Tamarind Orange Chicken (4)

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Tamarind paste may be an ingredient you are unfamiliar with but you will probably have tasted it in Asian or Indian cooking. The flavor by itself is sour so many recipes use some sort of sweetness as a counterbalance – in this case freshly squeezed orange juice zest. Tamarind paste is easily found in Asian or Indian food stores or online if it is not stocked in your local supermarket. This dish goes well with brown rice.

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite size pieces

1 onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 x 2 inch piece of ginger – grated

1 tsp. turmeric

1 can of lite coconut milk

1 1/2 tbsp. tamarind paste

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest of half and orange

Cilantro – finely chopped (enough for sprinkling over the top)

Heat oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let it just start to brown before adding the garlic, ginger and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes until you can smell the ginger then add the pieces of chicken and lightly brown.

Then stir in first the tamarind paste followed by the orange juice and zest and the coconut milk.

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro.

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Tamarind Lamb Chops on a Bed of Moroccan Vegetables (4)

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Lamb is a frequent feature in North African dishes such as stews and tagines and I have borrowed some flavors from the area – cumin, cilantro and harissa paste – to bolster this dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

4 x lamb chops drizzled with oil

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 of a large yellow onion – chopped

1 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. harissa paste

1/2 a medium size cauliflower – cut into smallish florets

6 fl. oz. water

1 x 15 oz. can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Tamarind paste – for spreading on cooked lamb chops

Place the lamb chops in oven and cook for 30 minutes.

While the chops are cooking prepare the bed of vegetables.

Heat seasoned oil in a skillet and when sizzling add onion, turn heat down a little and soften.

Add cumin, harissa paste and cauliflower florets and stir. Then pour over the water, cover skillet, bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes until cauliflower is just tender. Pour in chickpeas and cilantro and heat through.

Place vegetables on a serving dish, top with lamb chops brushed with tamarind paste.

 

Jo’s Pad Thai (serves 4)

Jo’s Pad Thai (serves 4)

My Pad Thai may not be truly authentic but it tastes good. Chopping takes a little time and would be a great thing to do with another person – husband, son or daughter or a friend (I often cook with a friend of mine when she makes dinner). The added ingredient here is my newly discovered Tamarind Paste – Neera’s Tamarind Paste, found in Whole Foods; a different brand can be found in Waitrose in the UK. I used a gluten-free soy sauce, but it does contain soy, so may not be appropriate for some of you. On top of that I added fish sauce, lime juice, ginger and extra virgin olive oil. I purposely only used one chicken breast as am trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat and increase the veg. Ideal pan is a skillet with a glass lid. Cooking time is around 15 minutes.

A 1 inch piece of ginger – peeled and finely grated

1 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. tamarind paste (not concentrate) – dissolved in 1 tbsp. of hot water

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Place all of the above in a bowl and mix together.

1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 large bunch of scallions/spring onions – finely sliced

2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped

1 chicken breast – finely sliced and cut into small pieces (so they cook quickly)

1/2 a red pepper – cut into fine strips

1 large carrot – cut into matchsticks

4 oz. thin French green beans – cut in two

4 good size broccoli florets – cut into smaller florets

4 oz. baby bella mushrooms – sliced

Heat oil in skillet and when sizzling add scallions/spring onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add chicken and sear.

Add all veg. and pour over the sauce.

Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through.