Tag Archives: coriander

Roast Butternut Squash Chickpea and Coconut Curry

Pumpkin

This kind of dish is a staple of South Indian cuisine. Straightforward and quick to make, it will also add a vegetarian option to your repertoire. I have worked on the textures by roasting off the squash which gives it a crispy and sweet feel, not mushy like when you cook it in the coconut milk. The cashews also add a big crunch to the curry.

Here we also have a solid introduction to the basis of Asian curries which is the paste. This an example of the most basic of pastes which is onion, garlic and ginger blended. You can see where the consistency of Indian and Thai curries come from when you start cooking this way.

Fenugreek can be harder to find than other spices.  It takes a pestle and mortar to grind it to a powder, but it does add another depth to a dish which is always good, but you can lose it.

Ingredients (serves 4)

600g butternut squash
1 medium onion
6 cloves of garlic
25g ginger
2 to 4 fresh chillies (red or green)
1 lime
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 tsps ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
750ml coconut milk (2 tins)
1 tin of chick peas (400g)
Sunflower oil (or any oil)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
70g cashews

Prep list

Blend or grate the onion, garlic and ginger. Peel and cut the squash into 3cm chunks. Drain the chick-peas, pick the coriander, and mix together the fenugreek, cumin and coriander. Chop the chillies and roast off the cashews.

Method

Turn the oven to 200 degrees. Toss the cubes of squash in oil, put onto a baking tray and roast off in the oven. Spread the squash out so its not heaped on top of each other. Cook until browned and soft, about twenty mins, being gentle so it doesn’t turn to mush.

Meanwhile, put a pan with the oil onto a medium heat. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds, as soon as they begin to pop add the onion, garlic and ginger. Fry off without colouring them too much. When really soft after about 5 minutes add the spice and cook some more, constantly stirring so it doesn’t take on the bottom and then take off the heat. Stir in the coconut milk, salt, sugar and chilli then return to a low heat with the chickpeas and cook for thirty minutes. Take off the heat and taste.

PasteSqueeze half of the lime and tweak as you feel necessary for salt. Don’t worry if you think the sauce could be a bit sweeter, the sweetness of the squash will come through when its all combined. Gently fold in the roasted squash, again,  being careful it doesn’t turn into a mush.

To serve put some steamed rice in the bowl, and ladle the curry with some sauce. Roughly crush the cashews (I use the bottom of a pan and lean on it so it breaks them up). Sprinkle a generous amount of  cashews then finish with a fat pinch of picked coriander.

Re-Fried Beans

re fried 4
I am going with red kidney beans for this dish as I prefer the colour and they are probably easier to find. In the photos I have used pinto beans which are typically Spanish, but on reflection I normally use red kidney beans and prefer them.

Re- fried beans will liven up any simple protein eg. grilled chicken, fish or tofu, and there will be no need to make a sauce. Amongst other things they are a good source of protein so you could just have them with brown rice, salad, green vegetables or even just a bag of tortilla chips. This is not a mash, it is fluid with plenty of the kidney  beans visible.

If you are using from a packet you need 250g and to soak them overnight and cook them accordingly until soft. Otherwise use a tin. If you are soaking and cooking them, keep the liquor they have been cooked in and use that to make the dish. If you are using them from a tin then wash the beans well before using them. There is never very much of this left after it is served up. If there is then put it in the fridge and reheat by putting a splash of water in a pan and adding the beans, keep stirring the beans until they are hot and you have a thick but wet consistency.

ChipotleIngredients

250g red kidney beans
1 medium white onion
6 cloves of garlic
Chipotle tabasco or regular tabasco (an optional ingredient – the dish will survive without it)
1 1/2 tbsps (15g) ground cumin
1.5 – 2  litres of stock (cube or powder is fine from health food section)
Fresh coriander (if you can get it, nice touch)
Light olive oil

Method

Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic. Put a large frying pan onto the heat, add the olive oil and sweat off the onions and garlic. Add the cumin and stir for a couple of minutes.

Re fried 2Add the beans and the liquid (if kept), stir and add the stock. You will need to keep adding more water in the cooking process, so boil your kettle again in preparation,  make up a hot stock and keep topping up as the beans thicken. It is said, and I always do it, not to add cold water to pulses when you are  cooking them or the pulse will not soften.

re fried 3Keep adding liquid and breaking/mashing the beans as you go. I use a silicon spatula and just press down onto the beans as they are cooking, don’t break them up too much, you want some texture.

If you have chipotle tabasco or even ordinary tabasco add to taste. Finish off with chopped coriander.

Prawn Cakes with Sesame, Orange and Tamari Dressing

Prawn Balls

It’s always nice to try and do something different and bring prawns to the front of a recipe. Normally prawns are a secondary addition to a larger list of ingredients like noodle recipes. This recipe takes advantage of  the prawn and its sweetness. You can easily halve the balls and use them as a starter or a pre dinner nibble.

Ingredients (makes 8 cakes)

500g prawns (uncooked, peeled and de-veined)
2 spring onions or shallots (75g)
10g coriander
2 de-seeded red chilies
30g fresh ginger
1 lime zested, then chopped and juiced
1 lime for garnish
White sesame seeds
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Put the un-cooked, peeled and de-viened prawns into a food processor and pulse into a paste (you can also use a stick blender).  Take out of blender and put into a bowl.

Finely chop the spring onions, coriander, red chillies and ginger then fold into the prawn paste with a spatula or a wooden spoon until mixed.  Squeeze half the lime and add a splash of fish sauce (if you don´t have this then  a sprinkle of salt will be fine) and lime zest and mix again. Wet your hands and divide into eight pieces. Roll into a ball shape. Have your sesame seeds ready in a bowl. Roll each of the balls in the sesame seeds and put onto a plate. With your hand press the balls flat so they will shallow fry (see photo).

Take a pan and brush the surface with sunflower oil, as minimal as possible. Place the cakes into the oil and cook until a golden shade of brown, turn them over and do the same. Finish off in a pre-heated oven at 180 for 8 mins. They should be firm to touch. Serve with a fresh crunchy salad and the dressing below.

Ingredients

125ml sesame oil
80ml fresh orange juice
40ml tamari (see store-cupboard)

Method

Put the ingredients into a old jam jar with a lid and shake really well, pour over a nice crisp green salad and serve.

Prawn Balls

Red Lentil Soup with Feta & Coriander

Red lentil soup is a soup rooted in Middle-Eastern cuisine particularly Lebanon and Israel. It is a solid source of protein and dietary fibre, as well as being tasty and economical. This ‘half an hour soup’ could easily be made the day before and kept covered in the fridge.  I have kept it close to its roots taking it to another level with a feta, yogurt and herb mix. This works well if you are trying to eat a small lunch as it will keep you going until the evening.

Ingredients (serves 4)

500g red lentils
60 ml sunflower oil (4 tablespoons)
4 litres of vegetable stock (good stock powder is fine)
1 small tin of chopped tomatoes
2 medium sized onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon  of black pepper
1 fresh red chili or a pinch of cayenne pepperFor the garnish
1 small pot of natural yogurt (120g)
100g Greek feta cheese
1 spring onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
10 grams of fresh coriander
10 grams of fresh mint
Olive oil

Method

Heat the oil, then  add the chopped onions and pressed garlic. When the onions and garlic are soft add the spices, chili and black pepper, stir into a thick paste. Add the red lentils, then the stock and tomatoes. Stir together, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for a further 25 minutes.  Turn off the heat.

With a stick blender or a food processor  pulse the soup 8 or 9 times. Don’t blend until it’s a smooth soup, pulsing just brings it together.  If you don’t have either accessories don’t worry it will still be good.

Season with a few drops of fresh lemon and sea salt

The Garnish
Put the yoghurt in a bowl, crumble in the feta, add the lemon zest, chopped mint and spring onion. Mix really well with a few drops of lemon.

To Finish
Pour the soup into the bowl, add a generous spoon of the feta mix in the middle then the fresh coriander broken onto the yogurt-feta mix. I like to drizzle a few drops of olive oil on the top (optional).

Two-way Chicken Soup

It’s a really good feeling when you cook and eat a dish that has been around you since you were a child.  Curative chicken soup has always been a part of my life, and this take on the recipe will always stay with you. It can seem like quite a long process, so you could make the stock the day before and the main soup the next day.

To make things a little more interesting, but equally as nourishing, a couple of changes in ingredients creates a more exotic Asian version. Its quite dramatic how this classic dish can become a different experience using the same cooking process.

Ingredients (for the stock).

1 chicken
4 peeled carrots (whole)
2 onions peeled and cut in half
1 leek chopped into four
2 celery sticks cut in half
2 tablespoons of decent stock powder (vegetable)

Ingredients for version 1: Classic Chicken Soup (serves 4)

200g mixed green vegetables (I used green beans, peas and broad beans)
400g potatoes
Fresh parsley chopped
2 Spring onions
Zest of a lemon

Ingredients for version 2: Asian Soup.

200g mixed green vegetables
150g rice noodles
Coriander chopped
2 spring onion
15g ginger (thumb size)
2/3 birds eye red chili (depending how hot you like it)
2 limes

Method

Ask the butcher to prepare your chicken, separating the legs, wings and breast, keeping the carcass.  Remove the skin from the legs (use a tea towel or kitchen roll to grip the skin and pull).

Take a large saucepan and put all of the stock ingredients in (except the breast, keep those in the fridge). Cover with water, put a lid on the pan and boil for 25 minutes.  Remove the legs and continue to cook for a further 2 hours.  Keep the water topped up and  the contents covered the duration of its cooking time. Strain the stock into a bowl and put aside.

Version 1: Classic Chicken Soup

Peel and slice the potato into 3cm rings.  Cook the potatoes in the stock, be careful not to move them too much otherwise they will break and make the stock cloudy. Once the potatoes are cooked turn off your stock.

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Meanwhile, oil the pan, when it’s piping hot lay the chicken breasts, skin side down, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 4 mins each side on a medium heat. Cut the chicken breast into thick slices.  If you feel the breasts are not quite cooked, then sit them in the hot stock for a minute or so to finish off. At this stage you want to remove the meat from the leg of the chicken and put aside.

Cook off the green vegetables in boiling water (put the vegetables in as their individual cooking time demands ie. green beans would go in before peas and peas before broccoli) set the cooked vegetables to one side when cooked.

Slice the spring onions, zest the lemon and finely chop the parsley, and add to the stock to slightly soften. Hold a little of each back for the final garnish.

To present the soup, take four bowls and place the potatoes on the bottom of the bowl and the green vegetables on top. Place the sliced chicken breasts and legs onto the vegetables and ladle the hot stock over.  Garnish each plate with the chopped parsley, lemon zest and the thinly sliced spring onion.

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Version 2:  Asian Chicken Chili Soup

Cook off the noodles for 3 minutes until firm but not cooked, swiftly wash under cold water to prevent them sticking together. Oil the frying pan, when it’s piping hot lay the chicken breasts, skin side down, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 4 mins each side on a medium heat. Cut the chicken breast into thick pieces. If you feel the breasts are not quite cooked, then sit them in the hot stock for a minute or so to finish off.

At this stage you want to remove the meat from the leg of the chicken and put aside.

Cook off the green vegetables in boiling water (put the vegetables in as their individual cooking time demands ie. green beans would go in before peas and peas before broccoli) set the cooked vegetables to one side when cooked.

Cut the ginger into thin matchstick pieces, thinly slice the chillies and the spring onions on a slight angle. Pick the leaves from coriander, rather than chopping as this gives the dish a more Asian feel.

Heat through the stock and add the matchsticks of ginger, half of the spring onions, chili and coriander and squeeze in one of the zested limes.

Taste the stock to make sure it is seasoned properly add some salt if needed and more lime to taste. Add the noodles to heat them through. To assemble the dish take four bowls and divide the noodles evenly (tongs work best for this), place the green vegetables on top. Lay flat the sliced chicken onto the vegetables and ladle the hot stock over.  Garnish each plate with the chopped chili, lime zest, the thinly sliced spring onion and a good pinch of coriander.