I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, writing a bit about food and do some recipes. As most of you know I love to cook and have been knocking up breakfast lunch and dinner for my loved ones for a few years now, only had one death and that was almost certainly due to old age rather than the Butter Chicken, Tarka Daal and Chapatis although one can never really be sure when a bucket of Ghee goes into a dish. Anyway, I haven’t decided whether to separate this part of my writing out somewhere else or keep it here. I am going to keep a (mostly) healthy focus on the recipes and information on here as it is an important part of my training to be eating well. There are a few things I have lined up that fall outside the boundaries of “healthy” but I’m sure you’re all adults and can make sensible decisions on your own.
I would really welcome all comments and criticisms as I am new to writing recipes and I may occasionally miss out some information. I’d also appreciate any advice on how to photograph food, I don’t really know how best to light it.
So, onto the food…
Last week I was flicking through the tv guide when I came across Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey, I think I had seen it once before, but can’t have been paying much attention as this time I was blown away by the sight of some of the dishes on the program. I tried to find the recipes online, but apparently you have to buy the book to get the recipes. Not I said I so I watched it again to get the general idea and made the rest up, (not that I have anything against buying cookery books, on the contrary I love them, I just didn’t want to leave the house) so here is my recipe for a Cambodian – I think – Curry.
For the Curry Paste:
1 Stick of Lemongrass – try and get nice fresh ones as they don’t smash up too well when they’re old and dry
1 tsp. Turmeric (If you can find fresh turmeric then definitely use it, but I couldn’t so powdered will do)
Thumb sized piece of Galangal – Ginger will do if you can’t get it, but Galangal is nicer!
1 red and 1 green Chilli
6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
Zest of 1 Lime
1 Tsp. Shrimp Paste – You can find this in good Asian supermarkets, it is a pinky / browny paste made from fermented ground shrimp!
For the Curry
2 Tbsp. Groundnut oil
500g Chicken on the bone – I used 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
Half a coconut – grated
1 Tin of Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp. Palm Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp. Tamarind Paste – Only just found this stuff – it’s made from Arabian Dates, it’s got a really acidic taste, and it’s well worth getting hold of some as it adds a lovely dimension to the dish
Large handful of torn Basil
100g Green Beans
1 large red Chilli
Small food processor / pestle and mortar
Wok / Large Pan
Take your Lemongrass and remove the tough outer leaves, give it a bit of a smash up with a rolling pin and slice as finely as you can. Chuck this into the food processor, finely slice the shallots, ginger and chillies and put these into the blender with the rest of the paste ingredients. Add a little water and blend to a paste. Put to one side
Skin your pieces of chicken and discard the skin.
Heat your oil in a large wok or heavy based pan and brown the chicken on all sides. Once this is done add the paste and stir to coat the chicken give this a couple of minutes to release the flavours and add the water and grated coconut, bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water has reduced to a thick gravy.
When the gravy has thickened put in your tin of coconut milk, Sugar, Tamarind and Fish Sauce and leave to simmer for a further ten minutes
While that’s simmering, top and tail your green beans and add them for the last 5 minutes
Once they’re added slice your chilli into rings and tear some basil roughly with your hands. Chuck the basil in and give it a quick stir before transferring to a serving dish and sprinkling over your sliced chilli
Serve with some sticky rice or noodles or just have it on its own, do what you want really, I’m not the accompaniment police.