12 February 2011


I recently had another cooking session with Owen Hedicker, who is very keen to learn new techniques in the kitchen. After Owen had unfortunately been turned down by Jamie Oliver due to his ever increasing T.V appearances, I was very happy to take on the opportunity to create some exciting dishes with him. Until I get a call up myself to do T.V cooking programmes I am very happy to continue our sessions on a regular basis. I do these classes to help individuals who benefit from more personal tutoring as it can help with learning recipes, as well as teaching basic skills in the kitchen. I have been tailoring our classes on Asian dishes as Owen has great interest in learning about different spices and is gaining a great palette for the strong flavours from the fresh spices that we have been using.

We cooked up a great red lentil and spinach curry, homemade garlic and coriander naan breads, and tempura cauliflower florets with lime and chilli dressing. I have included the ingredients and recipes below.

Lentil curry, mini garlic naans, tempura cauliflower florets.

Red lentil and spinach curry.

1 onion, small diced.
2 cloves garlic, crushed.
1 inch fresh ginger, shredded,
1 red chilli, fine diced,
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped.
150 grams red lentils, soaked,
12 curry leaves,
1/2 tin coconut milk,
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds,
1 level teaspoon cumin seeds, 
1 level teaspoon fennel seeds,
1 level teaspoon mustard seeds.
1 heaped teaspoon garam masala,
1 level teaspoon turmeric,

1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped,
100 grams baby spinach leaves,
Juice of one lime.
Oil for cooking, salt and pepper.

1) Heat a pan over the stove, before adding the whole spices. Toast for a few minutes on a low heat to release the flavours. 
2) Add a little oil, adding the curry leaves, onion, garlic, chilli, tomato and onion.
3) Cook for a further few minutes, before adding the lentils and turmeric, salt and pepper.
4) Cover with water and boil until the lentils are soft and most of the water has been absorbed.
5) Add the coconut milk and garam masala.
6) Simmer until the coconut milk thickens and coats the lentils.
7) Add the spinach, coriander and lime juice.
8) Fold the spinach in until it wilts into the sauce.
9) Adjust the seasoning if needed.

ChefGary's tip:  You can use different spices according to taste. Try adding a cinnamon stick at stage four and remove before serving. For a hotter curry, add an extra chilli.

Garlic and coriander naan breads

250 grams self raising flour,
100 ml to 130ml warm milk,
1 garlic clove, crushed,
1 inch fresh ginger, finely sliced,
2 tablespoons chopped coriander,
Salt and pepper to taste.

1) Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
2) Add the milk gradually, forming a dough as you go.
3) Knead for about five minutes until the dough becomes elastic and soft.
4) Rest for ten minutes, leaving covered to avoid drying out.
5) Heat an oven proof pan on the stove, preheating the oven to at least 220 Celsius.
6) Roll out the dough into 4 or 5 tear shapes with your hands, brushing one side with oil.
7) Place the naan oil side down into the dry pan and put into the oven for abut six minutes.
8) The bread will be cooked when firm to the touch. If unsure, cut it in half and it should be dry all the way through and not appear dough like.

ChefGary's tip:
To add extra flavour to the naan, brush with garlic and coriander oil before placing back in the oven for a few minutes. Try also chopped chilli, onion seeds or sesame seeds.

Tempura cauliflower florets, lime and chilli dipping sauce.

Tempura batter,
50grams self raising flour, 50 grams cornflour, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmric, 100ml cold fizzy water.
Dipping sauce,
100ml rice vinegar, 1 tblespn sugar, 1/2 finely diced onion, 1/2 finely diced red chilli,
 juice of half a lime.
1/2 head cauliflower.
500ml oil for deep frying.

1) Pre heat the oil to about 180 degrees.
2) Coat the cauliflower in the flour before setting aside.
3) Mix all the ingredients for the batter. Don't worry about any lumps.
4) Dip the cauliflower into the batter before carefully placing in the oil.
5) It should float to the top and start to bubble. and will take 3-4 minutes to cook.
6) Set aside on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
7) Serve with the dipping sauce.

Lime and chilli dipping sauce
1) Bring the vinegar to the boil, mixing the sugar in until dissolved.
2) Take off the heat and add the onion, chilli and the juice from the lime.
3) Allow to cool before serving.

ChefGary's tip: This recipe also works great as a spicy sweet and sour salad dressing.

Recipe for garam masala
4 tbsps coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsps fennel seeds
1 tbsps fenugreek seeds
1 tbsps mustard seeds
2 inch piece cinnamon
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp crushed bay leaves

Toast all the seeds over a moderate heat for a few minutes until the aromas are released from the seeds. Do not over toast as they will burn and become bitter. Grind to a fine powder when cooled slightly.

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