Saffron & Spice

Biryani Scotch Eggs: Soft Boiled Eggs in Chicken Biryani & a Crispy Fried Onion Crumb

These scotchies have all the the flavour of a traditional Indian biryani, with its aromatic saffron basmati rice, tender spiced chicken, fried onions and boiled eggs, but in the form of a classic British snack.. Deliciously feel-good lazy Sunday lunch

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Biryani Scotch Eggs


Soft Boiled Eggs in Chicken Biryani &

a Crispy Fried Onion Crumb

Serves 2 for lunch

Ingredients:

3 fresh free range large eggs

300g leftover chicken biryani  ( I like using this easy Vivek Singh biryani recipe ) 

100g crispy fried onion (Available in most Asian food stores)  

25g chopped fresh coriander 

Vegetable oil for deep frying

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Method: 

First the leftover biryani. Chop or shred the chicken into small pieces and add back into the rice with the chopped coriander. Crack the yolk of the remaining egg into the rice and mix to bind. The consistency should be wet enough to mold around the egg but not too wet. If your mix seems a little dry, add some of the egg white too, or if your mix gets a little too wet, pop the mix into the fridge for 10 – 15 mins to firm up while you boil the eggs.

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Bring a pan of water to the boil, set a timer for 5 – 6 minutes (depending on how runny you like your eggs) and put 2 of the eggs into the boiling water. Whilst the eggs are boiling, fill a bowl with cold water (and a few ice cubes if you’ve got them) ready for dunking the boiled eggs into. This stops the yolks from cooking and gives you the obligatory soft yolk porn when you cut into the scotch egg. Take out the eggs as soon as the timer goes off and gently put them in the bowl of cold water. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, carefully peel the eggs, and set on a plate ready for covering with the biryani mix.

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Blitz the crispy fried dried onion in a food processor to make a fine crumb and empty out onto a plate ready for coating the eggs.  Put your vegetable oil on a medium high heat ready to fry the eggs as soon as they’re ready. To make your first scotchie, take a quarter of the biryani mixture and mold it in your hands to a cup. Gently pop an egg into the cup and mold another quarter of the biryani mixure over the top of the egg. Gently coat the egg evenly with the fried onion crumbs and set back on a plate ready for deep frying. Repeat with the other egg. 

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Deep fry each egg for a minute or so until the crumb is a deep golden colour and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot with some mango chutney and a cold beer. 

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Kachori Spiced Pea & Potato Tray Bake

✨The perfect Indian spiced tray bake to go with your lamb roast.. ✨

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Kachori Spiced Peas & Potato Tray Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

1kg Maris Piper Potatoes 

400g Petit Pois or garden peas

2 tsps cumin seeds

2 tbsp coriander powder

2 tsps ground fennel seeds

4 tsps chilli powder

4 tsps grated ginger

1 tsp Amchur powder (dried green mango) – Optional

Salt to taste

Rapeseed Oil 

Method: 

Boil the potatoes until cooked, drain & fluff up the edges. Put the fluffed up potatoes onto your roasting try and mix with the peas, a generous glug of the rapeseed oil, cumin seeds, coriander powder, ground fennel seeds, chilli powder, grated ginger, dried mango powder (optional) & salt to taste and roast at 180c until golden.

Perfect served with: Chilli Chops

Jingla Tamatar: Quick King Prawn and Tomato Curry with Curryleaves

A quick weekday night curry to sooth you right.. A rich and easy king prawn curry, fragrant with curry leaves, whole spices and fresh coriander, sweet with fried onion and hot with fresh chilli, garlic and ginger.. with just the right amount of spice with a little turmeric, ground cumin and coriander and garam masala.. I used tomato puree and frozen prawns (or jingla as they are called back in the old country) so that you don’t spend too much time slaving over a hot stove.. especially when that sofa is calling you.. A hot jingla curry to sort you right out.. And relax… x 

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Jingla Tamatar


Quick King Prawn and Tomato Curry with Curryleaves 

Serves 4 

Ingredients: 

400g frozen cooked king prawns

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 green cardamom pods

2 cloves

2 cassia bark sticks

8 fresh curry leaves

1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste

1 tsp fresh chilli, finely chopped

1 tbsp tomato puree

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin and coriander

1/4 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

 

Method: 

Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the cloves, cassia bark, cardamom pods and curry leaves and stir the whole spices for a minute.  Add the chopped onion to the frying pan and fry until the onion is cooked and golden.

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Add the chopped chilli and garlic and ginger paste to the onion and stir for a minute. Then add the turmeric, cumin and garam masala to the frying pan and stir for a further minute. I always fry my spices in the oil so that the spices start to release their natural oils and aromas before adding the main ingredients to add more depth of flavour and avoid that musty uncooked spice taste you can sometimes get if you don’t cook the spices for long enough. 

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Add the tomato puree to the frying pan and stir in.

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Add the frozen prawns and coat with the tomato and spices.

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Cover the prawns and let leave on a medium heat for the prawns to release their water. The water that comes out of the prawns is enough to make your thick sauce.. Once the prawns are hot through, turn off the heat and scatter over the chopped fresh coriander.. Serve straightaway with fluffy basmati rice or flaky parathas.. Feel good at first juicy bite.. 

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Indian Chicken Thigh Pot Pie: Spiced Chicken, Leek and Bacon with a Nigella Seed Puff Pastry

I eat all the pies, at any time of year.. but there is something about making a hot chicken, leek and bacon pie when it’s frosty out.. taking your time to make that totally indulgent dish that you know will be rich, warming and so comforting.. with a huge mound of creamy mash on the side of course..
This recipe is a classic one, in that it has poached chicken, buttery leeks, crispy lardons and single cream but the spices are Indian.. aromatic herbs and spices like cardamom, clove and fresh coriander stalks in the poaching liqour.. slowly cooking the chicken thighs (the juiciest part of the bird) until tender.. and a little chilli powder and garam masala to add more warmth.. all crowned with puff pastry and a scattering of kalonji (nigella) seeds over the top.. Sunday night by the fire kind of good… Enjoy x 

Indian Chicken Thigh Pot Pie 


Spiced Chicken, Leek and Bacon with a Nigella Seed Puff Pastry

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

4 large chicken thighs 

4 fresh bay leaves

4 cassia bark

8 cardamom pods

8 cloves

The stalks of a bunch of fresh coriander 

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

40g butter or ghee

100g lardons 

2 medium sized leeks, chopped

200ml single cream

2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

375g ready rolled puff pastry

1 tsp of nigella seeds (Kalonji) 

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Method: 

First the chicken. Put the chicken thighs in a large pan with the bay leaves, cloves, cassia bark, cardamom pods and fresh coriander stalks, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Skim any scum off the surface.. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, checking to see if the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the water and leave aside to cool.

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Remove the spices and coriander stalks from the chicken liquor and put back on a medium heat to reduce until you get about 200ml of the liqour left. While the liquor is reducing, strip the chicken off the bones. 

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Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt the butter in a large frying pan using a medium heat and add the bacon. Stir the lardons until golden, take out of the pan and leave aside.

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Add the leeks to the pan and fry until tender, and add the chilli powder and garam masala to the leeks and stir the spices around for a minute.

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Add the reduced chicken liquor, allow to heat to boiling point and then stir in the cream, bacon and the chicken. Take off the heat and taste for seasoning. 

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Pour the chicken mixture equally into your individual pie pots.

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Cut the pastry to the size of your pie pots and brush the rim of the pie dishes with egg wash. Place the pastry on top of each pot, pressing down to seal. Crimp the edges, cut a small hole in the top, brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with the nigella seeds.

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Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden… allow to cool slightly before devouring with a buttery heap of mash.. Feel good at first steamy bite…

 

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Bacon & Egg Curry: Soft Boiled Eggs in a Chilli, Bacon and Spiced Tomato Sauce

Bacon and eggs.. and there is nothing better than that blissful Saturday morning fry up when you have no plans for the weekend.. except for your next feast of course.. and if you’re like me, you’ll fancy bacon and eggs for dinner too.. but maybe with a little spice added.. Anda curry is a classic North Indian dish which is traditionally a simple affair of boiled eggs in a rich tomato sauce, spiced with turmeric, ground cumin and coriander and garam masala.. but I love to throw in bacon to the mix too.. to add that salty richness as a contrast to the natural sweetness of the tomato sauce.. mmm and anyway, everything always tastes so much better with bacon, right? 

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Bacon & Egg Curry


Soft Boiled Eggs in a Chilli, Bacon and Spiced Tomato Sauce

Serves 4 

Ingredients: 

8 large eggs

4 rashers of good thick cut streaky bacon, cut into thin strips

1 tbsp tomato puree

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin and coriander

1/4 tsp garam masala

2 tsp fresh garlic and ginger paste

1 tsp chopped fresh hot green chilli

200ml water

A little chopped fresh coriander, to garnish 

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Method: 

Fill a large saucepan with cold water and set on a high heat to boil the eggs. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and fry for 2 – 3 minutes. Add in the chopped bacon and fry until the bacon is starting to crisp and the onion is golden.

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Add the spices, fresh garlic, ginger and chilli to the onion and bacon and fry for a minute for the spices to release their aromas.

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Add the tomato purée and water, stir and leave on a low heat to simmer gently while the eggs are boiling.

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Boil the eggs for 7 mins for almost set yolks. After 7 minutes, take out the eggs with a slotted spoon and run them under cold water for a minute. Carefully shell the eggs and cut in half lengthways.

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Pop the eggs into the sauce one by one carefully and spoon the sauce over the eggs.

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Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve immediately with hot naan or flaky paratha on the side.. Feel good at first yolky bite…

 

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Spice Roasted Cauliflower with a Pea, Yoghurt and Coriander Dressing

New beginnings and temple food.. and I need a January full of all things restorative and soothing.. well.. for at least a week anyway 🙂 I’m starting off my healthy break with a spiced cauliflower, roasted in in coconut oil, ground spices and cumin seed until golden and served with a pea, yoghurt, fresh coriander dressing.. with a fresh chilli and lemon kick to give that bit of freshness and heat.. My kind of temple food x

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Spiced Roast Cauliflower

with a Pea, Yoghurt and Coriander Dressing

Serves 2 – 3 as a starter or a side dish 

Ingredients:

1 medium sized cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp chilli powder 

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin and coriander

1/4 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp cumin seeds

For the dressing: 

50g frozen peas

50g Greek yoghurt (or unsweetened coyo if you want to make this vegan)

Half a bunch of fresh coriander (plus a little chopped coriander for the garnish) 

1 tbsp fresh garlic and ginger paste

1 tsp of chopped fresh green chilli

A squeeze of lemon juice

Salt to taste 

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Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 225C. Heat the coconut oil in a roasting pan over the hob and turn the heat off when the oil has melted. Add the ground spices and the cumin seeds to the oil and mix thoroughly. Toss in the cauliflower florets and coat each floret with the spice mix.

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Spread out the cauliflower so that you have one layer and put in the oven to roast for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden and tender.

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While the cauliflower is roasting, blitz the chilli, garlic, ginger and fresh coriander and lemon juice together until you have a fine paste. Then add in the peas and blitz until smooth. 

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Add the yoghurt to the pea mixture and add a little water to loosen the mixture until you get a dressing consistency and leave in the fridge until the cauliflower is ready. 

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When the cauliflower is ready, pile onto your serving platter and generously pour the dressing over the cauliflower and top with some chopped fresh coriander.. Serve immediately while still warm.. Feel good at first soothing bite…

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Baked Mont d’Or with Crushed Caraway and Chilli Bread

Eating my feels.. and right now I’m feeling a whole baked Mont d’Or.. with lots of crisp white wine and freshly bought baguettes… This recipe, is barely that.. just a gentle stir of spice into hot melted butter to pour generously over the bread, while the vacherin bakes.. the gentle heat from the chilli and the aromatic crunch of the crushed caraway seeds gives a subtle background warmth to the rich delicousness of the gooey cheese.. So Indulgent and oh so feelgood… Happy weekend x 

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Baked Mont d’Or

with Crushed Caraway and Chilli Bread

Serves a cheese party of 4 

Ingredients:

Mont d’Or vacherin cheese or a nice British brie (when you can’t get Mont d’Or), at room temperature

A crusty white baguette or sourdough bread 

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp chilli powder

30g melted butter

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Method: 

First the cheese.. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Remove the plastic packaging from the cheese and place it back in the wooden box, placing the lid under the base for a little extra support when baking. Then cut the top of the cheese in a criss cross pattern. 

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Cover the wooden box in foil to protect the box from burning and place the in the oven to bake for 25 – 30  minutes.

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While the cheese is baking, make the the chilli and caraway butter for the bread. Lightly toast the caraway seeds in a dry frying pan to release the aroma from the spice, then pour into a pestle and crush the seeds.

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Melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the crushed caraway seeds and the chilli powder and take off the heat.

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Cut the bread into pieces ready for dipping and drizzle over the spicy butter on the bread. 

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After 20 minutes of baking, the cheese should be just fonduey enough..

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 Feel good at first dreamy bite…

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Posh Indian Fish Pie: Seabass in a Gently spiced, Saffron Infused Coconut Milk & a Chilli and Cumin Mash

Easy supper time.. with a little bit of luxury thrown in.. pretty much sums up all the food I make and love to eat.. How about seabass, just cooked in a lightly spiced coconut milk, infused with saffron, chilli and ground cumin and coriander.. with a buttery golden mash sprinkled with cumin seeds and chilli flakes? I know, right? My kinda posh fish pie.. 

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Posh Indian Fish Pie 

with seabass in a gently spiced,

saffron infused coconut milk

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

For the the fishy base –

4 skinless fillets of seabass, cut into bitesize pieces

1 tin of coconut milk 

A pinch of saffron

1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 tsp chilli powder 

1 tbsp fresh garlic and ginger paste 

2 tsp of ground cumin and coriander 

3/4 tsp salt 

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For the mashy top –

2 large Maris Piper potatoes

1 tbsp ghee or butter

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

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Method: 

First the mash. Peel and dice the potatoes into small cubes and boil in salted boiling water until cooked through. Drain and mash the cooked potatoes with the ghee or butter and keep warm until later.

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Blitz the garlic, ginger, salt, chilli powder, ground cumin and coriander with 100ml of cold water in a grinder. Put the spice mix into a pan and bring to a simmer.

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Cook for a 10 minutes until it has thickened and add the coconut milk and the saffron. Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes. 

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Add the seabass to the coconut milk, take the pan off the heat and add the fresh coriander. The heat from the coconut milk will be enough to cook the fish.

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Divide the fish mixture into individual pie dishes and pile the mash generously top of the seabass mixture. 

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Sprinkle the chilli flakes and cumin seeds over the buttery mash.

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Place the pies under a hot grill and take out when the mash is golden.. Feel good and first buttery bite.. _MG_3669

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masala Lobster Rolls: Garam Masala Butter Lobster, Curry Leaves & Coconut in a Brioche Buns

Lobster.. in a warm garam masala and paprika butter.. and covered with crispy fried curry leaves and toasted coconut.. piled into a hot toasted brioche bun.. My idea of great celebratory lunch or brunch when only a little luxury will do.. with a crisp glass of champagne on the side.. Can you tell my birthday’s coming up?

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Masala Butter Lobster Rolls

with

Coconut and Curry Leaves

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 medium lobster, weighing around 750g

50g butter

15 – 20 fresh curry leaves

10g dried coconut chips 

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp hot paprika

2 brioche hot dog buns

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Method: 

First the lobster. If you’ve got yourself a chilled or frozen raw lobster like me (because I c a n n o t be dealing a live one..) put the lobster in a large pan of cold, salted water and slowly bring the water to the boil. When the water reaches boiling point, lower the heat and simmer the lobster for around 20 minutes.  When the lobster is cooked, drain off the water and leave to cool.

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When the lobster has cooled, twist off the claws, then break into sections, cracking the claw shell with a hammer and remove the flesh. Twist off the legs from the body, flatten with the back of a knife and then use a pick or a teaspoon handle to remove the flesh. Next, split the lobster in half along its length by inserting a large, sharp knife at right angles to the edge of the head and press down firmly so that the body splits lengthways.  Remove and throw away the stomach sac, the gills and the dark intestinal thread that runs the length of the tail. Remove the meat from the tail, and scrape out the soft flesh from the shell. Cut the meat from the tail into bite size pieces.

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Now the the masala butter. First, dry fry the dried coconut chips in a shallow frying pan and toast until the chips turn golden. Put the coconut chips in a bowl to cool.

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In the same hot frying pan, add a little vegetable or coconut oil to fry the curry leaves until crispy. Drain the crispy curry leaves on a paper towel. Melt the butter in the frying pan and add the garam masala and paprika to cook for a minute and take off the heat, and stir in the crispy curry leaves.

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Add the lobster meat to the butter and mix. Just before piling the lobster in the buns, mix in the coconut. 

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Generously pile the buttery spiced lobster into the brioche buns. Serve with potato or cassava fries and that glass of bubbly.. Feel good at first buttery bite…

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Fresh Coconut Fried Rice

Coconut.. It’s the one flavour that always takes me back to the beach.. sipping on cocktails, with just caught seafood on the barbeque as the sun is setting.. I love this simple and delicious recipe for coconut rice as it is a dish I ate so much of when I went to Kerala.. The subtle sweetness of the fresh coconut goes so well with the hot dried chillies, fresh curry leaves and coriander and makes this a tasty accompaniment to any weekday dahl or curry.. and especially with the crab curry that I’ll be making in my next post..

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Coconut Fried Rice 

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

450ml Basmati rice (I always measure uncooked rice in a measuring jug as it helps with how much water to cook the rice with, the ratio of water should be 2:1 if you are cooking the rice without soaking it first)

200g freshly grated coconut – You can use frozen freshly grated coconut too which you can find in most Asian food stores.

3 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil

6 dried hot red chillies

2 tsps chana dal – Optional but the dal does add a nutty flavour 

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

15 curry leaves

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp hing (asafetida)

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

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Method 

First, the rice. Wash the rice in a saucepan in several changes of cold water until the water starts running clear.  Cover with cold water and soak the rice in the water for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, drain the cold water and cover the rice with 600ml of hot water and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to a low heat and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until the rice gets fluffy.

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Now for the coconut. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and when the oil is hot, add the dried chillies, chana dal (if you are using) and the mustard seeds. Stir until everything darkens slightly and then add the curry leaves, asafetida and the coconut and stir.  Cook the coconut mix until the coconut starts becoming crisp, take off the heat and allow to cool.

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When the rice is cooked, put the rice on top of the coconut, mix well together and garnish with the chopped fresh coriander. Feel good at first fragrant bite..

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