Balinese Fish & Potato Curry (Kari Ikan)

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Capture 04/09/2017

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.

Ingredients:

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)

Method:

  1. Set the rice to cook.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca

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Brazilian-Fish-Stew_680px_4 (2) 23/04/2017

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.

Ingredients:

Fish:

  • 3-4 salmon fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Broth:

  • 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

Finishes:

  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. For the fish: Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium.
  5. 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.
  6. Stir through lime juice.
  7. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.

Zesty Chicken Tacos with Guacamole and Roast Vegetable Salsa

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IMG_20150321_190101[1] 21/03/2015

I have included a recipe for homemade corn tortillas using masa harina which is a bit tricky to come by in the UK but is available in some international grocers or online. The flavour from this very fine cornmeal is unrivalled by anything you can buy in the shop and is totally worth a little extra effort. You can of course use shop bought tortillas – corn or flour – if you prefer.

The vegetables in the salsa are grilled to char them before blending which gives a sweetness to the onions and garlic and a deep flavour to the tomatoes.

Then there is the guacamole with creamy avocado and fresh citrus flavours. Splodged on top of zesty, spicy, smoky pulled chicken, what more do you need?

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the corn tortillas:

(Makes 12-24 depending on how generous you are)

  • 150g/5½oz masa harina
  • pinch salt
  • 100ml/3½fl oz cold water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a smooth dough is achieved. (If it’s too sticky add a little more masa harina, or, if it’s too dry, add a drop more water.)
  2. Divide the dough into 24 balls. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  3. Flatten the balls of dough with your hands – alternatively, use a tortilla press or roll them between two layers of cling film. Flatten to approximately 3mm thick.
  4. To cook the tortillas, lightly oil a flat griddle pan or frying pan and place over a hot heat.
  5. Cook the tortillas for approximately one minute on each side, or until lightly coloured.
  6. Cover in foil or with a damp towel until ready to serve.

IMG_20150321_185225[1]

Ingredients:

For the spicy shredded chicken:

  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 limes, zest and juice only
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin removed

For the roasted tomato salsa:

  • 6 tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 fat red or green chillies
  • 2 tsp chipotle chilli paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small bunch coriander
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • salt and pepper

For the guacamole:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 3 tbsp soured cream
  • ½ lime, zest and juice
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • salt and pepper

To serve (optional):

  • soured cream
  • Monterey Jack or strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • spring onions, finely chopped
  • fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh green salad

Method for the fillings:

  1. For the spicy shredded chicken, preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients and the lime juice and zest to a bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. Pat dry the chicken thighs using kitchen paper and then place the chicken thighs into the bowl and coat in the spice mix.
  4. Leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour. Remove the chicken from the bowl, place the coated thighs on a foil lined baking tray and cook for 35 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile make the roasted tomato salsa. Preheat the grill to high. Place the tomatoes, red onion wedges, chillies and garlic onto a baking tray. Lightly brush with oil.
  6. Place under the hot grill and cook until the tomato skins are blackened, approximately 10 minutes.
  7. Place all the charred ingredients into a food processor with the chipotle paste, coriander and lime juice. Pulse until a chunky consistency is achieved. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
  8. For the guacamole, cut the avocados in half and remove the stone. Remove the flesh from the skin and roughly chop.
  9. Place in a bowl and lightly crush using a fork. Add the soured cream, lemon and lime juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
  10. For the spicy shredded chicken, once the chicken is cooked set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred.                                                                                             IMG_20150318_220321[1]
  11. To serve, simply place a dollop of whichever fillings you desire (I recommend a bit of everything… yolo) into your corn tortilla and apply to face!

Thai Green Curry Meatballs

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IMG_20150308_154819[1] 10/03/2015

This recipe takes a little while to come together but is totally worth the effort. The fresh, zesty paste is better than anything you will get shop bought and the addition of such flavours as ginger and fish sauce to the meatballs really adds zing while the lemon juice will break down the proteins in the pork for a meltingly tender meatball.

I left the seeds in all the chillies used in this dish and be warned, these meatballs pack some punch so consider removing the seeds if you don’t like spice but with the freshness from the lemongrass and the creaminess from the coconut sauce, the heat is great!

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

Thai green curry paste:

  • 2 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cumin
  • 2 green chillies, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 medium stalks of lemongrass, finely sliced
  • 1″ chunk of galangal or ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 3 medium shallots, chopped
  • Zest of 1 small lime
  • 8 whole black peppercorn (or equivalent amount of ground black pepper)
  • 2 tsp of Thai shrimp paste
  • 2 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp of finely minced kaffir lime leaves (about 2 leaves)
  • 1 tsp of yellow mustard
  • 165ml can of coconut milk

This is quite a runny paste because of the amount of coconut milk used. I have increased the amount of coconut milk as I am using a blender to create a upper smooth paste and the liquid content helps to mix and break down the tougher fibres of the lemongrass and galangal.

To make the curry paste:  Dry-toast ground coriander and ground cumin in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, approx 1 min.  Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smoothly pureed.  You may need to stop the blender and press down the ingredients a few times to get it going.  Store the curry paste in an air-tight container in the fridge until needed.

Meatballs:

  • 200g of minced pork
  • 2 tbsp of finely chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp of cornflour
  • 2 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper

To cook the curry:

  • 1 quantity Thai green curry paste
  • 6 – 7 kaffir lime leaves, torn slightly by hand
  • 2 Thai green chillies, chopped
  • 165ml can of coconut milk
  • 200ml of water, approx
  • 1-2 tsp of grated palm sugar or dark brown sugar
  • More fish sauce to adjust seasoning
  • 1 handful of Thai basil or coriander leaves
  • Green beans, peas (optional)

Method:

To prepare the meatballs: Mix the pork mince, chopped coriander, grated ginger, lemon juice, cornflour, fish sauce, ground coriander and ground white pepper together.  Divide and shape the mixture into 8 meatballs then brown the meatballs in a frying pan with a teaspoon of rapeseed oil until golden all over.

To make the green curry:  In the same frying pan or a wok, heat and stir the green curry paste over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, until the moisture evaporates a little.  This process might splatter a bit, so you might want to cover the pan/wok partially with a lid. The mixture will brown slightly be careful not to let it burn.  Add 3 kaffir lime leaves and green chilli, and cook for another minute, then add coconut milk and water.

Add the browned meatballs into the pan/wok with 1 tsp of palm sugar (or dark brown sugar) and 2 tsp of fish sauce.  Turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. If the sauce has thickened too much just add a little more water. Adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce and sugar if needed.  Add green beans or peas if using and cook for 5 more minutes. Add 1 handful of Thai basil and let it wilt. If you cannot find Thai basil you could sprinkle with coriander leaves instead. Serve immediately with hot steamed jasmine rice or rice noodles.