Monday, 25 January 2016

My Favorite's favourite

My Favourite's favourite .. bit of  vague title for a recipe i hear you say.. Well since this is a blog not only about food that i love, it's a blog filled with dishes that have some sort of important memory or of sentimental worth. And my family & the foods they like are just as important to me and part and parcel of this blog.

So this one had to be shared, as it is for someone that is very much an important part of my life, one of my mums brothers, my Mahmu (uncle) one of his all time favourite dishes is Chicken & Spinach curry.

For this version I've taken a short cut and used frozen chopped spinach rather than having to wash & chop a load of fresh spinach, which can make this dish quite time consuming. I will be sharing a version using fresh spinach at some point in the future as it does give the dish a totally different taste. But for now, here's my take on Chicken & Spinach AKA in my house The Uncle's favourite :

To serve 4-5 people you will need:

1x 750g bag of frozen chopped spinach
4 medium onions
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
3 chillies
2 tsp curry powder
1 x tin of chopped/plum tomatoes.
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium chicken cut in pieces*

  • Start by adding the onions, chopped, into a heavy based pan, and frying till softened, add in the salt, garlic & ginger paste, and cook through till the onions are golden brown in colour. 
  • Add in the chillies, either whole, or chopped up to add more heat to the dish, and continue to cook on a medium heat until the chillies have softened and begun to cook through.
  • Add in the tomatoes, and the curry powder, add in about 100-150 ml of water and leave to simmer on a low heat so that the tomatoes soften, i find that this can take between 10-15 minutes.
  • While the masala is simmering, add the mustard & cumin seeds to a non stick frying pan, and dry roast on a low heat. Remove from the heat and put aside. With your chicken, if it is on the bone, take the drumsticks and score them through the thickest part as this will help the drumsticks cook evenly.
  • Take all the chicken pieces and add them to the masala. Cook on a medium heat till the chicken is lightly brown in colour, no pinkness should be visible. The masala should almost stick to the chicken and the oil will separate.**
  • Add in the spinach, stir and cook through on a medium heat. You will know it is cooked once there is no water/ moisture in the spinach, it will have darkened in colour, and again you will see the oil separate from the chicken and spinach. **
  • Add in the cumin and mustard seeds, stir through to ensure they're well incorporated & serve with chapatis or naan. 

* if you're not a fan of chicken on the bone, you can use either chicken breast (about a kilo)  cut up or ask your butcher for thigh meat which wont dry out as much as chicken breast possibly would.

** you will need to stay close to the cooker at this point as it can catch and burn quite easily, and you need to be stirring it often to keep it cooking consistently. If it does catch, add a splash of water and carry on cooking through

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Bhindi Aloo - Okra & potato curry

Todays post is one of my favourite vegetarian curries- Okra, or ladies fingers as there sometimes known as are also great with chicken or lamb, but i love them simply with potatoes or even on their own.

What makes this dish even simpler from when i was younger is that now frozen okra are readily available in all Asian food stores, I've even seen them in Asda & Tesco, so you can save your time washing and chopping them which takes up most of the time when cooking this curry.

To serve 4-6 people you will need 

2 x 400g bag frozen chopped okra
3 medium onions
4 green chillies chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt 
2 tsp garlic paste / 2 frozen garlic cubes
3 tsp ginger paste / 3 frozen garlic cubes
1 tin plum / chopped tomatoes
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp curry powder
fresh coriander to garnish

  • Start by adding a small amount of oil into a heavy based pan, add in the ginger & garlic, and fry on a medium heat, stirring to ensure the garlic and ginger don't catch at the bottom of the pan, meanwhile, finely slice the onions.When the garlic and ginger have browned, add in the onions
  • Brown off the onions till they are golden brown in colour on a medium heat, then add in the salt & the chillies
  • When the chillies have softened and cooked through, add in the curry powder and the tin tomatoes. break up the tomatoes with the spoon or even lightly mash them, and leave to simmer on a low heat 
  • In a small frying pan, on a low heat toast the mustard & cumin seeds together. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, take the pan off the heat and put aside.
  • Add the chopped okra to the curry masala, and leave to simmer, for 20-25 minutes on a low heat, or until the okra are soft and cooked through. Stir the okra half way, to ensure they cook through evenly and aren't catching on the bottom of the pan. If you find them catching, add a splash of water, stir through and continue to simmer till they're cooked.
  • Once the okra are cooked, add in the cumin & mustard seeds, stir through. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve