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Cover: Some like it hot

Recipes with olive oil

12Apr 12

Pumpkin soup with curry and Garam Masala

Pumpkin SoupPumpkins are great winter food. Healthy, meaty and cheap, they are very versatile and can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted when ripe. They also make fantastic desserts such as pumpkin tea bread.

In the U.S.A., they are big fans of pumpkin. In addition to Thanksgiving and Halloween, several pumpkin festivals are held with competitions for the heaviest pumpkin. Did you know that they can also be used to flavour both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks?

 

During the Winter season, pumpkins are perfect for soups and stews on cold nights. Here is a pumpkin recipe with an Indian twist: pumpkin soup with curry and Garam Masala. This dish will keep you warm, as Garam masala means literally “hot blend.” It certainly is hot as it uses a blend of ground spices common in North Indian cuisine. It contains many micronutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. With these ingredients, you will make yourself a healthy, cheap and above all, tasty soup! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
• 1.5kg pumpkin, around 800g of pumpkin meat
• 1 yellow onion
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 garlic
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 1 pinch of white pepper
• 1 teaspoon of curry powder
• 1 teaspoon of garam masala
• 5dl of water
• 1dl of crème fraîche

Preparation method:
1. Cut the pumpkin into slices and cut away the peel and pips.
2. Chop it into small chunks.
3. Peel and chop the garlic and onion into pieces.
4. Fry the onion in the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, salt, curry, garam masala, white pepper and pumpkin.
5. Let it all fry together for a few minutes.
6. Add the water and let it all boil for around 40 minutes. The pumpkin should be soft and easy to mash when ready.
7. Mix the soup with a blender or by hand with a whisk.
8. Add the crème fraîche.
9. Reheat and add the white pepper and salt to taste.
10. Serve with some coriander on top and with some nice bread.

Takes: 60 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Level: Easy

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30Mar 12

Shrimp curry with sambal oelek and cream

Shrimp CurryI often get asked if cooking Indian food  takes a lot of time, and I get the impression that people assume they need hours and hours to prepare an Indian dish. It also seems to me that most people think that you always need lots of ingredients and different herbs in order to cook up a good recipe.

 

To those of you who think that Indian food necessarily has to be elaborate and very time-consuming, here is a dish of Shrimp curry with sambal oelek and cream to show that this is not true.

These curries are not any more elaborate than a normal pasta dish. Perfect for a weekday dinner for the family, you can make it as spicy or mild as you want. Just add the ingredients to taste as you go along, and I’m sure you will end up with one scrumptious curry!

Seafood helps lighten a dish, and the flavours go well with the curry. You can also try a prawn and kale Madras curry, which uses kale to replace spinach.

Ingredients:
• 700g of shrimp in their shells
• 1 large red pepper
• 1 large green pepper
• 1 leek
• 1 red onion
• 2 teaspoons of curry
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 3 large garlic cloves
• 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
• 2dl of whipped cream or full-fat cooking yoghurt
• 400g of tinned chopped tomatoes
• 2 teaspoons of sambal oelek
• 1 pinch of ground pepper
• 1 pinch of salt
• Fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Preparation method:
1. Wash and peel the shrimp.
2. Wash the peppers and remove the pips. Chop into squares.
3. Wash the leek and cut into thin slices.
4. Cut the onion into thin slices.
5. Fry the curry in the olive oil in a large frying pan.
6. Add all the vegetables and let them sizzle for a few minutes but without getting any colour.
7. Press the garlic into the frying pan and add the tomato purée and chopped tinned tomatoes.
8. Let it all boil slowly for 5 minutes.
9. Add the whipped cream. Add the salt, pepper and sambal oelek.
10. Add the shrimp.
11. Add the coriander leaves. Reheat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
12. Serve with Basmati rice or Indian naan bread and a glass or white wine.

Takes: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 portions

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26Mar 12

Tangy Red Daal

Tangy Red DaalWhen I was younger, my friends would complain that their mums always cooked the same things. One schoolmate ate a roast sandwich for lunch every day. Another girlfriend of mine confided in me that in her house, each day had an assigned dish: Mondays were for fish and chips, Tuesdays were bangers and mash, etc.

 

In my family, we ate a lot of Daal, the Indian word for lentils, but I never complained! There are four different types of lentils, and each can be prepared in many ways with a variety of flavours. This was useful for my Mum who tried to vary our menu.

I like my Daal spicy, but I tend to tone it down a bit when cooking for friends. Out of the many lentil recipes that I enjoy, I want to share this Tangy Red Daal with you. It isn’t quite as soupy as this hearty lentil and herb soup, but it is nice served with a bit of rice. I call it tangy because it has a bit of a kick, but it doesn’t sting your tastebuds, as other recipes might.

Ingredients:

  • 200g red lentils
  • 10g ginger
  • 5g mustard seeds
  • 10g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 onions
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 5g ground cumin
  • 5g cayenne pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 250ml water
  • salt and pepper
Preparation Method:
  1. Sort the red lentils on a white counter or table cloth to pick out any rocks or small pieces of dirt mixed in.
  2. When finished, rinse in cold water. Bring water to the boil and add lentils. Semi-cover and let cook for 35 minutes or so until the lentils are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the onions, jalapeño pepper, garlic, ginger, bell pepper and tomatoes.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, ginger and peppers. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is soft.
  5. Add the cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir.
  6. Add the tomatoes and keep stirring for another 6 minutes or so until the tomatoes are fairly well-cooked.
  7. Transfer the vegetables into a big pot and add just enough hot water to cover the contents of the pot. Let boil for 6 minutes and then add the cooked lentils, stirring well.
  8. Add salt and coriander to taste.
  9. Pour into a bowl and garnish with coriander. Serve warm.

Serves: 6

Time: 75 minutes

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14Feb 12

Sweetheart Chicken Curry with Fragrant Rice

Sweetheart chicken curry with fragrant riceThis is one of my all-time favourite chicken curry recipes that grew out of experimenting with the combination of spices and fruit. You can make sweetheart chicken curry mild or give it a real kick by varying the type and quantity of curry paste that you use. However, I would always recommend a paste rather than a sauce, which in my opinion gives a nicer texture and a better flavour.

The turmeric powder in the fragrant rice turns it a beautiful warm yellow, and the spices give a wonderful fragrance which complements the sweetness and zest of the curry. If there’s any left over, it’s really tasty eaten cold the next day as a coronation chicken alternative, or try it cold in a sandwich.

Ingredients for the sweet chicken curry
• 2 large chicken breasts, skinned and cut into chunks
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 4 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
• ¼ tsp cumin seeds
• 2-3 tsp Pataks Madras curry paste
• ½ small tin of breakfast apricots in juice, roughly chopped or torn, plus the juice
• 3 tbsp light crème fraiche
• Bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
• Mango chutney to serve

Ingredients for the fragrant rice
• 1 mug of dried Basmati rice
• 5 cloves
• Pinch of turmeric powder
• 3 cardamon pods, shells removed and discarded
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• Salt, pinch

Preparation Method
1. Dry fry the fragrant rice spices in a deep-based pan for a minute until you smell the scent released.
2. Add the rice and cover well with water, freshly boiled from the kettle. Bring the water to the boil, add the salt, stir the contents very lightly just once, cover the pan with a lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.
3. Whilst the rice is simmering, heat the oil in a shallow-based frying pan, add the cumin and shallots, and fry on a medium heat until soft.
4. Stir in the curry paste – you can play with how much you add depending on the kick you’re looking for – and fry for a minute.
5. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
6. Add the apricot pieces and about half to three quarters of the juice from the tin, depending on how much sauce you want to make.
7. Add the crème fraiche and the coriander and stir in lightly so that the curry takes on a slightly marbled look with the white of the crème fraiche against the colour of the curry sauce.
8. Serve the rice and the curry onto plates along with a generous portion of mango chutney, and enjoy with a nicely chilled oaked chardonnay.

Takes: 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook
Makes: A generous portion for 2

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