I was happy to be able to successfully make one Asian dish. Let alone two. I was on an Asian cuisine kick last year but became disenchanted with making Asian food after I failed at two recipes. But I became inspired to try again after looking through the book. I told my coworker about the Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry dish and she replied it sounded so healthy. I guess it does. But I chose this recipe because I love seafood and curry. And I thought it would be delicious. It was.
THAI YELLOW PUMPKIN SEAFOOD CURRY
400ml tin coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons yellow (or red)
Thai curry paste
350ml fish stock (I use boiling water and a slug of Benedicta Touch of Taste Concentrated Fish Bouillon; cubes would do)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar or caster sugar
3 lemongrass stalks, each cut into three and bruised with the flat of a knife
3 lime leaves, de-stalked and cut into strips
half teaspoon turmeric
1 kg pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled and cut into large-bite-sized chunks 500g salmon fillet, preferably organic, skinned and cut into large-bite-sized chunks
500g peeled raw prawns
Bak choi or any other green vegetables of your choice
juice of half to one lime, to taste
Coriander, to serve
Skim the thick creamy top off the tin of coconut milk and put it, over medium heat, into a large saucepan or casserole with the curry paste. Let it sizzle and, using a fork, whisk or wooden spoon, beat milk and paste together until combined. Still beating gently, add the rest of the coconut milk, fish stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then add the pumpkin. Cook on a fast simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 15 minutes, although different sorts of pumpkins can vary enormously in the time they take to cook; some squash take as little as 5 minutes. As I mentioned, you can cook the curry up till this part in advance, maybe leaving the pumpkin with a tiny bit of bite to it (it will soften and cook as the pan cools). Either way, when you're about 5 minutes away from wanting to eat, get ready to cook the seafood. So, to the robustly simmering pan, add the salmon and prawns (if you're using the prawns from frozen they'll need to go in before the salmon). When the Salmon and prawns have cooked through, which shouldn't take more than 3-4 minutes, stir in any green veg you're using - sliced, chopped or shredded as suits - and tamp down with a wooden spoon. When the Bak Choi is wilted, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and taste and then add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it. Take the pan off the heat or decant the curry into a large bowl, and sprinkle over the coriander; the point is that the coriander goes in just before serving. Serve with more chopped coriander for people to add to their own bowls as they eat, and some plain Thai or Basmati rice. Serves 4 -6
In a never ending quest to ever have a variety of options to serve for breakfast. I decided on Masala omelet. Even though Niel and I have acid reflux. I still love spicy foods and with help from some acid reducing medications we can occasionally have spicy meals. I think I would also try to make this for lunch and dinner. To me its seems appropriate for any meal.
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 spring onion sliced finely
1-2 chilies to taste, red or green
1 clove garlic, microplaned or finely chopped
quarter tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 eggs, beaten
freshly chopped coriander for sprinkling over
chapatis to eat with, if you feel like it
Preheat the grill.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan 20-27cm in diameter and fry the spring onion, chilli and turmeric until soft. Add the other spices and fry for another minute stirring occasional, then add the beaten eggs, swirling the pan to help the eggs set underneath. When the omelet is nearly set, flash it under a hot grill to finish it off, and serve with fresh coriander and chapattis.
This was also a breakfast item but I made it for dinner and unfortunately I must have done something wrong because I did not enjoy it. Oddly enough Niel did. I say oddly enough because Niel is happiest with the foods he knows. A meat and potatoes and pasta man. He said he liked the Kedegree because it was salty. I also am a salt fiend but the dish just did not do it for me. Maybe it will for you.
500ml cold water for poaching the fish
2 lime leaves torn into pieces
4 salmon fillets (approx 3cm thick) preferably organic, skinned (about 750g in total)
45g unsalted butter
1 tsp oil
1 onion chopped finely
half tsp ground coriander
half tsp ground cumin
half tsp tumeric
225g basmati rice
3 hard-boiled eggs quartered
3 tbspns chopped coriander, plus more for sprinkling
juice and zest of a lime plus more lime segments to serve
Fish sauce (nam pla) to taste
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. This is just because the easiest way to poach the salmon for this is to do it in the oven. So: pour the water into a roasting dish, add the lime leaves and then the salmon. Cover the dish with foil, put in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, by which time the salmon should be cooked till tender. Remove the dish from the oven and drain the liquid off into a jug. Keep the fish warm, just by replacing the foil on the dish.
Melt the butter in a wide heavy saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid, and add the oil to stop the butter burning. Soften the onion in the pan and add the spices, then keep cooking till the onion is slightly translucent and suffused with the soft perfume
Pour in the reserved liquid from the jug - about 500ml - and stir before covering with a lid and cooking gently for about 15 minutes. If your stove is vociferous you may need a heat-diffuser.
At the end of the cooking time, when the rice is tender and has lost all chalkiness, turn off the heat, remove the lid, cover with a tea towel and then replace the lid. This will help absorb any extra moisture from the rice. It also is the best way to let the rice stand without getting claggy or cold, which is useful when you've got a few friends and a few dishes to keep your eye on.
Just before you want to eat, drain off any extra liquid that's collected in the dish with the salmon, then flake the fish with a fork. Add to it the rice, eggs, coriander, lime juice and a drop or two of fish sauce. Stir gently to mix - I use a couple of wooden paddles or spatulas - and taste to see if you want any more lime juice or fish sauce. Sprinkle over the zest from the two juiced halves of the lime and serve. I love it served just as it is in the roasting dish, but if you want to, and I often do (consistency is a requirement of a recipe but not a cook) decant into a large plate surrounded with lime segments before you add the lime zest, then add the zest and a small handful of freshly chopped coriander.
This is one of those rare dishes that manages to be comforting and light at the same time. And - should you have leftovers, which I wouldn't bank on - it's heavenly eaten, as all leftovers demand to be, standing up, straight from the fridge. Serves 6
Another good site for Nigella Lawson recipes is the BBC's website Channel 4.
Today would have been Frank Lloyd Wright's 138th birthday. Thank you Mr. Wright for making architecture unique.
Song Stuck In My Head: "Lost In Hollywood" by System of A Down