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!
Hmmm a traditional Thai soup recipe? Hell to the no! This is anything but. I came up with the idea for this recipe after an experiment in making Thai chicken curry. The chilli I used for the curry was a little lacking in the heat department and as a result I ended up with a curry that had almost no heat.
It still made for a fantastic tasting dish, just not what was originally intended. The lack of heat meant that all the other herbs and spices were able to come through in full force. Which led me to thinking about what else I could use similar flavours in because they are so great together.
This is the first of those ideas to make it to the “perfected recipe” stage and it’s a butternut squash and sweet potato soup of sorts but that doesn’t really make for a snappy title so given the inspiration and appearance I’m calling it Thai Yellow Soup.
1 x onion, diced
1 x carrot, diced
2 x sticks of celery, diced
2 x cloves of garlic, finely diced
quarter of a chilli, diced
Thumb sized piece of ginger, finely diced or grated
Pinch of ground coriander
Pinch of ground cumin
1 x butternut squash, diced
2 x sweet potatoes, diced
Veg or chicken stock
1 x star anise
1 x handful of fresh coriander
1 x handful of fresh basil
1 x handful of fresh mint
Place a large saucepan over a medium high heat, once it has warmed add a little oil, just enough so that you can slow fry the onion until it is soft, then add the carrot and continue to gently fry until they start to soften.
Next you want to add the celery, garlic, chilli, ginger, ground coriander and ground cumin. stir it all together and continue to fry for about a minute this should be long enough to warm and release the fragrance of the garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin.
Add the butternut squash and the sweet potato to the pot and stir together. Add enough stock to cover all the contents. Drop in the star anise, fresh basil, coriander and mint, then stir and bring it to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sweet potato and butternut squash start to break up as you stir remove the soup from the heat and blend until you have a smooth purée.
Return this to a low heat. Then taste and season. If you are happy with the consistency of the soup you can proceed to the eating phase, if not, you could thin it by stirring in boiling water or by adding milk or cream.
I like to serve this soup drizzled with a little truffle oil for added decadence and a crusty bread roll is a great accompaniment to any soup.
It’s National Gut week in the UK this week (23rd – 29th August). It’s an annual campaign that aims to help people understand the importance of good digestive health by providing free information and advice on how to achieve a healthy gut. Which seems like a good idea that we don’t have an equivalent to here in Ireland
Still at least we can read the UK website and documentation to get ourselves up to speed
Antony Worrall Thompson is one of the Ambassadors for the Campaign and has devised a number of recipes for those suffering from IBS, looking to watch their weight or who simply want to look after their inner health. The recipe that follows is one that he has kindly provided to help promote the cause. You can find out more about Gut Week here and I recommend having a read over this document for some quick tips to a healthier gut.
450g lean leg of lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
11/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, roughly diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 tablespoon harissa or hot pepper paste
400g tin of chickpeas in water, drained and rinsed
350g trimmed and peeled pumpkin, cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 pickled lemon, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Coat the lamb in the black pepper.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the lamb and cook until it has browned all over. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and is slightly brown, adding a splash of water if necessary to prevent sticking.
Add the tomatoes, harissa and 425ml water. Bring to a simmer,cover and cook over a medium heat for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours, topping up with water as necessary, until the lamb is almost tender.
Add the chickpeas and pumpkin and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Add the lemon, mint and coriander. Serve immediately.
4 medium-sized parsnips
3 sweet potatoes
3 cloves of garlic
Handful of fresh herbs, as available (suggest thyme, oregano, mint, chives, parsley)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of rock salt
When I first saw the recipe this one is based on over at Donal Skehan’s blog, I wanted to make it immediately! I adore sweet potatoes, but I’ve quickly tired of simply baking them in the oven, and while they are gorgeous in stews, it’s not exactly the weather for it!
This weekend I had a batch of parsnips to use up, and some sweet potatoes in the basket too – so I figured that I’d try them together for a change, served alongside a deliciously tender fillet steak with hubbie’s onion relish. I think the addition of the parsnips made the fries even more special – it was so sweet it was practically like eating candy!
Start by picking your herbs, plucking leaves from stalks where necessary. Roughly chop up the garlic cloves and toss the herbs, garlic & salt into your pestle & mortar and bash until you have a paste – you can use your food processor if you don’t have a pestle & mortar. Add in the olive oil and stir well.
Preheat your oven to 200C.
Peel your parsnips and sweet potatoes and then chop into fry/chip shapes – I find for parsnips the best method is to top & tail, then cut in half horizontally, then split the bottom section into 4 vertically, and the top into 6-8 sections vertically – trust me, that will make sense as you are chopping! With the sweet potatoes, the important thing is to try and split them evenly – if you have thin, scraggly fries then they won’t cook evenly. Aim for similar size to your parsnip fries.
Drop the fries into a large bowl as you cut them, and once finished add the mix from the mortar to the bowl and mix it in well, until all the fries are coated evenly.
Spread the fries out onto a baking tray in one layer (use 2 trays if needed) and bake in the oven for 40-45 mins, turning once. The fries should end up soft on the inside and just charred on the edges.
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 😉