Korean Beef stir-fry

What is one to do when left with a gorgeous cut of meat? Well other than eat it as is, would have been delicious given the meat in question was a 300 gm rump of steak with a fabulous chimicurri sauce. But I had other plans for the leftover steak. ( Where did I order this gorgeous steak? It was at CAU in Blackheath where I was invited for an Argentinian Street Food Masterclass where I learnt how to make empanadas and sampled some amazing authentic Argentinian cuisine. CAU group of resturants is raising funds for the charity Action Against Hunger with the launch of #CAUnival a month long celebration of an ‘Friend’s Day’ or Dia do Amigo. Read all about it here )

Argentinian Lomito Steak with Chimichurri

Argentinian Lomito Steak with Chimichurri

The thought of a spicy Korean beef stir fry served with a comforting bowl of rice was very appealing. I wanted to ensure that I made the most of the succulent medium rare cooked beef and gave the vegetables just the right amount of flavour without any flavour overpowering the already moreish chimichurri dressing.

Korean Beef Stir Fry

Korean Beef Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 250 gm beef  (in this case I was leftovers from a medium rare cooked steak with a chimichurri sauce)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Chimmichuri dressing
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 a red Thai chilli
  • 250 gm of vegetables – carrots sliced into ribbons, green beans, bok choy
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Chopped fresh spring onion to garnish
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Slice the beef thinly and set aside soaking in the chimichurri dressing. The chimichurri contains paprika, garlic, parsley, tangy vinegar and oil. Packed with favour this Argentinian steak sauce pairs surprisingly well with the spicy Korean flavours of the stir fry. If you are serving the Korean beef stir fry with steamed rice then leave it to cook before starting on the beef, so that it is ready soon after the beef is done.
  • Remove the skin from the garlic cloves.
  • Heat the sesame oil in a large wok and fry the garlic cloves in the hot oil until it just begins to brown. Sprinkle the dried red chilli flakes into the hot oil.
Garlic,red chilli and dried chilli flakes in sesame oi

Garlic,red chilli and dried chilli flakes in sesame oi

  • Then add the chopped red chilli and add the carrots followed the beans, allow them to cook ensuring the vegetables still have a bite in them. Stir in the soy sauce and season with little salt. (Light soy sauce has less salt content that’s why I generally prefer it over dark soy sauce)
  • Remove the vegetables and set aisde in a bowl with a lid.
  • Then add the sliced beef into the wok and stir fry on heat for under a minute as the beef is already almost cooked.
  • Now reduce the heat to a minimum and add in the vegetables, add the bok choy and drizzle the chimichurri sauce over this. Mix everything well together.
Mixing the vegetables and the stir fried beef

Mixing the vegetables and the stir fried beef

  • Remove from the wok and serve with the steaming hot sticky rice. Garnish with chopped spring onion for a fresh,crunchy garnish.
Korean Beef Stir Fry

Korean Beef Stir Fry

Eat in Chicken Tikka Masala – Take the Tefal ActiFryDay challenge

Friday nights – when all you want to do is get home, put your feet up and watch some telly while tucking into your favourite takeaway. But here are some staggering facts about the eating habits of Britons and how many calories are consumed on an average with a takeaway meal. According to Tefal’s ActiFryday Report:

  • From a study of the 5 most popular dishes it was found that the nation consumes 12,400 tonnes of saturated fat through takeaway’s alone.
  • Brits eat upto 2900 calories and 161 grams of fat in their most popular takeaway meal.
  • Friday is the most popular day to order.

Not surprising then the survey revealed this shocking statistic –

BRITONS FEAST ON MORE THAN 12,000 TONNES OF SATURATED FAT FROM TAKEAWAYS EACH YEAR

Am sure you are as shocked after reading these statistics as I was. So naturally when Tefal asked me to take on their Actifryday challenge – to swap a typical Friday night takeaway for a healthier alternative –  I was in.

Tefal Actifry XL

Tefal Actifry XL

I decided to give the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe that they sent me a go. Why? Because  I have always been very intrigued by the recpie for Chicken Tikka Masala – a dish that I only ate when I first came to the U.K few years ago. CTM as it is popularly called, is without doubt the nations favourite British-Indian curry. Part of it’s popularity is attributed to the fact that it’s origin is quite disputed and many have staked a claim as to the dish being their own invention. While some believe that it was dish born out of necessity to satiate the British palate’s need to serve chicken in a gravy which can be mopped up with naan or rice, it is also believed that it is a variation of butter chicken. Many also firmly believe that it’s roots like in Mughlai cuisine and it was one of the many culinary inventions that were born to suit the English palate, when the migrant population from post partition India, Pakistan and Bangladesh came into Britain. Of course I was not going to follow the recipe without making some changes of my own. I normally make all my own masala’s and marinades from scratch and all of them can be stored and/ or frozen to be used later. I used half of the tikka masala paste I made  and froze the rest. Find my easy recipe for tikka masala on my blog here.

Tikka Masala Paste

Tikka Masala Paste

Since this is a recipe which aims to reduce the fat content the double cream that normally goes in the curry is replaced by low fat natural yoghurt. Figuring out how to use my new Tefal Actifry XL was not difficult at all and the instruction booklet is quite simple to follow too. Once the removable parts has been hand washed and dried completely , I set about making a Chicken Tikka Masala. Here is my modified version of the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 500g boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 2cm pieces
  • 100g Tikka Masala curry paste
  • 2 pots (150g size) natural low fat yoghurt
  • 1 ActiFry spoon of vegetable Oil
  • 1 Large finely chopped onion and made into a thick paste
  • 390g canned premium chopped tomatoes made into a puree
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 onion gravy flavour pot – I used Knorr
  • 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 150ml of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar – I used a substitute -Natvia
  • 2 teaspoons on lemon juice
  • Salt as per taste
  • a handfull of fresh coriander leaves chopped fine – to garnish

Method:

  1. In a large bowl mix the Tikka Masala paste with 4 tablespoonsof yougurt. Add the chicken in the coat then cover. Leave the marinate in the fridge for atleast 4 hours or ideally overnight – this will ensure the flavours have really seeped in, into the chicken.
  2. Heat oil in ActiFry for 2 minutes. Add the onion paste and cook for 5 minutes. I simply chopped the onion fine in my food processor and sprinkled some water to give it movement and gave it 2 spins at low speed. Result was a thick onion paste which is a much better way to use the onion in this recipe in the Actifry.
  3. Add the marinated Chicken and cook for a another 10 minutes. This ensures that the Actifry is hot enough to bruise the ends of the chicken giving it a similar treatment to what the griddle pan will. But of course the bruising is minimal and cannot be compared to grilling the meat. But this is where the addition of smoked paprika in the chicken tikka paste plays a big role as it works with the chicken and the cooking process to impart a much better smoky effect than without.
  4. In a small glass bowl crush the chicken stock cube, add the onion gravy flavour pot and smoked paprika and pour 2 tbps of hot water. With the back of a spoon mix well until a thick paste is formed.
  5. Add the tomato puree, the mixture with the stock and water cook for another 10 minutes. Add salt to taste but keep in mind that the chicken stock cube contains a lot of salt so taste some of the gravy base before adding additional salt.
  6. Remove the CTM into a bowl and then stir in remaining yoghurt. Then add the sugar and mix well.
  7. Add the lemon juice mix well and top with a handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves.
  8. Serve with steaming hot basmati rice, jeera rice or naan.

If you would like to view the original recipe from Tefal click here. To save time you can purchase the tikka masala paste too.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Both hubby and me were quite satisfied with this low calorie version of CTM and it definitely can hold it’s own in terms of taste. Of course the texture of tandoor grilled chicken tikkas and the unmistakeable creaminess of double cream is missing. But it’s a win -win on 2 very important factors :

  • Saving on unnecessary calories from the grease and oil from a takeaway. Thus eliminating the risk of eating artery clogging saturated fats.
  • Tefal Actifry is easy to use and very easy to cook in. With a little effort and planning it’s not at all difficult to produce a delicious curry – a healthier alternative to your takeaway- at home.

The Tefal ActiFry Express XL is available from John Lewis RRP £249.99.

*With  thanks to Tefal for sending me a Tefal Actifry XL for review. No monetary compensation was offered. No request was made for a positive review.  As usual all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Easy Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

The chill in the air is just right for warming one pot meals. Make them healthy, quick and easy to put together and you have a winner on your hands.Last year at the Cake and Bake show which I attended with a dear friend and fellow blogger ,  I ended up spending a bomb (£££!!!!) on four different sized pots – non – stick being one of their biggest virtues.One of them is a huge wok which I intend to use to make a stir fry over the weekend. The coating is said to last for years and each vessel comes with a glass lid. I can apparently also shove them directly into the oven but haven’t tried that yet. The big and rather saucepan is what I use as my crock pot for making one pot meals in. In fact there is something very comforting watching a warming curry or gorgeously tasty and nutritious one pot meals!

heaven in a saucepan - healthy , happy meals begin here!

Ok so coming back to my one pot recipe. I had a bag of baby spinach leaves in my fridge and was craving a wholesome soupy stew with lots of vegetables. So managed to gather a few things that I think would taste great together and then added in Knorr onion gravy pots and Knorr mixed chilli pot for flavour and the result was so very satisfying.  But the best part was adding in Ras El Hanout a delicious and fiery moroccan and North African fragrant spice mix. The delicate dried rose petals look so pretty , that’s why I decided to name my dish Moroccan Chicken one pot.I also devoured it for lunch today – umm.

 Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

Make this in a large quantity and it will freeze well. Batch cooking is highly recommended as it saves you time and ensures that you do not eat things that you will end up regretting when you are hard pressed for time and simply cannot cook.The freezer is a wonderful boon, use it!

I purchased a beautiful Red Leicester and Pumpkin seed batard to go with my meal – it is soul-satisfying to mop up the thick gravy with the bread while sitting on the couch watching my fav crime show on the telly, feeling all warm and happy.

The best part of this recipe is I haven’t added in potatoes or extra sugar to taste and yet the flavours are so well balanced. (Though both gravy pots do contain sugar) I love stocking up on these tiny Knorr flavour pots they are life-savers!

A recipe with enough spinach to make Popeye jump with joy! Spinach has several health benefits and is known to be a great source of folic acid and several essential vitamins and great levels of iron too. Best part is a big bag of spinach can be consumed in no time as the leaves are high in water content and it reduces in size when cooked.

 Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

Easy Moroccan Chicken one pot

Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: approx 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Mixed bag of broccoli, carrot and cauliflower – 270 gm
  • Chicken thighs – 500 gm – appox 3 big pieces
  • Trimmed green beans – 75 gm
  • Chestnut Mushrooms – 4 – 5
  • 1.5 Knorr onion gravy flavour pot
  • 1 Knorr mixed chillies flavour pot
  • 4 handfulls of spinach leaves
  • Red lentils – without skin and halved 3/4th cup
  • 1/2 tsp of Ras El Hanout
  • 1/2 tsp of roasted cumin powder
  • Water

Method:

  • Remove the skin from the chicken thighs after washing thoroughly under running water.
  • Chop the chicken thighs to make strips of the flesh leaving just enough on the bone.
  • Wash and cut the broccoli, carrots,cauliflower, green beans and chestnut mushrooms bits into bite sized pieces.
  • Slice an onion lengthwise into fine strips.
  • Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and chop into tiny bits.
  • In a large saucepan or stock pot heat olive oil on a medium flame, when the oil becomes to heat up add the finely chopped garlic and saute’ until they turn a golden brown then add in the sliced onion.
  • Stirring occasionally allow the onion to sweat and just when it begins to brown add in the chopped vegetables and saute for half a minute.
  • Then add in the chicken thighs and saute for another minute.
  • Then wash and add the red lentils , add enough water to create a thick gravy – enough to allow the lentils to cook and not soak up all the water. Then add in the Knorr flavour pots and mix well.

Big, beautiful pot of healthy goodness - absolutely irresistible!

  • Then add the washed spinach leaves, cumin powder and cover and cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes.

Gorgeous Bowl of goodness with immunity boosting spinach and delicious veggies

  • By now the lentils will have cooked and the chicken will almost be done too.
  • Then taste the soupy water and if it is too spicy add just a very tiny pinch the Ras El Hanout , I added 1/2 a tsp as the taste reminded me of garam masala. Ras El Hanout is a moroccan mixture of fragrant spices with rose petals and gives the stock pot a gorgeous full bodied flavour.
  • Cook for a further 10-15 minutes on a gentle low flame.
  • Serve in large bowls with a big portion of the pumpkin batard bread.

Moroccan Chicken one pot meal recipe

Have linked up my recipe with the #NoWasteFoodChallenge hosted by the lovely Elizabeth who blogs at Elizabeth’s Diary. Find out all about this challenge in her blog post here.

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Jus-Rol Turkey, Ham and cheese tart

Hello Everyone!

I have been away on a long holiday in Indian for almost four weeks. I got back last week and it has taken my system a few days to throw off the jet-lag completely and my internal thermostat to acclimatise to the massive difference in the weather.But am back now all refreshed and raring to go! So expect a lot of new and fun recipes, LOTS of travel posts and many photographs from my foodie and travel adventures – oh yes not to mention more exciting competitions, fabulous restaurant reviews and events that I will be going to soon – woohoo!

While I was in India I did a fair bit of travelling to Chennai, Pondicherry and shuttling between Mumbai and Pune. So all the resulting fatigue has taken it’s toll too.

Besides have discovered that I do have a fair amount of catching up to do with my blogging as well. hummm

So dinner the day after I landed had had to be a simple affair, because my body clock was still following IST. We decided to make a quick and super easy yet delicious Turkey, Ham and cheese tart using my own recipe. Hubster and me are both big fans of Jus-Rol as it really can save the day when things are crazy busy or plain lazy 😉

I have made a few minor tweaks to the original recipe but other than that it was smooth sailing. Here is my version:

Prep. Time: Less than 10 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
Total Time: 35 mins
Ingredients:
  • 320 gm Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet
  • 2 medium onion peeled & chopped fine
  • 100 gm cooked ham diced
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 3 heaped tbsp Gran Luchito smoked chilli honey
  • 250 gm cooked turkey diced
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 75 gm grated Parmesan Cheese

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan, gently sauté the onion until it is translucent, then add the diced ham and cook on a low flame for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile remove the Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet and allow it to rest while the filling is being prepared.
  2. Add the turkey,season to taste and then add the smoked chilli honey. Stir continuously to ensure the chilli honey does not burn and cook on a gentle, low flame for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Prepare a baking tray by lining with a baking sheet and carefully place the Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet onto the baking sheet.
  4. Preheat oven to 220°C/(200°C for fan assisted ovens)/Gas 7.
  5. Spoon out the turkey and ham mixture onto the baking sheet and sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the mixture.
  6. Bake in the preheated for 20 minutes and serve hot.

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I remember going to buy Jus- Rol at a supermarket two years ago post Christmas and it simply wasn’t available anywhere. Clearly people had been smart and stocked up on this lifesaving fridge fav for all those leftover meals after the big day. And have since then made a mental note to stock up well in advance for future occasions. There have been numerous dinners and surprise tea time treats for unannounced but welcome visitors who have been fed piping hot treats with several hot cuppas thanks to that pastry roll lying in my fridge! So like many of my store  cupboard essentials this is one of my life savers and will almost always be found living in my refrigerator.

I loved this recipe and now am looking forward to more experiments with Jus-Rol .

If you need more inspiration to get creative with Jus-Rol why not check out these gorgeous recipes on the Jus-Rol website ?

*With thanks to Jus-Rol and the  PR team for sending vouchers to buy some samples of Jus-Rol  for review . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Smoky and Spicy Lamb Burgers

Come Summer and I am one happy bunny,more so because I really miss the omnipresent sunshine from back home in Mumbai city! But the one thing I love the most about the British Summer is the amazing BBQ’s we have ! Last years most fun barbie was at our friends place , we OD’ed  on grilled seafood and Pimms – hoping to have a repeat of that this year !

Some friends have a BBQ planned for later this month but I couldn’t wait so got myself some lamb mince and decided to use some fresh mushrooms and add my own twist to the burgers with a bright red smoked sweet red pepper! My trusty old griddle pan at hand , I turned my tiny urban open plan kitchen into a tiny BBQ party venue!

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Perfect time to use up some of the wonderful La Chinata smoked paprika powder.

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Ingredients:

  • 500 gm Lamb Mince
  • 1 bunch of spring onion
  • 1 big sweet red pepper
  • 250 gm button mushrooms
  • 150 gm cherry tomatoes
  • 3  tsp sweet paprika powder La Chinata
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  •  4 tsp coriander powder
  • a large sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chilli oil
  • Salt to taste

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Method:

  • Flame roast the sweet red pepper on a gas flame, if you’re doing a BBQ ,first rub some oil and garlic paste onto it.
  • After it has been roasted and cooled down a bit,peel off the skin and chop fine
  • Chop the mushrooms to tiny bite sized pieces
  • Finely chop the spring onions and cherry tomatoes
  • Wash the lamb mince under a running tap by placing it inside a sieve.
  •  Mix the chopped smoked sweet red pepper, mushrooms,spring onions ,cherry tomatoes,rosemary,chilli flakes,sweet smoked paprika powder from La Chinata and coriander powder,paprika and salt.

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  • Knead all the ingredients into the mixture.
  • Make mini burger patties by taking palm sized portions of this mixture and ty and pat them into roughly round shape.
  • On a griddle pan add some chilli oil and place a few burgers on it. Cook them for a few minutes on one side and them flip and repeat.
  • Serve the cooked lamb burgers inside wholegrain soft burger buns generously lined with butter , a thick slice of cheese, pickles,crunchy salad leaves and doused with ketchup. Or if you’d rather not then eat them plain – I did , served with some grilled button mushrooms and tender shoots of asparagus on which I slathered generous amounts of smoked paprika sweet chilli powder mixed with some oil and garlic paste – pure heaven!

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The sweet smoked paprika powder gives the lamb burgers a definite sweet hot flavour and the others spices combine well with the vegetables.Its also a great way to get fussy eaters to eat veggies hidden in layers of delicious meat and spices. I would have loved to add some boiled green peas too, they would add more bulk and taste too.

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*With thanks to La Chinata for sending samples  for review.No monetary compensation was provided for this post.All views expressed are my own.

 

Spicy Chorizo Pasta with loads of veggie goodness!

I often struggle to get the hubster to consume hero veggies like Broccoli and Mushrooms ,both which I quite frankly love .. always have ! So what started off as a veg pasta was met with a grunt and audible grumbling and had to be re-engineered to create something fabulous ! I am therefore grateful for the grumbling  – totally depends on the end result right? 😉 Its also a very good recipe to use all the veggies lying around in your fridge and many some store cupboard excesses to start that spring clean you have been itching to do ( yes I love cleaning – am quite certain I have a mild OCD too)

Preparation Time: 25 minutes Cooking Time:40 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm Penne
  • 300 gm Chorizo chopped bite size
  • Broccoli a handful
  • Button Mushrooms – half a small packet – std supermarket size-chopped bite size
  • 200 gm Sweet Corn and Red Peppers canned
  • Grated parmesan Cheese – generous amount;)
  • 1/2 of a large Red Onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes pureed
  • Sea salt
  • 2 large tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Chilli flakes as per taste
  • 2 large Spring onion finely chopped
  • 1/4th cup low fat cream
  • Dried italian herb mix for pasta 2 teaspoons

Method:

For the creamy sauce

  • In a saucepan heat one and a half large tablespoon of oil and saute the finely chopped garlic and when it begins to brown add 2 cloves of garlic chopped spring onion and saute for about 1 min
  • Then added the finely chopped broccoli
  • Now add the chopped button mushrooms and the sweet corn and red pepper mixture.
  • Add the cream and cook on a low flame for 2 – 3 minutes,season with salt  and then add generous amounts of cheese.
  • This sauce should have a balance between creamy and chewy with the mushrooms on the broccoli can retain a bit of its crunch so if you use a lid it may overcook

Before starting on the spicy sauce boil the past in a large saucepan and add sea salt and olive  a generous splash I use flavoured oil – the bottle had a large sprig of rosemary some crushed garlic and chilli flakes tossed inside to give it a deep rich flavour- so , so good!

For the Spicy Sauce

  • In a saucepan heat half a tablespoon of oil and fry the red onion chopped lengthwise and 2 garlic cloves finely chopped.
  • Then add the bite  sized pieces of Chorizo and reduce the flame to low.
  • Let the chorizo almost start to get crispy and  then added the pureed tomatoes,dried herb mixture,chilli flakes and salt as per taste.

In a clean bowl add a generous portion of the creamy sauce, top it with cooked pasta and then add the spicy chorizo sauce.Sprinkle with as much cheese as you want and watch it melt into the steaming hot pasta.If you want just a bit of guilty pleasure drizzle some chilli olive oil on the pasta before mixing the whole thing together!

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Chapali Kebab Recipe

Succulent, melt in your mouth meat that is a rich mix of flavours and a popular starter – Kebabs – I love sheekh kebabs the most and close on their heels are Chapali Kebabs. I decided to do a taste experiment and used 500gm of lamb mince or kheema to make Chapali Kebabs using a packet shop bought ready to cook masala mixture and used the remaining 500gm of lamb mince to make the very same kebabs using a mixture of my own spices and homemade garam masala – oh yes I finally got around to making my own Garam Masala (recipe coming up this week with a huge surprise!)

But before I let you in on my easy peasy recipe a ”sliceoff” history behind the dish – oh yes – every great recipe has a story!

The word Chapli derives from the Pashto word Chaprikh which means flat.  It is prepared flat and round and served with naan.Kebab (also kebap or kabab) is a Middle Eastern dish of pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables roasted or grilled on a skewer or spit originating in the Eastern Mediterranean and later adopted in Central Asia and by the regions of the former Mongol Empire and later Ottoman Empire, before spreading worldwide.Indian cuisine is widely influenced by the various rulers and  dynasties that ruled and colonised India at various periods including the British Raj. The Mughal Empire has left a heavy influence on the food,culture and tradition and is deeply woven into the fabric of society to create a new ,beautiful and modern day cuisine that has been adapted,modified to local taste and is now our own. 

In American Englishkebab with no qualification refers to shish kebab (Turkishşiş kebap) cooked on a skewer, whereas in Europe it refers to doner kebab, sliced meat served in a pita. In the Middle East, however, kebab refers to meat that is cooked over or next to flames; large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls. The traditional meat for kebab is lamb, but depending on local tastes and religious prohibitions, other meats may include beefgoatchickenpork or fish. Like other ethnic foods brought by travellers, the kebab has remained a part of everyday cuisine in most of the Eastern Mediterranean and South Asia.

Though traditionally these are kebabs are large and very flat – almost as large as the palm of your hand , I wanted to make a smaller patty , easy to fry and serve as a starter and easy to pop in the mouth while wielding a chilled glass of wine don’t you think?

Ingredients:

  • 500gm of lamb mince or kheema
  • 1 tsp of dried pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tsp freshly crushed ginger
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 heaped tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 1 heaped tsp Cumin powder
  • a handfull of fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 a medium juicy red tomato finely chopped
  • 2 small green chilli finely chopped
  • 3 small eggs
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 heaped tsps of rice flour or corn meal

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl ,crack the eggs and beat lightly, add all the spices and mix with a fork.
  • Then work in the corn flour and then the meat.
  • Ensure any excess water is drained out and then add the finely chopped tomatoes and red onions.
  • Spread a large sheet of kitchen plastic foil on a flat table or kitchen platform and place the flatted patties on it,cover with another sheet and refrigerate.
  • If like me you like in a tiny but expensive urban flat with the an open plan kitchen – read tiny as a birds nest,then probably bets to leave the entire mixture in the bowl,cover and refrigerate for about half an hour.
  • In a kadhai or wok take enough oil for frying and fry them , serve hot with lots of chopped tomato and red onions.
  • Delicious with a fresh green coriander mint chutney or the life saving ketchup 🙂

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References :Wikipedia

Am submitting this recipe to Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior on his blog Cookinwluv

Made with Love Mondays Resized Badge

Chicken and Red Lentil Stew – a complete ONE POT meal (Suran & Red Lentil Stew)

There are times when I really want a hearty meal but don’t have the energy to stand and cook an elaborate meal. Its a times like that I turn to One pot meals, served with a warm baguette it is a filling , healthy and easy and quick to meal option which NO compromise on taste whatsoever! Moreover its home made , has flavour and is a satisfying experience to make .

I had been meaning to try and cook a stew using red lentils (masoor – Marathi for red lentil )for some time , they are my most favourite lentils and I am ALWAYS stocked up on a large 2 kilo pack of dried red lentils split and without skin , from my local Indian grocery shop at Tooting called Dadu’s. Also since all the other fresh ingredients were procured from my local LIDL this dish is GREAT value for money too! Am totally in love with the FRESH fruits and vegetable selection at LIDL right now.I bought some bright red long crunchy sweet peppers, a pack of medium hot chillies, fresh chicken breast fillets, a very cute packet of garlic, mixed pack of cauliflower and broccoli florets and a packet of gorgeous looking Shallots.( I have always wondered why the lentils are called RED when clearly they are a  lovely light orange colour !)

I love inventing a recipe as I go along and when I got my vegetable tray out on Sunday morning I had all these lovely vegetables staring at me and I just threw in what I thought would taste good together and VOILA ! A Steaming hot , thick, wholesome and tasty chicken and red lentil broth was born.

I love having some baby potatoes in stock and they are always handy in a stew , besides being quite the self proclaimed ”queen of curries” I always am well stocked on Indian spices so bay leaves and cinnamon sticks aplenty in my kitchen larder – oh yes

Please don’t feel put off by the ingredient list , trust me they marry well together in the taste department and the end result is well worth your time and effort!

The biggest bonus of this stew recipe is that you can create your OWN vegetarian version by replacing the chicken with Quorn or if you don’t for some reason like or have never tried or have no access to Quorn then try replacing the chicken fillets with  Suran/Elephant Foot Yam, it can be chopped into big chunks and it takes up flavours very easily. But with the yam the cooking time drastically will reduce as it can go from just right and chewy to soft, goeey or totally disappear into the stew ! My aai (mum) always used suran as a meat replacement and marinated it well in the spices we would use for chicken or lamb and made a thick gravy dish with it, when I was younger she has managed to fool me many times over thinking it was mutton 🙂 – Aai I miss you and all the food you cook – sigh…. no India trip in sight anytime soon 😦

(Dangerous though it looks the elephant foot yam is very very tasty! )

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Cross Section:

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Above 2 Images Credit here

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Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time:35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Red Lentils / Massor Dal -3/4th cup
  • Chicken breast mini fillets – 750gm / Comparable Quorn fillets
  • 5-6 baby potatoes
  • 6 shallots approx 200gm
  • 2 large sweet and crunchy pointed Red Peppers – approx 200gm
  • 2 short medium hot chillies
  • 2-3 bay leaves dry
  • red chilli flakes as per taste
  • sea slat as per taste
  • 1 veg stock pot
  • 3 dried red kashmir chillies
  • 1 large roll of cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • handful of Broccoli and Cauliflower florets
  • 2 large tbsp of tomato puree or half of a large tomato finely chopped
  • Red chilli powder
  • Sugar 2 tsp

Method:

  • Wash and soak the red lentil in water to soften them so they cook more quickly then get on with all the other chopping and cutting prep’s.
  • Chop the shallots lengthwise.
  • In a large stew pot or huge saucepan heat the oil and add the bay leaves,cinnamon stick and dry red kashmiri chillies which I have a very big packet of and am trying to finish , they only add colour and no heat so if you don’t have these you can totally leave them out – no harm done here.
  • Now add red chilli powder and sugar and just when the sugar starts to caramelise add the shallots and shallow fry them till they reduce and begin to turn a lovely brown colour.
  • Now add the 2 large tbsp’s  of tomato puree or half of a large tomato finely chopped and stir till it mixes well with the shallots.
  • Add the roughly chopped long red peppers and baby potatoes and saute’ for 2 minutes.
  • Add the washed chicken fillets/suran (elephant yam), soaked red lentils with the water it was soaked in.
  • Add the washed and roughly chopped Broccoli and Cauliflower florets and now add enough water.
  • I did not measure the water I added but add enough to get a nice thick stew , while the ingredients are cooking together on a low flame ,feel free to top up with more water as the lentils easily soak up as much water as you feed it with. Having said that you don’t want to end up with a watery stew so don’t add more than 3/4th cup at one go.
  • Season with sea salt , I love MALDON SEA SALT which I use and I have a few packets ALWAYS stashed away, great n salads it is!
  • Then sprinkle red chilli flakes and gently place a veg stock cube on top on this lovely pot of goodness bubbling away. I prefer the KNORR veg stock cubes , they have a great bouquet of flavour and are very handy at times when am exhausted and need to quickly cook up something tasty!
  • Stir well, cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame.
  • The red lentil will froth as they cook not to worry simply stir now and then and mix well, don’t allow the stew to get too thick we want enough lovely gravy to slurp this stew and dip the baguette into!

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I was so hungry that I didn’t click any photos of my lovely fresh ingredients but it was a brilliantly sunny day yesterday and after this wholesome stew for lunch we had to really force ourselves to go and get some much needed fresh air at Morden Hall Park – I happily left my smartphone behind so photos to share but suffice to say that it was a gorgeous walk through the huge grounds and we saw many happy families ,happy couples and cute old folks and even happier kids and dogs romping around in the muddy park  fun! And because we were so good we treated ourselves to hot tea and a sandwich at a local Turkish Cafe 😉 hehehe

Am very happy and proud of this new original recipe creation from my experimental kitchen. Next time I make this stew I will smoke the sweet and crunchy long red peppers and peel off the skin , to add a deep smoky flavour to the stew and not have the skin floating around – double whammy I say 🙂

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Am linking this recipe to Made with Love Mondays hosted by Mark at his wonderful  blog called  CookinwLuv

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Achari Mutton Curry – Mutton in a rich pickle flavoured curry.

I had tasted Achari Chicken a few years ago when we were all at my bosses house in Pune and one of my buddies who is a trained chef made Achari chicken and roti’s for us in a flash ! It tasted so divine!

When I was to fly to India for an unexpected development when my ma-in-law’s health suddenly went downhill and she was due for an open heart surgery on the 7th of Nov, I had to do something to lift hubby’s spirits and comfort food had to be manufactured. A good afternoon nap after a reasonably heavy meal of mutton curry and rice sounded like just the thing.

Fresh Mutton was procured but I didn’t have any puree’s to marinate them in and then a brainwave happened ! I got out my most treasured bottle of mango pickle made by my sister’s mum in law who is an expert with pickles and makes a minimum of 10 varieties every summer, these are then packed and sent all over the world !!

I really didn’t want to use up all the pickle but for a kilo of mutton I just had to , ah well small scarifies for the larger good I say 🙂

Serves :4

Marination Time :overnight + 30 minutes , more if freezing overnight

Cooking Time: 1.5 hours on hob and 30 minutes in pressure cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo mutton curry pieces
  • 1/2 bottle of mango pickle – about 250 gm of pickle
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of freshly ground ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tub of yogurt – 200gm
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 small red onions
  • 4 heaped teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 3 heaped teaspoons turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small stick of cinnamon
  • 4 heaped teaspoons coriander and cumin mix powder
  • 3 and 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 4 boiled eggs peeled and sliced into halves.

For the Chilli Marinade:

  • 3 green chillies
  • Juices of 1 lime
  • 1 large tablespoon oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon red chilli powder

Method:

  • Wash the mutton pieces thoroughly and then pour the pickle over them and add the ginger garlic paste and mix well such that each piece coats well in the pickle.
  • Ideally I would marinate this mutton overnight to really let these flavours seep deep into the fibers of the meat,also as as mutton curry takes longer to cook than lamb it is necessary to ensure that for full maturity of flavours to develop marination must be for over 5 hours.
  • Cover the meat with a plastic cling film and leave in the refrigerator overnight, do not freeze unless the temperature outside is over 35 deg Celsius as at that temperature if the cooling in the fridge is not good the meat may go bad. If freezing the mutton allow at least 4 hours to totally defrost by first moving from freezer to fridge and then keeping it outside.
  • Pour the yogurt over the marinated meat and mix well,leave aside for 20 minutes
  • Just when you are ready to cook the mutton peel and roughly chop red onions into chunks and also made big pieces of the tomatoes and puree them in the food processor.
  • In a large vessel heat the oil and add a pinch of asafoetida, sautee the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick for about 30 seconds on a medium flame.
  • Then add the  red onion and tomato puree , sautee in the oil ,stirring well and let it simmer on a low flame with 1 cup of water.
  • Add red chilli powder,turmeric powder, coriander and cumin mix powder.
  • Let this cook for about 10 -12 minutes.
  • Now add the marinated mutton and add enough water to make a good amount of gravy , if you are going to use the pressure cooker then add a little extra.
  • Cook on a medium flame for about 1 and a half hour , in a pressure cook give it 8 whistles.
  • Mutton pieces have a lot of fat attached on the sides which also adds to the oil used for cooking hence I have used less oil.I am unable to eat the overtly oily curry which leave a huge layer of oil on the top if allowed to stand.
  • Now for the spicy dip, slit the green or red chillies lengthwise and dip into the oil and red chilli powder mix and add the juice of one lime.
  • When the curry is cooked serve hot on a bed of steaming hot rice with half a boiled egg.For extra flavour bite into the fiery red chilli with the lime-chilli mix.It’s not for the faint hearted though, but if you really do manage to relish the aftertaste of hot chilli you can safely say that you can now eat any fiery dish without breaking a sweat or getting the runs, a sort of baptism by fire food ritual!! One only for only for the brave souls!This powerful blast of heat on the tongue will see your forehead  dotted with beads of sweat.Truly a labour of love.

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The resulting mutton curry is rich in flavour and served hot with fluffy Jeera rice it is such a satisfying and comforting meal. But the best bit is when you leave the balance of this curry overnight , the next day the taste is so much better I’d almost choose left over curry over the fresh 😉

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Highly recommend serving this curry with a cooling curd side dish – half a cup of yogurt mixed with  with sliced red  onions and cucumbers ,seasoned with a pinch of salt , half a spoon of sugar and 1 heaped teaspoon of toasted cumin powder ,garnished with some freshly chopped coriander leaves.I’d wash down the meal  with butter milk or a good glass or two of a full bodied red wine .

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Hot and Spicy Lamb chops in Apple sauce

We all crave comfort food and at times the need is so great nothing else will do. Since I have been making variations of  rice dishes in the past few days I didn’t want to do anymore rice but wanted a light yet rich in taste and spicy one pot meal for dinner.

I also wanted to cook a savoury dish with red meat and use apples as an ingredient to enter the recipe competition for the best apple recipe hosted by Gourmandize Uk and Ireland and making a sweet preparation was not what I wanted at all.

Still taking a leaf from the sweet preparations from apple , I think cinnamon and apple go very well with each other. It’s these well paired fellas that can spice up even the most drab foods.

So I decided to get some lean lamb shanks and marinate them overnight in a hot Indian marinade.

I have tried to tone down the amount of spice here so as to cater to taste buds that don’t take kindly to overpowering spices and yes ”heat” in food shouldn’t mask the other subtle flavours should it? But if your palate is used to heat feel free to AMP you the volume 🙂 I have mentioned by how much the heat can go in the ingredient list to stay with acceptable levels of taste.

Serves:2

For the marinade:

  • 1 green chilli hot (2 green chillies if you handle spice well)
  • 1/2 a bunch of coriander
  • salt to taste
  • red chilli  powder 1 heaped tsp (2 -3 heaped tsp if you can handle the heat!)
  • freshly ground black pepper to dust onto the lamp chops

Wash and clean the lamb chops and marinate for atleast 2 hours, preferably overnight with salt,red chilli powder,black pepper freshly ground and a puree of half a bunch of coriander and one green chilli. Smear the chops well and cover the dish with plastic and leave in the fridge overnight for the flavours to really sink into the meat.

For the sauce

  • 2 cinnamon rolls, the light brown tightly curled ones, not the thick bark variety – more on the difference between the two in a different blog post!
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 apple sweet
  • half a juicy tomato
  • half a bunch of coriander
  • 1/2 red onion sliced lengthwise
  • 2 bunches of spring onions finely chopped

Method:

  • In a saucepan add 2 large tbsp of sunflower oil or vegetable oil, saute’ the finely chopped spring onions,red onion chopped lengthwise with the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and cloves till the red onion turns pink and reduces.
  • Now add the half an apple chopped into bite sized chunks.
  • Saute’ on a low flame for about 1 min and then add a puree of half a bunch or coriander,half a tomato and half an apple.
  • Ensure you do not waste any of the purée and scoop out every last precious drop from the mixer by adding water and pour all of this into the saucepan,stir continuously and as it begins to bubble add the marinated lamb chops.
  • The tomato in the puree and the apple in the puree and the bits in the saucepan should all work to now offset the otherwise hot spices – red chilli powder,black pepper and cloves.

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  • Cook on a low flame for 25-30 minutes or until the lamb chops are cooked well,add just enough water to ensure the sauce is not going dry as we want a thick rich gravy and open the lid in between and give the whole thing a stir to ensure it does not go dry or stick to the saucepan.
  • You now have the most tender and well cooked lamb chops with a thick, well flavoured tasty green sauce.I loved biting into the bits of apple now then which had gone soft and yum during the process of cooking , what an absolute delight!

Serve with warm bread, better still smear some butter and top it off with some finely diced bits of garlic ,pop it in a pre-heated for about 5 minutes and it’s just so good to polish off that thick sauce after you have savoured the lamb ummm !

What I love about this dish is that the recipe is 100% original, it was deeply satisfying experimenting with flavours and reaching a successful outcome and because I cooked it for my birthday lunch for hubs n me it was rather special too. The powerful spice was beautifully balanced by the sweet apple and as they cooked with the meat they lent a unique richness of flavour. It is wonderful to see how we can marry polar opposites in flavours and create something unexpectedly delightful – an absolute pleasure for the taste buds.

Now all I need is a whole lot of luck to win the very coveted prize of a Kenwood Stand Mixer!

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Well the contest is now done, though I didn’t win * sad face* am happy I made something yummy and original 🙂