Tag Archives: Recipes

The Recipe Hunter…Cook and enjoy! How to make Pizza bases and more…

Guest post by Carol Taylor.

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Firstly I am going to tell you a little about myself. Retired to sunny Phuket, Thailand where we lived for 5 years. We have now moved to the North of Thailand which is vastly different. I say it is the real Thailand and am having so much fun exploring and learning new recipes, traditions which are being passed down through the generations and just how we are adapting to the way of life which is ours now. So join me as I tell you about our life and the authentic Thai food and also recipes which I am gleaning from people who pass through and maybe stop awhile and who hail from the 4 corners of the world. I also am writing a novel and a cook book well who doesn’t…lol…I am having an amazing ride and don’t want to get off so if you want to join me on my travels and share in my recipes then welcome it will be different and fun as I have been described by my writer friends as a quirky, whimsical English lady who definitely doesn’t know she has retired.

At the time my family and friends just humored me….lol

But now…who is right? Moi…..

I will be guest posting on The Recipe Hunter once a month and will be giving you the recipes for things that you can make at home, food that is healthier, food that will most of the time save you money..now who doesn’t like that idea??

Yes, it may not have the storage life of shop bought goods but it also doesn’t have the nasties although some you can freeze or pickle. I will be dividing the posts and grouping foods together which I hope will make it easier for you to find recipes.

This month I am starting with Bread….I will be giving you recipes to make your own bread, pizza bases, nan bread, crackers..yes sometimes…lol and also some recipes for what you can make with left over bread all in one post….

Firstly a Pizza base…As I mentioned a bit earlier we have 6 children…now can you image buying Pizzas for all them hungry mouths? So I use to knock up a base or two and see what I had in the fridge to top it with…Let the kids help! The tomato base I made by cooking down some tomatoes and adding lots of herbs … This base can then be used for Spag bol, lasagne or another pizza…It keeps in the fridge for a few days or I would freeze it in portions.

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Pizza Dough:
2 cups of plain flour
7 g packet of dried yeast
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp Olive Oil.

Combine 3/4 cup warm water, yeast, sugar and salt in a jug. Whisk with a fork to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface.

Sift flour into a bowl. Add yeast mixture and oil. Mix to form soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 25 to 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Using your fist punch the dough down and knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth.

To Cook: Spread the dough with your desired toppings and bake at 180C for 15 -20 minutes until the base is cooked through and golden.

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This dough is enough to make one large or two small pizzas…When I was cooking for all my lot I used to make my pizza in my biggest tin and make a big rectangle pizza. Let the kids do the toppings and maybe section it up and do different toppings…Kids always eat what they help cook although they probably don’t need much encouragement to eat Pizza…Do they?

Flat Bread:
These are so easy to make… and you can fill them with your favourite fillings.
1/4 cup milk.
1/2 cup water.
2 cups flour.
1 tbsp Baking Powder.
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt.

To make flatbreads.

Sift dry ingredients together.

Add liquids and mix thoroughly…I used my food processor and it took literally 2 mins…. if that and formed a ball. If it is too sticky add little more flour. Divide into 8 pieces. Flatten with the heel of the hand and roll out very thin.

Flatbreads iuncooked

My first attempt at this and I didn’t roll mine out thin enough to start with.

Heat pan and cook 2/3 minutes each side turn over with tongs or fish slice and done… finito..ready to fill…easy peasy.

flatbreads cooked

Fill with a filling of your choice….These ones I filled with left over lamb

Thyme Crackers:

These lovely little crackers I whipped up in a trice and served with homemade salsa or cheese.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp of fresh Thyme
2 cups of flour
1 tsp Salt plus extra salt for topping.
1 tsp sugar
1 egg white
3 tbsp butter
1 cup of heavy cream
Pre- heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Using your food processor pulse the flour, thyme, salt, sugar and butter, pulse until coarse crumbs.

With the machine running add the cream and process until a dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface knead for 1-2 mins and divide into 4. Shape these into rectangles and wrap in cling film put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Then lightly flour and roll out into a thin rectangle. Score the dough into 4 x 2 inch diamonds, brush with egg white and sprinkle with salt. Garnish with a thyme sprig. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Cool and break into individual crackers.

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These crackers can be served with cheese or salsa, in fact, any dips…they can also be topped with poppy seeds instead of salt and thyme which makes a nice change.

The beauty of making your own crackers is you can make any shape you want.

Don’t you think the smell of fresh bread as you walk into your kitchen is one of the best smells ever?

I make far more bread now than I ever did one because I can only get a packet of instant yeast here and its big…If I don’t use it because it is so humid it goes off..Yes, you can freeze it but then I would forget and also Thai bread is not nice…it is sweet…So we either don’t eat bread or I make it so not much choice really.

This recipe is for my Buttermilk bread  

buttermilk-bread11

 

Now crumpets are an English dish…Just to demonstrate that I do have kitchen disasters…I do! And the most spectacular ones at that…Here is my recipe for crumpets

crumpets or pikelets

Served hot with butter these are awesome…

Now for my bread recipe…

Ingredients:
5 cups of All purpose flour or bread flour (I think bread flour) gives a better taste.
2 tbsp instant yeast or 2 x 7g packets
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm-hot water (not boiling) or you will kill the yeast
1/4 cup of olive oil

Let’s bake!

Put 4 cups of flour in a bowl with the yeast, sugar, and salt.

Pour in the hot water and mix until combined it will be sticky add the remaining cup of flour gradually.

Turn the dough on to a board and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Put in a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise it should double its bulk.

When doubled punch down and divide into two, shape to fit 2 oiled loaf tins. Leave to rise again until it reaches the rim of the tin.

Bake in a pre heated oven on 400F for 40 minutes.

To soften the crust wrap the loaf in a damp t/towel.

What to do with your left over bread? Because we all get that…Well, you could feed the birds or you could make croutons by just cutting your day old or stale bread into little squares, drizzle them with some olive oil and pop into a hot oven…Lovely for serving with soup or salads.

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Make breadcrumbs which freeze very well and then if you need a coating for fish or meat you have lovely homemade breadcrumbs instead of store bought ones…healthier and definitely cheaper.

Or make a lovely bread sauce to go with your chicken or turkey (recipe) will be in next month’s post so don’t miss it!

I save any odd bits of bread in the freezer and when I have enough I make a bread pudding, a bread and butter pudding or a lovely summer pudding which is a lovely mixture of fruits and bread and the bread soaks up all the juice from the fruit it is a lovely thing.

Ingredients: Summer Pudding:
200g Raspberries   plus a few extra to serve
225g Blackberries, plus a few extra to serve
100g Redcurrants, plus a few extra to serve
400g Strawberries hulled and quartered
140g golden caster sugar, plus a bit extra (optional)
400g bread slices
Clotted cream, to serve (optional)

Wash the fruit and place it all (except the strawberries) in a large pan with the caster sugar and 3 tbsp water. Gently heat for 3 mins until the juice from the fruit starts to seep out. Add the strawberries and cook for 2 mins more. Drain the juice from the fruit through a sieve set over a large bowl. Taste the juice and add a little more sugar if necessary.ine a 1.2-litre pudding basin with a double layer of cling film, leaving an overlap around the top. Remove the crusts from the bread and slice the loaf into 1cm-thick slices along the length of the loaf. Cut 1 slice in half widthways and trim the corners to fit into the base of the bowl – you may need to use both squares, trimmed to fit the bowl. Trim the slices to the correct length to line the sides of the bowl.

To assemble the pudding, dip the slices of bread into the fruit juice, and then use them to line the basin. Start with the bottom pieces, then lay soaked rectangles of bread along the sides of the bowl. If you have any gaps left at the end, patch these up with any remaining bread, but make sure you save some for the base.

Tip the fruit into the lined basin. Finish the pudding with a layer of bread to make a base, and then pour over any remaining liquid. Wrap the overhanging cling film over the top. Place a small plate, which will fit snugly on top of the basin, over the cling film and weigh down with 2 x 400g cans of tomatoes or beans. Leave the pudding weighed down in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, or overnight if possible. To serve, unwrap the cling film and place a serving plate over the pudding. Flip it over, remove the basin and carefully peel away the cling film.

Serve in slices with clotted cream, if you like.

Bread and Butter pudding is a lighter version than its sister bread pudding.

 

Ingredients for Bread and Butter Pudding.
50g/2oz butter, plus extra for greasing
8 thin slices bread
50g/2/3oz sultanas
2 tsp cinnamon powder
350ml/12fl oz whole milk
50ml/2fl oz double cream
2 free-range eggs
25g/1oz granulated sugar
Nutmeg, grated, to taste.

Let’s Cook!

Grease your dish/dishes with butter.

Now get your bread ready, butter one side of the bread and cut in fingers or triangles depending on what shape dish you are using.

Instead of butter, you can put jam or marmalade on the bread…Me I love it JUST with butter.

Take 2 eggs for a medium pudding or I sometimes use ramekins which then would make 4/5 small puddings, whisk the eggs and add the milk and cream…stir well.

Arrange bread in dish and sprinkle some dried raisins in between the layers finishing with the bread. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the top and pour the egg mixture over leave to absorb the egg mix, if needed top it up a little with milk.

Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4.

Cook for 30/40 minutes if using a large dish or smaller ramekins take

approx 20/25 mins, cook until well risen and golden…Serve on its own or with custard.

Enjoy!

Or my favourite a treacle tart this always brings back happy memories of my nana as she used to make a lovely treacle tart…Although why it is called a treacle tart I am not sure as we use Golden Syrup…

Treacle Tart and custard

One of life’s mysteries or one of the English languages little quirks.

I hope you enjoyed this post and all the different bread you can make at home and once you get used to making bread if you haven’t made it before then you can double up, freeze pizza bases…so much you can do to save time and money and without spending hours in the kitchen.

Next month it will be sauces and condiments…

Visit and connect with Carol via: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Prepared, tried and tested by: Carol Taylor

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Green Coriander Coconut Chutney

This lady Freda makes the best chutneys I have ever seen and I want to move in next door to her….

 

This green Coriander Coconut Chutney made with freshly grated coconut and fresh coriander/cilantro leaves is a delicious accompaniment for idli, dosa’s, uttapam, vadas. Idli, Dosa and the likes are seriously incomplete without sides such as sambhar, chutneys, and podi. This… The post Coriander coconut chutney | Green coconut chutney recipe for idli/dosa/uttapam appeared first on…

via Coriander coconut chutney | Green coconut chutney recipe for idli/dosa/uttapam — Aromatic Essence

Pickled Cucumbers

On my last visit to the village amongst my bag of goodies were a big bag of beautiful fresh cucumbers far too many for us to eat so I decided I would pickle some after distributing some to my neighbours.

We eat a lot of pickles here and last week it was more jalapenos that I pickled and today cucumbers..next on the agenda will be garlic I also need to make some more Mango chutney as I do like a bit of chutney with my Indian food.

Ingredients:

3 medium cucumber

1 large Onion thinly sliced.

85 gm sea salt flakes (essential table salt will render your efforts inedible) I didn’t have sea salt flakes so ground some of my salt from the salt farms down a little.

500 ml cider vinegar

250 gm granulated sugar

1 tsp Coriander seeds

2 tsp yellow mustard seed

1 tsp peppercorn

1 tsp ground turmeric

small bunch dill

Wash the cucumbers, split along their length and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into finger-length chunks, then cut into 5mm strips. Mix with the onion and salt in a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight. I did leave some with the  skin on as I wanted to see how much difference leaving the skin on would make  as sometimes the skin can be tough.

cucumber and onions

Next day, drain the juices, rinse the vegetables in cold water and drain well. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a very large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins to let the flavours infuse.

mustard and spices

 

Add the vegetables and bring the pan to a rolling boil over a high heat, stirring now and again. Boil for 1 min, then remove pan from the heat. Tear in the dill, then pack into sterilised jars (see above right), making sure that no air bubbles are trapped. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

in jars..pickled

I hope you enjoy these…. A great way to use excess cucumbers …They can be used with salads, To add to home-made burgers and they are really great just like the ones you buy just so much healthier.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post if you did please consider sharing it or rebloging this post… It would be much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

The health benefits of Mustard seeds.

You are what you eat…The benefits of Mustard Seeds.

lady holding veggies

 

Those tiny little seeds belong to the Brassica family and do they contain a bounty of benefits to your health and beauty.

I am loving what I am discovering about all these seeds and herbs we have so much at our fingers tips or growing naturally in our environment which benefit us for little or no money…Some effort? Yes, but some of that is minimal.

How long does it take to mix some mustard seeds with lavender or rose oil and you have a completely natural scrub and skin exfoliator?

Mix mustard powder with Aloe Vera and it is a natural skin hydrator…I am lucky that I have some growing in my garden…Do you or could you grow some?

I do think that more and more of us are becoming aware of just what we can make or grow and that is good…

Better for our health and easier on our pockets…

Mustard seeds have been found to have been mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit writings which go back 5,000years. They have been mentioned at least 5 times in the Bible and in the New Testament, The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a grain of mustard seed.

There are about 40 varieties of Mustard seed but generally, they are divided into  3 principal categories of black, white and brown.

Black is the most pungent and is found growing in the Middle East.

White mustard seeds are actually yellow in colour and come from the Mediterranean region, the mildest in flavour and American yellow mustard is made from these.

Brown mustard seeds are actually dark yellow and grown in the foothills of the Himalayas and are what Dijon mustard is made from.

There have and are currently many studies in the health benefits of mustard seeds and they are known to contain plentiful amounts of phytonutrients called Glucosinolates. They are also an excellent source of Selenium and Magnesium which is proven to help reduce inflammation in this case particularly beneficial in the gastrointestinal tract and colectoral cancers.

They have also been found to be an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, copper and Vit B1.

The powder can be used as an effective muscle soak.

Also due to containing sulphur mustard has excellent antifungal properties.

It can be used in your diet in many ways, it can be used to baste meat or fish, a dip for vegetables or add the seeds to cabbage at the end of cooking.

Once my new blog is up and running I will be giving you recipes to help you integrate some of these seeds and herbs into your daily diet.

In the meantime, you can always message me and ask …I am happy to help.

Have fun and enjoy!

Here is my recipe for homemade mustard

Until next time enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Foods to treat pain and inflamation.

lady holding veggies

I have this phobia I suppose one might call it…Even my family doctor used to smile and pat my hand and say “Carol, just take them” I am sure sometimes he even wondered why I paid him a visit …..Maybe I just wanted him to advise me on what he thought was wrong with me although I was one of these people who probably only saw my doctor every few years at most.

Now I don’t even go although if I felt really, really very unwell I would go. So I am not advocating never visit a doctor again I am just saying if you have a mild pain or some inflammation there are Natural Foods which can help and indeed many people and even some doctors are advising the use of Natural Foods and Herbs.

I have listed a few everyday foods and seeds with some recipes if you wish to incorporate some of these in your daily diet.

Ginger…..

I love Ginger and grow and use it in a lot of my food and pickled it is beautiful.

Ginger you can grate or dice finely, it is used in fish dishes here or with Scallops it is a lovely thing.

A member of the rhizome family as is Turmeric…Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits.

Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.

It also is an ideal home remedy for muscle and joint problems.

In addition to drinking ginger tea, you can also use it to soak inflamed joints. Ginger is one of the best pain killers in the world having analgesic properties like the popular ibuprofen, only better.

It contains a quartet of active flavour constituents, gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone which are active ingredients to reduce pain. Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body.

All studies by researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced some improvement.

Turmeric……

.

Millions of people take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Many of these same people are now looking to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions naturally.

Awareness and knowledge is increasing and people are now aware of available natural remedies that are possibly safer, or at the very least as effective, easily accessible, and inexpensive.

Despite decades of research and thousands of preclinical studies indicating the therapeutic value of turmeric, many people are still not aware that the common kitchen spice can serve as a valuable alternative for a number of health conditions.

A human study published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine clinically confirms the medicinal value of turmeric. Results show that the turmeric’s curcuminoid extract can reduce inflammation in patients who suffer from knee osteoarthritis.

Turmeric is a plant specifically from ginger family, used for flavouring and colouring in cooking.

The value of taking turmeric seems to be a valid one and yet many people are still not really aware of what a powerful substance it is.

It can be taken in Golden Milk, added to carrot soup, taken as a supplement or extract but as it is not readily absorbed and retained in the body it is advised to take it with black peppercorns which aid its absorption in the body.

Golden Milk Recipe using Turmeric and Virgin Coconut Oil.

Cayenne Pepper……

Cayenne pepper has many health benefits and anti-irritant properties. It can ease stomach upsets, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhoea.

Just a simple blend of:

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of hot red chilli powder and
8oz pulpy orange juice,

Taken with a straw, can provide almost instant relief from a sore throat.

Be sure not to use more than 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for about every 8 ounces of orange juice, as Cayenne pepper is a highly concentrated spicy food powder, and when taken in higher amounts, can aggravate parts of your gastrointestinal tract.

 

A little word of warning although this is a very effective cure for sore throats be aware and careful that you do not use too much cayenne and to protect your stomach, a banana, some rice or potato before drinking will do that if you have a sensitive tummy.

 

Celery/ Celery Seeds……

 

As kids, we had celery with our tea on Sundays with crumpets and shellfish my mum always put it in her stews and now research backs all this up it has found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and its seeds and advises adding it to soups, stews or use as a salt substitute.

To me, it sounds like mum knows best….What do you think about age-old remedies which are making a comeback??

My mum probably didn’t give the benefits a thought, her only thought was that we should get good nourishing home cooked food..nothing was packets then..everything was made from scratch and that is what she taught me and I have taught my children and now my grandchildren…..

There is a lot to say about traditions and passing on knowledge and I think that all this is now making a comeback as people are questioning what is in their food and medicines.

That is good!

Oh! waffling again..sorreee we were on celery were we not?

 

I myself have used celery juice as a brine when making bacon as a substitute and natural brine if you don’t wish to use Salt-petre.

 

Celery juice is also a diuretic and can also help clear toxins that form those painful kidney stones.

 

Cherries…..

Cherries are one of nature’s best sources of health enhancing pigments called anthocyanins which provide powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect is the human body.

Anthocyanocides are particularly effective at keeping blood uric acid in check and a viable remedy for the painful condition of gout.

This lovely smoothie recipe incorporates cherries and leafy greens.

A cup of pitted cherries.

A young coconut..the meat and ½ cup of the coconut juice.

½ an apple or a pear

2 cups of fresh baby spinach (or other leafy greens)

Blitz together and enjoy!

 

Dark, green vegetables…….

Are good sources of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol thiocyanate which protects cells from inflammatory substances which can be produced in response to injury or infection in your body.

Bok Choy is one such green which is used widely in Asian countries. It can be eaten raw in salads, coleslaw or juiced. It can also be used when making fermented vegetables which are sold on every market here and very easy to do at home.

 

Walnuts…..

A valuable source of omega 3 oils walnuts are one little powerhouse.  Its anti-inflammatory properties help lower the risk of chronic inflammation. Just a handful a day or incorporate them in a lovely smoothie or shhh shh chocolate brownies..yum

Or if you want a bit of fit and healthy then look no further than this recipe for a luscious Banana Espresso Smoothie.

 

This is a recipe that my daughter gave me along with a packet of Chia seeds as I can’t always get them here. Bananas we have in spades as they grow in abundance here so my freezer always has frozen bananas ready to make a smoothie.

Ingredients:

1 frozen Banana

1 cup of coconut milk.

2 tbsp oats.

halved walnuts as in the picture or you can use 1 tbsp peanut butter

A shot of espresso.

1 cup of ice

1tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds and honey.

Put all ingredients in your blender and blitz away.

Pour into glass and enjoy!

 

I hope you are enjoying these posts and my dearest wish is that they prompt you…Yes, YOU!

To question and research what you are eating and how eating somethings can improve your health and that of your family.

Until next time….stay safe, laugh a lot and ASK a question x

 

 

Chicken Biryani

From  A  Steamin’ cup of Goodness comes this recipe for a lovely authentic Biryani  Bakergal can be found over on Blogspot – http://steamincupofgoodness.blogspot.ae/2017/05/most-anticipated-evenings.html   and as they don’t have a reblog button like WP she has kindly let me share with you.

Me…I can’t wait to try it is sounds delicious I have made many a Biryani in my time and I am sure there are hundreds of versions but this one sounds just perfect.

So without any more ado I will hand you over to my friend and she will talk you through this recipe,  my friend Bakergal 🙂

Drum Roll:- Yes I know…I am a bit loopy…lol

Hello folks,

We are officially one week away from🌛 Ramadan.  In this part of the world; irrespective of your personal religious choices, the excitement of Ramadan grips everyone.

Evenings during Ramadan are the most anticipated event of the day; the air is as thick with delicious food aromas, as it is with the humidity (hello, it summer time after all). My super-alert nose can always sense a delicious Biryani simmering somewhere; almost once a day😋 during the entire Ramadan.

And that is why I never cook Biryani at home during Ramadan😆 It always seems puny, compared to the amazing ones being doled outside (in practically every joint)

I did make it last weekend, though. This is my home-made Chicken Biryani; our way!

By ‘our way’ I don’t claim exclusivity.

In fact, it’s the opposite, this recipe has no specific style statement; one can’t classify it as, Dum Biryani or Bombay Biryani or Hyderabad Biryani. It’s a melange or rather a homage, to all the things we loved in the many different Biryani’s we’ve eaten over the years.

Like a flavourful gravy base (no mild stuff in there), buttery fragrant rice with spices & saffron, oh the famous potatoes from the Mumbai Biryani that I’ve eaten from a lot of friend’s homes, the fried onions & cashews; and last but not the least the boiled eggs in garnish!

If all the above sounds like something you would relish, check out the recipe below😀

RECIPE:

Time taken: Your entire morning😁 Just kidding takes about 1.5 hrs in cooking/assembly time, plus overnight marination of the chicken. 

When making it for the first time you might take a bit longer than 90 mins as there are many elements of the Biryani that need to be either fried or boiled in advance, it takes time to get the rhythm of simultaneously making different elements at the same time.

Serves: A hearty 4-5 individual servings

Method:

1) A night prior, get the chicken marinated. Begin with 200gms of yoghurt, add the following spices – 1tsp chilli powder, 1.5 tsp garam masala powder, 1tsp dhania( coriander) powder, 1tsp jeera( cumin) powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt & 1.5 tsp ginger-garlic paste (you can’t see it in the pic below, as it’s hidden below one of the masalas 😁)

Whisk everything well, then add the (washed & cut to your choice of size) chicken pieces (approx 300-400gms). Rub the yogurt-spice mix, in the chicken pieces thoroughly. Cover & keep it aside overnight. (I put this entire thing, in the fridge to marinate, as room temperature tends to get warm around here in summer’s even at night; and I didn’t want the yoghurt to go sour or any salmonella in the chicken to multiply owing to the ambient temperature.)

2) In the morning or whenever you get started on the Biryani, first prep is the rice. Wash & soak in water for half hr, 1.5 cups of basmati rice.

Then in 2.5 cups of water, par-boil the rice with a few spices (a stick of cinnamon, 2 green elaichi or cardamom, few cloves)

Once almost 90% cooked, drain the starch water thoroughly. Add a tbsp of butter, and spread this rice on a large plate. This halts, further cooking & prevents clumping.

3) Now for the prep for the Biryani gravy or whatever you call it.

Take the following whole spices – 1 bay leaf, 2 green cardamoms/elaichi, 1 brown cardamom/badi elaichi, 2-3 cloves, 5-6 peppercorns (you can see quite a bit of them in the pic, as my hubby loves whole-peppercorns, reduce as required), 1 stick of cinnamon.

Chop 2 medium onions & one large tomato.

4) Heat 1tbsp of ghee/vanaspati + 1tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the whole spices first, roast for a while. Then add the onions, a tsp of ginger-garlic paste & cook till raw smell goes away.

Once you see the onions get a bit golden brown, add the tomatoes & 2-3 tsp of Kashmiri chilli paste (soak 4-5 Kashmiri chillies in hot water for 10 mins & then grind to a paste) Mix well, cook till tomatoes are soft.

Add the marinated chicken, along with all the yogurt-spice marinade. Stir well. The chicken will start to release moisture, if required add 1/4 cup of water to prevent the mixture from catching the bottom.

Add a small par-boiled potato to the gravy. I use par-boiled as we like the potato to be almost mushed in the gravy. Tip, to help you multi-task, par-boil this potato when you boil the rice (not with it, cook in a separate pan😉)

Cover & cook till the gravy thickens, chicken is cooked & oil/ghee starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Put off the flame. Optional, garnish gravy with fresh coriander.

5) The final layering of the biryani is the easiest part.

If you are layering it in the same pan as you cooked the Biryani gravy (like me) remove half of the gravy in a bowl. Spread the remaining 50% biryani gravy evenly at the bottom. I add a tsp of water to this gravy so that it does not blacken/burn during the ‘dum’ stage.

Then comes half the rice, spread as evenly as possible.

Again a layer of the Biryani gravy spread as evenly as possible.

Finally, the last layer of rice, make sure to cover all the gravy spots. Dilute few strands of saffron in  1/4 cup of ‘kewda’ or rose water (keep it aside for 5 mins so the saffrons soften & release it colour & flavour). Pour this saffron water over the final rice layer.

6) Now for the ‘dum’ or the steaming part. You can go the traditional way of caking/sealing the entire lid rim with a flour dough.

In my case, the pan in which I layer the biryani has a solid glass cover/lid with a heavy metal rim, this design does not release any steam from the sides. But, the cover has a steam-release opening, which I duly cover with some sticky flour dough to seal the steam within.

Put it back on the stove, make sure it is at the lowest flame option. It takes about 10-15 mins in my pan, for a good ‘dum’ & the rice to cook completely.

The glass lid is a great boon for me to track the progress of the ‘dum’. At the start when the steam starts to form, the lid is completely clouded; once the steam has been absorbed by the Biryani, the lid clears out (almost completely, apart from a few droplets of water here-n-there). Plus the flour covering the steam opening, hardens completely.

Biryani is ready. Garnish as you like it.

7) Oh, the garnish.
While the biryani is cooking on ‘dum’, I prepare the garnish. Fry one small chopped onion, till golden brown (I like it more caramelised, so it’s dark brown in my pics). Next, fry a few cashews (as much as you like) And yes how can I forget the boiled egg (this I actually boil in advance when I par-boil the potato)
8) For me, Chicken Biryani is incomplete without a serving of ‘raita’ – thinned yoghurt/curd mixed with diced onion, tomato & chillies, with just a dash of salt & jeera powder.

Whew! Just writing this post took me a few hours. Assuredly, it’s worth it; this Biryani is delicious right down to each morsel. It leaves you satiated in contentment😋

Now doesn’t this sound amazing? If you want to read more truly scrumptious recipes from this lady then she can be found here – http://steamincupofgoodness.blogspot.ae/2017/05/most-anticipated-evenings.html

Thank you so much for letting me share this recipe I will definitely be making this one 🙂

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot 🙂

 

Red Duck Curry ( Kaeng Ped Pett Yang)

One of my favorite curries and one which I don’t have very often…why? Not sure really..I probably save it for special occasions.

Well, this is it..I am now on the letter D for my self-imposed walk through the alphabet. Not much beginning with D…A few fruits and duck…a lot of recipes which say dried this and dried that but only really pre fixing the recipe with dried to say it starts with D.

So I have certainly set myself a task….mmmmmm…i am beginning to ask myself why but not one to give up..

I had Duck curry for the first time on a little island just off Phuket, Thailand it is a fiery curry offset by pineapple and tomatoes. Some add lychee as well as pineapple but we found it a little sweet for us but experiment, everyone’s taste is different….I also add some vegetables, mange tout or sugar snap peas maybe a few florets of brocolli..really whatever I have in the fridge.

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Let’s Cook!

Firstly cook your duck breasts, we like ours medium rare.

Put the duck skin side down in a cold pan, turn the heat to medium and cook the duck breasts for 6-8 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy, turn the breasts over and just sear the other side for 1 minute. Turn over so they are breast side up and put in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing the breasts thinly.

Sauce:

400ml coconut milk

1 tbsp fish sauce

3/4 cup fresh pineapple cut into bite sized pieces.

10 cherry tomatoes.

6-10 mange tout..or other vegetables of your choice.

100gm Thai egg plant cut into quarters.( Pictured below)

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100gm pea egg plants( Pictured below)

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If you can’t get these any small egg plant will be ok I sometimes use small purple ones if I can’t get the green.

1-2 tbsp red curry paste.

6 kaffir lime leaves torn

Bunch Thai basil washed and leaves picked..

2 tsp lime juice.

To make sauce put a very tiny drop of oil in the pan over a medium heat add your curry paste and stir to cook for 1 min, add fish sauce. Gradually add coconut milk whilst still stirring.

Bring to a slow boil and add torn lime leaves and egg plants cook for 5/6 mins and add tomatoes and pineapple, cook for a further 10 minutes then add mange tout and stir in some Thai basil leaves and lime juice.

Now taste and adjust curry paste if you want more heat. If other seasonings want adjusting you can also do that now. Thai flavours are very pronounced and if you get it balanced ..very nice if not..I have had some disasters and I don’t mind admitting that…which is why I always say TASTE and Taste again.

My very first duck curry I made was ok…so we left out the lychee next time and it was much better…also I know which curry paste to now use as they are all so different….Please don’t let this put you off making it as when you get it right it is a lovely thing.

When you are ready to serve then add sliced duck to the sauce and just warm through and serve with some Thai basil over the top and a sliced red chilli if you like.

Serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!