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Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

Thai Minced Fish & Courgette Curry

This is from an old but very reliable Thai cookbook from Australia. We chose the recipe to use up some courgettes and curry paste and it was delicious with just a handful of ingredients.

Wine Suggestion: this goes excellently with a dry Riesling with a little age and good fruit which rounds off the edges; some in youth are a little crisp and edgy and will fight with these flavours. Tonight a Vickery Eden Valley Riesling from 2017, the couple of years age have brought this together brilliantly.

Thai minced fish & courgette curry – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 tbsp red or green curry paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh kaffir lime leaves (or if you are using dried, soak them for 10 minutes in hot water), sliced
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 500g white fish fillets, we used hake, minced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 courgettes, diced (or you can use an aubergine instead)
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves

Heat the oil in a wok , then stir-fry the curry paste and lime leaves. Add about 125ml of coconut milk and simmer until the oil rises.

Add the minced fish and stir slowly until well separated. Add the rest of the coconut milk, the fish sauce and the courgettes. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a nice consistency.

Turn off the heat, stir through the basil and serve with steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Thai Cooking Class by Sami Anuntra Miller & Patricia Lake, BayBooks, 1994.)

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Pea & New Potato Curry

We’ve cooked pretty much everything from scratch since lockdown but tonight we treated ourselves to a naan bread from the local takeaway. Every evening they fire up the tandoor and we get the most delicious smells in our back garden. This is an easy curry which is perfect for a weeknight.

Wine Suggestion: a local Lager was our choice tonight, from the White Gypsey Brewery in Tipperary. Their Munich Lager is light and fresh but with a real character and personality.

Pea & new potato curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp Madras curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 750g new potatoes, halved or quartered
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 500ml natural yoghurt, full-fat so less likely to split
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped, but kept separate
  • 200-300ml veg stock
  • 300g frozen peas
  • lime wedges and naan breads, to serve

Before you start, put the potatoes in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender – they’ll continue to cook in the curry. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 minutes over a gentle heat. Add the chillies, ginger and spices, and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the potatoes and lime juice and stir to coat in the spices.

Add the yoghurt, coriander stalks and stock. Simmer gently for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce reduced (we put the lid on for a few minutes at the end as the sauce was reduced enough). Keep the temperature low as the yoghurt can easily split. Stir through the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve with the coriander leaves sprinkled over and lime wedges and naan breads on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chicken with young ginger

We made this on Chinese New Year when the Chinese were unable to celebrate due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Over a month later and we’re still not sure what the implications of the Covid-19 outbreak will be. In the meantime we’ll keep calm and carry on cooking.

This is a recipe by Fuchsia Dunlop who recommends using tender ginger that’s not too fibrous – it should be easy to snap off a piece with no fibres showing from the cut. We’re not sure our ginger quite met that criteria but the dish was very tasty nonetheless.

Wine Suggestion: white, aromatic and with a fresh acidity. Pikes “The Merle” Riesling from Clare Valley made a great aperitif while cooking and then stepped up and paired wonderfully.

Chicken with Young Ginger – nen jiang chao zi ji – serves 2 with rice

  • 75g plump fresh ginger (see note above), peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 1 scallion, white part only (save the green part), smacked with a cleaver or rolling pin
  • 350g boned chicken thighs, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • ¼ tsp potato starch mixed with ½ tsp cold water
  • a few 5cm pieces of scallion, green parts only
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ground white pepper

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp potato starch
  • 2 tsp cold water

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp stock or water

Put the chicken into a bowl with the marinade ingredients and stir.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame. Add the ginger and scallion white and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the chicken and continue to stir-fry over a high heat, until cooked through and beginning to colour.

Add the Shaoxing wine to the chicken, then stir the sauce and add to the wok. Bring to a fast boil and season with white pepper.

Stir the starch mixture and this to the wok, stirring. The sauce should thicken and become glossy.

Add the scallion greens and toss briefly, before removing the wok from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil and serve.

(Original recipe from Land of Fish & Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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dong po rou

Fuscia Dunlop is a true master when it comes to cooking authentic Chinese dishes. This is the first recipe we’ve tried from her gorgeous book, Land of Fish & Rice. The dish is simple to cook and you don’t need too many ingredients. Do buy a decent bottle of Shaoxing Wine, rather than the widely available stuff to cook with. You need a wine of drinking quality for this – we found one very easily in our local Asia market. We served with steamed rice and stir-fried broad beans with spring onion. The pork is very rich so only a small amount per person is needed. Start the dish the day before and you will be able to remove the layer of fat that forms on the top when chilled.

Wine Suggestion: Excellent with grenache. Tonight it was grenache dominant blends from Chateau Pesquié, in the coolest part of the Ventoux but equally as good with a Clare Valley, or similar.

Dongpo Pork – serves 4 with rice

  • 1 x 12cm wide strip of unscored, skin-on, boneless belly pork (about 1kg or 1.3kg with the bone-in)
  • 2 scallions
  • 30g ginger, skin on
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 5½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 250ml good Shaoxing wine (aged for 5-10 years)

Preheat the oven to 110°C/Fan 90ºC/Gas ¼.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the pork and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain well and rinse under a cold tap, then place, skin-side up, on a chopping board and cut into 5cm squares. Keep any trimmings.

Crush the scallions and ginger with a rolling pin and put into the pan. Add the pork trimmings and arrange the pork chunks, skin-side down, on top. Add the sugar, soy sauces and Shaoxing wine, then bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 1-2 minutes, then cover and cook gently for 2½ hours in the oven (alternatively cook on a very low hob). Check occasionally and add some hot water if it looks dry.

Remove and discard the ginger and scallions, then leave the pork to cool in the pan and chill overnight. The next day, scrape off the fat form the surface, then reheat, turning the pork skin-side up as soon as the juices have loosened. The sauce should be dark and slightly syrupy, if necessary remove the pork form the pan and fast-boil the sauce to reduce it, then return the pork to the pan. Serve with plain rice.

(Original recipe from Land of Fish & Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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cong hua can dou

This is a Chinese method for cooking broad beans which is really straightforward and super tasty. If you want to double pod your beans, just blanch for a minute first and the skins will easily pop off. We served this alongside Dongpo pork but it would go equally well alongside a lot of meat dishes.

Stir-fried broad beans with spring onion – serves 3-4

  • 1kg young broad beans in pods or 350g shelled (we used frozen broad beans, defrosted or blanched to remove skins)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions, white part only
  • ¾ tsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp thinly sliced scallions, green parts only

Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the scallion whites and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the beans and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the beans and toss in the oil. Add 150ml of water, the sugar, season with salt and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer over a medium heat for a few minutes, until tender – careful they don’t boil dry.

Remove the lid and increase the heat a bit to reduce the liquid. When only a couple of tablespoons of liquid are left, add the scallion greens and stir until fragrant, then serve.

(Original recipe from Land of Fish & Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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Nasi Goreng

This is just the dish for leftover roast pork. We freeze the right quantity and enjoy it a week or too later after a busy day – it’s really quick to throw together.

Wine Suggestion: there’s a vibrant immediacy to this dish and likewise we chose a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, in this case the Doctors’ SB from Forrest Estate; dry, full flavoured and ripe but only 9.5% abv.

John Forrest pioneered this technique and it’s a brilliant addition to the wine world so we can drink lower alcohol levels and yet keep the same ripeness and flavour profiles.

Nasi goreng – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced 1cm thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, halved, deseeded and sliced
  • 300g leftover cooked pork, chop into little chunks
  • 400g cooked rice
  • 4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 100g cooked, shelled prawns
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce

Heat 1½ tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until soft, golden and starting to tinge. Add the garlic, chillies and pork and cook for a couple of minutes – let the pork colour a bit. Add the rice and spring onions – toss lightly and cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, quickly heat ½ tbsp of the oil in a nonstick frying pan and add the eggs. Cook as you would an omelette and when cooked cut into ribbons with a sharp knife.

Add the egg, prawns, soy sauce, salt and pepper to the rice and keep cooking for another 2 minutes to heat everything through, then serve.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchelle Beazley, 2012.)

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Thai beef saladMid-week celebrations can be a bit tricky, especially when work and life are busy. This was Jules’ choice for birthday dinner on a Tuesday in November and we would recommend it for a mid-week birthday at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We opened something a bit special given the occassion, the Tyler Dierberg Block 5 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara county in California. Despite the umami/savoury, hot/spicy, salty and sweet flavours of the salad this was an excellent match providing layers of excitement and flavour.

Thai Beef Salad – serves 4

  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500g fillet steak

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 3 shallots
  • large handful of Thai basil
  • large handful of coriander
  • large handful of mint

TO SERVE:

  • 5 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
    • Roast the peanuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes at 190ºC until golden, then tip into a bowl to cool.
  • 3 tbsp fried shallots (see below)
    • Finely slice the shallots and fry in a wok or frying pan, in 5mm to 1cm of oil, over a medium heat, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto kitchen paper to cool and crisp up.

To make the dressing: peel and crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger, reserving the juice. Remove the outer leaf of the lemongrass stalk and trim the ends, leaving the tender middle section; very finely chop this. Halve, deseed and finely dice the chilli. Squeeze the juice from the the limes to give 4 tbsp.

Put the lime juice, nam pla and sugar in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic, ginger and its juice, lemongrass and chilli and stir again.

For the salad: halve and very finely slice the shallots. Pick the herb leaves and leave whole.

Heat enough oil to cover the base of a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove and rest for 5 minutes.

Put the raw shallots and herbs into a large bowl. Finely slice the steak across the grain and add to the salad. Add half the dressing and toss to coat everything. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the peanuts and fried shallots. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook, Quadrille, 2014.)

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Noodles with shiitake mushrooms & scallions

We can think of nothing nicer to eat than a bowl of slurpy noodles. Perfect for a speedy lunch or snack.

Wine Suggestion: a friend has suggested that there are brilliant saki matches for dishes like this that play with the umami but we’ve not tasted enough to suggest which one. However, we really liked a couple of wine options: a Lustau dry Oloroso, a Deux Montille Rully Blanc or a Tyler Pinot Noir from California. In each case they have a wonderful textural vibrancy that this dish needs.

Udon noodles with shiitake mushrooms and spring onions – serves 2

  • 125g dried egg noodles
  • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 200g shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • few coriander springs, leaves picked
  • 2½ tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2½ tbsp soy sauce

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, salt generously and cook the noodles for the time given on the pack. Drain and run under cold water, then stir through a few drops of sesame oil and groundnut oil to stop them from sticking.

Heat the oils over a high heat in a wok or frying pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to soften. Add the scallions, nam pla, soy sauce and noodles. Heat stirring until the noodles are glazed with the sauce.

Serve sprinkled with the coriander.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire Macdonald and Jenny Stringer, Quadrille, 2013.)

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Herb & pak choi salad

We really liked this fresh and vibrant salad by Melissa Helmsley. It went really well with this Korean chicken but we also thought it would be nice with barbecued meat or fish with Asian flavours or Salmon Teriyaki.

Herb & Pak Choi Salad – serves 4 as a side

  • 4 large large heads of pak choi, shredded
  • 1 large Little Gem or Cos lettuces, finely shredded
  • a large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • a large handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • a large handful of fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • juice and grated zest of 1½ limes
  • 6 tbsp sesame oil (not toasted) or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or you could use light soy sauce)

TOPPING:

  • a large handful of almonds, cashews or sesame seeds (or a mixture)

Make the topping first by toasting the nuts and/or seeds in a dry frying pan with a little salt over a medium heat until golden.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a large bowl and season to taste.

Put the pak choi, lettuce and herbs in a bowl and mix with the scallions. Add the dressing and toss until everything is coasted. Sprinkle over the toasted nuts and seeds to serve.

(Original recipe from Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley, Ebury Press, 2018.)

 

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Spicy Thai Fishcakes with Dipping Sauce

These take literally minutes to make and they make a super tasty starter or snack.

Wine Suggestion: our favourite wine with dishes like this is dry Riesling, with the limey, citrus flavours of wines from the Clare Valley, like those made by Pikes, coming to mind first. They are zesty and thrilling in flavour with the bracing acidity working perfectly with the citrus fruit to make a wine that is both thirst-quenching and hunger inducing at the same time. Aperitivo!

Spicy Thai fishcakes with dipping sauce – serves 2

  • 200g raw peeled prawns
  • 2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks separated
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Put the prawns, curry paste and coriander stalks into a food processor and whizz to a paste. Form 4 to 6 flat cakes.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil, then fry the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Mix the vinegar, sugar and chilli together in a small bowl.

Serve the cakes with the coriander leaves and sauce for dipping.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, October 2012.)

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Kung Pao Chicken

The last time we had this famous Szechwan dish we’d just arrived on a stop-over in Abu Dhabi on our way to visit family in Melbourne. We arrived late and ordered room service and this truly hit the spot. A great combination of velvety chicken, roasted peanuts and a bit of spice. This recipe is from Yan-Kit’s fabulous Classic Chinese Cookbook. Serve with rice.

Wine Suggestion: our choice in Abu Dhabi was a Kirin beer, which was perfect that night. Similarly, choosing a wine this time we looked for a savoury dry texture and chose an Emilio Hidalgo La Panesa Fino Sherry which is kept under flor for 15 years and is outstanding; smooth and velvety even though completely dry and with a salty, nutty texture. A good match, but you needn’t find this exact example as any good Manzanilla or Fino works.

Kung Pao Chicken – serves 3

  • 350g chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and then cubes about 1cm square
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil or corn oil
  • 2-3 long dried red chillies or 4-5 smaller dried chillies, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 4 to 6 thin slices ginger
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 3 scallions, cut into small rounds
  • 50g roasted peanuts

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • third of tsp salt
  • 2 tsp thin soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaohsing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp egg white, lightly beaten

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp rice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp cornflour
  • 6 tbsp clear stock or water

Put the diced chicken into a bowl.

To prepare the marinade; add the salt, soy sauce, wine/sherry, cornflour and egg to the chicken. Mix well and leave to marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornflour and water together.

Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add the oil and swirl it around the pan.

Add the dried chilli, stir, then add the garlic and ginger and stir until aromatic. Add the chicken. Turn and toss for about 1 minute.

Splash in the wine or sherry, stirring and tossing continuously.

Add the scallions and cook for another 30-45 seconds by which time the chicken should be cooked.

Add the well-stirred sauce to the wok and keep stirring while it thickens.

Finally stir in the peanuts, then remove to a warm serving plate. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

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Prawn & Spinach Curry

An easy weeknight curry and perfect for using up that bag of frozen prawns in the freezer. Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: As it was a hot night and we needed cooling down, a bottle of beer (Peroni to be precise) from the fridge hit the spot with this. Refreshing and we just like beer with curry.

Prawn & Spinach Curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp hot curry paste (we like Patak’s Madras)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 200g carton creamed coconut
  • 400g raw peeled tiger prawns, defrosted
  • 250g baby spinach leaves
  • large handful of frozen peas
  • bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions for about 5 minutes to soften, then stir in the curry paste and fry for another minute. Add the tomatoes, stock, sugar, and coconut cream, then season. Cook gently for 15 minutes until thickened.

Add the prawns and spinach, then cook for a few minutes. Stir in the peas and heat for another few minutes. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with steamed rice.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, July, 2005)

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Spicy Sichuan-style Prawns

This is a delicious Chinese dish but definitely for chilli lovers as its not lacking in fiery heat. Serve with rice to serve 2 or with other dishes to serve 4.

Wine Suggestion: The heat will effect most wines so be careful with your choice here. Our choice was from Alsace, the Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Calcaire 2009 which had a  natural sweetness and a range of spices that really added to the dish.

Spicy Sichuan-style prawns – serves 4

  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 450g raw prawns, shelled and de-veined

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tsp chilli bean paste (buy in an Asian supermarket)
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • handful of coriander leaves and sliced scallion, to serve

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat.

Add the groundnut oil and wait until very hot and slightly smoking, then add the ginger, garlic & scallions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then add the prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce ingredients with the salt and pepper and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes over a high heat.

Serve immediately sprinkled with the coriander & scallions.

(Original recipe by Ken Hom IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2015.)

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Thai Red Turkey curryAnyone who has followed us for a while will know that we’re very partial to the turkey leftovers. Here’s the concoction we came up with for last year’s bird and it wasn’t bad at all. Similar to the more common Thai duck curry, turkey is gamey enough to stand up to a bit of heat.

Thai Red Turkey Curry – Serves 4 generously

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 250g mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 180g sugar snap peas
  • 20g pack basil, leaves picked
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300g leftover turkey (or chicken) – a bit more or less won’t make any difference
  • 1 red chilli, sliced into rounds
  • jasmine rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the curry paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in the coconut milk with 100ml water and the red pepper and cook for 10 mins until almost tender.

Add the mushrooms, sugar snaps and most of the basil to the curry, then season with the sugar, lime juice and soy sauce. Cook for 4 mins until the mushrooms are tender, then add the turkey and heat through. Scatter with sliced chilli and basil and serve with jasmine rice.

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Ripped red pepper duck curry

Ripped red pepper duck curry

The addition of fresh red peppers and cherry tomatoes gives this curry a really fresh and summery feel. Perfect for when you fancy something spicy on a warm evening. It is also equally at home as the nights draw in, like the moment in Dublin and you fancy an open fire to cosy up to.

Wine Suggestion: A good Gewürztraminer makes a surprisingly brilliant match for this dish with enough weight for the richness and texture and plenty of aromatics to compliment the flavours. Our choice this time was the excellent Cave de Turckheim’s Reserve Gewürz, an off-dry wine that balanced perfectly with the heat of the red curry paste.

Ripped Red Pepper Duck Curry – serves 4

  • 4 duck legs
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 stick lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced lengthway
  • 5 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • juice of ½ a lime, plus wedges for serving
  • 12 baby plum tomatoes
  • a handful of Thai or regular basil
  • red chilli and shallots, sliced finely to serve
  • steamed rice, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/Gas 6.

Rub the duck legs with some salt and pepper, 1 tbsp of the fish sauce, lemongrass, crushed garlic and 2 tbsp of oil. Place in a roasting tin, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and add the sliced red peppers to the tin, tossing them in a little of the duck fat. Turn up the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/Gas 7 and roast uncovered for another 15 minutes or until the duck skin has crisped and the pepper slices are blistered. Remove the peppers and keep to one side. Pull the duck meat and skin from the bones and keep to one side.

Simmer the bones in 500ml water for about 30 minutes to make a stock.

In a saucepan, fry the curry paste in the oil until darkened in colour. Stir in the coconut milk, then add the stock, fish sauce and sugar and simmer for about 20 minutes or until it has thickened slightly. Squeeze in the lime juice. Stir in the strips of pepper, baby plum tomatoes and the shredded duck – reserving some crispy-skinned pieces for serving – and gently simmer for about 3 minutes or until heated through.

Remove from the heat and stir in a small handful of basil leaves. Ladle into bowls, piling on top the reserved crispy duck, some extra basil and shredded chilli and shallots to taste. Serve with lime wedges and steamed rice.

(Original recipe by Alastair Hendy in BBC Olive Magazine, August, 2014.)

 

 

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Salmon Teriyaki

Really delicious salmon with crispy skin and a rich sauce. Serve with rice and some asian greens.

Wine Suggestion: Soy sauce accentuates tannins in wine so we’d suggest avoiding reds for this dish. With ingredients that include Sake, Mirin/Sherry and sugar there are two options that we find work really well, and in a contrasting way. Firstly a non-dry, slightly sweet Oloroso sherry, like the Valdespino 1842 VOS Oloroso, will work with the umami savoury characters and compliment the rich sweetness. Alternately play with a bit of contrast and pick a good Rosé Champagne, like Billecart-Salmon’s benchmark example; this plays with the senses and adds an extra vibrancy to a dish already replete with flavour.

Salmon Teriyaki – serves 4

  • 250ml light soy sauce
  • 125ml sake or rice wine
  • 125ml mirin or dry sherry
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 salmon fillets, skin-on
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

Mix the first 4 ingredients together and stir until the sugar has dissolved to make a teriyaki sauce. Marinade the salmon in half of the sauce for at least 3 hours. Pour the rest of the sauce into a saucepan and bubble gently on a low heat for 30 minutes or until reduced and thickened.

Heat the oven to as high as it goes, then put the drained salmon fillets in an ovenproof dish, skin upwards. Cut small squares of foil to cover the salmon skin and stop it burning.

Bake for 5-6 minutes, then remove the foil and brush oil over the skin. Return to the oven for another 5-6 minutes or until the skin is crispy and starting to char.

Pour some of the reduced sauce onto each plate and sit the salmon on top to serve.

(Original recipe by Reiko Hashimoto-Lamber IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, April 2008.)

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Howrah Express

Brown food is just not photogenic but this really is a delicious lamb curry. Lamb neck is one of our favourite cuts; cheap and meltingly tender when cooked slowly.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve yet to find a wine that we think works with the intense flavours in this dish. Try an Indian beer such as Singah.

Cinnamon Lamb Curry – serves 8

  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1.2kg lamb neck fillet, chopped into chunks
  • 150ml full-fat yoghurt, whisked

Heat the oil in a large, heavy casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onions when the oil is hot and fry until golden, about 8-10 minutes, then add the garlic and stir-fry for another couple of minutes.

Pour the tinned tomatoes into a bowl and crush a little with your hands before adding to the casserole. Cook for about 6 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Add the garam masala, chilli powder, cumin, cinnamon and salt, and mix. Add the lamb and cook until sealed all over. Add the yoghurt one spoon at a time while slowly stirring (to prevent splitting) and then add 200ml of warm water – you want it to just cover the lamb.

Bring the mixture to the boil, then cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 1½ hours or until the lamb is soft and falling apart. Take the lid off the pan and reduce the sauce to a consistency you like, then remove from the heat. Season to taste and serve with naan breads or steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2014.)

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Tandoori pork burgers

This was such a tasty weeknight dinner inspired by a half-used jar of tandoori curry paste and a packet of supermarket naan breads. Ditch the naans for gluten-free burgers.

Wine Suggestion: A juicy Spanish, or Spanish varietal, should work here. There are some great and good value Garnacha’s, like one made by Bodegas Monfil, which are perfect when on a budget. If you want to push the boat out choose a ripe and juicy Ribera del Duero made from Tempranillo. Our favourite of the moment is the Carmelo Rodero and try their 9 Mesas for the juicy youthful fruit. Older and more concentrated Crianza’s and Reserva’s would overwhelm the dish.

Tandoori pork burgers with tomato & coriander raita – serves 4

  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 1 red onion, grated
  • 2 tbsp tandoori curry paste (we like Patak’s)
  • a small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 150ml natural yoghurt
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • naan breads, to serve
  • Little Gem or Cos lettuce, to serve

Put the mince, onion, curry paste and half the coriander in a bowl, season with mix well, then form into 4 burgers.

Barbecue the burgers for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the coriander with the yoghurt, tomatoes & scallions.

Serve the burgers in some warm naan breads (we toasted ours on the barbecue) with the crispy lettuce and raita.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, August 2009.)

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Thai pumpkin & chickpea curry

Thai pumpkin & chickpea curry

A really good veggie curry and yet another use for the never-ending tub of Thai red curry paste. We’re very excited for pumpkin season and not because we want to make lanterns.

Pumpkin & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp Thai red or yellow curry paste
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bashed with the back of a knife
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 piece pumpkin or a small squash (about 1kg)
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 limes
  • large handful mint leaves
  • steamed rice and/or naan bread, to serve

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and gently fry the curry paste with the onions, lemongrass, cardamom and mustard seeds for a few minutes or until fragrant. Stir the pumpkin or squash into the pan and stir to coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, add the chickpeas, then cook for about 10 mins until the pumpkin is tender.

Squeeze the juice of one lime into the curry, then cut the other lime into wedges to serve on the side. Tear over mint leaves to garnish and serve with steamed rice or warm naan bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Hot & Sour Aubergine

This photo is a bit dark in colour but the flavours are vibrant and delicious and we’re now converts to soaking aubergine in brine before stir-frying to give a soft, velvety texture.

Hot & Sour Aubergine – serves 2

  • 1 large or 2 medium aubergines, cut into long batons
  • 100g green beans, halved
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp light soy sace
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp water
  • cooked rice, to serve

Put the aubergine slices into a bowl of lightly salted water and leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for a minute, then rinse in cold water and drain.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium-high heat, then cook the aubergine until well browned on all sides. When the aubergine is starting to take on a good colour, add the onion and chilli and continue to stir-fry for 4 minutes or until soft.

Add the sauce and green beans, cover with a lid, then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until the aubergine is soft. Serve with rice.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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