Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Banana Curry

Despite the ingredients, this curry isn't especially sweet. It's mild, creamy and the bananas take on a texture akin to sweet potatoes. Using curry paste is a bit of a cheat method, but I'm still not confident enough with spices to attempt something that requires such delicate flavours. I used korma curry paste, for the mild, sweetness but you can use whatever you want. The best bananas are still half green; anything riper than that will fall apart. I used tinned pineapple because I'm not chopping up a pineapple, but fresh would be great if you have it.

I also used tofu to add some protein, but that is optional. Whenever I fry tofu I fry it in a little dark soy sauce and mirin, no matter what the type of dish is I'm serving. I find it adds just that little bit of extra flavour.

Banana curry

Serves 4

Takes 35 minutes

4 semi-ripe bananas

1 large onion (or 2 escallion shallots)

1 400g tin of pineapple pieces in juice

1 400ml tin of coconut milk

At least 4 tbsp korma curry paste, add more for a stronger taste

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

400g block of firm tofu, chopped into small pieces (optional)

A splash of dark soy sauce and mirin to fry the tofu in (optional)

Rice to serve

* Fry the tofu over a medium heat for 5 minutes with the soy sauce and mirin, if using. Chop the onions and banana while doing this.

* Add the onions and garlic and fry with the tofu for a few minutes until the onion is translucent

* Add the bananas and stir around for a minute or so, then stir in the curry paste.

* Make sure the curry paste has coated everything and had a chance to infuse, then add the coconut milk.

* Stir the coconut milk through well and add the pineapple including some of the juice. The more you put, the sweeter and runnier the curry will ultimately be.

* Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or longer if you prefer a thicker sauce.

Goes well with brown rice.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Spiced Vegetable Biryani

Note: pic is taken with my phone, so not the usual quality. It looked more yellow than this.

BBC Good Food strikes again, and this time I was specifically looking for a curry of some sort. I saw this and it looked delicious. I'm so glad I don't have to type the recipe out, haha.


I bought all the ingredients (quite expensive if you include some yoghurt, poppadoms and mango chutney) even though the recipe says it's for 6 people. I was curious to see how much it would make. Well believe it, it really is for 6. I had to leave out a good portion of veggies so it'd fit into my largest oven dish, and even then it went for 5 servings.

Making sure the rice is cooked is key here, so it's best to use a dish with a lid in addition to the foil trick. I cooked mine for 15 minutes to roast the veg, then another 35 minutes for the rice part. This cooked it beautifully, but I think it's definitely a trial and error thing.

Taste-wise it was lovely, a bit weak in the spices because my spoon didn't fit in the curry paste jar and I ended up estimating the size of a tablespoon. But looking beyond that and it would certainly make a fine dish. The veg takes quite some preparing, but it can be done whilst waiting for the oven to hear. Or, at least, the veg that goes in first.

I did find that the mustard seeds and thick spices collected in one place, but I'm not sure how to stop that. I did stir it a bit, but didn't have much room to give it a good mix, and by the time it was cooked they had all settled again anyway.

It's a good dish to make on the weekend; reheated it's just as good and you don't have to cook for a couple of nights if there are just 2 of you. It does need the condiments I added to give interest (i.e. the yoghurt etc) and some protein, Alternatively you could use some ready-done fake meat pieces added when serving.Link

Friday, 2 September 2011

Healthy veggie ramen

I have recently found out that American ramen is different to English ramen. We here in Britland call American ramen "supernoodles". For us ramen is just standard noodles in soup (although ramen noodles are best). I used Blue Dragon ramen noodles, and they were perfect. This soup is very dependent on the soya sauce and other condiments for flavour, as well as using the right kind of noodle. First attempt I tried with rice noodles, and it wasn't that good. Oh, and big pan alert!

Veggie Ramen

Serves 4

Takes 30-40 minutes

Ramen noodles in amounts as recommended on the packet (if using standard noodles, take about half the amount you would for a normal stir fry)

A crown of broccoli, chopped into florets

500g bag of fresh baby spinach

250g Shiitake mushrooms, chopped

300g silken tofu (the ready cooked kind) sliced into small pieces

8 Spring onions, sliced thinly

2.5 pints of good vegetable stock

8 tbsp soy sauce

2 tablespoons of other condiment, such as mushroom sauce, vegetarian worcestershire sauce, fish sauce if you eat fish. If you can't fnd any of these, then more soy sauce will do fine

4 tbsp Mirin

I didn't feel this recipe needed garlic or chilli, but add to taste if you like things spicy.

* Cook the noodles according to instructions, drain and refresh with cold water and set aside

* Bring the stock, soy sauce, condiment and mirin to the boil, then simmer gently for 5 minutes

* Add the broccoli to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes

* Add the mushrooms and simmer for another 5 minutes

* Stir in the spinach until wilted, then stir in the tofu and spring onions. Leave for another couple of minutes so it's all warmed through.

* Divide the noodles into serving bowls and ladle the soup on top.