Saturday, 7 April 2018

Vegetable Pilau

I love a good curry feast, but attempting to eat healthy and eating curries isn't associated with each other. My favourite curries Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are ladled with calories and fat, so when I order or make this at home it really has to be for a special treat. With a few clever tricks, such as the use of fry light and using lots of vegetables, you can eat an Indian feast whilst following a healthy eating regime. I made Parsee Chicken curry (recipe from 50 Great Curries of India) a little while back and decided to serve this with a healthier version of pilau rice. Packed with a number of vegetables, a handful of sultanas, the rice was full of flavour, vibrant colour and nutritiously good for you. The recipe is from Weight Watchers mini series: Classic Curries and is an incredibly easy side dish to make. 

295 calories per serving
Serves 4
250g dried basmati rice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
4 cardamom pods, crushed slightly
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 heaped tablespoons frozen peas
calorie controlled cooking spray
400g mixed vegetables, diced or sliced finely, e.g red and green peppers, cauliflower florets, small brown mushrooms
2 heaped tablespoons sultanas
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the rice, garlic, ginger and all the spices into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add the peas after 7 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan ad spray with the cooking spray. Stir-fry the mixed vegetables for 3-4 minutes.
When the rice is cooked, rinse and drain it, and tender to a serving dish. Cover the dish with a clean, dry tea towel and leave for 3-4 minutes.
Stir the vegetables and sultanas into the rice mixture , season too taste and serve.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Spicy Beef Patties with Briani Celebration Rice

It's officially Summer and that means one thing in my Kitchen, Summer recipes.  Light, exotic, fresh and easy, that's what I love about Summer food, alongside, of course, al fresco dining. I have fallen in love with Shelina Permalloo's debut cookbook Sunshine on a Plate. I think in part this is due to the beautiful photos alongside the fact that many of the ingredients that I am familiar with and use in my Caribbean cooking are featured in this book. I made two recipes from Shelina's book Spicy Beef Patties and Briani Celebration Rice yesterday which was wonderful, vibrant, exotic and flavoursome. Shelina describes the Briani rice as celebration rice, eaten at Weddings, Christening and other family events. These recipes were surprisingly easy to make and tasted sublime, my family enjoyed this!  The Spicy Beef Patties, were very spicy and brought a warmth sensation with every bite. You will simply just have to try it for yourself. I have adapted the recipe to what I had in my store cupboards, however I have shared the recipe as stated in Sunshine On A Plate.

Spicy Beef Patties with Briani Celebration Rice.

Briani Celebration Rice.

For the Spicy Beef Patties
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for frying
2 tbsp chopped spring onions
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp ground turmeric
400g lean minced beef
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
1/4 red scotch bonnet, seeded and finely chopped.
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce.

1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the spiny onions and add the spring onion, garlic, peppercorns and turmeric and cook for a few minutes until soft. Allow to cool slightly and then tip into a large mixing bow. Add the minced bed to the bowl with all the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Shape the mixture into 12- 16 patties (or make 4 large patties like moi)), using your hands.
2) Heat some more oil in the same pan that you cooked spring onions in and fry patties until they are coked though, about 3-4 minutes on each side (longer if you are making larger attics). Drain on kitchen part and serve immediately.

For the Briani Celebration Rice
Vegetable Oil for deep frying
1 white onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
1 tbsp ground cumin
a tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp garam masala
1- whole cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
300g basmati rice
pinch of salt
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
pinch of saffron strands
20g unsalted butter

To Garnish
3 semi-soft boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp fresh coriander

1) Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a deep sided, heavy based pan until a cube of day old bread dropped into it sizzled and turns golden brown in 30 seconds. Alternatively heat a deep-fat fryer to 180C
2) Lower the onion and garlic slices into the hot oil and deep-fry until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
3) Add the potatoes and deep-fry for around 4-5 minutes until the potatoes are golden on the outside and cooked al the way through. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
4) Put the spices, rice, fried garlic, onions, potatoes, salt, coriander and mint in a separate large pan with a tight fitting lid and mix together. Sprinkle over the saffron strands (don't mix in as you don't want a uniform colour) and dot with the butter. Add enough water to cover the rice with 2.5 cm liquid. Cover with a piece of foil and then the lid and cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
5) Remove the rice from the heat and leave to steam with the lid on - you need the residual heat to steam the rice for another 15 minutes
6) Spoon on to a large platter and garnish with the eggs and coriander.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Mrs Muambas Sauces, Review and Recipe.

I'm sure you are aware by now that I love Caribbean food and this cuisine is featured heavily throughout my blog, Twitter, Instragram and Facebook page. I love to eat Caribbean food throughout the week, but realistically when time is seriously pressing on I can't always make authentic Caribbean dishes in a quick amount of time, so many traditional dishes I make are over the weekend. 
I'm a fan of using quick fixes (but not to often, I must add) and have used jars of sauces in other cuisines (and I'm sure many of you have also done this) to make Italian, Chinese and Mexican dishes. 
For some reason I never really thought of sourcing Caribbean sauces to make a quick and easy Caribbean meal, until now. I first discovered Mrs Muambas premium Caribbean sauces at The BBC Good Food Show Winter whilst looking through the show guide at home when unfortunately it was too late to purchase these sauces. I was therefore incredibly excited when I was sent a selection of Mrs Muambas sauces: Jerk sauce, Curry Sauce and BBQ sauce to sample and review. Each jar serves 3-4 people and contains authentic Caribbean flavours, is beneficial when you want a taste of the Caribbean whilst not in the Caribbean. Through theses sauces you can taste the Caribbean with each meal made. I'm pleased to share that you can now purchase these sauces online, so you do not have to wait to attend food shows to sample a little bit of sunshine on your plate. Each jar costs £3 from the website or £12.50 for a sample of 5 sauces.

Mrs Muambas sauces. 

Mrs Muambas Sauces.
I made a couple of dishes using these fabulous sauces. The first, the classic jerk chicken I lightly seasoned chicken legs with all purpose seasoning and poured a whole jar of luxurious jerk sauce and left to marinade overnight. The following day after I arrived after work,  I placed the marinaded jerk chicken in the oven for 1 hour on gas mark 6, turning over once. My initial impressions of my jerk chicken using this sauce was that the jerk chicken tasted delicious, heavenly and scrumptious. I savoured every bit of this chicken and ensured that the curried bananas that I served this with, was used to soak up all these glorious juices. I must say that jerk sauce was very spicy, just like traditional jerk chicken that is served in Jamaica.
Jerk Chicken.

Jerk Chicken.

I also used Mrs Muambas curry sauce to make a classic Caribbean chicken curry, which I served with rice and broccoli. I followed the same principle of seasoning as I did when using the jerk sauce; lightly seasoned chicken and allowed the curry sauce to do all the hard work. I found that using Mrs Muambas sauces, I did not require to heavily season the meat as the flavours in the jar are positively intense. 

Caribbean curry chicken. 

Caribbean curry chicken. 

Caribbean curry chicken. 
Would I recommend these premium Caribbean sauces? Of course! I hope that you are able to sample these delicious sauces, I for one will be stocking up at the next food show I visit where these sauces are selling so I can sample a sunshine sauce which is made with love.

The recipe for my jerk chicken was adapted on the link to Mrs Muamba's website .

Recipe for Calypso Rice and Curried Bananas, from Caribbean Cooking by Camilla de la Bedoyere.
Serves 4
2 tbsp vegetable oil.
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped.
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed.
1 habanero chili, deseeded and finely chopped.
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped.
225g basmati rice.
juice of 1 lime.
350 ml vegetable stock.
200g black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed.
2tbsp freshly chopped parsley.
salt and freshly ground pepper.

For the curried bananas
4 green bananas
2tbsp vegetable oil
2tsp mild curry paste
200ml coconut milk

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the onion for 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, chili and red pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Rinse the rice under cold running water, then add to the pan and stir. Pour in the lime juice and stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the stock is absorbed.
Stir in the black-eyed beans and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Leave to stand covered for 5 minutes before serving, to allow the beans to warm through.
While the rice is cooking, make the curried green bananas. Remove the skins from bananas. Slice the flesh thickly. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the bananas in 2 batches, for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Pour the coconut milk into the pan and stir in the curry paste. As the banana slices to the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, over a low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the bananas are very soft and the coconut mil slightly reduces.
Spoon the rice onto warmed serving plates and serve immediately with the curried bananas.

Disclaimer: I received a selection of Mrs Muambas sauces to sample, I was not required to write a positive review, as always all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Carib Grill

As a lover of Caribbean food and restaurants, I was estatic when a deal became available on Groupon which featured Carib Grill restaurant. Carib Grill is located in the leafy cosmopolitan area of Moesley in Birmingham. The deal that really caught my eye was: 1/2 jerk chicken, rice and peas & rum punch for two people for the barginous £16. I knew that there would be no way I would be able to stick to that budget, not least because having viewed the menu online, the starters and desserts looked tantalising. Birmingham is no stranger to a large selection of Caribbean restaurants and I have covered a couple here on the blog. But every restaurant is different, different presentation of food, flavours and atmosphere, so I promptly decided to visit this restaurant. I was initially impressed with the bold exterior, this must be the first restaurant I have visited which is covered in red and green; it certainly stood out on the high street. The colourful exterior was matched by the colourful interior, there were flags from the more well-known Caribbean islands. There was also softly played reggae and calypso music played in the restaurant and reminded me of a restaurant that I visited in St Maarten. 

Our table was booked for 8pm one rainy Friday, but for one reason or another (poor time planning on my part), my amigo and I arrived at 20:40. Fortunately the waiter greeted us with a beaming smile and ushered us to our seats. Once we were seated and gave the Groupon voucher, we were quickly served our rum punch. I love rum punch, but I was not expecting it to contain soooooooo much rum. It was a good job I was not driving as I would not be able to finish of my tropical rum punch, which was served with nutmeg for that additional flavour, due to the high alcohol content.  I was impressed with the presentation of the rum punch, especially the umbrella, it was, as they say in Jamaica, it was "irie".
Rum punch
Next up, was the main event 1/2 jerk chicken with rice and peas (£10.50) , oh and a side order of fried plantain (£3.50) . I could smell the jerk chicken whilst I was chatting to my amigo, the infection barbecue smell swept through the restaurant, so when it was served I was anticipating great things. The jerk chicken was beautifully presented and tasted pretty awesome. The distinctive jerk flavour was there; the chicken skin was crispy and well seasoned, the chicken meat tender, moist and juicy. In fact, although the portion size was huge, I wanted more, yes more jerk chicken because this was the BEST  jerk chicken I have tasted outside of Jamaica. The rice and peas was filling and tasted delicious too, the peas was gungo peas (my favourite) and presumably cooked in coconut milk, due to the rich creamy taste. With every jerk chicken that I order, I have to have an accompanying side dish of fried plantain: my favourite side dish, sweet, addictive and divine. My only criticism of the fried plantain is it was slightly dry, I like my fried plantain to be fried in oil, lots of it, I suspect that there was restraint with the oil used.

Jerk Chicken

Fried Plantain
I almost always have two courses when eating out, either a starter and main or a main or dessert, I decided with the latter. Having recently returned from my annual Caribbean break, I sampled the most amazing Tortuga cake from the Cayman islands and greatly anticipated to try this cake again, as this was on the menu. I was very disappointed, almost distraught that the Tortuga cake was sold out because apparently, this is brought in batches from the restaurants owners trips to the Caribbean. After some consolation, I ordered the chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice-cream. This was a wonderful second choice, the slice of cake came straight out of the land of the giants. Most importantly was the taste, chocolatey, rich, gory, delicious, moreish and moist, this was the perfect slice of cake for me.

I would definitely visit again, the restaurant had a friendly relaxed Caribbean vibe and more importantly the food represented true Caribbean cuisine and superb value for money. In fact, it was a "home from home".

Positives: Excellent food, excellent service, great atmosphere.
Negatives: A dish that I wanted to order was not available.

This restaurant gets a 4 star rating by Food Glorious Food.

Food Glorious Food Restaurant rating index.
5 Star - Excellent: loved the food, loved the restaurant, loved the service, Already booked my next visit.
4 Star - Overall good: food was delicious will visit soon.
3 Star - Average: food was nice, but improvements can be made. No rush to return.
2 Star - Below average: nothing special, in no rush to visit again.
1 Star - Inadequate: Do not go, you have been warned.

Disclaimer: I reviewed this restaurant because I love eating out, as always, all opinions are my own.

Carib Grill on Urbanspoon
© Charlene Flash | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig