Egg curry with rice vermicelli noodles

Having just seen an amazing laksa presented on Masterchef Australia  ‘The Professionals’ it inspired us to pull together an egg curry for a dinner party last night and serve it on a bed of rice vermicelli noodles with some garnish.   Unlike the laksa presented which had 40 different ingredients, the egg curry we made had a lot fewer ingredients and is relatively straightforward to make – our guests enjoyed the extra effort taken in presentation.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 boiled eggs
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled cubed and par boiled
  • 6-8 closed cup mushrooms quartered
  • 2 small plum tomatoes pureed
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 green chillies pierced
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped for garnish
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

Paste ingredients

    • 1 large onion
    • 5 cloves of garlic
    • 1 large piece of ginger peeled
    • Handful fresh coriander
    • 5 cardamom pods
    • 5 cloves
    • 1 small stick of cinnamon
    • 1 tsp black peppercorns

Garnish

    • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut dry roasted
    • 1 small onion sliced and shallow fried in coconut oil till brown
    • A few coriander leaves chopped

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat a large pan with the coconut oil and then add the curry leaves and whole green chillies.  Stir for 30 seconds before adding the paste – fry off  for five minutes till the moisture evaporates and it starts to brown.  Then add the turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder and stir for 30 seconds.   Add the pureed tomatoes and cook over medium heat till the oil leaves the masala.   Finally add the mushrooms, par boiled potatoes and the coconut milk and simmer over low heat till the potatoes are cooked through.   Add half a cup of water if the gravy appears too thick.   Adjust the seasoning, add the boiled eggs and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.   Serve on a bed of rice vermicelli noodles, with a sprinkling of roasted desiccated coconut,  fried onions and a few coriander leaves.

Thai flavoured savoury chestnut flour pancakes

Once you start experimenting with different flavours in pancake batter there’s no turning back.   We had some savoury pancakes for a lazy weekend breakfast and tried something different with some Thai 7 spice mix and some fresh herbs.   The pancakes tasted great on their own and with some sweet chilli sauce.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup chestnut flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powders
  • 1 1/2 tsp Thai 7 spice powder (we found this under the Schwartz brand)
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 Thai red chillie chopped
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • Handful fresh coriander and basil chopped
  • Salt to taste

How many will I make?

6-8 depending on size

How do I make it?

Place the chestnut flour, baking powder, milk and egg in a mixing bowl.  Whisk the ingredient till you get a medium consistency batter.  Add the remaining ingredients and give it a good stir.   Heat a frying pan and use a knob of butter to ensure pancake doesn’t stick to the pan.   Pour in a ladle of batter and cook on both sides till done.   Serve on it own or with sweet chilli sauce.

Horse gram series – adai

Adai is a typical South Indian dish akin to the more popular dosai but the batter tends to be thicker and coarser.   Traditionally adai batter consists of a blend of rice, tuar dhal, red chillies and asafoetida.  The recipe below replaces the tuar dhal with horse gram and we have added a few extra ingredients.  The adai turned out very crisp and tasty.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 1/2 cups idli rice (available in most Asian grocery stores)
  • 1/2 cup whole black urad dahl
  • 1 cup dry roasted horse gram
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 3-4 whole dried red chillies
  • Handful curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Around 20 adais depending on size

How do I make it?

Soak all the ingredients with some cold water till they are completely immersed and leave overnight.  Grind the ingredients with the water till you get a thick spreadable batter.   You might need to add more water during the grinding process to get the consistency right.   Leave the batter overnight to ferment a bit.   To prepare, heat your pan and spread a laddle of batter to form a disc.  Drizzle with some vegetable oil or sesame oil (for a more authentic taste) to ensure the adai doesn’t stick to the pan.  Cook on both sides till done.

Chinese chicken with egg fried rice

A chance discovery that our son likes egg fried rice led us to try a new Chinese marinade on them tonight.   Whilst the kids found it slightly sweeter than they are used to, the  marinade is quite tasty and can be tweaked to suit your own child’s palate.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 400 gms mini breast fillets
  • 1 baby onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • Dash of salt to taste  if soya sauce is not enough

How much will I make?

10-12 fillets

How do I make it?

Place all the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and adjust the seasoning before adding the mini fillets.   Refrigerate the marinaded chicken for a few hours before cooking.   Heat a sauce pan on medium and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil – add the chicken fillets and cook  on both sides till done.   Serve with french fries or a bowl of egg fried rice (recipe below).

Egg fried rice

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3-4

How do I make it?

Heat wok and add vegetable oil to it.   First add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds before adding the beaten eggs.  Scramble the eggs by constantly stirring.  Once done add cooled cooked rice and mix well.   Add soya sauce, toasted sesame seed oil and adjust seasoning.  Serve hot.

Caribbean inspired caserole

It has been a while since we last cooked a casserole as our oven had given up on us and the replacement table top oven did the same a week ago.  We have since replaced it with another table top oven but with a built in convection fan which in theory should allow us to cook food more evenly.  We baked a gluten free chocolate cake in the oven earlier in the week and it seems to work fine.   Tonight we revisited a dish we made nearly six months ago and have been wanting to cook it again as we thoroughly enjoyed our first attempt at jerk chicken.  Rather than cooking the dish as originally prepared, we tried to be a bit creative and decided to replicate the flavours in a casserole instead and incorporated the black beans and rice into the dish versus an accompaniment as we had done previously.  The dish is more akin to a creole jambalaya in consistency than a casserole as there was very little liquid left.  Interestingly the dish seems quite balanced despite having some strong spices like all spice, cloves and nutmeg.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gm boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup black beans soaked and then pressure cooked (about 400 gms of tinned black beans)
  • 1/2 cup of long grain rice washed and drained
  • 2 celery sticks sliced
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 large potatoes peeled and cubed
  • Small bunch of spring onion chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp all spice powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 3 tsp of Malibu rum
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the marinade

    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 inch piece of ginger peeled
    • 1 scotch bonnet pepper de-seeded
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/2 tsp clove powder
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
    • 1 tsp all spice powder
    • 2 tsp muscavado sugar
    • 3 tsp Malibu rum
    • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

For the marinade, use a pestle and mortar to crush the garlic, ginger and scotch bonnet pepper to a paste.  Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.   Place the chicken thighs in the marinade and keep aside for an hour at least – the longer the better.  Heat your oven proof casserole dish and sear the chicken thighs on both sides till they colour a little bit.   Remove from the casserole and save any liquid to put back into the dish.   Wipe the casserole with a paper  towel and return to heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the garlic and scotch bonnet pepper for 30 seconds before adding the celery and spring onions.   Continue sauteing for five minutes before adding the black pepper, dried thyme, all spice powder and Malibu rum.   Give it a good mix and then add the potatoes and carrots with the stock cubes.  Pour in the black beans with any remaining cooking liquor and the washed rice.  Add 1 cup of water and place the seared chicken thighs on top.   Cover the casserole and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree Centigrade for an hour till the chicken is done.  Serve hot.

 

Horse Gram Series – Olan (stew)

As promised earlier we are going to try and pull together a few recipes using horse gram over the next few months.  Olan is one of the simplest dishes to make with the fewest of ingredients and the addition of fragrant coconut oil makes it one of our favourite comfort foods.  We normally make this dish with pressure cooked black eyed peas, however for this recipe we have substituted it with pressure cooked horse gram.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 courgettes peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup horse gram – soaked overnight and pressure cooked
  • 4-5 green chillies slit
  • Handful fresh curry leaves – washed and crushed in the hand to release their aroma
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of coconut milk powder (can be substituted with 200 ml of tinned coconut milk)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Cook the courgettes, green chillies and curry leaves with a little bit of water over a low heat.   Once done add the pressure cooked horse gram and bring to a boil.   Sprinkle the coconut milk powder and adjust seasoning.   Switch off the heat and drizzle the coconut oil over the dish – serve hot with rice.

Chicken tikka with pilau

If you want to introduce your children to spice – here’s a simple recipe for chicken tikka which has lots of flavour but none on the heat.  We served it to our kids with some peas pilau – plates came back clean so we assume they liked it.  We normally make pilau by sauteing some whole garam masala (green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves and bay leaves), cumin seeds, onion and raw rice before cooking in a rice cooker.   We decided to try something different for the kids inspired by Chinese fried rice – we heated some ghee and added a pinch of cardamom powder, mace,  cinnamon powder, ground cloves and fried off a small sliced onion before adding a half a cup of frozen peas (heated in the microwave first).   After a couple of minutes we added half a cup of cooked rice with some salt – mixed everything together and then switched off the heat.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 400 gms mini chicken breast fillets
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small piece of ginger minced
  • A pinch of cardamom powder, cinnamon powder, ground mace and ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

8-10 fillets

How do I make it?

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let the chicken fillets sit in the marinade for as long as you can.   Skewer the fillets and bake in oven at 200 degree Centrigrade for 30 minutes or till done – turn the skewers over half way through the cooking process.   Serve hot.

Chestnut flour pancakes with cashew nut and sultanas

We felt a bit adventurous yesterday and added some cashew nuts and sultanas with a pinch of cardamom to our pancake batter (1 cup chestnut flour, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp honey and 1 egg – all whisked together) and really liked the flavour combination.  We think this could probably double up as a dessert option – served with some good quality vanilla ice cream or Indian kesar kulfi.

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Horse Gram Series – Sundal (warm salad)

January is a month when the realization of the excesses of the festive season hits most people and almost everybody wants to detox and diet.  Horse gram is one of the pulses which ancient Indian medical sciences of Ayurveda and Siddha claim to have many medicinal properties including liver and kidney detoxification and weight loss (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_gram).  Horse gram is also good for coughs and colds.   We have some horse gram in our store cupboard and have decided to make a weekly dish to tide us through the winter and try to combat the many winter viruses that afflict us.  This is the first dish in the horse gram series with more to follow.  Horse gram is a hard pulse and takes very long to cook, so remember to soak the horse gram at least  for 8 hours prior to cooking it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup pre soaked  horse gram
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated coconut
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4-6 side portions

How do I make it?

Pressure cook the horse gram with a pinch of turmeric powder and two cups of water. Once cooked drain  any excess water and set aside. (Do not throw away the cooking liquor as this can be used to make a delicious and healing  horse gram soup (recipe to follow)).  Heat oil in a wok.   Add a pinch of asafoetida and the mustard seeds.  Once the mustard seeds crackle add the dried red chillies and the curry leaves. Saute for a couple of minutes before adding the cooked horse gram and salt.  Saute the horse gram for a few minutes, garnish with freshly grated coconut and squeeze the juice of half a lime.  Serve warm.

Chestnut flour rotis

We have experimented a bit with different non-wheat based flour combinations to make rotis.   We have come to the realization that this is going to be an ever evolving process and we need to keep at it to get a combination that not only tastes great but is easy to make (we have had a few disasters along the way with the dough sticking and not being very easy to roll out).  Our latest attempt was with  chestnut flour as a core ingredient, as we have successfully used it to bake bread, cakes and cookies.   The dough was relatively easy to work with and the rotis tasted good. Texture wise we think we are 90% there – just need to figure out how to get them softer to be on par with traditional rotis.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup chestnut flour (singoda)
  • 1/2 cup rajagro flour (amaranth flour)
  • 1/2 cup samo seed flour (type of millet)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

How many will I make?

8-10 depending on size

How do I make it?

Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.   Make a well and add the oil to it – rub the oil into the flour mixture.   Then add enough water to make a pliable dough ball – about a cup of water,  little at a time.  Make lime sized balls of the dough and roll into discs using  a little chestnut flour to stop it from sticking –  cook on both sides till lightly browned, brush with some ghee and serve hot.