Recipes, Spicy

Hot Sauce – recipe

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Ripening Scotch Bonnets

I ran out of Frank’s Hot Sauce recently. This made me rather sad but as I had a pretty healthy stock of firey and delicious condiments at my disposal (including the superb ‘Holy F**k’ offering from The Rib Man) I reasoned that I was fine for a goodly while. However, there were more and more occasions when the sort of sauce I craved was of the Frank’s variety and quite frankly (see what I did there?) nothing else would do. And my tabasco was also running low. Obviously I could have popped out and simply bought some more of my required delight but I wondered if it was possible to recreate something similar at home with the last of my crop of chillies. A quick scan of the internet revealed a goodly number of so-called ‘copycat’ recipes and so I decided to go for it and used a combination of two or three. However I didn’t have the 18 cayenne chillies specified so I used a heady mix of (annoying mild) Scotch Bonnets, cayennes, jalapenos, and a dried habanero just for larks. The results were pretty awesome I have to say – hot, pleasingly zingy, addictive – and the recipe itself was actually pretty simple so it will be easy to restock when I need to. I didn’t bother taking the seeds out but if you want the exact consistency of the legendary Frank’s then you can deseed the chillies first or pass the mixture through a sieve after cooking. If you have an extractor fan in your kitchen then this will be most beneficial.

Ingredients

  • 18 cayenne chillies (or a mixture of whatever hot, red beasties you like), stalks off and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 350ml cider/white wine vinegar

Method

  • Mix the vinegar, salt, garlic powder, sugar together in a saucepan then add your chillies and garlic.
  • Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it blip and bubble away for 20 minutes or so. This is where the extractor fan really is your friend.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender/food processor and blitz into a paste. BE CAREFUL!!! The mixture is not only viciously hot it is also sinus-rippingly aromatic.
  • Once you have blended to your preferred consistency (and sieved if you like), return to the pan and simmer for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer to a sterilised bottle and let cool. It will be awesome straightaway but I urge you to let it sit and mingle for at least 24 hours before using. Once you have started using your sauce, store it in the fridge to keep it happy. Happy saucing!
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Meaty, Recipes, Spicy

Spicy chicken and red pepper curry – recipe

This recipe is adapted from an amazing dish by the ever dependable Madhur Jaffrey – my parents only ever used her cookbooks when we were growing up and my Dad’s (signed) copy of Indian Cooking is coated in oil, spices, and memories.

I am always tempted just to turn to the same reliable recipes when I flick through this book – lamb with onions (do piaza), butter chicken (makkhani murghi), lamb with potatoes (aloo gosht) but I recently decided to go for something that I definitely hadn’t made before and I am so, so glad I did. This recipe is absolutely delicious and very simple to make – I always use chicken on the bone for this as it adds extra flavour but it would be equally delicious with chunks of lamb neck (cook it for a good couple of hours) or even just as sauce with some chunky white fish. If you are using boneless meat, reduce the cooking time accordingly. I have made a few tweaks to the version in the book and the results are, I think, pretty spectacular. The heat factor can be adapted to personal taste – I like mine fiery but not everyone does, simply reduce the amount of fresh chilli and cayenne if you want something milder…

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1kg skinless chicken pieces, bone in
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 2-3 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 red chilli, chopped (with seeds if you like)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsps ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Water
  • Black pepper

Method

  • If using chicken legs, divide into thigh and drumsticks. Breasts should be cut in half and kept on the bone.
  • Put the onion, garlic, ginger, almonds, peppers, chilli, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and salt into a food processor and pulse until you have a thick, smooth paste.
  • Put the oil in a wide pan over a medium heat and, when hot, stir in the paste and fry for 10-12 minutes, stirring to stop it from colouring. Your kitchen will start to smell amazing.
  • Add the chicken, lemon juice, and pepper then add enough cold water to just cover the chicken. Stir and mix together then bring to the boil.
  • Cover and turn the heat to low and let the curry simmer for 45mins to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked and falling away from the bone. If you like, you can remove the pieces and shred the meat back into the sauce but I don’t bother. Adjust the seasoning as required.
  • Remove the lid and turn up the heat to reduce your sauce – you can have it as thick or as runny as you prefer – then serve immediately with steamed rice and flatbreads.

If you were doing this with fish, cook the sauce for about 45 minutes and reduce slightly before adding the fish – it will only take a few minutes to cook through.

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Fishy, Recipes, Spicy

Prawns with a spiced cream sauce

Hello everyone! I am so sorry for my absence from the land of Butisittasty over the past few months – as well as recovering from my jaunt in hospital I have been finishing my MA (now done – YAY!) which took up a lot of my time and all of my energy. But I’m here now so all the tasties can be had!

Although I am still very tired.

Anyway…

One of the things about recovery is that little things really can make a difference, and I found myself looking for dishes that were not only simple (well, maybe with the exception of the Pigs Trotters on Toast!!!) but which were comforting. Old cookbooks were dug out and old favourites were re-discovered.

This dish is based on a brilliant Madhur Jaffrey recipe for spicy hard boiled eggs. My parents used to make a version of this every time we had a big party of friends over for a curry-fest and it was always the first to be gobbled up. Although it is good with eggs, the prawns add a wonderful flavour which, combined with the cream, create a decadent and almost bisque-like curry. You can substitute the cream for yoghurt if you like but you’ll be missing out – it’s totally worth the extra calories. You can use fresh prawns too if you prefer – just reduce the cooking time slightly.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1fresh green chilli, finely chopped
  • 125ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 75ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g frozen prawns
  • 1 tbsp (or more) finely chopped fresh green coriander

Method

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, non-stick frying pan then add the onions. Stir and fry until the pieces are just beginning to brown at the edges then add the ginger and chilli and stir fry for a minute or so.

Now add the cream, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, garam masala, tomato paste and chicken stock. Stir to mix thoroughly and then bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, then add the frozen prawns and stir the whole lot together.

Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, spooning the sauce over the prawns until they are cooked through. By this time the sauce should be fairly thick. Garnish with the fresh coriander and serve with steamed rice and/or a load of flatbreads for dipping.

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