February, 2011

Feb 11

Cool out with kachumber


A home-made curry is a squillion times better than a take-out version – healthier, fresher and more delicious – and you can throw in whatever you feel like (or just what’s been lurking at the back of the fridge).

They’re a doddle to do – but following recipes can often be useful as spicing is a complex business – for yonks my curries always ended up tasting the same until a few useful lessons from a half-Bengali friend.

Last night’s effort was a vegetarian variety, light on the chilli front and made with mushrooms and potato. A bowl of yogurt makes a perfect addition with fragrant green chillies scattered over the top and some home-made chappatis to scoop it all up with.

The icing on the cake was what is known as a kachumber, a typical Indian salad made with tomatoes, cucumber and onion served as a cooling accompaniment. My version has a little tropical twist though…

Click here for my recipe for kachumber with coconut, black sesame and poppy seeds

Feb 11

Purple craze


You’ve probably realised by now that I’m something of a pickling and preserving nut. Indeed, any condiment is a goer in my book. I brought back a bottle of banana ketchup on a recent food mission to St Lucia – great with fried chicken…but I’m not sure what else.

Using the standard 4:2:1 ratio of water:vinegar:sugar leaves you free to go as mad or as plain with the spices as you like – you can add anything from star anise and fennel seeds to slices of ginger or lemongrass depending on what you’re pickling.

Give it a go – sliced chillies are just incredible – sweet with a hint of sour, with their fire calmed by the pickling: these are a huge favourite in Thailand, although they use a sourer brine.

We made kebabs at home recently; I say kebabs but we used the delicious pomegranate molasses coated lamb recipe in our archive, forked the meat into flatbreads with mint, yogurt, a spot of salad and a load of the incredible, vivid pickled cabbage I’d made earlier – and here’s the recipe: quick pickled cabbage

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