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/
 
Jambalaya

Jambalaya

My kitchen is a happiest when there’s something spicy going down in it. I actually don’t think there’s much that Hubby and I cook that doesn’t involve some sort of spice, whether it’s of the fragrant variety or the heated.  This delicious recipe is full of both, and while it may look like quite the longest ingredients list don’t be put off by that as you can premix the dry spices ahead of cooking so it really isn’t as complicated as it might look, and the end result is well worth it.

A bit like the questionable authenticity of my Fish Creole, this jambalaya is more “Creole” than Cajun (it’s a tomato, or lack of, thing apparently!) and one of my favourite suppers that Hubby makes.  That said… it’s never quite the same twice because Hubby just can’t leave well enough alone, bless.  So this version is a foodie snapshot of how he makes it now. It’s not quite the way he made it six months ago, and no doubt it won’t be quite the way he makes it six months from now, but it is always delicious no matter how much he tinkers with it 🙂

You can make this with any combo of prawn, chicken, smoked sausage, ham hock or chorizo.  Hubby tends to go with two, three max, one of which is inevitably chorizo – it just adds another layer of flavour that compliments the paprika in the dry spice mix.  Fresh chorizo is okay but it has to be really good quality otherwise dried is better, just remember to peel off the tough outer layer of skin if you’re using dried chorizo before cooking with it.

Hubby eats this with potato salad… for seriously… He swears it’s a recognised accompaniment, and a quick Google seems to back him up, but that’s just one carb too many for me (something Hubby never thought he’d hear me say!).  I like to give mine a good squeeze of lemon all over instead, the sourness is a lovely counter balance to the spiciness of the Jambalaya.

As to why I like this quite as much as I do?  There’s lots of rice, which is always made of win in my book, the flavours are crazy intense, and it reheats really nicely the next day, which is just as well as there’s always tons of leftovers!

Jambalaya
Serves 4
A comforting bowl of rice, creole style, full of spice and all things nice.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 1 red onion, diced
  2. 1 white onion, diced
  3. 1 green pepper, diced
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  5. 2 dried chorizo sausages, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  6. 1 package smoked sausage, cut into bitet-sized pieces
  7. 1 can tomatoes
  8. 2 tbsps tomato ketchup
  9. 2 tsps dark soy
  10. 1 tsp fish sauce, more to taste
  11. a few dashes of Maggi liquid seasoning (optional)
  12. a drizzle of Ketjap manis (optional)
  13. 1 beef stock pot/cube dissolved in 2 pints boiling water
  14. additional water to top up
  15. 1.5 cups long-grain rice
  16. 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  17. 1/2 tsp onion granules
  18. 1/2 tsp thyme
  19. 1/2 tsp oregano
  20. 1/2 tsp chilli powder (mild)
  21. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  22. 1/4 tsp celery salt
  23. 1 tsp ground coriander
  24. 1 tsp heaped smoked sweet paprika
  25. 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  26. salt & pepper to season
  27. Plus oil to cook
  28. Lemon wedges and/or potato salad to serve
Cook!
  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in the stewpot on a medium heat and cook the chorizo until lightly coloured. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Do not drain the oil from the stewpot.
  2. Add a bit more oil to the stewpot and bring back up to medium heat. Add the onions and peppers, lightly salt and stir to coat for about a minute. Turn the heat down and continue to cook gently for about ten minutes, stirring occassionally.
  3. Turn the heat up again and add the smoked sausage to the onion and pepper mix and cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Stir well before adding the tomatoes, dry spice mix, ketchup, soy and fish sauce. Stir again.
  4. Next, tip in the rice and mix well. Cover with the beef stock, stir, and add a bit more water to top up if need be. You don’t want it too wet, but it needs to have enough liquid to cook the rice.
  5. Bring everything to a boil before covering and reducing the heat until you’ve got a low simmer. Leave for 30-45 minutes, stirring after the first ten minutes. You may need to scrape the bottom to free any stuck bits of rice but this is ok, the caramelised bits of rice just add to the flavour mix.
  6. Stir every twenty minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is moist and tender. Serve hot.
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Fish Creole

Fish Creole

I’m not entirely convinced that this recipe is in any way authentically creole, but it is authentically delicious and isn’t that what really matters 😉  It’s also another one of my mum’s recipes that I’ve been cooking since Uni (at least) but I’d always made it with chicken…  Until now!  Mum made us her fish version last month and the whole family were completely converted, so much so that I don’t think I’ll ever make it with chicken again – tasty as that was, with fish it’s even tastier 🙂

This is a properly comforting dish and is perfect for chasing this last lingering bite of winter away.  The warmth of the paprika and chilli just goes so well with the garlicky tomatoey stew, and its heartiness is a perfect contrast to the delicate flakey buttery cod.

Speaking of butter… This is a dish that loves butter, and lots of it.  I’ve tried subbing corn oil in an attempt to make it healthier but ended up with a pale shadow of the real thing, so much so that I’d rather not have it if I can’t go all out on the butter in a James Martin stylee (!)  My compromise, then is to just not make this too often 😉

If you do want to make it with chicken instead then use thighs not breast (so much more flavour!), keep the pieces pretty big and sautee off to seal and brown before cooking in the stew for 30 minutes.

PS – how cute are my little fishy bowls!  They’re actually measuring cups but serving fish in them was too good an opportunity to miss!!

Fish Creole
Serves 2
Cod in a rich, spicy, garlicky tomato stew, comfort food Creole style.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 400g cod fillets (or other firm, white fish)
  2. 1 white onion, sliced (chunky rather than fine)
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 green pepper, cue into vaguely triangular shapes
  5. 1 can chopped tomatoes
  6. 1 tsp paprika (not smokey!)
  7. 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  8. 1 chicken stock cube or pot
  9. pinch of sugar
  10. butter
  11. juice of 1 lemon
  12. white flour
  13. salt and pepper
Cook!
  1. Put a wok, or large saucepan, over a medium-high heat and melt a generous tablespoon of butter until it’s starting to bubble and saute off your onions for a couple of minutes until the edges are starting to brown. Add the green peppers until the skin has blistered a wee bit and then add the garlic and saute for another minute or two, taking care not to let the garlic burn.
  2. Add the tomatoes, spices, chicken stock cube and a generous pinch of sugar. Fill the empty tomato can about a quarter full with water and give it a good swirl to pick up any last bits of tomato, and add.
  3. Now, the measurements I’ve given for the spice is probably a little cautious. That and I’ve long since stopped using actual measures of spice for this dish so don’t actually know what the measures are! Taste and add more parpika and/or chilli to suit.
  4. Leave the tomtoey stew to simmer away for 30 minutes.
  5. When the time’s up, pat the cod fillets on kitchen roll until they’re as dry as you can get them – this stops them from tasting fishy (apparently!) Cut the cod into generous sized chunks, about 2 inches by 2 inches which should hold them together while cooking. Shake some flour onto a dinner plate and season with salt and pepper. Roll your fish chunks in the flour to just coat them, and then lift out with a shake to get rid of any excess flour.
  6. In a frying pan, melt another generous tablespoon of butter and as soon as it starts to bubble lay your fish chunks gently in the pan. Give them 2-3 minutes and then gently turn over. The flour should colour up nicely so that you’ve got some lovely brown bits on the fish. Give the other side 2-3 minutes as well and then move the pieces of fish from the frying pan into the tomatoey stew. Add the lemon juice and then give everything a gentle stir before leaving to simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Add a final tablespoon of butter to give the sauce a lovely glossy sheen, stirring until it melts.
  7. Serve on a bed of fluffy white rice, and try not to think of all that butter… 😉
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Beef & Cauliflower in Oyster Sauce

Beef & Cauliflower in Oyster Sauce

A seasonal recipe!  Cauliflower is very October, which is all the excuse I needed to make this tonight.  I’m sure I must have learnt this from my mum although I can’t actually remember her making it in living memory… Anyway!  Promise you it’s better than its takeaway equivalent 🙂  Don’t be put off by the prep and cook time, mostly it’s time spent leaving stuff to do its thing so is not as heinous as it might look at first glance.

 

Beef & Cauliflower in Oyster Sauce
Serves 4
Better than takeaway, honest!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 1 cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
  2. 1 medium white onion, sliced
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. Rump steak, thinly sliced
  5. Oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee if you can get it)
  6. Oil for cooking
  7. Salt for seasoning
  8. Knorr chicken powder, optional
Marinade stuff…
  1. 1 tbsp oil
  2. 1 tsp cornstarch
  3. pinch of sugar
Prep!
  1. Cut up the cauliflower and put the pieces into a collander, wash thoroughly and leave to dry. Slice the onions, and mince or finely chop the garlic.
  2. In a medium sized bowl (anything bigger than a cereal bowl should be fine) mix the oil, cornstarch and sugar for the marinade. You’re aiming for a consistency like runny honey so add a little more oil if its too thick or a little more cornstarch if its too thin.
  3. Next, slice the rump steak very thinly – a Chinese cheat is to put it in the freezer an hour beforehand – and then add the slices to the marinade bowl and stir well to coat the steak. Leave for 15-30mins.
Cook!
  1. Heat a generous tbsp of oil in the wok over a medium high heat and then add the cauliflower pieces and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes (I like to let the edges singe a little). Season well with salt (and a spinkle of chicken powder if you have any) before adding a cup of water. Put a lid on it and turn the heat right up until all the water has evaporated. When the wok is “dry” again remove the cauliflower to a plate and set aside.
  2. Put the wok back on a medium heat and add about a tbsp of oil. When it’s hot add the sliced onion and stir-fry until they are soft and translucent. Add the minced/chopped garlic and keep it moving about in the oil for about a minute without letting it burn before adding the marinaded steak. Keep moving everything to break up any clumps of steak or onions and to ensure an even stir fry.
  3. As soon as the steak is sealed and browned all over (don’t worry if there are a few bits still pink) tip the cauliflower back into the wok and then add 4-5 good shakes of oyster sauce straight out of the bottle.
  4. Stir to coat everything in the wok well, then add 1/2 to 1 cup of cold water and stir again. The cornstarch in the marinade should thicken the sauce a little as the added water heats up. When the liquid starts to bubble at the edges turn the heat down until the sauce is simmering and leave it for about five minutes.
  5. Serve over fluffy boiled white rice, and devour!
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Chicken, Mushroom & Broccoli Rice Bake

Chicken, Mushroom & Broccoli Rice Bake

Well, as fifi mentioned in her last post, Autumn is right upon our doorstep, and with it comes crisp air, the rich, musty scent of Autumn leaves, and warming food that sticks to your ribs. Count me in!

Being an American, cold-weather food for me will always have to include casseroles, and this is just one of many that I like to foist upon Fi. This one’s a bit different though; a result of a lot of tinkering with combinations, that owes a lot of its influences to Asian flavours, and on paper, doesn’t look like it should work. Trust me, it totally does, and you won’t be sorry to try it. Other Americans may be tempted to cover this with cheese (let’s be honest, it’s the go-to topper for casseroles) but, while tasty, it doesn’t need it at all. This manages to be tasty and fulfilling without needing a lot of heavy cream and the like. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Without further ado, then… time to get cooking!

 

Chicken, Mushroom & Broccoli Rice Bake
Serves 4
A delicious rice bake that is perfect for when the weather starts to turn.
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Ingredients
  1. Stuff you’ll need…
  2. 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  3. 2 medium leeks (one large white/yellow onion works too)
  4. 4-5 large portobello mushrooms
  5. 2 chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs (boneless and skinless all around)
  6. 1 small bottle (20 cl/1 cup) white wine – Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc both really suit this dish.
  7. 150 ml double (heavy) cream
  8. 1/2-1 tsp ketjap manis (or use dark soy sauce and add 1/2 tsp molasses or treacle, and mix well)
  9. 1/2-3/4 tsp Knorr chicken powder (optional, you can crush and fluff a chicken stock cube if you can’t find Chicken Powder)
  10. couple of dashes of Maggi liquid seasoning (optional)
  11. 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  12. salt and pepper to season
  13. 1/2-1 tsp Tarragon (dry or fresh, but remember that fresh will be much more strongly flavoured)
  14. oil or butter for cooking
  15. 1.5 cups of uncooked rice (long grain or Thai jasmine rice both work well, 2:1 ratio water:rice when cooking)
  16. Other stuff you’ll need…
  17. Wok or large frying pan
  18. Saucepan
  19. Shallow casserole dish or high sided baking tray
  20. Rice cooker (Cooks rice perfect every time. If you don’t have one, you can cook it in a covered saucepan on stove top).
Prep!
  1. First things first, get your rice on. It’ll take about 45 minutes to cook through, in the measures given, which gives you plenty of time to get the prep done.
  2. Pop the broccoli florets into a saucepan, and set them aside for now.
  3. Next, finely slice your leeks (or onion), peel your mushrooms of their thick outer skin and remove the stems before cutting into slices, and cut your chicken into bite sized pieces.
Cook!
  1. On a medium flame, heat a wok or large frying pan before adding oil/butter (or drizzle a little oil over the butter, which will give you the best flavour while preventing the butter from burning). Now add the leeks/onions and season with salt (this, again, helps to stop them burning) before frying gently for 4-5 minutes, or until tender.
  2. When the leeks/onions are cooked, add a bit more butter, and then add the sliced mushrooms. Season these with a little more salt (this helps to get the moisture out) and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. In the meantime, put the kettle on and preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  4. Retrieve your saucepan of broccoli florets and sprinkle on 1/2-3/4 tsp chicken powder (optional), 1tsp fishsauce and a splash of dark soy. From the kettle, add just less than 1/3 cup of hot water (the water doesn’t need to have just boiled). Cover, and steam, covered, on high heat for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. While the broccoli is cooking, go back to the leek and mushroom mixture and add the wine to it before turning the heat up to medium/high. Reduce the liquid right down, until its about a quarter of the original volume. Stir now and again while it’s reducing down.
  6. When the wine has reduced down, lower your heat to medium and add the chicken to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.
  7. By this time, the broccoli should have cooked for approximately 5 minutes, in which case turn the heat off but leave the lid on to steam cook the last of the hardcore crunch out.
  8. Back to the wok, and season the chicken, leek/onion, mushroom and wine mixture with black pepper and approximately 1/2-1 tsp of tarragon, or to taste. Then add the double cream and stir everything in. Cook for an additional 2 minutes on a low heat before tipping in the broccoli, liquid and all. Add about 1/2-1 tsp of ketjup manis and a few dashes of maggi seasoning (optional) and stir the lot gently before turning the heat off completely.
  9. Now add the cooked rice to the wok, and stir until the rice is evenly coated with everything. Ideally, you want the rice to be a bit wet with the sauce rather than bone dry, so you may not need to use all of the cooked rice.
  10. At this point, transfer the rice mixture into a shallow casserole dish or a high side baking tray and use the back of a wooden spoon to spread it out to an even thickness. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 12-14 minutes. I find that covering the dish with foil helps to prevent it from drying out, and cooks it through more quickly.
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