Dinner · Indian · Vegetables

Amy’s Napa Cabbage Curry

napa cabbage.jpgThis is a favourite dish in our household at basically at any occasion if we want something nourishing yet aromatic and fragrant. Paired with fluffy steamed jasmine rice, this dish is truly divine. The coconut curry truly blends with the rice and spices in a marriage of flavours ordained by the priests of food alchemy. The cabbage and tiny meat pieces add variety and texture, the roasted lemongrass saturates your mouth in a buttery dance, and the chilis are just enough to give you a kick without making you cry (except perhaps with tears of joy).

I usually use chicken cut into tiny pieces for this recipe and I always marinate the chicken beforehand with fish sauce, white pepper, salt, a little rice wine and a touch of soy sauce. Sometimes, I also add lime juice and oyster sauce, although I feel it is not so necessary. If you choose to use prawns, I recommend leaving the shells and heads on to add an amazing flavour to the curry. I personally love eating prawn heads, but trust me when I say prawn heads (often used to make prawn stock) is where all the flavour comes from!

Amy’s Napa Cabbage Curry

P1060298Ingredients

  • Chicken / prawns /meat substitute (marinated with rice wine, fish sauce, salt, pepper and dash of soy sauce)
  • Napa cabbage (cut side ways and chop into strips)
  • Lemongrass (cut into little bits)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • Lots of ginger
  • Lots of garlic
  • Cumin
  • Coriander seeds
  • Oil of choice
  • ½ cup coconut milk + ½ cup chicken stock (adjust depending on how much curry you want)
    Note: Please buy a Thai brand of coconut milk! I usually use Aroy-D. Tried Western ‘health’ brands and the taste is just not the same. 
  • Lime
  • Coriander (for garnishing)
  • Curry powder + touch of tumeric if you have it
  • 2 freshly cut bird’s eye chilli

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  1. Marinate the meat with the marinade sauce for a few hours / overnight.
  2. Dry-roast the cumin and coriander seeds till they pop.
  3. Put the onion and stir-fry till a bit limp with oil of choice (1-2 minutes)
  4. Put lemongrass and ginger, stir-fry till slightly brown- this releases the flavour in the lemongrass so it turns almost buttery to taste in the curry!
  5. Put chilli and garlic and stir-fry on medium heat 1-2 minutes till lightly brown.
  6. Put chicken and stir-fry lightly but not too much (about 50% seared is enough).
  7. Gradually put cabbage bit by bit and toss about till slightly wilted.
  8. Put coconut milk/ chicken stock mixture in gradually and let simmer gently; put curry powder and cayenne pepper if using.
  9. Garnish with coriander and squeeze lime juice on top.
  10. Serve with jasmine rice and slice of lime!

    napa cabbage curry.jpg


BONUS! Tips for cooking rice on the stove top!
I usually cook my rice in a small pot. I used to cook rice in a rice cooker but I find that unless you have an expensive, reputable one (ie. Tiger or Zojiroshi), the rice tends to come out dry and sad (yes, rice can be sad! and failed rice is something that makes me cry). I always double the water to rice, and I add in some chicken stock and Himalayan pink salt.

First, put to boil and when water is boiling, decrease heat to half. Just when all the water is almost evaporated, cover with lid, turn off heat and let the rice sit and cook gently from the heat of the pot. This additional step is what I found helps to not only prevent burning, but also makes rice soft, yet not too soft!

bowlofrice

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Indian · Seafood

Tandoori Baked Fish

tandoori fish.jpg
This is a dish we often enjoy! It’s a slightly different take on the Indian recipe. We often eat it on cold winter days. The subtle spice from the chilli burns your mouth, but the yogurt and soft fish balances it out, paired with aromatic jasmine rice! I often put the leftover liquid ‘sauce’ from the fish onto the rice and the blend of sweet, sour and spicy, soft and crunchy (from the nuts) can only be described as dimension-transporting, especially during the winter months. I highly recommend trying it out if you want to be transported to an earthy plane of herbs, spices and grounding aromas while a snowstorm surges outside.

In terms of ingredients, I use Tilapia fish because it blends well with Indian spices. I’ve tried using cod and I don’t recommend using it because cod does better with butter / Western ingredients. Same with the lime vs lemon thing: I am convinced lime goes better with Asian cooking and white fish, whereas lime’s slightly more intense sour flavour goes well with oily fishes like salmon or trout. In terms of the yogurt I chose, I actually found that out by accident! Plain yogurt is a bit bland for me and I dislike using sugar to sweeten things; using coconut Greek Yogurt adds that lovely sweet earthy taste which blends so well with the spices and the fish. Remember to buy Greek full fat yogurt over regular yogurt as it’s much creamier and less liquidity. 🙂

Tandoori Baked Fish

Main Ingredients

  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • Lime juice (I prefer to use lime over lemon because it has a more subtle flavour and compliments white fishes better)
  • Coconut oil /ghee / olive oil for basting
  • Cashews / Walnuts crushed

For Garnishing

  • Fresh lime to serve
  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves / green onions

Tandoori Paste
I usually make the paste with a mortar and pestle although you can also use a blender. I do think that stoneground spice pastes taste better. It’s up to you if it’s an available option or not.

sambal.pngIngredients for paste

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 ts cumin
  • Fresh ginger minced (I’m liberal… I usually chop a tablespoon)
  • 3-5 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 red bird-eye-chilli, deseeded and cut into small bits
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) coconut Greek Yogurt (or any flavour. I actually like to use coconut yogurt for its natural sweetness)
  • A pinch of rock sugar
  • A pinch of pink salt
  • Liberal amounts of white pepper

Dry roast the cumin and coriander first in a pan till they ‘pop’ for about 2 minutes. Usually you’ll know it’s ready when your pan starts making popcorn noises. Set aside. Grind rest of ingredients in a mortar and pestle, starting with the solids (ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander, cumin), then slowly adding a bit of yogurt till paste turns yellowish. I sometimes add some cayenne pepper or curry powder, as well.

tilapiaPrep:
– Rub fillets with lime juice and set aside while making spice paste
– Marinate the fillets with spice paste.
– Use a knife and cut little sideways incisions (about halfway through) into the fish so the spice paste enters the flesh and it cooks more evenly.
– Top fish with chopped nuts

Cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to about 375 Fahrenheit
  2. Cook fish in oven for approx 14-16 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Occasionally baste your fish from time to time with oil every 7 minutes or so. At 12 minute mark, check incision to see if the fish is white on the inside. If so, cook a bit more.
  3. Serve with jasmine rice, freshly cut coriander / green onions and lime wedges. I like to serve mine on a banana leaf as well!

mortar and pestle