Coconut Vegetable Curry

Go Nuts for Coconuts…

As a mother of two, I am always finding ways to make haste in the kitchen. I am always on the quest for quick recipes, which are easy to make and equally tasty and nutritious. It’s hard to imagine but such recipes do exist!

Today’s recipe is a good way to introduce your little people to curry and vegetables. My boys adore this dish and will happily eat thirds too. It combines the warm earthiness of garam masala with the coastal flavours of coconut. What makes this recipe fuss free is that you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. My meat lovers, you could add chicken or fish or prawns to this dish, either way it’s lip smackingly delicious.

Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves : 4

    One small cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
    Two potatoes, cut into bite size cubes
    Two carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
    One red capsicum, roughly sliced
    Handful of green beans, roughly chopped
    One cup of green peas
    One onion, finely sliced
    Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
    One thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
    One heaped teaspoon of garam masala
    Half teaspoon of turmeric
    One medium size cinnamon stick
    One bay leaf
    800 ml of light coconut milk
    Salt to season
    Four tablespoons of vegetable oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cinnamon stick, followed by onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic and onion is translucent.

Now add the vegetables and dry spices, except bay leaf. Mix well.

Add coconut milk, bay leaf and season with salt to taste. Simmer the curry on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve with steamed rice or savoury flatbread or simply eat it as a soup. So moorish, so tasty

Hyderabadi Baigan 

When memories create meals, they are one of a kind…

  

Many things in life are easy to forget but one seldom forgets a delicious dish. One such dish I found myself recently reminiscing about and relentlessly craving was Hyberabadi Baigan, also known as Bhagare Baigan. An eggplant curry inspired by flavours from Hyderabad, a former princely state in the southern belt of India.

Hyderabadi cuisine has evolved over centuries through local and foreign influences. The key ingredients of Hyderabadi cuisine are coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. While the cuisine is more meat based, you can also find some real vegetarian gems in the mix.

Here’s my take on this Hyderabadi classic. To be enjoyed with parathas or rice,  every mouthful is lip smackingly delicious.

  

Ingredients: 15  Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 1.5 dozen of baby eggplants, quartered and soaking in water 
  • One medium-sized onion, sliced
  • Two medium tomatoes, quartered 
  • 200 gms of peanuts, roasted
  • 400 ml of coconut milk 
  • Six to eight curry leaves
  • One lemon sized tamarind ball or juice of one lemon
  • One bay large bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Half teaspoon chilli powder 
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Three tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying the eggplants.
  • Salt to season 
  • One teaspoon sugar

For tempering (optional)

  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Six to eight curry leaves

Begin by pan frying the quartered eggplants until they slightly change colour and are soft. Keep aside.

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To make the sauce, heat oil in a kadahi or a heavy based pot. If you can’t find mustard oil you can use vegetable oil, ghee or olive oil.

Once the oil is aromatic add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves. When the spices splutter and are aromatic add sliced onions. Cook until onions are slightly caramelised.

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Now add roasted peanuts and mix well. Cook onion and peanuts for about five to seven minutes. Then add the tomatoes and dried spices. Mix well. 

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While the tomatoes soften, soak the tamarind ball in quarter cup hot water. Once soft squeeze the pulp and strain the juice. If you don’t have tamarind you can also use juice of one lemon. Add the tamarind  juice, one teaspoon of sugar and two cups of water to the tomato mix. 

Give the ingredients a good stir. Once it comes to a boil turn the gas off and let the gravy cool. Then blend until smooth. Finally add coconut milk to the gravy, season with salt and cover the pot and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat.

  
Now the gravy is ready for the eggplants. Drop eggplants gently into the gravy. Let the gravy simmer again for 10 to 15 minutes so the eggplants soak in all the flavour.

 

Last step is to add the tadka or temper the gravy with aromatic flavours of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Heat ghee in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once they splutter and are aromatic add to the curry and mix well to infuse the flavours.

Your lip smackingly delicious Hyderabadi Baigan are ready to be served. 

  

Sweet potato and lentil soup 

The soup season is here…

  

Today I don’t really have a story and nor did I attempt any artistic photos last night while making this pot of healthy goodness. What I do have is a cracker of a soup recipe!

Imagine your kitchen coming to life with the alluring aromas of cinnamon, garam masala and bayleaves. This soup packs a punch in the flavour department and will most certainly kick the butt of any cold or related ailments the onset of winter may bring with it.

  

Even my husband who dislikes curry based soups (yeah go figure, loves curry but not curry flavoured soups) went back for seconds. SammyK totally demolished his soup bowl and let out a ferocious victory growl as all that pepper tickled his throat. Yes sir! We are a family that loves our herbs and spices.

So without further ado here’s the recipe for this beauty.

Ingredients: 15   Cooking time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

  • One sweet potato, peeled and cubed 
  • 250 gms of split green lentils
  • 400ml of light coconut milk
  • One small lemon
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • A thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Two bayleaves
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon pepper
  • Half teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season 
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil
  • Four tablespoons of yogurt (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat oil in a crockpot. Add cinnamon stick. Once aromatic add onions and grated ginger. Cook until onion is translucent. Now add sweet potatoes and mix well.

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Now add the lentils, garam masala, pepper, chilli flakes (leave some for garnish), bay leaves. Mix well till all the ingredients are coated with the spices. Then about a litre of water or vegetable stock. Cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes. 

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Now add juice of half a lemon, mix well. Finally add coconut milk. Give the pot a real good stir and let the soup simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes on low heat. To finish off the soup mash the lentils and sweet potatoes. This way it has some texture but is mostly rich and creamy. Scoop some soup out for the little ones prior to seasoning with salt.

For the garnish add four tablespoons of yogurt in a bowl. Mix about a teaspoon of lemon juice. For the next garnish hear two tablespoons of olive oil. Add quarter teaspoon of chilli flakes. Once aromatic turn off the heat. 

Serve this lip smackingly delicious soup with a dollop of lemon yogurt, a drizzle of chilli oil and sprinklings of fresh parsley.

  

Vegetarian Laksa

No more take away Laksa…

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Wow! the past four weeks have been such a roller coaster. New baby, crazy hormones, house full of family. Everyday feels like a surprise test, but thank God I love a good challenge. This lets me take everyday in my stride and keep me sane. Fortunately I have been blessed with some wonderful support from my family, which allows me to make time to do things I really enjoy, cooking being one of them. Every opportunity I get I sneak into my kitchen, ransack my fridge and try to whip up some lip smackingly delicious treats for my family. I know they say mum should sleep when bubs sleeps, but this mumma here loves to cook, eat and blog!!!

Recently for dinner I craved something spicy, soupy, with oodles of flavour and packed with a truck load of veggies. After a thorough fridge and pantry inspection I found the following – Tom Yum paste, curry powder, vermicelli noodles, coconut milk and assorted vegetables. This was only going to go one way, a cruise through South East Asia with a tasty bowl of Laksa. 

Although Laksa hails from Malaysia, it is a confluence of flavours from China, Thailand and Indonesia. My recipe today has a bit of twist, instead of Laksa paste, I have used Tom Yum paste. Traditionally one would not use Tom Yum paste in a laksa! However the ingredients that go into making Tom Yum paste particularly lemongrass and galangal make this paste a good choice when making a laksa. Particularly if you are time poor or just lazy and can’t be bothered making your own laksa paste from scratch. Although if you can’t find Tom Yum paste you can use Thai red curry paste or laksa paste too!

So without further ado find the list of ingredients below and the recipe too.

Ingredients: 16   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 200 gms of hokkien noodles
  • 200 gms of vermicelli noodles
  • 450 ml of coconut milk
  • 750 ml of vegetable/chicken stock
  • One heaped tom yum paste
  • Two tablespoons of curry powder (I used Clives of India Curry Powder)
  • One teaspoon of chilli powder
  • Two medium cinnamon sticks
  • Two to three kaffir lime leaves
  • One tablespoon of palm sugar
  • One medium brown onion, sliced
  • Two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Assorted vegetables (I used bok choi, carrots, mushrooms, snow peas) 
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons of vegetable oil

Heat oil in a wok. Add sliced onions and cook until translucent. Now add the grated ginger, cook until aromatic.

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Add Tom Yum paste, stir well and cook until the oil surfaces on the top. Now add curry powder, chilli powder and stir well again. Cook on a low heat for another two to three minutes.

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Time to add the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Followed by cinnamon sticks, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar and lemon juice. The lemon juice was my secret twist, it cuts through the richness of coconut milk and gives the dish a great flavour. Now lower to the heat, cover the wok with a lid and simmer the gravy for 10 to 15 minutes.

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The gravy is now ready. Add the sliced vegetables, give the gravy a good stir and let it simmer for another five to seven minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender. While the gravy is simmering cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

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Your laksa is ready to serve. Place the noodles in a bowl and scoop the lip smackingly delicious gravy and vegetables on top. Garnish with fresh coriander and crispy shallots. Serve warm and enjoy the heartwarming goodness of this beautiful dish.

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Spicy Coconut Egg Curry

Spice up your life…

You would have noticed the recent round of recipes has had a flavour of the subcontinent, they show my love for Indian food and the ease with which these lip smackingly delicious curries can be made. The flavours are so distinct and robust one simply can’t have enough.

I have previously showcased an egg curry recipe, it can be found here. However today’s spicy coconut egg curry is very different to the previous one. It is inspired by southern Indian flavours of curry leaves, mustard seeds and delicately flavoured coconut. The curry has a dash of spice, the chilli uplifts it to a whole new level.

You can devour this curry with light, flaky savoury parathas (recipe can be found here) or simply on a bed of steamed basmati rice. 

Ingredients: 11   Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Four eggs, hard-boiled
  • One onion, chopped
  • Two tomatoes, chopped
  • 400 ml light coconut milk
  • Four-five green chillies, chopped
  • Six-eight curry leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons oil ( I used mustard oil)

Heat oil in a saucepan, I use mustard oil which really enhances the flavour of the curry. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Now add curry leaves and once they crackle add chopped onion. Cook the onion until translucent.

Add tomatoes, followed by turmeric powder. Cook the onion-tomato mixture for about five to seven minutes until the tomatoes are soft.

Now add coconut milk and one cup of water. Season with salt and sugar. Cover the saucepan and let the gravy simmer on a medium heat for seven to ten minutes, until the gravy has thickened.

Using a fork prick the eggs all over gently (this will allow the curry flavours to seep into the egg when you drop it into the curry). Gently drop the boiled eggs into the curry one by one. 

Your spicy coconut egg curry is ready to be devoured. Enjoy!