This recipe came about with wanting to use up half a can of coconut cream and half a sweet potato that were lurking in the fridge, the resulting soup is so delicious that I have been making it ever since.
For 4 portions
750 ml light stock – either vegetable or chicken
500 grams sweet potato – peeled and cut into small cubes
80 ml coconut cream
1 teaspoon smoked picante paprika/pimenton
1/2 teaspoon coarsly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a small lime
Fresh coriander leaves – roughly chopped
Put the sweet potato, a little salt and the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about ten minutes until the potato is cooked and soft.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Take the pan off the heat and purée the soup with a hand blender until smooth.
Reheat the soup. Check the seasoning adding more salt if necessary.
Of course mixed seaweed is not a foodstuff that one comes across easily, but if you are, like me, culinary curious and happen across a market stall selling various salted and dried seaweeds the mixed salad is a good one to buy to see if you like it. My sister and I bought 250 grams and I forget how much we paid, it seemed pricey at the time, but that amount makes about 16 portions. The seaweed expandes to more than twice the size when you soak it. Of course it makes a perfect salad to accompany fish.
For 2 portions
60 grams dried seaweed salad – soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
Cucumber – peeled and cut into julienne
6 radishes – sliced
few sprigs of fresh purple basil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
juice of half a lime
Drain the water from the seaweed and rinse the seaweed in more water. Drain and add to the salad bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
RICE NOODLES WITH MUSHROOMS
For 2 portions
50 grams rice noodles – soak for at least an hour in cold water
1 clove garlic
2 cm square piece of fresh ginger – finely chopped
1 tablespoon peanut oil
6 shiitake mushrooms – sliced
6 oyster mushrooms – sliced
1 tablespoon mushroom sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce – Nam Pla
Drain the noodles from their soaking water, put back into the container and pour boiling water over them.
In a wok, fry the ginger and garlic in the peanut oil for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes to cook the mushrooms.
Drain the noodles and add to the mushrooms. Mix well then season with the mushroom and fish sauce and mix again. Vegans may want to omit the fish sauce, in which case add some salt to the dish.
If you are serving the noodles with the Sea Bass in Coconut Sauce, then you can add a spoon or two of the sauce to the noodles to moisten them.
A delicious way to prepare lentils, mixing them with a mixture of sweet sautéed vegetables spiced with garam masala and chilli then topped with a garnish of sweet caramelised onions and crispy ginger.
For 4 portions
50 grams green lentils
50 grams mung beans
50 grams small white lentils
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 fresh chilli – finely chopped
1/4 red pepper
1/2 medium courgette
olive oil for frying
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
Piece of fresh ginger – peeled and cut into fine strips
1 large onion – peeled and cut into thin rings
Pinch of white sugar
Soak the three types of lentils in advance, either in cold water overnight if you remember, or pour boiling water over them a couple of hours before you plan to cook them and let them steep. I find that the soaking helps soften the centre of the pulses so that they then cook more evenly.
Drain the lentils from their soaking liquid and put in a pan with enough water to reach about a centimetre over them.
Add the coriander seeds, asafoetida and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are cooked.
Next prepare the garnishes. Heat a couple of tablespoons oil in a small frying pan and add the ginger. Cook until slightly browned and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Sprinkle a light dusting of sugar on to the onion rings, then slowly fry them in the same pan, adding more oil if needed. The sugar helps the onions caramelise.
Keep frying the onions on a low heat until browned and caramelised. This will take some time, at least 20 minutes, stir them round from time to time.
Now to the vegetables. Cut all the vegetables into small cubes.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and chilli. Fry for a few minutes.
Add the vegetables and stir in. Fry gently for ten minutes stirring from time to time.
Add the garam masala and season with salt. Mix in well and continue frying until the vegetables are cooked and lightly browned.
The lentils should have absorbed nearly all their cooking liquor, if not drain some off leaving the lentils a bit moist.
Add the lentils to the vegetables and stir well to mix. Cook for a couple of minutes for the flavours to infuse.
Serve topped with the caramelised onion rings and crispy ginger.
This is one of those dishes with few ingredients where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, in other words, the depth of flavour achieved with the ingredients is wonderfully surprisingly rich. The sauce is just lots of onion and garlic, slowly fried with the chicken to make a slightly sweet rich moistness which contrasts perfectly with the spiciness of the chilli.
A good chicken is essential for making this successfully. You want a big free range one. You can get the butcher to chop up the whole chicken and cook it all in the curry, but I only use the legs and the plump bits of the wings, saving the more tender breast for another dish.
For 4 servings
legs and wings of a large free range chicken – cut into large pieces leaving the skin on
olive or peanut oil for frying
6 sweet onions
2 bulbs garlic
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons smoked pimenton picante/ paprika
1 or 2 fresh chillis – finely chopped – it’s hard to be precise about chillis as there are so many different types and strengths, you want the curry to be pretty spicy
freshly ground black pepper
Juice of a fresh lemon
Peel the onions, cut in half and slice them
Peel the garlics – a tip, if you soakthe garlic cloves in water for half an hour the skins become soft and are much easier to peel
crush the garlics in a pestle and mortar with 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil in a shallow thick based pan. Add half the onions and all the garlic.
Fry gently for about ten to fifteen minutes until slightly browned.
Add the chicken pieces and cook for ten minutes each side to seal.
Add the turmeric, pimenton and chilli. Stir in well to mix.
Continue cooking the dish slowly uncovered, turn the heat to the lowest possible. Turn the chicken from time to time and stir the onions.
Every half hour add a third of the remaining onions to the pan to continue to moisten the curry, and mix in well.
Half an hour after the last of the onions go in, add the lemon juice and check the seasoning adding freshly ground black pepper and salt as needed.
Leave to cook for another half hour when the curry will be done. Your total cooking time is 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Serve with plain basmati rice and a vegetable dish like broccoli in garlic sauce, the recipe for which I will post tomorrow.