Tag Archives: spice

Salmon Curry with Coconut Milk

HP1B9058

A few weeks ago, Seattle got a shipment of Copper River Salmon, it made the news. The Pacific North-West makes a huge fuss over this firm red fleshed fish. So much so that when I saw a piece of salmon, frozen in the deep freeze I contemplated getting rid of it. What was I doing not eating the freshest tastiest salmon from the markets? Especially the markets that were teasing me with loud, in your face signs telling me that they had “Copper River Salmon”. Instead I decided to make a curry with this salmon, something a little different!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • curry leaves
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. unroasted curry powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 200g salmon cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1/2 lime juiced

Preparation

HP1B9055

In a small saucepan, add the oil and wait until heated. To the oil  add the onion, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves. Saute until the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.

To this fragrant mixture add the turmeric, curry powder and tomatoes. Keep cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down.

At this point add the coconut milk, stir  and  bring the whole mixture to  boil.

When the curry is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the cubed salmon. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the salmon is just cooked (firm to the touch) and finish with the lime juice.

Serve immediately over lots of soft, fluffy white rice.

HP1B9060

2 Comments

Filed under Fish, Meat/Fish Dishes, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized

Brown Butter and Berry Tea Cake

HP1B0177A couple of months ago we were at another baby’s birthday party at a park. Mr C was in his element, running around, terrorising adults and children, and being the centre of attention. Come cake time, he was nowhere to be found. I was getting a little worried when I spied a curly head peering out from under the massive cake table. There he was, staring intently at the baby’s mother cutting the cake. Mouth open and agape.When I approached him he looked me in the eye and said “cake”. I think he might just be his mother’s son. Of course, there was no denying him cake after that.

Nowadays he can identify the difference between a muffin “mussin” and cake. A muffin comes in a wrapper and a cake needs to be sliced. At afternoon tea-time when he sees me opening the freezer to grab a muffin, many an excited squeal can be heard.

The long and short of this is that I need to make sure that the baking I do is Mr C  friendly and generally on the healthier side of things. This means recipes with lots of fruit and veg, as little sugar as I can get away with and added bonuses like oats and nuts. Mr C is also very into helping at the moments so unless I bake during nap time, the recipe has to be simple enough that he can help with “missing”. Admittedly this results in about  three times the mess, but the kids loves it!

This recipe originally called for 1 cup of sugar, but I decided to halve it and substitute it with apple sauce, following the guidelines here.

I also added some nuts to the crumble topping for some extra crunch.

HP1B0171

Crumble topping

  • 1/4 cup butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries

Preparation

Inspired by the Brown Butter Blueberry Coffee Cake by Ambitious Kitchen

In small bowl mix together the crumble ingredients, except the pecans, gently with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the pecans and refrigerate while you make the cake.

Preheat your oven to 350F or 180C and line an 8 X 8 tray with baking paper.

In a small saucepan place the stick of butter and slowly melt over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and watch the butter foam. After a few minutes you’ll notice some brown appearing at the bottom, remove from the heat at this point and leave to cool. The butter should be lovely and nutty in flavour at this point.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the frozen berries and coat well with the flour mixture.

In a second bowl mix together the egg, egg yolk, apple sauce, milk and cooled butter.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together before pouring into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the crumble topping on top and bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

This recipe is suitable to freeze!

HP1B0176

Leave a comment

Filed under Non-Sri Lankan Food, Snacks and Sides, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized

Bandakka (Okra) Curry

HP1B0149

Okra is a very divisive vegetable. I feel you either love the slimy texture or you don’t. I’m a fan. Always have been. So when I saw some fresh, green okra at our local Saturday farmer’s market I grabbed a handful straight away.

It was only when I got home that I thought about Mr Firehouse. You see, he is a hater of all things slimy. So the okra sat unloved, in my fridge, for nearly a week before I decided to tackle it.

During last years trip to Sri Lanka we had stayed at a new beach side resort. One of my favourite things about Asian hotels are the buffets! Love! This one was no different. They served all kinds of impressive Western fare; cold cuts and salads in tiny shot glasses. However, my  eyes and plate never strayed far from the big traditional earthenware pots that had real, homestyle, Sri Lankan food. Breadfruit curry glistening with black curry powder, Kalu Pork curry with tender, spicy pork and the okra curry teeming with dried chillis. I served myself all of the above and was surprised to find that the okra wasn’t its usual slimy self. It tasted the same and had the soft almost gelatinous texture, but the sliminess that offends most people was strangely absent. On closer inspection and a quick chat to the chefs the secret was revealed, the okra was deep fried prior to cooking!

This is exactly what I did to tackle my stash of okra. The extra step made this dish much more Mr Firehouse friendly and I must say, I enjoyed the change too! If you’re not fussed about the okra’s slimy tendencies, just skip the deep frying part.

HP1B0147

Ingredients

  •  200-250 g okra (about 1/2 a pound) sliced on an angle
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3-4 dried red chillis
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish flakes
  • 1/2tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. vegetable curry powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream

Preparation

HP1B0138

In a small frypan heat the oil for deep frying and deep fry the okra in batches until they have a little colour. Drain well

In a medium saucepan or pot place a little oil and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onions and garlic and soft and aromatic.

To the same pot add all of the dried spices and fry for 2-3 minutes until the spices are lightly toasted.

Finally add the fried okra and mix thoroughly coating all the okra in the lovely toasted spices.

Once the okra is well coated add the coconut cream and a little water to cover the okra.

Let the curry simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add salt to taste and serve warm with plenty of fluffy white rice.

2 Comments

Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Vegetarian Curries

Breadfruit Curry (Del Curry)

HP1B6000   
In Sri Lanka there is an expression that goes something like “Ala del vela”. It literally translates to the potatoes have turned into breadfruit. It’s akin to the English; ‘it’s all gone pear shaped’.  What it refers to is that a bad, overcooked potato curry will look like the thicker, more mushy breadfruit curry.  I heard this expression an awful lot growing up, it was one of my dad’s pet phrases. Unfortunately I had no idea what it meant because growing up in Australia I never had del. Not that I remember. As you can imagine this phrase didn’t hold much meaning for me until I finally tried del, then I spent a lot of time regretting my misspent youth and all the missed opportunities to eat del!

This curry, if made with good breadfruit, and believe you me not all breadfruit is created equal, is lovely, thick and slightly ‘slimy’. It’s perfect with rice and is meaty enough to stand on it’s own, unlike the humble potato. If the breadfruit is not ripe enough the curry will not get floury, no matter how much you cook it. In Sri Lanka, this is a lost cause and the dish will often be thrown out. I leave this up to your discretion. Thankfully this has never happened to me with the processed variety.

I’ve made this with frozen breadfruit and you can follow this for fresh as well. If you’re working with the tinned variety, the quantity might be a bit smaller and you’re best off making the curry with the coconut milk and then adding the drained breadfruit to the simmering coconut broth. The tinned fruit is using partially cooked or brined so doesn’t require the softening. You can then temper, as per the recipe below.

One of my favourite ways to eat this curry is with simple store bought paratha and a “salsa” of cubed tomatoes, cucumber and red onions seasoned with a little salt and chilli


HP1B6013

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 500 g frozen  (~ 1lb ) breadfruit, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • curry leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • For tempering
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 small red  onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 3-4 dried red chillis cut into pieces
  • pinch of roasted dark curry powder (for serving)

Preparation

In a medium saucepan add the breadfruit, turmeric, curry powder, maldive fish, curry leaf, pandan leaf and pepper. Cover the breadfruit with water and turn the heat on to medium.

HP1B5993

Cook until the breadfruit it soft and going “floury” around the edges.

HP1B5995

When the breadfruit reaches the floury stage add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes until the curry is thick.

In a small frying pan add the oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop add the onions and dried chilli to the pan. Cook on medium heat until the onions have just a little bit of colour.

HP1B5998

Add the tempered onions to the del curry and stir through. Serve with a sprinkle roasted curry powder.

HP1B6014

6 Comments

Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Vegetarian Curries

Sri Lankan Beef Curry

HP1B6016

I was an incredibly fussy eater as a child. The list of foods I didn’t eat was a lot longer than those that I did. I was very anti tomato. I despised mushrooms and if there was anything in my rice; turmeric, vegetables or sultanas (ahhh) my poor parents would have to ask for plain.white.rice. I think they especially enjoyed this when we were at friends places for dinner. I was fussy with fruit, I only liked crunchy, sour types like granny smith apples. I did not eat bananas and okra and eggplant were a bit contentious.

I’m well and truly getting my come-uppance now, Mister C’s tastes change almost daily. Yesterday and today he ate a kiwifruit in a sitting, and now that I’ve gone and bought a bag of the really nice expensive, organic variety, I bet you he’s not going to try any of it.

As I got older I thankfully got over most of these ‘issues’, nowadays there are only a few things I don’t eat, bananas being one of them. I did however stop eating red meat as I finished Uni.  We didn’t eat it much at home, except for mince, and therefore I couldn’t cook it well. By the time I got married I didn’t eat it at all and it was only moving to the US that got me eating it again. Beef is huge here, where you’re likely to get pork or lamb in Australia, Washington especially prides itself on beef (with the animal’s name and favourite variety of grass printed on the menu) and fish. So if you’re not eating much fish, it’s mushrooms for you! When I was pregnant there was a limit to the amount of fish I could eat, I couldn’t eat a lot of cheese (common in the vegetarian meals) and so beef it was.  Now that I started, I’ve been enjoying learning to cook it better and identifying different cuts and of course learning to cook the perfect steak.

HP1B6015

 

Ingredients

  • 1kg (a little over 2 pounds) of beef stewing meat cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1tbsp. ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bird’s-eye chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamon pods bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp roasted curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. of chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes pureed in the food processor or 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

Preparation

Marinate the  beef with the salt, pepper and vinegar. Set aside for at least 1/2 an hour.

HP1B5987

In a food processor chop the onion, chilli, ginger and garlic. If you don’t have a good processor just chop all of these up finely.

In  a large heavy bottomed saucepan add the ghee, curry leaves, cloves, cardamon and cinnamon. Wait till the spices start getting lovely and fragrant and add the chopped onion mixture.

HP1B5989

Cook this mixture off until the onions are soft and sweet. Add the spices (chilli, curry powders, turmeric) to the oil and onions and fry until the spices are no longer “raw” .

HP1B5990

Now add the marinated beef and coat evenly with the spice mixture. Finally add the tomatoes and the sugar to the curry. Simmer the curry on medium heat with the lid on for at least an hour or until the sauce is thick and the meat is lovely and tender.

HP1B5992

 

 

HP1B6017

1 Comment

Filed under Beef, Meat/ Fish Curries, Meat/Fish Dishes, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized

Pol Sambol

Akki's_Kitchen-6 

  When Nuwan and I were visiting his grandmother (Achcho) after our wedding she wanted to cook us everything under the sun. She suggested crabs and prawns and fish but every time she asked we’d say  “just pol sambol, parrippu (dhal) and bread please”.  I think if we were given the opportunity we’d have had that combination with fresh, crusty Sri Lankan bread every day. Poor Achcho on the other hand, was very exasperated! The truth is the taste of a real Sri Lankan pol sambol, made with freshly grated coconut, ground on a miris gala and seasoned with fresh lime from the garden can’t be beaten. This is a fixture on most tables in Sri Lanka and locals and tourists alike come to love it’s zing and spice. In fact a friend, who had spent time in Sri Lanka and desperately missed the food, once confessed that when she found a local Sri Lankan restaurant that made pol sambol she bought some home and ate it with everything, including spaghetti bolognese! 

My dad usually made the pol sambol at home, especially when it was needed in large quantities. He’d often use the blender and if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, a blender or food processor would also work.

Ingredients

  • 100g of dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 small red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp. chilli flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 black pepper corns
  • 1/4 tsp. maldive fish flakes
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 a small tomato chopped (I used about 4 cherry tomatoes quartered)

Preparation

In a bowl mix together the coconut, coconut milk and hot water. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds and let it cool. This helps rehydrate the coconut and get back some of the coconut flavour that is lost in the dessication process. If you’re lucky to have fresh or frozen coconut, ignore the first step.

Akki's_Kitchen-5

In a mortar and pestle pound the onion, salt, peper, garlic and chilli until you’ve got a fine paste.

Akki's_Kitchen-4Slowly add the coconut, 1-2 tbsp. at a time until you’ve used up all the coconut. I usually add the tomatoes at the last minute and give a quick pounds to mix it up. I don’t want to pulverize the tomatoes. If you’re using a food processor, hold off on doing this. Empty the coconut mixture into a bowl and then add the tomatoes.  

Akki's_Kitchen-7

With the coconut mixture in the bowl, squeeze over the lime juice and using your hands give the whole thing a good mix and scrunch. The colour should be uniform.

Serve with fresh crusty bread or as a condiment with rice and curry.

6 Comments

Filed under Snacks and Sides, Vegetable Dishes

Sweet and Spicy Eggplant

 IMG_5918

The other night Mr Firehouse and I were having leftover Chinese take-away for dinner. As carefree as I often am with what Mr C eats, I thought it too early to introduce him to MSG. So I cooked a simple vegetarian stirfry with some home-made plum sauce that I knew he liked. You see, one of the things that I read and totally loved in the many parenting, books, websites and blogs I’ve perused is to always include a “loved food”. Something that you know the child will eat. With Callum fruit is a safe bet so plum sauce it was. I added broccoli, capsicum and carrot and finally added some fried eggplant I had on hand. He tasted the carrot, sucked on the broccoli and capsicum but by the end of the meal, there was not an eggplant in sight.

This was exciting! When I first met Mr Firehouse, he did not eat eggplant. Hated it. Would pick it out or not even serve it on a plate. It’s taken nearly five years of marriage to convert him to an eggplant lover. Seems like my son was born one!

So today for dinner I decided to make a sweet and spicy eggplant dish to go with our Moroccan Meatballs. It’s simple, delicious and like most things cooked with eggplant, improves with a little age.

IMG_5917

Ingredients

  • 3-4 small eggplants chopped into batons (like thick chips or fries)
  • 1/2 cup of oil for frying (this will vary)
  • 1/2 red onion finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small red capsicum (pepper) sliced
  • 1 tbsp. cumin ground
  •  1.5 tbsp. brown sugar (or honey, we’re honey free because Mr C shouldn’t have honey till he’s a little older)
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

IMG_5893

 

In a large frying pan or skillet add a little of the oil and fry the eggplant in batches until the outside has a nice golden brown colour and the eggplant is nice and soft. Make sure the oil is very hot, as the eggplant will absorb cold oil. As you add the next batch, you might have to add some more oil as well to keep the ‘frying’ going.

IMG_5895

Once all the eggplant is fried off, leave to drain on a paper towel for about a half hour. This isn’t critical but helps to get rid of excess oil and make the dish less oily.

In the same fry pan  add a  tbsp. of oil and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onion is soft. Add the cumin and fry until nice and fragrant. Finally add the honey/brown sugar, vinegar and a splash of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and wait for the mixture to start boiling. When the mixture is boiling add the eggplant and the capsicum and warm through. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with some fluffy white rice or flat bread.


IMG_5920

2 Comments

Filed under Non-Sri Lankan Food, Vegetable Dishes