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Emma x

Tag: Main Course

Red Dragon: Thai Red Chicken Curry with Crispy Chicken Skin

Red Dragon: Thai Red Chicken Curry with Crispy Chicken Skin

 A while ago my friend Macks recommended I read Red Dragon, the first book in the Hannibal Lecter series, for my book-themed month and so this fiery curry is an attempt at translating that book into a dish.  Now, I’m not a fan of thrillers or horror novels, so I confess I went back to my English student days and worked from the sparknotes summary of the book instead. Due to the action in the novel I wanted to make something with a good kick of heat and spice in it, and a Thai red curry is a fab spicy dish to work with. Ideally this would be a dragon curry, but as dragons don’t seem to exist I had to go another way – but lets be honest, if dragons did exist they’d probably taste like chicken anyway!

This Thai red curry is served with crispy dragon/chicken skins (which are way easier to make than I would have thought!) and lime leaf rice. I’ve cooked rice in other recipes like this and I always find it makes it a bit more exciting. You  basically add a couple of fresh lime leaves to the water when cooking the rice and then grate a little lime zest over the rice when it’s plated and it makes the rice super fragrant and a perfect pairing for a warm curry like this.

Recipe

Serves 4

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Root ginger, grated
  • 2 Garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 Red chilli
  • 5-6 tbsp Red curry paste
  • 800ml Coconut milk
  • 8 Chicken thighs
  • 1 stick of Lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Brown sugar
  • A handful of Thai basil, plus some extra to serve

To serve

  • Jasmine rice
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 2 Fresh kaffir lime leaves

Method

  1. Begin by heating the oil in a pan. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes and then add the curry paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and then leave until oil rises to the surface.
  2. Take the skin off the chicken thighs with a sharp knife, keeping it for later, and then chop the meat into chunks. Then take the lemongrass and bash the end with the flat of a knife to squash it. Add the chicken meat and lemongrass to the curry and leave to simmer for 12 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile put on a pan of water for the rice. Once boiling add the rice and the lime leaves, stir once to break up the grains and then leave to simmer until cooked through.
  4. Now make the crispy chicken skins. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Take the skins which you took off the thighs and spread them out flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle them with a little sea salt and then sandwich the skins with another sheet of baking paper and a baking tray.
  5. Cook the skins in the oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy and golden. Leave in the oven with the oven turned off until needed.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked add the fish sauce and sugar to the curry and then bring to the boil again. Then take the curry off the heat and add the Thai basil.
  7. Spoon the soup into serving bowls and top with a little more basil and the chicken skins. Drain the rice and then grate a little of the lime zest into the mixture and serve with the curry!

Note: If you have some leftover roast chicken it works really well in this!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Lamb Koftas with a Mint Yoghurt Dip

Lamb Koftas with a Mint Yoghurt Dip

Here’s the final dish of the meze-fest, some delicious, meaty koftas served with a zingy yogurt dip! Working with the raw meat and shaping it into balls like this can feel a little odd, but its also super fun! Traditionally these are served on sticks, but a) I had no sticks at home when I made these and b) it’s way easier just to serve them as balls like this. But if you prefer you can get some skewers and pop a couple on each one before you pan-fry them.

Recipe

Makes 8 balls

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Koftas

  • 1 Small white onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying the koftas
  • 200g Minced lamb
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Zaatar spice blend
  • 1 tbsp Dried mint
  • Salt and pepper to season

For the Yogurt Dip

  • 2 sprigs of Fresh mint
  • 100g Greek yogurt
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • ½ tsp Ground cumin

Method

  1. Begin by making the koftas. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Then put the oil into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the oil and fry until they begin to caramelise. Tip this into a bowl and leave to cool.
  2. Add the lamb, cumin, zaatar and mint to the onion mix and mix together with your hands to bring the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper and stir again to combine.
  3. Divide the mixture into 8 balls. At this point, if you want to serve the koftas on skewers, take 4 skewers and push two balls onto each.
  4. Brush the koftas with more oil and then heat a large frying pan on a high heat. Add the koftas and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they’re browned all over and cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile move onto the dip. Scrunch the mint into a bundle and then finely chop it with a sharp knife.
  6. Put the mint and Greek yogurt into a bowl. Add some salt and pepper to season, and then add the cumin and mix together.
  7. When everything’s ready tip the yogurt dressing into a pot and serve alongside the warm koftas!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

Next up as part of this banquet is this delish Greek salad. Traditionally a Greek salad is made up of the classically Greek ingredients Romaine lettuce, feta and olives to make a beautiful salty, sweet and refreshing salad all in one! This salad, like most, is very quick and easy to put together, and makes a delish light lunch on it’s own! In this selection of mezes though it acts as a great refreshing dish to pair with the warm, aromatic ones.

Recipe

Makes 1 Meze dish

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Vine tomatoes
  • 5cm Length of Cucumber
  • 1/4 Red pepper
  • 2 Leaves of Romaine lettuce
  • 5g Feta cheese
  • A few Olives, halved
  • A Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar
  • A Drizzle of Olive oil

Method

  1. Take a sharp knife and quarter the tomatoes. Then slice the cucumber into quarters length ways, and then chop along the batons to make small pieces. Then dice the pepper into similarly sized pieces.
  2. Rip the lettuce into pieces and scatter the over over serving dish. Then scatter over the tomatoes, pepper and cucumber. Crumble the feta over the salad and then scatter the olives.
  3. Finish with a drizzle of the balsamic and olive oil and serve!

Thanks for reading!
Emma x

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

 In every Greek meal there has to be tabbouleh. It’s refreshing, zingy and a great palette cleanser for the richer, spicier dishes on the table. Personally, I’m not a massive fan of tabbouleh because on its own it’s a bit too herby for my liking, but I will admit that it’s delicious when paired with anything else on the table!

Recipe

Makes 1 Mezze dish

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g Bulgar wheat
  • 40g Flat leaf parsley
  • 40g Mint
  • 200g Vine tomatoes
  • 2 Beef tomatoes
  • 3 Spring onions
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • A pinch of Sea salt

Method

  1. Put the bulgur wheat into a sieve and rinse under cold water. Then put this into a bowl and pour over 200ml boiling water. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the parsley into a bunch and then roughly chop it. Do the same with the mint so that it’s chopped super fine. Next take your tomatoes and chop them roughly into bits. Put all the herbs and tomatoes into a big bowl.
  3. Slice the spring onions in half and then finely chop them. Add this to the big bowl.
  4. Drain the bulgur wheat and then mix this into the herbs. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper to season. Mix it all together and then serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

I’ll admit to you now that I am one of those hummus freaks who gets inexplicably excited when hummus is out at a party. Until a few weeks ago I didn’t touch the stuff for reasons I’m not quite sure why, but when it came to this idea of doing a Greek meze thing it had to go on the menu, and now I can’t get enough of it! Hummus is also insanely easy to make as you just whop everything into a food processor and blend until smooth, and whilst it may seem easier to buy a tub from a shop, the best thing with making your own is that you can alter the amounts of stuff you put in for your own personal preference. If you prefer your hummus more sharp, add more lemon, more spicy, and more paprika, more salty, well…you get the gist.

Recipe

Makes 1 meze dish

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g Canned chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Garlic cloves, skinned and crushed
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • 4 tbsp Water
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika, plus extra to dust
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • A few Pomegranate seeds
  • A few coriander leaves

Method

  1. Drain the chickpeas into a sieve and then rinse them under cold water.
  2. Put the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, tahini, water, and paprika into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
  3. Taste the mixture and then season to taste with the salt, pepper, lemon juice and cumin. Spoon the mix into a bowl and then garnish with olive oil, pomegranate seeds and coriander. Finish with  a sprinkle of paprika and serve with lots of pita bread!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x