Keralan chicken curry with chillies and coconut milk

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Kerala, located on the palm-fringed coast of South West India, has a very distinctive cooking style which reflects its verdant, tropical climate. Coconuts are abundant there and many recipes therefore call for the addition of coconut milk. The use of spices are generous yet not hot, rather very flavourful.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, lightly whisked
  • 1kg / 2lbs chicken on the bone, skinned and jointed
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green birds eye chillies, slit length-ways
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup / 150g tomatoes, pureed to a smooth paste
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml water
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml thick coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander, to garnish

For the paste

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2.5cm / 1″ piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 dried whole kashmiri red chillies (or any dried mild chillies)
  • 2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorn
  • 5 green cardamom pods, seeds only

Preparation:

Put the turmeric, yogurt and a pinch of salt in a bowl and mix well
Add the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for about an hour
Meanwhile, make the paste
Place a sauté pan over a low heat and add oil, followed by ginger and garlic
Sauté for about a minute, then add all the paste ingredients and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes until lightly coloured
Leave to cool, then put the mixture in a blender, add 50-70ml water and blitz to a fine paste
Set aside
Heat a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan over medium heat and add the 3 tbsp of oil
Add the birds eye chillies, letting them sizzle for a few seconds
Add the onion and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes
Pour in the pureed tomatoes and stir well, cooking for 3 minutes
Add the spice paste and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring well, until the sauce thickens slightly
Increase the heat slightly and add the marinated chicken pieces, stirring well to coat them with the spice paste
Fry for 4 minutes until lightly coloured
Add the water and season to taste
Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
Add the coconut milk, stir well and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened
Garnish with chilli flakes or coriander and serve with rice and or poppadoms and chutney
Enjoy!

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Cod with garlic, white wine and tomato

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Another easy, quick and healthy recipe that is simply bursting with flavour. Use a white-fleshed fish that will stand up to the robust flavors in the tomato sauce. I recommend cod or halibut, black cod or striped bass. This dish can be done with fish fillets instead of steaks if you prefer.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 fish steaks, about 200g / 7oz each
2 medium potatoes, peeled
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 sprig of fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped
60ml / 1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Cook the potatoes whole in boiling water for about 25 minutes
Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
Pour about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of an ovenproof dish that can fit the fish side by side
Add the fish steaks
Season with salt and pepper
Place the sliced garlic and the parsley on the fish
Drizzle with olive oil
In a small bowl mix the tomato paste with the white wine and pour over fish
Bake for 15 minutes, basting once or twice with the wine and tomato mixture
Once the potatoes are cooked, cut into even slices and divide between the warmed serving plates
Place on top of the potato slices, a piece of fish
Divide the leftover liquid between the two plates and serve immediately
Enjoy!

 

 

Crêpes – authentic sweet French crêpes

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0e95a6f0-f9fc-4201-8603-44508be32b8d.jpegCrêpes – what can be more of a french classic, and so very versatile too as they can served sweet or savoury?  These are authentic sweet french crêpes as one finds all over France, very thin and slightly crispy.  Fill them with jam, nutella, sugar, cinnamon, fruit, or a combination of the above. one of my favourites is nutella, banana and crème chantilly. Yum! I am getting hungry even thinking about it. The savoury version traditionally uses buckwheat flour and is often called a galette. That will be another post.

Note: If you are using whole milk, then use the water and milk combination. If you are using low fat milk, you can use all milk if you wish.

Ingredients:

  • 125 ml / 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 125 ml / 1/2 cup water, preferably cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g / (3/4 cup +1 T) flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
Preparation:
Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl
Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it, whisk together
In another bowl combine the milk, water and melted butter
Gradually add small quantities of the milk, water and butter mixture, still whisking (don’t worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk)

Whisk until the batter is smooth, about the consistency of thin cream
Blender method: Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl (or blender jug). Blend with an immersion blender until everything is combined, scrapping down the sides of the bowl a few times. If there are lumps, continue blending until the lumps are gone
Cover the mixing bowl with a plastic wrap, place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill the batter for at least 1 hour before using to allow flour particles to expand in the liquid to yield a tender and light crepe. The batter can be made the day before and kept chilled until ready to use.
Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat – I use a 20cm /8″ crêpe pan
Sprinkle droplets of water onto the pan and if the water sizzles immediately, it means the pan is hot enough for use
Brush a thin layer of melted butter onto the pan
Pour or scoop the batter onto the pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crêpe
Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly
Cook for about 30 seconds until the edges begin to brown, then loosen the crêpe with a spatula and turn to the other side to cook for another 30 seconds
Transfer the cooked crêpe onto a plate and repeat until all the batter is used up
Enjoy!
Tips:
After cooking the first crêpe, determine if ¼-cup of batter is too much or too little and adjust the batter amount for the subsequent crêpes.
The crêpe batter consistency should be that of a light cream, just thick enough to coat a spoon. If you find the batter too thick or heavy you may whisk in water, tablespoon by tablespoon. You only want enough to coat the bottom of the pan, without any extra pooled in the middle. Pour the batter into the pan, lifting the pan up to tilt it, allowing the batter to swirl all the way over the bottom of the pan in a very thin layer. If you have poured in too much, pour out the excess.
If the crêpe is burning or setting too fast for your comfort, lower the heat slightly or place the frying pan on a wet tea towel for 5 to 10 seconds to cool down the frying pan slightly.