Saturday 19 May 2012

cheat's pickled prawn curry

I love to take advantage of special offers on items that are usually more expensive than budget can allow too often, and I saw a half price on Sainsbury's frozen raw king prawns that I couldn't resist a month ago.  Littl'Un adores prawns, and tho Big' Un is terrified of them, she was away in Singapore, so I had to grab the opportunity and buy them!

There is a lovely recipe in a book by Anjum Anand for a pink pickled prawn curry, and I really fancied cooking it, but when I got round to cooking it, I was tired, and fed up, and wanted something quick and simple and I just couldn't handle following each step slowly to build up the layers of flavour. I glanced over the ingredients and realised that the spices she uses are basically those in the Bengali "panch phoron" or 5 spice, and I have a home mixed pot of that ready in the cupboard*, so I fried a teaspoon of my panch phoron in the karahi for a few seconds, then added a tablespoon of Patak's tandoori spice curry paste from a jar in the fridge.
The (thawed) raw prawns then were added and fried until cooked (pink and curled up) and I added a couple of tablespoons of water and tinned chopped tomatoes to gravy it up a bit.  A twist of lemon juice at the last minute zinged this up so that it was fresh and light and exactly what I wanted. 

Simple steamed basmati was the perfect foil and some crunch crispy salad leaves.

Littl'Un had 3 helpings.

* panch phoron=
1 tbsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds

Mix together in a spice jar and store until needed.

menu plan

It's been a while, and my friends have been enquiring, so here is this week's menu plan.  I wonder how much I will be able to stick to...

Sat: saayi daal, tandoori (?) salmon cubes, rice, maybe a few chapatti

Sun: oxtail stew & rice

Mon: jacket potatoes, Littl'Un's egg mayo, cheese, baked beans, roast spiced squtternut bosh.

Tues: sausage & chips with brocolli (giggly pig sausages and some organic chipolatas I have in the freezer)

Weds: steak & rocket in pitta bread (inspired by an amazing steak sandwich I had last weekend at Boyden's Kitchen.)

Thurs: chicken, mushroom, sweetcorn in cream sauce with pasta - maybe conchigle

Fri: pickled prawn curry, spinach sweetcorn curry, rice

Monday 7 May 2012

Parathas & kale for lunch

Not at all a quick lunch, but something I really enjoy on a cold weekend lunch time, crispy flaky buttery flatbread with tangy sweet chutneys, sour hot pickles and cool creamy yoghurt.  Bengalis traditionally enjoy a bitter green vegetable dish to accompany a meal like this to cleanse the liver.

This was a REALLY frugal meal, and if one has time and inclination, can really boost your budget a lot, as it's cheaper even than a few sandwiches for lunch for the family.

The paratha dough is easy, similar to chapati, but with a tablespoon of oil added - 2 cups of atta, half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of garam masala, aforementioned oil, bound together with a quarter cup (ish) of water.  Firmly kneaded until smooth, and then left to rest for half an hour.

I then rolled small balls

 and rolled them out

then I spread a thin layer of melted ghee onto the rolled out circle, folded it up like an envelope into a square, and then rolled that out again. Then I slapped it onto the preheated tawa, and circled around it with a dab more ghee.

Once it bubbles up, there will be nice brown spots underneath, so it's time to turn it over:

Repeat for all the balls of dough, keep them all hot and serve together, or serve one at a time.

As for the bitter greens, in this instance, I had some kale I had attempted to dry in the oven as crisp kale snacks, with a touch of oil and soya sauce, but it wasn't as tasty as the Inspiral raw kale chips, and a lovely fairy Godmother bought me 2 big tubs of those, so I thought it worth a try to curry it in some way rather than just throw it out.

I fried some chopped shallots and garlic puree with some oil or ghee in a karahi and then added half a teaspoon of cumin seeds.  I dumped the kale in, and once it had cooked into the flavoured oil, I added a tablespoon or 2 of natural yoghurt, and finished it all off with a drizzle of mustard oil for the authentic Bengali scent.  It was heavenly and I will be trying this dish with fresh kale sometime, for sure!

My thali:

A kid thali!  She had mango chutney with her yoghurt later, and a boiled egg for protein. Even the Baby loved smushing his paratha into some yoghurt on his tray.  He even ate some!