It may be the lead up to Christmas but that doesn’t mean that the only food you can eat is mince pies with brandy butter or turkey and stuffing sandwiches.
Keep being adventurous in the kitchen and keep a few recipes like this up your sleeve. Your dinner party guests would be thrilled to be given something light and gently spiced for dinner rather than the hefty carb loaded food that we all insist on eating this time of year.
Don’t you find that you never quite feel hungry most of December? I’m basically exhausted and longing for the eating to stop, but can’t quite say no to all the delicious canapés being handed round, and have slightly given up trying to be good. Frankly no one wants a salad in December! So here are my ‘salads’ of the curry world that are low in fat, full of flavour, textures and bring a satisfying warmth to your supper.
(ok this looks like a long list, but you will notice in all my food I end up using very similar ingredients and once you have them then it’s easy!) My tip is, go to the ‘world food’ sections in supermarkets, there you will find large bags of herbs and spices for a fraction of the price you would pay in the salt and pepper aisle. The variety is also fantastic.
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp turmeric
half tsp chilli flakes
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
2 large handfuls spinach
1 red pepper
1 tin 400ml coconut milk
800 ml chicken stock
half a lime juice
half a lemon juice (or one stick of lemon grass bashed up)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
200g rice noodles
250 g of cooked chicken (I poached a small chicken and shredded)
In a frying pan toast the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds on a low heat for about 5 minutes, then put into a pestle and mortar and crush into a fine sand consistency.
Crush your garlic and finely grate the ginger into a large deep frying pan or sauce pan and gently fry with a little oil stirring constantly. Then add the toasted spices, chilli, turmeric and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk gradually, mixing as you pour. Once this has combined add the sugar, juices, fish sauce and stock.
Let this simmer with the lid off for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and taste. If you find not quite salty enough then add the soy sauce. At this stage put your dry rice noodles in a large bowl. Pour over boiling water and leave for 5 minutes.
Shred the chicken if not done so already and add with the finely chopped peppers and spinach into the broth and place the lid on till bubbling and the spinach has wilted. Drain your noodles and divide up into large bowls then ladle the chicken broth over the top. Serve with chopped coriander leaves and a wedge of lime.