Friday, 10 February 2012

Endless ingredients or simple recipes - which is better?

Don't ever be daunted by a long list of ingredients in a recipe. Some, particularly curry recipes, can have as many as 30 ingredients. Read your recipe before you even consider beginning work. Look for phrases such as "add to dry ingredients," or "add cumin, coriander, and garam masala," which give you the green light to mix those dry ingredients or those spices together before you start cooking.
Another handy trick is to get everything you need out of the pantry and line it up on your work bench. Most recipes list the ingredients in the order they are required, and this is a very effective way to avoid panic. (And to keep the harmony flowing, add the ingredient, mix it in then PUT IT AWAY) I run a really tidy kitchen and I do believe it helps me to keep calm when I am cooking something new or something for guests.
Having said that, here are two current favourites. One is so simple it is hard to believe it will be special - trust me, it is. The other has a lot of ingredients, but is surprisingly easy to create, if you follow the hints above. Which is better? You tell me - I can't decide.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 kg ripe tomatoes, quartered
salt to taste
400g pasta of choice (small shells for me)
a handful of fresh, young basil leaves
grated parmesan cheese.

Put the oil and garlic in a cold pan. When it sizzles, but before it browns, add the tomatoes and salt. Simmer at medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and collapsing. Add extra salt and pepper to taste.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain and add to the sauce. Add the basil leaves, mix well and serve, sprinkled with grated parmesan.


1 tbsp cooking oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf (or 1/2 tsp bay powder)
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup pureed tomatoes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp cooking oil
500g chicken thigh fillets, cubed
1 tsp garam masala
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds, ground
1/4 cup cashews, ground
1/4 cup water

Make the sauce first: heat the oil in a large pan. Gently saute the onion and shallot until soft, but not brown. Add the butter, lemon, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chilli powder, cumin and bay leaf and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for two minutes. Stir in the milk, cream and yoghurt. Bring to simmering point, lower the heat, and cook for ten minutes. Season, and remove from the heat.
Now do the chicken: Heat the oil, and brown the chicken. Lower the heat and add the garam masala and cayenne. Stir until fragrant. Add about half of the sauce and simmer until chicken is cooked - about 7 minutes. Add the rest of the sauce, the fenugreek, cashews and water. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened. Serve with steamed rice.

So have a go at these two. You'll notice in the Butter Chicken recipe, I have coloured the ingredients which can be combined prior to starting in blue. Makes it a lot simpler to create this recipe, which I really enjoy.

Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the full details,its really a good information
    veg manchurian recipe