Vegetables

Sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry

One of my sisters emailed me a recipe this week for 'Mumbai Sardine Chutney' using tinned sardines and mango chutney - and I confess my first reaction was 'YUK'! 

But she said it was much nicer than it sounded and that they had had it twice in a week as it was good value, easy and tasty.  So of course I gave it a try.  And it was all of those things.

I had some leftovers and the next night thought I'd use some mushrooms that were in the fridge to add to the sardine curry, but then decided rather than mixing it straight in I'd try making a mushroom version on its own and then combine. 

However, I found I much preferred the version made with mushroom rather than sardines!

I did find the sardine flavour a little strong for my taste, although I would have it again. In the meantime though, I've had the mushroom mango chutney curry twice more as I wanted to be completely certain that this slightly unusual sounding combination actually does go together.

And for me, it does.  I'd love to know your thoughts on this one - whether it's on the sardine or the mushroom variation! 

Let's start with the original, with the sardine curry.

For 2-3 portions, you'll need 

cooked rice or chapatis, to serve 

cooking oil 

1 small-ish white onion, chopped

1 green pepper

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp turmeric

2 bay leaves

2 x 120g tins sardines, drained 

2 tablespoons mango chutney

a handful of coriander, chopped and a little red chilli sliced, if liked (it's quite spicy anyway)

Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry
coriander and chilli.jpg

Put a little slosh of cooking oil in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and green pepper and cook over a low-medium heat until soft.  This always takes longer than I think (as I'm used to fast stir-frying!) and takes probably 5 or 6 minutes.

 
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry
 

Add the spices and bay leaves, fry for a few seconds then add the sardines and mix well.

Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry

Add a little splash of water if it's too thick, and cook for a couple of minutes until the sardines are hot through. 

Stir in the mango chutney then top with the coriander and chilli (if using) and serve with rice or warm chapatis. 

Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry

To make the mushroom, version, well, it's exactly the same ... except with mushrooms! 

I used about this many which made enough for two small chapatis (yes I ate both), so I halved the quantities of everything else, using half an onion, half a green pepper, etc.

Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry

I did add a splash of water to the mushrooms while they were cooking.

mushrooms in.jpg
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry

I also made a quick yogurt raita to have with the curry - just a very small garlic clove very finely chopped, some natural yogurt, some diced cucumber, all stirred together and drizzled with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt.

 
Rachel Redlaw sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry raita
 


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Summer roast tomatoes / roast tomato pasta

Tomatoes to me just smell of summer

I love the smell of them growing, of the stalks, of the green and ripe tomatoes both (and I'm looking forward to next weekend and having tomatoes straight from my parents' garden). 

Add oregano - and they smell like a Mediterranean summer

And roasting tomatoes with oregano has got to be one of the most languid and evocative cooking smells ever. 

So easy to do - but as with nearly everything very simple to make that relies on flavour, using the best tomatoes you can find is going to make all the difference.  I admit to just getting mine at the supermarket but I did get the tomatoes on the vine that actually smell of the fruit. 

Halve the tomatoes, cutting out the stalk if it looks a bit tough, and place on a baking tray.  Drizzle over extra-virgin olive oil, some salt and black pepper, and some dried oregano.  

Then roast in a low oven (Gas 4 / 170 degrees) for an hour.  

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

About half an in to the cooking time, they started SINGING with the smell of tomatoes and oregano, making my whole flat smell amazing!  

And that's it.  

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano
Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

Once cooked, you can use them as part of an antipasta platter, or the base of a tomato sauce for pasta or pizza.  Put them in pastry.  Have them on toast.  Eat them in a salad. Or even put them in a jar and give them as a gift. 

What I did was make a really simple pasta dish for dinner

In a frying pan I softened some chopped onion and a clove of chopped garlic over a low heat in a little olive oil, then added the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.  

No need to add extra seasoning as the tomatoes have so much flavour.  When they started to bubble I added some de-veined prawns, a few chilli flakes and some halved (and stoned) black olives.  

Right at the end, I threw in some fresh basil. 

When it was hot right through, I mixed it with pasta and served with a green salad and my favourite dressing of olive oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard. 

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

Tempted to make more today - they were so good!

Would love to hear what you make with roast tomatoes - do give them a try. 



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Viktoria's paprika potatoes / paprikas krumpli

This is a sort-of-soup that's almost a stew.  It's simple and very tasty. Filling and good value.

I love potatoes so I really liked this! 

The recipe was shared with me by my friend Viktoria and she told me that during her childhood in Hungary it was traditional to eat two courses at main meals, usually starting with a soup - often a vegetable broth or sometimes something more substantial like this.

It's made with a Hungarian dried sausage not available over here, so Viktoria suggested using chorizo or - if you prefer fresh sausage - a Polish sausage that will be more readily available would be similar.

When I told another Hungarian friend that I was making this dish she said her family make it with frankfurters - I might try those next time I make it.  

I found that the chorizo was soft as it's added at the same time as the water - this is the correct texture but it was an unusual texture for my palate.  

When I make this again (and I will), I might try frying the sausage with the onion and see how that works. 

For two, I used:    

two potatoes, peeled and diced

one onion

cooking oil

about 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika (Hungarian if you can get it, or spicy paprika if you prefer) 

a piece of dry sausage or frankfurter (just use however much you like!) 

a couple of bay leaves (I used dried but I'd like to try it with fresh too)

salt and black pepper

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Viktoria's paprika potatoes

Peel, wash and dice the potatoes, and peel and chop the onion finely.

Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a saucepan and saute the onion until soft. 

Add the paprika and mix in quickly as you don't want the paprika to burn and taste bitter.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Viktoria's paprika potatoes
 

Now tip in the diced potatoes, stir to mix and then add enough water to cover.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Viktoria's paprika potatoes
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Viktoria's paprika potatoes

Slice and add the sausage plus a couple of bay leaves and a little salt and pepper (you can adjust to taste when it's cooked and do bear in mind that the sausage is quite salty.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Viktoria's paprika potatoes
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Viktoria's paprika potatoes

Cook until potatoes are cooked, around 15 minutes.  I deliberately overcooked them a little as I'm with Viktoria on this one and prefer them quite soft in this sort of stew/soup. 

Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

So simple and really good. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Viktoria's paprika potatoes
 

She also shared with me a traditional dish for the second course to follow the paprikas krumpli and as soon as I've made it, I'll add it here too.

In the meantime, let me know what you think of the paprika potatoes! 


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Valentina's Sicilian Orange Salad

This is a really good and easy salad, another family recipe from my friend Valentina, and a traditional Sicilian dish. 

I think this would probably make enough for 4-6 people depending what you served it with.  I halved the quantities for two and it was perfect with grilled tuna steaks and my favourite tomato and onion salad.

You'll need:

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

For the dressing -

4 tablepspoons extra vergin olive oil

the juice of 1/2 lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and pepper to season

For the salad -

4 oranges

2 fennel bulbs

approx 60g black olives

1/2 white onion

Make the dressing first by mixing all the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper) in a bowl.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

Even though I halved the salad quantities and the olive oil, I still put in this much lemon juice as I like it really lemon-y so do taste and adjust as you like. 

Set aside while you prepare the salad. 

Peel and segment the oranges, removing all pith then slice or halve as you prefer, but do cut them gently to try to keep the juice within the orange pieces rather than all over the bowl.

Slice the onion and fennel bulbs in very thin slices and add the olives.

Add the orange pieces and combine gently, then add the dressing and toss with clean hands so that everything is coated and thoroughly mixed.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

It will keep in the fridge for a day or so, but is best eaten fresh.  It was deliciously summery with grilled tuna steaks and I'll be having it with steak soon too.

If you make this I'd love to know what you eat it with so do let me know in the comments below.



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Valentina's mushroom risotto

This is the best, most delicious risotto I've ever made, all thanks to my friend Valentina sharing her family recipe.  

When she talked me through how to make this, we also chatted about family, food and memories - if you'd like to know more then head over here

But if you 'just' want this gorgeous recipe, then here's what you need to make the most beautiful mushroom risotto for two.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

half a 25g packet of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

extra virgin olive oil

1/4 onion, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

a selection of mushrooms -  I used about 8 white and chestnut mushrooms 

1/4 onion

2 garlic cloves

salt

1 vegetable stock cube (I used chicken as I didn't have a veggie one) made into stock with 1 litre of boiling water

about 3/4 cup risotto rice

2 tablesppons grated fresh parmigiano cheese

3 teaspoons mushroom concentrate (optional)

1 tablespoon double cream 

salt and black pepper, to season

chopped fresh parsley to serve

Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for 20 minutes. 

Put a saucepan over a low heat, add some extra virgin olive oil and tip in the onion and garlic plus a pinch of salt.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

Cook over a low heat for around ten minutes until soft or, as Valentina says, until 'it makes gold' (but not brown, you don't want them browned). 

In the meantime, chop the fresh mushrooms into small pieces.

When the onions and garlic are soft, add the mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking on a low heat, stirring every now and then. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

After the mushrooms have been cooking for around 10-15 minutes, add one ladle of the stock and stir in.

Now add the risotto rice - the rice will absorb the little water that comes from the mushrooms so you need to stir constantly for the first 30 seconds. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

Then slowly add another ladle of the stock and keep stirring so the rice doesn't burn.

Now strain the dried mushrooms, add and again, stir in.

All you need to do now is add a ladle of stock at a time and stir until it is absorbed.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

Continue doing this until the rice is creamy and all the water absorbed.  You might not need the full litre of stock or you might need to add a little more water.  

It's going to take quite a while, perhaps 20 minutes, so you do just have to take it slowly, be patient and surrender to the whole long beautiful process of making a risotto. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

When the rice is creamy and just before you turn off the heat, add two tablespoons of grated Parmigiano cheese, three teaspoons of mushroom concentrate ( if you have it) and one tablespoon of double cream. 

Stir to combine, turn off the heat, season to taste and serve your risotto with a little chopped parsley. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

PS. I have a confession.  

I've made this twice now - both times I was home on my own and once I thought I'd leave a portion for the bf to have when he got home and the other time i thought I'd take the other half in to work for lunch the next day.  

On both occasions, full though I was, I ended up eating the (big) second portion that same night ... oops.

So beware! Only make this when you have all the people needed to finish it, or lots of willpower.

Because this is DELICIOUS.



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Mango, chilli and lime lettuce cups

I was making larb recently for a Tiniest Thai lunch and really needed a vegetarian version, so found this recipe online, but didn't want to use the pastry cases suggested so - as with the larb - I prefer this served in lettuce 'cups'.  

Just mix together the following and spoon into little gem lettuce leaves to serve.  

1 mango, diced

1 red chilli, diced

½ red onion, diced

handful coriander leaves, chopped

the juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (if you want to make your own, try my recipe here)

This will make enough for about 15-20 cups. Only make it about an hour before you need it though as it will go soggy otherwise!

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mango chilli lime cups


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2 great condiments to liven up vegetables ...

... and the best 'Zen lunch' guaranteed to do the same for me.

A lovely toasty sesame salt to sprinkle over plain rice, green vegetables, roast chicken and more. And a really good easy soy and sesame sauce that is great on plain steamed veg.

First, the sesame salt, which will keep for a week or two in an airtight container.

All you need is:

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder condiments for veg

Heat a frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the sesame seeds and salt and toast until golden brown, stirring or shaking the pan constantly. It will take maybe five minutes.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder condiments for veg

If you've got more time, the flavour will be even better drawn out more slowly, toasted over a very low heat for perhaps 10-15 minutes.

Once toasted, crush in a mortar or grind in a spice mill and transfer to a jar.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder condiments for veg

The lovely soy and sesame sauce is even easier and you need just these few store cupboard ingredients:

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (if you only have light soy then stir in a teaspoon of brown sugar to dissolve before using)

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

4 teaspoons white or rice vinegar

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder condiments for veg

Mix it all together in a bowl. Any left over will keep covered in the fridge for a few days.

And then - for me today - it all comes together in one restorative, soothing 'Zen lunch' of steamed rice and broccoli with the sauce spooned over and topped with some sesame salt.

All is well.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder condiments for veg


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Burmese spicy cabbage

Healthy, detox-y, budget-y and delicious spicy Burmese cabbage.

Not Thai (obviously), and not really my recipe either - I found it online and have since adapted it but I think it's originally from one of the Leon cookbooks.  However, this is way too good not to share, and it's great to eat this time of year.  Clearly I'm not on a detox (should have moved that glass of red out of shot!) but I am on a budget and wanting to eat vegetables and clean, spicy flavours after all the festive gorging on rich foods.

This will serve four as a side dish -  I love it just with plain grilled or roasted chicken, but it would also be good as a main course in its own right served with rice.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Burmese cabbage

approx 400g of any cabbage

1/2 - 1 red chilli (a normal one, not a birds eye one!)

a piece of ginger

2-3 cloves of garlic

a few spring onions

around 50g roasted peanuts (or add toasted flaked almonds right at the end)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon fish sauce

100 ml hot water

juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons cooking oil

coriander leaves or, like me, the coriander stalks that I had leftover in the fridge

1. Slice the cabbage thinly and chop the red chilli

2. Chop the spring onions, garlic, ginger and peanuts and set aside in a bowl (they all go in at the same time).  I also added the chopped coriander stalks, but if you have leaves these will go in later

3. Pour 100ml hot water into a measuring jug and add the turmeric, stirring until smooth, then add the lemon juice and fish sauce

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Burmese cabbage

4. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the cabbage and chilli

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Burmese cabbage

5. After 2-3 minutes when the cabbage has just started to wilt, add the spring onions, ginger, garlic and peanuts (and coriander stalks if using) and cook for a further 2-3 minutes

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Burmese cabbage

6. Pour in the liquid and cook for a couple of minutes more and if you are using coriander leaves, add these right at the end of the cooking time

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Burmese cabbage

7. Taste and add another squeeze of lemon at the end if it needs it

DELICIOUS!

 
Rachel Redlaw Burmese cabbage
 

If you try this recipe, do let me know what you think.



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No Name

Yes, it really is called No Name.  I believe it was originally just an at-home concoction to use up leftovers, and when it found its way onto the menus of beachside bars and restaurants, it was listed as No Name.

These little vegetable fritters may have started life as leftovers, but they are very tasty in a bubble-and-squeak or pakora sort of way. Great as snacks or starters.

I’ve never come across a recipe for No Name, but having a craving this evening, I thought I’d try to make some.  This is a bit of an experiment and while I’m fairly pleased with the outcome, I really would love to know what you think  – from No Name authorities and first-timers alike!

Any leftover cooked vegetable should work well, but never having leftovers, I’m making it (up) from scratch …

To make around 15 small fritters

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder No Name

1/4 cabbage

1 carrot

1 mushroom

2 spring onions

1 clove of garlic

1 green chilli

small handful of coriander

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp cornflour

2.5 tbsp plain flour

coriander leaves to garnish, and chilli sauce to serve

Put a pan of water on to boil, and chop the cabbage, carrot and mushroom into small pieces.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder No Name

Chop the spring onions, garlic, chilli and coriander and put into a mixing bowl.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder No Name

Boil the cabbage, carrot and mushroom for five minutes, drain and leave to cool.

Add all the other ingredients to the mixing bowl.  With hindsight it might have been more elegant to have sifted the flours and baking powder together first – but I didn’t do this and it worked out ok.

Add the cooled cooked vegetables and mix well.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder No Name

Heat a wok or frying pan and add quite a lot of oil to – almost – deep fry.

When very hot, add spoonfuls of the mixture straight into the pan to form separate patties and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and crisp (turning really carefully as all that oil will spit as I now know to my cost).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder No Name

Drain and blot well on kitchen paper and then eat still very hot, with some sweet or spicy chilli sauce.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder No Name

Oh, and a side order of sand underfoot … beautiful dark sea all around … a big big sky … the squid fishing boats’ lights bright on the horizon … and a cold beer Chang would be great.

No Name, your name is Nostalgia.



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