second mix prior to serving.

 

Cooking instructions

  1. For the salmon heat a dry non stick frying pan over a hot heat until very hot. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place skin side down in the pan and cook for 7 minutes. Turn the salmon and cook for 5 minutes on the other side then remove from the pan. These are typical times for average sized fillets, for large or small adjust time by a couple of minutes.
  2. Assemble the rice salad. In a large mixing bowl add the rice, the roasted vegetables and the fresh vegetables. Pour in the salad dressing then mix well until fully combined.
  3. Serve the dish by making a bed of rice salad then place the cooked salmon on top. Sprinkle a little finely chopped coriander on as a garnish.

 

 

Special Cod Makhani with Pilau Rice

Pan fried cod with Makhani curry sauce, served on pilau rice.

My Makhai curry sauce is one of my favourites, and one I can confidently say rivals even the best of Indian restaurants here in the UK.

With this dish i decided to make a ‘posher’ version and decided to use pan fried cod as the sauce complements the delicate sweet white fish very well. I serve this with a delicious pilau rice which also complements the dish extremely well. The rice tastes extremely authentic yet is very straightforward to make whilst the curry sauce cooks.

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Special Cod Makhani

 

Serves two people

Cooking time approx 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the curry sauce:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 medium sized brown onions (cut into chunks)

5 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)

5 cloves

5 cardamom pods

3 bay leaf

1 large red chili (sliced)

6 round tomatoes (quartered)

thumb sized piece of ginger (cut 1/4 off, then thinly slice the rest)

100-150ml water

160ml coconut cream

3 tablespoons desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon dried sliced almonds

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon crushed fenugreek

25g butter (cut into cubes)

A hand blender is required. Best cooked in a large deep pan.

For the fish:

2 cod portions (approx 200g each)

50g butter for pan frying

Sea salt

Black pepper

Best cooked in a large flat non stick frying pan.

For the 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

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 bay leaf

Pinch saffron

Best cooked in a dutch oven style cast iron pan with a heavy well fitting lid.

Cooking instructions

Pictural examples below:

  1. Start by making the sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the deep pan, the add the chopped onions. Fry for 5-8 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and have colour. Do not worry about the onions browning as this adds flavour to the dish. Next add the desiccated coconut, garlic, chopped ginger, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves and the sliced chili. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the pan, stir well. Add 100-150ml water to the pan, this should be enough to cover the tomatoes, if you add too much the dish takes a little longer to cook. The aim here is to give the tomatoes enough liquid to break down and form a sauce without making the sauce too loose. Simmer uncovered over a medium heat for 20 minutes. Then remove the bay, cardamom and cloves then use the stick blender to form a smooth curry paste. Add the coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well until combined. Set aside for the moment.
  3. Now make the pilau rice. Start by frying the shallots and garlic in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add 15g butter along with 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon coriander. Fry and stir for 2 minutes until the spices become fragrant (do not allow these to burn).
  4. Add the rice and stir so that each grain is coated in the fried spice mix. Then add the chicken stock (this should be twice the volume of rice). Add 4 cardamom, 4 cloves, pinch saffron and a bay leaf then reduce heat to low and place lid on pan. It should take approx 15 minutes for the rice to absorb all the liquid, when this is done the rice is ready. Do not stir the rice once the liquid is added as this will cause the rice to break up and become mushy.
  5. Back to the sauce: As the pilau cooks finish off the sauce, warm the sauce through over a medium heat. Add the butter and stir through the sauce as it melts – this will give the sauce the classic ‘gleam’ of Indian dishes. Add the sliced almonds (keep a few to add as a garnish), the grated ginger, 1/4 teaspoon crushed fennugreek and the half teaspoon of garam masala – use your fingers to sprinkle the spices in as otherwise they can clump together in the sauce.
  6.  Now cook the cod: Add the butter to the frying pan and put over a medium heat until the butter melts and starts to bubble.
  7. Season the cod with a little salt and pepper on both sides before adding to the pan. Fry for 3 minutes on each side, basting with butter frequently. The cod should get some nice colouration as it cooks. Once cooked remove cod from the pan and drain on absorbent paper.
  8. Carefully remove lid from rice and check that the rice has absorbed all the liquid – if not replace the lid, and give the rice a few extra minutes. Heat the curry sauce through until it bubbles just before serving.
  9. Serve the dish – bed of rice, cod on top then a generous amount of sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the chopped coriander and a few sliced almonds as a garnish  – enjoy!

 

Tomato egg flower soup

This sweet and delicious Chinese soup is a current favourite of mine. It is extremely easy to make and tastes way better than most Chinese take ways.

 

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For four portions

 

preparation time 15 minutes

cooking time 20-30 mintues

Ingredients

1 litre of chicken stock –  stock cubes are fine

4-6 round tomatoes cut into thin wedges – remove skins first

2 eggs lightly beaten

4-5 heaped Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons corn flour – mixed in 50ml warm water

2-3 spring onions –  thinly sliced

Pepper to season

Salt – to taste, half to 1 teaspoon

Get cooking

  1. Start by bringing a litre of chicken stock to a simmer in a large saucepan.
  2. Next add the tomatoes and simmer for 15-20minutes on a medium heat until the tomatoes are broken down.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of brown sugar and stir until dissolved. The soup should taste sweet not savoury so depending upon taste and how sweet your tomatoes were you may need to add more sugar. You want the soup to be quite sweet but not to the point it is sickly.
  4. Next add half a teaspoon of salt and taste, again depending on taste you may need to add a little more salt.
  5. Next add in the corn four dissolved in water and simmer until this slightly thickens the soup.
  6. Then add the beaten egg – there is an easy technique to this. Very slowly drizzle the egg into the soup with one hand, with the other use a fork to constantly stir the soup. This will give the classic egg drop effect you are looking for, if you were to add the egg in too quickly or not stir with a fork you will end up with unwanted large chunks of cooked egg.
  7. Bring back to a simmer then remove from heat.
  8. Add in the finely chopped spring onions as a final step and serve immediately.