Feast from the East – Clay Pot Chicken Rice

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

It’s mesmerizing watching street vendors make this dish with 10 charcoal stoves on the go.  They place the pots with rice on top of the hob, which gives the dish its smokiness.

Claypot chicken

Serves : 2

Ingredients :
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
150g boneless chicken thighs, sliced
1 tblsp vegetable oil
10g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced
4 tblsp sweet soy sauce
1 tblsp light soy sauce
3 tblsp water
200g jasmine rice
Birds-Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and Stir-Fried Lettuce, to serve (Optional)

For the marinade :
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
large pinch of caster sugar
1/2 tblsp cornflour

Step One : Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, cover with cold water and set aside to rehydrate for 2 hours.  You can speed up the rehydration by covering them with just-boiled water.  Drain the mushrooms, squeeze them to discard any excess water and cut off and discard the stalks.  Quarter the mushrooms and set aside.

Step Two : Meanwhile, put the chicken in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients.  Stir and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or 2 hours (covered) in the fridge.

Step Three : Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant, then add the sliced sausage and fry for a further minute.  Add the marinated chicken and the mushrooms to the pan and continue to fry until the chicken turns opaque.  Add half the sweet soy sauce and all the water.  Continue to fry for 2 minutes more (the chicken needs to be nearly cooked through).  Set aside.

Step Four : Wash the rice in cold water and drain, then repeat twice with fresh cold water.  This will get rid of excess starch.  Transfer the drained rice to the clay pot, then fill it with water, until the water sits about 2.5cm above the rice.  Bring it to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down to a low simmer.

Step Five : For about 10 minutes, once the rice has absorbed nearly all the water, put the chicken mixture on top of the rice and cover the clay pot.  Continue to cook on the hob over a low heat for a further 10-13 minutes.  The rice will form a crust at the bottom of the pot.   If using:  serve with Bird’s Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and the Stir-Fried Lettuce on the side.

Feast from the East – Steamed Hake with Garlic Oil and Oyster Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

Steaming fish is a great way to cook it as it stays moist and it locks in all the nutrients. This recipe also works well with seabass and salmon.  Bear in mind, cooking time will vary with different fish.

Steamed HakeServes : 2

Ingredients :
1 spring onion, finely sliced lengthways into strips
small handful of coriander leaves, torn
2 hake fillets (about 150g each), skin on
2 tblsp Garlic oil
2 tblsp oyster sauce

Step One : Place the steamer ring at the bottom of a wok.  Boil some water and pour it into the wok, up to the level of the ring.  Place the wok over a medium heat, and bring it to the boil, then lower the heat a little.

Step Two : Place the spring onion strips in a bowl of ice-cold water with the coriander: this will keep them fresh while the fish steams.

Step Three : Place the hake fillets, skin-side up, in a shallow, heat-proof bowl, making sure they are not overlapping, then add the Garlic oil and oyster sauce.

Step Four : Transfer the bowl to the steam ring, cover the wok and steam for 5 minutes.  Uncover and add three-quarters of the spring onion and coriander leaves to the bowl.  Recover and steam for a further 8 minutes.

Step Five : Carefully remove the bowl from the wok, sprinkle the rest of the spring onion and coriander leaves over the fish and serve immediately.

Feast from the East – Ngau Yuk Fun – Beef Noodles across two borders

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

This is a wonderfully comforting dish influenced by a delicious food stall in Ping’s home town of Ipoh in Malaysia and one in Thailand.

Makes : 2 bowls

Beef noodlesIngredients :
1.5kg beef bones
5cm cinnamon stick
30g fresh root ginger, cut into thick slices, unpeeled
2 star anise
8 cloves
1.7l water
1 1/2 tblsp chicken stock powder
200g mooli or daikon radish, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
50g calf’s liver, trimmed, very thinly sliced and covered with cold water until required
100g prime beef fillet, very thinly sliced, at room temperature
Few pinches of sea salt
2 x 100g balls of wonton noodles
Vegetable oil for dressing
1 spring onion, finely chopped
4-5 celery leaves
Bird’s Eye Chilli and Soy Dip or dried red chilli flakes, to serve

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6.  Place the beef bones in a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes.

Step Two : Put the roasted beef bones, cinnamon, sliced ginger, star anise, cloves, water and chicken stock powder into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  After 15 minutes of simmering, remove the cinnamon from the stock.

Step Three : Add the mooli or daikon radishes, if using, to the pan after the broth has been simmering for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Simmer for a further 20-30 minutes, until softened.  If you’re not using the radishes, ignore this step and just simmer the broth for approximately 1 3/4 hours.

Step Four : Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a separate pan and set aside, discarding everything left in the sieve, except the mooli or daikon radishes, if using.  Place these back into the broth.

Step Five : Drain the calf’s liver and pat it dry.  Season the beef fillet and calf’s liver with a pinch of salt and put to one side.  Bring the broth to the boil and season with salt to taste.

Step Six : Bring a separate pan of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and cook the noodles for a few minutes, until al dente.  Drain in a colander.  If the noodles are a little slimy, keep them in the colander and pour over some boiling water to get rid of the excess starch.

Step Seven : Dress the noodles with a little vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together, and divide them between two bowls.

Step Eight : Arrange the slices of beef fillet on top of the cooked noodles.  Place all the slivers of calf’s liver in a large slotted spoon, then lower them into the broth and cook for 10-15 seconds.  Then, lift them out and arrange on top of the noodles.

Step Nine : Take the mooli or daikon, if using, out of the broth and place them around the meat in the bowls.  Make sure the broth is still boiling and ladle it generously over the beef and liver.  Garnish generously with spring onion and celery leaves.

Step Ten : Serve immediately with the Chilli and Soy Dip or a large pinch of dried red chilli flakes.

Happy St Patrick’s Day – Irish Stew

 

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Recipe by Gary Rhodes and taken from Sunday Magazine many years ago!  

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

1 ½ lb (750g) middle neck of lamb, cut into cutlets
4 onions
1 lb (450g) potatoes
4oz (100g) unsalted butter
1 garlic clove
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 sprig each of fresh rosemary and thyme tied in a square of muslin) or bouquet garni sachet
2 ½ pints (1.5 litres) chicken stock or water
6oz (175g) carrots
6 celery sticks
8oz (225g) Savoy cabbage
2 tsp freshly chopped parsley

Step One : In a large pan, cover the lamb with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain off the water and refresh the meat in cold water. Drain well. Whichever, cut of lamb you use – for example, neck, scrag end or chops – you should always do this blanching process. It removes any impurities and gives the stock a cleaner, clearer finish.

Step Two : Slice the onions and then peel and dice the potatoes into 1 in (2.5cm) pieces. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onions, half the potatos and the garlic clove.

Step Three : Add the bouquet garni to the pan and fry for 2 mins. Add the lamb cutlets and cover with the chicken stock or water. Bring the liquid to the simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 30 mins. The meat will be half-cooked and the potatoes will have started to puree and thicken the stock.

Step Four : Peel and dice the carrots and add them to the pan. Continue to cook the stew for a further 10 mins. Dice the celery sticks into 1 in (2.5cm) pieces and add to the pan with the remaining potatoes. Cook for 15-20 mins. At this stage, the potatoes shouldn’t be cooked until they’re pureed but until they’re just soft.

Step Five : Shred the cabbage, add to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the meat and vegetables are tender. Adding the cabbage towards the end of the cooking time ensures that you don’t lose the fresh flavour and that the stew won’t discolour. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Step Six : Remove the bouquet garni and garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve the stew in individual bowls or from one larg bowl in the middle of the table. You now have a complete meal but even so, I usually serve it with good crusty bread.

Tastes of Ghana – Gari Foto

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2017) and taken from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh.

Gari – fermented, dried and ground cassava – has no real flavour of its own apart from the sourness of fermentation. But it can take on a great deal of flavour and bulk out meagre pickings in the fridge.

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Serves : 6

Ingredients:
120ml (4 fl oz) sustainable palm oil or groundnut oil
2 onions, finely diced
1cm (1/2 – inch) piece fresh root ginger, grated (unpeeled if organic), or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper or cayenne pepper
3 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 scant tablespoon tomato puree
250g (9oz) Gari (fermented, dried and ground cassava)
6 free-range eggs
Chopped coriander, to garnish (optional)

Step One : Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and saute over a medium heat for about 3 minutes until translucent.

Step Two : Add the ginger, garlic and chillies, and stir well to evenly coat the onions before adding the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Leave the stew to cook over the medium heat for about 25 minutes.

Step Three : As soon as you’ve added the tomatoes, start preparing the gari, which is a bit like making couscous. Place it in a bowl and gradually spinkle with 120ml (4 fl oz) lightly salted warm water to evenly moisten it, mixing it through with a fork as you go. Be careful to add the water a little at a time so that you don’t overdo it, as the mixture should just be damp, not drenched!

Step Four : Cover the bowl with a plate or clean cloth and set aside for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the eggs. At this point, choose how you want to cook your eggs. If it’s the weekend and fancy a treat, you could make poached eggs, but if you feel like something more everyday, just boil or scramble them. It’s up to you.

Step Five : Before adding your choice of cooked eggs to the dish, fold the moistened gari into the stew, which should be cooked by now, and stir through gently but thoroughly – you should get a nice pink colour to the mixture. If you’ve decided to make scrambled eggs, you can also fold them into the gari now to create a sort of gari omelette, or serve them on the side.

Step Six : Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Serve immediately, with the seasoned poached, boiled or scrambled eggs on top, garnished with some chopped coriander.

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Tastes of Ghana – Yam and Plantain Peanut Curry

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2017) and taken from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh.

This recipe combines Nkatsenkwan (groundnut stew) with the two simple staples of yam and plantain.

IMG_1813

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
300g (10 1/2 oz) puna yam
Cooking salt
2-3 medium-ripe plantains, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 quantity Peanut sauce, prepared up to the stage of adding the peanut butter and blending
Chopped red chillies and sliced spring onions or pureed basil, to garnish

 

Step One : Peel the yam and cut into slices, then rinse in cold water to remove the starch. Add to a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.

Step Two : Peel the plantains and cut into chunks. Add to the boiling yam at the 10-minute point and cook together for a further 10 minutes until fork tender.

Step Three : Strain, reserving the cooking water to use as stock for making the Peanut Sauce. Set the yam and plantain aside.

Step Four : Prepare the Peanut Sauce. Add the yam and plantain to the sauce and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring in a little water to prevent it from sticking.

Step Five : Serve garnished with red chillies and spring onions or pureed basil.

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Tastes of Ghana – Oto / Oetorh

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2017) and taken from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh.

Oto is a classic Ghanaian celebratory dish made with hard-boiled eggs, mashed yam and palm oil.  Yam has a very high starch content and will help to keep you fuelled all day long, if you eat a big enough portion.

IMG_1813

Serves : 4-6

Ingredients:
300g (10 1/2 oz) puna yam
4-6 hard-boiled free-range eggs, shelled and quartered
120ml sustainable palm oil or carotene oil
2 red onions, 1 finely diced and 1 sliced and fried to serve as a garnish or side
1-2 tblsp dried ground prawn / shrimp powder (optional)
A little butter, if required
Chopped spring onion or coriander, to garnish
Baked or Crispy Fried Kale, to serve

Step One : Have a bowl or pan of water ready, as you’ll need to put each peeled yam piece straight into water to prevent them oxidising and turning brown. Peel the yam and cut into 2.5 – 5cm (1-2inch) cubes, then rinse thoroughly in cold water to remove the starch.

Step Two : Add the yam to a large pan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 12-15 minutes, until fork tender. (Hard-boil your eggs in the pan at the same time to save on the washing up!) Drain and mash the yams; set the eggs aside.

Step Three : Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan, add the diced onion and saute over a medium heat for a few minutes until soft. Add the prawn / shrimp powder (if using) and stir to combine.

Step Four : Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the oil and onions to the mashed yam, mixing thoroughly, adding a little butter, if needed.

Step Five : Continue adding the oil and onions until it is a dense mash texture, but not a puree. You may not need to use all the oil, so taste and add extra oil and sea salt, if required.

Step Six : Serve in bowls with the hard-boiled egg and the fried, sliced red onion on top, with a green garnish, such as spring onion or coriander, or to really bring out the rich colour, serve with a portion of Crispy Fried Kale.

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Tastes of Ghana – Ghana-Fied Caesar Salad

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2017) and taken from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh.

How about putting a little extra bag into everyone’s favourite dish, the classic Caesar salad, with some tasty Ghanaian ingredients?

IMG_1815

Serves : 4

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 heaped tablespoon Jollof Dry Spice Mix
1 tblsp rapeseed oil
5-6 dried smoked herring, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, or 1 can of anchovies
1 large Cos (Romaine) lettuce, leaves separated and roughly chopped or torn into large pieces
1 tblsp sustainable palm oil or carotene oil, for drizzling

For the croutons:
4 thick slices of hard dough bread (butter bread), or crusty white bread
4 tblsp rapeseed oil or olive oil

For the dressing:
50g (1 3/4 oz) Parmesan, shaved
5 tblsp Shito Mayo
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tblsp rapeseed oil and olive oil

Step One : Make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 180oC / 356oF. Cut the bread into 2-3 cm cubes and spread on a tray. Sprinkle over the oil and some sea salt, then toss together. Bake for 7-8 minutes, turning halfway so that they brown evenly. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Step Two : Season the chicken with the Spice Mix in a bowl, then add the oil and toss.

Step Three : Heat a frying pan, add the chicken and fry for about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside. Drain the fish and break up into smaller pieces.

Step Four : For the dressing, mix half the cheese with the Shit Mayo, garlic and vinegar in a bowl. Loosen with the oil and season to taste with sea salt.

Step Five : Put the lettuce in a large bowl and scatter over the chicken with half the croutons. Add half the dressing and toss together lightly. Top with the remaining chicken, croutons and fish, then drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle the cheese on top and, or a dash of Ghanaian flavour, drizzle over the palm oil. Serve.

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Za-Atar Flatbread (Mana’eesh)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (August 2017) and taken from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi.

If there’s one thing Syrians can’t live without, it’s mana’eesh.  In the same way that pubs are a huge part of life in Britain, mana’eesh bakeries are integral to Syrian culture.  Being as cheap and readily available as they are, not many people make their own, so this recipe is an homage to the original.

Serves:  6

Ingredients:
3 tblsp Za’atar
5 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 x 320g pack of puff pastry
Fresh mint leaves, to serve
½ tomato, diced, to serve

Step One : Mix the za’atar with the olive oil. Roll out the pastry and, using a pastry brush, spread the za’atar olive oil all over, leaving a 2.5cm border around the edges.

Step Two : Bake in the oven on 160oC / 320oF / Gas Mark 3 for about 15 minutes, until the pastry puffs up and turns golden brown. Serve with fresh mint and tomatoes on top.

Mixed Grill (Meshwi)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (August 2017) and taken from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi.

Syrians love a barbecue and it can occur anywhere; in a park or even by the side of the road!  Place a metal grilling rack over two stones with charcoal underneath and that’s all you need to start making the juiciest meat dishes you can imagine.

Beef or veal ribs is one of the most popular cuts.  You can grill any cut of chicken and, for lamb, the neck or shoulder is the best.  These grilled meats and chicken are usually eaten with flatbread brushed with pepper paste and thinly sliced onion mixed with parsley and sumac.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients for the 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
1 tblsp each ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground black pepper
½ tblsp each ground cloves and ground nutmeg

Ingredients for the beef kebabs
½ onion, quartered
Handful of parsley
250g minced fatty beef
½ tsp 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
¼ tsp Pomegranate Molasses
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the Lamb Skewers
250g diced leg or shoulder of lamb
5 small green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 small onions, quartered
4 tomatoes, quartered

For the chicken skewers
3 tsp oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
¼ tsp cardamom
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 small onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
5 baby green peppers

Step One : Heat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6. First make the beef kebabs. In a food processor, mix the onion with the parsley. Tip out into a bowl with the minced meat, add the other ingredients and mix together well with your hands. Wrap the beef around metal skewers, then roast in the oven for 4-10 minutes or grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Step Two : For the lamb skewers, thread the lamb pieces onto the skewer, alternating with pieces of pepper, onion and tomatoes. Season, then cook under a preheat grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Step Three : For the chicken skewers, mix the oil, garlic and spices in a bowl. Season, add the chicken and vegetables and combine. Thread the chicken and vegetables onto the skewer, then grill for 4 minutes on each side.