Red Hot Chilli Peppers Meet Lamb Rogan Josh in this 3rd Dip from 50 Easy Indian Curries by Penny Chawla

Red hot chilli peppers meet Lamb Rogan for this 3rd Dip of 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney.

Lamb Rogan Josh

Serves 4

A famed dish from the beautiful state of Kashmir, the fiery red colour of rogan josh comes from the chillies that are added in generous quantities. Rogan josh is usually cooked with tomatoes, but they are omitted here to allow the flavour of the lamb to shine through even more. 

Rogan Josh

Ingredients:

1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) boneless lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) pieces

375 g (1 1/2 cups) natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon sea salt

60 g (2 oz) ghee

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons green cardamom pods, bruised

4 brown or black cardamom pods, bruised

1/2 teaspoon cloves

3 onions, chopped

2 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste

1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

large handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped

1 teaspoon garam masala

Paratha, to serve

Directions:

Combine the lamb, yoghurt and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Cover and set aside to marinate.

Heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the onion and remaining salt, reduce the heat to medium–low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add the lamb mixture, chilli powder, paprika and turmeric to the pan. Mix well and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 11/4–11/2 hours, until the lamb is tender. Stir in the coriander and garam masala and season, to taste.

Serve with paratha on the side.

(* Reproduced with permission from 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney. Photo copyright: Emily Weaving)


Easter For Me As A Child Equalled Chocolate Bunnies and Friture, In 2022 Mother Hen Runs The Roost

Easter for me as a child equalled chocolate bunnies and friture. In 2022 mother hen runs the roost, thanks to La Poule de Paques, courtesy of Parisian classic shop A La Mere De Famille Easter collection.

Poule de paques  mother hen

It's been all of 11 years since I shared a prehistoric Easter creation of theirs with Have a Jurassic Paques, Bite a Chocolate Dinosaur, Happy Easter! (April 24, 2011)


Takoyaki, An Osaka Street Food Staple, Fried Octopus Dumplings from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda

For a 3rd and last helping from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda (published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2022), here is Takoyaki, an Osaka street food staple.

TAKOYAKI, 

FRIED ROUND DUMPLINGS STUFFED WITH OCTOPUS

Along with okonomiyaki, takoyaki are probably one of the most famous Osakan street foods, but you can also find them everywhere across Japan. They are little round balls of batter, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and stuff ed with little nuggets of octopus. You’ll need to buy a special pan (widely available online) to make takoyaki, but they’re definitely worth it as they are such a perfect party food.

Takoyaki

Ingredients:

450 ml/scant 2 cups Dashi* of your choice

1 UK large/US extra-large egg

2 tsp light soy sauce

150 g/1 cup plus 2 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour, sifted

3½ tbsp vegetable oil, for frying

FILLING

200 g/7 oz. octopus tentacles

20 g/¾ oz. pickled ginger, finely chopped

2 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped

TO SERVE

120 g/4¼ oz. takoyaki sauce

60 g/2 oz. Japanese mayonnaise

10 g/⅓ oz. bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

2 tsp aonori seaweed flakes

iron takoyaki pan with 16 holes (each hole 4 cm/1½ inches wide)

MAKES 32

Directions:

Whisk the dashi, egg and light soy sauce together in a large jug/pitcher. Sprinkle over the flour in two additions and gently whisk into the dashi mixture until incorporated into a smooth batter. Do not overmix.

Before you start cooking, make a simple but useful tool: scrunch some good-quality, thick kitchen paper tightly into a ball. Place the ball in the middle of another sheet of kitchen paper then wrap it around and twist the loose ends together to make a lollipop/candy on a stick shape.

Heat the takoyaki pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, dip the paper ball of the lollipop into the vegetable oil, then use it to oil each hole. Dip the paper in the oil again, then use it to coat the flat surface of the pan. You’ll need to cover the whole surface of the pan in oil to avoid the batter sticking. There should be some oil pooling at the bottom of the holes. 

Pour a quarter of the batter into each hole in the pan. Put half of the octopus pieces in each hole, then scatter half the pickled ginger and spring onions/scallions over the entire pan. Finally, pour over another quarter of the batter so it spreads across the flat surface of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook without touching for 5 minutes.

Use bamboo skewers or chopsticks to push one side of the batter away from the rim of a hole. It will move easily if it’s set underneath, if not then wait a little longer before trying again. Once the bottom is crispy, use chopsticks to rotate the balls 90 degrees so that any uncooked batter is underneath. Stuff any of the surrounding dough on the flat part of the pan inside the balls as you turn them. When the bottom becomes crispy again (after a minute or so), repeat the 90-degree rotation and stuffing process three more times in the same direction. At this point, turn the takoyaki around every which way, until the surface is golden all over and they are perfectly round! Using bamboo skewers, remove the takoyaki from the pan to serving plates or bamboo boats. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining ingredients to make a second batch.

Drizzle over the takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, then sprinkle with bonito flakes and aonori before serving.

Otsumami cover (1)

(* Excerpted from Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers: Over 70 Recipes to Enjoy with Drinks by Atsuko Ikeda, published by Ryland Peters & Small 2022 / Photography by Yuki Sugiura (c) Ryland Peters & Small 2022)


Rub the Fish, Bengali Fish Curry Recipe via 50 Easy Indian Curries from Smith Street Books by Penny Chawla

Rub the fish!

Here are second dibs from 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney.

Bengali Fish Curry

Serves 4

Bengalis love their fish. Whether it’s served for lunch or dinner, at an engagement or wedding, fish will always appear on the menu. This recipe is one of the simplest to make. The mustard paste gives the dish a slight wasabi-like kick, without overpowering the delicate fish. The best way to eat it is to ditch that cutlery and use your fingers.

Ingredients:

4 x 150 g–200 g (5 1/2 oz–7 oz) mackerel steaks

sea salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

3/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1 small onion, roughly chopped

6 small green chillies or 4 long green chillies

60 ml (1/4 cup) mustard oil or vegetable oil

4 fresh or dried bay leaves

lemon wedges, to serve

Steamed basmati rice to serve

Bengali Fish Curry

Directions:

Rub the fish with a sprinkling of salt and half the turmeric.

Grind the mustard seeds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Blend the ground mustard seeds, onion and half the chillies in the small bowl of a food processor or blender to a smooth paste. Add a small amount of water to get the mixture moving, if necessary.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium–high heat. Cook the fish for 1–2 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion paste, remaining turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the bay leaves to the pan, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add 375 ml (11/2 cups) of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then return the fish to the pan and add the remaining chillies. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer, covered, for 5–6 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Season with a little more salt, if necessary.

Serve with lemon wedges and steamed basmati rice.

(* Reproduced with permission from 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney. Photo copyright: Emily Weaving)


Tasting To Buying Armenia In Under 5 Minutes, Voskehat by Aran Wines, First Taste Ever Of Armenian Wine

Tasting to buying Armenia in under 5 Minutes, Aran Wines 'Voskehat' from Sarafian Vineyards.

Voskehat, which translates to golden berry, is a late ripening native white varietal. 

My express tasting found it to be rounded with some tart notes on the finish.

Armenian Wines 4-2

This, my first taste of Armenian wine ever, was pure serendipity.

The winery owners were present for an in-store tasting.

 


Blooming Flower of a Dim Sum Dumpling, Ika Shumai, Squid Bites We Serve from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda

Blooming flower of a dim sum dumpling, Ika Shumai, squid bites we serve from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda (published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2022)

IKA SHUMAI

SQUID DUMPLINGS

Shumai are the steamed dumpling favorites at dim sum restaurants. They are traditionally Chinese, but this particular version is definitely Japanese and actually comes from my hometown, Yobuko in Kyushu. This town is known for its fish market and particularly for the translucent squid or ika you can get there. Ika Shumai are steamed squid and white fish dumplings, which are beautifully wrapped in thin strips of gyoza wrappers to emulate a blooming flower. The squid gives a natural sweetness to the dumplings, while the strips of gyoza wrapper add an airy, fluff y texture to your mouthful.

Ingredients:

10 gyoza wrappers

6 large lettuce leaves

English mustard, to serve

Squid dumpling

Ingredients, Filling: 

200 g/7 oz. cod, skinned and roughly diced

120 g/4½ oz. fresh squid, roughly chopped

1 egg white

1 shallot, finely chopped

½ tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger

¼ tsp fine salt

1 tsp golden caster/granulated sugar

1 tbsp sake

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp fish sauce

3 tbsp katakuriko (potato starch)

SU JOYU DIPPING SAUCE

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp mirin 

2 tbsp soy sauce

20-cm/8-inch steamer

MAKES 12

Directions:

To make the su joyu dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

For the dumpling filling, put the cod and half of the squid in a food processor. Pulse to make a paste. Add the egg white and pulse again to combine with the  fish paste – this will help give it an airy texture.

Tip the fish mixture out into a mixing bowl, then add the remaining chopped squid, shallot, ginger, salt, sugar, sake, sesame oil, fish sauce and katakuriko. Mix until well combined, then chill the dumpling filling in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make two separate piles with five gyoza wrappers each on a chopping board. Slice both piles of the gyoza wrappers into fine strips, as thin as matchsticks, then separate the layers so that they don’t stick together. Place the gyoza strips in a sealed container until ready to use.

Bring a steamer to the boil.

Wet your hands a little to stop the fish mixture from sticking, then divide the mixture into twelve 35-g/1¼-oz. portions. Shape each one into a ball. Mix the gyoza strips to a give a messy texture (rather than having them all neatly positioned). Cover each fish ball with a nest of gyoza strips. 

Use tongs or chopsticks to place three lettuce leaves at the bottom of the steamer to stop the dumplings from sticking to the surface. Place six dumplings into the steamer (spaced apart as they will swell up when cooking). Cover with a lid and steam over medium heat for 7 minutes.

Take the dumplings and the lettuce leaves out of the steamer, then repeat the cooking process with the remaining lettuce leaves and dumplings.

Serve the dumplings hot, with dots of English mustard on top and the su joyu dipping sauce.

Otsumami cover

(* Excerpted from Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers: Over 70 Recipes to Enjoy with Drinks by Atsuko Ikeda, published by Ryland Peters & Small 2022 / Photography by Yuki Sugiura (c) Ryland Peters & Small 2022)


365 Days, 50 Easy Indian Curries, Under the Weather, Try Moong Dal from 50 Easy Indian Curries by Penny Chawla

365 Days and 50 Easy Indian Curries!

Under the weather, try Moong Dal, our first share from 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney.

Moong Dal

Serves 4–6

Moong dal is a staple in every Indian home, and will be made differently depending on which part of India you are in. If you’re feeling under the weather, you can't go wrong with a bowl of moong dal, as it’s easy to digest and very nutritious. According to traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, it also balances the body’s elements.

Ingredients:

210 g (1 cup) moong dal (skinned split mung beans), well rinsed

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

sea salt

Steamed basmati rice or paratha

Moong Dal

Moong dal temper (Ingredients):

2 tablespoons ghee or peanut oil

1–2 dried red chillies

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1⁄8 teaspoon asafoetida

1 Asian shallot, thinly sliced

1 sprig curry leaves, leaves stripped

Instructions:

Place the moong dal in a saucepan and add 800 ml (27 fl oz) of water. Bring to the boil over high heat and skim off the froth that rises to the surface. Stir in the turmeric, then reduce the heat to medium–low, cover, leaving the lid open a crack, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35–40 minutes, until the moong dal is soft and broken down. Add a little more boiling water if the mixture starts to stick to the base of the pan or is becoming too thick. Add salt to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the moong dal temper, heat the ghee or oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the chilli, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Shake the pan for about 30 seconds and as soon as the chillies start to darken add the shallot and curry leaves. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, until the shallot starts to brown.

Give the dal a stir and thin with a little boiling water if necessary. Pour into a serving dish, top with the temper and stir until just combined.

Serve with steamed basmati rice or paratha.

(* Reproduced with permission from 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney. Photo copyright: Emily Weaving)


British Italian Bridge, Kani Zosui, Cross between Risotto and Porridge, Recipe from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda

A British Italian bridge, Kani Zosui is sort of a cross between risotto and porridge. This Crab Meat Rice Recipe is the first taste we share from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda (published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2022)

KANI ZOSUI 

CRAB MEAT RICE

Zosui is something between a risotto and a porridge. It is usually enjoyed at the end of a nomikai or work drinks party to finish the meal. There are various types of zosui, some being soupy and others a thicker consistency. I prefer the latter, which I’m sharing with you in this recipe. This dish is enjoyed at the end of the meal because of its digestive properties. The rice is simmered longer than usual and is very delicate in flavor. Especially prepared in winter, it will warm up your body at the end of a cold day. This is proper, healthy comfort food.

400 ml/1⅔ cups Kombu & Katsuobushi Dashi* 

250 g/9 oz. cooked rice (next-day rice is even better for this)

1 tbsp sake

1 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp mirin

150 g/5½ oz. white and brown crab meat

1 egg, beaten

salt

TO SERVE

50 g/1¾ oz. salmon roe s

mall handful of coriander/cilantro leaves

Serves 4

Kani Zosui

Bring the katsuobushi dashi to the boil in a large saucepan or Japanese donabe hot pot.

Add the cooked rice, sake, light soy sauce and mirin. Cover with the lid and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.

Add the crab meat, stir and cover with the lid again. Simmer over low heat for a further 5 minutes. The consistency should be getting towards something like a thick porridge.

Towards the end of the simmering time, pour the beaten egg over the top of the rice, then replace the lid and simmer for a final 2 minutes.

Stir gently to mix the egg with the rice and season with a little salt if necessary. Serve in individual serving bowls, topped with salmon roe and coriander/cilantro leaves.

*DASHI

Dashi is an ingredient at the heart of Japanese cuisine, and is used as the base of many traditional dishes in this book. I have either specifed which type of dashi to use, or I’ve left it up to you to choose your favorite for the recipe.

NOTE I wouldn’t recommend freezing any dashi, it is easy to make and the flavors would not survive.

NOTE The quality of water is as important for dashi as it is for brewing tea, so a soft or filtered water is ideal.

KOMBU DASHI

Kombu dashi is the favored type of stock in shojin ryori (Buddhist vegan cuisine). Different varieties of kombu are available, each with slightly different flavours – Rishiri, Hidaka, Rausu and Makombu are the most common. There are two ways of making kombu dashi. Simply soak the kombu in cold water overnight to draw out its elegant flavour, or soak it quickly in heated water for a richer, deeper flavor. The recipe below is for the latter method:

1 litre/quart cold water

10 g/¼ oz. (5 x 10-cm/2 x 4-inch) piece of kombu

MAKES 1 LITRE/QUART

Place the water and kombu in a large saucepan and let it soak for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, start to gently bring the water to the boil over medium-high heat. Just before it reaches boiling point – when small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan – remove the kombu and take the pan off the heat. The temperature should reach no more than about 60°C (140°F). Do not let the kombu boil; if you do the flavor will be spoilt. The kombu dashi is now ready to use. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days. You can use the same piece of kombu again to make another dashi, or dice and add it to soups or salads.

KOMBU & SHIITAKE DASHI

This stock is useful in any vegetarian dish. The dried shiitake mushrooms add an extra earthy depth of flavor to the broth. The magic, umami-rich combination of both kombu and shiitake really enhances the flavor of any ingredient it pairs with. You can keep both the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and kombu for use in other recipes.

1 litre/quart cold water

10 g/¼ oz. (5 x 10-cm/2 x 4-inch) piece of kombu

20 g/¾ oz. dried shiitake mushrooms

MAKES 800 ML/3⅓ CUPS

Place the water, kombu and shiitake mushrooms in a large saucepan and leave them to soak for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, start to gently bring the water to the boil over medium-high heat. Just before it reaches boiling point – when small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan – remove the kombu. Do not let the kombu boil; if you do the flavor will be spoilt. Continue heating to bring the water and mushrooms to the boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Skim any scum off the surface of the dashi as it cooks.

Turn the heat off and strain the dashi through a muslin/cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve/strainer. The dashi is now ready to use. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

** KOMBU & KATSUOBUSHI DASHI

This is the most common dashi for non-vegetarians. It uses both kombu and bonito flakes (katsuobushi) together for an umami-rich dashi with a complex, deep flavor. It is perfect for clear soups, egg dishes or noodles in broth where the dashi shines through as the primary flavor.

1 litre/quart cold water

10 g/¼ oz. (5 x 10-cm/2 x 4-inch) piece of kombu

20 g/¾ oz. bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

MAKES 800 ML/3⅓ CUPS

Place the water and kombu in a large saucepan and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, start to gently bring the water to the boil over a medium-high heat. Just before it reaches boiling point – when small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan – remove the kombu and continue heating. Once boiling, turn the heat off and sprinkle the katsuobushi (bonito flakes) into the kombu dashi. Leave to brew for 2 minutes, letting the flakes sink to the bottom of the pan.

Strain the dashi through a muslin/cheesecloth or  fine-mesh sieve/strainer, letting it drip through. The finished dashi is now ready to use. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Otsumami cover

(* Excerpted from Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers: Over 70 Recipes to Enjoy with Drinks by Atsuko Ikeda, published by Ryland Peters & Small 2022 / Photography by Yuki Sugiura (c) Ryland Peters & Small 2022)


Summer up North, Smoked Mackerel Rillettes With Rye Crisps Recipe from ScandiKitchen Midsommar by Bronte Aurell

Summer lunch up North (meaning Scandinavia) has seafood rillettes on the menu.

Like this Smoked Mackerel Rillettes With Rye Crisps recipe from ScandiKitchen: Midsommar: Simply Delicious Food for Summer Days (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 2021) by Brontë Aurell, co-owner of ScandiKitchen in West London.

Smoked Mackerel Rillettes With Rye Crisps

This is a super-easy way to prepare an appetizer or light lunch. Rillettes are a coarse, potted meat similar to pâté that are stirred together and spread on toast. They’re usually made with fatty pork (or duck) leftovers, but I love making rillettes with fish. This recipe works well with both smoked mackerel and smoked salmon.

Smoked Mackerel Rillettes from ScandiKitchen Midsommar

Ingredients:

8–12 thin slices of rye bread or store-bought rye crisps (available in supermarkets) 

200 ml/3⁄4 cup crème fraîche

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons chopped chives

squeeze of fresh lime juice

1⁄2 teaspoon horseradish sauce

300 g/10 1⁄2 oz. smoked mackerel

freshly ground black pepper (hold the salt until you taste it, some mackerel is very salty)

TO SERVE

1⁄4 small fennel bulb

1⁄2 apple

freshly squeezed lemon juice

fresh pea shoots

4 individual serving glasses

Serves 4 as a generous appetizer or light lunch

Directions:

If using rye bread, preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) Gas 1. Slice the rye bread very thinly and place on a baking tray. If the bread is too thick it will be hard to eat as crispy bread, so do make sure it is thinly sliced. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10–20 minutes (depending on your bread) until completely dry. You can make it several days ahead and store in an airtight container.

Mix the crème fraîche with the mustard, chives, lime juice and horseradish (if using). Remove the skin from the mackerel and add the fish to the crème fraîche mixture. Stir just until mixed – I like my rillettes with a few chunky bits, but some people prefer it smoother. If you like yours smoother, simply mix a while longer. Check for seasoning and add black pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture into the serving glasses. Chill until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, slice the fennel and apple very thinly, ideally using a mandoline. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to stop the apple going brown and mix well. Serve the apple and fennel salad with pea shoots, the glasses of mackerel and the rye toast on the side. You may need extra toast as the mackerel makes a generous portion.

( Reproduced with permission from ScandiKitchen: Midsommar: Simply Delicious Food for Summer Days By Brontë AurellRyland Peters & Small, 2021 / photography by Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 2021)

P.S: Please note that the recipes in ScandiKitchen: Midsommar are the same as in ScandiKitchen Summer, which was published in 2018.