Thai Green Fish Curry

This recipe comes from Nigel Slater’s The 30 Minute Cook, a book which has yielded many successful recipes – but I can’t recommend this particular dish.

I think the first mistake was my choice of fish – plaice – which just sort of dissolved into the sauce as it cooked. The end result felt like we were just eating sauce with nothing in it.

The other problem was the creamed coconut which gave the whole dish a really gritty feel. Maybe I used an inferior brand of creamed coconut (I’ve no frame of reference). Maybe it’s because I skipped the step to strain the liquid through a muslin cloth… but to be honest if you have to do that then this is getting away from the kind of convenience I expect from a 30 minute meal.

On top of all that, my sauce split. Sad face.

Chicken Korma

We’ve not yet made anything from Diana Henry’s A Bird in the Hand which hasn’t been anything short of delicious. That said, we’ve tried lots of recipes for curries over the years and often find that there’s something missing… so we were curious to see what Diana’s recipe for chicken korma turned out like.

First thing you need to know here is that this recipe takes a long time. I think end to end I was probably in the kitchen for about 2 hours. This is because there are quite a few separate things you need to do, some of which take quite a lot of time. You have to salt some chopped onions and leave them to drain for 30 minutes; you also have to soak some saffron for a long time… none of it is especially hard, but there are just a lot of things keep track of.

You also have to use the food processor a few times – firstly you fry the onions and then you have to blitz them into a paste. Separately you have to soak some nuts in hot water and then blitz those into a separate paste. It’s certainly enough to keep you busy!

But as I said none of this is hard, and the end result is definitely worth it. Is it the most authentic tasting curry I’ve ever made? Hmmm… probably not, but it’s tough to say with a korma because it’s such a rich rather than spicy dish. It certainly tasted close to the real thing, and it certainly tasted delicious. Time consuming, but worth the effort.

Aubergine, Mushroom and Tomato Curry

Sometimes when you feel like you’ve overindulged, you need a big bowl full of healthy stuff to make you feel human again. This recipe from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries ticked that box.

The first bit of work is to prepare a paste from the various aromatics and herbs. Cooking with shrimp paste was a new one for me – it’s smells very strong and you only need a small amount, but I was pleasantly surprised that in flavour it just gave a mellow base rather than being overpowering.

The paste then gets fried, and then the various vegetables get added. The whole thing finally simmers in some stock – we found it took quite a long time to reduce down to a reasonable consistency, much longer than the book suggested.

The curry this makes is very nice, but doesn’t have a very strong curry flavour. It’s more like a nicely spiced vegetable stew.

Quick Lamb Curry

It’s been a while since I last made anything from Nigel Slater’s The 30-Minute Cook and whilst trying to think of something nice and spicy to cook for dinner I remembered we’ve had some other nice recipes from that book (most notably his quick chicken korma) and that led to this quick lamb curry recipe.

The recipe makes quite a dry curry and uses quite a lot of spices but the end result works. Perhaps not as tasty or authentic tasting as some of his other recipes, but certainly not bad. We mopped it up with supermarket naan breads – not too fancy, but does the job nicely.

One suggestion – Nigel says to add water to the recipe, but use stock if you have it available. We used water and thought it was a bit bland and added a fair bit of salt to the recipe. I suspect that if we’d used stock it might have reduced the need for salt and added a bit more depth to the flavours.

Thai Green Vegetable Curry

It’s been a cold weekend here in the UK with our first substantial snowfall of the season overnight. We took a trip into town and were cold to the core when we got back so a spicy dinner seemed an appropriate way to get back to room temperature.

We’ve made curries from Nigel Slater’s recipes before with great success – I love his recipe for a quick korma, and we’ve followed his instructions for curry pastes before and they’ve been great. This time around we were following the guide he lays out in
Appetite.

We made the curry paste to his instructions (which are basically “put it all in a food processor and blitz it”), then fried the mushrooms, aubergine and squash. We added the paste to the vegetables and fried some more before adding chicken stock and coconut milk and left it to simmer for a bit.

End result was nice, but not as hot as I would have liked and perhaps a little bit, dare I say it, bland. On the plus side we made enough curry paste for another meal so I suspect that we’ll be making a chicken version of the same recipe before too long.

Sri Lankan Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Curry

We may have met Nigella today, but today’s dinner comes from Thrive on Five. It’s a big plate of vegetables with a nice helping of spice.

My ingredient photo is a bit short – I missed out a few things like turmeric, creamed coconut and vegetable stock, but you get the gist. I was a bit worried it wouldn’t all fit in the pan I was using but it did – just.

We served it up with some rice, plus a big dollop of yoghurt topped with cinnamon. There was a little bit more than we could manage, although we had used more butternut squash and cauliflower than we were supposed to simply because of the size of what we bought. It wasn’t the most authentic curry flavour we’ve made (Nigel Slater still wins I reckon) but it was very nice all the same. A very pleasant way to get our five a day.

Chicken Curry with Spinach

Whilst searching for inspiration for what to cook this week we discovered that Sainsbury’s has launched a new recipe site in conjunction with the Huffington Post. After having a browse around the new site (“Homemade By You“) I settled on this curry recipe.

We didn’t quite follow the recipe to the letter though. We’d run out of ground cumin so used some roughly chopped cumin seeds instead; due to the sizes of tins at the corner shop we had a higher proportion of tomatoes than intended; and since Sparky isn’t a huge fan of paneer we dropped it from the side dish and just fried up some shallots and spinach.

The end result worked well though and was really tasty. Not an “authentic” tasting curry (Nigel Slater’s quick chicken korma still wins that hands down) but we enjoyed it a lot. Plus the spinach, onions and tomatoes went a long way towards our five portions of fruit and veg!

Green Aubergine Curry with Indian Flatbreads

Nigel Slater is fast becoming our “go-to” celebrity chef – his recipes are usually straight forward and always delicious, and besides, Nigella Lawson’s new recipe book doesn’t come out for a few more months yet. 

This vegetarian recipe comes from his column for the Guardian, and managed to have a hot, authentic curry taste and yet very few ingredients (and pleasingly, without the use of curry powder or shop-bought curry paste). The heat comes from minced root ginger, calmed by coconut milk, and made oh-so fresh with a heap of coriander and mint leaves.

The recipe also called for home-made flat breads, and we obliged. Using a 50:50 mixof wholemeal and plain flour, salt and water, they took just minutes to make. It was particularly cool to watch them inflate as they cooked on a hot frying pan. Next time you make curry you MUST make flat breads instead of serving rice. 

Maybe do both.

Thai Green Chicken Curry

We love a good curry… I’d never managed to successfully make one until I discovered the korma recipe in Nigel Slater’s The 30-Minute Cook. The book also contains two recipes next to one another – Thai green chicken curry and, immediately preceding it, Thai green curry paste.

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As ever, I had to make a few substitutions. We couldn’t quickly lay our hands on any galangal, so as per Nigel’s instructions we used lime and ginger instead; I had basil to add to the chicken dish at the end, but it had gone off so we had to skip that; and finally I didn’t have any kaffir lime leaves – an oversight.

That said, it all seemed to work beautifully. The dish tasted genuine (to us, anyway) and was mild and sweet with a hint of spice. Making the paste was hardly any effort at all (throw everything in a food processor and you’re done). Next, simmer some coconut milk and add the paste, pour it over some pan fried chicken pieces and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then dish up with rice – great stuff.

Vegetable Korma

We’ve really enjoyed Nigel Slater’s chicken korma in the past, so when I realised there was also a recipe for vegetable korma in The 30-Minute Cook I had to give it a try.

The other beauty of this recipe is that it’s chock full of vegetables so plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre – you can almost forget about the lashings of double cream and yoghurt which go into it.