A while back you may remember me talking about how my thai yellow soup came into being. This is the very recipe where that chilli mishap occurred. You see, my beloved Elly is not a big fan of “spicy” food so I was trying to create a thai curry that she would at least like, so I could have a curry more often without feeling guilty that I was torturing her.
Honestly it had nothing to do with me wanting to slowly increase her tolerance for spicy food
On that fateful day the particular green chili I had decided to use was (unknown to me) not terribly hot and as I was cooking with Elly in mind I also removed the seeds. Since that incident I now cut a tiny amount of chilli off the end and touch my tongue with it to get an idea of heat. If I don’t feel a burn I use the seeds in the dish.
But that’s just me – I’ve known people who put lots more chilli in their cooking than I do, it’s all down to personal taste so it’s always a good idea to experiment with the strength and amount of chilli in a curry if it’s not to your liking.
1 stick of lemongrass
3 cloves of garlic
1 green chilli (seeds optional)
Half an onion
Thumb sized piece of ginger
Handful of fresh coriander (leaves and stems)
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Half teaspoon ground coriander
Half teaspoon ground cumin
Half teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of half a lime (zest the lime first and save along with the remaining juice)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Roughly a quarter can of coconut milk
and the rest
1 and a half onions, finely diced
4 chicken breasts, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
Three-quarter tin of coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves
The Curry Paste
To make the curry paste, roughly chop the ingredients and add everything except the coconut milk to your blender. Give them a few pulses to break it down a little. You are looking for a this to become a thick but smooth paste, so add the coconut milk a little at a time and try to blend. As soon as it starts to turn into a paste stop adding coconut milk and blend to a smooth paste.
Now you have your curry paste, you can store this for a day or two in an airtight container in the fridge. Or you can use it fresh, which is always my preference. It’s nice to know that you could make this up in advance if you were going to be a little pushed for time.
and the rest
Next, you’ll want to heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat and when it is up to temperature add a little oil and then your paste. You just want to release the aromatics from it so don’t wait too long (about a minute) before adding the rest of the onions and allowing them to soften a little (about 5 minutes). Add the diced chicken and stir fry until sealed (about 5 minutes).
Now increase the heat under your pan and add the coconut milk, diced peppers and the kaffir lime leaves. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce to a simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes and serve on a bed of pilaf rice.
Remember the lime zest and juice I said to save? Well, here’s a great way to use it up and add a real subtle zing and punch to this dish. When making the rice pilaf, add the lime zest and juice instead of the turmeric and cook as normal. Hey presto, zingy rice!
This recipe takes me right back to my childhood, my mum used to make a very similar dish and I had completely forgotten about it until I was reminded about it in college last (academic) year. It came up in one of our practical cookery classes and since then I have experimented with it several times until I came up with this recipe.
The recipe that I give for the stuffing, is a large enough quantity for three or four fillets, I like to make up the stuffing and freeze what I don’t use in “portions” so I’m not making it every time. I can just stuff, roll and roast as needed then. It’s also surprising just how quickly this can be put together even on a week night, just roast a few potatoes and some fresh veg in the oven with it and you have a really simple impressive dinner.
Apricot and raisin stuffing
1 large onion, diced
115g dried apricots, soaked, drained and diced
115g seedless raisins
115g fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
and the rest
1 x pork fillet
Packet of Serrano ham
Begin by making the stuffing, heat the butter in a small pan and fry the onion over a moderate heat for about 3 minutes until translucent.
Place the apricots into a large bowl. Add the onions (butter and all), raisins, breadcrumbs and ginger. Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you pick up a handful of the stuffing and squeeze it gently in your fist it should just about hold its shape when you let go. if it’s too dry just add a little more butter, if it’s a little too wet add some more breadcrumbs. Allow the stuffing to cool before use.
Next you want to take your pork fillet and trim off any excess fat carefully. Once this is done lay it out on a chopping board and make a cut about three-quarters way deep into it and the full length. This should allow you to open the fillet flat onto your chopping board. Using the heel of your hand you want to begin, flattening both sides of the fillet. If you strike at the centre with a movement towards either edge alternatively you should flatten and stretch the fillet out as much as possible.
Now comes the construction part, lay out your Serrano ham slices so that they just about overlap and are about an inch wider than the length of the fillet. Next lay the fillet on top (across all the Serrano ham overlaps) and place a line of your stuffing down the centre. Now comes the difficult bit, you need to fold either end of the Serrano ham over the ends of the fillet and roll the lot into one oversized Serrano ham wrapped sausage type of thing.
Place this in an oiled roasting tray and bake in a 180C oven for one hour, once the juices flow clear you’re ready to rest it for 10 minutes, then simply carve and serve.
For the Salmon:
100g natural yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 level teaspoon tandoori masala paste
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 chilli, finely diced
2 salmon fillets, skin on
For the Salsa:
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 onion, diced
1 chilli, seeds removed, finely diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
Juice of half a lemon
I’ve been slowly introducing more hot dishes (hot as in spicy hot) to both myself and Elly’s palate and my first experiment with this dish was the first time that a dish sent us scrambling for glasses of milk to cool down with. Thankfully I’ve played around with the amount of tandoori masala paste in the recipe to lessen that effect and we’ve both been enjoying it since.
The tandoori masala paste called for in this recipe can be a little difficult to source in Ireland, outside of an Asian supermarket, however you can substitute almost any Indian Curry paste if you cannot source tandoori masala.
To start with you will need to marinate the fish, so mix the yoghurt, garlic, tandoori curry paste, the juice from half a lemon, ginger and the diced chilli together in a small bowl. Next pop your salmon in and make sure that it is well coated. Cover it and place in the fridge for at least twenty minutes.
Next, mix the salsa ingredients together, cover and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
After the salmon has had time to marinate you want to grill it under a very hot grill. Grill the skin side first for four to five minutes until the edges just start to blacken then turn them over and do the same on the other side.
Once the Fish is ready serve on a bed of boiled rice with a generous dollop of salsa and enjoy. Just keep a glass of milk handy just in case you find it a bit hot for your taste buds 😉
4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or finely chopped
Small tin sweetcorn (260g)
2 carrots, julienned
1 leek, cut in fine rings (or substitute 1 onion)
Half a bag of beansprouts
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
Toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 a lemon)
Packet of spring roll pastry (or substitute filo pastry)
Makes between 8 – 18 spring rolls, dependant on the size of your pastry sheets and amount of mix placed in each one.
Prepare all ingredients as described above. Heat oven to 200C.
Heat a wok, then add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Stir fry the ginger, garlic & chilli for approx 2 mins, stirring all the time so it does not burn. Add the carrots & leek, continue stirring for 2 mins more.
Add 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon soy & half a teaspoon sesame oil, along with the juice of the lime, stirring in well. Add in the sweetcorn & chicken and stir until well coated, remove from heat. Stir through the beansprouts.
Place a sheet of spring roll pastry on a clean surface, with the corner towards you. Spoon on filling in the centre, then fold up corner nearest you over the filling. Fold in the two sides, then roll entire piece over to finish sealing. Place on a non-stick baking tray and repeat until filling is all used.
Baste the finished spring rolls with some vegetable oil, then bake for 20-25 mins in the oven, until crispy to the touch. Serve as a meal or a snack.
2 sea trout fillets
1 thumb of ginger, grated
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
A handful of coriander, chopped
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Juice of half a lime
1 large handful of fresh baby broccoli
6 spring onions, chopped
Medium egg noodles
Begin by adding the ginger, chilli, coriander, soy, sesame oil and lime juice to a resealable container big enough to hold both pieces of trout and stir it all together (Ziploc-style bags work great for this). Next, pop the trout into the marinade, seal it and place in the fridge for about an hour.
While the fish is marinating, rinse the baby broccoli and chop off the florets, then chop the stalks diagonally into lengths of 1 – 2 centimetres.
About 10 minutes before the marinating is complete take a pan, fill it with water and bring it to the boil. You will need this ready for when the fish goes on so that you can cook your noodles at the same time. You will also need a wok and a frying pan.
Using the wok, poach the broccoli in lightly salted boiling water, for about two minutes. This is best done just before the fish goes on. When poached, take the pan off the heat and drain the hot water, leave the broccoli to one side.
Brush off the marinade before frying the trout in a hot pan for about 2 minutes on each side. Make sure the frying pan is as hot as possible before adding the fish skin side down. Do not discard the marinade.
Follow the instruction for the egg noodles and cook them in the saucepan of water you brought to the boil earlier.
Get your wok back onto the heat, add a lug of sesame oil and then pop the broccoli and chopped spring onions in. Stir fry these for about a minute then add the reserved marinade to warm it up. Add the noodles and toss together in the wok.
Once the fish is ready serve immediately.