Posted in Fish, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Sauces, Side dishes, Turkish Cuisine

Prawn Casserole with an Eastern Asian twist

On a cold wintery evening, there is nothing better to warm you up than a nice casserole.  And, what could be better than giving it a little bit of a Thai kick! This recipe is based on a typical Turkish hot meze (appetiser) dish known as Karides Güveç (Prawn Casserole) with a few extra touches of my own.

I used frozen prawns, but of course you can use fresh ones, just make sure you clean them carefully first.  I also use pepper paste instead of tomato puree as it does not give you the burns as tomato puree tends to give some people.

This recipe serves 2-4 depending on the size of serving dish.

Ingredients

250 g prawns (cleaned)

1 medium onion (finely chopped)

1 or 2 gloves of garlic (crushed)

1 red pepper & 1 green pepper (finely chopped)

A handful of mushrooms (cut in half then thinly sliced)

A handful of capers

8 cherry tomatoes (chopped) – 2 regular tomatoes can be used instead

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp of oyster sauce

1-2 tbsps of pepper paste (or tomato puree)

1 tsp of hot sauce (optional)

A glass of white wine (optional)

500ml boiling water (for stock)

Salt and pepper and some oregano for seasoning

Grated cheese for garnishing (about one handful)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Put the olive oil and sesame oil in a frying pan (or wok) over a medium heat and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes.

Then add the peppers and garlic and continue frying.  Next add the mushrooms and the tomatoes. Now add the prawns.

Pour in a glass of white wine (optional).  In a jug, mix the pepper paste and boiling water with the oyster sauce and stir. Add this to the pan and stir.  Finally add the capers and the hot sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Season as preferred with salt and pepper and oregano.

Transfer the mixture into small casserole dishes and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes in the oven at 180c, then, serve with chunky bread for dipping.

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Posted in Chicken, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Quick and Easy, Sauces, spicy

Chinese Chicken Curry with noodles (quick and easy)

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Living in Turkey is great because of all the great produce available as well as the abundance of spices in the market. But sometimes we miss our favourites from back home, and one of mine is good old Chinese Takeaway Curry. So here is a quick and easy recipe For Chinese chicken curry with noodles that anyone can follow.

(All ingredients were found here in Turkey.)

You could also serve with fried rice (recipe on this site) instead of the noodles as an alternative. I find this recipe works best with pre-roasted chicken, so perfect for that left over chicken after a Sunday roast.  Also you can just use the curry sauce recipe for dipping your chips in while watching your favourite TV show.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 onions (roughly cut in slices)

1 green pepper (thinly sliced with seeds removed)

1 red pepper (thinly sliced with seeds removed)

A handful of mushrooms (sliced)

Some chopped papaya or pineapple

Cooked chicken pieces from a roasted chicken

Olive Oil (for frying)

Chinese curry sauce (recipe below)

Egg fried noodles (4 squares)

Bean sprouts (optional)

 

Method

 Fry the onions in a little olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons) for a few minutes then add the peppers and mushrooms. Fry for about another 5 minutes or until they start to turn golden, then add the curry sauce (see below for sauce recipe).

Allow to simmer for a few minutes, then add the cooked chicken pieces and papaya (or pineapple). The fruit is optional but adds sweetness. Simmer over a low heat for about another 5 – 10 minutes.

Place the noodles and beansprouts (if using) in some boiling water and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft.

Strain the noodles and lay in the bottom of a bowl.  Spoon the chicken over the top and drizzle with extra sauce.

***For the Chinese Curry Sauce

Ingredients

3 chicken stock cubes

1½ pints boiling water

3 tablespoons cornflour (mixed with sufficient cold water to make a paste)

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

½ teaspoon ground ginger (or fresh grated ginger)

¼ teaspoon mild chilli powder (can use hot chilli powder if you prefer a kick)

2 teaspoons mild curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

In a large jug, mix stock cubes with boiling water and stir until they have dissolved. Add cornflour paste and stir until thick.

Stir in the oyster sauce and soy sauce. Add five spice powder, ground ginger, chilli powder and curry powder. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

It is now ready to be used as a base sauce for curry.  Or you can use alone for dipping chips in.

 

 

 

Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture

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This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.

Ingredients

500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

Posted in American Cuisine, British Cuisine, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Mediterranean, Mexican, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Stir fry, Vegetarian

Perfect Rice

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Cooking rice can be rather hit or miss.  Either it can be bland, or puffy and over cooked, it isn’t as easy as you think.  But now I have a fool-proof recipe.  This recipe is based on 2 people so double amounts accordingly.

Ingredients

1 cup of rice (I use Jasmine)

2 cups of water

a pinch of salt

1 stock cube (chicken, meat or vegetable)

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Put the olive oil, rice and salt in a flat bottom pan (as in the photo) and fry over a medium heat on the hob for about a minute stirring continuously.

Add the water and stir.

Cover pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat until all the water has evaporated (approx 20-25 minutes).

Serve hot.

**You can also add grated ginger or turmeric powder for added flavours.  Ginger goes nice with Chinese dishes, and the turmeric for Indian.

Left over rice can be chilled in the fridge over night and is then perfect for fried rice dishes.

 

Posted in Chicken, Fish, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Quick and Easy, Rice, spicy

Tina’s Special Fried Rice

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I love cooking fried rice dishes as they are quick and easy and great for using up all those left overs from the previous day, but it can also be cooked fresh on the day.  Cold cooked rice is the best (to avoid it becoming a sticky mess), so you can either use leftover rice that has been kept in the fridge, or cook your rice on the day, earlier than your planned meal (see Early prep stage).

The joy of this recipe is that you can adapt it to your personal preferences very easily by adding or omitting several ingredients as you wish.  For example; you don’t eat meat, don’t add chicken.  You hate mushrooms, add grated carrots instead, or even try beef or lamb instead of chicken.  The possibilities are numerous. Let me know how you get on.

Ingredients

Early Prep stage

1-2 Chicken breasts

1-2 cups of jasmine rice (uncooked measurement)**

½ cup of black rice (uncooked measurement)

Olive oil

Chicken stock cube

a pinch of salt

*Double amount cups of water to jasmine rice used

Remaining ingredients

1-2 tbsps olive oil (or sesame oil if you can find)

1 onion (finely chopped)

2 spring onions (finely chopped)

2-3 red and green peppers (finely chopped)

A handful of mushrooms (finely chopped)

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

A handful of peas (cooked – I used tinned ones)

400g of prawns (make sure completely defrosted if using frozen)

2 eggs (beaten)

1-2 tsps of Chinese Five Spice

1 tbsp oyster sauce

Hot chilli sauce (optional)

Method

Early Prep stage

Cooking white rice

Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan and one chicken stock cube. Heat over a medium heat for 30 seconds before adding the jasmine rice. Stir the rice around in the oil for a couple of minutes, adding a pinch of salt.  Add the required amount of water* and gently stir.  Place the lid on the pan, turn the heat down to the lowest point and allow to cook until all the water has been absorbed or the rice is cooked. (approx 25-30 minutes)

Cooking black rice

Boil approximately a litre of water in the kettle.  Place the black rice in a saucepan, add the water and boil over a low heat until cooked.  **Black rice usually takes a bit longer to cook than white rice.  Strain any excess water and allow to cool.

Cooking the chicken

Place the chicken breast(s) in enough cold water to cover them and cook on the hob over a low heat until cooked through.  Remove from the water, allow to cool then cut into small cubes.

                            ***Keep chicken and rice in the fridge once cooled until needed***

 

Cooking your fried rice dish

You need to put a large, clean bowl next to your cooker.

Place about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a wok over a medium heat. Toss in the onions, spring onions and peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes. Now add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for a few minutes more.  Remove from the wok and place in the clean bowl.

Without cleaning the wok, add a little more oil and fry the prawns until cooked. Add the prawns to the bowl along with the onion mixture.

Now once again add a little more oil and fry the egg mixture.  Add to the bowl.

Put the oyster sauce and the Chinese five spice in the wok along with the jasmine rice.  Stir continuously over a medium/high heat.

Add the black rice, cooked chicken and peas. Now add all the other ingredients from the bowl and mix well for a few minutes more.

You can add hot chilli sauce, salt and pepper as you prefer.

Serve immediately in large bowls.

Additional information

*1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water

**Alternatively use left over cooked rice from the day before

 

Posted in Fish, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, spicy, Uncategorized

Hamsi Chilli Ramen – a Turkish twist to an Eastern Asian dish…

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We like anchovies, fried in the traditional Turkish way, and you generally buy them by the kilo meaning you end up eating them for days when there are only 2 of you.  So I came up with an alternative by using another favourite dish of ours, Chicken Ramen, an Eastern Asian dish, and substituted the chicken with the left over fried anchovies.  Then I changed the recipe a tiny bit more and this is what I created…

Ingredients

Fried Anchovies (amount depends on number of people)

1 boiled egg (per person)

1 square of dried Chinese egg noodles (per person)

Boiling water (for noodles)

1 tbsp Olive oil

100 g sliced mushrooms

1 litre fish stock (or chicken if you can’t find fish) (you may need extra  if more people)

4 tsps Thai red curry paste (2 for stock and 2 for sauce)

2 tsps hot chilli sauce

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 green and 1 red pepper (deseeded and chopped)

1 spring onion (sliced)

A bunch of fresh coriander

1 carrot (grated)

1 slice red onion (per person)

1 wedge of lemon (per person)

Fiery hot pepper (optional)

Preparation

Place noodles in a saucepan and cover with just enough boiling water to cover them.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes or until soft.  Set aside.

Fry the mushrooms in the olive oil for approximately 5 minutes or until cooked.

In a saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer the chicken stock and 2 tsps of the Thai red curry paste.

Now for the Ramen chilli sauce, mix the remaining 2 tsps of Thai red curry paste, the oyster sauce, chilli sauce and the sugar.

To serve

In a deep bowl put a spoon of Ramen chilli sauce in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon some noodles on top of the sauce then spoon in the broth.  Lay the spring onions, chopped peppers, grated carrot, fried mushrooms and the slice of red onion on top of the noodles.  Slice the boiled egg in half and lay this along with the fish, lemon, coriander and chilli pepper by the side of the other vegetables.  Salt and pepper as preferred.

It may sound complicated, but most of the effort is spent in arranging the food in the bowl.

Notes

If you are a lover of spicy food, feel free to add more Thai red curry paste and hot chilli sauce.

As I said, I used leftover fried anchovies.  If making from scratch then, anchovies were cleaned, sliced in half, placed belly to belly then coated in flour and fried on either side until golden.

Posted in Beef Dishes, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine

Thai Beef Curry

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Nothing like a nice tangy curry on a chilly evening.  The thing I love about curry is you can basically throw any left over vegetables in it.  So if you have any carrots, spinach or the like, don’t be afraid to throw them in too.  And for those vegetarians of you out there, just leave out the beef and replace with your favourite vegetables.

Ingredients

500g Beef (cut in thin strips)

1 large onion (chopped)

1 Green Bell Pepper (cut in strips)

1 Red Bell Pepper (cut in strips)

1 Yellow Bell Pepper (cut in strips)

A few mushrooms (sliced)

1 small tin pineapple pieces

2-3 Spring onions (roughly chopped)

A handful of fresh corriander (chopped)

1 tsp cumin (ground)

Salt and pepper (as preferred)

About 3-4 teaspoons Thai curry paste (Green or Red)

About half a glass of white wine

3 tbsp double cream

About 125 ml milk

1-2 tbsps flour

1-2 tbsps Olive oil

Method

Fry the beef strips in olive oil, turning until browned. Add one of the teaspoons of curry paste and mix with the beef, then remove to a seperate bowl.

Fry the onions and peppers.  After a few minutes add the mushrooms, spring onions, pineapple and corriander. Return the beef to the pan.

Now add the remainer of the curry paste, the cumin and flour and stir for almost a minute until flour has disappeared.  Pour in the wine and let it simmer for a few minutes, stirring occaisionally.  Now add the milk and cream and cook for a few minutes, until it starts to bubble then turn down on low to simmer so that the juices reduce to leave a thick creamy sauce.  Salt and pepper as preferred.

Suggestion

Serve with either Basmati or Jasmine rice.

Also try my recipes for onion bahji and naan bread.