Quick and easy Saag Aloo

5 04 2013

Finally decided what I am going to make for dinner tonight… Saag Aloo.

I am not completely convinced that anyone in India has ever had Saag Aloo / would recognise what we server here in the UK but for some reason the combination of spinach, potatoes and spices gets me everytime!

Feeds 4 – sort of:

  • 4 medium potatoes 
  • 400g spinach puree
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green finger chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Finely chop the garlic and the green chillies. Stir the green chillies into the spinach puree along with the lemon juice, and leave to sit in a bowl. 

Next, dice the potatoes into small pieces no larger than one square inch each. Do not pre boil tha potatoes as otherwise they will end up as mush. Chop the onion and finely mince the garlic.

Now bring the oil to heat on high in a medium-sized pan. When it’s hot, add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for five minutes until golden. Then add the potato pieces, cumin and coriander powders and stir on the high heat for five minutes or until the potato edges start going translucent. If the spices start getting stuck to the bottom of the bottom add a tablespoon of hot water and scrape it off.

Next add hot water to the pan until it comes half way up to the potatoes. Lower the heat to a medium and cook the potatoes until they are done. This will take between 5 and 10 minutes depending upon how fresh your potatoes are, and you have to stir regularly.

When you can easily insert a fork through the potatoes without breaking them, mix in the spinach. Add salt to taste, you will need a fair bit to lift the spinach, and simmer for 5 minutes.

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Man vs Phaal

17 08 2011

When I have a spare moment I quite like watching the television show Man vs Food with hyperactive glutton Adam Richman.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show Adam travels the length and breadth of the US taking on various food challenges, most of the time these challenges are focused on Adam eating ridiculously large servings within a set period of time. These episodes are all very well and good but my favourites have been the episodes which feature some slightly spicier adversaries.

One such episode featured Adam taking on the phaal challenge at the Brick Lane Curry house in Manhattan.

I was intrigued to see this episode for a number of reasons; firstly I love Indian cuisine, I would possibly go so far as to say it is my favourite food, added to that a good phaal has to be one of my favourite dishes and I have eaten so many of them that I have lost count. Some were better than others but they all have one thing in common, they are all pretty damn hot!

Secondly I was intrigued to get a look at the food being served by the Brick Lane Curry House  seeing as I grew up within spitting distance of the actual Brick Lane in East London and have eaten my way along the entire length of it over the past 20 years or so.

Well I watched it and I laughed and laughed and laughed some more, whilst I am sure that it IS a very hot curry I am completely not convinced that it requires quite the hullabaloo that seems to surround it.

Enjoy…





Pork Vindaloo

4 08 2011

Ah Indian food, where would I be without it!

Vindaloo is a Goan dish, heavilly influenced by the Portugese who settled in the area and left their mark on everything from cuisine to religion, the vin part of the name comes from the liberal use of vinegar in the dish.

Traditionally made with pork but this obviously isn’t the case in Muslim areas where it would be lamb/mutton or chicken instead and trust me it is just as good.

Ingredients

1lb Pork.

1 medium onion.

3-4 cloves garlic.

1 inch root ginger.

5 Green chillis.

Chilli powder.

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds.

½ teaspoon ground ginger.

3 cardamom pods.

8-10 black peppercorns.

3 cloves.

6″ Cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves.

Vinegar

Sea Salt

Method

Heat  a dry frying pan and add in the coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns. Heat for a few seconds until the coriander seeds just start to change colour.

Grind these spices together with the ground ginger, bay leaves, chilli powder, the seeds from 3 cardamom pods and salt.

Chop the pork into cubes, add the spices and the garlic to the meat and stir well so that everything is covered.

Put in a non-metallic bowl and pour in enough vinegar to just cover (it should be between 2-4oz) leeave the pork to marinate for about 6 hours.

Finely chop the onion ginger and chillies.

Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed pan and toss in the onions, chillies and ginger and fry until the onions are soft and just starting to brown.

Using a slotted spoon, put the meat from the marinade into the pan and seal stirring constantly, once the meat has started to brown you can add in the remainder of the marinade





Banks UCB – Ultimate Curry Beer

28 06 2011

 

Here is a bit of an oddity that I turned up on draft at the Coppermill in Walthamstow last time that I was back home.

As the sharp eyed amongst you may have spotted UCB stands for Ultimate Curry Beer and it has been brewed specifically to accompany said food stuff, now as anyone who has set foot in the Coppermill will know there isn’t really food on offer in the pub, pickled egg anyone, as such I was drinking this with my usual accompaniment of more pints.

I have heard from a few people that UCB really isn’t a beer to be drunk by itself and whilst I don’t completely agree with them I can see their point, it has a very strong, very hoppy flavour and may not be to everyone’s tastes, however with a good spicy curry it would work perfectly.

Personally I like strong tasting beers and actually enjoyed this as a nice pint for a relaxed afternoon session, the 5.3% ABV is easy going enough that you could sink more than a few pints with ease yet strong enough that know you still know youare having a beer.

In terms of appearance UCB is a rich, golden brown with a fairly thick creamy head not unlike a pint of stout or dare I mention it… Caffreys – Shudder. The head lasts well for the duration of the pint with a fair amount of lacing.

In terms of taste and aroma the hopping comes through very clearly along with some strong citrus and a little floral hint, as mentioned previously the hopping IS strong but in a refreshing way.

All in all a pretty good pint and worth a try IF you happen to come across it, if you are lucky enough to come across it at the same time as a good hot curry then you are in for a real treat.

3.6/5





Yeast free garlic and coriander Naan Bread

8 06 2011

 I love bread…it really is one of my biggest weaknesses as a semi- healthy human although now that I think about it drinking and smoking are probably bigger weaknesses but anyway back to the bread.

 Regular readers will possibly have spotted that as well as having a love of bread I also have a little bit of a thing for Indian food in general and curry in particular.  For me no Indian meal is truly complete without some bread to go with it; be it a chapati or a puri or naan.

 As with most things I have over the years given up completely on finding any shop bought Naan bread that tastes even remotely like food and have just started making my own, not only do these Naan taste better than the shop bought variety they are healthier as well.

If you just want to have a plain naan then you can omit the topping before you bake.

Ingredients:

250g/9oz plain flour

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

110-130ml/3½-4½fl oz milk

2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

For the topping

chopped garlic and fresh coriander

1 tbsp butter, melted, to serve

Method:

For the dough, sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the milk and oil.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Slowly mix together the dough by working from the centre and incorporating the flour from the edges of the ‘well’, to make a smooth, soft dough. Knead well for 8-10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes. Form the dough into five balls.

Preheat the grill to medium and place a heavy baking sheet on the upper shelf of the grill to heat.

Roll the dough balls out quite thinly, ideally in a teardrop shape, but really this is just aesthetic.

Scatter your coriander and garlic (or anything else you fancy) over the top of your naan and press into the surface of the dough.

Place the naans onto the hot baking sheet and grill for just 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Brush with butter and serve hot.





Authentic Chicken Korma

24 01 2011

 

When most of us think of a chicken korma we imagine the mildest dish on the menu and quite often a dish which is overly rich and creamy but that really doesn’t taste of very much whatsoever.

Well as with a lot of foods served up at takeaways or restaurants throughout the country this perception is a little off the mark; the word korma actually refers to the cooking process as the meat should be braised and whilst the dish is usually creamy and rich due to the yoghurt that is added there is really no basis to it being a mild curry and certainly nothing at all that should mark it out as being bland.

My chicken korma recipe gives a curry that is a little bit of a compromise, I have cut down on the cooking time in order to simplify the dish but whilst it would be recognisable to most takeaway fans in the UK and elsewhere it is anything but bland.

Ingredients:

1kg chicken breasts or thighs with the bones removed

a pinch of saffron

6 cardamom pods

2tsp cinnamon

4  cloves

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp coriander powder

1tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp asafoetida

2″ piece of ginger

4 garlic cloves

50g flaked almonds

100g natural yoghurt

2 large onions

300ml chicken stock

salt to taste

50g creamed coconut

Method

Put the  saffron in a bowl and pour over about half a pint of boiling water. Leave to soak for approximately 10 minutes or so.

Dice your chicken into good sized pieces and place into a large mixing bowl, cover the chicken with the natural yoghurt and set aside for about half an hour

Blend the ginger and garlic together in a food processor with a splash of water until it is a purée.

Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat and add the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Let them sizzle for 25 – 30 seconds and add the onions. Increase the heat to medium and fry the onions until they soften, 5-7 mins

Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder, white pepper,chilli powder, asafoetida and ground coriander and fry gently for about a minute.

Add the chicken, creamed coconut and flaked almonds turn up the heat to a medium flame. Stir everything well so that the chicken is well coated in all of the spices etc. Pour in thechicken stock, cover the pan and simmer for around half and hour.

About 5 minutes before you have finished cooking stir in the saffron in warm water from earlier on and the garam masala, leave the lid off the pan for the remainder of the cooking time.

Garnish with some flaked almonds, chopped chillies and some coriander leaf.





Crazy chef claims world’s hottest curry

20 01 2011

 Chef  Bablu Rodrick from Glasgow’s Cafe India has cooked up a curry that is claimed to be the world’s hottest – the Tikka Chance is laden with ten scorching hot infinity chillies and customers can have it made with either chicken or lamb.

 According to Cafe India general manager Raj Bajwe heatseeking customers will have to sign a medical disclaimer waiving the right to sue before being allowed to attempt the dish. In an interview with The Sun Raj stated: “This is lethal. “I am only going to be selling the Tikka Chance with a serious health warning. If you have any health problems, especially a heart condition, then do not even attempt it.

“These chillies are so hot the chef has to use rubber gloves to handle them. I normally like chillies and eat them all the time – but even I’ve been suffering since having a taste.”

If anyone is able to finish the £22 dish in its entirity Cafe India will be presenting a certificate to confirm the impressive feat.

So just how hot is the Tikka Chance?  Well Cafe India reckon it is coming in at a little over 1.1 million SHU which lets face it is pretty hot. There is no real scientific evidence to back up the claim however it is using a ridiculously hot chilli in pretty copious amounts.

 The infinity chilli was grown and developed by Woody Woods from Fire Foods in Lincolnshire and according to HPLC tests is clocking in at 1,257,468 SHU making it a solid contender for the title of world’s hottest chilli.

  I have tried the infinity chilli and it is nuts, plain and simple.  I am still waiting to get my hands on some of the other contenders to the Bhut Jolokia’s throne but lets face it once you start getting up above 1 million scovilles pretty much everything is pain incarnate.

Anyone who has read my blog with any frequency will know I love curries and the hotter they are the better they are and the the idea of ten infinity chillies in one dish is enticing to me but it is also a little bit scary and quite frankly I reckon that any sane person would do well to pass on by…

For more information on the Tikka Chance curry contact Cafe India here








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