Tag Archives: malaysian

Malaysian spiced green bean salad

27 Sep

Malaysian spiced green bean salad

Last week my husband and I went on our first date together in over a year.

malaysian green bean salad by Deena Kakaya

It has been a momentous month since the last recipe I shared. We attended the weddings of two cousins; smiling, colour-clad, swung between nostalgia and envisaging the future and all the while joyfully exhausted. My uniformed baby started nursery school and the first day was full of new and unanticipated juxtapositions; flowing tears, knots of loss, wholesome growth and untainted pride. My new baby nephew arrived, perfect and scrumptiously complete. The husband travelled to Kuwait and India, whilst I juggled a new phase of life with ending a continuous stretch of lectures since the start of the year. We planned new developments with our home and made many new friends with a whole different mind-set and outlook, but we share a common thread. I learned to be honest enough and let go of doing things that don’t bring me joy and well, we went on a date.

How possibly could it feel so peculiar to not be ‘mumma’ for a couple of hours? To talk to my husband without, ‘mum I need to ask you a question’ or to hold hands without a possessive boy intervening and stealing my hand? To have actual conversation about what we had read, observed or interesting conversations we’d had through the week? To smile, without having to request crayons in the restaurant or just very simply, to look at each other.

To the many colours of life, and the many colours of us; to trying to balance and well – letting something, one thing overcomes the rest. To my green bean salad in a loud and Malaysian spiced curry paste with juicy and succulent tomatoes and nutty topping. To smiling to it all.

Ingredients to serve 3-4 as a side salad

250g green beans

2 golden beetroot, peeled and grated

150g mixed baby plum tomatoes, halved.

3 tbsp. desiccated coconut

3 tbsp. almonds

For the curry paste

1 medium sized pink onion

1 tbsp. lemongrass puree

½ tbsp. galangal or ginger

4-5 dried red chillies, soaked in warm water

150ml coconut milk

½ tsp. ground turmeric

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 stick of cinnamon

2 tbsp. tamarind paste

Salt to taste

The juice of half a lime

1 tsp. tomato puree (optional)

2 tbsp. sesame oil

Method

  1. Blitz together the onion, chillies, turmeric, tomato paste, lemongrass and galangal, into a smooth paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, and then add the paste. On a gentle flame cook the paste until the oil rises to the top.
  3. Now stir in the kaffir lime leaves, tamarind paste, coconut milk, and cinnamon, salt to taste and bring the paste to a simmer. Squeeze in the lime juice and simmer for approximately 20minutes on a low-medium flame until the paste is reduced, thick, aromatic and lightly browned.
  4. Simmer the green beans in boiling water for about 4 minutes and then drain them and rinse them in cold water.
  5. Toast the coconut and flaked almonds until they catch a light golden colour and then remove them from the heat.
  6. Once the paste is cooked, turn off the heat and combine it evenly with the green beans.
  7. Layer the salad with the spiced green beans, tomatoes, gold beetroot and the almonds and coconut. Make sure to serve and enjoy it warm.

 

Quorn rendang curry

26 Jul

Quorn rendang curry by Deena Kakaya

As children, we knowingly grew up with and revelled in some food traditions.  During the week we typically had one ‘green’ curry which was something like okra, cluster beans or spinach for example with a lentil or pulse based dish and of course abundant chapatti and rice with, salad and pickles on the side.   When my aunts visited, we knew dad would go out and buy bright orange and sticky sweet spirals of jalebi, fluffy and lightly sour rice and lentil cakes of dhokla and all the children got bounty chocolate bars at the end. There were potato and cassava dishes for celebratory fasting days and summers full of steaming hot, spiced rice flour dough which puffed aromas of chillies as we lay the poppadum’s made with that very dough onto sheets of unused saris in the garden. On Thursdays we had hot, buttery Khichdi made of simmered down rice and lentils with potato curry, Kadhi and crisp poppadum’s. On Fridays, dad made proper chips after chopping and lightly boiling thick cuts of potatoes and they were accompanied by fried eggs, beans or mushy peas and lashings of vinegar. It was either that or a Chinese take-away or home-made pie but goodness my brother and I loved those Friday meals.

When I started working in London things altered. Every day was a food adventure rejoicing a different cuisine of the world with my friends or colleagues. One of the things I love about London is that pretty much any cuisine I want to explore is accessible. Some of these cuisines became regular features on my home-cooking menu such as Malaysian recipes with their fresh and sprightly flavours of lemongrass, chillies and lime leaves. Over the years I have read about the fusion of cultures that influences Malaysian cooking; Malays, Chinese, Indian and apparently even Portuguese and Dutch and for me this makes it such a testament to the success that fusion food can deliver. I am shameless when it comes to slurping up bowls of fragrant Laksa but the dish that has always made me most curious is rendang curry. I think it is the thick, clinging curry sauce that just makes me swoon for vegetarian alternatives to the traditional heavy meaty-based versions of this recipe. The curry gravy reaches thrilling levels of wonderfulness when simmered for around an hour, making it unsuitable for vegetable based dishes but Quorn works well in that it just becomes tender and soaks up the flavours of the curry base over this time. I have cut back on my intake of sugar so I haven’t added brown sugar, palm sugar or any sweeteners to this recipe but what I have done is add tamarind paste and also powdered some toasted coconut to give a little touch of sweetness.  It has taken me about three attempts to get to a rendang recipe that I am happy with and I have to say, this one is just divine. I have served it with a really easy and colourful carrot salad and steaming hot rice.

for the full recipe, head on over via this link to Great British Chefs

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