Sunday 17 January 2016

Recipe: Crispy Chicken & Red Vegetable Curry w/ Cardamom Rice

For me the sign of a good curry is when you can taste the individual flavours of all the components, and the marriage of all those flavours and textures brings a party to your mouth! (not sure why I’m thinking “Bing Bang Theory Bollywood dance” take on that party but I am) Anyway to get that individuality coming through it’s best to cook a few items separately at the start and then combine them together at the end!

This recipe has come along considerably since it was on the menu in 2010, the chicken for example is done separately so it remains crispy and succulent. It makes a great combo with the vegetable red curry!

ingredients (serves 6)
for the chicken
1 chicken (spatchcocked)
paprika (to dust)
flaked salt

for the red curry
1/2 butternut squash or 2 small sweet potato (1/2 inch dice)
1 red pepper (large dice)
1 onion (large dice)
5 chestnut mushrooms (quartered)
1 medium aubergine (large dice)
130g red curry paste (recipe here - less if it’s shop bought)
20g ginger (sliced)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
5 kaffir lime leaves (bruised)
400g light coconut milk
50ml fish sauce
1 lime (juiced)
450ml chicken stock

for the rice (6)
540g long grain rice
900g water
75g butter / ghee
18 cardamom pods (crushed, but not broken apart)
30 curry leaves
4g salt

for the garnish
thai basil

rice cooker

Peel the butternut squash and dice it int 1/3 inch chunks. Same with the sweet potato, peel it if you like, I prefer the skin on! Place onto a lightly oiled baking tray. 

Spatchcock the chicken, rub a little oil onto the skin and dust with salt & paprika. The oil will help them stick. Place it on top of the veg skin side up. Place into a preheated oven at 230C / 40m.
(If you’re only making the vegetable red curry set oven to 200C and coat the sweet potato w/ oil and salt.)

Put the rice ingredients into a rice cooker / sauce pan and set to cook.

Brown the mushrooms and aubergine and set aside. Char the onion a little on a griddle if you have one then cook the onion red pepper, garlic and ginger until the pepper has softened. Add the red curry paste mushrooms and aubergine and mix until coated evenly. (the chicken should be coming out about now, or soon!)

Add the coconut milk slowly so it sizzles and lifts the flavours off the bottom of the pan. 
Add the lime leaves and leave to simmer. (20 minutes max from this point)

Remove the chicken from the oven, lift the chicken off the veggies and put the it on a chopping board to rest. Remove the veggies and add them to the curry. Deglaze the baking tray on the stove with 200ml of white wine and add the jus to the curry too.

Mix well and serve immediately! B O O M !!

thinking ahead
Can make this curry in the afternoon, and reheat for dinner! (It also freezes well). The chicken should be timed for dinner for it to be both juicy and crispy!

cooking order notes:
start - 8.22PM

* spatchcock chicken & cut sweet potato > oven
* put rice on to cook (don’t forget to turn the rice cooker on!)
* cut mushroom and aubergine > stove lightly sizzling
* make the paste
* make the veg curry
* chicken out naan in
* finish the sweet potato 
* cut chicken 
* finish & season curry, naan out & serve!

L U S H !

10.22PM - come on!! In my defence that included photography!!

I reckon an hour and twenty minutes for curry from scratch!!

to serve
Serve with naan of your choice, cardamom rice and dress with coriander, thai basil, chilli and a lime.

Friday 15 January 2016

Recipe: Thai Red Curry Paste

I’ve been looking around for a decent red curry paste recipe and after a bit of homework and a few trials this is what I’ve settled on! It’s a little milder and more fragrant than shop bought paste, and much nicer!

Kaffir lime (rather bumpier), lime & bunch of coriander
Coriander roots, and Kaffir limes (for zest) are ingredients I thought might potentially be quite tricky to get. As it turns out neither were that hard to find.

For coriander roots buy the coriander in large bunches, very likely to have a decent chog of root on! 
(you can use the stems if you can’t find root)

For the Kaffir lime, a good Thai supermarket will do. If you can’t get one don’t substitute it with Kaffir lime leaves in the paste. Add a few extra bruised leaves (4 leaves per tbsp paste) to the curry to get that beautiful fragrant flavour. 

ingredients (makes 400g paste)
for the red curry paste
180g shallots / red onion (diced)
45g lemon grass (chopped - 6 lemon grass outer removed topped tailed) 
8-16 large dried chilli (depending how spicy you like. 8 is mild, 12 medium 16 for a bit of poke)
45g galangal / ginger
45g coriander roots / stems (washed)
10 cloves garlic
5g cumin seeds
5g coriander seeds 
5g paprika
12g shrimp paste (healthy tsp)
5g salt
10g sugar 
1/2 kaffir lime / lime juiced
1 kaffir lime zest (if you can get it)

spice mill / pestle and mortar


Chuck it all into a spice mill and blast it into a smooth paste!! 
You’d think it was that easy right!!? Well for the most part it is.

The critical advice is if you’re using a spice mill blend the hardest elements first. Alternatively do everything separately and mix it to gather at the end!

So for the above, if doing all in one, mill in this order:
cumin & coriander seeds
salt & sugar 
dried chilli 
kaffir lime zest
lemon grass
galangal / ginger
coriander roots/stems
shrimp paste
shallots / red onion
lime juiced

Enjoy!! Maybe use it with this recipe from Food Urchin: An interesting (and quite funny) post on Persimmon & Duck Curry here.

thinking ahead
This will last for a month in the fridge, specially if you keep it in a jar and pour some vegetable oil on top of the paste to stop it oxidising or anything growing on it!!!! ; )

Thai Red Curry Paste

Red Veg Curry w/ Crispy Roast Chicken, Naan & Cardamom Rice

Friday 8 January 2016

Experiment - Recipe: Gherkins Are Not The Only Pickle! Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms

This summer I had great fun sourcing charcuterie for an outdoor offering I was working on. Putting together some summer love for our guests!! As well as cheeses, conserves and breads, pickles are a regular addition to a good charcuterie board. 

While I was hunting for something different to accompany the selection it became clear that there’s much more to pickles than gherkins so I thought I’d try some pickled mushrooms out!! (amongst other things)

Incidentally these go very well with a wide variety of main ingredients including fish, scallops, pate, tuna, lobster anywhere where you want to add little acidity to really bring out the flavours, and it add a little texture too!! What’s not to like! 

ingredients (makes 600ml jar)
for the pickling liquor (2:1:1 vinegar:sugar:water)
250ml vinegar
125ml sugar
125ml water
12g salt
2g black pepper corns
2g coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
sprig of coriander

for the mushrooms
150g buna shimeji mushrooms (dark cap - white are shiro either will do)

apparatus / equipment
sterilised jar
creme fraiche / cream pot lid

bring pickling ingredients to boil, make sure sugar is dissolved and allow to cool

I got these mushrooms from the supermarket, they’re obviously grown in containers with a round edge, which produce bunches of mushrooms. Cut about 1cm (1/2 inch) off the base of the bunch where the root stem is.

You should then be able to gently break the bunch apart, pulling off individual mushrooms.
Put them into a sterilised jar and add the cool liquor over the top adding any other dry leave of flavourings you might like to try.

So that the mushrooms are preserved they must be completely covered!

If you buy pickled shallots you’ll notice they have a little plastic mesh in the jar. It’s to keep the contents from floating above the pickling liquor and going off!!

I improvised one from a creme fraiche lid! I cut a few slits into it to allow the bubbles through, but cunningly (raises eyebrows) not the mushrooms!

thinking ahead
You can make these well in advance, at least 3 hours for them to take up the flavour of the liquor though.

You can pickle almost anything as far as I know!! Cabbage (Kimchi & Sauerkraut), gherkins, lemons, eggs, fish, meat, ago, chilli. Just make sure you use the right process!! This process is good for anything you can eat raw. IE not meats / fish / seafood!

How To Book / Attend

How To Book / Attend
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More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
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