This Indonesian vegetable curry is adapted from one of my old cookery books, South East Asian Food, written by the Australian academic Rosemary Brissenden who fell in love with Indonesia and its cuisine as a student in the 1960’s.
I made this as a vegan curry which was delicious, the original recipe was with prawns and prawn paste so I will give amounts of those for making the non vegan version.
about 250 grams in total of various vegetables. You can choose between red and green peppers, green beans, aubergine, bean sprouts and the following that I used on this occasion –
leeks – cut into thin strips
courgette – Cut into bite sized chunks
mange toute peas
small green peppers
mizuna and Pak Choi
1 red fresh chilli – chopped
2 cm square, more or less, fresh ginger or better still galangal – chopped
2 garlic cloves – cut in half
1 small sweet onion – roughly chopped
5 macadamia nuts / 10 hazelnuts
1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste – if making a vegan curry omit this
1 tablespoon / 15 ml coconut oil
400 coconut milk
First make a curry paste. In a small food processor whizz together the chilli, ginger, garlic, onion, nuts, shrimp paste and coriander together with the coconut oil.
Gently fry the curry paste in a large wok for 5 – 10 minutes until it is cooked.
Add the coconut milk and heat to a simmer.
Add the vegetables that need the longest cooking first, then after a few minutes the more tender vegetables and the prawns if using. Simmer until the vegetables are just done with some bite remaining and the prawns cooked through.
Serve with jasmine rice or sesame sprinkled rice noodles.
Do you ever read a recipe and think how interesting it sounds, and then when you go back to make it the recipe some days later, what you have in your head and how you desire it to taste only bears a faint resemblance to the original recipe? This is what happened with this recipe, but I went ahead and made the recipe that I had imagined which turned out super tasty and delicious.
1 large aubergine
1 clove garlic
4 tablespoons / 60 ml of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml sea salt
2 cm cube tamarind paste
1 tablespoon / 15ml sugar/ honey / agave syrup
1 tablespoon / 15 ml cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml picante smoked pimenton or paprika
fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Break the tamarind paste into as small pieces as you can and put in a small container with about a tablespoon of boiling water. Leave to macerate.
In a pestle and mortar or a small bowl crush the garlic with the salt until you have a paste.
Add the olive oil and mix well.
Cut the aubergine into thickish slices and then brush with the garlicky oil. You can either grill them or bake them in the oven. As you can see I baked mine this time with a sweet potato at 190 C
While the aubergines are cooking and cooling, prepare the dressing.
To the leftover garlicky oil add the rest of the ingredients. The tamarind will need to be mashed into its water and any seeds removed.
Put your aubergine slices into a shallow salad dish, pour over the dressing and gently toss. Leave the salad for half an hour for the aubergine to absorb the dressing, sprinkle over the fresh coriander and enjoy.
After the somewhat complicated Sarma recipe, here are a couple of super simple potato dishes. Oven chips are so easy to make if you have a good powerful oven, a fan oven is best to get chips that are crispy round the edges.
Put a large baking sheet in the oven and set it to warm up at 200 C
Peel your potatoes and cut them into whatever chip shape is your preference.
Put them in a bowl with a pinch of salt and just enough olive oil the coat the chips.
Spread your chips out on the preheated tray, they do better if they are not too crowded and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and slice a clove of garlic, and slice up some mushrooms. It’s more tasty if you have more than one type of mushroom, I used shiitake and oyster.
After the chips have had their 20 minutes of cooking, take the tray out of the oven and with a spatula turn them over. Strew over them the mushrooms and garlic, then put the tray back in the oven for another 20 minutes by which time everything should be brown and crispy and gorgeous.
All amounts are for one portion Firstly get your spices roasting – in a thick based frying pan on a low heat roast the following –
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick – broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon allspice seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Roast the spices, shaking the pan from time to move the spices around, until they start to release their aroma. Grind with 1/2 teaspoon of salt with either a pestle and mortar or in a small coffee grinder.
For the Cous Cous –
40 grams Cous Cous
small amount of flaked almonds
pinch of salt
Put all the ingredients in a small container that has a lid, stir to mix and then pour over boiling water to come about nearly a centimetre above the level of the Cous Cous. Cover and leave for 20 minutes.
For the vegetables –
1/2 an onion – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped red pepper
1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
1 medium sized carrot – chopped into small cubes
piece courgette – chopped into small cubes
piece butternut squash – chopped into small cubes
4 tablespoons cooked chickpeas
200 grams chopped peeled tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon harissa
2 strips lemon peel / lemon chutney
2 bay leaves
fresh mint leaves
Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent.
Add the green and red peppers and fry briskly for five minutes.
Now add the carrots, butternut squash and courgettes, and again fry briskly for five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, the roasted spices, harissa, lemon peel, bay leaves and chickpeas to the pan and stir to mix.
Heat to a simmer, turn down the heat to low, cover and leave to cook until the vegetables are done, 10 – 15 minutes.
The Cous Cous should be done, it just needs a stir to break up the grains a bit. If it is not hot enough, put it into the microwave for a couple of minutes to reheat it.
This again is adapted from Caribbean Food by Levi Roots to go with the sweet potato cakes from yesterday’s post. I haven’t had to change the recipe much to fit with ingredients that I can get here, I had to swap his fresh coconut water for a tin of coconut milk. Also I thought 450 grams of rice an outrageous amount for 6 portions, so I cooked 100 grams which did two of us for two meals.
100 grams long grain rice
100 grams cooked black beans
400 ml tin coconut milk
7 allspice berries
2 sprigs of thyme
1 clove garlic
1 spring onion / 1/2 small sweet onion
1 red chilli
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the black beans you can use ready cooked beans from a tin or jar, but the texture is better if you start with dry beans. You will need 50 grams dried beans to get 100 grams cooked. Soak the beans overnight in cold water, drain them and put them into a pan of boiling vegetable stock, turn down the heat and simmer until the beans are tender.
Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan. Add all the ingredients except the rice and beans. On a very low heat simmer for 10 minutes for the flavours of the seasonings to infuse the milk.
Add the rice and beans, and stir to mix in.
Bring back to a simmer, cover and let cook in a low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another five minutes. Do not open the lid while the rice is cooking and resting.
Levi Roots’s Caribbean Cooking is one of the books that I am revisiting since spring cleaning. The original recipe for these potato cakes has cooked prawns added to the mix but the cakes taste equally good with or without them. I made half the cakes with prawns for my sister, while I had my half without.
THE SWEET POTATO CAKES
makes 6 cakes
400 grams sweet potato
200 grams waxy potatoes
1/2 onion -finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 red chilli – finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons plain flour – plus extra for coating the cakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
oil for frying
50 grams cooked prawns per portion – Optional – cut into pieces if they are large
Scrub the sweet potato and bake it whole in its skin at 190 C for 30 – 40 minutes until it is soft and tender. Leave to cool.
Peel the white potatoes and cut into smallish chunks. Boil in salted water until tender. Drain and leave to cool.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and chilli. Cook gently until translucent.
In a bowl mash the sweet and white potatoes. Add the onion mix and mash to mix in.
Add the seasonings and flour, then mix in with a spoon.
If one half of your mix is, like mine, having prawns, divide the mix into two and make one half into three cakes, forming them on a flour covered plate and turning them so that they are evenly covered in flour. Add the prawns to the other half of the potatoes and mix well. Make three cakes as before.
Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes on a medium heat until nicely browned on one side. Turn over and cook on the other side.
Serve with this spicy avocado salsa.
1 small avocado – finely chopped
1 large tomato – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – crushed with a pinch of salt
1 spring onion – finely chopped
1 red chilli – finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
juice of a 1 small or 1/2 large lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
hot chilli sauce – if needed
Mix all the ingredients together well, mashing them slightly as you mix.
Taste for seasonings adding chilli sauce if needed.
To go with the cakes, I made Rice and Peas, cooked in coconut milk, from the same book. I’ll give you that recipe tomorrow. Hasta mañana!
The tofu and bean sprout fritters recipe that I posted previously was very good and the resulting cakes very subtle and delicately flavoured. Today I wanted to make some with more punch and depth of flavour, so I fried some finely chopped shiitake mushrooms and fried them with the onion and garlic. Then, as I already had it sitting in the fridge, for the spices I used a tablespoon of the green curry paste that I made for the vegetable curry. And finally to allow for the extra moisture of the mushrooms I added extra egg and rice flour. The cakes did hold together in the pan a lot better than the previous ones with bean sprouts. I will write the whole recipe for the fritters below, followed by the recipe for the sweet spicy sauce which was a bit of a last minute throw together, but worked really well as often is the case.
SHIITAKE MUSHROOM FRITTERS
Makes 2 portions
200 grams plain tofu
1 spring onion – finely chopped
1 clove garlic- finely chopped
100 grams shiitake mushrooms – finely chopped
peanut or other light vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vegan green curry paste – see previous post for recipe
4 tablespoons – 60 ml rice flour
1 egg – lightly beaten
Fry the onions and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of oil until translucent.
Add the mushrooms and continue frying slowly for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile break the tofu into a bowl and then mash it with a fork. Add the curry paste and mash more to mix thoroughly.
Add the mushroom and onion and again mix thoroughly.
Add the rice flour and mix, then finally the egg and mix again.
Form into six cakes squeezing the mix together with your hands so it holdS it’s shape.
Fry gently in oil until nicely light brown, about five minutes, then turn over carefully and cook the other side.
SWEET AND SPICY SAUCE
200 ml coconut milk
50 ml chilli jam – you can find the recipe on this site
juice of 1 small lime
1 tablespoon cashew cream
Heat all the ingredients in a small pan stirring them together. If the sauce seems a bit thin, coconut milk varies so much in density, add more cashew cream to thicken.
I have been experimenting with cashew cream, and in general I’m not so excited by it. It was great for thickening this sauce, but as a cream I find it works better for sweet things than savoury. I think in the next blog I will do a comparison of various vegan creamy sauces with recipes of course so you can try making whichever ones appeal.
This Lemon Pickle recipe was in the Guardian two or three weeks ago, and as we are not short of a lemon or two down here in southern Spain and the recipe sounded good I made some. It is fabulous. The fresh lemon flavour is complemented by the spices, which, with the juice from the lemon develop into a thick delicious sauce. It’s a marinated rather than cooked pickle, so pretty easy to make. The only difficulty is managing to leave it for two weeks before staring to eat it.
I bought some lovely tender flat green beans, and as they were in a pack I had enough for at least three meals. While searching for inspiration in my cook books I came across a recipe for the beans with a spicy lemon dressing, the ingredients for which were very similar to those of the Lemon Chutney. So today I steamed some of the beans, just enough to leave them with some bite, and added a spoonful of the pickle, then left it to marinate for half an hour, it was delicious.
These amounts make one large jam jar of pickle.
1 large lemon
4 birds eye chillis/ 1 large red chilli
40 ml vegetable oil – olive/ peanut/sunflower
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
20 grams salt
50 ml white wine/ rice vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
Cut the lemon lengthways into quarters and then thinly slice the quarters across. Put them into a bowl with the whole chillis. If you have a large chilli then cut it into two or three pieces so it will fit in your jar. You can of course add or reduce the amount of chilli according to your taste. I found that one largish chilli was spicy enough without dominating the other flavours in the pickle.
Heat the oil in a small pan, and add the mustard and nigella seeds. When the seeds start to pop add them with the oil to the lemons. Stir them in well.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to mix thoroughly.
Put into a clean jar and leave in a cool, not fridge cool, place for two weeks before using.