Posts Tagged: chillies


29
Mar 10

Some spice for spring

Salads may seem like food for the warmer months – but sometimes winter cravings must be satisfied – particularly as we edge towards spring. Often it’s just a simple tomato and mozzarella salad to perk up a cold afternoon, served with warm sourdough to mop up the juices and scattered with sea salt flakes.

At other times it might be a wintry salad of pears, rocket, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and honey and a healthy amount of a beautiful blue cheese like Benleigh crumbled in.

Normally, though, I go for something Asian – one of the salads or ‘yam’ in Thai, either served hot or with enough chillies to put some fire in your belly and drive off the coldest weather.

These warm salads sum up all the things I love about Thai food. Spicy with birds’ eye chillies, aromatic with refreshing lemongrass and pungent lime leaves, with a perfectly balanced sweet, sour and salty dressing, savoury with the deep mellow flavour of fish sauce.

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30
Jul 09

A Rick Stein twist on smoked fish

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Having had the opportunity to interview the fantastic Rick Stein recently, I left just a wee bit inspired – and just about all my food since has been South East Asian in influence. I was just reminded of the zing, the freshness, the delicious combination of hot, salty, sour and sweet, along with the textural pleasures of crunchy vegetables and peanuts, rice, noodles and crispy shallots.

I was inspired by the idea he suggested for making a salad with our very own smoked trout and decided to give it a go myself. But the fishmonger had sold out of trout so I went for some incredible home smoked mackerel.

So I have no shame in admitting this is straight from the Rick Stein school of cookery – and a teatime treat it was too. The idea of frying the smoked mackerel gives it a wonderful texture.

Green mango salad with crispy smoked mackerel à la Rick Stein

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 smoked mackerel fillets or 2 whole smoked mackerel
  • 1 green mango
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • ½ a cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • A large handful of mint, roughly chopped
  • A large handful peanuts, roughly chopped

For the dressing

  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs palm sugar
  • 2-3 bird’s eye chillies

For the crispy shallots

  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 10 thai shallots or 1 red onion, finely sliced

Method

Cut the mango into matchsticks – if you can’t find green mango you could leave it out or use a regular one, but it is worth seeking out. Mix with the rest of the salad ingredients and set aside.

Make the crispy shallots by heating the oil in a high-sided saucepan until a cube of white bread browns in a minute. Add the shallots (you may need to do this in two or three batches). Fry until crispy, a matter of a minute or two. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Make the dressing by finely chopping the chillies and mixing with the rest of the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.

Fry the mackerel in a frying pan in a few tablespoons of peanut oil (groundnut), turning once, until crispy – roughly five minutes. Drain and set aside for a few minutes.

Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Flake the fish into the salad in 2 cm chunks, turning gently so as not to break up the flakes of fish.

Place onto a serving dish and garnish with the peanuts and a few more chopped herbs.


31
Mar 09

Blog: A coriander recipe to woo you over

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These days I’m a big fan of coriander, but there was a time when I just didn’t get it. Its perfumed aroma seemed over-powering. Now I can’t get enough of it.

Its aromatic taste lifts food and is a quintessential part of many Asian cuisines. It is especially interesting because its seeds, stalk and leaves offer three different flavour profiles and have drastically different culinary uses.

If you aren’t already converted, try it in this recipe to see the wonderful effect it has. Be sparing – it should be a background scent, a whiff and no more.

Thai chicken burgers with an Asian salad and a hot and sour dipping sauce

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the burgers

  • 2
    chicken breasts
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander (to your own personal taste)
  • 1 egg
  • handful breadcrumbs
  • optional 2 lime leaves

For salad

  • few handfuls mixed leaves
  • ¼ cucumber
  • 4 spring onions
  • small bunch coriander
  • handful cashew nuts

For dressing

  • juice 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp soy
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For dipping sauce

  • 5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp palm or caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

  • 2 flat bread or wrap to serve

Method

Start by making the dipping sauce. Heat together rice wine vinegar and palm sugar for a few minutes until mixture thickens. Take off heat, add soy sauce and chopped chilli and set aside. Just before serving add coriander.

For the burgers, finely chop chilli and the lemon grass. Place these and all other burger ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a few times until you have a mush – something like mince. Divide mixture into four and shape into patties. Place these in fridge to firm up slightly.

Make dressing by whisking together the ingredients.

Cut cucumber in half and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon. Slice it up about the width of a 50p piece. Finely slice spring onion, and mix these with leaves, nuts, and cucumber. Dress salad when you are ready to serve.

Place frying pan over medium heat, pour a couple of tablespoons of groundnut or similar flavourless oil into pan and fry chicken burgers for about 6-8 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Warm flatbreads by wrapping in tinfoil, and place in a low oven for about five minutes.

Once warmed through, wrap burgers with a little salad and enjoy.

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