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Tag Archives: dinner

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne)

Another example of a top notch Melbourne café situated in the beautiful suburb of Ripponlea.

Tucked away on a side street yet located in the heart of the suburb, right next to the railway station, Turning Point is a great place to hang out with friends and family.

Subscribing perfectly to the word ‘Modern Australian’ is both the ambience and menu. There is a large seating area inside and a small outdoor space too for the sunnier days. The décor is bright and cheerful with contemporary touches.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The menu, as I mentioned is Modern Australian; all the classics but plenty of twists and fusions accommodating all kinds of foodies. Also it is divided into two, as the café is open for dinner also from Thursday to Sunday. The drinks menu is also extensive during the dinner timings.

We visited the café for brunch, a good time to enjoy both the breakfast and lunch dishes.

For drinks, I chose a glass of Lambrook Rosè (Adelaide Hills) while the hubby chose the ‘Citrus Squeeze’ cold pressed juice spiked with gin. A very interesting drink which had the goodness of orange, carrot, grapefruit, lemon and mint; the gin took it to another level creating a rather refreshing cocktail of sorts.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The little fellow opted for the eggs and bacon on toast, but we also added a side of chorizo. (The photograph was taken before the bacon arrived). A classic that ticks all the right boxes. There are plenty of options to customize this and make it simple or as gourmet as you wish to.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

I chose one of the café specials, Three Point Turn – poached eggs, bacon, house made beans, mushroom, wilted spinach, potato rosti, roasted tomato and relish. Served with toast but I omitted it. Now this is what I call a gourmet breakfast. Absolutely delicious and so full of flavour; especially loved the beans and rosti. Highly recommended!

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The hubby likes his protein fix so he opted for the Flank Steak – overnight marinated and grilled steak with caper and smoked paprika butter, jumbo tempura onion rings, a fried egg and thick cut fries. Now this one is for the big eater; generous portions with each component done to perfection. Just the kind of brunch for weekends.

Turning Point (Ripponlea, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To summarize, the Turning Point is an amazing café to hang out for coffee, drinks or a delicious meal. Definitely going back soon.

Turning Point

8 – 10 Glen Eira Ave
Ripponlea, 3185

Phone no: (03) 9528 2719
Website: https://www.turningpointripponlea.com/

Timings:

Monday – Wednesday: 7am – 4pm
Thursday – Friday: 7am – 9pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 9pm

 Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me.

Turning Point Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MoVida Original (Hosier Lane, Melbourne) – a Review

I can’t really call this a review, but rather an experience because MoVida is one of those landmark restaurants of Melbourne that needs no introduction to any food lover.

It’s been on our list for quite a while now but it finally came to be on Father’s Day. The place is slightly on the expensive side so a planned visit is ideal. And make sure you have made prior bookings too.

While there are other MoVida restaurants, we wanted to visit the original MoVida Bar de Tapas situated inside the iconic Hosier Lane. Frank Camorra and his team had visualized an intimate bar ambience focusing on traditional Spanish tapas style food with modern influences and an equally great wine list to match. And that’s exactly what you get at MoVida Original.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

We were lucky to be seated at a corner table which only added to the intimate experience for the three of us since we were looking to spend some quality family time over a slow, relaxed dinner.

The staff was extremely friendly and very attentive. After enquiring if this was our first time at MoVida, she explained about the menu also offering us wine pairing suggestions based on our order. Tapas is what MoVida is most famous for and we wanted to taste most of the dishes so our order was heavily from the tapas section. As for drinks, we went with the staff’s recommendation since we didn’t know much about Spanish wines.

(All the details of the dish described under each photograph)

MoVida (Melbourne), a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

2015 Ladairo Mencia Monterrei – with an intense raspberry colour, it had fresh and fruity aromas, quite soft on the palate and paired beautifully with all the dishes we ordered.

MoVida (Melbourne), a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Bread, warm and fresh from the oven to start off the meal….

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

GAMBA – Crisp Potato with Slices of Poached Prawn & Parsley Aioli. Amazing flavours and textures with super thin and crisp potato slices. Delicate yet packed a punch and a great way to start the meal. Highly recommended!

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

COGOLLOS – Baby Cos Lettuce with Anchovy & Pickled Garlic. Light and fresh, this was quite an interesting dish. Garlic and anchovy are strong flavours but when topped on the freshest cos lettuce, it was a delight and not overpowering at all.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

TOSTADA – Pressed Pork Sandwich, Red Onion Jam & Quail’s Egg. So different from the tostadas that we are used to at most Spanish restos. Again a super thin and crispy base, hardly get the flavour of pork but the onion jam was simply stunning

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

VEIRA – Port Phillip Bay Scallop Baked in its Half Shell with a Jamon &Garlic Sauce. It’s hard to go past scallops and we are so glad that we decided to order it. Perfectly cooked, plump sweet scallops in the most delicious jamon and garlic sauce.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

ANCHOA – Hand-filleted Cantabrian Artisan Anchovy on 
Crouton with Smoked Tomato Sorbet. Anchovies are an acquired taste so if you are new to it, you might be a bit hesitant about the flavours of this dish. But if you love it, then this would be a great one to try. I was so blown away by the flavours of the smoked tomato sorbet.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

CABALLA AHUMADA – House Cold Smoked Spanish Mackerel with Pine Nut Gazpacho Sorbet. Our first smoked mackerel experience. This one arrived in with a bit of theatre at the table; the little fellow was squeaking with delight watching the smoke escape as the lids were lifted.

Since we had feasted many rounds on the tapas, we decided to order just one main and a side.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

BROCCOLINI – Chargrilled Broccolini with Manchego Custard and Soft boiled eggs. Never have I tasted broccolini so delicious. That creamy custard and soft boiled eggs oozes over the broccolini resulting in sheer magic on the tastebuds.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress.com

CARRILLERA DE BUEY – Slowly Braised Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree. Absolutely melt in the mouth beef cheeks in a creamy cauliflower puree with a sticky reduced Ximenez jus.

And we completed the meal with one of the best desserts I have had in a long time.

MoVida (Melbourne), a review - thespiceadventuress..com

ACEDERA – Sorrel Sorbet with Kiwi, Citrus, Blood Orange and White Chocolate. A celebration of native Australian flavours with a modern interpretation. Every mouthful was a delight and I could go back just to have this again.

MoVida is a beautiful and delicious experience for any food lover. And it’s definitely a place I would be returning to.

MoVida

1 Hosier Lane, (off Flinders St)
Melbourne
VIC 3000
Melb. Office Tel:
+61 3 9663 3038

Timings:

Open Mon to Sun 12pm ’til late

MoVida Bar De Tapas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me.

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo)

Tacos are delicious morsels, packed with flavour and these fish tacos are no exception!

Crispy slivers of barramundi with sweet n’ salty pickled onions and carrots, finished off with jalapeno mayo to spice things up a bit. An easy dish to put together that brings the whole family around at the dinner table.

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s been a little crazy out here, with all of us getting sick and that paired with the start of the school holidays, when every routine gets unfollowed. A death in the family further put me back on spirits so there’s been very little work that I have actually been doing. Top that with the early winter sunsets, I hardly get to shoot any food if I haven’t prepared it on time.

I made these tacos for a client, so thought this was a good time to share it with you especially if you live Down Under and have hungry kids all day at home. Tacos are one of my favourite things to make in the kitchen because even though there is a bit of prep involved, it’s easy and everyday ingredients that can be put together really quickly.

You could use any white fish for this recipe; buy whatever is in season and locally available. We are lucky to get local and really fresh barramundi out here so that’s why I have used it. But any white fish with a relatively firm flesh can be used.

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

I always have an assortment of pickled veggies in my refrigerator; it’s just a convenient, affordable and simple way to add oodles of flavour to your food. For these tacos, I have made pickled slaw using carrots and onions with whole spices for that extra hint of flavour. And the jalapeno mayo, which is the simplest thing to make. I have grown quite fond of homemade mayo, it’s such an easy job once you begin to do it regularly and so much healthier than the bottled stuff. So do give it a try if you have never made it before.

Ingredients:

  1. Wheat tortillas
  2. 1 large carrot; julienned
  3. 1 large red onion; julienned

Find the full recipe here…..

 

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood..

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

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice

My love for markets is legendary, especially the local one in my suburb (Dandenong) which I would have mentioned on my blog at least a million times.

Looking back, I think it’s destiny that bought us to this suburb. Amidst all the confusion, loneliness and that strange feeling of newness in a foreign country, it was the local market here that was my refuge. The smell, sights and sounds always reminded me of home because I would get every single ingredient that I needed for my style of cooking which means a lot when you are so far from home. And it’s true that food opens doors where none exists. And for me that door was this blog…..

These days, I don’t visit the market as often as I used to but I am still there at least once every fortnight. It’s my space to get inspired and to re-ignite the creativity and passion I have for food. All the beautiful, fresh produce gives me such a buzz and there are so many ideas that pop into my mind after a trip like this.

And with Christmas almost here, markets are just brimming with such amazing produce and I simply couldn’t go past the seafood section. I had to come back with some fresh Australian raw prawns; don’t waste your hard earned money buying prawns from other countries when you can get some amazingly fresh and delicious prawns caught right here in Australia. Believe me, it’s totally worth those few extra dollars.

After all the shopping, I was only in the mind for a one pot dish and nothing elaborate. And this delicious Indo Chinese style prawn fried rice is what came to mind.

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

The Indo Chinese style fried rice is quite different from the traditional Chinese version. It’s a lot more fried where the grains of rice are separate unlike the sticky original version. I wanted a bit of a spice kick and used long dry red chillies for smoky hot undertones.

To get the flavour from the dry red chillies, add it to the cold oil and then heat on low flame. Toss in the prawns with a handful of different vegetables along with perfectly cooked rice and finish off with a dash of soy and tomato chilli sauce.

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 400gms long grained rice
  2. 500gms medium sized prawns; deshelled and deveined
  3. 1 large carrot; julienned

This post is bought to you in association with Supreme Seafood so the complete recipe can be found here.

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

WWFreshBox by Aussie Farmers Direct + a Recipe for Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

‘So what do I cook tonight?’

How many times in a week do you ask yourself that question? I do…almost every single day. Friends often assume that meal planning is something I enjoy and ace at, being a food blogger. Definitely not, at least not most of the time because in addition to the everyday food, I have to plan ahead for the recipes that are to be created for the blog, clients etc…..

It takes me two days to get my meal plans and grocery shopping list in order and there are weeks when the whole exercise freaks me out. So you can imagine my excitement when I get a mail from Aussie Farmers Direct asking if I would like to review the new WWFresh Box that has been designed and created by Weight Watchers. Yes please….bring it on!

Aussie Farmers Direct and Weight Watchers – two brands that we are pretty familiar with and so I am not going into the details here. There’s plenty of information on their websites for the newcomers. Instead, I am going to talk about the WWFreshbox; this perfectly packed box full of absolutely gorgeous and fresh ingredients that has been sourced from local farms and food producers. And also, the printed recipes that got me really excited.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

So my choice was the Family Freshbox which includes ingredients and fresh produce to serve 5 meals for 4 people. I have been testing out and cooking from the WWFreshbox for the past couple of days using the Weightwatchers recipes that was included. And here is what I think;

(Aussie Farmers Direct has also offered a generous discount for all the subscribers of The Spice Adventuress. More details at the end of the post)

Pros:

  • No more meal planning – You don’t have to break your head wondering what you are going to cook each day and then shop around for ingredients. You get the ingredients delivered straight to your door with the recipes included. Definitely a time saver!
  • Choose from different types of WWFreshbox – there are plenty of choices when it comes to the size of the WWFreshBox designed to serve 2 or 4 people for 3 or 5 meals. Ensures zero wastage.
  • High Quality Fresh Ingredients – that are packed to perfection in a special temperature controlled box. Aussie Farmers Direct does a brilliant job at sourcing all the produce from local farmers which means that you not only eat healthy and fresh but also support the local community.
  • Free Delivery – Yup, you heard it right….free delivery to your door.
  • Excellent Packaging – Since all the ingredients are packed in a temperature controlled box, everything stays fresh till you reach home and put it away. The vegetables are packed neatly, in sealed containers where necessary and all the protein is in a special cover with gel packs. The gel packs inside can be reused and if you do not wish to keep it, you may leave it inside the box and place it outside on the day your next delivery happens.
  • Delicious and Healthy Recipes – I mean it guys, really delicious recipes. All the recipes are designed by the nutrition experts at Weight Watchers and includes the Smart Points so that you can keep track. And even if you are not watching your weight, you still can eat healthy. The recipes change every week so it doesn’t get boring at all. Every week’s recipes are updated on the website so you can check out that before placing your order.What I really loved about the recipes is that there is no compromise on flavour and taste as you can see from the dish I will be sharing with you guys shortly.

Cons:

  • Delivery can be an issue for those who live in apartments with unit numbers; the box will need to be delivered to a friend’s place or your business address. Also, delivery is currently not available in certain suburbs. Do check if your suburb is covered on the website.
  • No dry ingredients provided.
  • No exclusively vegetarian WWFreshbox.

Getting to my favourite part; the recipe that I tried out from the WW Freshbox and absolutely loved – Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

We are not big on kale in our house. I don’t mind it but the boys are not very enthusiastic about it and the only way I have been able to make them eat it is in a lentil curry. So with this recipe, I was both excited and apprehensive. But went ahead anyway, hoping the bacon will work its magic even if the kale fails.

And let me tell you peeps, we loved it!

This pasta dish was a winner on all counts – it was light, refreshing, healthy, low on calories and super packed with flavour. From prep to finish, on the table in 30 minutes. All thanks to Weight Watchers, we have found our favourite kale dish.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

Serves: 4

7 SmartPoints® value per serve

Ingredients:

  1. 200gms dried pasta
  2. 5 tsp olive oil
  3. 125gms lean bacon (fat trimmed); chopped
  4. 1 red capsicum; chopped
  5. 200gms button mushrooms; sliced
  6. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  7. 2 small fresh red chilli; finely chopped
  8. 200gms kale; chopped
  9. 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  10. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  11. Salt; to season

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per packet instructions till al dente. Drain (reserve ½ cup liquid) and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes till the bacon pieces have turned golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 tsp olive oil and add the garlic, chillies and capsicum. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the mushrooms. Cook over high heat for another 2-3 minutes till the mushrooms have softened. Transfer to the same bowl as the bacon.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil and add the kale. Season with salt and cook covered for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Then add ¼ cup water to the kale, mix and continue to cook covered for another 2-3 minutes or till the kale has become tender.
  5. Increase heat and return the bacon and vegetables to the pan. Also add the lemon rind and juice; season with salt if necessary.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, half of the reserved liquid and toss on high flame for a few seconds.
  7. Serve warm

I served this pasta dish with a fresh salad made from cherry tomatoes, red onion, coriander leaves, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you would like to make this delicious recipe or make several like these, all that you need to do is place an order with Aussie Farmers Direct for the all new WW Freshbox.

Thanks to Aussie Farmers Direct, a special discount code has been offered to all the subscribers of ‘The Spice Adventuress’ (make sure you subscribe to my blog). Enjoy $25 off* with your first WW Freshbox. Use promo code ‘FRESHSPICE’ on checkout – T&Cs below.  

(Offer open to new customers. Minimum spend $65. For full T&Cs visit AussieFarmers.com.au. Valid until 31/08/2016. Order must be placed by 12 noon 30/08/2016.)

So go ahead, place your order today and enjoy fresh ingredients with healthy recipes, delivered straight to your doorstep. And if you prepare the above recipe, make sure to tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I may see it too.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Aussie Farmers Direct. All the opinions stated in this review are mine; hope it helps you make an informed choice. 

 

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samlá Curry

I have been quite ignorant about Cambodian or Khmer cuisine till very recently. Somehow the cuisine of this tiny country never featured in my vast list of Asian cooking.

When we have never travelled to or know much about a region, we often make the mistake of generalizing the cuisine of that land. I made the same mistake too of generalizing Cambodian cuisine with its Thai and Malaysian counterparts. But as I am learning (more frequently these days), that is not true. Just like the cuisine of India or for that matter, any other large country or continent, the cuisine of a region can vary widely from its neighbouring lands inspite of using similar ingredients.

So my first brush with Khmer cuisine happened via a friend and avid travel blogger Svetlana of Maverickbird. This girl has travelled around the world (mostly solo!) and if you are nurturing the travel bug within you, then you must check out her blog.

The last time she was in Cambodia, she decided to attend a Khmer cooking class. Now Svetlana is a big fan of eating but not really of cooking and apart from having a great culinary experience, she enrolled in the class so that she can get me some authentic traditional recipes from the region. Well, what can I say about such friends except that I am damn lucky!

Are you planning to travel to Cambodia or want to know more about Khmer food? Then check out Svetlana’s article.

I will have to be content with just cooking Khmer food for now since travel is not on the cards yet. But the most awesome aspect of living in Australia (yes, I have said this before) is the availability of most ingredients that enables me to recreate most of these recipes at home.

So today, I am going to teach you a classic dish from Cambodia – Chicken Samlá Curry.

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Some of the ingredients that are central to Khmer cooking are lemongrass, wild lime/kaffir lime, pepper, shallots, coconut, galangal, thai red chillies etc…. Like I mentioned before, all of these are central to many other Asian cuisines also but it is the way these ingredients are bought together that makes the cuisine of Cambodia unique.

The Chicken Samlá curry is basically a soupy kind of curry and one that is found quite commonly in Cambodia. It is either served as a soup or as a stew poured over rice. The thick, soupy coconut milk broth is what makes a Samlá stand out. It strongly reminds you of the Thai yellow curry but the flavours are different.

Lemongrass is the key ingredient in this curry and the primary flavour and aroma that greets you. I have made a few modifications to the recipe in terms of ingredients and measurements to suit my preferences which I think is important to make any dish a pleasurable experience for you. Instead of dry Thai chillies, I have used fresh ones and also more than what the traditional recipe calls for. It does not make the dish hot or spicy but adds more depth and flavour to match the sweet richness of the coconut milk.

Shrimp paste is another key ingredient of this dish and I know your whole neighbourhood will smell it too. You could omit it but then you won’t be getting the real deal. But yes…the smell!!!

It is the unique blend of spices and aromatics (traditionally called the kroueng) that forms the base of this dish. The flavours are created here; you could choose to pound away in a mortar and pestle if you have the time and patience (a great stress busting exercise too) or a grinder will do the job in a fraction of the time. And since you will be spending a certain amount of time making this, I strongly recommend making a large batch and freezing in portions for quick weekday meals. I mean making everytime from scratch is great, but who really has the time anymore.

Kroueng or Cambodian curry paste - aromatic and fragrant - thespiceadventuress.com

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Enough talking; let’s go ahead and re-create this deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant Cambodian Chicken Samlá Curry. And if you happen to try it out, make sure you tag me #thespiceadventuress in your social media posts so that I may see it too.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 whole chicken (approx 1.2 kg); cut into medium sized pieces
  2. 3-4 lemongrass stalks
  3. 1 tbsp lemon flesh
  4. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  5. 3 tbsp chopped galangal
  6. 6 large shallots; coarsely chopped
  7. 6 large garlic; chopped
  8. 8 fresh Thai red chillies
  9. 1 ½ tbsp shrimp paste
  10. 2 cups thin coconut milk
  11. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  12. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  13. Salt, to season
  14. ½ tsp sugar

Note – The proportion of all the spices and aromatics is approximate and should be adjusted according to the size and freshness of the ingredients and also your taste preferences.

Method:

  • To prep the lemongrass, cut off the tough and dry roots and top ends. Peel off the outer tough layers and use only the soft part of the stalk. You will need approximately 3-4 stalks (depending on the freshness) to get about 1 ¼ cups of chopped lemongrass.
  • If using a blender, place all the ingredients from 2-8 and grind to a fine paste. If you are using a mortar and pestle, then add each ingredient, crush well and then follow with the next ingredient till the whole mixture comes together to a fine paste like texture. If you have a small mortar and pestle, then you can grind the ingredients in separate batches and then finally mix all together in a bowl.
  • Place the shrimp paste on a piece of aluminium foil; spread it out evenly and then fold the foil into a small packet. Place on a medium hot tawa or pan for 2-3 minutes, turn over and heat for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, open the packet and crumble the shrimp paste into the prepared curry paste and mix together.
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan; add the curry paste and cook on low heat till the rawness of the ingredients goes away and oil begins to separate from the curry paste. This will take at least 8-10 minutes and sometimes more. But this is the step that is most crucial to the flavour of the overall dish so be patient and let the heat do its job.
  • Next add the chicken pieces and cook on medium heat for about 6-7 minutes without adding any water or coconut milk. Take care to stir at constant intervals so that the spice paste does not get burnt or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the thin coconut milk, season with salt and add sugar; cook on medium heat till the chicken has become tender.
  • Then add the thick coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes; remove from heat.
  • Serve warm with rice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Note:

  • If you want the dish to be more soupy, you may add more coconut milk.
  • You may also add vegetables to this dish.

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta Fantastico (Prawn, snow peas and chilli penne)

Pasta is a family favourite and all of us love to devour it in any shape, style and sauce. Back in India, my knowledge of cooking pasta dishes was minimal and it was typically called ‘white sauce pasta’ and ‘red sauce pasta’ – the Italian culinary terms were beyond me!

After coming down to Australia, I started preparing more styles of pasta dishes especially recipes which hardly uses any sauce at all. This recipe was such a find in a popular magazine out here. And like its name, the dish was simply fantastic, easy to prepare, light and delicious….…..the fresh crispness of the snow peas works wonderfully with the slightly spicy warm prawn flavour. A perfect winter-warmer!

Prawn Fantastico - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Recipe adapted from Woman’s Day Magazine

Ingredients:

  1. Penne– 500 gm
  2. olive oil – 4-5 tbsp
  3. garlic – 2 cloves, crushed and chopped
  4. Prawns – 500 gm, deveined and cleaned well
  5. snow peas – 100 gm, trimmed
  6. sweet chilli sauce – 1 tbsp
  7. Italian dried mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano) – 1 tsp
  8. chilli flakes – 1 tsp (more for serving)
  9. salt; to season

Method:

1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instructions, drain (reserve half a cup of pasta water) and keep aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add prawns and cook, tossing, for 2-3 minutes, until they change colour. Then add the dried herbs, chilli flakes and sweet chilli sauce; continue to cook till the prawns are almost done.
3. Add the snow peas and cook for another minute (dont overcook the snow peas)
4. Add the pasta to the pan, season with salt and toss to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water if it feels too dry.
5. Serve warm with a pinch of chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil on top.

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