Spicy sausage burgers

The idea for this came from Madhur Jaffrey, but I wanted something much quicker and easier, based on what I had in the fridge. I started with half a pack of reduced sausages from the co-op, the tail end of a jar of garam masala, and ended up with this delicious switch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 pork sausages
  • chopped coriander leaves or parsley
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

METHOD:

  • Skin the sausages and put the meat into a bowl with the spices and herbs, and mix. This is most efficient by hand, although it is a bit sticky. A wooden spoon does a reasonable job too. 
  • Cut the mixture into four and form into small burgers.
  • Fry the burgers on each side in a little cooking oil. 

We had these as a quick scratch meal with a yoghurt dressing, flat breads, and a green salad. 

Lamb shanks in a fragrant yoghurt sauce

I made this with a couple of shanks from a wee hebridean hogget. I used a Madhur Jaffrey recipe as a starter, but it has been adapted to suit me. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • salt and pepper
  • approx 200ml yoghurt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a walnut-sized bit of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • half a small onion, cut into fine slices. 

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper
  • Make the yoghurt sauce. Put the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, 100ml water in a food processer and blitz this until the garlic and ginger are finely minced. Next, sprinkle in the flour, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper along with a small tsp of salt, and blitz again. 
  • Put the oil in a small casserole dish or pan suitable for the oven. It should accept the two lamb shanks. Over a medium high heat, add the cardamon, cloves, peppercorns and the lamb shanks. Brown the meat on both sides, adding the sliced onions as you go. 
  • Once the lamb is browned on both sides, add the yoghurt mixture, stir and bring to a simmer, before covering the pan and putting it in the oven. 
  • Cook for around 3 hours, checking from time to time. 

We had this with Greek flatbreads from the Co-op, a current favourite. 

Spicy tomatos with eggs – two ways

I made this last night, scrambled egg style, and for lunch today, omelette style. Both delicious. This was a regular dish in our student days, from Madhur Jaffrey’s classic book ‘Eastern Vegetarian Cooking’.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes, or around 450g peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • 4 chunky spring onions, very finely sliced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 pack fresh green coriander
  • 1 hot green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 7 large eggs

METHOD:

  • Prepare all of the ingredients before you start, because once the oil is hot, everything needs to be ready. To speed things up, I put the fresh coriander, green chilli and ginger into a small spice grinder, and blended it. 
  • Heat the mustard oil in a heavy pan over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put in the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, put in the spring onions and garlic, and fry for about three minutes. Don’t let them brown. 
  • Add the tomato, ginger, coriander and chilli in, and fry for another six minutes; make sure the mixture is not watery. Add the salt and pepper and check that it tastes OK,
  • Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. If you are making a scrambled version, make sure the tomato mixture is bubbling hot, and tip in the lightly beaten eggs. Turn the heat down and stir gently until the eggs are all cooked to your liking. 
  • For the omelette version, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of water. The egg mixture should be bubbly and well-mixed. Take a large clean frying pan, melt a blob of butter until it is beginning to foam.
  • Pour in half the egg mixture, and when it is beginning to set, add half the tomato sauce. Fold in half, and slide onto a warmed plate. Do the same for the second omelette. 

I served this with a carrot salad. The sauce can also be served as a relish for a larger meal, or even with pasta. Prepared ahead, it can be frozen ready for the next time. 

Carrot salad with mustard seeds

This is a very simple recipe, great as a quick side-dish to add freshness to any meal. It is great to add to a summer picnic, a cold buffet, or with a range of Indian dishes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Approx 350g carrots
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs rapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

METHOD:

  • Peel and grate the carrots, and put them in a salad bowl, sprinkle in the salt and toss to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  • Heat the oil in a small pan, and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds. Cook the mustard seeds until they begin to pop. 
  • Pour the hot oil and seeds over the carrots, and mix well. 

Carrots with dill and hot green chillies

I must have first tried this recipe in the 1980s, it is hand-written in an old jotter that I used to copy out some recipes clipped from newspapers. I remember collecting recipes from the Sunday Times; they ran a series by Madhur Jaffrey about regional recipes around the Indian subcontinent. 

I have some very large carrots still to harvest this year. I grew a yellow variety that has a very firm flesh ideal for adding to stews, and for this dish. There’ll be more carrot-based dishes to come. Most spices are available in local shops. I bought some of them from Seasoned Pioneers, who retail spices online. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cm ginger root (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 hot green chillies
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 20g chopped dill leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD:

  • Peel and slice the carrots, peel and finely chop the ginger
  • Heat the oil in a karhai or wok over a medium heat. When it is hot, add in sequence the cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger and whole chillies, stirring between each addition. 
  • As the ginger begins to brown, add the sliced carrots, coriander and turmeric. Stir and fry for a couple of minutes
  • Add the dill and salt, turn the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the carrots are cooked. 
  • Remove the carrots from the oil and drain away most of the oil. 

This is delicious as a side dish, with rice and a range of other curries. Last night I was just on my own so I had it with a little bit of nan and yoghurt.

Salmon in a tomato cream curry sauce

I’ve been reading ‘Curry Easy’ again. I had some salmon fillet from the reduced section in the co-op and Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe book had several very good ideas. I picked this one, but now I want to go and buy more salmon so I can try the other recipes too. I did tweak it a bit so I didn’t have to go to the shops again. 

This is very easy to prepare the sauce and fish in the morning, ready to cook when you get in after work. I served this with rice, and stir-fried chard.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 600 to 700g salmon fillet
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml single cream (approx.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

METHOD:

  • Start by dividing the salmon into 8 pieces. Season with a little salt and black pepper, turmeric and cayenne, and leave to marinade in the fridge. I used a plastic container with a lid, but a plastic bag would do. 
  • Combine the tomatoes, cream salt sugar, garam masala, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and coriander leaves. Use a soup wand to make the sauce smooth. Just before using, stir in the lemon juice. 
  • To cook the fish, heat some oil in a pan, and when it is hot, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 seconds. 
  • Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer before adding the salmon pieces. Spoon the sauce over the top of the fish, and continue this way for another 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. 

 

Curry Easy

Madhur Jaffrey has been teaching me how to cook Indian food since I got my first flat at university. First there was a series of her recipes in the Sunday Times, or was it the Observer. The recipes looked at the authentic tastes and styles of cooking around India. Then I acquired a copy of ‘Eastern Vegetarian Cooking’, which was a sensation when it was published. 

I had enough fabulous recipes to think I didn’t need another recipe book for Indian food, but then Curry Easy came along. Bright and modern, the recipes are pared down and quick to cook. Each recipe comes with a little context and some serving suggestions. The instructions are easy to follow, and the dishes I have made so far are delicious. The index is good as well, listing recipes by ingredient as well as by name. 

Just about perfect. 

Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking

In 1983, I was living in Edinburgh. My boyfriend at the time announced that he wanted to be a vegetarian, and after a short discussion, we renounced meat. I can no longer recall his reasons, but for myself, my concerns were around animal welfare and factory farming, especially for pigs and chickens. I also was aware of the environmental impact of feeding livestock as opposed to using land to grow plant-based food.

One of the first recipe books we acquired was Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking. I think we didn’t get much past the first chapter, there were so many delicious recipes. The book includes recipes from Syria all the way through to Japan. There are chapters on Vegetables, Pulses, Rice, and Eggs, for example. The chapter on condiments, dips, chutneys and relishes is wonderful; Madhur Jaffrey explains that this allows each diner to ring the changes with combinations of different flavours.

I find that I don’t cook some of the more complex dishes. Although I love the illustrated guide to making tofu, I have never tried this myself. I’ve also struggled to find some of the ingredients listed, especially for some of the Korean, Japanese and Chinese dishes.

To compensate, this is a book full of wonderful recipes, properly indexed. The book isn’t full of glossy pictures, but there are 500 pages of advice, descriptions of ingredients and flavours, techniques and culinary tips. The food I have produced from these pages has been outstanding.