Friday 23 November 2007

Thai Turkey Curry and Jasmin Rice

I was going to title this "Thai Red Turkey Curry" due to the Red Curry Paste recipe I used, however, Dave reckoned my paste look nearly a green as the Green Thai Curry Paste which he had bought in Wing Yip. Personally, being slighltly colour blind, I'm probably not a good judge, but mine definitely looked more Red than Green. If anything, I would say that the bought Green Curry Paste was more Red (but I could be wrong).

Either way, Dave decided that it was a Brown Thai Curry, and although he didn't approve of the Cauliflower in it, he did like the Curry, but he still thinks it's a waste of time making your own Paste. Personally, I like making the Paste. It can be made at anytime, just as long as you have the ingredients to hand, and keeps for a month or two in the fridge. The only problem is that although I make enough for 2 or 3 curries at least, I invariable end up having to hand over the leftover Paste to someone who ate some of the curry and wants to make it themselves. Last night was slightly different in that I was cooking at a friend's house, and simply left it behind.

I've made this curry with a variety of variations in the paste and with various ingredients. Turkey steaks were going for a good price, and are supposedly fairly low fat, so this week I figured I'd give them a try again in this curry. I'm not a fan of having Turkey for Christmas Dinner, but I've found that Turkey steaks can be quite versatile for other things.

Recipe for the Red Thai Curry Paste (enought for 2-3 curries)

  • 50-60 Dried Bird Eye Red Chillies (whole)
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds (toasted and crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds (toasted and crushed)
  • 3 stalks of Lemon Grass (chopped fine)
  • 2" piece of Galangal (or Ginger if not available)
  • 8 cloves of Garlic (chopped fine)
  • 6 small shallots (chopped fine)
  • 2 tablespoons Coriander Root, or white part at base of the stem (chopped fine)
  • 6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Half teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shrimp Paste
Toast the Coriander Seeds and Cumin Seeds in a dry pan until they start to give off their aromas. Then throw everything into a blender and blend until you have a smooth-ish paste. Decant into a jar of your choosing and store in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Recipe for the Thai Turkey Curry (serves 4)

  • 400g Turkey Steak (about 4 steaks, cut into bit-sized pieces)
  • 1 Cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • 250g Fine Beans
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 x 400g can of Coconut Milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Palm Sugar
  • The juice of half a Lime
  • Fresh Coriander to Garnish
In a flat based wok, heat up a couple of tablespoons of oil, then when hot, add a couple of good tablespoons of the Curry Paste and cook until the room completely fills with the aroma of the cooking paste (you might need to remove small children and pets from the room at this point). Next add a little of the Coconut Milk and combine with the paste and keep cooking until the oil starts rising through the Coconut Milk.

Now add the turkey, then cook for about 5 minutes, stirring into the sauce. Add the rest of the Coconut Milk, bring back to the boil, add the vegetables and stir in. Then cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. In the last five minutes, add the Fish Sauce, Palm Sugar and Lime Juice a little at a time and taste to get the balance as you want it. Serve with Jasmin Rice and sprinkle with a little chopped Fresh Coriander.

I've found this basic recipe works with a variety of meat and vegetable combinations. I tend to just use whatever looked good in the shop that day. Cauliflower didn't sound particularly Thai sounding, but then it's popular in Indian Curries, it's coming in to season, and I love it, so in it went. Chicken and Bamboo shoots is one of my favourite combinations, but if I've had a chance to get to Wing Yip to pick up some King Prawns, then that is also a nice version (although the Prawns need go in right at the end so that they don't overcook).

Sunday 11 November 2007

Chicken Kerala

I have been craving curry recently. It has been a while since I made a curry of any description, although I have made few spicy soups. When searching around for recipes, I found this one on the BBC website by Manju Malhi which caught my attention, mainly because I had pretty much all the ingredients already to hand, and also because it looked particularly quick and easy to make.

This recipe tasted great, and was extremely easy to do. I tend to do all the preparations before I start cooking, that way I can just empty the various bowls of ingredients in, TV-style, as I'm going along. It means I have more bowls to wash up, but it helps me to not forget any ingredients and make sure things go into the pot when they're supposed to.

Recipe for Chicken Kerala (Serves 3-4)

  • 4 tablespoons Groundnut Oil
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 3 Green Chillies, finely chopped, seeds and all
  • 2" Root Ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Hot Chilli Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 400g Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 medium Tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 Potatos, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 330ml Coconut Milk
  • pinch of Garam Masala
Heat up 3 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy based pan and saute the Onion and Chilli for a few minutes. Then add the Ginger, Garlic, Chilli Powder, Coriander, Turmeric and Salt and stir into the Onions and once all covered, add the Chicken and fry gently for about 8-10 minutes. If the pan gets too dry and stuff starts to stick to the bottom, add a dash of water. Next add the Tomato and Potato and stir in for another couple of minutes before adding about a third of the Coconut Milk along with about 200ml of boiling water. Leave to simmer for about 6 minutes, then add the remaining Coconut Milk and further simmer for about 10 minutes until the potato and chicken are cooked. Then sprinkle of the pinch of Garam Masala.

I served this with Basmati Rice and garnished with some, maybe, overly browned shallots and curry leaves, however, for the photo, I just stuck a couple of Coriander leaves on top, because the shots with the onion just didn't look as nice.

Saturday 3 November 2007

Lasagne Bolognese

I made my first ever Lasagne only a few months ago, and it was a great success with those who tasted it, although improvements could be made. For one, I think there was too much pasta in the last one. I had some dried Lasagne in the cupboard this time, so decided to give that a try, even though the Lasagne recipe in The Silver Spoon places it firmly in the Fresh Pasta section. The stuff I had claimed that it did not need any pre-preparation, however, this was not the case, and the top layer which was made with this stuff just didn't work properly at all, which was a shame, because the Bechamel topped with a generous amount of Parmesan on the top tasted great. Just slightly spoilt by the hard pieces of pasta underneath.

When talking with friends about making Lasagne over the last week, it seems that everyone has their way of doing it, but you can divide most of them into two camps: those who pre-cook the pasta, then put a layer on the bottom of the dish, and those who don't pre-cook the pasta, and put a layer of Ragu on the bottom. After the way mine went today, I'm definitely going to stick with using Fresh Pasta, slightly pre-cooked and with a layer at the bottom of the dish.

The Ragu was my pretty much standard recipe, i.e. St Paddy's Bolognese but without the Guinness, although the Silver Spoon suggests uses Passata rather than Chopped Tomatoes. I did this last time, but I forgot to get some in this time, so the Chopped Tomatoes had to do. The length of time I cook the Ragu, I doubt it makes much of a difference.

Recipe for the Ragu Alla Bolognese

  • 400g Lean Minced Beef
  • 200g Pancetta, cubed (Smoked bacon, normal or streaky, can also be used as long as it's cut into small pieces)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ large onions, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery finely diced
  • 3 carrots finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 glass of Red Wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 x 400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Concentrated Tomato Puree
  • 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • ½ teaspoon Hot Chili Powder
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper (to taste)
The directions for cooking this are exactly the same as the St Paddy's Bolognese. Like usual, I gave it a good 2 hours of simmering, only because I had to go and get some Milk for the Bechamel Sauce, I did this in my great new combination oven. I also added a little additional Beef Stock so that it wouldn't dry out too much while I was out.

Recipe for the Bechamel Sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Plain Flour
  • 1.5 Pints of Milk
  • Half an Onion
  • 6 Black Peppercorns
  • Pinch of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

First simmer the milk for about 20 minutes with the Onion, Peppercorns and Nutmeg, then strain it through a sieve to remove the bits. Next melt the butter in a pan, add the floor and cook briefly before gradually adding the milk, stirring all the time. Using a whisk later on helps keep the lumps out, but you shouldn't stop stirring until the floor is properly cooked. Add a little Salt and Pepper to taste.

Now, in a greased roasting dish, arrange a layer of Pasta on the bottom of the dish, then spread over a layer of Ragu, more Pasta, layer of Bechamel Sauce with a little Fresh Mozzarella if you wish, then Pasta, Ragu, etc. Keep layering until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of Bechamel Sauce on the top. Next add a good covering of Parmesan Cheese and a little Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

The Lasagne should then be cooked in a pre-heated oven at about 200 degree Celsius for about 30-40 minutes. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Thursday 1 November 2007

Chicken, Bacon and Vegetable Soup

This recipe came about because I had bought 10 very cheap chicken drumsticks, plus had promised I'd bring Rich some soup into the office once I had a flask to bring it in. It possibly wasn't the best soup to take to work in a flask, but it did go down well.

I had simply roasted the Drumsticks in my new combination oven for 30 minutes or so, then stripped the best of the meat off them, and put the remains and bones into a large pan of water with some celery leaves, onion, carrot and bay leaves and simmered for a few hours to make a stock. Half the chicken I used a Pasta Bake, saving the other half for this soup.

I pretty much did exactly what I did with my Leek and Potato Soup Recipe, only adding Celery and more Carrot than I would normally use, plus the Home-Made Stock, Chicken and Bacon. The Bacon was a bit of an afterthought as I discovered a few rashers which needed using up, but it definitely added nicely to the flavour.

Recipe for Chicken, Bacon and Vegetable Soup (Serves 4-6)

  • 5 Roasted Chicken Drumsticks (Skin and Bone removed, or equivalent amount of Chicken Breast)
  • 4 Thick Rashers of Smoked Bacon (Cut into small pieces)
  • 2 Leeks (Chopped)
  • 2 Stalks of Celery (Cubbed)
  • 3-4 Carrots (Cubbed)
  • 2 Potatoes (Cubbed)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Pint Chicken Stock
  • 0.5 Pint Swiss Marigold Vegetable Bouillon

Melt a little butter in a pan and add the vegetables, keeping the heat low so that they soften without burning. After about 15-20 minutes add the Stock, Chicken, Bacon and Bay Leaves and bring to a simmer. Personally, I like quite a bit of Black Pepper, so I add quite a bit at this time so that it gets time to flavour the soup. Cover and let simmer for about 40 minutes. Taste the soup and season with more Salt and Pepper if necessary.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...