In case you couldn’t tell, I have a bit of a craving for chillies at the moment. Dragon chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish that definitely delivers on this front and consists of battered chicken stir fried in a spicy chilli sauce. The sauce has a lot of flavour from the garlic, ginger and soy sauce while the dried red chillies deliver a fiery kick. You can adjust the amount of chillies and chilli paste based on your taste. If you like a milder dish, you will want to use significantly less but then you won’t really be making dragon chicken.
This is quite a dry dish. The sauce should be just enough to coat the chicken so if you want more then, by all means, double the sauce ingredients. The chilli paste can be bought readymade but is easily made by soaking dried red chillies in hot water and then grinding to a paste. They give the dish an amazing kick. If you are not a spice fan then this recipe is probably not for you. If however, you can’t get enough of it, read on.
500g Boneless Chicken Breast (cut into thin strips)
Coriander leaves or Spring Onion for garnishing (finely chopped)
Oil for Deep frying
2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground dry red chilli)
1 Egg White
¼ – ½ cup Plain Flour
¼ cup Cornflour
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp Oil
3 Dry Red Chillies
4 Tbsp Cashews, broken into small pieces
1 large Onion, sliced thinly
1 Bell Pepper, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground up dry red chilli)
1 Tbsp Dark Soy sauce
2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
Salt to taste
1 tsp Sugar
Take chicken in a bowl and add all the marination ingredients. Mix well and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Now heat some oil for deep-frying. When the oil is hot drop the chicken in oil and fry till golden. Drain and set aside.
Now heat oil in a frying pan. Add in dry red chilli and cashews and fry till the cashew turn golden brown.
Now add in onions and bell peppers and toss well in the oil.
Add in ginger garlic paste and sauté for a min.
Now add in red chilli paste, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, salt, sugar and mix well.
Cook this for a couple of mins till the water evaporates and sauce thickens.
Now add in the fried chicken and toss well in the sauce. Add in chopped coriander or spring onion and mix well.
Gochugang is a deep red fermented chilli paste that has a nice deep dark flavour (not too much heat, with a little bit of sweetness). It is pretty readily available in Asian grocers and most large supermarkets now.
The sauce is rich and spicy with a hum of garlic and fresh ginger while the drizzle of honey helps to balance the heat and the black sesame seeds and/or peanuts add a nice nutty flavour and crunch. The crispy batter, succulent chicken and deep flavour of the sauce will have you disgracing yourself as you destroy the lot but don’t worry, you won’t be the only one.
If, like Marilyn Monroe and I, you like it hot then add a little gochugaru (Korean chilli powder) to the sauce for extra lip-smacking goodness.
For the spicy Korean bbq sauce:
¼ cup gochugang (Korean Chilli Paste)
5 garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon honey or barley malt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the chicken nuggets:
3 chicken breasts cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
1 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 ¼ cup cold water
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil for frying
1. Preheat oil to 180°C.
2. For the spicy Korean bbq sauce, place all ingredients into a milk pan and whisk together over a gentle heat for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and infuse the garlic and ginger. Set aside.
3. Sift together the flour and cornflour into a mixing bowl. Whisk in water until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
4. Dip each nugget piece into the batter and shake to remove any excess. Carefully drop each battered nugget into the hot oil and fry for 5 to 6 minutes (this will have to be done in batches).
5. Drain onto paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Once all nuggets have been fried, place nuggets back into the fryer and fry a second time (double fry) for 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden brown and crispy. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
6. Pour some of the Korean bbq sauce into a heatproof bowl and thin out with a few drops of water. Add the nuggets and toss together in the sauce to coat them. Transfer them onto a serving plate with a slotted spoon and garnish with black sesame seeds or crushed peanuts and a drizzle of honey or more Korean bbq sauce.
A really simple recipe that uses store cupboard ingredients with a zingy tang from lightly pickled onions.
I have found that some vegan recipes are made up of a lot of specialist ingredients that I have never heard of, cost a fortune and would have to buy a huge quantity of to use one teaspoon of before placing at the back of the cupboard for the rest of eternity. However, I urge you to try these vegan offerings. They are made from simple ingredients, real food and taste delicious. This soup is a case in point.
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
½ tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp smoked paprika
½ tbsp chipotle paste, or to taste
400g can black bean, drained and rinsed
400ml vegetable stock
soured cream, to serve (omit if vegan)
coriander leaves, to serve
tortilla crisps, to serve
To make the lime-pickled onions, combine ½ the lime juice and ½ the onions in a small bowl, and season. Leave to pickle for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and remaining onions, and season. Cook for 8 mins or until the onions are translucent. Add the spices and chipotle purée, cook for 1 min, then add the beans, stock and remaining lime juice. Simmer for 15 mins, then purée in a blender.
Pour the soup into a clean pan to reheat. Serve with a little of the drained pickled onions, topped with a small drizzle of soured cream and some coriander, and the tortillas on the side.
I absolutely love rolling my sleeves up in the kitchen to undertake a big Indian feast. Nothing pleases me more than mixing the fresh spices, toasting and grinding them to create beautiful aromas and tastes. But sometimes, there isn’t always time in the day to get so hands on as less important tasks such as the day job get in the way. That doesn’t mean that a wonderful Indian meal is out of bounds though. With the help of a jar of curry paste, you can whip up a delicious curry in about 15 minutes.
I’d like to urge that this recipe uses a curry PASTE and not a curry SAUCE. Ready made curry sauces are full of sugar and additives and don’t taste anywhere near as good as a freshly prepared curry. Paste, on the other hand, is a perfectly selected blend of freshly ground spices with the addition of ginger and garlic which are immediately preserved in vegetable oil so that the air does not get to them and alter their flavour profile.
3 tablespoons oil
1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons Rogan Josh curry paste (or your choice)
450g raw peeled prawns
50g creamed coconut, roughly chopped
150ml hot water
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the curry paste and fry for a further 2 minutes until it looks like it is splitting from the oil.
Add the prawns to the pan and stir fry over a high heat for 3 minutes until pink. Add the creamed coconut and hot water and stir every now and then until the coconut had melted. Simmer for 1 minute.
Mix the coriander with the red chillies and spring onions. Stir into the prawns and serve immediately.
This is great served with rice and chapatis and even more fresh coriander.
These delicious joints of chicken are crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. They are my idea of perfect sharing food, especially if men and TV are involved. The flavours are clean and simple and the cooking process is easy. I like to serve these fresh from the oven but they are also amazing cold the next day. The green chilli is hot but it is the flavour that is really important here, so scrape out the seeds and cut off the membranes, if you wish, to minimise the heat. You can leave the chilli out altogether if you want and you will still have a fantastic subtly spiced and crispy, succulent treat.
800g chicken joints, skinned and pricked all over
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin powder
4 slices white bread, blitzed into breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
10g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
25g garlic, peeled
24 green chillies, seeds and membranes removed, if wanted
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Blend all the marinade ingredients into a paste and place in a non-metallic bowl. Add the chicken and coat well in the paste. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight. Bring back to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 225°C. Pour the oil into a foil lined roasting tin large enough to accommodate the chicken in one open layer. Place the pan on a high shelf in the oven to heat up for 15 minutes.
Mix the salt, black pepper and cumin powder into the breadcrumbs. Take the chicken out of the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and roll in the spicy crumbs, ensuring an even coating on all sides. Dip into the egg and add a second coating of crumbs.
Place the chicken in the oiled roasting tin and cook for 20 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 200°C, turn the chicken over and cook for another 15–25 minutes (depending on the size of the joints) or until cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges and salad.
A different take on a classic chilli with spiced meatballs in a smokey sauce with creamy, zingy avocado to top, this recipe is a real crowd pleaser.
1 red onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large bell pepper, quartered, deseeded and diced
1 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tsp chipotle chilli paste
300ml reduced-salt chicken stock
400g can cherry tomatoes
400g can black beans or red kidney beans, drained
1 avocado, stoned, peeled and chopped
juice ½ lime
For the meatballs:
500g pack turkey breast mince
50g porridge oats
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
small bunch coriander, chopped, stalks and leaves kept separate
1 tsp rapeseed oil
First make the meatballs. Tip the mince into a bowl, add the oats, spring onions, spices and the coriander stalks then lightly knead the ingredients together until well mixed. Shape into 12 ping-pong- sized balls. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the meatballs and cook, turning them frequently, until golden. Remove from the pan.
Tip the onion and garlic into the pan with the pepper and stir-fry until softened. Stir in the cumin and chilli paste, then pour in the stock. Return the meatballs to the pan and cook, covered, over a low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and beans, and cook, uncovered, for a few minutes more. Toss the avocado chunks in the lime juice and serve the meatballs topped with the avocado and coriander leaves. Serve with rice.
I have a taste for lentils at the moment and teamed with my love of all things Indian, lentil curry seems a great choice. Lentils have a bit of a reputation for being boring and bland but each variety has it’s own subtle flavour and this mix creates a wholesome and earthy taste bought to life with fresh ginger, spices and chillies.
You can serve this as a side dish to a meat curry but it is plenty tasty enough to stand up on its own. It is great served with chapati, roti or paratha.
(Serves 8 as a side dish)
100g black lentils, also known as whole urad dal with skin on
100g mung beans, also known as whole mung dal with skin
100g chana dal, or the inner layer of black chickpeas split in half
100g moth beans
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cm root ginger, peeled and finely sliced
3 tsp hot green chillies, finely chopped
60g unsalted butter
1¾ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
4 tsp garam masala
The night before you want to serve the dal, rinse all four types of dal well then combine them in a heavy-based pan about 25cm in diameter. Pour in 2 litres of water and leave to soak overnight.
The next day, place the pan over a high heat and add the onions, ginger, chilli, butter, salt and turmeric. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer at a gentle bubble for about 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the garam masala, mix thoroughly, cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
For an extra kick, heat some oil in a small pan, add cumin seeds and fry for 10 seconds and then add two whole dried red chillies and fry until they darken. Add to the mixed black dal for extra flavour.