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.

 

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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

 

 

 

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans

As I had mentioned on my FB page a few days ago, we were crazy busy the whole of last week shifting homes. Things are still a little crazy even now as we are yet to settle down in the new home, in the process of opening out the boxes, arranging, rearranging and all of that jazz.

While the packing part is stressful and not enjoyable at all, I really enjoy the unpacking phase in the new home. I love decorating and doing up my home interiors, so it’s like having a whole new palette to play with.

Since I knew that there is not much cooking that will be happening over the next couple of days, I decided to test and shoot some recipes beforehand (the first time I have actually planned out my work ahead of time). Usually it’s always spontaneous but this year, I have been really working on my time management skills which are great when you have a home based business.

One of the dishes that I had tested out was this delicious Lamb curry with Haricot beans.

Pairing lamb or goat curry with lentils, vegetables etc… are quite common in Indian cuisine. And a great example of that would be Dhansak, a much revered mutton preparation amongst the Parsi Zoroastrian community. A fusion dish that combines elements of Persian cuisine and Gujarati cuisine, Dhansak has come to symbolize the essence of Parsi cuisine.

Not an adaptation, but this lamb curry with haricot beans was definitely inspired by Dhansak; firstly for the lamb and pulses combination and secondly because of the use of Dhansak masala, a really flavourful aromatic spice blend that makes this lamb curry absolutely spectacular.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

I have cooked with haricot beans before but always in a vegetarian dish like a stir fry with grated coconut or in combination with other vegetables like potatoes. This is the first time I paired it with lamb and it turned out to be such a great combination.

Haricot beans are also called by other names like Navy beans, Boston beans, pea beans etc… These are small, oval, white coloured beans that have a mild, smooth and creamy flavour when cooked. If you are not too fond of the bigger sized beans, this is a great replacement to make baked beans for breakfast, in stir fries, curries or salads. High in protein and gluten free, haricot beans are definitely a healthy addition to your pantry.

As I mentioned earlier, I used the dhansak masala as the spice blend to make this curry. It’s a really flavourful and aromatic blend that has become another valued addition to my spice collection. Have fun with it and do not restrict to using it in just this curry but as you would use garam masala or any other blend.

So let’s get into the recipe now; and if you do make this recipe, do tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I can see your creations too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Dhansak Masala:

  1. 100 g dry coriander seeds
  2. 50 g fenugreek seeds
  3. 50 g mustard seeds
  4. 50 g cumin seeds
  5. 50 g dried bay leaves
  6. 20 gms cardamom
  7. 20 gms cloves
  8. 1 large cinnamon bark

Method:

Dry roast the whole spices on a hot tawa/flat pan till aromatic (take care not to burn). Cool slightly and then blend into a powder. Store in an airtight container.

To make the curry:

Ingredients:

  1. 800gms lamb shank meat (boneless); cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 3-4 tbsp oil
  3. 2 large onions; finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  6. 1 inch ginger root; grated
  7. 2 large tomatoes; finely chopped
  8. ¾ ths cup haricot beans (washed and soaked overnight)
  9. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp coriander powder
  11. 2 tbsp dhansak masala
  12. Salt, to season
  13. ½ cup milk
  14. Fresh coriander leaves; for garnish

Note – Any cut of lamb can be used but boneless is best for a recipe like this.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large deep bottom pot.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter and then add the garlic and ginger. Sauté till the rawness has disappeared and then add the onions.
  3. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till the onions have softened and lightly browned at the edges. Then add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are broken down and mushy.
  4. Add the chilli, coriander and dhansak masala; mix well to combine.
  5. Add the haricot beans and lamb pieces. Add 3 cups water, season with salt and mix well.
  6. Bring to boil and then lower heat; cook covered on low heat till the lamb is just about done.
  7. If you prefer more gravy, add more water or if you prefer thicker gravy, increase heat and reduce the gravy.
  8. Finally add milk, mix well and adjust seasoning.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
  10. Serve warm.

Note – Adding the milk lends creaminess to the gravy, a much better alternative to adding cream or yoghurt. It is optional and can be skipped.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours

Most of us are familiar with Turkish flavours, but at Yagiz, you will be treated to a unique and modern twist on classic Turkish flavours in a contemporary, warm and friendly ambience.

Yagiz is the dream project of Chef Murat Ovaz who has a wealth of experience working at some of the top restaurants in Melbourne and NSW. He was the Head Chef at Tulum before starting this restaurant which was named after his grandfather. In fact, you cannot miss the beautiful portrait mural of his grandfather inside the restaurant which almost instantly warms you up to the space.

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

The service and hospitality at Yagiz deserves a special mention. The staff are friendly, keen to help, take great pride in serving you and passionate about Turkish cuisine which was really refreshing to see.

The menu resonates with the restaurant’s philosophy – modern Turkish.

Since there are plenty of Turkish terms on the menu, feel free to discuss with the staff to pick out the right dishes. In fact, the staff are quite proactive in offering you explanations about both the wine list and menu.

The wine list at Yagiz is unique and interesting. Curated by award winning sommelier Christian Maier, there are plenty of Turkish wines that are showcased apart from others from Australia and around the globe. I wonder why we haven’t been exposed to Turkish wines here, because all the ones I tasted were outstanding. Highly recommend to take suggestions and try out some Turkish wines while dining at Yagiz.

Sam decided to try out the cocktails while I tried out the wines. And personally speaking, I think the wines stood out better in comparison.

So let’s get into all the drinks and dishes that we tried out. I have provided the explanation under each photograph as many readers have told me that they find it more useful.

2

Alexander the Traitor – Bison Grass Vodka, Licor 43, ginger, lemon, orange bitters. (The original one has egg white but Sam requested to skip that since he is not fond of the flavour). Sam didn’t find it as enjoyable as the cocktail was a tad bit on the sweeter side.

1

Vinkara Winehouse Öküzgözü 2015 (Ankara, Turkey) – A well balanced medium bodied red is how I would like to describe it. It’s a great starting wine if you don’t want to go for sparkling or white yet need something light to pair with the starting courses of the meal.

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

It is not uncommon to have bread and butter served at the table at most restaurants these days as something to snack on while the food arrives. But at Yagiz, even this is worth a mention as we were served warm sourdough bread with an absolutely lipsmacking eggplant infused butter. I have never tasted something like this before and the flavour completely blew me away. This can be a course in itself.

Yagiz (South Yarra, Melbourne) – Modern Turkish Flavours - thespiceadventuress.com

Kozde Biber – Charred red bullhorn pepper, buttermilk curd. Loved this modern twist of a much loved classic. It was light, sweet but with that hint of smoky char balanced out by the creaminess of the curd. A great vegetarian starter!

 

 

5

Sigara Boregi – Confit of duck cigar. This is an absolute must try at Yagiz, and my personal favourite. Crispy cigars filled with the most tender, melt in your mouth duck mince that has to be dipped in an Isot spice mix. Isot was a revelation for me, a new spice to add to my list. Sweet spicy chilli flakes with a hint of burnt flavour with chocolate undertones. It’s complex yet subtle and those cigars dipped in it is absolute heaven for your taste buds.

6

Marrons with butter and garlic – One of the specials of the night. When the staff informed us that freshly caught marrons were on the specials that night, we simply couldn’t go past it. A bit pricey but totally worth it because fresh marrons that has been grilled to perfection with just butter and garlic is not an everyday dish and when you get the opportunity, you order and eat it to your heart’s content.

7

It was time for the 2nd round of drinks. Sam got another cocktail; Yeni Eksi – Citrus infused Raki, lemon, sour cherry, sour apple. This was a really enjoyable one; stronger in flavour but perfectly balanced out and quite enjoyable to drink.

8

For round 2, I went for a glass of Suvla Syrah 2017, Gallipoli, Turkey. A full bodied red with hints of spice, this was suggested as a great pairing for the meat dishes to follow. And it definitely didn’t disappoint.

9

Kofte – Now this is a dish that I order whenever I eat at any Middle Eastern restaurant. It’s like the gold standard dish and I wanted to see their take on it. Definitely didn’t disappoint as the kofte was juicy and was paired with smoked eggplant and pickled chilli which made it an excellent one.

10

Dana Kaburga – Beef short ribs, wild mushrooms, parsnip puree. A stunning main dish that I can speak of forever. Loved the fact that each ingredient was treated with so much care and attention. From the perfectly cooked, absolutely tender short ribs to the wild earthy mushrooms and that sweet, lush and creamy puree, this was another excellent dish at Yagiz.

11

Bulgur Pilav – to accompany the mains, we got this pilaf. And I realised that this is a delicious dish in itself and not just a side. Brilliant flavours with that hint of spice!

12

Lokumlu Turta – Turkish delight tart, soft meringue. I have heard so much about this dessert on Instagram that I definitely had to try it out. And I must admit that it tasted better than the traditional Turkish delight. This one’s also on the sweeter side but there’s so much balance and finesse that makes it a delicious way to finish the Yagiz experience.

To summarize, Yagiz is a great place to explore Turkish cuisine in a contemporary setting. It’s not fusion, it’s traditional Turkish cooked and presented with finesse.

Yagiz Restaurant

22 Toorak Road
South Yarra
VIC 3141

Phone: (0)3 9821 4758

https://www.yagiz.com.au/

Timings:

Dinner: Tues to Sat, 5.30pm – 11pm
Lunch: Wed to Fri, 11.30am – 3pm

Yagiz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini)

Pan grilled Lamb Cutlets with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini – this was the mains I served for my Christmas in July family dinner.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

If you had already checked out the Potatoes with Smoked Salmon recipe that I posted last month, you would be aware that I had collaborated with ALDI Australia to create a Christmas in July feast. And as I mentioned in the previous post, there was no intention to share the recipes here as it was a social media/photography project. But with so many readers asking for the recipes, I thought of posting it here rather than sending screen shots as this is quite a lengthy one with so many different components.

The best thing about this dish is that each individual component is a dish within itself. The red pepper cashew puree can be paired with any sort of grilled meat, fish or vegetable. The charred broccolini with a hint of spice makes an excellent side and the couscous salad is so hearty and fulfilling that it can be a delicious salad or a light lunch at your next barbecue or summer party.

It’s important that you cook the lamb cutlets right as it’s very easy to overcook these and dry cutlets are not at all nice. Depending on the thickness, 1-2 minutes on each side and then rest for another 5 minutes to get the perfect cutlets. You can also sear for a minute on high heat and then finish off the cooking in the oven. Either way, it’s best medium rare for a juicy, delicious texture.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

The roasted red pepper cashew puree is an absolute must try. Believe me; you do need this recipe in your life because it’s so delicious and versatile. It’s a perfect accompaniment to any sort of grilled meat, seafood or veggies but it can also be a great dip. I have used it like a pesto before with pasta and grilled veggies; the result was brilliant.

So let me stop rambling and get on to the recipes as there are quite a few. And enjoy it as a wholesome dish as I served it or make components that you enjoy making the dish truly yours.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini)

Lamb Cutlets

Ingredients:

  1. 10 lamb cutlets; frenched
  2. 4 tbsp olive oil
  3. ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
  4. 1 tsp paprika
  5. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Prepare a marinade with the olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Place the lamb cutlets in a bowl, pour the marinade over and rub well to coat all the pieces. Keep for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat a pan till smoking hot (I like to use either a grill or a cast iron pan) and place the lamb cutlets (cook in batches). Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Cook all the cutlets in this manner.

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree

(Adapted from thevintagemixer.com)

Ingredients:

  1. 4 red bell peppers/capsicum (whole)
  2. 3 medium garlic cloves
  3. ½ cup raw, unsalted cashewnuts
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. Juice of ½ lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan forced)
  2. Line a tray with baking paper and place the peppers inside. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast for about 40-45 minutes at 200°C (might vary according to oven) till the skin of the peppers have blackened.
  3. Remove and cover with a cloth for about 5 minutes; this makes it easier to peel off the skin.
  4. Once the peppers have lightly cooled, remove the skin, pith and seeds.
  5. Place in a food processor along with cashewnuts, garlic, chilli flakes, salt, lemon juice and 3 tbsp olive oil. Blitz well and add more olive oil as needed to get a smooth puree.

Note – If you want a really smooth puree, you can strain the sauce but I skipped the step.

Charred Broccolini

Ingredients:

  1. 2 broccolini bunches
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Chilli flakes
  4. 1 small garlic; finely sliced
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Slice each broccolini into 3 pieces (2 stalk pieces + 1 floret)
  2. Heat olive oil in a stove top grill (pan can also be used) and when really hot, add the broccolini stalks and garlic. Cook for a minute on high heat.
  3. Then add the florets, chilli flakes and season with salt.
  4. Toss on high heat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Serve warm

Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup couscous
  2. 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  3. 1 Lebanese cucumber; finely chopped
  4. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped
  5. 1 tomato; finely chopped
  6. 1 red/yellow bell pepper; finely chopped
  7. ½ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  8. 5-6 olives; finely sliced
  9. 50gms feta
  10. Salt, to season
  11. 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  12. Juice of 1 lemon
  13. Freshly milled black pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the couscous as per packet instructions.
  2. To make the dressing, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small capped container. Shake vigorously and keep aside.
  3. Once the couscous is cooked, use a fork to separate the grains. When cooled, add the remaining ingredients and toss well.
  4. Add the crumbled feta and dressing just before serving (or the salad will go soggy), mix again and serve immediately.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

August Favourites

What a month!

Most of you would have heard about the Kerala floods situation. While floods or natural disasters are not uncommon in the world we live in, you realize the scale of devastation and trail of destruction it leaves behind only when it strikes so close to home.

While my immediate family was spared the misery, there were plenty of friends and family who were affected badly. Communication with loved ones became the most difficult thing as many houses and regions were cut off due to the flooding.

There cannot be anything positive when disaster strikes, but the fact that the community came out to help each other was an encouraging one. A sheer testimony to the power of humanity in the face of adversity.

The worst is behind us now but the path of rehabilitation and progress is going to be a slow one for God’s own country.

Banana tree, Kerala - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting onto other topics, a lot of you had messaged me about this Khichdi recipe and how you have been enjoying it immensely. It’s one of my favourites too as it’s a hearty, delicious and super healthy one pot meal.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

As September is almost here, the kiddo is getting excited about his term hols and we have already started planning activities, workshops, play dates and events to attend. One of the events that we are most looking forward to is the Jurassic Creatures.

It’s an interactive walk through event exploring the world of animatronic dinosaurs. With plenty of related activities, sand art, fossil displays, interactive set ups, this is going to be fun for the young and old alike. Jurassic Creatures will run at St Kilda Triangle (adjacent to Palais Theatre) from 15 September – 14 October 2018. So don’t forget to book your tickets soon.

Jurassic Creatures - Melbourne

Well, it’s time to bid adieu but not without sharing all my other favorites for the month. Enjoy reading!

Time for a Whiskey Sour. Cheers!

And if you are into cocktails, then check out these gorgeous glasses.

This Thai style rice soup sounds so hearty and comforting.

Not a big fan of the classic shrimp cocktail but I think infusing Mexican flavours is the secret.

Summer is gonna be here soon and I am saving up all the chicken wings recipes that come my way, starting with this one.

Clam toasts for breakfast! I could eat this everyday….

This is what a summer salad should look like

Speaking of summer, I need to invest in a couple of these dispensers.

This South Indian chicken curry has given me the drools.

Have you tried a beer can chicken before?

Planning any trips to Vietnam? Then you need to read this street food guide.

I love the idea of kitchen islands; adds so much character to the kitchen and can be customized to suit every space.

I can spend hours looking at rugs online; yet a bit crazy but I totally love this one. What do you think?

 

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice

First of all, a big apology for putting up this post so late. Many of you have been asking the recipe for this Chicken fried rice for a while now and I have been chirping away the phrase, ‘it will soon be on the blog’ to all.

It’s just that too many things have been going on, both personally and professionally. Sitting down to write out the recipe has taken me the longest time. But today I was determined to get the post published so that all of you can try out this absolutely lipsmacking Chicken fried rice.

On the personal front, most of you would be aware of the Kerala flood situation and the trail of destruction and devastation it has left behind. While my own family was affected less, there have been members of the extended family and friends, many of whom had to be evacuated and put up in shelter homes and many others who have lost everything they have including homes, businesses, properties, agricultural land etc….

It’s a difficult time that everyone’s going through back home. Almost the whole of last week was spent in just trying to communicate with family and in many instances, it took us almost 4-5 days just to establish communication with our loved ones. Work was the last thing on my mind so except for some client projects, I hardly updated the blog.

Getting back to today’s dish, this Chicken fried rice is one of the best I have ever made. It’s totally different to the Indo Chinese style or the typical Chinese style that I often make at home. Adapted from a Marion Grasby recipe, this is more of a modern Thai style chicken fried rice.

It’s quite simple to put together but the flavours are incredible and I loved the fact that turmeric is a key ingredient which adds so much depth and flavour to the rice. Another key ingredient is belachan or shrimp paste, adds that umami hit which really comes through in the final dish.

I usually have a menu plan ready by the end of each week for the following one, so whenever there’s fried rice on the menu, I try and prepare the rice a day ago as the texture of one day old rice works best. But don’t fret about it if you can’t find the time; just make sure you prepare the rice first, drain and spread out to cool before going ahead with the remaining dish.

This chicken fried rice is all about the toppings and condiments too. Fried eggs, fresh coriander, cucumbers, fried shallots, sambal oelek all create this wonderful texture and layers of flavour to the final dish. Requires no other side dish to go along, but you can indulge yourself by adding a stir fry to accompany.

So let’s get cooking this Thai inspired chicken fried rice; and if you make it do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your social media posts so that I can see it too. Or leave a comment below; I love hearing from all of you.

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups cooked medium grained rice
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Vegetable oil; (for frying the eggs and making the rice)
  4. 500 gms chicken thigh (skinless & boneless); thinly sliced
  5. 1 large brown onion; finely sliced
  6. 3 garlic cloves; finely chopped
  7. 1 long red chilli; finely sliced
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 ½ tsp shrimp paste
  10. 3 baby bok choy; slice the light green part and tear the leaves coarsely
  11. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  12. 2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy)
  13. Salt, to season
  14. Fried shallots
  15. 4-5 sprigs fresh coriander leaves
  16. Sambal oelek, to serve
  17. Lebanese cucumber; to serve

Method:

  1. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large wok till smoking hot. Add the chicken pieces and season lightly with salt. Cook till the chicken is just about done; remove and keep aside.
  2. In the same wok (add more oil only if necessary), add the onions, garlic, chillies and sauté on medium heat till the onions are softened.
  3. Lower heat and add the shrimp paste and turmeric. Break down the shrimp paste using the back of the ladle and mix well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute till it gets aromatic.
  4. Next add the cooked chicken pieces along with the light green stalks of the bok choy; toss and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce and kecap manis. Toss well to combine and finally add the bok choy leaves. Mix well and stir fry for about a minute.
  6. Once the rice is done, fry the eggs to your individual preferences.
  7. To serve, place the fried rice in a bow and top with fried egg, cucumbers, coriander, sambal oelek, shallots and kecap manis.
  8. Tuck in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne)

Smith Street, Collingwood is a food lover’s paradise. With so many good restaurants to choose from, it can be quite a confusing decision. That’s when I turn to fellow bloggers and sites like AGFG (Australian Good Food Guide), especially when trying out a place for the first time.

And Bowl Bowl Dumpling was one such find, courtesy AGFG.

Head Chef Kun Fu along with his partner Shin, showcases classic Sichuan cooking in a contemporary setting. After having worked in some of the best restaurants, Melbourne and abroad, the Chef brings to you a seasonally driven menu which has classic Sichuan flavours but with an experimental and personal flair.

So expect some lipsmacking, fiery deliciousness showcased in a brilliant way!

The restaurant is a pretty busy one (no surprises there!), and so they have another space too about two shops away. But it would be best to make a booking in advance before dropping in.

Tradition meets functionality, that’s how I would describe the décor and ambience at Bowl Bowl. There are touches of Chinese influence everywhere but in quite a contemporary manner that suits both the food and culture of Collingwood.

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Bowl Bowl has a decent wine selection and the menu also gives suggestions with regards to food wine pairing. We got the 2016 Yarraglen Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley, VIC) and the 2015 Angas & Bremer Shiraz (Langhorne Creek, SA)

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The menu at Bowl Bowl is an extensive showcase of Sichuan flavours. There are plenty of starters and small bites to choose from. Dumplings are another speciality at Bowl Bowl, and you will find some signature ones here that are not available in many other places. There are also rice bowls and big plates to share.

We decided to stick to the starters and dumplings as the dishes looked the most unique and interesting to us.

For starters, since we couldn’t make up our minds, we went for the Chef’s Special Street Food Platter, which is basically a selection of 6 different dishes. The dishes change daily and are handpicked by the Chef based on what’s best that day.

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

So on our platter we had;

  1. Five Spice Quail – crispy skinned quail, cooked beautifully and spiced just right. Dig in with your hands for this one.
  2. Lamb Ribs in Xinjiang style – fiery with a generous sprinkling of Sichuan peppercorns, but you just can’t stop eating it. Absolutely tender, melt in the mouth lamb ribs. Highly recommended.
  3. Kung Fu Tofu – Cool and melt in the mouth tofu with basil and bbq sauce; this dish was a true revelation. I am not a tofu lover but this one was just brilliant that I could eat it every day for the rest of my life. I can’t recommend it enough.
  4. Smashed garlic cucumber – a delicious accompaniment to refresh the palate.
  5. Fungi with chillies – another brilliant dish with a great textural finish; make sure you have it with the chillies.
  6. While these were the main dishes, we also had Chinese sausage, salted duck egg, candied walnuts and another salad.

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

We tried out three different dumplings, all three quite unique and different to what we have had till date.

Water Bomb – as the name suggests, these are incredibly soft, handmade dumplings. Steamed and juicy filled with the most delicious concoction of pork, ginger juice and rice wine. Make sure you get the whole dumpling into your mouth at once since it’s filled with liquid and breaking it would be a crime. And you will soon be transported to dumpling heaven!

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Signature – The Chef’s signature dumplings with pork, chives, ginger and rice wine. The best way to have these is the boiled version with scallions, peanuts, garlic, Sichuan pepper and chilli sauce. Again a must try dish at Bowl Bowl; the flavour of these dumplings is just outstanding.

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Red Hot Cow – It was the name that first drew me to this dish and when I read the description I just had to order it; so unique. Succulent beef dumplings, pan fried and served with ripe tomato, onion, mushroom, ginger stock and rice wine relish. It’s fiery, spicy and fingerlickin good!

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Didn’t order anything from the Big plates or Rice section; guess we will do that next time. But finished off the meal with a light dessert – Chilled Mango Sago Cream with Pomelo. It was a light, refreshing, cold dessert with both mango and pomelo flavours coming through. But the pomelo was stronger which left a slightly bitter after taste. So will recommend it only if you enjoy the flavour of pomelo.

Bowl Bowl Dumpling (Collingwood, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To summarize, Bowl Bowl Dumpling is a fabulous space to experience Sichuan cuisine. While there are contemporary touches to the dishes, the heart of soul of Sichuan cooking has been preserved in each dish which delivers in terms of flavour and deliciousness.

Bowl Bowl Dumpling

88 Smith Street
Collingwood
Victoria 3066

Phone no: (03) 9417 7448

http://bowlbowl.com.au/

Timings:

Weekdays: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm & 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday: 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm & 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of Bowl Bowl Dumpling and AGFG; the photographs and opinions remain entirely mine. 

Bowl Bowl Dumpling Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill

Christmas in July! A few weeks ago I had posted my thoughts on this on Instagram and the special dinner I made for my family.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

Initially I had no plans of posting the recipes here. But I had taken a lot of photographs as it was also part of a social media collaboration with ALDI Australia. The food turned out amazing and I got a lot of requests for the recipes so eventually I decided to jot it down here too. I am sure it’s gonna come handy when we all celebrate the traditional Christmas season.

Pan roasted potatoes with smoked salmon, red onion, capers, dill and drizzled with olive oil; this was the appetizer that I served for our celebratory dinner. And paired it with the Blue Pyrenees Midnight Cuvee (2014).

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

The smoked salmon/caper/red onion pairing is a classic one, traditionally enjoyed with bagels and cream cheese. Today, there are all sorts of variations to this and this potato version is one of them.

Using potatoes instead of bagel keeps it lighter and bite sized, which makes it perfect to be served as an appetizer or canapé. Cream cheese can be avoided too. It’s important to use even, medium sized potatoes to get the perfect shape (and also to get maximum slices from a single potato).

As I mentioned, the flavours are still classic with smoked salmon, capers, red onion and dill. It’s easy to make ahead; only the potatoes need to be parboiled and then finished off in a pan at the time of serving. The rest of the components can be prepped ahead too which makes it an excellent choice to serve at parties even when there are many guests.

And if you try out this recipe, do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your post, so that I can see it too.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Coles Magazine

Ingredients:

  1. 2-3 even medium sized potatoes
  2. 100gms smoked salmon
  3. ½ red onion; thinly sliced
  4. 2 tbsp capers
  5. Fresh dill
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. ½ lemon
  8. 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  9. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 – 1 ½ inch slices
  2. Parboil the potato slices in slightly salted water; drain and keep aside.
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a pan; fry the potatoes on both sides just enough to get some colour and crisp up the outside.
  4. Remove and arrange on a platter.
  5. Top each potato slice with smoked salmon, red onion slices, capers and dill. Squeeze lemon on top and drizzle a little olive oil just before serving.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - 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

 

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