Tag Archives: Homemade Takeaway

Rendang Curry Paste

There’s nothing I enjoy more (when I have the time and available ingredients!) than patiently putting together a curry and everything that goes with it – that means making a curry paste (like this Rendang curry paste), making the curry, cooking some rice and making some sort of authentic bread to dip into that delicious sauce.  Serve up with a couple of cold beers and what more could you ask for?!  This here is the first step of that process, and I have to say it’s pretty satisfying to toast and blitz up spices, and it fills your kitchen with the most magnificent aroma.

One problem I frequently encounter, however, is that many curry recipes seem to require the same ingredients every time (save the odd pinch of fenugreek or turmeric), meaning they are barely discernible from one another. Rendang is a bit different, and not only because it traditionally includes some slow-cooked beef, but because it is a Malaysian invention rather than an Indian one.  No tinned tomatoes here! Get the best balance of sweet and spicy for your own taste buds and this can help you towards a deliciously different curry feast.  Full Beef Rendang recipe coming soon, but in the meantime you can prepare your paste ahead (it keeps for around 2 weeks in a sealed container) or mix it up with some yoghurt for a nice marinade for some baked chicken.

If you don’t feel quite adventurous enough to try the rendang for yourself, why not give our Tikka Masala Paste a whirl instead to make yourself a tasty Chicken Tikka Masala?

Rendang Curry Paste

Rendang Curry Paste

Ingredients

  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • a piece of fresh ginger, about the size of 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • water, to loosen
  • a mini chopper is also pretty much essential!

Instructions

  1. Set a small frying pan over a medium heat and add the coconut.
  2. Leave it over the heat for a few minutes, occasionally stirring, until just toasted on both sides. Be very careful: it can turn from white to burnt in a matter of minutes so keep an eye on it!
  3. Once the coconut is nicely toasted, pour it into the mini chopper. Repeat with the coriander and cumin seeds. You'll know they're ready when they start to pop and leak out a little oil. Again, be careful not to burn them, and pour into the mini chopper when they're done. That's the pan's role fulfilled so it can be taken off the heat.
  4. Roughly chop the onion, garlic, deseeded chilli and ginger and add these to the chopper.
  5. Then add the turmeric and oil and a little water. Blitz up into a fine paste. This may require the addition of a little water and a few mixes with a tablespoon to help the chopper along with blitzing all those ingredients into a paste. That is the most tedious, fiddly part of the whole recipe though - it really is so easy!
  6. Store in a little jar or sealable container in the fridge. Around 1/3 to 1/2 of the paste should be enough to make one curry for two, depending on how spicy you like your curry. Be sure to come back for the full curry recipe!
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Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

For this week’s recipe tester, we’re all about Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken.  If you haven’t come across Akis Petretzikis yet, he has a brilliant YouTube channel which has been given alot of publicity by Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube network. His recipes are pretty simple, and not always authentic, but generally they look pretty tasty, and he’s a joy to watch.  Akis is Greek, which is brilliant for spreading the word about Greek food, and also means he has a rather entertaining accent (particularly when he’s talking about mash (-ed potato). Anyways, we love his channel and jumped on there for some supper inspiration the other day.  I read a few of the recipe titles out to Charles and it was this Sticky Lemon Chicken which he chose.

Whilst this was technically approached in the same way as my stab at Nigel Slater’s Lemon Curd, I actually made quite a few changes to the basic recipe, as the amount of soy sauce Akis used looked to be both far too salty and ridiculously unhealthy, and cutting that down meant we needed to add more honey to balance out the flavours.  Also, we used skinless and boneless chicken thighs instead of breast due to the amount of time the sauce would need to simmer to reduce (and we didn’t want the meat to dry out or become tough), and I also wanted to add some vegetables to make it feel a bit more like a Chinese takeaway.  That said, I would have added a chopped pepper had the idea occurred to me sooner!  The lemon slices look pretty in the finished dish, but they were far too bitter for me to actually eat!  Charles munched his way through all but the very ends seemingly happily – it’s up to you if you fancy trying them!

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

Ingredients

  • 5-6 chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Thumb sized piece ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 lemons
  • 80ml or so dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • Basmati or wholegrain rice to serve

Instructions

  1. Trim the chicken thighs and cut them into reasonably large chunks - large enough that you have to half them to eat them elegantly! Set this aside and wash your chopping board well or grab a new one.
  2. Grate the garlic and ginger, slice the onion, peel and cut the carrot into quarter discs.
  3. Slice the lemons into rounds and get the groundnut oil heating up in a large frying pan or wok.
  4. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the lemon slices flat in the pan and brown them on both sides.
  5. The juice should start to seep out and the edges of the lemon slices should caramelise. Remove these from the pan and set aside.
  6. Turn the heat down a little and then add in the onion and carrot and fry these off until they are well on their way to becoming cooked.
  7. Add the garlic and ginger, being careful not to let either of those burn. Cook out for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Next, you can fry off the chicken. Try to get some decent colour on it by turning the heat back up. You may wish to add a touch more oil if things are starting to stick.
  9. Now get your rice cooking, as it will likely need around 15 minutes to be ready to serve up alongside the main event.
  10. Once the chicken is nicely sealed and coloured, add the vegetables and lemons back into the pan.
  11. Pour in the soy sauce and honey, and mix everything together. The lemons will continue to flavour and add juice to the sauce, so keep tasting it as it reduces down to make sure you're happy with the flavour balance. You may need to add more soy sauce or honey depending on your taste and how sour the lemons are.
  12. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a sticky sort of syrup and the chicken is cooked through. Taste again before serving and gobble it up, feeling virtuous for resisting that takeaway!
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Excitingly, this was made entirely in our new kitchen, and we’re pretty pleased with the natural lighting and backdrop around the hob area.  The splashback was temporary at the time and is now almost finished.  Unfortunately, the finished dish is pretty dark and unappetising looking but it really was delicious!

Why not try some of our Asian inspired recipes, such as our Spicy Peanut Butter Chicken, Mango Prawns or Steak and Soba?  Now I really want stir fried beef….

Light Sweet and Sour Pork 

My prevailing memories of Sweet and Sour when I was growing up were the sticky, cloying bright red sauce with guilty pleasure battered chicken balls or my Mum’s Sweet and Sour Chicken, which was basically dry chicken breast in a jar of Uncle Ben’s Sauce, served with boil in the bag rice. Weird I ever got a taste for it, right?!

However, my first forays into stir frying (again with experience led by my Mum who can’t have stir fry without a sachet of sauce) had me reaching for a sachet of Blue Dragon Sweet and Sour Sauce, which is arguably of better quality. 

  
Most recently, I’ve learned how to make it myself, and that means I can make it however I want! No green peppers, lighter, thinner and with a bit of a kick. If you want to recreate that old fashioned taste, you can easily do so. Just leave out the ginger, garlic and chilli and add a bit more cornflour to get a thicker sauce.

You will need (for 1):

1 small piece of pork fillet (tenderloin). I used a leftover piece I had in the freezer) this should be out of the fridge for half an hour or so before you cook it. 

1/2 brown onion

1/2 red pepper

1 small carrot 

1 clove garlic

1 knob fresh ginger

2 tsp tomato purée 

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine (or sherry)

1 tbsp honey

Pinch mild chilli powder 

1 tsp cornflour 

1 small tin of pineapple slices or chunks in their own juice 

Splash groundnut oil

  
I used to make this recipe with fresh pineapple and pineapple juice (which is delicious) rather than tinned, but I’m not really one for drinking fresh pineapple juice so it made the recipe much more expensive and it meant running out for particular ingredients rather than trying to pull something together with what’s in the cupboard. 

1. Slice the onion, chop the pepper and peel and chop the carrot. Size is up to you. Some people like to julienne the carrot but I just prefer to cut discs from the narrow end, the half or quarter lengthways and continue to slice. 

2. Grate the ginger and garlic. Cut the pineapple into chunks, unless you bought it in chunks.

3. Add the groundnut oil to a large frying pan, allow to heat to a high heat and toss in the onion. Once it has started to turn translucent, add in the pepper and carrot. These actually need quite slot of cooking and will still stay nice and crunchy. 

  
4. Allow the veg to cook down a bit, stirring or tossing every now and then depending how dexterous you are with this…I’ve finally nailed the one handed toss with even my biggest frying pan and am feeling pretty chuffed with myself! Anyway, add the grated ginger and garlic and cook out for a few minutes, reducing the heat down to low to medium. 

5. Mix together the soy, honey, mirin, chilli powder and cornflour. 

6. Thinly slice the pork. I like to do this widthways but whichever way gives you thin smallish pieces is absolutely fine. You can cook this in the same pan if you like, but I decided to use a medium pan for the veg and my smallest frying pan for the pork, just to give it the best chance of really searing and taking on colour without being affected by the moisture in the other pan.  If you want to minimise washing up, push the veg to the side and use the same pan, but use the largest one you have. You want the pork to sear on one side then turn over to brown the other side. As soon as it is just cooked, take off the heat.

  

6. Meanwhile, add the tomato purée to the veg, stir in and allow to cook out at a lowish heat. 

  
7. Add it the sauce mixture along with the pineapple and pineapple juice and stir, stir, stir to avoid the cornflour catching of become lumpy. 

  
8. Add in the just cooked pork and heat until it just comes through the boil again them serve with noodles or rice.