I made this as part of a vegan Indian feast for my brother who has an insatiable appetite and a shit recipe repertoire. This results in some gigantic mounds of instant mash flavoured with various dehydrated soup sachets or if you’re lucky, gravy granules. The fact that he was sat tucking into something I’d rather grout tiles with didn’t sit right with me so I took over his kitchen one day to show him how easy and delicious actual cooking can be. This recipe was by far both of our favourites and if you try it, I’m sure it will be yours too.
Baby aubergines are stuffed with a coconut and peanut spice mix and simmered slowly in a velvety sauce in a pan until meltingly soft. It is worth making the effort to seek out baby aubergines from an Indian grocers as they take less time to cook and you get a good ratio of filling to aubergine.
10-12 baby aubergines
60g desiccated or freshly grated coconut
120g roasted unsalted peanuts
40g fresh coriander
8 cloves garlic
1 green chili
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
½ – 1 carton passata
Cut each aubergine in half lengthways, but don’t cut through the stem. Roll each one over and cut lengthways again, still keeping the stem intact.
Put a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, toast the coconut and peanuts for 2-3 minutes, until the coconut is starting to brown. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Put the coriander, garlic, green chilli, tomato puree, coriander, turmeric and salt into a food processor, along with the cooled peanuts and coconut. Pulse until coarsely ground to a grainy paste. Add a little peanut butter to help it bind if you need but not too much.
Open each aubergine out like a flower and fill with the coconut mixture, using your hands. Roll the aubergine over, open and stuff again then press closed. Save any leftover stuffing to add it to the pan later when you cook the aubergines.
Next, put the oil into the frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion and fry until golden and soft. Add the remaining filling and ½ a carton of passata. Stir to combine and allow the sauce to bubble for a few minutes. Add the aubergines and a splash of water, turn the heat up high and cook for a couple of minutes, then put the lid on and turn the heat down. Cook for 10 minutes, then gently turn the aubergines and add a splash of water if they’re looking dry. Cook for a further 20 minutes, or until nice and tender. Serve with cucumber and mint raita, or with a salad, some yogurt and chapattis.
Vibrant and flavourful and full of healthy ingredients, this dish will take you to a warm and sunny place. Once you have the ingredients in order, it’s surprisingly quick. The flavours that set this dish apart are kefir lime leaves and fresh turmeric root, blended right into the curry paste. I really recommend tracking down these ingredients from an Asian supermarket as the flavours are so fresh and full. Once you have the flavourful base made, you can use whatever fish you like. The Balinese commonly use swordfish but I used cod loin with fantastic results.
For the paste:
2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger (skin on)
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric – thinly sliced – skin on ( or sub 2 teaspoons ground)
2 x 5 inch sticks lemongrass, thinly sliced into disks
3 garlic cloves
1 green chilli (this will be mild)
5 kefir lime leaves
For the curry:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups water
8-10 ounces baby potatoes, cut in half
1 can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 lime- juice
sambal oelek, or chili paste or chili flakes for additional heat
10 -12 ounces white fish – (I used cod loin. You could use tilapia, halibut, sword fish)
1 cup peas, sugarsnap peas, green beans, pak choy ( veggies that can cook in 1-2 minutes)
Garnish with lime wedge, crispy shallots, fresh mint, basil, spring onions and/or fresh coriander
Serve over Thai jasmine rice (it’s nice to toss a couple of kefir lime leaves in with the cooking rice for a beautiful aroma)
Set the rice to cook.
Place the thinly sliced ginger, lemongrass, shallot and turmeric in the food processor. Add the jalapeño, garlic, and lime leaves. Pulse until it becomes a paste, scraping down sides if necessary.
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. When hot, add fragrant paste and stir constantly until it browns lightly, about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 cups water, give a stir, bring to a boil. Add potatoes, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove the lid, and reduce the liquid just a little, letting it simmer uncovered for a few minutes. Add coconut milk, salt, fish sauce and the juice from one small lime. Taste. Remember this will go over the rice, so the flavours will mellow. Add chili paste or flakes for more heat.
Place the fish into the coconut sauce and simmer gently for 5 more minutes. Toss in the spring peas, snap peas or green beans and cook for just a minute or two, keeping them vibrant and snappy.
Serve over rice with a lime wedge, crispy shallots, fresh mint, basil, coriander and/or spring onions.
A traditional Brazilian dish of fish and bell peppers (capsicum) in a delicately flavoured coconut base broth, this stew really is quite unique.
I made this after being inspired by a visit to a Brazilian restaurant where they carved copious amounts of tender meat onto your plate quicker than you could eat it. I was in heaven. While the selection of meat was absolutely beautiful, what stood out for me most was the ‘salad bar’ that was on offer. There was a variety of Brazilian delicacies ranging from lentil salads, herb and garlic roast potatoes, black bean stew, rices, pastas, salsas, olives, garlic mushrooms, fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other things including moqueca. The spices were subtle but flavourful and the fish was welcome change from the heavy going grilled meats. I cooked up a batch for the family the day after and it was a total success.
This is actually quite refreshing rather than rich and heavy. In addition to coconut milk, the broth has in it canned tomatoes, lime juice, paprika and cumin powder. The paprika and cumin flavour is subtle, and to me, the standout is the lime flavour which cuts through the richness of the coconut milk.
The broth is quite refreshing and not too rich, unlike many strong flavoured, rich coconut based curries. I made this just using fish but it is also made as a seafood stew with prawns and calamari.
3-4 salmon fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
1 tbsp lime juice
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large red bell pepper, halved and sliced
1 tsp each of cumin and coriander powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ tsp salt
200ml coconut milk
400g can chopped tomatoes
100ml fish or chicken broth
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
For the fish: Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
For the broth: Heat a large pan over a medium high and add 1½ tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 1½ minutes or until the onion is starting to become translucent.
Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium.
Add the salmon chunks, stir to coat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the salmon is tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Yes, it’s that time of year again! Everyone has eaten way too much and there is still more turkey than you know what to do with but have no fear. If in doubt, chuck it in a curry! Not just any old boring curry though, a vibrant Sri Lankan curry with creamy coconut, tangy lime and tomato and freshly ground spices for a flavour punch.
2 Tbsps groundnut oil
A pinch of cinnamon
10 green cardamom pods, cracked open
3 bay leaves
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
50g peeled root ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp medium Sri Lankan curry powder (see recipe below)
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 x 230g tin plum tomatoes
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
3 green chillies, seeds removed, sliced
2-3 Tbsps coconut yoghurt
500g cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
1 Tbsp lime juice
fresh coriander, to finish
Sri Lankan Curry Powder
One of the characteristics of Sri Lankan cuisine is their preference for freshly prepared curry powders rather than pastes. The roasted curry powder is predominantly used in meat and fish dishes.
1 Tbsp uncooked white rice
50g coriander seeds
25g cumin seeds
25g fennel seeds
5cm cinnamon stick
1 ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp cardamom seeds (from about 10 green pods)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 dried red Kashmiri chillies
Heat a dry, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the rice ad shake the grains around for about 3 minutes until medium brown in colour. Tip the rice into a bowl and leave to cool while you do the same to the spices and then to the dried chillies. Mix the rice, spice and chillies together and grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Store in a screw top jar and use within 3 months.
For the Curry:
Heat a large, deep heavy-based frying pan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves and leave them to become fragrant for a few seconds. Remove them and grind in a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
Add the oil then the onions and bay leaves to the pan and fry them gently for 5 minutes until soft and golden. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute, then add the curry powder, chilli powder and turmeric and fry gently for another minute.
Add the tomatoes (crushing the plum tomatoes with your hand as you add them), coconut milk, green chillies and a little salt. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Uncover, add the coconut yoghurt and the cooked turkey, recover and simmer for 5 minutes until piping hot. Stir in the lime juice and serve sprinkled with coriander.
A fragrant lamb kofta curry recipe that won’t need hours on the stove. Make it as mild or spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chillies in the recipe. Sadly, my lack of photography and presentation skills does not do this justice but the taste is beautifully fragrant, aromatic and deep.
For the meatballs:
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
A few sprigs fresh mint, finel chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
3cm fresh ginger, grated
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
400g lamb mince
For the curry sauce:
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
400g tin cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsps natural coconut yogurt
Fresh coriander, to serve
Lime wedges to serve
Toast the fennel seeds and coriander seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in a pestle and mortar then add to a bowl with all the other meatball ingredients. Mix all the meatball ingredients together with your hands. Season and roll into balls then chill until needed.
In a little oil, fry the onion, fresh ginger, garlic, garam masala and ground turmeric for 5 minutes. Stir in the tin of tomatoes and a splash of water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir through the natural coconut yogurt and serve with coriander, lime wedges, steamed rice and extra yogurt.