All posts tagged: Spicy

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Indian Spiced Crab with crispy wafers

This makes a delicious canapé served with crispy thin wafers or mini pappadums on the side. Also be perfect on betel leaves if you can source them. Buying the pre-packed  crabmeat makes this a very quick and easy recipe to make. I made this recipe up on Christmas Day and it received good reviews from the family so thought I would share…unfortunately no end product photos! Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients 1 x 400g/500g tub of crab meat (available from seafood shops or supermarkets in Australia) – fork through crab meat to break chunks up 1 onion finely diced 1 tablespoon of ginger and garlic paste (2 cloves garlic and equivalent ginger ground to a fine paste) 2 sprigs of curry leaves removed from stalk 1/2 cinammon stick (preferably cinnamon bark) 1/2 teaspoon cummin powder 1 red chilli finely diced (can be omitted) 1 tspn black mustard seeds or nigella seeds 1.5 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil salt to taste Handful of coriander leaves, very finely chopped Method: Heat oil in …

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Thai Red Roast Pork Noodle Soup

Noodle Soup with Thai Red Roast Pork

The weather in Sydney this weekend has been awful with very high winds and torrential rain. It feels like winter has really arrived. Of course this  is perfect weather for heart warming soups, roast and casseroles. What a great excuse for comfort food! This soup is a perfect antidote to winter blues and just as good in summer as it has a light chicken stock base. You can really season this to your taste and leave out the fresh chillies if you prefer a less spicy option. You will need Thai Red Roast Pork for this recipe which will extend your preparation time if you are making yourself and not “cheating” and buying it at your closest Chinese BBQ store. Same goes for the chicken stock – of course homemade is always nicer but if you don’t have time or any frozen in the fridge then store bought is fine. It is good to fry the finely chopped garlic to  a crisp; and also roast and crush the peanuts, so that is out of the way …

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Thai Red Roast Pork

This is a succulent roast pork recipe that is so easy to make. As well as being delicious thinly sliced and accompanied with cucumbers as a centrepiece of a Thai meal, the leftovers are delicious in Thai Pork Noodle Soup. If you can’t be bothered making it, of course you can buy red roast pork readymade from your local Chinatown. Prep time: 5 minutes Marinate: minimum 2 hours or overnight Cooking time: 50 minutes Ingredients: 1 kg of pork loin fillets 1/2 teaspoon red food colouring 1/4 cup of water 1 tablespoon each of fish sauce, hoisin sauce, light soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine or sherry 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 3 cloves garlic crushed 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder 2 star anise crushed 1 tablespoon sesame oil Coriander to garnish Method Put all ingredients except pork, water and red food colouring in a blender and blend until a smooth paste form Mix red food colouring and water in steel or ceramic bowl Add pork and using gloves massage food colouring, then …

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Crispy Asian Roast Pork Belly Salad

Crispy Asian Roast Pork Belly Salad

This is a delicious way to eat pork belly with crunchy crackling and moist roast pork tinged with the flavours of Asia – soy sauce, coriander, chilli, and hints of black vinegar. All it really needs is some steamed greens and jasmine rice on the side for a complete meal. It would also be a very good pre-prepared dish made for sharing or as part of a buffet. i have read many very different techniques for getting crunchy crackling but I just stick to the simple method of keeping the pork uncovered in the fridge for an hour or two and then drying with a cloth and rubbing the scored skin with generous amounts of salt before putting into oven. (Seems to work every time for me.) And, as most of the prep and cooking time is just drying out the pork in the fridge and then roasting in the oven, you can get on and do other things without too much fuss. Prep time: 2.5 hours  Cooking time:2 hours Ingredients: 750g boneless pork belly, …

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Indian spicy mint and coriander pesto/chutney

Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney

This crunchy, spicy mint and coriander chutney, which is almost like a pesto, goes brilliantly with grilled meats, prawns and fish. It is a great accompaniment for any Indian meal, Aussie BBQ or just spread on toast! I have also used it as a chutney with cheese and biscuits. Easy and quick to make, it will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. Best to bring to room temperature before serving. Traditionally made by roasting and then grinding the peanuts, I cheat and use super-crunchy peanut butter which works very well to bind the herbs into a pesto like texture. Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 1 bunch mint – leaves removed from stalks and washed well 1 bunch coriander – with roots removed, washed well and chopped into large pieces 1-2 red chillies chopped into large pieces 2 cloves garlic and equal amount of ginger crushed to a paste 1 medium onion finely diced 1 medium ripe tomato finely diced 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon cummin …

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Portuguese pork and clam stew with roasted capsicum sauce

Portuguese pork and clam stew with roasted capsicum sauce

We used to have this dish at the Petersham Portuguese Chicken Shop and Restaurant in Sydney before it burnt down in a terrible fire. I have never made it at home but thought I’d try it out for something a bit different. I did a bit of research on the Internet and checked a variety of recipes, some with and without the capsicum paste, before deciding on this version. The stew comes from the Alentejan region of Portugal and is usually served with fried potatoes but can be served with crusty bread or plain rice. Marinating the pork in the milk and wine overnight tenderises the pork and gives it a lovely almost silky texture when cooked. The roasted capsicum paste can be made the day before as well if you want and adds a sweetness and a subtle spiciness that compliments the natural saltiness of the clams. The clams can be replaced by cockles but purging them by soaking in water is important to remove any grit. So, please note the time required for marinating …

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Fish Briyani with tomato chutney and turmeric rice

Fish Briyani with Tomato Chutney & Turmeric Rice

This Fish Briyani is based on a recipe from my Aunty Vimala who inspired my interest in cooking when I was young. I can still vividly recall the enticing smells of spices cooking and the delicious flavour combinations that came from her kitchen. I wrote this recipe down, taking notes as she made it, when I last visited South Africa in 1997. The spicy tomato chutney, fresh herbs, sweet caramelised onions and lightly fried fish combine to create a more-ish, layered fish dish that is delicious on its own or with youghurt, mango or mint chutney and pickles to the side. This is a lovely dish to serve as part of a buffet lunch or dinner as it is actually nicer warm, rather than piping hot, and even better the next day. Don’t put off by the number of steps and spices, it really is a matter of making each of the components seperately and then combining into the completed layered dish. Once you’ve done the prep it’s just a matter of putting it in …

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Fresh mussels in Thai style broth

Mussels in Thai Broth

An easy, healthy and delicious main courses or starter – can be served with crispy bread rolls or jasmine rice. Make sure you use fresh mussels. It’s all the better made using homemade Thai prawn stock(see recipe below) but bought fish or chicken stock will do if you are short on time. Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 1 kg of mussels, beards removed (do not use any broken mussels) 1 small brown onion finely diced 2 cloves garlic finely chopped 2 pieces ginger/fresh galangal finely chopped 1-2 hot red chillies chopped 1 teaspoon fish sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 6 coriander stalks and roots cleaned and chopped, leaves reserved for garnish thai basil for garnish 750 ml prawn or fish stock 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Method: Heat oil in large pot that has a tight fitting lid Add onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and sautéed over medium heat until onions are translucent Add coriander, stock, fish sauce and sugar Add mussels, fit on lid and bring stock to boil. Shake pan and …

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Review: Smorgasbord of Indonesian specialities at Hujan Locale

Hujan  Locale in Ubud is the latest offering in Australian chef and entrepreneur Will Meryck’s “chain” of contemporary Asian restaurants in Bali, including Sarong and Mama San in Seminyak. Tucked away in Jalan Sri Wedari, off the main street – Jalan Raya Ubud, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a Singapore ore Vietnam colonial interior, featuring a mix of wood, bamboo, tiles and even a chandelier. The warm, inviting interior is filled with diners the night we visit. Bookings are highly advisable. We asked for a table upstairs which gets the through breeze and views over the street to one side and a Balinese family compound on the other. The menu features a diversity of dishes inspired by the various regions of the Indonesian archipelago with most ingredients supplied by local farmers. It is a smorgasbord of Indonesian delights and uncompromising in it’s inclusion of chilli and spices, so would not recommend if you don’t like spicy food. We choose the Pig Ear’s served with sambal spiced aioli and a crackling and the Gorengan or “fried platter” …

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KL fast food stall

2015 in review

Here’s the completed “Year in Review” post! Happy New Year!! As we start the new year I thought I’d reflect on the first six months of my Free Spirit Food blog. It’s certainly been very interesting starting this blogging journey and I was amazed to receive my “annual report” from WordPress telling me that there had been almost 5,000 views since June 2015 – apparently almost the equivalent of four full New York subway trains! My aim when I started was to get to 100 followers by the end of the year and as we enter the new year I would like to say thank you to the 105 people who find my recipes and reviews of interest. Some of you are friends and family, but the majority of you are from around Australia and the world with very informative, interesting and beautiful blogs of your own. I wanted to say a special thank you to my most loyal supporters and give their great blogs a plug: From the family table What’s Bec Cooking My little …

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Babi Guling fresh off the spit at Warung Ibu Suna

Bali Review: A real Babi Guling experience at Warung Ibu Suna, Kedewatan

Having set out at 7.30am to do the Campuhan Ridge walk in Ubud before the sun got too hot, we decided we would have breakfast/brunch on the way back to Penestanan. The walk starts from stairs near the Campuhan Bridge that take you down to the river bed where you negotiate crossing over rocks to more stairs that lead up to the impressive temple on the other side, and the actual start of the “trek” up the ridge. We were lucky to have the aid of a makeshift bamboo “bridge” to get us across. The walk itself up the ridge affords stunning views across valleys on both sides. After about 3km of rolling hill climbs, you reach the village of Tegallalang with it’s rice fields and then walk another 4kms or so through the village of Kedawatan towards Jalan Sangiangan, the main route into Ubud. This stretch involves very steep hill walks between Tegallalang and Kedwatan and we certainly worked up a sweat and an appetite! Just as we leaving Kedawatan heading towards Ubud, we …

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Nasi Goreng Java at Warung Mendez in Ubud

Javanese dining in Ubud – Warung Mendez Penestanan

After a wonderful Christmas eating lots of delicious traditional English and Australian food, we are now in Bali for a fortnight of feasting and relaxation up in the hills of Ubud. There won’t be too much cooking but certainly a lot of eating planned. We have been regulars to Bali over the last ten years and can’t help but feel instantly relaxed when we get here through the combination of the warm Balinese hospitality, heat of the tropical sun and diversity and quality of the food. This visit we are staying in the village of Penestanan on the edge of the rice fields, once quite a sleepy part of Ubud but which has now been populated with great cafes and restaurants, spas and villas. We started our first day here lazing by our pool before choosing to lunch at Warung Mendez, a restaurant specialising in Javanese cuisine. From tempting appetisers and soups to specials such as slow cooked goat’s leg and Tempe fried in a special spring onion batter, deciding on what to eat is …

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Snapper in Indian "Crazy Water"

Snapper in Indian “Crazy Water” Broth

This dish is based on the Italian inspired recipes by Marcella Hazan and Neil Perry for “fish in crazy water”. Having previously made and enjoyed Neil Perry’s recipe, I had found the original light broth reminiscent of the texture of the South Indian soup known as Rasam that often accompanies meals. This version is of my own creation and includes the distinct aniseed flavour of star anise and the fruity sweet-sour flavour of tamarind. You can also easily play around with the combination of herbs and spices to suit your palette. This dish is perfect to serve with blanched spinach for a light and healthy dinner. Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 55 minutes Ingredients: 2 large snapper fillets with skin on 3 large, very ripe tomatoes 3 cloves garlic 3 red chillies 1/2 tspn sea salt small handful coriander leaves small handful mint leaves 1.5 tsp tamarind concentrate or 2 tspns tamarind juice 1/2 tsp turmeric 2 star anise 60ml olive oil 900ml water Method Place tomatoes in bowl of boiling water, then peel …

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Stunning spanner crab omelette with oyster sauce

Spice Temple Cooking Class – Sydney Seafood School

On a cold and drizzly Monday night in Sydney I ventured down to the Sydney Fish Markets for a cooking class at their Seafood Cooking School. They offer a big variety of courses often featuring well known Chefs and I’d booked in to the class by Head Chef Andy Evans from the Neil Perry restaurant, Spice Temple. Both Andy Evans and Neil Perry have travelled extensively in regional China, and Spice Temple features their especially created recipes featuring regional Chinese cooking with a  spicy kick! The amphitheatre at the Seafood School was full of enthusiastic foodies and the class started with Andy outlining the order of proceedings and the menu. We were each given a booklet with the 3 recipes we would be making: Tuna with Blackened Chilli Dressing, Prawn and Peanut Relish and Spanner Crab Omelette with Oyster Sauce. The high tech set-up in the amphitheatre which has video screens displaying what is happening on the kitchen bench and stove makes it easy to watch the cooking demonstrations. It’s almost like watching a cooking …

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Zesty lamb and spinach curry with mint, chilli and lime

Lamb and spinach curry with lime

This is my version of lamb and spinach curry which is fresh and zesty through the addition of mint, coriander and lime to the traditional lamb and spinach combination. It goes really well served with rice or naan/flatbreads, and a side salad of tomato and cucumber. Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 50 minutes Ingredients: 750g diced lamb 1 bunch fresh English spinach, cleaned, washed and chopped finely 250g packet of frozen spinach defrosted 1/2 bunch mint – leaves only 1/2 bunch coriander – chopped 2 tablespoons ginger and garlic crushed paste 1/2 lime cut into thirds, other half reserved 2-3 red chillies, left whole 1 onion finely diced 1.5 tomato chopped 1 tspn salt 1 tspn cummin powder 1/2 tspn chilli powder 1/2 tspn turmeric 2 pieces cinnamon 4 cardamom pods 1 tspn cummin seeds Handful curry leaves 3 tbspns vegetable oil Method Heat oil in large heavy based casserole pot Add cinnamon, cummin seeds, curry leaves and cardamom pods and cook until fragrant, taking care not to burn the spices Add onions and …

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Spicy shredded chicken salad

Spicy shredded chicken salad

This is a light, healthy salad that is spiced up with some fresh chillies and chilli oil. Use the leftover herbs and vegetables in your fridge for the poaching to add flavour to the chicken. The leftover Singapore style poached chicken is perfect to use for this salad. Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients 2 chicken thigh fillets, fat removed 1/2 brown onion 1/2 carrot leftover aromatics e.g fennel pieces, celery, coriander stalks and/or ginger 4-5 cups water 3 tablespoons Mint leaves and coriander chopped 2 green chillies finely chopped 2 cups watercress leaves salt and pepper 2-3 teaspoons Asian Chilli oil 1/2 a fresh lime Method Bring water to boil with aromatics Add chicken and reduce heat to medium to allow chicken to poach for 20 minutes Meanwhile chop mint leaves, coriander and chillies Shred chicken with 2 forks Add still warm chicken to watercress, mint, coriander and chilli. Add 2 tablespoons of poaching liquid and mix through Season well with pepper and salt to taste Drizzle with chilli oil and a squeeze …

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Indian chilli sauce with apricot jam and mustard seeds, perfect with samosas

Kamsila’s Chilli Sauce with apricot jam, garlic and mustard seeds

This is my cousin Kamsila’s recipe which I wrote down on my last visit to see my family in South Africa in 1997! It has stood me in good stead ever since. It is perfect to add that extra chilli bite when served alongside samosas, meatballs, or as a chutney with roast meats. It’s quick and easy to make but best if you soak the chillies and garlic in vinegar overnight. Lasts for up to 6 weeks stored in the fridge but is usually long gone by then in our household. The recipe does use Indian pickling masala which combines chilli powder, salt, fenugreek, mustard seeds,nigella seeds,turmeric and asafoetida. Easy to buy pre-packaged at an Indian grocer or spice shop. Prep time: marinate overnight, then 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients 50g fresh red chillies stalks removed 5 cloves garlic 1 cup white wine vinegar 400g apricot jam 750mls good tomato sauce 1 tsp oil 2 tspns “pickling masala” 1 tspn black mustard seeds Small handful of fresh curry leaves Method Soak chillies and …

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Taco Tuesday: Baja Fish Tacos

Originally posted on Fabulous Fare Sisters:
Baja Fish Tacos I’ve read that about fifty years ago, somewhere in Baja California someone created what is generally considered to be the original Baja fish taco.  This tasty taco traditionally consists of a lightly battered mild white fish that is deep-fried, then served in a corn tortilla with shredded cabbage, a sour-cream- or mayonnaise-based sauce, a bit of salsa, and a squeeze of lime. I’ve changed the original just a bit in this recipe – using a cornmeal crust and using only a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil instead of deep-frying the fish. I tossed the shredded cabbage in the mayo-sour cream concoction along with some fresh cilantro and the zest and juice of a lime. The flavor combination is amazing! I hope you give these a try on your next Taco Tuesday! Baja Fish Tacos 4 fresh cod or tilapia fillets 3/4 cup cornmeal 1 tablespoon paprika 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon oregano 1 tablespoon cumin 1 tablespoon garlic powder salt & some fresh ground pepper 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2…

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Pondicherry prawns with zuchinni, preserved lemon and herbs

Pondicherry Prawns with zuchinni, preserved lemon and herbs

This is an unusual recipe hailing from Pondicherry, originally a French colony in Tamil Nadu, India. Pondicherry is truly unique with French style street signs, French colonial architecture and police that wear French style Kepis. We loved our visit to this special part of India, staying at the UNESCO world heritage ward winning Hotel De L’Orient. The restaurant at the hotel, Carte Blanch, is atmospherically set in the open air atrium of the hotel and features a special menu of creole cooking combining Tamil spices with French flavours. Recently flicking through Rick Stein’s India recipe book I found this recipe inspired by a meal he had at the hotel. I’ve adapted it using fresh green Australian king prawns and a slightly different mix of spices, spring onions and some green chilli. The use of preserved lemon gives the dish a fresh tangy flavour and the mixture of thyme, rosemary, basil and coriander is delicious. An excellent dish for entertaining as you can prepare all the ingredients and stir fry it just before you serve. Prep …

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