Jackfruit, carrot and green bean curry

Growing up in South Africa we would often pass fruit sellers on the road selling these giant fruit. Although they look similar to stinky durian, jackfruit are not smelly and their fleshy texture is a great addition to vegetable curries. Full of great vitamins including Compex B vitamins and Vitamin A, jackfruit is great for your fibre intake. The humble jackfruit is becoming increasingly popular as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians, with it’s fibrous texture being used to replicate pulled pork and other meats. It is used in many Asian countries including  in Indonesian soups and curries – which I have enjoyed in Bali. Recently I discovered frozen green  jackfruit in an Indian grocery store in Sydney and made up this curry which was delicious! So, seek out frozen or canned green jackfruit in brine and try  it out!

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:

150g frozen jackfruit pieces
1 small carrot diced
100g Green Beans cut into pieces
1 onion finely diced
2 teaspoons ginger and garlic paste
3 green chillies sliced in half
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Handful of curry leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cummin powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
3 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
2/3 can coconut cream (about 300 mls)
Salt to taste
Coriander chopped for garnish

Method
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan or pot that has a lid. Add cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and curry leaves and heat until fragrant.
2. Add onions and mustard seeds and cook until onion is soft and transparent.
3. Add ginger and garlic and cook through for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add turmeric, cummin and chilli powder and mix through ensuring spices don’t burn.

5. Add carrots and jackfruit pieces and coat in spice and onion mixture.
6. Add coconut milk and simmer gently for 15 minutes, adding water if curry is drying out too much.
7. Add green beans and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
8. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.
9. Garnish with coriander and serve with basmati rice.

 

Durban style Indian Boneless Chicken Curry

A staple in any South African Indian family, my version includes a dollop of yoghurt towards the end which makes for a creamier sauce. This is perfect served just with a salad and rice for a very tasty but healthy meal.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:

4 medium size chicken thigh fillets, any fat removed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tspoons ginger and garlic paste (4 cloves garlic and equal amount ginger pounded into a paste)
1 brown onion, cut in half, then finely sliced
1 tomato cut into chunks
2 pieces cinnamon bark or 1 quill
Handful of fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cummin powder
1 tesapoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
1.5 cup water or chicken stock
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish

Method:

1. Heat oil in heavy based pot over medium heat, and then add cinnamon bark, cummin seeds, cardamom pods and curry leaves.

2. When spices are fragrant, add onions and cook slowly until translucent.

3. Add ginger and garlic paste and mix through.

4. Add cummin powder, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Stir until fragrant but be careful not to burn.

5. Add chicken pieces stirring until chicken is sealed and beginning to change colour.

6. Add salt, tomato pieces and water to just cover chicken.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked and liquid is reduced.

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7. Add a dollop of yoghurt and mix through. Bring back to simmer for 5 minutes.

8. Taste to see if extra salt needed. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves 2 as main dish

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“Uncomposed” Carrot Salad with a hint of chilli

This is my favourite salad to serve with Indian curries. Somehow the sweetness of the carrots (and sugar) with the tanginess of the vinegar based dressing, and the hint of fresh chilli complements Indian food perfectly.

Composed salads, or what the French call salade composée, are salads where an “assortment of ingredients are arranged aesthetically on a plate and drizzled with vinaigrette, rather than tossed with it”. (http://www.cookthink.com/reference/836/What_is_a_composed_salad)

That’s why I call this my “uncomposed” salad. When I was young, my mum made the same salad but arranged it (or composed it) beautifully in tiers of finely sliced/chopped/grated ingredients. The result was almost a work of art! Of course, you can do this if you have time and want to wow your audience, but I just toss it all together! Tastes the same😁

Also, the rocket can be replaced with finely chopped iceberg lettuce for additional crunch!

Prep time: 8 minutes  Cooking time: 0

Ingredients:
1 large carrot grated
1/2 Spanish onion finely sliced
1 small tomato diced
1 small Lebanese cucumber sliced into rings
1 cup of rocket leaves or finely chopped iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves

Vinagrette Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 finely chopped red chilli

Method:
Put all the ingredients in your salad bowl
Pour over vinaigrette
Toss
Serve as accompaniment to Indian meal

Indian Spiced Fish Pie

This recipe is based on Rick Stein’s classic fish pie recipe but with an Indian twist. The addition of traditional Indian spices to the milk and cream mixture in which the seafood is lightly poached, and using “aloo bharta” or Indian style mashed potato for the topping bring the flavours of the sub-continent to this classic British dish. (A kind of reverse colonialism, I suppose.)

Prep time: 1hr 20 mins  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
3 flathead fillets (or any firm white, unsmoked fish)
1 medium size fillet of smoked cod or haddock
8-10 green prawns peeled

2 eggs
1 egg yolk (to brush top of mash)
300ml milk + 3 tablespoons for mash
150ml cream

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 finger length of ginger peeled
3 potatoes (fluffy potatoes like Desiree or King Edward)

6 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin
handful of curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
handful of coriander leaves

100g butter
1/3 cup of plain flour

Method:

Hardboil 2 eggs (about 8 minutes) then cool and cut into quarters.

Cut fish and prawns into bite-size pieces.

cut the onion in half. Stud one half with the cloves.

Place seafood, and clove studded onion in with the milk, cream, the cardamom pods, 1/2 Teaspoon of the turmeric, chilli powder, cummin powder, garlic, ginger, white pepper and half the curry leaves into a pot and bring to a boil., then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Drain the fish mixture, reserving the milk and cream. Put the fish pieces only, not the spices, into a shallow ovenproof dish. Arrange the quarters of egg through the dish. Set aside.

Melt 50g of butter in a non-stick pan, add flour and mix through. Take off the heat and slowly add the milk/cream cooking liquid mixing to form a smooth sauce. Return to medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly to cook out the flour and create a rich, smooth sauce.

Pour the sauce over the fish and eggs to just cover, then cool in fridge for an hour.

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Whilst fish mixture is cooling….

Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook for around 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and ready for mashing. Drain and set aside to “dry”.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Thinly slice the other half of the onion.

Finely chop the coriander.

Melt 50g of butter in a pan, add rest of curry leaves and mustard seeds until they begin to splutter.

Add sliced onion and cook gently until translucent and golden.

Mash potatoes adding 3 tablespoons milk to create a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add the onion mixture, including the melted butter to the mash.

Add the chopped coriander. Mix through the mash.

Add salt if necessary.

Remove the fish mixture from the fridge and spread the mash carefully over the top. Score the surface with a fork, then brush with beaten egg yolk.

Place in oven for 10-15 minutes until mixture is warmed through and top is golden and crispy. (I finish off using the grill to get a really golden crunchy top if necessary)

Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

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Serves 4

Spicy Roast Chicken with lemon and onions

This roast chicken is spiced up with an indian marinade and perked up by the lemon and onions that it is stuffed with. Perfect for any occasion from Sunday lunch or simple weeknight dinner. Delicious with roast potatoes, a crisp green salad and a crispy white wine!

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1.5 hours
Ingredients:

1 Whole Chicken (approximately 1.5kg)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cummin powder
1 tspn salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 springs of thyme
1 lemon cut into quarters
1 onion cut into quarters

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Pound garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle.

Make marinade by mixing together chilli powder, turmeric powder, cummin powder, salt, crushed garlic and oil in a bowl.

Pat chicken dry, rub inside of chicken with ¼ of the marinade. Place a few springs of thyme inside the chicken, then stuff with equal amounts of the lemon and onions. (Save any leftover onions and lemon)

 

 


Truss the chicken tying together chicken legs with kitchen twine. I also use small metal skewers to close the cavity but this is not essential.
Rub the outside of the chicken with rest of marinade.

Line roasting pan with baking paper.
Lay a “bed” for the chicken with the rest of thyme sprigs, place chicken on thyme.
Throw in any leftover lemon or onion if you have any.

Roast chicken in oven for approximately 1.5 hours, checking to see if cooked by inserting skewer in the thickest part of thigh. If the chicken is cooked the juices will run clear with no sign of pink.

Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the lemon and onion and  discard before carving.Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Fried eggplant and pea curry

This curry is delicious with grilled lamb, fish or chicken or as a main served with dhal, rice and roti for a vegetarian meal.

Frying the eggplant pieces before putting the curry together makes the eggplant melt like butter in your mouth.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

1 large eggplant cut into cubes
1 onion diced finely
1 cup of frozen peas
1 tomato chopped into medium chunks
2 cloves garlic and same quantity of ginger pounded into a paste
Salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cummin powder
1 tsp cummin seeds
Handful of curry leaves
6-8 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Optional: 2-3 green chillies left whole but split down the middle (remove seeds for milder outcome)
½ cup of water
Handful of chopped coriander to garnish

Method:
Place eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle with salt, allow to sit for at least 30minutes. This allows draw some of the bitter juices from the eggplant rather than it all going into the curry sauce.


Drain eggplant and pat dry with paper towel before placing in a bowl. Add ½ teaspoon each of turmeric, chilli powder and cummin powder and mix well to coat.
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat, then add eggplant in batches frying until golden on the outside but not overcooking. Drain eggplant on paper towel and set aside. Repeat until all your eggplant is fried. (The eggplant will absorb oil so you might need to add a tablespoon or so more to fry all the pieces.)

Once eggplant is all fried, wipe pan clean, then add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat. Add curry leaves and cummin seeds to the pan and heat through to flavour oil.

Add onion and cook until transparent, then add garlic and ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Then add tomato, and the rest of the powered spices (i.e ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp cummin powder), the green chillies if using and ¼ cup of water. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat until tomato starts breaking up, adding more water if needed to prevent mixture from sticking to pan.


Add in eggplant pieces and peas and gently mix through the spice mixture. Cook for 2 minutes until peas are cooked to your liking.
Remove from heat, garnish with coriander, serve and enjoy