Tag Archives: curry

Book Review: Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel

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Prashad is a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Bradford that got to the finals of the 2010 TV show (Gordon) Ramsay’s Best Restaurant. This is their recipe book, including some dishes from the restaurant and some from their home.

The recipes are divided into: Starters; Street Snacks and Nasto; Main Dishes; Rice and Breads; Soups, Pickles, Side Dishes, Chutneys and Dips; Drinks, Desserts and Sweets.
There are also sections to explain the spices and ingredients that may be unfamiliar to the average reader.

The book is well laid out, with clear instructions and many full page, colour pictures of the finished dishes. The recipes are about evenly split between the sections, which means the rice and breads section is a bit overbalanced for me. I can’t see me making many of breads, so I would have preferred more recipes in the soups side. There are only three soups listed, which is a bit disappointing, but I suppose soups don’t sell that well in restaurants.

And this is my main comment about the book. It is clearly written by someone who runs a restaurant. I always find there is a different feel to recipe books written by chefs to those written by cooks. The chef books always seem to have more complicated recipes with more ingredients, more steps and more utensils needed (someone else does the washing up!) This book definitely falls into that category. There’s also an unwillingness to compromise over ingredients. There are many specialist ingredients in this book some of which you will be able to find in the world food shelves of a big supermarket and some you’re going to have to track down an Indian grocer for. Having said that, the book does explain what you need, what it looks like and how to prepare it.

Grumbles aside, there are some great recipes in this book. There are dhals and vegetable curries a plenty, with rice dishes and pickles to serve with them. The recipe I made below, corn on the cob curry, is delicious hot and spicy with the sweetness of the corn coming through. I will certainly be making it again.

Title: Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Author: Kaushy Patel
Publisher: Saltyard Bookes
Year: 2012
Pages: 263
Recipes: 110 all vegetarian (including 66 vegan)
Price: £25 hardback
ISBN: 9781444734713

Corn on the Cob Curry

Corn on the cob curry photo DSCN1698_zps200fd885.jpg

Ingredients
4 corn on the cobs, cut into four pieces each
2 medium onions, 1 blended to a fine paste, the other chopped
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp medium red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
2-4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp garam masala

For the masala
2-4 green chillies, seeds left in
8cm root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Pinch of salt

Make the masala paste by blending the chillies, ginger and salt in a blender.
Heat some oil in a large pan and add the onion paste.
Cover and leave to fry gently for 3 minutes until the paste is starting to brown.
Stir in the chopped onion.
Cover the pan and fry for two minutes and then stir.
Repeat until the onions have turned a rich dark brown.
Add the masala paste, tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and half the fresh coriander.
Stir thoroughly and then cover and leave to simmer for 2 minutes.
Add 175ml of boiling water and the corn on the cob pieces.
Make sure the corn pieces are covered in the sauce, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
When the corn is tender, remove from the heat.
Stir in the garam masala and the rest of the fresh coriander.
Cover and let sit for 20 minutes to let the flavours develop (and for the corn to cool down to be held by fingers!)
Serve with flat bread to hold the corn and mop up the juices.

Serves 4

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Book Review: Curry Easy Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey

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For a long time in the UK, if you wanted a book to show you how to cook Indian food, Madhur Jaffrey was the only choice. So it’s just as well that she knows what she’s talking about and can communicate successfully to a wide range of people.

This year I have bought three Indian cookery books, all of a high quality. Curry Easy Vegetarian is the third one of the three and I’m reviewing it first, because it is the best.

As a home cook, I tend to like books written by cooks rather than chefs. It may be the tone is friendlier, it may be the knowledge of what is achievable in a home kitchen, it may be because it’s written by someone who has to do their own washing up. I don’t what it is, but give me a book written by someone who doesn’t have a test kitchen. There are some unfamiliar recipes and techniques here, but Madhur Jaffrey has the tone of someone who is encouraging you to have a go, rather than someone setting a test.

The recipes are divided into eight chapters:
Soups, Appetizers and Snacks
Vegetables
Dals: Dried Beans and Legumes
Grains: Rice, Semolina and Quinoa
Grains: Breads, Pancakes, Savouries and Noodles
Eggs and Dairy
Chutneys, Relishes and Salads
Drinks, Sweets and Desserts

The recipes are well laid out, attractively photographed and carefully explained. When I was first going through it, I found so many recipes I wanted to try that I ran out of bookmarks. The vegetable section has one recipe more enticing than another. There are poriyals – stir-fries with indian flavours that I can’t wait to try and dals that make me glad cold weather is coming so I can curl up on a wet day with them. And there are unexpected flavours too – rice with dill and peas, fresh peach salad, cucumber salad.

In terms of ingredients most of them should be familiar and available in most supermarkets (for which Madhur Jaffrey should take a good deal of the credit). She explains the more unfamiliar ones. My only warning is that several of the recipes require fresh curry leaves which may not be that easy to get hold of.

I really like this book and I’ve been recommending it to friends. It has a recipe for turnip – what’s not to like?

Title: Curry Easy Vegetarian
Author: Madhur Jaffrey
Publisher: Ebury Press
Year: 2014
Pages: 352
Recipes: 194 all vegetarian (including 132 vegan)
Price: £26 (hardback)
ISBN 9780091949471

In the introduction Madhur talks about how a lot of the recipes are from homes throughout India and won’t have appeared on restaurant menus. One of those she mentions is Kodava Mushroom Curry. I decided to give it a try. I stuck to the recipe, apart from using low-fat coconut milk, so I omitted the stage of letting it settle as it would have had no effect. I don’t know if that made a huge difference, this was hot, creamy and delicious anyway.

Kodava Mushroom Curry with Coconut

kodava mushroom curry photo DSCN1728_zps0b5995b4.jpg

Ingredients
1 400ml tin coconut milk left undisturbed for 24 hours to allow the cream to rise to the top
450g button mushrooms, halved
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
4tbsp vegetable oil
6 tbsp shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2-3 fresh chillies, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice

Open the tin of coconut milk and spoon the thick cream at the top into a bowl. Leave the thinner milk in the tin.
Put the mushrooms in another bowl, sprinkle over the salt and turmeric and stir until all the mushrooms are coated.
Set aside for 10 minutes.
Put the oil in a medium hot frying pan or wok.
Add the shallots and fry until they are just starting to turn brown.
Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander and chilli powder.
Return to the heat and add the chillies, and then the mushrooms and their accumulated liquid.
Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the thin coconut milk and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Add the coconut cream and simmer on a very low heat for a minute.
Add the lime juice and serve

Serves 4

Recipe: Cambodian Mushroom Dip

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This is a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from Everyday Veg. This simple recipe produces a rich, creamy, spicy dip with a complex flavour. This could well be making a permanent addition to my dip repertoire.

The mushrooms should be chopped to a medium-fine texture at first. Not duxelles fine, but not coarse either. They should still retain some texture after cooking.

 photo DSCN1173_zps1cde0358.jpg

Ingredients
250g mushrooms, chopped
1/2 birds eye chilli, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp curry powder or paste
1 tbsp peanut butter
200ml coconut milk
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry until the liquid has reduced down to very little.
Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a minute.
Stir in the curry powder, peanut butter and then add the coconut milk.
Stir to mix thoroughly.
Lower the heat and simmer slowly for 15-20 minutes until it has reduced to a soft but not soupy consistency.
Add the soy sauce and lime juice.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over.

Recipe: Curried Coconut and Noodle Soup

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This is another mid-week recipe. You can spot these because they use curry powder and pre-cooked noodles. This recipe uses two ingredients that are fast becoming staples in my kitchen: coconut milk and fresh rice noodles. There are a lot of vegetables in this dish, some cooked in the coconut and curry broth and some added as it is served.

This is really quick and really tasty. You can ring the changes depending on what you have in the fridge so it is endlessly adaptable when you don’t have time to shop.

Rice noodles in curry coconut broth photo DSCN1129_zpsb1f631f2.jpg

Ingredients
60g tofu, cubed
1 tbsp curry powder/paste
150ml coconut milk
350ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
150g rice noodles
handful bean sprouts
6 sugar snap peas, or mangetout, sliced lengthways
1/2 little gem lettuce, shredded
3-4 slices red onion, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 lime wedge

Heat some oil in a large saucepan and add the tofu.
Fry for a few seconds and then stir in the curry powder or paste.
Make sure that the tofu is coated in the spice mix and let it cook for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock and soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the noodles, bean sprouts and sugar snap peas.
Bring back to the simmer and let cook for a minute. You’re not actually cooking anything, just heating things through.
Just before serving, turn off the heat and stir in the lettuce.
Serve in a large bowl with the red onion, spring onion, chilli and coriander placed on top as a garnish.
Add a lime wedge for squeezing.

Serves 1

Recipe: Singapore Noodles

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Singapore Noodles or Singapore Style Vermicelli has long been a favourite of mine from Chinese take-away menus. Wanting to make the authentic thing I asked a Singaporean friend of mine for the recipe. She’d never heard of it. It turns out it’s a Cantonese dish, so here’s my inauthentic version of something that was never really authentic in the first place! Tastes great though.

A few notes about this. I’ve used the packet cooked noodles you can find next to the salads in most supermarkets, but you can use the dried rice noodles if that’s what you have (cook them according to their packet and then let them go cold). I’ve used more oil in this than I normally would in a stir-fry, it shouldn’t be swimming in oil, but you need a fair amount for it to work. I’ve put more vegetables in this than I normally see in a take-away version, but this should remain a noodle dish rather than a stir-fry vegetable dish.

This recipe is for one. When I’ve tried to make this for two it’s ended up as a soggy mess. I think that’s because domestic woks and cookers just don’t get hot enough. If you’re cooking this for two – make one and then do another batch. It takes less than five minutes to cook anyway.

Singapore Noodles photo DSCN1090_zpsf2948d0f.jpg

Ingredients
2-3 tbsp oil
1/4 onion, finely sliced
1/4 red pepper, finely sliced
handful bean sprouts
1/2 chilli, sliced
6 mangetout or sugar snap peas, finely sliced
4 closed cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp curry powder
150g cooked rice noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp coriander

Heat a wok and then pour in the oil.
When the oil is really hot, add the vegetables and stir for a minute.
Add the rice wine and stir for another minute.
Add the curry powder and stir until all the vegetables are coated in it.
Then add the noodles and the soy sauce.
Stir for a couple of minutes until the noodles are heated through and are coated in the curry sauce.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over the top.

Serves 1

Recipe: Saag Aloo

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Spinach is one of those vegetables you’re supposed to hate as a child and maybe get to like as you grow older. I didn’t hate spinach as a child because I never ate it. I think it was my Dad that hated it even as an adult and it just never appeared on our table. I think the first spinach I ever ate was the baby spinach leaves in a salad. I don’t tend to eat it cooked as a side-dish, but as an ingredient in other things. And one of my favourites is Saag Aloo, the Indian restaurant favourite of spinach and potatoes.

I love it, but it tends to be very oily in restaurants and what I wanted to do was see if I could get the same flavour but without the fat. I based my flavours on this recipe, but instead of frying the potato at the start, I added some water to boil them. If you keep the lid off the pan, most of the water disappears so that you get a dryish dish rather than soup.

This has plenty of punch. I say it serves two, but I can eat a pan of this to myself!

Saag Aloo photo DSCN1084_zpsdbbb7fca.jpg

Ingredients

1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 chilli
1 clove garlic
250g new potatoes, cubed

1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
100ml water
150g frozen spinach
1/2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Heat some oil in a pan.
When it’s hot add the mustard seeds and watch them spit and sputter for a few seconds.
Then add the chilli and garlic.
Once the garlic is starting to brown, add the potatoes with the cumin and coriander powder.
Stir thoroughly.
Add the water and bring to the simmer.
Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or the potatoes are nearly cooked.
Add the spinach, stir and then cook for 5 more minutes.
Serve with the coriander leaves sprinkled over the top.

Serves 2 as a side dish

Recipe: Mushroom and Pea Curry

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I wanted to try a creamy curry but without the dairy in this recipe. There are simple ingredients in this dish, but they are packed with flavour. The mushrooms, too, add a satisfying mouthfeel that means this is a vegan curry you’ll want to eat again and again.

Mushroom & Pea Curry photo DSCN1051_zpsebd5b941.jpg

Ingredients
For the spice paste
1 green chilli
15g coriander leaves
1 clove garlic
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1/4tsp turmeric powder
4tbsp water

For the cashew cream
50g cashew nuts
4tbsp water

1/2tsp cumin seeds
200g mushrooms, sliced
150g peas

Put the ingredients for the spice paste in a blender and blend until smooth.
Heat a little oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop add the spice paste.
Stir for a minute and then add the mushrooms.
Cook for a couple of minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking put the cashew nuts and water into the blender and blend until smooth.
Add the peas to the pan, followed by the cashew cream.
Stir to mix and then cover.
Let simmer for 5 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice or naan bread.

Serves 2