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Cover: Some like it hot

Recipes with red onion

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

Spicy Chickpeas with Masala

Spicy chickpeas with masalaPulses are a regular part of my diet. I am especially fond of chickpeas; they are used for many different types of foods such as stews, curries or salads (try this Carrot and Chickpea Salad). They can also be mashed up to make hummus or falafel. In this Spicy Chickpeas with Masala recipe, I take this otherwise bland pulse, mix it with red pepper and spinach, and create a feisty plate for all Indian-food lovers to enjoy! Although it might be a tad spicy, serving it with rice provides a nice balance.

Chickpeas are very high in protein and fibre. However, they are much easier to digest than other pulses. I appreciate that fact, and I keep it in mind to avoid any embarrassing situations regarding my digestive system.

These tiny seeds are an important part of Indian industry as India is the top producer of chickpeas in the world. Did you know there are actually two types of chickpeas? The common English variety is actually called kabuli. It is lighter and larger than the Indian chickpea, desi. The native desi is smaller, darker, and a bit healthier than the Kabuli. Regardless, either one will work perfectly in my spicy chickpea recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas, about 800 grams.
  • 200g fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small tomato, diced into cubes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5g fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation Method:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat up a few teaspoons of olive oil.
  2. When hot, sauté the onion, pepper, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and soft.
  3. Clean the chickpeas by rinsing them in a colander and draining. Pick out any empty shells.
  4. Add the chickpeas to the frying pan, then the vegetables, and mix well.
  5. Add all the spices and the tomato to the mix, stirring well.
  6. Next place just enough hot water in the pan so as to cover the vegetables. This is to create a sauce-like texture when finished.
  7. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat and add spinach. Cover again and allow the spinach to simmer for 2 more minutes with the rest of the vegetables.
  9. Take off the stove and serve on top of rice.

Makes: 4 servings
Takes: 45 minutes

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