Category Archives: Side Dishes

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chillies

For all the prawn lovers out there!

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Personally, I find prawns the easiest yet the most indulgent seafood to cook and eat. Not just for the fact that it cooks super fast but also for its ability to absorb all sorts of flavours in minimal time. Agreed, prawns are slightly more expensive when compared to your regular fish fillets, but there’s so little you need to do to it for a delicious dinner on your table in no time at all.

In our home, prawns are most often cooked for mid week dinners. And that’s because, by Wednesday, I get into the when’s the weekend coming mode and I really need something to get me going. Sometimes, it’s a nice glass of wine or perhaps a late night movie (for which I curse myself the next day morning) and sometimes, it’s an indulgent plate of food. And prawns fit perfectly in that mid week indulgent category.

While I need that mid week luxury, I am not willing to work too hard for it. So today’s recipe, grilled prawns with herbs and chillies is just perfect.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

All you really need for this dish is a bunch of herbs, which makes it also a good dish to use up leftover herbs that let it go bad in the refrigerator. When I have an excess amount of herbs (I grow quite a few at home), I usually chop it all up finely, mix with a generous amount of olive oil and freeze for future uses like this dish. So that’s another tip for you!

So that’s it really, mix the prawns with the herb oil emulsion, a touch of chilli flakes to spice things up and then grill it. Top it over a big bowl of salad or a quick rice or noodle stir fry for a delicious and indulgent midweek dinner.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 350gms tiger prawns; deshelled (leave tails intact) and deveined
  2. 1-1 ½ tsp chilli flakes (adjust to heat preferences)….

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Supreme Seafood, so head over to their website for the full recipe.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan Lamb Chops + Snippets from my Early Easter Party

It was an early Easter party for us this year. Actually totally unplanned; it was meant to be a barbecue party with a few friends which eventually turned out to be sort of an Easter lunch.

Succulent - thespiceadventuress.com

Before we get to the party and the recipes, let me share with you the story of my Weber and how it came into our lives. Way back in 2013, when I had just started blogging, I came across a giveaway hosted by Kikkoman in association with Weber. The prize pack was the new Kikkoman condiments being released that year along with a Weber Q200.

And on a lark I participated (I enter a lot of giveaways guys and its pretty common knowledge amongst my friends) and won!

The prize pack arrived and the interesting bit is that we were living in an apartment at that time where the Weber could not be used. And it stayed in a box for the longest time till we moved homes late last year. So finally the Weber that I got in 2013 was inaugurated in 2016 for a Christmas party. So naturally we are very excited to use it after waiting all these years that every party planned eventually ends up as a barbecue themed one.

There were a few recipes I had scheduled to be developed and photographed for the blog as well as clients and two of these fit in perfectly for the party menu. So the idea of a casual get together turned into an early Easter party. And coupled with other dishes, we soon had a feast on our table.

So here’s what I had on the menu for the day…

For starters, we had Cajun sausages and grilled corn.

The recipe for Cajun sausages has been there on the blog for the longest time and is a favourite in our home. It’s quick to put together and hence features regularly on our weekend entertaining.

No barbecue would be complete without grilled corn and we had it the classic way, rubbed with butter, lemon and chilli powder (substitute with paprika for less heat).

Cajun sausages, a delicious party starter - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled corn with butter, lemon and chilli - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we had two meat dishes – Moroccan lamb chops and the Middle Eastern style beef kofta platter.

I have been dying to try out Noha’s beef kofta recipe for the longest time and this seemed to be the perfect occasion for it. No adaptations or tweaks; just followed the recipe as such. And yes, good quality beef mince with a bit of fat is highly recommended.

If you aren’t already following her, please do for all the deliciousness she puts up on her space.

Middle Eastern beef kofta platter - thespiceadventuress.com

Coming to Moroccan lamb chops, I had to share it with you guys because it’s simple, tastes awesome and everytime I have made it, it’s been a big hit.

Lamb chops with a bit of fat attached is recommended especially while grilling because it helps keep the meat moist and tender. The marination is simple and is best done a day ahead. I have frenched the lamb chops because it looks nice and pretty that way but you don’t strictly need to.

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Our choice of wine for the day was the Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015, a really balanced wine on the palate with hints of cherries, dark berries and savoury forest floor spice. I loved the fact that the tannins are not overpowering and has a delicate finish, thus pairing beautifully with grilled Moroccan lamb chops.

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015 - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Alia

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg lamb chops; frenched
  2. ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  3. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  4. ½ cup fresh mint leaves; finely chopped
  5. Salt; to season
  6. ½ cup olive oil
  7. 3-4 garlic cloves; grated
  8. 1 tbsp paprika
  9. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin seeds; crushed

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix the herbs and spices with olive oil.
  • Add the lamb chops; season with salt and allow to marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.
  • Grill on high heat on both sides till done.
  • Enjoy!

And finally it was time for dessert. I had created an Easter themed icecream cake as a guest post for Stuff Mums Like. Since it was a warm day, the icecream cake made the perfect dessert to end our happy meal.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

An extremely simple one, this cake consists of three different icecream layers on a base of cookie crumble. Store bought icecreams were used; saves time and great for parties. Choose whichever flavours you prefer and the number of layers too. A totally customizable cake, it’s great for birthday parties too especially if you are hosting one at home for children.

The addition of the chocolate nest and chocolate filled Easter eggs add that special touch of festivity.

So hop over to their website for the full recipe.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

Kaalan (Kerala style Yam and Plantain Curry with Coconut, Yoghurt and Peppercorns)

Onam is almost here, just another week to go and most households which celebrate this festival must have begun the preparations.

For those who have not heard of this festival before, Onam is an annual festival that is celebrated in the state of Kerala, South India. The whole state comes together irrespective of caste, creed and religion and every household celebrates it albeit in a small manner. Without going into the specifics, one of the most important aspects of this festival is the feast, also referred to as the Onam sadya.

The sadya is traditionally served on a fresh banana leaf and includes at least 24-28 dishes, sometimes even going as high as 64. Every year I try and add a few recipes to the list here and hopefully, some day I will have the entire compilation. So the next two posts here will be about this ‘delicious’ festival since I will be celebrating it this year too just as I have done for the past 35 years of my life.

Today’s dish is called kaalan (I know it’s a hard one to pronounce for all those who do not know the language) or a yam and plantain curry with coconut, yoghurt and peppercorns. This recipe might sound quite similar to avial but the taste is very different due to the vegetables used and also the texture and consistency.

Kaalan (Kerala style Yam and Plantain Curry with Coconut, Yoghurt and Peppercorns) - an integral part of the Onam feast - thespiceadventuress.com

A couple of days ago, I was on the phone learning how to make this dish from my mom. Even though I am familiar with the consistency of this dish, she kept stressing about its importance. In her words, ‘the consistency must be that if you throw a spoonful of the curry at a wall, it must stay put and not slide down’….. Sigh. Mothers have such a unique way of recipe telling!

Now I am not going to advise you to do the same. Just make sure that the curry is thick enough yet not too dry and the secret to getting that is a spoonful of ghee that you must add at the end. Though other spices are also added, the predominant flavour is that of peppercorns. A slight twinge of sourness from the curd completes the flavour profile of this unique vegetarian dish.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup yam; diced
  2. 1 raw plantain; diced
  3. ½ tsp red chilli powder
  4. ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  5. ½ cup fresh grated coconut
  6. 1 tbsp black peppercorns (adjust to preferences)
  7. 1 green chilli
  8. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  9. ½ cup natural thick curd/yoghurt
  10. 1 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  11. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  12. ½ tsp mustard seeds
  13. ½ tsp fenugreek/uluva seeds
  14. 2-3 dry red chilli
  15. 2 sprigs curry leaves
  16. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Add the diced yams, red chilli powder, half of the turmeric powder and salt to a pan; add 1 cup water, bring to boil and cook covered till the yams are completely cooked to a consistency where it can be mashed. Add more water if necessary but not too much; remember that a thick mash is what is needed at the end. (You can use a pressure cooker also).
  2. In another pan, cook the diced plantain with the remaining turmeric powder, water and salt till just done so that the pieces are cooked but still have a bite to it.
  3. Grind the coconut, black peppercorns, green chilli, and cumin along with curd to a fine paste. If the curd is a bit sour, add a pinch of sugar too.
  4. Once the yam is cooked well and mashed, add the plantain to this along with the ground paste. Simmer on low heat till mixed thoroughly. Add the ghee and continue to mix on low heat till the thick consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  5. For the tempering, heat coconut oil and crackle mustards seeds. Add the fenugreek seeds, dry red chilli and curry leaves.
  6. Pour this over the top of the prepared curry, remove from heat and keep covered for at least 10 minutes before serving.

 

Kaalan (Kerala style Yam and Plantain Curry with Coconut, Yoghurt and Peppercorns) - an integral part of the Onam feast - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns)

A taste of home!

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

The flavours of Kerala can throw a real surprise to those who are not familiar with the state. The style of cooking and choice of ingredients can be so varied from region to region inspite of it being such a small state in terms of topography.

Most people associate Kerala with non vegetarian food, which is understandable given the state’s fixation with seafood and beef. But the land also has a vast repertoire of vegetarian dishes, many of which are practically unheard of like today’s Kootu Curry. A disclaimer here…..there are a few versions of this dish that can be found across the state but the recipe that I am sharing with all of you comes from the Malabar region (which in my opinion is the most delicious!)

So the Kootu curry is essentially a mixed vegetarian curry and is always prepared using black chickpeas, raw plantain and Indian yams. This dish is a true representation of the state as the main flavour components are coconut and peppercorns. It is the Malabar region that gave ‘peppercorns’ aka ‘black gold’ to the world. So the Kootu curry is a befitting tribute to that discovery which changed the course of the world.

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

Black peppercorns - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

I am yet to find the Indian variety yams in any of the Melbourne markets, most often I find the other Asian varieties. Now if you are not looking for the exact traditional recipe, you may use that though the taste will vary slightly. Or you could get these traditional Indian ones, which are available frozen in most Indian stores.

The Kootu Curry is also an integral part of the Onam sadya (the banana leaf feast which Kerala is famous for); it’s one of the several dishes that make up the feast. But for everyday purposes, this is best served as a side to steamed rice and dal. To complete, add some pappadums!

So add these ingredients to your shopping list so that we can get cooking Kootu Curry or Kerala style black chickpeas, plantain and yam curry with coconut and peppercorns.

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup black chickpeas; washed and soaked overnight
  2. 1 medium sized raw plantain; cut into large chunks
  3. 100gms yam; diced
  4. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  5. ½ tsp red chilli powder
  6. ½ cup grated coconut
  7. 1 ½ – 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  8. 2 large garlic cloves
  9. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  10. ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  11. 2 sprigs curry leaves
  12. 2 dry red chilli
  13. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. To a pressure cooker, add the black chickpeas with 1 ½ cups water, season with salt and cook till ¾ ths done.
  2. In another pan, cook the plantain along with red chilli powder, half of the turmeric powder, salt and 1 ½ cups water till done. Drain and keep aside.
  3. Add the diced yams to the black chickpeas and cook till the yams are lightly mushy (use the back of the ladle to mash the yams if necessary). Then add the drained plantain and mix well to combine.
  4. Coarsely crush the grated coconut, peppercorns and garlic in a mortar and pestle or grinder and add this to the cooked chickpeas. Add the remaining turmeric powder and mix well to combine.
  5. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Cook in low heat for 1-2 minutes and remove.
  6. To temper, heat coconut oil in a small pan and crackle the mustard seeds. Then add the curry leaves and dry red chilli. Pour this over the prepared chickpeas and mix well to combine.
  7. Keep covered for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  8. Enjoy with a bowl of rice and dal/lentils.

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala)

My Instagram journey has so far been a highly delightful and inspiring one. I have been able to interact with a wonderful bunch of creative friends there and some wonderful human beings too. And a friend that fits that bill is Natasha (or Nats, as I sometimes call her). Nats is known as @thegutlessfoodie to the Insta folks and if you are curious as to why that name, check out her profile.

Apart from being such a darling, Nats has a whacky sense of humor that always brings a smile to my face. And if you follow her, you would get truck loads of inspiration for everyday dishes. Like I did, for this Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with my special East Indian Bottle Masala).

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe is my adaptation of Natasha’s dish since I added mustard leaves and also used my special East Indian Bottle Masala to spice up the curry.

Mustard leaves are super healthy greens that are used extensively in North Indian cuisine especially states lying near the Himalayan belt. I wanted to try and grow these in my balcony garden but that meant trying to grow it in a pot. An experiment that yielded good results.

The only thing about growing mustard leaves in a pot is that you get only baby leaves and not the large one that is typical when grown on the ground. Also, since I was trying to grow it the first time, I planted the seeds in a small pot; next time I would try in a larger pot to see if the size of the leaves get bigger. If you live in an area where you can easily find mustard leaves in the market, then go ahead with that or substitute with any other greens if growing it in your garden is not an option for you.

Anyway, I found that the baby leaves tasted more refreshing than the larger mature ones which meant that I could use it for garnishing my salads and also in pasta dishes. In fact, I was planning on a salad when Natasha’s chickpea curry caught my attention.

For my East Indian Bottle Masala story, you need to read this post (which also tells you another delicious way to use this spice blend).

East Indian Bottle Masala - a traditional spice blend from Eastern India - thespiceadventuress.com

This chickpeas and mustard leaves curry is a simple, everyday dish that can be paired with flatbreads or rice and with a simple salad on the side. How I love these simple yet delicious and healthy almost one-pot meals that are just so comforting and nourishing at the same time.

The leaves wilt quickly even when added right at the end of the dish so you will hardly notice it in the photographs. But it’s there peeps…all the goodness and flavour is there.

Ok, so let’s get cooking….

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Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup chickpeas; soaked overnight
  2. ½ cup mustard leaves (roughly chop if you are using the bigger ones)
  3. Coconut spice mixture
  • ½ tsp crushed cinnamon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 tbsp roasted gram flour/garbanzo bean flour/besan
  • ½ tsp almonds; crushed
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ tbsp East Indian bottle masala
  1. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 star anise
  3. 2 dry bay leaf
  4. 1 black cardamom; crushed
  5. 2 medium red onions; finely chopped
  6. ½ tsp red chilli powder
  7. A pinch of asafoetida
  8. 1 tbsp tomato paste
  9. Salt, to season
  10. 3 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped

East Indian Bottle Masala:

  1. 12.5 gms dry Bedki chilli
  2. 12.5 gms dry Kashmiri chilli
  3. 45 gms turmeric powder
  4. 30 gms coriander seeds
  5. 14 gms cumin seeds
  6. 10 gms white sesame seeds
  7. 10 gms poppy seeds
  8. 7.5 gms fennel seeds
  9. 25 gms mustard seeds
  10. 2.5 gms black cumin/shahjeera
  11. 3 green cardamom
  12. 5 cloves
  13. 2.5 gms black pepper
  14. 3 gms cinnamon bark

Method:

  1. To prepare the bottle masala, dry roast all the spices till aromatic and fragrant. Cool and grind to a powder. Store in an airtight bottle or container and use as necessary.
  2. To prepare the coconut spice mixture, grind all the ingredients given under No.3 with a little bit of water to make a thick paste.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a pressure cooker (or pan if you don’t have a cooker). Add the star anise, cardamom and bay leaf; after a few seconds when the spices have becomes fragrant, add the chopped onions.
  4. Sauté till light brown and then add the red chilli powder. asafoetida, tomato paste and coconut spice paste. Cook on low heat till the masala comes together and the rawness of the spices and coconut have gone.
  5. Then add the chickpeas and cook till done (around 2-3 whistles would be enough if using a pressure cooker).
  6. Finally, add the mustard leaves, stir through and remove from heat. Since these are baby leaves, it does not require any cooking time but if you are using the bigger ones, you may need to cook it for about a minute.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste)

Are you an extrovert, or an introvert, or someone in between?

I was an extrovert as a child, introvert as a teenager and an introvert’s extrovert in my adult life. Life takes us all through phases; high and low, good and bad, happy and sad…all of which leave profound marks on our character and personality. And there is only one way forward – to evolve with time.

Change is inevitable and the only constant in this world. I resisted it for the longest time in my life; despising it instead of embracing it. It pushed me into alleys of dark despair and loneliness…a sense of unwantedness. Till one day when I realized that I am meant to flow, evolve, adapt and change with the waves of time.

So do we change our entire being, transform ourselves into someone we don’t recognize? No, we don’t; we only adapt, shed the unwanted baggage retaining our core essence as a human, as a person. We reflect inwards, separating the chaff so that we end up with the purest grains.

For me, food takes the same journey of change. With time, my taste and preferences change. And when boredom strikes from the old and known, I need to recharge and experiment in my kitchen; not for the blog but to satisfy my inner need for change. It keeps me happy, it keeps me satisfied and motivated.

Today, I embrace this change in the form of an ingredient or rather a condiment – Gochujang.

 

Gochujang, Korean chilli paste - thespiceadventuress.com

Gochujang or Korean chilli paste is a spicy and pungent condiment that is prepared from fermented soybeans, hot chilli peppers, glutinous rice and salt. It adds that oomph, savoury and spicy kick that Korean food is known for. The heat is there at the back of your throat but you just can’t stop eating!

Darkish red in colour, piquant, smoky and rich to taste and a paste like consistency, Gochujang also has a small amount of sweetener added to it to draw out maximum flavour from the chillies. Traditionally fermented in large earthen jars, this condiment is central to Korean cooking and gives the food a unique flavour. Though not scientifically proven, it is believed that this condiment has nutritional benefits and is rich in several vitamins.

Many of the traditional dishes from Korea use gochujang as one of the key ingredients. But I am using it today in a simple stir fry – an under 30 minute dish which is simple to make, has loads of veggies, a bit of cheese and oh so delicious! Some sticky white rice or a simple fried rice to go along and it becomes the perfect weekday dinner.

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

I have added some Havarti at the end which just about melts when the wok reaches the table. You could go with tofu or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) if you want something firmer. Also no hard and fast rules as to the choice of veggies; I like texture in my stir fries which is why the addition of almonds and sesame seeds. You could also make a non-vegetarian version with chicken, prawns, lobster, scallops….endless options. And of course, don’t undermine the importance of a good carbon iron wok; the perfect vessel for all your Asian adventures.

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  2. 1 medium zucchini; cubed
  3. 1 red onion; cubed
  4. 1 orange bell pepper; cubed
  5. 1 cup white button mushroom; halved
  6. 100 gm havarti; cubed
  7. 2 large garlic cloves; finely chopped
  8. 2 tbsp gochujang
  9. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  10. 1 tsp palm sugar
  11. Salt, to season
  12. 2-3 sprigs coriander leaves; torn
  13. 1 tbsp almond slivers
  14. 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  15. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

  • Heat oil in the wok and add the chopped garlic. Sauté for about a minute or till the raw smell of the garlic goes away.
  • Then add the gochujang and cook for another minute or two on low heat. Add soy sauce and palm sugar and mix well to combine. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the onions and mushrooms. Toss well and cook for 30 seconds; then add the cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Cook for a further 30 seconds on high.
  • Then add the bell peppers and season with salt. Toss through and remove from heat.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with coriander leaves, almond slivers and sesame seeds.
  • Add the havarti cubes just before serving.

Note – How much gochujang to add to your dish should be a personal one. The quantities I have mentioned keeps it medium spicy taking into account my little champ.

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Prawns with Tomatoes (Burmese Style)

I have absolutely no idea about Burmese cuisine or Myanmar cuisine, as it is known today. So this recipe is a borrowed one from Chef Luke Nguyen, a celebrity chef I admire a lot, both for his recipes and his travel cooking shows.

Prawns with Tomatoes - a Burmese style prawn curry with chillies, aromatics and tomatoes - thespiceadventuress.com

I watch a lot of travelogues especially if it revolves around food. A couple of my top favourites are Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Chef Luke Nguyen and Chef Peter Kuruvita, Food Safari, Spice Route etc….For me, a good cooking show is one where the presenter has a real respect and fascination for the culture, lifestyle and food of the region.

I hate shows where the presenter or host walks around eating anything and everything going ‘mmmmmm delicious’. I mean, seriously….

So while watching one of Chef Nguyen’s shows, I came across this recipe for Burmese style Prawns with Tomatoes. Now I have no idea if this dish is traditional or has he put his own twist on it (he says it’s a traditional one). But what I know for sure is that it is damn delicious!

Prawns with Tomatoes - a Burmese style prawn curry with chillies, aromatics and tomatoes - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s a basic one, a handful of everyday ingredients that works magic in a wok. The cuisine of Myanmar is slightly on the fiery side with big and bold flavours. So if you are not a fan of chilli, just reduce it a bit. Make sure you get shallots; it would taste way better than with regular onions. And also pound the aromatics in a mortar and pestle if you have one; little things that make a lot of difference to the overall taste.

Though Chef Nguyen used king prawns for his version, I used the regular prawns; much more affordable. But if you are in the mood to splurge or want a bit of drama, get the king prawns and cook with the head and tail bit intact.

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Prawns with Tomatoes - a Burmese style prawn curry with chillies, aromatics and tomatoes - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe is also a part of my seafood project with Supreme Seafood; so you will need to hop over to their Facebook page for the complete recipe. And as always, do remember to tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I can see if you have cooked this recipe or any other from the blog.

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms prawns; deshelled and deveined
  2. 6 large shallots (if small, use 8-10)
  3. 3 garlic cloves
  4. 3/4th inch ginger

Read the full recipe here.

Prawns with Tomatoes - a Burmese style prawn curry with chillies, aromatics and tomatoes - thespiceadventuress.com

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka)

Clams – my new seafood craze!

Clams - Food Photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Every week I visit my local farmer’s market and every single week, I need to buy seafood. Yes, my love for it is something all of you have become accustomed to. So this week, I decided to venture a little out of my comfort zone and buy clams.

Out of my comfort zone because I have not cooked these ever before. But there was this delicious recipe that I have been wanting to try out and so came home with some amazingly fresh clams. And a couple of Google search and YouTube videos, I realized that clams are the easiest to clean and cook with.

I got this recipe for Kube Sukkhe or Mangalorean style Spicy Clams from Shireen who runs the really delicious blog Ruchik Randhap. An amazing blog you need to follow if you want to learn more about the food of Mangalore, a beautiful little (well, not so little) town in Karnataka, South India. And especially more, if you freak out over seafood like I do.

The Kube Sukkhe is a traditional and very popular way of cooking clams among the Protestant Christians of Mangalore. Clams are cooked in its shell in a spicy coconut mixture and the dish is best paired with rice and a simple dal. Cooking the clams in its shell imparts a lot of flavour to the dish and also increases the nutrient value of the dish.

This recipe would work well with oysters, mussels and other types of clams too. There is a similar dish in Kerala which uses prawns, so that’s another option if you are not too keen on clams.

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

So let’s get cooking the deliciously, spicy Kube Sukkhe or Mangalorean style Clams!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg clams (with shells)
  2. For the coconut mixture:
  • 4 tbsp grated coconut
  • ½ onion; roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¾ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ – ¾ tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ½ inch ginger
  1. ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  2. 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. ½ onion, finely sliced
  4. 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
  5. Salt, to season

Method:

  • Clean the clams thoroughly under running water. If the shells are tightly shut, the best way to open it is to leave the clams in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature and place in warm water for another 15-20 minutes. Most clams open up after this time; any tightly shut ones should be discarded.
  • Open each clam shell and scoop the entire contents into one shell and discard the other. (This is an easy task but if you do not have enough time, get your fishmonger to do the job for you).
  • In a non stick plan, dry roast the grated coconut and onions till the raw smell has gone off and the coconut has taken on a light brown colour. Make sure that you do not burn or else the dish will taste bitter.
  • Next, add the spice powders, mix well and sauté on low heat for another 30 seconds. Cool the mixture.
  • Grind this mixture along with the garlic, ginger and tamarind paste adding just a little water. The ground mixture must be coarse in consistency.
  • In another pan, heat oil and crackle mustard seeds. Then add the curry leaves and sliced onions; sauté till the onions turn light brown.
  • Then add the ground masala and fry lightly on low heat for about 2minutes.
  • Add the clams and season with salt. Remember that clams tend to be on the saltier side so be careful.
  • Cook on low heat covered for a couple of minutes; add a bit of water if too dry. Clams cook relatively fast so keep an eye on the dish.
  • Serve hot.

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, isn’t it?

I have always loved this festive season. It’s not the starry lights, decorations or gifts but rather the cheerful spirit and joyfulness that seem to be in the air at this time of the year. And it is also the time when I am most grateful, when I count my blessings the most.

We will be spending this Christmas away from our extended families but I am still happy and grateful for the fact that all of us are happy and safe whichever part of the world we live in. Good health and safety is pretty much all that you wish for your parents as they get older and live so far away.

And my family always reminds me of seafood curries. Today’s recipe is a traditional mackerel curry from the coastal region of Maharashtra, not really from my home state of Kerala. If you look at the seafood dishes along the coastal line of South West India, especially parts of Kerala, Mangalore, Goa and Maharashtra, you can find so many similarities. But there will be one or two ingredients that would make the dish so unique to the region where it comes from.

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind) - a traditional seafood preparation from Maharashtra, India - thespiceadventuress.com

For example, this mackerel curry is famous among the Konkan community of Maharashtra. But you will find similar seafood preparations both in Kerala and Mangalore. But there is one ingredient that makes this curry so unique to the Konkan community and that is tirphal (a variety of Sichuan peppercorns). Till I came across this traditional dish, I wasn’t even aware of the importance of tirphal in Konkani cuisine. A spice that lends a distinctive woody and smoky flavour to the dish.

Sichuan peppercorns - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Fresh mackerel is often underrated but the oily nature of this fish makes it perfect for rich curries like this one. It is affordable, sustainable and local which ticks all the right boxes for me when it comes to seafood.

Unlike meat curries, seafood ones are easy to cook; the only job is to make the flavourful base and then cook the fish in it. The defining flavours of this mackerel curry are coconut, tamarind, Kashmiri chillies and tirphal. Since it is hard to get native tirphal in Melbourne, I used Sichuan peppercorns (only a very mild difference in flavour). The peppercorns add a woody kick without being overpowering; it is nothing like the Sichuan dishes that you would have tried.

Fresh fish - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind) - a traditional seafood preparation from Maharashtra, India - thespiceadventuress.com

So let’s get cooking Maharashtrian style Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan or a deliciously spicy mackerel curry with coconut, tamarind and Sichuan peppercorns. Especially recommended for days you crave simple, soul food and complete the experience with a bowl of steaming hot rice and a refreshing tomato cucumber salad on the side.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 mackerel; cut into four equal sized pieces (head included)
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 medium onion; finely chopped
  4. For the coconut paste:

Read full recipe here.

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind) - a traditional seafood preparation from Maharashtra, India - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood. 

Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices)

Most of my readers are still reeling over the ‘Vegemite Masala’ – a total fusion affair for many. So I decided on something more traditional today.

Gosht Durbari or a wickedly rich, intensely flavourful, deep dark lamb curry. Not sure if the Oz heat can take this curry but my ‘winter wonderland’ friends will thank me for this.

Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices) - a delicious slow cooked lamb curry with fried onions, yoghurt and spices - thespiceadventuress.com

 

The star ingredient of this dish is the fried onions; this makes the curry so intensely rich and flavourful. I would definitely suggest making fried onions from scratch instead of the store bought fried shallots. Way different in flavour….believe me, I have tried both versions. Fried onions may take some time but that’s the only real job in this otherwise simple dish.

Spices are minimal, just there to add layers of flavour without much heat. A dish that works if you have non-Indian friends at your dinner table who love a good curry but can’t handle too much heat.

Fried onions - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Make sure you get lamb or mutton on the bones as it imparts most flavour to the dish. And this curry is best paired with flatbreads or layered rotis with a yoghurt dip/raita on the side to cut through all that richness.

So put on your aprons and let’s get cooking Gosht Durbari or a delicious lamb curry slow cooked with yoghurt, fried onions and spices.

Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices) - a delicious slow cooked lamb curry with fried onions, yoghurt and spices - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Recipe adapted from a similar version by Jaspreet Nirula

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg lamb (on the bone); cut into medium-sized pieces
  2. 1 cup thick plain yoghurt/curd
  3. 3-4 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  4. 1 ½ inch ginger; julienned
  5. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  6. 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  7. Salt, to season
  8. For the spice paste:
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ cinnamon bark
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • A pinch of nutmeg, grated
  1. 4 medium red onions; finely chopped
  2. Vegetable oil, to fry the onions
  3. Ginger juliennes; for garnish
  4. Fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped for garnish

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan and deep fry the sliced onions in batches. Drain and keep aside.
  2. To prepare the spice paste, dry roast the whole spices till fragrant, cool and grind to a fine powder. Mix with the other spice powders and make a paste with a bit of water.
  3. Now take a heavy, deep bottomed vessel and heat ghee. Add the lamb along with yoghurt, chilli powders, ginger and salt. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next add the spice paste and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add enough water to slow cook the lamb.
  5. After 20 minutes, add ¾ ths of the fried onions, mix well and continue to cook till the lamb is soft and tender.
  6. Check and adjust seasoning, reduce gravy on high heat if necessary. Garnish with ginger juliennes, fried onions and coriander leaves.
  7. Serve hot with flat breads, parathas or rotis.

Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices) - a delicious slow cooked lamb curry with fried onions, yoghurt and spices - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

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