Sunday, 11 September 2011

Chicken curry coconut soup

I got back a couple days ago from a weekend in Berlin (fantastic city, go there!), followed by a busy week in Munich attending a course organized by the company I work for. It was an interesting course, focused on management and leadership. When all of us attending the course were asked what type of business they would start if they could choose, most said a restaurant or similar. Quite interesting considering we all work for a technology company...

Anyhow, the course was good, but very intense. Since coming back on Friday, I've spent most of the time lazying around in the flat, watching quality TV like Project Runway, and MasterChef. I'm seriously addicted to food TV shows, and MasterChef is a clear favourite. One of my oldest friends auditioned a couple of weeks ago for the Swedish version, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll make it.

Anyhow, in addition to watching food being cooked, I also made this soup to brighten up my lunch box for the coming week. It's got a deep smooth curry flavour, enhanced by toasting some of the spices first.

I quite often cook some of the vegetables, and/or the meat/fish/prawns to go into a soup separately. This is to avoid overcooking the vegetables. I also like it, because I think it gives the dish more layers, here the creamy curry soup with fresh lime chicken, and the kick from the vegetables fried with chili and garlic.

Chicken curry coconut soup (serves 4)
4 chicken breast fillets a' 120-150 g each
2 lime, zest and juice
0.5 ml light soy sauce
1 pinch chili flakes
1 pinch smoked paprika
1 tsp brown sugar, like light muscavado, or honey
1 garlic clove, grated

400 ml coconut milk
600 ml chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1.5 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1.5 tsp cardamon seeds
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp curry
1.5 tsp coriander
0.5 tsp turmeric
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 pinch chili flakes
2 large garlic cloves, grated
3 cm ginger, grated
1 lime, juice

1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
1 red chili, finely chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
1 large bunch of coriander, chopped
vegetable oil, like sunflower or other neutral oil
salt and pepper

Start by mixing the ingredients for the marinade. Trim and butterfly the chicken fillets, cover with the marinade, and leave for at least 15 min before cooking.

Toast fennel, cardamon, mustard, and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over high heat whilst stirring until the mustard seeds starts popping.

Grind the seeds using a pestle and mortar, and then mix with the other dry spices.

Grate the ginger and garlic cloves.

Heat up 1-2 tbsp oil in a medium-sized pot. Add the onions, all the spices, and the grated ginger and garlic. Saute on medium heat for a couple of minutes to release all the flavours from the spices.

Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, and lime juice. Simmer for 10-15 min.

While the soup is simmering, fry the chicken fillets in a frying pan. Set to the side to rest, and then slice the fillets.

Also lightly fry the peppers, tomatoes, spring onions and garlic for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the coriander.

Taste the soup and adjust if necessary by seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.

Serve the soup by pouring it into bowls, adding a handful of the pepper and tomato mix, and topping with the sliced chicken.

Enjoy :)

Steak with horseradish butter

I don't eat a lot of meat, but recently I've really been craving a good steak. I bought a couple of high quality steaks, and decided to make a seasoned butter. As I had quite a lot of horseradish left since my visit to the Borough market a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to use that. I added some mustard, capers and garlic, and wow! Seriously, this butter is SO good!

I served the steak with sauteed mushrooms and greens, and it was delicious. Sex on a plate, finger licking good, you have to try this! You won't regret it. Well, your waistline might, but hey, it's almost a year to beach 2012, right?

Steak with horseradish butter (serves 4)
4 steaks, I usually go for sirloin or rump steak, around 150 g each
100 g butter
3 tbsp grated fresh horseradish
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp capers, chopped
1 large garlic clove, grated
250 g mushrooms, quartered
1 large head of broccoli, divided into florets
400 g haricot vertes
1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
olive oil
salt and black pepper

Start by making the seasoned butter by stirring together the butter with the grated horseradish, garlic, mustard and capers. Refrigerate until served.

Take out the steaks, they should be room-tempered by the time of frying.

In a medium-sized frying pan, melt a small knob of butter, and add the mushrooms. Fry the mushrooms until golden, season with salt and pepper.

While the mushrooms are cooking, cook the green beans and broccoli florets for a couple of minutes in salted water. Drain well.

Remove the mushrooms to a side dish, cover with aluminium foil or a lid to keep warm. In the frying pan add a little olive oil and a grated garlic clove. Fry the greens with the garlic for a few minutes, and then set to the side until served.

Trim the steaks if necessary of excess fat and sinew, season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large frying pan, add a knob of butter and a little olive oil. Once the butter is browned, add the steaks. Make sure the pan is really hot, you want the steaks to fry, not boil.

Cook the steaks to your liking. I prefer medium-rare, so I usually fry 1-2 min on each side depending on thickness of the steaks, and then cover the steaks with aluminum foil or a lid for another couple of minutes to rest before serving.

Finally, serve the steaks on heated plates (I usually microwave the plates for a couple of minutes, or leave them in the oven for around 5 min at 100C) with the greens and mushrooms. Top the steaks with the frying juices and a knob of the seasoned butter.