This curry is from Gujarat state, which has a predominantly vegetarian population. The tomato sauce, with flecks of coconut and spices, gets its zing from tamarind, a signature flavour in their cuisine. Midweek I do use ready-made curry pastes and spice mixtures such as garam masala, but this is one dish that especially benefits from freshly toasted and ground spices.
PREPARATION: 20 MINUTES COOKING: 45 MINUTES SERVES: 4Ñ6
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 dried long red chilli (Kashmiri chilli, if available)
2 onions, 1 quartered, 1 thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cm (2 inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced
2 thumb-size green chillies, 1 halved and seeded, 1 thinly sliced
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons black or yellow mustard seeds
400 ml (14 fl oz) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
50 g (13/4 oz) tamarind purée
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) vegetable stock
2 tablespoons desiccated (shredded) coconut
1 cauliflower, about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz), cut into florets
Steamed rice, coriander (cilantro) leaves and Fresh Mango Chutney (see page 255), to serve
Put the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and the dried chilli in a small frying pan and dry-fry, shaking, over medium heat for 40 seconds or until fragrant. Transfer the toasted spices to a spice grinder and process until fine. Put the quartered onion, garlic, ginger and the halved green chilli in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and the puréed onion mixture and season well. Cook, stirring, for 10–12 minutes until golden. Add the ground spices, turmeric and mustard seeds and cook for another 2 minutes or until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the tomato passata, tamarind purée, stock and coconut and bring to the boil. Add the cauliflower, reduce heat to low, then simmer for 25 minutes or until the cauliflower is knife tender.
Serve the curry scattered with coriander leaves and the sliced green chilli, with steamed rice and Fresh Mango Chutney.
GET AHEAD: You can make the curry base the day before but don’t add the cauliflower. Cool the mixture, then cover and refrigerate. Gently reheat it in a saucepan and, when it is simmering, add the cauliflower and cook until tender, as above.
Fresh mango chutney
PREPARATION: 10 MINUTES Ï MAKES: 250 ML (9 FL OZ/1 CUP)
Best served on the day of making.
1 mango, peeled and diced
½ green chilli, seeded and diced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Combine all the ingredients with a pinch of salt in a bowl.
PREPARATION: 15 MINUTES, PLUS OVERNIGHT BRINING • COOKING: 1 HOUR • SERVES: 4–6 AS A STARTER
There are fast-food chains and trucks whose menus are solely devoted to this addictive chicken. Generally it’s fried twice to crisp the skin and then rolled in a sweet vinegary chilli glaze made from the insanely good gochujang chilli paste. Since frying chicken on the bone can be a bit messy, I played around with the method to bake them crisp first. The end result is just as salivatingly good.
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) chicken wings, halved, tips removed
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons rock or sea salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
60 g (2¼ oz/¼ cup) gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sake
4 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds, toasted
(KOREAN CHILLI PASTE)
A thick Korean fermented soybean paste that includes red chilli and ground rice. Its spicy but sour taste adds a unique dimension to glazes, soups, stews and marinades. Buy it in tubs from Asian grocery stores and keep refrigerated once opened. If you think sriracha is good, this might become your new favourite.
Put the chicken wings in a resealable plastic bag or large bowl. Add all of the brine ingredients, combine well, then seal or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) or 200°C (400°F) fan forced.
Drain, rinse and pat dry the chicken wings using paper towel. Place in a single layer in a large roasting tin and bake for 45 minutes, tossing several times during cooking.
Meanwhile, to make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
After the wings have roasted, drain off the excess oil and pour the glaze over the top. Bake for another 10–15 minutes until golden and sticky. Serve on a big platter.
GET AHEAD Marinate the chicken and make the glaze the day before, then cover and refrigerate. The next morning, roast the chicken for 35 minutes then remove it from the oven, cool and refrigerate. Just before serving, heat them again in the oven for 10 minutes, add the glaze and cook for another 10 minutes.
Cardamom and caramel make a formidable sauce for this pillow-soft cake studded with chopped dates. Scoop some ice cream or crème fraîche over it, sprinkle with the bashed brittle and indulge your friends after a Middle Eastern feast.
PREPARATION: 15 MINUTES, PLUS 10 MINUTES SOAKING • COOKING: 55 MINUTES • SERVES: 4–6
200 g (7 oz) pitted dates, preferably soft medjool dates, finely chopped
80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) boiling water
100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
220 g (7 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
175 g (6 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) milk
Ice cream, to serve
75 g (2¾ oz) pistachio nut kernels, chopped
100 g (3½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
Cardamom toffee sauce
200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, chopped
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) pure cream (35% fat)
350 g (12 oz) soft dark brown (muscovado) sugar
momadrac dnuorg noopsaet ¼
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) or 160°C (315°F) fan forced. Lightly grease a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake tin. Put the dates in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set aside for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, then stir in the milk and dates and continue stirring until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40–50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to stand while you prepare the sauce.
Meanwhile, to make the pistachio brittle, line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the nuts on the tray. Put the sugar in a heavy-based non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Don’t stir, as it will cause the sugar to crystallise, simply tilt the pan when the sugar at the edge starts to go brown faster than the middle. When the sugar is evenly coloured to a light caramel, pour it over the nuts and stand for about 10 minutes to set. Break the brittle into pieces, making some quite fine and leaving others in larger pieces for serving.
To make the cardamom toffee sauce, put all of the ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes or until thick and dark. Serve the warm date cake and the hot toffee sauce with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of pistachio brittle.
GET AHEAD: The cake can be made earlier in the day, cooled and covered with foil. The toffee sauce can be prepared 2 days before, then covered and refrigerated. Reheat just before serving. Make
the brittle up to 3 days ahead and store in an airtight container.