Tag Archives: curry

Recipe: Spicy Okra

Okra is a vegetable that intrigues me. It is full of paradoxes. People either love it or hate it. It is a humble vegetable in many parts of the world, yet incredibly exotic in others. It can be both creamy and slimy, crunchy or soggy. It is quite pudgy and ugly and yet it is known as “lady’s fingers” which surely should be symbolic of innate slenderness and grace.

Okra is also the perfect vehicle for flavour, not having much of its own, it can dutifully carry the load of any spices you add to it. This recipe is an attempt at a simple dish where the okra is showcased. The end result is spicy yet fresh and crisp.

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs (20ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 200g okra, trimmed and sliced into short lengths (3cm)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (or ½ tsp powdered/flakes)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized fry pan over medium heat. Add the the onions, cooking until soft (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the okra, tomatoes and chilli, stirring to combine. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring gently. (The okra will emit a sticky substance but this will reduce over time).
  3. Increase heat, add ground cumin and coriander and cook for 2 minutes while stirring to coat the vegetables with the spices and to provide contact with the bottom of the pan.
  4. Reduce heat and add 1 Tbs water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir through fresh coriander, season with salt & pepper, and serve.

Tips: 

  • This dish has been designed to keep the okra crisp, if you prefer it well cooked simply add more water and simmer for longer until done to your preference.
  • As the okra is still crisp, this dish is good for leftovers and can be eaten at room temperature.
  • This dish can be served as a main or a side dish.

Recipe: Massaman Curry (Beef, Pumpkin & Cashew)

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This recipe was born out of a cold winter’s day and the desire to recreate some comfort food which was Whole30, Paleo and low carb. I have varied from tradition by substituting peanuts for cashews in this recipe, and pumpkin for the potatoes. Not only is pumpkin lower in carbohydrates than the traditional potatoes used in this dish, but it also helps to overcome the omission of sugar by partly dissolving into the curry and adding a natural rich sweetness to the finished dish. I’ve also chosen to use lime juice instead of the traditional tamarind paste or concentrate as it is slightly sweeter and provides less of a sour note to counterbalance.

Ingredients

(Serves 8)

  • 2 tablespoons (40mls) coconut oil
  • 1kg shin, gravy beef or chuck steak, trimmed and cut into medium sized chunks
  •  2 cups coconut cream
  •  3 tablespoons (60mls) massaman curry paste (see related recipe)
  •  1 cup coconut milk
  •  1 ½ cups good quality chicken stock
  •  1 cinnamon stick
  •  3 Star Anise
  •  3 bay leaves
  •  ½ tsp ground cardamom or 6 cardamom pods lightly crushed (see note)
  •   1 tablespoon (20 mls) lime juice
  •  1 tablespoon (20 mls) fish sauce
  •  1/2 cup roasted cashews
  •  600 gms peeled and pumpkin cut into medium sized pieces*

Method

In two batches, heat half of oil a large saucepan or casserole pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until browned all over. Remove beef and liquids to a bowl, and repeat with remaining oil and beef.

Add 3 tablespoons from the top of the coconut cream (do not shake) and cook until hot and bubbling, approximately 30 seconds. Add curry paste and cook stirring for 1 minute or until aromatic. If the paste will not loosen add a little more coconut milk, but account for the cooling down of the paste by cooking slightly longer.

Return beef and juices to pan. Add remaining coconut cream, coconut milk, stock, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaves, cardamom, lime juice, and fish sauce. Stir to combine.

Bring to near boil (do not boil). Reduce heat to lowest setting and cook for 1 ½ hours. Add cashews and pumpkin. Stir to combine. Cook until the beef is tender and the pumpkin is very soft and starting to fall apart approximately 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir a few times to break up some of the pumpkin so that it dissolves into the sauce. This will sweeten and thicken the sauce.

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Tips

*600 grams of peeled pumpkin is approximately 1kg of whole pumpkin.

In Australia I find the Ayam brand of coconut milk and cream is the only one I have found which does not have nasty additives as it is made from 100% coconut kernel.

I used the Mae Ploy brand of curry paste as it does not have sugar or soybean oil.

This freezes exceptionally well and tastes better the next day reheated.

Nutritional information is available here.

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