Fast Fresh and Easy Food

Week 19: Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

The full title of this recipe is “Really simple Sri Lankan chicken curry with coconut milk & cashew nut rice” which is far too long to fit in a tweet…

I’ve heard warnings that you shouldn’t try new recipes out on guests, but it worked fine when I made the Curry in a Hurry for a visitor (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) I was maybe a bit bullish this time.  Silly boy.  This time I was cooking for two guests, and if truth be told I was secretly grateful that they got a bit drunk on the train.

Lorraine Pascale’s recipe uses cashew nuts, basmati rice, frozen peas and curry powder for the rice; and curry powder, garam masala,  cinnamon, ginger, chilli powder, vegetable oil, coconut milk, spring onions, garlic, coriander, and chicken breasts to cook the curry.  Because I was catering for guests I even bought the coriander.

It was all a bit of a panic making this, the first four steps were fine (even when one of my guests shouted “do I smell burning?” which she slightly could) but then the instructions turned over the page and I got pretty flustered.  For example, I completely missed Lorraine telling me to put oil into the pan after the spices had toasted which made the chicken get really really coated in the pretty burned spices and it looked really black.

The curry seemed to take forever to simmer down, and while I was waiting for it the rice over-cooked:

It was a lot pinker than has shown up on the picture, maybe Lorraine’s curry powder is yellower than mine?

Anyway, I plated the rice up while the chicken was finishing off and divvied the curry up between the four of us.  It didn’t look much like the picture in the book:

sri lankan curry 3

I think the darker yellow smudges are the curry sauce.  I reckon if I’d put the oil in when I should have (ever) the curry would be the pleasing brown in the book, even if the rice looks egg fried from the takeaway.  It’s not quite one of those “nailed it” meme’s, but not far off haha.

Taste-wise it was good, but it wasn’t well cooked.  I lucked out though, my guests and my lover kept drinking while I was cooking and said it was delicious.

Shortly after one of my guests ate a dog biscuit and fell asleep.  Later in bed my lover said “that beef was really nice, but don’t do the rice again”

 

Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)

Week 13: Lozza’s Lamb Biryani

Oof… Happy New Year Y’all!

Welcome to the first weekly installment of New Recipe Night – from now on, every Friday!

It also marks the first recipe made from the first cookery book I’ve bought in six months – only because it was on offer when I bought my mum one for Christmas.  It was rude not to buy it really.  The book is Lorraine Pascale’s Fast Fresh and Easy food:

Lorraine Pascale

To serve four, the recipe uses Vegetable Oil, 5 Cardamom Pods, 2 tsp Garam Masala, 2 tsp Ground Tumeric, 1tsp Ground Cumin, 1 tsp Chilli Powder, a bunch of Spring Onions, 500g Lamb Chump Steak, 350g Basmati Rice, a tin of Coconut Milk, 100g Sundried Tomatoes, 50g Raisins and 25g Toasted Flaked Almonds.

I halved the quantities to make it for two people.  Splitting it worked really well, with the added bonus that I can make it the day after Nigella’s Curry in a Hurry (see week 8: https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) using the left-over coconut milk.  However, this is one recipe I wouldn’t make then freeze – just because I’m a bit gun-shy about freezing rice, but it’s really quick to make so it’s OK.

Unfortunately, with it being the last Saturday before Christmas when I made it, the butcher didn’t have lamb so I used beef instead.

It went together really easily and I was surprised just how straight forward the recipe was, especially after the Jamie Oliver recipe last week!

To start, heat a bit of oil in a pan, slam the cardamom pods open and put them in a pan with all the spices for 3 or 4 minutes.  While this is cooks finely slice the spring onions, and cut the lamb into bite-size pieces (although my lovely butcher did this for me)

Turn the heat up and lob in the lamb and onions, with a little more oil, and brown the meat for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the rice, coconut milk and 100ml of water.  Fit the lid, bring it up to the boil and then turn it down to a very gentle simmer and leave it for the amount of time the rice takes to cook (it says it on the packet)

When its done, you take off the lid and it should look like this (preferably better than this) and it will be just like Christmas!

While its cooking cut up the sundried tomatoes, some coriander (or mint) and stir them into the biryani when the rice is done, along with the raisins, and heat for a couple of minutes.

Season it with some salt and pepper, maybe stir in a knob of butter if you want your biryani to be extra creamy (I didn’t) and plate it up.  Artfully sprinke some more coriander/mint and the toasted flaked almonds over it and serve it to admiring diners (who will shower you with compliments and maybe wash up)

biryani 4

The only thing I would change if I used beef again would be the cut of beef.  When I told the butcher I was doing biryani he selected a cut of stewing beef, and as this recipe is really quick to cook the beef was pretty chewy.  Delicious, but chewy.

Lorraine Pascale’s instructions are much clearer than mine, so I reckon this book is a must have for your kitchen (and its always really cheap in Smiths’)

Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)

Available here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorraine-Pascales-Fast-Fresh-Easy/dp/0007489668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388749392&sr=1-1&keywords=lorraine+pascale+fast+fresh+and+easy+food or on 2 for £10/3 for £12.50 at WHSmith.