Lamb & Spinach Curry

Lamb & Spinach Curry

I have created a curry monster…! When Hubby first arrived on these shores with his American palate, his spice tolerance was firmly skewed towards all things Mexican.  His first curry confused his tastebuds what with being all spicy but in a way he wasn’t used to, but he soon overcame that and now gets a little grumpy if he goes more than a week without a curry. Which probably explains why I feel like I’ve made a curry every weekend for the last wee while, because the curry monster has been a bit demandy-pants!  

So I’ve been trying out some new recipes, with Hubby as guinea pig, and two are proving to be quite good. There’s a chicken pathia that I’m still working on that is almost there (but not quite!) and then there’s this lamb and spinach one, a particularly great find from the peeps at Olive Magazine.  And since it’s National Curry Week, it seemed like a good time to blog it!

My favourite curries always seem to be lamb ones, that slight gaminess that lamb has just seems to partner perfectly with lovely aromatic Indian spices.  Lamb is even better when you slow cook it for hours, which is the biggest adaptation I made to this recipe, extending the cooking time from an hour to two and a half.  The result is a sweet melt-in-the-mouth lamb that almost falls apart when you stick a fork in it.  And the spinach wilts perfectly into the spicy sauce to add a lovely layer of flavour as well as a bit of texture to the dish.

Another thing to highly recommend this recipe is how easy it is to make, with the help of a food processor to save you time chopping the onions, garlic and ginger.  There’s also no need to skin or deseed the tomatoes (which always takes ages!) as they melt down into a lovely sauce. And if you don’t have any fresh tomatoes to hand (or can’t be arsed dealing with them!) a can of chopped tomatoes will do the job just as well. Honestly, all the hard work is done by the slow cooking, leaving you free to put your feet up and enjoy the lovely aromas coming from the pot or, as in Hubby’s case, be driven mad with hunger by them for the better part of a weekend afternoon!  But don’t take my word for it’s deliciousness, take Hubby’s, who has demanded this curry two weekends in a row and declared it his (new!) favourite 🙂   

Lamb & Spinach Curry
Serves 4
A slow cooked melt-in-the-mouth lamb curry to celebrate National Curry Week.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 min
Stuff you'll need...
  1. thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  2. 3 cloves garlic
  3. 2 onions, roughly chopped
  4. 2 green chillies, deseeded and sliced
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp ground turmeric
  7. 1 tbsp ground cumin
  8. 1 tbsp ground coriander
  9. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  10. 600g lamb neck fillet, cut into bite-sized cubes
  11. 4 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can chopped tomatoes)
  12. 1 tbsp tomato purée
  13. 100g spinach, chopped
  14. 1 lamb stock cube
  15. pinch sugar
  16. Ghee (optional)
Cook!
  1. Throw the ginger, garlic and onions in a food processor and pulse blitz everything until it's somewhere between a liquid and a paste.
  2. Heat about 1 tbsp oil (or ghee) in a stewpot then add the blitzed onion mix, sliced green chillies and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Next, add the spices to the pot and stir well until the spices are mixed throughout the onions, and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add the lamb and keep stirring until the cubes are browned.
  5. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, a pinch of sugar and 2 cups of water, then bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover and cook for at least 2 and a half hours - lamb neck fillet loves slow cooking!
  7. About an hour into cooking, add a lamb stock cube and stir until it's melted into the sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning and add more cayenne if required. If the sauce is looking a bit thin, continue to simmer without a lid to help it thicken up.
  8. Add the spinach for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
Notes
  1. Serve with rice and naan bread.
Adapted from Olive Magazine
Adapted from Olive Magazine
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Light & Spicy Prawn Curry

Light & Spicy Prawn Curry

I have a serious weakness for foodie mags, a serious weakness.  I’ll read them first, usually curled up on the sofa with a nice cup of tea, and hold up every other page to Hubby making “oooh!” noises (bless him for humouring me every time!).  If there’s anything that grabs my attention right away I’ll tear it straight out and try it sooner rather than later. Then I’ll leave the magazine lying around for a couple of months before going through it again and tearing out every recipe I like.  It’s one of the reasons Hubby actually got me to start this blog, to do something with all those torn out recipes that were piling up around us. 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one of those ones that I tore out straight away, from a recent-ish issue of Waitrose’s magazine.  It was the picture that grabbed my attention first, all those plump pink prawns, and then the fact that it was a curry to boot.  I’ve only ever really cooked prawns a few times, for spaghetti dishes, which always felt quite a summery supper to have.  That and Hubby is originally from a landlocked state so was a wee bit wary of seafood, but he seems to have finally come around to it (and how!) so didn’t take much persuading to be fed this, especially when there was curry involved…

The original recipe uses canned tomatoes but we found that substituting V8 juice instead added a whole other layer of spice and flavour, which is then tempered beautifully by the coconut milk.  The curry’s heat is down to how strong your red chilli is so if you want to err on the side of caution then de-seed it before chopping and you can always add a wee bit of chilli powder  while the tomato juice is simmering if you think it needs it – I’ve read that you can cut the tip off a red chilli and place it against your tongue to check its heat but I’ve never been brave enough!

This is a deliciously light and fresh curry which feels perfect for early Spring, comfort food without being heavy.  The mustard and cumin seeds add a lovely fragrant note that is a perfect compliment to the fresh coriander.  Don’t skimp on the seeds, they really do make that much of a difference.  And if this becomes a bit of a regular dish on your dinner roster (like it has on ours already) then you’ll be getting through those wee bottles in next to no time. 🙂

Light & Spicy Prawn Curry
Serves 2
A light, fresh and fragrant curry that's perfect for the warm months!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. Stuff you'll need...!
  2. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  4. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  5. 1 white onion, diced
  6. small bunch of coriander (28g bag), stalks and leaves separated
  7. 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
  8. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  9. 15g fresh ginger, grated
  10. 300ml V8 juice (or canned chopped tomatoes)
  11. 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  12. 300ml coconut milk
  13. 235g raw king prawns, deveined
Prep
  1. The trick to this dish for me is doing all the chopping/crushing/grating/de-veining work before you start cooking. Sorting the prawns takes a bit of time but nobody wants to eat the ‘poop chute’ (sorry!).
  2. The tip of a paring knife works a charm, but I find that a toothpick is even easier to tease out that nasty dark thread. Pop the de-veined prawns into a bowl of ice cold water and then into the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
  3. Then finely chop the coriander stalks, dice the onion, mince the garlic, finely chop the red chilli and grate the ginger (if you freeze your ginger beforehand it makes grating it much easier).
Cook!
  1. Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan over a medium-high heat before adding the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until they start to pop.
  2. Add the onions to the popping seeds and turn the heat down to medium before cooking for a further 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are golden.
  3. Add the finely chopped coriander stalks to the pan with the chilli, garlic and ginger, and cook for another 7 minutes.
  4. Tip in the V8 juice (or canned tomatoes) and season before cooking for 5 minutes, by which time the sauce should have reduced and be a bit paste-like (you should start to see the oil separate). Then stir in the garam masala and the coconut milk, and taste for seasoning.
  5. Pat the prawns dry with kitchen paper and add them to the sauce. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the prawns turn pink.
  6. Serve on rice with a scatter of coriander leaves.
Adapted from Waitrose Kitchen magazine
Adapted from Waitrose Kitchen magazine
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
 
Zanzibar Chicken

Zanzibar Chicken

Wow.  Where did Summer go??  Not that it was much of a Summer all things considered, but I swear I blinked and missed it.  So here we are, looking Autumn in the face, and I’m ready for it to be honest.  More than that I’m looking forward to it!  And here’s why… Autumn is for the return of guilty pleasure TV (Dallas and Downtown Abbey, I’m looking at you!), Hubby snuggles (preferably while indulging in aforementioned guilty pleasure TV), my wardrobe being in season again, and comfort food.  Hello comfort food!  You’re far more fun to blog about than salad!

So I’m back, and I’m going to start off the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with a curry, even if Hubby is arguing that it should kick off with a Shepherd’s Pie 😉  It’s a lighter curry than my usuals, but I love it for that very reason.  That and I keep calling it “Harakiri  Chicken” by accident, which cracks Hubby up no end…

 

This is adapted from another gem of a recipe found in Delicious magazine with a few liberties taken on the ingredients and prepping, but I really didn’t notice a big enough difference in the tasty to warrant the harder work.  That said, there’s still an awful lot of chopping to do, but its worth it because the freshness of the ingredients really shines through.

The key to this recipe is keeping the chicken pieces quite big, NO slicing into bite sized pieces because the smaller they are the quicker they’ll dry out and as we’re leaving this all to cook for half an hour then I wouldn’t cut each thigh into more than 2 pieces, 3 pieces max.  The same holds true if you’re using chicken breasts instead, they’re even more prone to drying out so keep the pieces big.

Zanzibar Chicken
Serves 2
A light and fresh curry that is perfect for when the weather is between season.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. Small knob of butter
  3. 1 pack of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  4. 1 white onion, diced
  5. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  7. 1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  8. 3 vine tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  9. 1 tsp ground coriander
  10. 1 tsp ground cumin
  11. 3 cardomom pods, cracked open
  12. 2 cloves
  13. 1 x 400g coconut milk
  14. Juice of 1 lime
  15. Salt for seasoning
  16. Boiled rice
Cook!
  1. Put the oil and the butter in your pan, or wok, over a medium-high heat and fry the chicken until its browned all over but not cooked through – if you have chicken powder then sprinkle a little over the pieces while they’re browning to really bring out their savoury flavour – and then transfer to a bowl.
  2. In the same pan, add the onion and lower the heat. Soften the onion for 10 minutes, stirring until they are coloured.
  3. Next add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and give them a minute or two to cook down.
  4. Add all of the spices to the onion mix and cook for about a minute.
  5. Next, pour over the coconut milk and add the browned chicken pieces back in. Season well, stir well and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Finally, stir the lime juice through just before you’re ready to serve, then dish up on a steamy bed of white rice.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Lamb Kofta Curry

Lamb Kofta Curry

It’s Spring!  Although last week felt more like summer and next week is meant to feel like winter… but according to the calendar, it is Spring, officially!  So let’s celebrate with some lamb, glorious, lamb 🙂  I really do think it’s my favourite red meat, and not just because roast lamb is an excuse to eat mint sauce… Of all the ways to cook it, though, this is a favourite.

Curry and lamb work so well together, and what I love about this curry is how wonderfully aromatic it is.  And like so many curries, all the hard work is up front, but the meatballs are so deliciously moreish that it’s worth all the prep work, and then some!

The original recipe is from an old and much splattered copy of Delicious.  The version I’m sharing is tried and tested and adapted to make prepping a little lazier, but no less tasty for it.

Lamb Kofta Curry
Serves 4
A glorious and unabashedly aromatic curry that'll win over even those people who don't (usually) eat lamb. There won't be any leftovers!
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You’ll need
  1. 1 tsp ground coriander
  2. 1 tsp ground cumin
  3. 2 tsp ground turmeric
  4. 2 tsp garam masala
  5. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  6. 4 medium onions, finely chopped
  7. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  8. 2 medium-hot red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
  9. 2.5cm fresh ginger, finely grated
  10. 2 tbsp tomato purée
  11. 1 pint/500ml lamb stock, hot
  12. 7.5cm piece cinnamon stick
  13. 6 cloves
  14. 8 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  15. 50g creamed coconut (Bart’s do four individual sachets in a box, which I can highly recommend)
  16. 500g lean lamb mince
  17. 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra leaves to garnish
  18. 1 medium egg, beaten
  19. Sunflower oil for cooking
  20. Salt for seasoning
  21. Boiled rice
  22. 2 dried curry leaves, crumbled (optional)
Prep before you start
  1. Finely chop the onions, mince the garlic and grate your ginger (fifi's top tip - don't forget to use frozen ginger to make grating the stuff so much easier!) Get those CSI gloves on and de-seed and finely chop the red chillies, then remove the gloves carefully and set aside as you’ll need them again later. Measure out your spices into a small bowl – coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne pepper.
Cook!
  1. Heat some oil in the stewpot before adding the onions and garlic, and fry gently for 7-10 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  2. Then add the red chillies, spices and a little salt, and cook gently for another 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off and remove half the fried onion mixture to the mixing bowl and leave it to cool. Leave the other half in the stewpot as this will form the base of your sauce.
  4. While things are cooling, finely chop up the fresh coriander.
  5. Once the fried onion mixture is cool, add the lamb mince, chopped coriander, beaten egg and a little salt into the mixing bowl with it. Get those CSI gloves back on, and then use your hands to mix everything in the bowl together (fifi's top tip - vinyl gloves will save your hands from succumbing to the spices and turning a not very fetching shade of yellow!)
  6. Now, if you want to check the seasoning of the lamb and spice mixture, cook a wee bit in the frying pan and taste. Adjust seasoning if you think it needs it. Once you've made these a few times you may not feel the need, or want, to do this bit. I don’t any more 🙂
  7. Roll the lamb and spice mixture into meatballs, about golf ball sized, and set them onto a baking tray. Once you’ve made them all, pop the tray into the fridge for about half an hour to firm the meatballs up a little.
  8. Take the meatballs out of the fridge and heat some oil in a heavy-based saucepan before frying off the meatballs – it usually takes me about 3 batches as I don’t like to crowd the pan. You just want to seal the meatballs and get a little colour on them, not cook them through. Place the fried off meatballs onto some kitchen roll to blot the worst of the grease.
  9. While you’re frying off the meatballs, it’s time to get the sauce going. Add the ginger, tomato purée, lamb stock, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, coconut (and curry leaves if you’re using them) to the remaining onion chilli spice mix in the stewpot and bring it all up to a gentle simmer.
  10. When all the meatballs are fried off, drop them gently into the simmering sauce. Partially cover with the lid, and then simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring gently every now and then. After this, the sauce should have reduced and thickened a little, and the meatballs should have set.
  11. If you’re planning to freeze and eat later, this is where you should turn the heat off, spoon the lot into a plastic container and leave to cool before putting it in the freezer.
  12. If you’re planning to eat it now (or reheating what you’ve thawed out), put the lid on the stewpot and let it simmer away for another 15-20 minutes. If it’s looking a little watery, I crank the heat right up for a couple of minutes or until sauce is looking more robust.
  13. Serve with boiled rice, and garnish with some fresh coriander. I defy you to leave any meatballs standing…
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Mum’s Epic Beef and Potato Curry

Mum’s Epic Beef and Potato Curry

I thought I’d start with a family favourite, Dad still gets excited if he knows it’s for dinner 🙂 It’s the curry I usually cook for friends, and have been since Uni which is probably when I wheedled the recipe out of Mum.

I’d say this curry is on par with a madras, both for flavour and heat.  I say ‘on par with’ because I’m pretty sure it’s an Anglicised curry rather than an authentic one, and is cheating by using ready made curry paste, but it’s properly delicious and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s most important?

Don’t be put off by the long cooking time.  Not only does it make for meltingly tender chunks of beef, but you do all the work in the afternoon and just leave the curry to do its own thing while you do yours, and come supper time all that’s left to do is dish it up.  Nom!

If you have enough leftover it freezes really well.  Except for the potatoes.  I usually decant those into a bowl with a little sauce and keep them in the fridge to nibble on.  They’re ridiculously moreish cold (I actually prefer them cold to hot!) and I’m lucky if they last 48 hours!  And if you just have sauce left and no meat, or none to speak of, the sauce lends itself really well to being scooped up with a chapati, so still worth freezing and maybe having a lazy Tiffin style lunch one day with some pop in the oven Indian starters.  Moar nom!

Mum's Epic Beef and Potato Curry
Serves 4
A rich and unctuous Madras-inspired curry. A real family favourite!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1lb (500g) cubed stewing steak or skirt
  2. 2 medium white onions, roughly chopped
  3. 5 cloves of garlic
  4. 1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  5. 2-3 tbsp madras curry paste (I recommend Patak’s)
  6. 1 level tsp chilli powder (optional and/or to taste)
  7. 1 beef stock cube/pot
  8. 5 or 6 potatoes that suit boiling
  9. Cooking oil
  10. Boiled white rice (I like Thai fragrant myself!)
  11. Plus Mango chutney if you like it, it’s entirely optional but I can’t eat it without!
Prep before you start
  1. Pop the onions into the food processor and blitz until they are almost pureed. This is the base of the sauce so needs to be almost liquid.
  2. Mince the garlic, and grate the ginger (fifi's top tip - If you freeze the ginger, it grates really really easily and without that fibrous stuff, as well as keeping for longer than if just in the fridge).
Cook!
  1. Heat some oil in the pot, and on a high heat fry off the cubed meat in batches so as not to crowd the pot. Once the meat is browned and sealed, remove to a bowl.
  2. In the same pot, pour in enough cooking oil to entirely cover the base and then some, and turn the heat down to medium/low.
  3. Fry the onions with a sprinkle of salt for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the stock cube, curry paste and chilli powder and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. While you’re on the last 5 minutes, put the kettle on to boil.
  7. Add the steak back into the pot and then add enough boiling water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil before turning the heat down to simmer.
  8. Season, put a lid on it, and leave it for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  9. Just before the 2 hours are up, peel the potatoes and cut them into half (or quarters if they’re large). Once the curry reaches the 2 hour mark pop the potatoes in, put the lid back on, and leave for another 2 hours. Check on it and give it a stir every now and then. Taste and season if needed, and add more chilli powder if there isn’t enough of a kick. Hubby likes to bash the meat down throughout the cooking time, so that it almost collapses and becomes part of the sauce.
  10. This is an oily curry, so expect it to have a slick. If anything, you might need to add a little more oil towards the end to make it have that slightly oily look. If the sauce looks too watery add a little gravy mix – I’ve never done this myself, but my Mum swears by it.
  11. Serve with rice. I highly recommend trying some mango chutney too 😉
Adapted from Mum's recipe
Adapted from Mum's recipe
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/