Chilli Fagara #Hongkong #Hotspot

Chilli Fagar has probably seen better days in terms of past years when it was getting Michelin star ratings, now “only” Bib Gourmand recommendation but if you are looking for very good Szechuan cooking in Hong Kong then this is definitely a good value option.

The menu offers a range of spiciness ranging from tangy to numbing, so order with care.

The couple next to us were eating a noodle soup with fish, swimming in red chillies and a devilish looking broth.

We opted for our version of safety, ordering the dumplings in what is described as a “challenging” chilli sauce, prawns with dried chilli, the sweet and salty carmelised beef with peppers, and the sizzling eggplant.

All the dishes were delicious – spicy but not so hot to dull the individual flavours of the fresh ingredients.

The dumplings were set off by the chilli paste sauce….not too hot but with a bit of a kick. The prawns were huge and juicy, with a Szechuan salt and pepper flavour imbued by some of the heat of the decorative dried chillies they are surrounded by. The eggplant was deliciously sizzling with strands of a woody mushroom/fungus and finely cut bamboo shoots for crunch. The beef was sweet and salty and brought a nice touch of calm. We were very happy with our choices and enjoyed the crisp Italian Pinot Grigia with the meal.

If you are in the mood for a spicy, authentic Szechuan meal and don’t mind a bit of authentic old school service and a slightly fraying restaurant environment, then go here for the food, if not the rest!

Chilli Fegara, 7 Old Bailey Rd, Central, Hong Kong

#Quick Fish Curry with #Tamarind

This recipe is for my friend Jennifer who especially asked for a fish curry recipe using Tamarind and no fenugreek. The use of tamarind in fish and seafood curries is traditional in South Indian curries and adds a beautiful tangy flavour.

Tamarind has all sorts of health benefits and is rich in many nutrients. This is a good link for more info https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tamarind#section4

I keep a block of pressed tamarind handy in the fridge but sometimes use concentrate. If using pressed tamarind then slice off a thick bit and steep in boiling water and using gloves rub the skin and pulp off the seeds, the resulting mixture looks brown and murky but adds delicious flavour to the curry.

Some curries use a lot more tamarind for a dark, rich sauce but this one is quick and lighter.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
2 thick boneless fillets of monkfish or similar meaty white fish, cut into medium size pieces (about 500g)
1 large onion diced
2 large ripe tomatoes diced
3 cloves garlic and equal fresh ginger pound to a paste
Handful of fresh curry leaves (optional)
1/2 stick of cinnamon bark (optional)
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
2-3 fresh chillies tops sliced off, left whole (optional)
Thick “slice” of tamarind or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chilli powder depending on your taste
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Coriander to garnish

Method

Steep tamarind in 1/2 cup boiling water whilst preparing other ingredients, or mix tamarind concentrate with 1/2 cup of boiling water and set aside.

Heat oil in heavy based pot over medium heat

Add cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, curry leaves and green chillies if using until spluttering stops.

Add onions and cook slowly over medium heat until transparent, stirring from time to time to prevent caramelisation.

(if using block tamarind ….While onions are cooking, rub tamarind to seperate and remove any seeds from mixture, strain and set aside tamarind juice. You can use the pulp as well but make sure it has no seeds left in it.)

Add ginger and garlic, mix through into onions until just heated.

Add turmeric, chilli powder and fennel powder and mix through onions, taking care not to burn spices

Immediately add tomatoes, salt and mix well, cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking to the bottom

Add the tamarind water mixture and bring to a bubble.

Add fish and another half cup of water to bring sauce up to sides of fish.

Cook for 5-8 minutes on a slow simmer until sauce is reduced and fish is cooked to your liking, turn fish during cooking so both sides are coated in sauce.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice.

This curry is delicious with Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney on the side.

Indian #Thali and Sweets at #Maya Indian Sweets, #Sydney

Indian vegetarian Thali at Maya Indian Sweets on Cleveland St, Surry Hills has been a favourite comfort food spot for our family for years. As well as the famous Indian Sweets on offer, Maya offers dhosas and Thalis.

A few weeks ago on an unseasonably chilly day, when the “kids” were visiting us from Canberra, we went for Sunday lunch.

Thali means “chain” and refer to the chain of small dishes served on a tray with rice, bread, pickle and papadums. The restaurant is primarily an Indian take-away sweet shop but eating in is cheap and cheerful.

They also have traditional Indian street food snacks such as samosas, aloo boonda, chaat and vhada as starters.

At Maya Sweets you can choose from a number of Thali versions including either a South Indian or Punjabi version…the first comes with Rasam (South Indian tamarinds and pepper water soup) and Poori bread and the second with a bean dhal and naan bread.

Both are just as satisfying the variety of vegetable curries and dhals that are on offer depends on the season. They are consistently good and very filling.

This visit we also shared the Vhada which are fluffy Urad Dhal fritters served with coconut chutney and a tangy sambar on the side which were delicious.

Finishing the meal with an Indian sweet is always tempting and there is a very wide range to choose from….but we managed to resist.

Consistently good food. Doesn’t open until midday so brunch is sadly not an option. There a number of other more formal Maya restaurants including a vegetarian restaurant next door and a non-veg across the road. So make sure you fo to the right one if you are looking for the street food and Thalis.

Maya Indian Sweets

468-472 Cleveland St

Pan-fried #Spicy #salmon fillets with #butter

I love these salmon steaks, marinated in Indian spices then pan fried in butter. A little bit naughty but a lot of nice!

Served here with a beetroot salad, Red lentil dhal https://freespiritfood.net/2015/08/16/red-lentil-tarka-dhal-with-turmeric-and-ginger/.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:

2 boneless salmon fillets, skin on
1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter

Method:

1. Marinate salmon fillets with garlic, spices, salt and oil for 25-30 minutes or longer.

2. Heat non-stick pan until hot, reduce heat to medium and place salmon fillets face down in pan and fry for 4 minutes or so,until sealed and browned. Add butter to pan.

3. Flip fillets and fry skin side down until skin is crispy about 4-5 Minutes.

4. Serve immediately with butter sauce drizzled over fillets and garnished with coriander.

Thai style Stir fry pork with zuchinni noodles

Stir fry pork with Thai green chilli paste, fish and oyster sauces, eggplant, bamboo shoots, green beans with zuchinni noodles.

Healthy, yummy and carb free! Easy weeknight dinner!

#Indian Spiced Roast #Pork Belly

I usually just make a simple roast pork belly seasoned with salt and pepper, and then jazz it up like in Crispy Asian Pork Belly Salad or serving with a tasty side like braised Italian.red cabbage.

Last night I decided to try adding some Indian flavours by using a sea salt rub and spicy paste, then roasting over a bed of dried chillies, using a similar technique technique to Indian Hunters Style Roast Lamb, but not needing any extra ghee or oil.

The fat from the roasting pork “fries” the dried chillies and curry leaves underneath releasing a smoking, spicy flavour into the pork. There is hardly any fat or oil left when the cooking process is complete as the chillies absorb all the oil.

The resulting pork was slightly spiced and went deliciously with my Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal and a crispy, crunchy Shredded Brussel Sprout and Green Bean salad.

Prep time: 2 hours including marination cooking time: 2 hours

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
600g boneless pork belly with the skin scored (Ask your butcher to do that)

Sea Salt Rub
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Garlic Spice Paste
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil

For Roasting:
15 dried red chillies
2 stalks of curry leaves

Method:

Combine sea salt rub ingredients in a small bowl.

Crush garlic with table salt to a paste in a mortar and pestle.

Combine garlic spice paste ingredients in a seperate small bowl

Place pork skin side down on a board.

Pierce meat side of pork with a knife to make lots of little “holes”.

Rub garlic spice paste thoroughly into the meat side of the pork.

Turn pork over.

Pat top of pork (skin side) as dry as you can get, and then rub half of the sea salt mixture into the skin and scored surfaces.

Place pork in fridge uncovered for 1-2 hours or overnight to dry out.

Heat oven to 220 degrees celcius on fan force.

Line a roasting tray that the pork can fit snugly into with foil, then baking paper.

Break dried chillies in half and lay with the curry leaves on the tray in area that pork will be placed on.

Remove pork from fridge, pat top dry again and rub rest of sea salt mixture into the skin side. place pork directly on the bed of dried chillies and curry leaves.

Place in oven to roast for 30 minutes at 220 degrees then reduce heat to 170 degrees for another 1 hour and 20 minutes. Pork should be just cooked by now with juices running clear.

Turn on grill or turn up oven to highest heat to finish off the crackling, watching carefully so the skin puffs up more but doesn’t burn

Remove pork from roasting pan, brushing off all the chillies and curry leaves from the underside, then allow to rest for 10 minutes or so, before sticking into thinking pieces to serve.

Serve with sides such as Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal or Roasted Cauliflower, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad