August 19, 2008

One-pot Spicy Rice

My friend Kim cooked this for me when I went to visit her and it was so delicious I had to have the recipe so I could make it for Steve. However, he was a bit dubious about trying it because it had raisins/sultanas and chickpeas in it and it's vegetarian! So he looked a bit worried when I dished it up but after the first few mouthfuls he did an Oliver Twist and asked for seconds but unfortunately there was no more, as I'd only cooked enough for 2. So next time I'll cook more by doubling the quantities.

The recipe here has a couple of tweaks as I had half a butternut squash to use up and didn't have any spinach so I used peas, but you can use whatever's going. I really like the different textures and tastes that the sultanas and cashews bring to the dish, they really compliment the curry flavour - a fruit and nut sensation!

I made this for the second time here in San Francisco and I used the cup measurement method and the rice came out perfectly! It's basically 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid. So I used 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of stock (to serve 4 people). I didn't have any peas or spinach but it still tasted great!

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into bitesize pieces (optional)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp medium curry paste (I used Madras)
125g/4.5oz [1 cup] basmati rice (or brown rice - see note below)
225ml/8fl oz [2 cups] hot vegetable stock
1 can of chick peas (241g), drained
1 or 2 handfuls of frozen peas (replaced 2 or 3 handfuls of spinach)
A handful of raisins or sultanas
A handful of cashew nuts
Dash of double cream (optional)

Directions - If using the butternut squash:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4
  2. Put the butternut squash pieces in a baking tray and drizzle with little bit of oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in the oven on the top shelf for 45 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
Directions - Normal:
  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan that has a lid, then fry garlic and curry paste until it smells toasty.
  2. Tip the rice into the pan along with the stock, chick peas, raisins/sultanas and squash. Stir well and season with salt and pepper (stock is quite salty so go easy on the salt), then cover and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a medium heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. If it’s taking a long time for the liquid to reduce, just take the lid off the pan for a few minutes. Add the frozen peas 10 minutes before end of cooking time.
  4. Stir in the cashew nuts (and spinach and let it wilt).
  5. Stir in the dash of cream just before serving, this will take off the spicy edge of the curry paste.

Note – if using brown rice, cook the rice in plenty of boiling water for 20 minutes first, and then add to the pan as normal in step 2.

August 11, 2008

Sweetcorn cakes

Just made these for lunch as had some leftover tinned sweetcorn. I used Bill Granger's recipe and added some extra ingredients for flavour.

Makes: 8 mini cakes to serve 2 for lunch/snack
You will need: mini chopper/food processor

Ingredients:
Small tin sweetcorn (198g)
2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg

Added extras:
1/2 spring onion roughly chopped
1 small orange pepper roughly chopped
small pinch chilli flakes
dash worcester sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Put the chopped spring onion, 3/4 of the sweetcorn and 1/2 the pepper into a mini chopper/food processor and whizz for a few seconds.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, chilli and worcester sauce and whizz again.
  3. Add the egg and whizz until combined.
  4. Stir in the remaining sweetcorn and pepper and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan or wok and drop in tablespoons of the mixture.
  6. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until nicely golden brown.
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