Archive | July 2018

Bejeweled Capsicum

One of our favourite vegetables in Indian as well as in European cooking is Capsicum/Bell pepper/Sweet pepper – green, yellow and red – it really does not matter – we just love this vegetable!

Even though China is the world’s largest producer of capsicum, followed by Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia and the United States – this vegetable is now grown in most countries (I even managed to grow some of our green capsicum and chilli peppers needed for our weekly cooking in our garden in England).

Did you know that this vegetable is a rich source of Vitamin C (and some other vitamins) and contains a staggering 94 % water – good to include in food as part of a calorie controlled diet.

When I go shopping to my local Hypermarket to buy vegetables and fruits (especially items which I cannot find in my local markets) I always seem to linger longer at the beautifully displayed Capsicum section. The vibrant colours of my “bejeweled capsicum” reminds me of a child’s coloured crayons. They are so shiny and plump – but can anybody shed light on the phenomenon why the green ones are always the cheapest with the red ones costing double or even triple???? After all, we do know that the green capsicum, although mature, has been picked rather than being left to ripen on the bush, has a slightly sharper, more savoury, flavour than the red one – which is fully ripe with a sweet-tasting flesh.

Did you also know that it was dear old Christopher Columbus who, when he returned to his Spanish patrons in 1492, brought back evidence of the rich plant life he had discovered, amongst which were members of the capsicum family – sweet peppers and their kinsmen, chilli pepper.

The following recipe is one which we love very much and therefor I like to share it with you, dear friends.

Ingredients

1 x tsp Fennel Seeds
2 x Tbsp Peanuts
1 x Tbsp Cashew Nuts
2 x medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 x Capsicum (green, yellow and red – if possible) deseeded and cut into small squares
3 x small onions, chopped
3 x tomatoes, chopped (do not remove skin or seeds)

4 x green chillies, chopped
¼ cup of fresh coriander, chopped
1 x Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 x tsp Mustard seeds
1 x Tbsp Urad Dhal
A few curry leaves
1 x tsp Garlic and ginger paste (if possible, homemade)
1 x tsp turmeric
2 x Tbsp Chilli powder (or less)
2 x tsp Garam Masala
1 x Tbsp of Lingham’s Chilli Sauce (for ‘kick’)
1 x cup of water
Salt, to taste

Method

In a wok, dry fry fennel seeds for a couple of seconds only, keep aside.
Now again dry fry peanuts and cashew nuts for seconds only.
Grind those 2 items in your ‘Mixy’ to a fine powder.
Add oil to the wok and when hot add the mustard seeds and urad dhal as well as a few curry leaves. Stir.
Add onions and some salt and green chillies and stir for 5 minutes.
Add raw potatoes. Stir and covered with a lid, cook for a couple of minutes.
Add ginger and garlic paste, stir.
Add coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and stir again.
Add tomatoes and some water, cover wok again and cook until potatoes are nearly ready.
Add above mentioned ‘Mixy’ powder, all the capsicum, and maybe a little bit more water if needed and cook a further 5 minutes with the lid on.
Taste, and when potatoes are completely cooked add some garam masala, stir and sprinkle with finely chopped coriander leaves before serving.
Ideally, both potatoes and capsicum should retain just a little bit of ‘crunch’.

Serve with rice or any kind of roti (Chapatti, Naan etc.)

That’s it – enjoy
Namaskaram
Carina

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CRAB – 20 Minuten!

“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”

Today my dear friends I invite you to Bangkok – for a visit to the largest outdoor market in the world – to be precise; to Chatuchak Weekend Market on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road.

This market, also known as JJ Market is offering, with over 15,000 stalls, an eclectic variety of goods, from antiques to pets.

Going there is as much enjoyable as tiring – this place is literally huge, very crowded (even in the early mornings) and one can easily get lost in this rabbit warren of very narrow lanes.

But not to worry, there is always a smiling face helping you out and a place where to sit for “people watching” and, most of all, to enjoy one of their delicious foods.

My friend Yui one day invited me to accompany her to this Market since she wanted to buy a few items for her house in Bangkok. Good enough reason for me to have yet again another look at some of the stalls I was interested in on one of our previous visits to this vibrant city.

We arrived early, hoping to beat not only the rush of visitors but also the heat – but of course many people had the same idea and we found the place already somewhat crowded, but it did not spoil our fun at all.

After a few hours!! of walking, talking, bargaining and buying the items Yui had wanted, our feet started to object. What better idea than to go and have one of those wonderful foot massages, for which Thailand is famous for, amongst other things. I just love to have my feet massaged by a Professional that I, without fail, always fall asleep, but waking up totally rejuvenated.

Soon it was lunchtime and Yui took me to one of her favourite food stalls where she suggested I must try her friend’s Crab and Sweetcorn Soup. I do so love soups, of all kind (or nearly) and especially Thai soups.

Gratefully we sat down, ordered and very quickly a steaming bowl of my Crab soup arrived. It truly was so good, that I tried to make this at home once back here in India.

This dish is so easy to make and in fact only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

So I will not let you wait much longer, but share with you my version of Chatuchak Crab and Sweetcorn soup.

Ingredients
(for 4 portions I used here…)

½ x pack of frozen Crabsticks (finely chopped)
¼ x pack of Thai Glass Noodles
½ x cup of frozen sweet corn
¼ x cup of the green only part of Spring Onions (finely chopped)
¼ x cup of Peanuts (dry fried)
1 ½ x cup of Vegetable Stock
1 x Tbsp Soya sauce
5 x Kaffir Leaves (or lime zest)
1 x Tbsp dry red chilli flakes (or more if you like the heat)
2/3 x Tbsp Lime juice
2 x tsp of Sesame Oil (or plain vegetable oil)
Salt (to taste)

How I made this:

In a large vessel I boiled the noodles in the vegetable stock with Sesame Oil.

Next I dry fried the peanuts, stirring all the time.

In a separate pan I sautéed, just for a couple of minutes, (in 1 tsp of oil) the chopped spring onion greens, the previously fried peanuts, Kaffir leaves, chilli flakes, lime juice and little bit of salt.

When this was done and the noodles cooked, I then transferred those to the above mixture and added the vegetable stock bit by bit to until I had the right liquid consistency.

Before serving I added all the chopped crabsticks and mixed everything well together and then served.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina