Spice Kitchen : Murgh Hara Masala

Sundays are all about the chicken in most households, admitidly it’s usually a roasted. In the house I grew up in, our weekends didn’t culminate in a Sunday roast but a variety of spiced dishes. So if you ever come to mine on a Sunday it’s fairly unlikely that that I won’t  serve you a roast dinner, don’t get me wrong I enjoy a roast but I’m not bound by tradition of having one every Sunday or every month. 

If you don’t fancy a roast dinner try this dish that I wrote about when I was Malabar Aaanaa, it will liven up any dull Sunday.

This weekend was the first time I’ve had chance to get back on the spice trail to try something new and delicious. I did a fair bit of trawling through my recipe books and came across this tasty recipe for Murgh Hara Masala and being the person I am, I played about with it slightly.


Ingredients :

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion , thinly sliced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp masala chat

2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

2 chicken breasts, diced

2 chicken thighs, diced

100ml plain yoghurt

350 ml chicken stock

1 small handful of fresh mint, finely chopped

1 small handful of fresh coriander

1 green chilli, finely chopped

1 banana shallot, finely chopped

1tbsp lemon juice

100g fresh spinach, blanched and puréed

Salt to taste

1 stalk of fresh curry leaves

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium flame and add the sliced onions. Brown the onions and then add the garlic and chilli and fry until the raw smell has gone.

In a small bowl mix the chat masala and Kashmiri chilli powder and add a little water so not to scorch the spices, add this mix to the onions , garlic and ginger. Cook out the spices for 1 minute.

Add the chicken and seal the meat coating it with the spice mix.

Add the chopped mint, coriander, lemon juice, shallot and green chilli to the chicken and cook out for 2 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick add a splash of water.

Add the yogurt and bring to a simmering point and cook for a further 2 minutes

Add the stock and spinach and cook until the chicken is tender for 10- 15 minutes.

Add the curry leaves and season with salt, cook for a further minute.


Serve with rice and chapatti.

Upma – South Indian breakfast recipe

Upma is a typical South Indian breakfast made from semolina and vegetables. I’ve made this dish many times for Tiffin Brunches and Keralan Kitchen pop ups under Malabar Aaanaa,  it’s propabably one of my favourite dishes  and is best served with pappad and chutneys, it also goes well with my Kerala Mutta Curry recipe.

Upma , South Indian breakfast recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups coarse semolina
1 red onion chopped

1 small green pepper, finely chopped

1 small carrot, diced

3 green chillies, de-seeded and thinly sliced

4 stalks curry leaves

1 x 2 inch cassia bark

1tsp cumin seeds

3 cups boiling water

1tsp brown mustard seeds

1/3 cup of cashew nuts

2 dried kashmiri chillies (broken)

salt and peper to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil

In a dry frying pan roast the semolina over a medium heat until golden. Once this has been done remove from the pan and put to one side.

In another pan heat the coconut oil over a medium heat, first add the cashew nuts, whole spices and curry leaves and temper until the aroma develops then add the onions, chillies onions, peppers and carrot, fry until soft and golden.

Add the semolina to the onion mixture and combine, add the salt and pepper to taste.

Slowly add half of the boiling water once this has evaporated, add the remaining water and stir using a metal spoon. Try not to stir the mixture too much as the mixture will become stodgy.

Remove from the heat, cover the pan with a lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Fluff the mixture with a fork to separate the grains and serve with coconut and coriander chutney, and pappad

Enjoy.

Kerala Mutta Curry – eggs baked in masala 

Here’s a great brunch dish that will add spice to any weekend . I  made this for a clients 30th birthday brunch when I was running Malabar Aaanaa, all who attended loved this dish and said that the brunch added to a very special weekend.

Most of the egg curries I’ve had in Kerala have used hard boiled eggs. I feel the curry looses out on the silkiness of a soft yoke and a certain richness when combined with the masala, so with this in mind I cook the egg from the scratch in the masala sauce giving the dish a more enjoyable flavour and texture .


Kerala Mutta Curry – Baked Eggs in a Masala Sauce 

Ingredients

6 eggs, organic

For the Masala Sauce

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium onion, sliced

2 sprigs of curry leaves

2 tsp coriander seeds, ground

2 green chilli, deseeded and split lengthwise

1inch ginger, minced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

5 fresh medium tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground

1 tbsp cumin, ground

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 inch cinnamon stick

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

1 small handful of coriander, finely chopped

Method

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and temper following spices: cinnamon stick and curry leaves for 2 minutes, then add the sliced onions.

Fry the onions until soft and translucent then add the garlic, ginger and green chilli, cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the spices ( but not the garam masala) and cook until the tomatoes have broken down , add a cup of water gradually to stop the mixture from sticking.

Once the masala sauce has cooked down sprinkle with garam masala and season with salt and mix.

Pre-heat the oven to 180c

Transfer the sauce to an ovenproof dish and crack the eggs into the mixture, I find it handy to make a little well in the sauce to hold the egg.
Place in the oven and cook until the egg white is just set and the yoke is still soft.
Serve with Upma, Paratha and chutneys
 
  Note:

Instead of baking the eggs, you can just poach the eggs in the pan on the stove. To poach just cover with a  lid until  and cook over a medium heat until the egg white is cooked and the yoke is soft.
 

Brunch: Bombay Toast Kerala Style 

Sweet Bombay Toast….Sweet Bombay Toast with Banana, Coconut, honey and Tayberries I first discovered this delicious breakfast treat in a very special place in Kerala called Varkala 10 years ago. This dish was expertly prepared for my husband and I by a lovely old guy called Babu, who also made us gallons of Masala chai and who offered to let us stay at his house for 100 rs a night the next time we visited. My husband and I reflect fondly about Babu and how proud he was to show his spices and prepare food for us. I should mention Babu’s version of Bombay Toast was a delicious spiced French toast lightly fried in coconut oil and topped with slice banana, freshly grated coconut and drizzled with honey.
After leaving Varkala we visited Kovallam and to our delight we discovered Bombay Toast was on the menu….. it came …..and what lay before us was an oily soggy pale limp piece of bread…. Oh the disappointment!! On arriving back home I made it my mission to cook this special dish in the style of Babu for my friends and family, who thoroughly enjoyed it and have reproduced the dish for their friends too.
I have returned to Kerala a number of times, but I have yet to return to Varkala to find Babu to ask him if his offer still stands and if he would kindly make us Bombay Toast.
This is my version in honor of Babu
Serves 4
Ingredients
4 thick slices from a stale brioche loaf

4 eggs, free range organic

1/8 cup double cream

2 tbsp golden caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp Masala chai spice blend

2 tsp coconut oil

2 large ripe bananas sliced

100gms freshly grated coconut

4 tsp of runny honey, I like to use orange blossom

12 tayberries optional

Method
In a shallow bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and masala chai.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium flame, add the coconut oil.
Dip each slice of the brioche into the egg mixture remove and place in the frying pan.
Cook each slice of brioche until golden on both sides, taking care not to burn.


Place on a serving plate, top with sliced bananas coconut and a drizzle of honey.


Top with Tayberries


Serve straight away with a smile and enjoy.

Kerala Prawns

In the last few months I’ve closed down my beloved Malabar Aaanaa food business for various reasons and returned back to paid employment (it’s not that bad), but to keep my hand in so to speak I’ve created The Dish Served to satisfy my need to create food and to share with lovely people.I had a number of recipes on my old site and wanted to share them afresh, so I’m in the process of transferring all my recipes over to here.

Kerala Prawns  is a spicy little dish to serve,  that will satisfy those cravings for deep flavours of the sea and warm destinations.

SERVES: 2

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOKING TIME: 20 mins
INGREDIENTS

RICE:

1 cup basmati rice

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 green cardamom

salt to taste

drop of oil

MARINADE:

1 inch of ginger, grated finely

1 fat garlic clove, finely grated

salt to season

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp Kerala garam masala

MASALA:

1 diced large red onion

1 inch of ginger, finely grated

2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated

1 tsp, heaped Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 sprig fresh curry leaves

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 tomatoes chopped

100ml coconut milk, thick
200gm shell on prawns, deveined. I like to use the shell on prawns as it gives a better flavour to the dish.

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp fresh coriander leaf, finely chopped

METHOD:

Add all the marinade ingredients to the prawns and mix together, put to one side until needed.

Wash the rice.

Heat the oil for the rice and add the whole spices, let the aroma develop from the spice.

Add the rice to the oil, spices, 2 cups of water and salt, cook until the water has disappeared.

While the rice is cooking start the masala, heat the coconut oil in a wide pan and add the mustard seeds, wait for these to start crackling and add the curry leaves, then the onion and cook over a medium heat until translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic, cook for a further 2 minutes and until the raw small has gone then add the chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric, continue to fry for 1 minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook out until the oil separates from the mixture, once this happens place the masala in a bowl.

In the same pan add the coconut oil and heat, then add the prawns and all the marinade. Fry the prawns until nearly cooked, then add the masala and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and reduce to the desired consistency, finish with some chopped coriander leaf.

The rice should now be ready to serve with the prawns.

Please use your hands to eat this its a traditional way and will connect you with the dish

Enjoy !

judion butterbean, chorizo, chicken and piquillo pepper stew

 

 

After what seems like a never ending two weeks of festive celebrations and 6 months of eating very very very little meat, its time to consider what would I like to achieve food wise in 2017.

Over the last 6 months I’ve eaten meat 4 times and had fish 5 times, its always good to review what we eat and if we are actually enjoying the food that we eat. In the summer I did this, as I was not enjoying the taste or the texture of meat, so I decided to “go veggie” which was fairly easy decision for me as my food business at the time was producing vegan food and I’d previously been veggie for 7 years. The news of giving up meat and fish again was received with a mixed bag of reactions, the hubby was supportive and decided that he would join me but didn’t want the label of “vegetarian” as he had just decided to give up eating meat and fish no take on the principles, my mother went into panic mode but calmed down once I reminded that when I visit, I cook anyway. Some friends are meat free, which helped and others were supportive but fearful of my vegetable and pulse loving ways.

I have enjoyed being challenged in my approach to cooking and have regained a love for cauliflower, which I wouldn’t eat at all for the last 12 years but I have to admit I have missed meat and fish. I also have found it incredibly difficult to get decent quality vegetarian food when out at restaurants and also being limited with the options on offer. Maybe if I lived nearer to larger cities I’d have more options available, sadly I don’t and local restaurants are not as innovative in their approach to food as I’d like.

So putting aside my justifications for returning back to eating meat, the hubby and I celebrated New Years Eve with Persian Roast Guinea Fowl with roast vegetables and gravy……….oh my word I HAVE MISSED meat gravy, the meat was ok but the gravy was awesome! As my love for meat gravy had been rekindled, I decided to make a dish I haven’t made in some time mainly due to lack of access to my favourite Spanish products. I was lucky this Christmas as the hubby organised a little order from Brindisa, so it was all systems go for my judion butterbean, chorizo, chicken and piquillo pepper stew. I would like to encourage you to make this dish using the Spanish ingredients listed as they add so much to the dish and provide the most delicious deep flavour that just satisfies the soul.

I hope you enjoy and Happy New Year.

img_0320

Judion butterbean, chorizo, chicken and piquillo pepper stew

Prep: 15 minutes

Cooking: 50 mins approx.

Ingredients 

  • 1 660mg jar judion butter beans
  • 150g picante cooking chorizo, diced
  • 2 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 large chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 tbsp pimiento choricero (nora pepper) paste
  • 1/2 tin piquillo pepper strips
  • 4 plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • chicken stock 300ml
  • 2 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 140ml red wine, I used a Marcus de Caceres Rioja
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2tbps fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method

Prep all the ingredients in advance

Over a medium heat place a pan, I like to use a cast iron pan for this recipe but any heavy bottomed pan will do.

Add the chorizo to the dry pan and start to fry, there is no need for oil, as the chorizo will have enough for the dish. Once the oil from the chorizo has come out add the onions and fry until soft.

Add the garlic, pimiento choricero paste, tomato puree, parsley, thyme and smoked paprika to the pan and cook for approximately 3 minutes, if the mixture starts to stick to the base of the pan add a little water and reduced the head slightly.

Add the chicken and seal in the spice, onion and chorizo mix

Then add the tomatoes, cook for a further 3 minutes

When the tomatoes have cooked down add the butter beans, piquillo peppers and red wine, combine all the ingredients in the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding salt, pepper to season and the chicken stock.

Cook for 20 -25 minutes over a low heat

Check the seasoning and serve with some decent sourdough.

 Enjoy

 

clementine, chocolate, and date m’hencha…an alternative christmas treat.

 

As I’m twiddling my thumbs until I start my new job next week, I’ve been looking at what ingredients I’ve got hanging about the kitchen and what deliciousness I can make. I first came across a recipe for M’hencha a couple of years ago but didn’t make it, although I was interested in making one at some point. Then this year I bought a date and orange one, it was delicious, the m’hencha was just on another level and for the last couple of months it’s been at the back of my mind that I need to make one. So I did and it turns out it’s really easy to make, which could be a little dangerous.

The dish served today is a spiced clementine, date and chocolate m’hencha, otherwise known as a snake cake from morocco. This M’hencha is a mix of nuts, dates, spices, and chocolate encased is crisp phyllo pastry, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. I’m really pleased with my first attempt and think it makes a rather nice alternative to a mince pie or piece of Christmas cake. I’ll definitely be making this later in the month for the festivities and I hope you do too.

Clementine, Chocolate and Date M'hencha
clementine, chocolate and date m’hencha

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 12 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 150ml clementine juice
  • Zest of 4 clementines
  • 200g date paste
  • 165g almonds
  • 50g pistachios, shelled
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g vanilla sugar
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted

Decoration

  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon, ground

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180c

Grease and line a 10-inch cake tin

In a food processor place the clementine juice, zest, almonds, pistachios, cocoa powder,  date paste, vanilla sugar, icing sugar, egg white, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and orange blossom water, pulse the mixture to get a textured paste and place in a bowl.

To assemble the pastry, melt the butter and lay out a large length of cling wrap.

Unwrap the phyllo pastry, placing 4 sheets each over lapping short ends on top of the cling wrap.

Using a pastry brush work quickly and brush the pastry with the melted butter, ensure you brush between the over lapping edges. Then place a sheet of pastry over each of the buttered layer and repeat with the rest of the phyllo, making sure the top layer is also buttered.

Take the m’hencha filling; make a line of filling along the longest edge of the pastry nearest to you.

Using the cling wrap to help you start to turn the edge of the pastry over the filling and continue to roll, remove the cling film and discard.

Ensure the pastry seam is on the underside of the rolled pastry, brush with the remaining butter and gently coil the pastry around itself, at the end tuck the pastry slightly under the coil, place in the cake tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool in the tin.

When cooled, remove from the tin and dust with the icing sugar and cinnamon. Serve on its own or with some whipped cream and a mint tea.