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Category Archives: Side Dishes

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

A Christmas feast for two!

Or three, as in our case…..

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s not always possible to prepare a huge feast especially if you are a small family and want to spend the day just with yourselves, by choice or circumstance. And today’s dish is just perfect for that; it’s indulgent yet easy to put together with limited portions that you are saved the headache of addressing leftovers.

Back in India, Christmas was always with the extended family and that meant a large feast that the whole family would pitch in to prepare. But when we moved to Melbourne, we hardly knew anyone and the first two years, spent Christmas just by ourselves. Well I am not complaining at all because we love our company; the three of us together can make any meal festive.

But I always felt challenged about the menu.

While I would desire to roast a whole turkey or chicken or perhaps a leg of lamb roast, the thought of eating leftovers day in and day out already made me shy away from the idea. And that’s when I started to put together meals like this that had the classic elements yet portioned for our family’s needs.

I have also used sage extensively in today’s recipe as my herb garden is doing well this summer and I have a lot of sage growing currently.

Sage has a warm, musky and earthy essence, which makes it perfect to be paired with cured meats, veal, pork, lamb etc…. It also has many medicinal properties, the best of which is its antioxidant capacity. Grows easily in pots especially during the warmer months, sage is definitely a great herb to grow in your garden.

Sage - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Herb garden - thespiceadventuress.com

In today’s recipe, I have used sage as part of the marinade to flavour the pork fillets and also added it to the burnt butter for the mashed potatoes.

There are so many different styles of making mashed potatoes but this one adapted from Half Baked Harvest’s blog uses crème fraiche and sage brown butter. I loved the flavour that crème fraiche imparted to the potatoes, creamy and slightly tangy and not as heavy as using regular cream. And that final addition of brown butter made these mashed potatoes so luxurious and decadent.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of our favourite vegetable sides is grilled asparagus and this time, I decided to grill and then toss it through some parsley pesto that I had in the freezer. Finished off with crushed walnuts and it turned out to be one of the most delicious sides ever.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

I guess that’s enough explanation; let’s get on with the recipes for Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

Ingredients:

Pork fillets:

  1. 1 large pork fillet; cut into 2 cm medallions
  2. 10 large sage leaves; finely chopped
  3. 2 medium garlic cloves; grated
  4. 1 lemon; juice and zest
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil + extra for grilling
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season

Mashed potatoes:

  1. 800gms potatoes (choose a variety suitable for mashing); peeled and cubed
  2. 2 medium garlic cloves
  3. 1 cup whole milk
  4. 1 cup crème fraiche
  5. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season
  8. 6-7 fresh sage leaves

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. 2 bunches asparagus; ends trimmed
  2. 1 ½ tbsp parsley pesto
  3. Chilli flakes
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Olive oil, for grilling
  6. A handful of walnuts; crushed

Note – To make the parsley pesto, simply substitute basil with parsley. But if you would like to have a recipe for the same, please comment below.

Method:

Pork fillets:

  1. In a glass bowl, mix the sage, garlic, juice and zest of 1 lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and marinate the pork fillets for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Heat a pan (I used a cast iron pan but you can use a stove top or bbq grill for the same) and add olive oil. When the pan’s smoking hot, place the pork fillets (reduce heat to medium) and cook for 4-5 minutes on one side before turning. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and remove. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. Take care not to crowd the pan and cook in batches.

Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Cook the potatoes and garlic in salted boiling water till the potatoes are cooked well and tender enough to mash.
  2. Drain and add the potatoes back to the pan. Mash and keep aside.
  3. In another pan, melt butter and add the sage leaves. Cook the butter on low heat constantly stirring till the butter has taken on the golden brown hue. Keep aside.
  4. Return the mashed potatoes to heat and add the milk and crème fraiche. Stir through and mash well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Once you have got the desired consistency (add more milk if necessary), add half of the brown butter with sage and mix through.
  5. Remove to a serving bowl and pour the remaining brown butter with sage on top.

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. Brush the grill pan with olive oil and heat till smoking hot.
  2. Grill the asparagus for a minute and remove to a bowl.
  3. Add the parsley pesto and season with salt if necessary. Toss well.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and crushed walnuts on top.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fiji style Crab Curry

Some days the words just don’t come….

And it’s usually when my mind is overwhelmed and I am so busy trying to achieve a zillion things in a short period. Pretty much how I feel currently with the holiday season coming up soon.

I hardly get overwhelmed or stressed over personal and emotional happenings; pretty sorted that way. But when it gets to physical things like working, events to attend, parties to plan etc… that’s when I feel so beat up and tired. And that’s exactly the current state of affairs. There are so many recipes to test, shoot and write, so many events to attend (in spite of saying yes only to a quarter of the invites), Christmas parties to plan, a trip to India early next year for my brother’s wedding which means a whole lot of wedding shopping to do…the list goes on.

Since I have nothing more to say apart from how crazy things are at the moment, I will just get on with today’s recipe – a Fiji style Crab Curry.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

With Fiji being so close to Australia in terms of geography, there are so many people I know who are from the island. But when it comes to food, I am totally clueless. I do know that Fiji cuisine is heavily influenced by the various migrants and settlers so it’s totally normal to see an Indian curry sitting beside a native dish. And seafood is an integral part of the diet due to the coastal topography.

I found the recipe for this Fiji style crab curry in my recipe journal (basically a bunch of recipes torn from magazines and newspapers that I used to collect way before the food blogging journey). And so I have no clue whom to credit the recipe to. In fact I am not even sure if it’s the most authentic or traditional way of making crab curry in Fiji.

The original recipe called for large mud crabs to make this curry, but I decided to use blue swimmer crabs as these are in season and also because I love the flavour of these..so sweet and delicious.

Blue swimmer crab - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Medium thick milk from freshly grated coconuts is the best to make this Fiji style Crab Curry, but canned coconut milk will work just fine too (tends to be slightly more sweet than fresh coconut milk). The crabs are broken down so that the flavour from all the spices and aromatics seeps into every nook and crevice of the claws and body which makes this curry a delicious delight. And of course, ensure there are plenty of napkins around, there’s no neat or demure way to eat crabs.

In traditional Fiji cooking, a hot masala powder would be used but sourcing that would be difficult for most people, hence I used garam masala  which is quite similar to the hot masala. If you live in Australia, there are plenty of stores that stock Fijian products so you can use the hot masala itself.

In spite of all the spices, this is a very mild and light curry that’s perfect for the warmer days. It’s creamy yet light and soupy, sweet yet with a hint of spice that’s best enjoyed over a bowl of steamed white rice.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Fiji style Crab Curry

So let’s get cooking a delicious pot of this Fiji style Crab Curry…

Ingredients:

  1. 3 blue swimmer crabs
  2. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  3. ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  4. 1 inch ginger; julienned

Recipe developed for Supreme Seafood, so find the full recipe on their website..

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry

Curry for change!

The ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign is back, and I am very honoured to be collaborating again with Opportunity International Australia for their annual fundraising project. In its third year (you can view details of the previous years here and here); the campaign aims to raise funds to help families in developing countries build income-generating businesses.

A bit of background info for those who are hearing about Opportunity International Australia and the Great Australian Curry campaign for the first time…

Opportunity International Australia provides small loans to families in developing countries to steer them towards a path of financial independence and thereby a better quality of life. Founded in the 1970s by David Bussau, Opportunity has come a long way since offering innumerable families a new lease of life.

Opportunity works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes. And the ‘Great Australian Curry’ campaign is a great way by which food lovers like us can contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

Opportunity International Australia

But why curry?

Most of Opportunity International Australia’s work is concentrated in the Asian countries and a curry is perhaps the most iconic dish to have come from the region. And Australia loves curry – Vindaloo, Rogan Josh, Massaman, Thai green curry…the list is endless.

This year’s campaign was launched last week with a Curry Cook-off between veteran Chef (and MasterChef judge) Ian Curley and MasterChef 2017 winner, Diana Chan.

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry- thespiceadventuress.com

Chef Ian Curley said that he is looking forward to cooking up a curry with Diana. “It’s one way we can give a hand up to families less fortunate than ours. It’s important for us to not lose focus of how lucky we are, just the simple fact of where we live. I’m very blessed to have a healthy family and to live In Australia with the opportunity to do the work I love.”

Diana agrees too and she says that it will be an honour to share space and cook alongside Chef Curley. “I am so impressed with the work that Opportunity does to help families end poverty. “I also love that I can contribute towards the same through my cooking skills.”

Oppoyle Prawn Curry

There are so many different ways through which you can participate in this year’s Great Australian Curry Campaign;

Plan a Curry Night – Time to dig out your favourite recipes and invite your friends and family for a curry feast at home. Be generous and plan the entire dinner yourself or make it a curry potluck (so much fun!); even better would be a curry cook-off. If cooking is not your forte, head out for a curry night to your favourite restaurant and let the professionals feed you.

Create a Fundraiser – Once you have planned out the night, set up a fundraiser page and encourage everyone to make a donation. The fundraiser page can also be set up without hosting any curry event. All the details for setting up the page can be found here.

Spread the Word – Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to show support by making a donation or host their own curry fundraising event.

And this year, the Great Australian Curry campaign has another proud supporter – Herbie’s Spices, the artisan Australian spice business.

Since all of you get my fascination for good quality spices, I was thrilled when Herbie’s Spices gifted all the spices that I needed to create this lipsmacking delicious Kerala style Prawn Curry. This is not the first time I am using Herbie’s Spices; it has been one of my go to brands whenever I need to stock up my spice pantry.

The first 20 people to sign up to host a Great Australian Curry fundraiser will win a ‘Flavours of India Spice Kit’. Also Ian and Liz Hemphill, who established Herbie’s Spices 21 years ago, will also give out ‘Pantry Spice Kits’ and their ‘Herb and Spice Bible—Third Edition’ as prizes for an upcoming Facebook competition promoting the campaign,” Learn more and participate in the competition here.

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry- thespiceadventuress.com

Ian Hemphill is enthusiastic to be giving a boost to the Great Australian Curry. “As most spices originate from developing countries, we’re keen to support a campaign that strives to improve the lives of people in these spice-producing communities.

Speaking of spices, here is a deliciously creamy and coconuty Kerala style Prawn Curry that you can make for your fundraising curry night.

This year, I wanted to make a seafood curry. Seafood, especially prawns is hugely popular during the spring-summer months in Australia leading up to Christmas and New Year. And I also wanted to make a curry that is light yet packed with flavour that’s perfect for our warm days.

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry- thespiceadventuress.com

The title ‘Kerala style Prawn Curry’ is rather generic because there are so many different styles of making seafood curries in Kerala. This particular one is more popular in central Kerala, as coconut milk is used liberally in curries making it light yet so creamy, coconuty and packed with flavour. As for spices, I have kept is simple again and used spices that are familiar to most people.

I used tiger prawns for making this curry and if you can source it fresh, then I highly suggest you do so because then this dish is nothing short of an indulgence. And pair it with steaming hot long grained rice; that’s all you need. Maybe some pappadoms on the side….

So let’s get cooking this fingerlickin’ good Kerala style Prawn Curry….

Kerala style Prawn Curry

But before that, here are a few curry recipes for hosting your Great Australian Curry fundraising campaign….

  1. Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samlá Curry
  2. Massaman Curry
  3. Duck Kurma
  4. Jaffna style Goat Curry
  5. Hyderabadi Shahi Macchi Kurma (Fish in a Creamy, Saffron induced Yoghurt Curry)

Kerala style Prawn Curry

Ingredients:

  1. 800 gms tiger prawns; deveined and deshelled (but retain shell at the tail end)
  2. 3 tbsp coconut oil + 1 tbsp for tempering
  3. ½ tsp mustard seeds
  4. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  5. 2 small red onions; finely sliced
  6. 1 tsp ginger paste
  7. 5 green chillies (whole)
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)
  10. 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. ½ tsp garam masala
  12. Salt, to season
  13. ½ tsp Freshly milled black pepper
  14. 2 dried Kashmiri red chillies
  15. 4-5 sprigs curry leaves
  16. 400ml coconut milk

Method:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a deep pan (use an earthenware pot, if you have one).
  2. When the oil gets warm, add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle.
  3. Then add the fenugreek seeds, half of the curry leaves and green chillies.
  4. Next add the ginger paste and sliced onions; sauté till the onions are softened and translucent.
  5. Then add the turmeric, chilli, black pepper and coriander powder; mix well to combine and reduce heat to avoid the spices from burning.
  6. Add the cleaned prawns and 300ml coconut milk (reserve the remaining). Season with salt and mix well. Bring to boil and then simmer gently on low heat till the prawns are cooked.
  7. Once the prawns are cooked, add the remaining coconut milk and mix well. Adjust seasoning and remove from heat.
  8. In another small pan, heat coconut oil and add the remaining curry leaves and dry red chillies. Fry for a few seconds and add this to the prepared prawn curry. Keep covered for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  9. Enjoy over steamed long grain rice.

And let’s not forget to join hands and support Opportunity International Australia’s commitment to help fight poverty. Start your own Great Australian Curry fundraising campaign today!

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry- thespiceadventuress.com

 

Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in association with Opportunity International Australia and all the spices were kindly gifted by Herbie’s Spices.

 

September Favourites

Feels like I wrote the August favourites just yesterday. Where did September go?

Guess days just flew by for us with the packing/shifting/unpacking process. I can’t believe that it’s October and almost the end of the year.

We are finally settled in the new home, few more boxes to get through as I write this but mostly settled and functional again. More importantly, I am back to my daily routine cooking. Eating out can get so boring after a few times that all of us were craving terribly for home cooked comfort food.

And due to all this, we hardly did anything this school holidays. No activities, play dates or fun stuff…Adi was at home helping us get things sorted. He was such a happy kid, hardly uttering the ‘boring’ word, quite understanding of everything that’s been happening.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had managed to test and shoot a few recipes beforehand to ease work during the shifting process. It takes me some time to start feeling inspired again and get back to work during changes like this.

One of the recipes that I had developed for Supreme Seafood was an Andhra style Prawn Curry.

Referred to as Royyala Koora in the native language, this dish can be made using prawns as well as shrimps. I chose to make it with tiger prawns; makes it an indulgent treat.

It was interesting that yoghurt is used as the souring agent instead of tomatoes which lends a tangy, creamy texture and flavour to the final dish. This prawn curry is best served as a thick gravy just coating the prawns and one of my favourite ways to have it is with steaming hot rice and some dal. But it works just as brilliantly as part of a larger thali or with Indian flatbreads.

Find the full recipe on their website; do try it out and let me know what you think…

Andhra style Prawns Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Now let’s get on to my top picks and favourites for the month of September;

Drawing a 3D fried egg. Sheer Magic!

We have a lovely deck space in our new home. I can totally see myself sipping a couple of these mojitos with friends.

Just the kind of snack I enjoy.

A 20 minute ramen recipe is always welcome.

So rustic and simple, this egg curry has become a hot favourite in our home.

I have never made polenta before. Guess it’s time to give it a try…

This slow roast spiced lamb shoulder is definitely going to be a part of my Christmas menu.

Kids don’t damage women’s careers, men do. 100% true and for all the men to think about….

Spring racing, summer parties, Christmas dinners….the list is endless and I am broke. Hiring might be the solution.

Pandora ‘Grains of Life’….truly my style.

Need a spring makeover for my bedroom, starting with this floral linen set.

 

French Green Lentil Salad

Till last year, I was a ‘one-dimensional lentil’ person.

Yep, that’s a phrase I just coined now. So let me explain; till last year, the only lentil I really cooked with was toor dal or split pigeon peas. While I did make different recipes using pigeon peas, it was more or less the only variety I stocked up in my pantry.

It’s not that I didn’t know about other lentils or pulses, but somehow never ventured outside the familiar zone and actually cook with any other variety. A decision to incorporate more lentils and pulses into our daily diet is what made me start experimenting initially.

I picked up a packet of the soup mix at our local shop, but instead of using it as a base for just soups alone, I started using it in this khichdi recipe and also to prepare regular dal curries. Soon I began to shop for all sorts of lentils and pulses from around the world incorporating it into various stews, curries etc…. I even made a delicious lamb curry and haricot beans which was one of my more recent finds.

But this was the first time I am making a salad using lentils.

French Green Lentil Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

I had heard much about the French Puy lentils but recently I also came across the French Green lentils which got me confused as both looked quite similar to me. A bit of research later, I came to understand that both lentils are the same variety except that the term Puy is given to the lentils that are specifically grown in the Puy region of France as these are cultivated in the distinct volcanic soil there. And these lentils grown anywhere else are called French green lentils.

Since I am a big believer of ‘shop local’, I found that I was able to buy French green lentils grown in Australia through Mount Zero Olives, hence that’s the brand I have used for this salad.

This French green lentil salad turned out to be one of the best salads I have eaten in the recent times. It’s fresh, vibrant, and healthy with oodles of flavour. It’s great as a salad dish but also works brilliantly as a side with grilled meats, seafood etc….

The French green lentils are small, mottled and almost grayish green in colour and not a vibrant green as you would imagine from the name. It has a slightly peppery flavour and a soft yet firm texture when cooked that makes it really unique especially in salads like this.

French green lentils - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

French Green Lentil Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

No pre-soaking is necessary as the French green lentils cook really fast unlike other lentils. And as I mentioned, it does not get mushy and holds shape which adds a beautiful textural element to the salad.

So let’s hop right into the recipe and whip up this super delicious and healthy French green lentil salad.

Ingredients:

  1. ¾ cup French green lentils; washed well and drained
  2. 1 red onion; finely chopped
  3. 5 baby qukes (or Lebanese cucumber); finely chopped
  4. ½ red bell pepper; finely chopped
  5. ½ cup olives; sliced
  6. 2 tbsp capers
  7. 2 medium tomatoes; finely chopped
  8. 2 tbsp fresh parsley; finely chopped
  9. 1 cup baby spinach; coarsely chopped
  10. 3 baby radish; finely chopped

Dressing:

  1. 2 tsp jalapeno mustard (use any kind of mustard)
  2. 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tbsp verjuice (replace with red wine vinegar, apple cider or any type of vinegar)
  4. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Cook the washed green lentils in salted boiling water; drain and keep aside. (Takes approximately 15-20 minutes to cook)
  2. To the drained lentils, add the spinach leaves and mix through. The residual heat slightly wilts the spinach which is all the cooking that it needs.
  3. To a salad bowl, add the lentils with spinach and all the remaining chopped veggies and herbs.
  4. To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk well.
  5. Pour this over the salad just before serving; toss well to combine.
  6. Enjoy!

French Green Lentil Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes)

I am not much of a gadget freak especially when it comes to my kitchen.

Now it’s true that I have a few extra equipments due to the nature of my work (many of which were sent to me for professional reasons) but I am pretty old school and prefer to use only a few basic ones. And instead of buying the latest appliances, I would rather invest in high quality knives and cookware that are better for my family’s long term health and also for the environment.

But having said that, there was one appliance that I have wanted to buy for a long time now; a modern pressure cooker.

If you are from India, you would understand how integral a pressure cooker is to our cooking. I cannot imagine a day without using the PC in some form or the other. After moving to Australia, I became less dependent on the PC as I started experimenting with slow cooking, baking, roasting etc… but the pressure cooker held a very special place in my kitchen.

Once the blog started, many of the pressure cooker recipes would make it here. And one of the constant questions I would get from my non Indian audience is about the Indian pressure cooker and how they can adapt those recipes to suit their modern versions. The Indian PC is an alien appliance to all of them and they find it quite intriguing and exciting.

That’s when I became aware of the fact that what the rest of the world calls PC is quite different in appearance and performance to the Indian version though the basic technology is same. I started researching more about the modern version especially when my Indian one began to give problems and there was no way I could get it repaired here. I don’t travel to India often so the first time, I had to ask my parents to courier a spare part (the courier charges turned out triple the cost of the original part).

And while all this research was going on, I got the biggest surprise when I was sent the Philips Deluxe All-in-One-Cooker for a collaboration. My wish was granted triple fold, because this premium appliance can pressure cook, slow cook, bake, sauté…basically multi cook including making yoghurt!

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

What I love most about this appliance is that it is a multi cooker which means I can use a lot of functions, some of them for the same dish itself. For eg: I can sauté and then pressure cook or sauté and slow cook or do all three if necessary. There is an add ingredient option which means mid way pressure cooking, I can open and add ingredients which is absolutely fantastic. There are pre programmed options for lentils, poultry, rice, beef/lamb etc… which means I don’t need to worry about undercooking or overcooking the dish.

One of my favourite curries to make using the pressure cooker is this simple Chicken drumlette curry with potatoes. It’s a super simple mid week curry that needs very little time especially since drumlettes are used. Just basic spices and aromatics, this is a rustic curry that can be paired with any kind of bread or rice. Any sort of curry tastes better when meat on the bone is used. And drumlettes are super affordable, easy to eat and tastes absolutely delicious when cooked in a curry sauce like this.

Note – This chicken drumlette curry can also be made in a traditional PC or slow cooked on the stovetop.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms chicken drumlettes (skinless)
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 inch cinnamon bark
  4. 3 cloves
  5. 3 green cardamom
  6. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 red onion; finely chopped
  8. 2 sprigs curry leaves
  9. Masala paste
  • 1 medium red onion; cubed
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3-4 fresh coriander leaves (stalks and root included if available)
  1. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  2. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  3. 2 tsp coriander powder
  4. ½ tsp garam masala
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 2 potatoes; cubed
  7. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

  1. Select the Sauté/Sear function for 12 minutes (lid open); add oil and the whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and cumin seeds)
  2. As the spices begin to sizzle, add the curry leaves followed by the onions; mix well and sauté for 5 minutes till the onions turn light brown.
  3. Then add the ground masala; mix well and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. There will be some amount of spluttering so stir continuously.
  4. Mix the spice powders (turmeric, red chilli, coriander and garam masala) in 2-3 tbsp water and add this to the masala. Mix well to combine and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and season with salt. Also add 2 cups water and mix well to combine.
  6. Select the Pressure cooker (poultry) function and close the lid. Set the timing for 15 minutes, pressure at 40.
  7. After 5 minutes, select the add ingredient function. Open the lid once pressure has dropped and add the potatoes. Mix well and add more water if you desire more gravy.
  8. Close lid and continue pressure cooking process for the remaining 10 minutes.
  9. Once cooking is complete, open lid and garnish with coriander leaves.

Note:

Traditional PC – The steps remain same but cooking times will change. More water is release when cooking chicken in a traditional PC, so add only 1 cup water.

Stove top – Follow the same steps. After adding the chicken pieces and water to cook in Step 5, bring to boil and then simmer on low heat till the chicken is half done. Then add the potato pieces and cook covered till both the chicken and potatoes are cooked through and tender.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Pan fried Salmon with Peperonata

Social media can be such a wonderful medium if you use it constructively. In spite of all the negativity that surrounds it, it’s a wonderful tool to communicate, work and meet new people if you use it in a positive manner.

I have made some amazing friendships and relationships over the years through social media; people who I would never have met otherwise. While many are still virtual friends, there have been others where the virtual relationships were quick to transform into real life friendships too.

This week, I got the opportunity to meet Natasha (@thegutlessfoodie) while she was on holiday in Australia. I have known Natasha for about 2 years now; our paths crossed on Instagram and we have remained in touch ever since. What drew me to her posts was not her medical condition and her inspiring life story (though there’s much to learn from that), but her sense of humor and positivity. Her food posts always bought me joy and put a smile on my face; and of course encouraged me to embrace wholesome homemade food always.

We spent a lovely evening with each other and our families, such a joy when you meet a virtual friend and realise that the love and respect you had for each other was not just an Internet thing but a genuine one. It’s a sigh of relief when that happens because more often than not, we always project the better side of us on social media without realizing that there’s more to each other’s life.

And while I wish we had more time to spend with each other, it was a great experience meeting her; one that is going to be cherished forever.

Time now to get to today’s recipe….

Peperonata is a classic Italian accompaniment. Often takes it place on the antipasti platter and is a great topping with bread and a good quality extra virgin.

Initially that’s how I wanted to try out this recipe. But as I was reading it, the flavours delighted me and I wanted to use it as an accompaniment with a protein for a complete meal. And of course, salmon came to mind as anything to do with roasted peppers are a delightful addition to seafood.

Pan fried Salmon with Peperonata - thespiceadventuress.com

Peperonata is an extremely simple side to prepare that can be made ahead of time if you are prepping for a party. This dish is all about the bell peppers so make sure you pick plump red ones which have the right amount of sweetness required. The peppers are first roasted for that smoky flavour and then sautéed off with onions, tomatoes and spices. But what really adds another level of flavour is the basil pesto.

Since the Peperonata is loaded with flavour, there’s not much that needs to be done to the salmon. Keep it simple with a marinade of turmeric and paprika. And of course, take care while cooking to get that crispy skin which is the best part of the salmon.

Pan fried Salmon with Peperonata - thespiceadventuress.com

Pan fried Salmon with Peperonata - thespiceadventuress.com

A healthy meal with really robust flavours, this dish is easy to prepare which makes it ideal for both weekdays and when entertaining too.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 Salmon fillets (with skin)
  2. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  3. 1 tsp paprika (or Kashmiri chilli powder)

Find the full recipe on Supreme Seafood website..

Pan fried Salmon with Peperonata - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Chicken Meatball Salad

Do you cook with your children?

Not the once in a while ‘school holiday’ cooking but do you involve your kids in your everyday cooking and food related activities?

From a very early age, I made sure that I got Adi interested in food and cooking. Initially it began with taking him to the market where I taught him to identify the different fruits and vegetables. I would encourage him to touch and feel the produce or ask him to pick out some for our shopping basket. In fact, Adi learnt the different colours and his initial 1, 2,3s…. at our local vegetable shop.

As he grew older and learnt to read and write, I made sure he was with me for most of our weekly grocery shopping trips. He learnt more about the different fruits and vegetables, also learning how to pick out fresh produce but at the same time, I encouraged him to pick out wobbly and misshapen ones that are still fresh indirectly teaching him about food wastage.

And now he is my favourite shopping partner. Not just with the veggies but he is also quite well versed at picking out most ingredients at the supermarket, choosing the deli meat every week for his lunch box etc…

I have also consciously involved Adi in household chores from cleaning, arranging his room and toys, helping me out in the kitchen etc… Initially he wouldn’t be interested but now he sees it as a responsibility and he understands that he needs to do his share too.

Now there are so many advantages to this but above all, I wanted him to develop two important life skills – learning to cook so that he is not dependent on anyone for his needs and also helping him understand that the kitchen, cooking, cleaning etc… is not just a woman’s job.

I wouldn’t claim to be a perfect mom (that phrase doesn’t exist!), but consciously incorporating certain rules or principles has made him a largely responsible and flexible child. It has been hard and there were plenty of times when I lost patience especially because I started very early on, when he was about 2 years of age. But I had the belief that it was the right path which will show results after a few years. And it did…

Adi is 9 years old now, a happy boy who enjoys food and not a fussy eater at all. He enjoys doing his chores, has a flexible disposition, responsible and accountable; all those years of gently steering him from behind seems to have had a positive effect so far.

I am not writing this to brag; every child is unique and has both strengths and weaknesses. Adi has his share too. But I write this for the many young parents who struggle either due to lack of knowledge or think that they have time to rectify certain things when the child is older. And food always seems to be an issue, especially getting the child to make healthy food choices as he grows up.

You have to start really young with children that it almost becomes a way of life for them because it’s so hard to change ways later. And we most definitely can’t raise our kids like our parents did because the needs of this generation are way different. Agree there are some traditional values that remain same but largely our lifestyles have changed which means our parenting must too.

Today, we are making one of Adi’s favourite salads – a Chicken Meatball Salad.

Chicken Meatball Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

As I already mentioned, it’s easy to get him to eat veggies and salads are a regular feature at our dinner table. But once in a while, we make this chicken meatball salad which doubles up as his school snack the next day.

Whenever we make this salad, Adi’s job is to help me roll out the meatballs and also preparing the dressing (he loves the shake shake part) and finally tossing it all up.

The meatballs are simple and are great as a snack. So I always double up the quantities and freeze some to have as an after school snack later in the week. And with meatballs, you can do so much….add it to pastas, a curry base or sandwiches.

The salad is a beautiful medley of our favourite veggies and herbs. Use what’s in your refrigerator or the combinations that your children like to eat.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  1. 500gms chicken mince
  2. 1 slice white bread (soaked in ¼ cup milk)
  3. 2 sprigs rosemary
  4. 1 tbsp fresh parsley; finely chopped
  5. 1 tsp sweet paprika
  6. 1 tsp lemon zest
  7. Salt, to season
  8. Black pepper, to season
  9. Vegetable oil; for shallow frying the meatballs

For the salad:

  1. Salad greens
  2. ½ punnet cherry tomatoes; halved
  3. 1 Lebanese cucumber; diced
  4. 1 yellow bell pepper; diced
  5. A handful of olives
  6. 3 bread slices; to make croutons
  7. 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil; for dressing
  8. Regular olive oil; for shallow frying the meatballs
  9. Lemon juice
  10. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and tear into smaller pieces.
  2. Add this to a large bowl along with the chicken mince, rosemary, parsley, paprika, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine and shape the mixture into even sized meatballs. Keep aside and allow to rest while you assemble the ingredients for the salad.
  3. In a large salad bowl, assemble the salad leaves and veggies.
  4. To prepare the dressing, add the olive oil to a small jar with a tight lid. Add the juice of ½ lemon and a pinch of salt. Shake vigorously to get an emulsion; taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large pan and shallow fry the meatballs in batches.
  6. Add the meatballs to the salad; pour the dressing and toss together to combine.
  7. Serve immediately.

Chicken Meatball Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish

Bengalis and Keralites have plenty in common, a fact that’s become common knowledge now due to the numerous Internet memes floating around.

(For my international readers, Bengalis are the natives of West Bengal, a state in the Eastern part of India while Keralites are the natives of Kerala, a state in the Southern part of India).

An outsider might not find much similarity but if you delve deep, there are quite a few that these states have in common in terms of politics, literature, art, fashion and food.

Now let’s talk about food, since that’s our topic of interest. The most obvious similarity between the cuisines would be the ‘rice and fish curry’ obsession. There cannot be a more comforting meal than this, a combination that is relished across the length and breadth of both the states.

Seafood is much revered in both states as they enjoy an envious coastline. But the irony is that there ends the similarity too because apart from the seafood craze, there’s hardly much in common when it comes to preferred seafood varieties or style of preparation.

When I started learning more about the cuisines from other parts of India, the one that I was most hesitant to try out in my kitchen was Bengali cuisine, simply because of the use of mustard oil. Initially, I tried adapting the dishes using vegetable or coconut oil but soon realised that I am not doing any justice to the cuisine of Bengal. That’s when I slowly learnt to use mustard oil in the right quantities and also pick out dishes that are more familiar to my tastebuds. And the journey, ofcourse, began with seafood.

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish - thespiceadventuress.com

Today, there are plenty of Bengali dishes I cook on a regular basis in my kitchen like this simple cabbage dish or this delicious fish curry. But the learning never stops and so here is another delicacy from the Bengali kitchen – a simple fish curry using Silver Whiting.

Fish and potatoes is a very unique combination but one that is extremely popular in Bengali cuisine. Though initially skeptical, I was amazed at how beautifully both the ingredients come together in this curry. The combination of mustard seeds with kalonji (onion seeds) and other spices and aromatics lend an earthy flavour to the curry that has to be enjoyed with steamed rice.

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish - thespiceadventuress.com

(Do you cook Bengali dishes at home? What’s your favourite?)

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms ladyfish; cleaned (head removed)
  2. 1 medium potato; cut into long wedges/strips
  3. 1 large onion; grind to a paste with no water

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood, so visit their website for the full recipe.

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish - thespiceadventuress.com

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster

I have a very vivid memory of the first time I tasted lobster.

Must have been about eight or nine years old, I was living in Dubai at that time. One of my dad’s friends who worked in the Merchant Navy had gifted him some as a Christmas present.

Lobsters were literally unheard of, at least in my home. But I could sense the excitement as if something expensive was bought home. Little did I know that it was indeed super expensive and quite an out-of-reach ingredient for most people.

Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

I don’t remember clearly what was the exact dish my mom cooked but it was a South Indian one, pretty much like how she would cook prawns. The lobster meat tasted sweet and plump, and I couldn’t really see the comparison with prawns. And that taste remained a memory for so many years till I moved to Australia.

While it is still expensive, lobster is no longer an out of reach ingredient. It is available easily at leading seafood stores, and very common during the summer months.

Lobster always evokes a sense of indulgence and that makes it the ideal choice during the festive season. The lobster meat is so succulent, juicy and sweet that it needs very little accompanying flavours.

But today I am going a bit heavy handed with the flavours.

Indo Chinese is one of our favourite cuisines and thus came the idea of putting a spin on a much loved classic. Chilli Lobster – a true indulgence for the taste buds!

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

An excellent starter to serve at your parties and its fingerlickin good with sweet, spicy flavours coating the lobster pieces. You could serve it on a beautiful platter as shown or serve it inside the shell of the lobster if kept intact.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 Lobster tails
  2. 1 medium red onion; diced

Find the full recipe here.

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster- thespiceadventuress.com

 

Disclaimer – Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

 

 

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