The Spice Traveller explores Great Britain’s culture and cuisine

Crab Kasoori Methi  – sounds intriguing right?  If that piqued your interest then there’s lots more in store in the creative repertoire of Celebrity Indian chef Saransh Goila who’s food and travel show aptly titled The Spice traveller debuted on his YouTube channel last week . For the uninitiated Saransh Goila won the hearts of millions of fans when he won the  Food Food Maha Challenge which was hosted by Sanjeev Kapoor ( a chef he has watched on tv  in his formative years & greatly admires! ) and Madhuri Dixit ( Bollywood super start, mommy to 2 and possibly the most graceful dancer Hindi films have had in the 90’s !) . He then went to host the TV show Roti Rasta aur India on Food Food channel where he travelled 20,000 km of India by road in 100 days  – exploring local flavours and cooking feats for a lucky few along the way.

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First of its kind , India’s youngest celebrity Chef Saransh Goila’s digital food travelogue show is a 20 part series where the celebrity chef travels across England and Scotland exploring  beautiful travels destinations , local food and culture . He attempts to change perceptions about how people travel across England and Scotland and what they normally except to eat while they discover new destinations. Goila’s  1000 km journey take him to exotic locations around Cotswolds, Yorkshire, Edinburgh and Fife where he cooks up finger licking fusion cuisine.

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Chef Saransh at Kellie Castle –  Fife

 

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Chef Saransh making cheese in Yorkshire

Saransh also managed to throw in exciting experiences including cider making ,also pretending to be ‘Alice in wonderland’ for a day at what he described as a the best cream tea party ever , took over the reins of a Michelin starred kitchen , spent a day at a trout farm in Yorkshire and fell hook ,line and sinker in love with fishing – while learning all there is to  about fly-fishing and Rainbow trout !

 

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 Chef enjoyed some amazing  cream tea and warm scones with clotted cream and jam  polished off with fresh British strawberries!

And while he was cooking , travelling and making exciting cocktails at the Virgin Atlantic  bar in the air at 35,000 ft, he also managed to get a designer kilt made and ermmm pose  🙂

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Chef Saransh in a pensive mood , maybe his day out in Scotland left him enamoured with the Scottish Highlands!

So throw away all those musty old travel guides and  hop onto an exciting culinary journey through English and Scottish countryside with Chef Saransh !

And what better place to start that journey than in the city I have fallen madly in love with – London city ! Watch the second episode of The Spice Traveller as he explores multi cultural London  – learns to make Britian’s favourite Fish-n-Chips with Chef Micheal Brown at Fishworks @FishWorks , discovers a resturant that serves 100% vegetariane food in the heart fo Central London , cooks up England’s favourite curry  – Chicken Tikka Masala in the kitchen at Cinnamon in Soho – @cinnamonsoho , explores the sights and sounds of Covent Garden and wanders the beautiful street markets of London city !

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Don’t forget to leave comments after you watch the YouTube video!

Chef Goila’s 1000 km has only just begun and you have lots more episodes to look forward to and exciting contests to participate in too!

So fasten your seats belts, as VisitBritain  – @VisitBritain and Virgin Atlantic Airways – @VirginAtlantic in partnernership with One Digital Entertainment and Zenga TV.com – @ZengaTVMedia take you on fabulous journey – no passport or air ticket required for this one folks!

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Hungry for more ? Watch this space for an exclusive interview with the charming Chef – COMING SOON!

Disclaimer: With Thanks to Chef Saransh Gola for a sharing his fabulous culinary adventures with us ! Why not subscribe to his YouTube channel to continue watching the adventures of The Spice Traveller and watch the Chef cook delicious dishes?!

All images are courtesy Chef Saransh – Please do not reproduce without seeking prior written permission , feel free to share with due credit.

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Dinner at The Brasserie , Tower Guoman – a review

On the day of the Mens Singles Final when Djokovic won  the match against Roger Federer ,I had an invite to go dine with a few fellow bloggers at The Brasserie at the Tower Guoman. I must admit the match was so engaging that I was glued to the tv and only in the game that I was just to nervous to watch so I dragged myself out and kept pestering a dear friend of mine in whatsapp till she gave me updates of almost every move on the court …. I was hoping that Djokovic would win and also hoping that the match would end before I hopped onto the tube and lost network… Lets just say that all invisible divine forces were with Djokovic ( and me )that day coupled with his awesome performance, just as I was about to get into the tube… there it was..,… message I was hoping to see on whatsapp…. ‘He won’… which led to a very comical impromptu gig on the staircase by me watched by bemused passers by…heck a good win deserves a dance ..at least ! Bonus points to all those who also watched this match to oogle at Boris Becker …teehee

After that I needed a refreshing drink and just as I was settling in the beautiful area  just outside the Guoman, an open air bar  and siping my cocktail gazing up the Tower Bridge was perfect. Chilled Prosecco, Cocktails and Mocktails flowed while we chatted up with the manager who also had dinner with us later .Meeting my friends after Food Blogger Connect was fun and camera lens choices, food photography ,the Wimbledon final results and the stunning view dominated our conversation. Before long the rain decided to play spoil sport and we were ushered inside to our huge table at The Brasserie.

I took the seat the far end of the end but the view from any where inside is just as brilliant , it’s the first time I was so close to the Tower Bridge and you can be guaranteed you will have the best seats in town at The Brasserie with superb views of Butlers wharf thrown in.

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The table was neatly laid out with our special menu for the evening there and fresh bread , warm and just out of the oven with 3 different dips arrived.

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Our rustic bread selection with truffle oil and olive oil.

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To go with our Rustic Bread selection we had the smoked paprika dip – the bright orange one and my fav of the 3, one with chives in the middle and a plain one which I found a tad too salty.

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I choose to have the Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tart to start off my meal with – it sounded very appetising – Tomato olive salsa,balsamic reduction,pine nut,sekura cress – hummm yes please.

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The thin crisp  pastry base was not one bit soggy or eggy, the grilled Manchego cheese ( a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the manchega breed) tasted great in combination with summery veggies like asparagus and grilled peppers and the salsa was very good ,I loved the taste of the olives and hints of fennel, the cress made the whole dish so fresh not just to look at but to taste too.

The Head chef Kamaldeep Singh (left) and his colleague decided to take us through the process of how the new menu was created , the origin of ingredients and basically make us hungry for more!

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Madeleine seated next to me choose the other option as her first course :Peppercorn Cured Beef Carpaccio – Manchego cheese , home cured tomatoes,charred artichokes,mizuna and micro cress. I was avoiding red meat that so was very happy to photograph her dish and ask how it tasted but equally satisfied with my light tart.

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The carpaccio was hammered thin and artichokes placed over – it looked great, to find out in her Madeleine’s own words what she thought of her dish go check out  her review here.Very happy with my first course, I expected the second course to deliver and impress me a bit more. Must say my Pan-Fried Fillet of Sea Bass served with diver scallop,caper crushed potatoes,mixed bean salsa and ‘sauce vierge’  did not fail to do so. It looked amazing and I had to photograph it from various angles – we food bloggers!

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But  this was simply delicious and worthy of praise for more reasons than one – made using farmed sea bass responsibly sourced scallops, a lighter than most sauces that usually accompany a fish main the scallop sat one a delicious pea puree and cream base.

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The mixed bean salsa tasted great with the morish caper crushed potato, the cress balancing off the dish in a subtle way.Nayna my vegetarian food blogger friend chose to have the Spinach and Ricotta Raviolli made with heirloom tomato salsa and served with freshly made basil cream sauce , to read her views go onto her blog here.Our first wine of the evening accompanied the first course , Vidal sauvignon blanc from New Zealand , aromas of gooseberry, passionfruit and guava lead into a palate that exudes tropical and passion fruit flavours.

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After that very satisfying sea food dish ,we moved onto the next course , I stayed away from red meat again and the Garden pea,mint and pecorino cheese risotto was fabulous for me , I love my rice and many a times I really need some to complete my meal and make it me feel full, maybe a psychological thing but coming from the coastal side of western India ,fish curry and rice is our most staple everyday far.One of the staff members asked me where I was from and when I said Mumbai, pat came the next question which I was sort of expecting – was the sea bass as good as the Pomfret, well no! For me pomfret is the king of  all fishes on this planet – but its a matter of what taste one has grown up with and our method of cooking is also so very different. But yes Sea Bass , Salmon and Basa are my favorite buys,best eaten fresh on the day of purchase ,hate frozen fish,tastes muddy and weird in curries especially.

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The  pecorino cheese added a subtle tangy taste to this very morish and filling risotto, its easy to get this dish so wrong because often the seemingly easier to make dishes are the toughest to produce to perfection . I am a great fan of the risotto that my elder sister hubby makes , he is a trained chef but now a very busy and senior marketing head honcho so it’s very rarely that we meet and even more rarely that I get to eat the risotto he makes. Ah sweet nostalgic family moments, only truly good food can bring on such an attack for me.. 🙂

By now the light had really faded and my risotto photo and all that follow look terrible!

I must admit Madeleine was very kind and allowed me to have a taste of burnt celeriac which I loved with some of the calvados sauce I scooped it off her plate with from her Confit of Gloucestershire Pork Belly. She enjoyed  my cheesy risotto too.

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The 14 hour low heat cooked pork belly looked so very appetising, the burnt celeriac adding to the earthiness of this dish,the cinnamon compliments the pork  and the savoy cabbage and compressed apple give it a tart almost tangy twist on the side. This was washed down with several glasses of a full bodied Chilean Merlot – Errazuriz , almost opulent with notes of berry and cassis fruit.

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It’s at this point that I slipped into blissful food coma and saw this beautiful rainbow emerge right in front of my eyes… the photo does no justice to the what we actually saw…

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That is us at the table – L- R – Bintu who blogs at Recipes from a pantry, Nicki who blogs at Baking Beardy,seated opposite her is Fiona who writes an award-winning blog – London Unattached,Nayna – who blogs at  Simply Sensational Food her other blog is Citrus ,Spice and all things Nice, and the lovely Madeline who blogs at Kitchen Journeys and documents heart healthy recipes at From the Healthy Heart.

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Was too full by now and the dessert platter served with a large shot of margarita in shot glass lined by sugar , managed to cut the sweet taste that was bound to settle on the palate after cheesecake ,a panna cotta that failed to impress because I was expecting the usual wobble and a refreshing pista flavoured ice cream  – my fav from the selection.

As we strolled out for an impromptu photo session and gazed happily at the beautiful Tower Bridge,I couldn’t help but wonder that though the exterior of  the Tower Guoman leaves one wanting the view of two world Heritage Sites – Tower Bridge and the Tower of London certainly makes up for it!A massive refurbishment project is on the cards too.A few more plus points include a convenient location within easy reach of the financial district, Canary Wharf, the Excel Centre, London City Airport, historic Greenwich, the West End and Westfield Shopping Centre. Also the newly launched menu at The Brasserie definitely warrants a visit. The menu is bold and one where the chefs have really gone the extra mile to hope that if they try ambitiously to achieve the Zero Mile Ingredient mark and grow their own herbs fresh on the terrace garden which is to come alive very soon!

The staff was very polite, genuinely attentive and ensured we had a great evening.

*With  thanks to The Tower Guoman for the invitation. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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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Chai Concentrate

Its been a very hectic year and I was really looking forward to a festive break. In the run up to Christmas I was gifted some really tempting edible gifts. I then took to Pintrest to find something that called out to me and ask me to make go make it ! I found a beautiful photograph of Chai Concentrate here . It was an easy to prepare recipe and so I started to get all the ingredients together and wasn’t able to get my hands on orange pekoe tea bags so I decided to make a few modifications of my own.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 5 English breakfast tea – tea bags
  • 5 mulled wine spice  bags
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 9 cardamom pods split open and the seeds powdered
  • 8 coriander seeds or 1/4th tbsp of ground coriander powder
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 vanilla bean sliced in half
  • 1.5 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 inch piece of ginger,skinned n cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns

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Method:

  • In a large sauce pan bring the water to boil and reduce the heat to a minimum
  • Add the spices, tea bags,orange zest and ginger and cover with lid and let it simmer for 25 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes take the saucepan off the flame and let it stand for 10 -15 minutes.
  • Then add the honey and stir it in along with all the beautiful spices which have steeped in well into the mixture.
  • Let this cool completely , the  strain the chai concentrate through a large sieve lined with a fresh cheesecloth. The spices are to be discarded.
  • Add the strained chai concentrate into clean glass bottles.
  • Decorate the glass bottles with pretty tape and add a small name tag with a bit of coil.
  • This mixture stays for 2 weeks in the fridge and can be had as hot winter drink with 1/3rd parts concentrate and top it off with hot milk, it also is good with a glass of cold milk and ice with a dollop of honey stirred in!
  • I loved the idea that the chai concentrate can be added into cookie dough for an extra zing – I am going to try that soon!

After making this gift I feel so good inside that I have taken an extra effort to actually create something unique, I think am going to make a habit out it and make delicious little treats for birthdays and anniversaries too! 

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Red Lentil Soup

I tried to write this blog post some time after ma came home from hospital but things were a bit topsy turvy but here it is now!

Sometime in November in India…..

”My ma’s bff’s have been pampering her a lot and have been a bunch of real sweethearts. Last week AM got her some heartwarming veg soup among some other goodies. All the medications have killed ma’s taste buds and her appetite to an extent so this soup was a wonderful new bouquet of mild but delicious flavours for her. AM has agreed to share some of her other recipes as well including one which helped her the first prize in a cooking contest ! Whoopies! How I love all of ma’s buddies – all such passionate foodies 😉

Ok so here’s how you can create this Masoor dal or Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentil dal
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 a potato boil
  • Salt as per taste
  • Pepper to garnish
  • 1/2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • Few whole cloves/lavang
  • 1 cinnamon stick/dalchini
  • Water as required
  • some unsalted butter to slather an accompanying slice of toasted brown bread

Method:

  • In a vessel add the lentils and roughly chopped onion ,tomato and potato(peeled and roughly chopped) and add enough water to soak them.
  • Boil the red lentil ,onion ,tomato and potato in a cooker. Give it 3 whistles
  • After the steam releases from the cooker  and the lid comes off easily, allow the mixture to cool down completely.
  • Puree in mixer/food processor , add some more water to adjust to a soup lile consistency and garnish with salt n pepper.
  • In a saucepan add 1/2 a tsp of ghee /clarified butter ,on a medium heat ,add dalchini/ cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves/lavang.
  • Reduce the heat to a minimum and now the tadka is ready, carefully pour the puree from the food processor/mixer into the clarified butter and spice tadka as it may sputter.
  • Serve the soup hot with a lightly buttered slice of brown bread ideally with unsalted butter.”

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I am entering this delicious and healthy Red Lentil Soup recipe into one of my favourite foodie link up’s hosted by Jacqueline Meldrum of Tinned Toms and Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen aka Food and Spice alternatively. It’s easy peasy just go to Lisa’s blog as she is the host for May 2015 and add in your recipe post to the linky , then link to both Lisa and Jaq’s blogs as I have done and add the No Croutons logo to your post, all done! Any Salad or soup will do but only one post per blogger , also watch our for the round -up done after the 28th of each month.

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Pomegranate Chicken Curry using Chobani Yogurt

For my next recipe using Chobani Yogurt, I made a spicy chicken curry  main dish, the curry can be made less spicy as per taste by reducing the quantity of red chilli powder and garam masala used.

I have used Chobani Pomegranate Yogurt as it lends a subtle but noticeable tangy twist on the palate.

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 35 minutes including the chopping and slaving bit

You will need:

  • 4 chicken breast fillets chopped into chunks which are curry pieces, yet not totally bite sized.
  • 2 large tablespoons Chobani Pomegranate yogurt
  • 1 large green chilli chopped into big pieces
  • 1 large red spicy red chilli chopped into big pieces
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2  heaped tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • A pinch of Pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 small red onions finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp fresh ginger garlic paste

Method:

  • Heat a sauce on a medium flame and add 2 large tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • Sautee the chopped onions and the ginger garlic paste till the onion changes colour
  • Then add the chicken pieces and reduce the flame , when the chicken changes colour reduce the flame to the bare minimum and stir in the Pomegranate favoured Chobani yogurt. Do this before the chicken begins to cook to run juices as at that stage the yogurt will not be able to lend it flavours to the cooked meat.
  • Then add in this order the red chilli powder, the chopped red and green chillies, the garam masala and the pepper powder, mix well and stir ,then add enough water for the chicken to cook and to allow for some thick gravy . Add just enough or else much will dilute the whole curry and make it will become one big mess- just in case it does, take a deep breath and add 2 small completely boiled or 1 medium-sized potato mashed well into the curry ,it will soak up the excess water but then one needs to adjust the salt and red chilli proportion as well.
  • Now add the salt and mix well. Adding salt before the rest of the ingredients somehow alters taste to a large extent. Cook the chicken on a low flame with lid on checking occasionally and stirring as well. Yes one needs to fawn over the pot like one would over a pesky but adorable toddler. Humm, well now this should cook fairly quickly, check by jabbing a piece of chicken with a blunt knife.
  • I choose to serve this Pomegranate Chicken with boiled basmati rice cooked with garden fresh green peas.
  • Serve with some red onion by the side and freshly chopped coriander (cilantro) for that fresh and tasty garnish.
  • Serving suggestion – serve with boiled basmati peas pilaf/pulav/poolav lightly flavoured with cinnamon and bay leaves – again made with just a tiny drop of oil to sautee the bay leaf and cumin seeds.So good ummm

Chobani Pomegranate

 

 

 

Pomegranate Chicken - Chobani

Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice

The first time I ate jerk Chick was at a pop up Caribbean food stall near Haymarket Station, it was served with some tasty rice with red kidney beans and the most deliciously sweet plantain. Ever since I have been waiting to experiment and make this spicy chicken at home. Please resist the temptation of using a jerk sauce out of a bottle, it’s almost a crime because in the recipe I used from the BBC Good Food guide,it makes preparing the marinade a thing of joy. Not only will you learn how each ingredient lends its individual flavour but you van learn how to adjust the ”heat” in this amazing marinade. An advance warning, if you have sensitive skin PLEASE use gloves to marinate the chicken as Scotch Bonnet peppers are PACKED with heat. Ensure you THOROUGHLY wash your hands after you handle these ”hot babies” too! Humm now for the recipe, it’s essentially what was in the original but of course I have added my own touches and I think they make quite an impact 🙂 so read on folks. Prep Time: 45 minutes. Plus overnight marination for chicken in marinade Ingredients for Jerk Chicken:

  • 12 chicken thighs with bone
  • 1 big gralic sliced through the middle to go in the oven
  • 2 lemons halved to go in the baking tray
  • 1 pair of clean gloves if you have sensitive skin – to marinate the chicken

For the Jerk marinade:

  • 4 Garlic Cloves de-skinned
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bunch fresh spring onion roughly chopped
  • 1 piece ginger size that fits inside your closed fist, washed,skinned and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme – I had none so I used 1 tbsp of Mixed Italian herb powder
  • 3 scotch bonnet chillies, de-seeded if you cannot handle very spicy
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil – I used sunflower
  • 4 heaped tbsp brown sugar – I used dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice powder
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method

  • Blitz all the ingredients for the marinade in the mixer/food processor/blender and make a thick paste, do not add water as far as possible to ensure a thick puree like grainy paste
  • wash and dekin the chicken thighs and make cuts using a knife
  • Then generously apply the marinade paste all over rubbing into the cuts made to ensure the flavour really seaps into the chicken.
  • Marinate overnight in the fridge.Cover vessel with cling film.
  • Keep about 2 tbsp marinade aside for adding in the baking tray.
  • When you are ready to prepare the chicken pre-heat the oven to 180 – 200 C , I have a fan oven.
  • Prepare the baking tray by greasing with some oil ,place the marinated chicken pieces and surround them with the lime slices and place the garlic halved.
  • Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
  • When the chicken is in the oven start with the rice

Ingredients for the Coconut Rice with Peas:

  • 200g Basmati Rice
  • 400g Coconut Milk can
  • 1 bunch fresh spirng onion finely chopped
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 large cloves of garlic skinned and chopped very fine
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 200g green peas

Method:

  • Wash the Basmati rice under cold running tap water
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, add the washed rice and coconut milk, chopped spring onions,thyme,garlic chopped and all spice
  • Add 300ml water ,mix and add salt to season.
  • Cook with lid on a medium flame till water begins to boil
  • Stir with a wooden spatula and then add the green peas
  • Reduce flame and do not cover completely, leave a bit of space for the steam to pass.
  • Cook until done.

Jerk Chicken & Coconut Rice with Peas

All though the recipe I followed uses red kidney beans since I was already using them in my Caribbean Sweet Mini Pepper Salad , I choose green peas for my Coconut Rice. I made my own home made replacement for allspice powder too , it’s very easy and I intend to make it fresh each time I need instead of the store bought one, simply because its so quick and fun to make! Actually allspice is a spice by itself but it tastes similar to a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. According to an article I found about allspice on About.com: ”Allspice is a spice made from the dried berries of a plant known as Pimenta dioica. A member of the pimento family, allspice is used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines, among others.  The flavor of allspice is similar to . Allspice can be used to flavor desserts as well as savory dishes.  Allspice can be used in ground form or whole. Whole allspice berries are sometimes used in pickling and brining.

Also Known As:

  • Jamaican pepper
  • Newspice ”

My Home made version of all-Spice Powder recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaped tbsp Cinnamon powder or if you have a cinnamon stick take one abt the half as tall as your thumb.
  • 1 small tbsp pepper powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp of cloves
  • 1 full nutmeg grated

Method:

  • In a pestle and mortar mix the ingredients and grate the nutmeg into it.
  • Then smash together to makes a grainy powder.
  • Some bits of the clove you may not be able to grind fine, I wouldn’t worry about it unless you want a fine powder then the smallest attachment on your mixer. I have an Indian mixer which I use for my coconut chutneys and it has 3 jars I used the one with 3 blades .Or else just use the pestle and mortar it should work.
  • Store away the remaining home made allspice replacement powder in a tiny air tight container.

A note about the brown sugar vs. dark muscovado sugar

Dark Muscovado sugar is the unrefined form of brown sugar ,its stickier ,heavier,has a longer shelf life than refined sugars and adds a more intense flavour to marinades and since it is stable at high temperatures is great for baking.If you do not have brown sugar its ok to replace it with dark Muscovado sugar. Although as the water content dark muscovado holds is higher one should accordingly taper the use of water in the recipe.

Brown sugar is white sugar and molasses and hence the colour and soft texture. It has the light and dark brown sugar varieties and the lighter it is the milder the flavour.

Muscovado,White & Light Brown Sugar

I am linking this post to the Flavours of the Caribbean event, run by Simply.Food and guest hosted by The Spicy Pear.

Prawn Khichadi (Pulav/Pilaf/Poolav)

This is NOT just a  recipe,it’s a Family Heirloom passed down from generations and cooked with great relish by my mother-in-law and her mum who is now 82 years old and still can stir up a some to-die-for finger licking dishes !

But before I start off rattling the ingredient list , a ”slice” of some history about the origin of this rice and prawn union.Coastal cuisine in the western Indian state of Maharashtra relished by the Maharahstrian community relies heavily on the use of all versions of the coconut , the most potent form being as part of the goda masala. This and of course the abundant availability fresh sea food has given birth to many delicacies many of which most are age-old like this dish.

It’s also my prized comfort food and guarantees a great Sunday afternoon nap 🙂 and will ensure your crowned kitchen queen and master chef of all things nice hehehehe

Ok here goes, the ingredient list – This dish serves 2 adults for 2 meals with 2 generous helpings each and leftovers for the next day.

  1. Prawns or Koolambi as they are called in Marathi – 500gm
  2. Plain rice – I use basmati , I use 2.5 cup measures of my rice cooker measure
  3. Bay leaves -3-4
  4. ”Goda” Masala
  5. Tumeric Powder
  6. Red Chilli powder
  7. Half a slice
  8. Cooking Oil
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Ginger and Garlic Paste
  11. Wet coconut grated and make a fine puree with it – the wet coconut is available as a frozen product at any Indian Grocery store – use about a handful.
  12. Two Large red onions finely sliced
  13. Cinnamon (Dalchini)- 3-4 large bits
  14. Few cloves
  15. Green Masala – Use a bunch or coriander and 2 green chillies and give them a spin in the mixer , store this fine paste in the freezer and use as and when needed, it’s one of the most basic marination masala’s in most Maharashtrian non veg dishes especially sea food.

Method:

  1. On a pan on low heat saute one finely chopped onion and the fresh wet grated coconut till the onions starts to caramelise, after this cools give it a spin in the mixer and make a fine paste.
  2. Marinate the washed rice in some the above wet grated coconut and onion paste,some goda masala, a squeeze of half of a lime,salt ,ginger & garlic paste and some Cinnamon. Keep Aside.
  3. De-vein Prawns , wash under tap water and marinate with red chilli powder,turmeric and green masala.
  4. Take oil in a vessel and saute the marinated prawns for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Heat Oil in a vessel big enough to cook the rice and prawns together that will hold the water as well , add the cloves , remaining cinnamon and one very finely chopped red onion, add the marinated rice and stir it , do this on a low flame .
  6. Then add the marinated prawns and water , for rice dishes water is always double the measure of the rice used so for 2.5 cup measures of rice use 5 cups of water.
  7. Cover and cook on a low flame.
  8. Serve piping hot with curd or pickle .
  9. I generally serve this with a spicy Curry.

Spicy Curry

In a pan heat some oil and add asafoetida one pinch , add puree of 2-3 large red onions and one tomato and puree of 1 handful of wet grated coconut , season with red chilli powder , turmeric,salt, green masala, goda masala and cook on a low flame with enough water to ensure a thick curry , Amp up the red chilli powder and green masala to your level of tolerance of spicy food !

Do let me know via comments if any of you made this dish and what you though of the recipe !

P.S: Forgive the poor image quality , I have a Simple Canon Camera which I am unable to use too well  and add to that the total lack of any photography skills but well the food   tasted awesome :), that’s what counts right , hehhe!

Update in 2013

A few days after I published this recipe ,A gifted me my first DSLR Camera – a shiny new Canon 600DS and I’ve been clicking away like a happy bunny ever since 🙂

To my absolute delight he helped me add a new lens to my kit and gifted me a 50mm f 1.8 lens this year on my birthday.It’s great for close up food shots and true to it’s reviews it works well in low light conditions.

Here’s an example:

The image below is from my kit lens where am struggling to fit everything in frame and focus on the prawns, I have sharpened the image,adjusted light and cropped it using Picasa 3.

Ingredients for Prawn Khichadi with old lends

 

Now see the difference in the image below, I love how the prawns are in sharp focus and how am able to easily adjust and fit everything in the viewfinder.I have adjusted light and sharpened the image very slightly, I am truly pleased with the results 🙂

prawn khichadi with new lens

bay leaves n cinnamon in pan

prawns sautee with khichadi spices

 

prawn khichadi plated n styled

 

To learn Food Photography and hone your skills ,why not join in the Bloggers Buzz Photography Club? I have been to two sessions and there’s a celebrity blogger to give expert advice after each session for the assignment. It’s a fun learning experience! Click here for details!