Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Keema Sag

This is minced lamb and lentil thing I made in a hurry last night. It was actually quite nice:

Fry one chopped onion until soft.
Add in 200g of minced lamb and stir.
Add 100g of red lentils, stir again to coat and then add splash of water.
Stir in a teaspoon each of ajwain and cumin, two of turmeric and two of a medium curry powder[1].
Add one clove, five birdseye chillies (or more) a bay leaf and some cinnamon bark.
Finally add in a tin of tomatoes, a shake of fish sauce and 100g of frozen spinach, then cook for 30-40 minutes.

[1] I've started making up batches of "emergency curry powder" for these sorts of dishes. Something like four parts coriander, two parts cumin, one part each of fennel, mustard, turmeric, chilli and fenugreek.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Chilli and Lime Wilted Spinach

Just a quick write up of this one as it was made up on the spot but went down well:

Fried half a small red onion, some garlic, finely chopped chilli and some mashed chickpea. Made into a sauce with the juice of one lime and a generous splash of fish sauce, and wilted a bag of spinach in it for a few minutes.

Not exactly a dish in itself -- a bit too pungent for that -- but a sort of pickle/condiment/sambal which brought some freshness to an other wise very yellow and brown (but tasty) curry selection.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Chicken Wing Curry

I used to be a confirmed chicken-breast-aholic. I considered the breast to be the finest of the meat and everything else to be a fiddle. It's a long time since my revelation that slow cooked thighs are far, far tastier and in fact these days when I buy a whole chicken and divide it up myself it's usually the breast that ends up leaving me thinking, "Well what should I do to use that up?"

But wings are a step too far, with very little meat and lots of fiddly bones. At least that's what I thought until a couple of days ago when the shop was out of virtually every kind of organic chicken and all I could get was a pack of four wings for £1.50. I could a vaguely sri-lankan style curry with them over about two hours and the results we delicious. Yes, I had to spend a couple of minutes fishing the little bones out before serving but there was the end a surprising amount of meat and lovely rich depth that you get from cooking meat with the bones.

Chicken Wing Curry - Serves 2-4 (with rice and a dahl)
1 red onion
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
300ml coconut milk
1/2 tbsp sri lankan dark curry powder
1 kaffir lime leaf, shredded
4 chicken wings
oil for frying onions

Chop and fry a red onion in oil.
Add the nam pla, mustard and nigella seeds and cook for a few minutes.
Stir in the chicken wings and cook until sealed and slightly brown on each side.
Add the curry powder, coconut milk and kaffir lime.
Simmer, stirring occasionally for two hours or so.
Pick over the sauce, lifting out the bones from the wings and shredding the chicken.

The final result was surprisingly meaty and had a dark colour and depth of flavour. We served it with a similar quantity of dahl and a good helping of rice and it fed us for a somewhat greedy lunch for two, followed by two more restrained lunches the next day.