Tag Archive | Nuts

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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THAI STREET FOOD – PEANUT NOODLES


“……… I DO THIS MY WAY! …..”

For so many years now JS and I have been to Bangkok at least 3-4 times a year. It’s a relative easy (and very economical) flight from Kerala via Singapore.

And even though we always stayed in our lovely hotel and enjoyed Chef’s wonderful food besides the many lunch/dinners we relished at various other special places for us, I still joined our friends to try Bangkok Street food occasionally. And before some of you might disapprove, let me tell you, I have never ever been sick once – knowing of course where to eat helps. Some places were recommended by local friends, while some I found of my own accord.

Last time we were in this vibrant city was for their water festival “Sonkran”. The ‘Sonkran’ of this year is over and yes, we missed not being there with our friends and participate in the fun.

I too used to buy occasionally my Street food like they did, sit on some steps in front of one of those huge shopping centres and watched the spectacle, mainly children (of all ages!) getting soaked.

So here today I like to share with you this quick, simple and delicious recipe, my own version of “Peanut Noodles

For 2 people you will need:

100 gr medium egg noodles (or more if you are hungry)
1 x Tbsp Oil
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 or 2 x large onions, sliced
½ x of 3 different coloured Capsicums, seeded and roughly chopped
½ x of a medium sized Courgette, also roughly chopped

150 gr unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped

Now for the dressing

4-5 Tbsp Oil (I like to use Olive oil here)
Grated rind and the juice of 1 x lemon (to taste)
1-2 x red hot chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 x Tbsp Soya sauce
Some fresh chives, snipped (or Thai Basil)
2 x Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Here is how I do this “… my way

Cook noodles, drain and keep aside.
Heat oil in wok; add onions, garlic and all the remaining vegetables.
Cook appr for 3-5 minutes until they start getting brown and soft, but be careful, you do not want the vegetables too soft.
Add peanuts and cook for a further 2 minutes.
In small bowl whisk together oil, grated lemon rind and 3 Tbsp of lemon juice, chilli, chives (or Thai Basil), Soya sauce and Balsamic vinegar (to taste). Add salt and pepper.

Now toss the drained noodles into the onion/garlic/peanut etc. mix and heat through.
When ready to serve add dressing, stir nicely to coat everything and serve garnished with fresh chives.

NB: you can also use spaghetti, if egg noodles are not available.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina