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Ultimate Pantry Essentials

Gujarati curry paste (fits a 500ml mason jar) - 1 cinnamon stick - 3 bay leaves - 1 tsp green cardamom pods - 1 tsp cloves - 1 bulb garlic, peeled - 4” fresh ginger, peeled & roughly chopped - A small handful of fresh red chillies - 3 tbsp olive oil

- 2 medium red onions, finely diced - 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped - 1 tsp turmeric powder - 1 tsp red chilli powder - 2 tsp sea salt - 2 tsp coriander-cumin powder - 1 tsp garam masala powder - 1 tbsp tomato purée - ¼ juice fresh lemon

1 First prepare the fresh ingredients, place the ginger, garlic and red chillies into a blender. Squeeze in the lemon juice and blitz into a fresh paste and set aside. 2 To make the paste, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the whole spices (green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves) and fry until they start to crackle. Once crackling carefully spoon out the whole spices using a slotted spoon and discard. (the purpose of the whole spices is to flavour the oil, keeping them in will only overpower the other ingredients, therefore losing the freshness and the subtle flavours of the paste) 3 Once the whole spices have been removed, add in the onions and gently cook until caramelised and dark brown. 4 Once caramelised, add in the fresh ginger-garlic-chilli paste and fry gently for 5 minutes. 5 Meanwhile place the tomatoes into a blender and blitz to a fine pulp and add to the onions. Add the salt, red chilli powder, cumin-coriander powder and garam masala powder and simmer on a low heat. 6 When the tomatoes begin to melt down and the oil comes to the surface of the sauce add the tomato purée and mix well. 7 Allow to cool and spoon into a mason jar and refrigerate.

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If you like to try new recipes and explore new cuisines from around the world it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole when stocking your spice rack, but lucky for you we have covered the essentials. Here are some of my essential spices, which are perfect for savoury cooking and seasoning. • Crushed red chilli pepper: Perfect for roasting meats and vegetables and especially for seasoning anything carrot or parsnip related. • Fennel seeds: Great with literally any meat or poultry dish and delicious when toasted and added to vegetable soups and stews. • Mustard seeds: Used for their poppy texture and bitterness; ideal when sauteed in butter when making in legume, rice or vegetable dish. • Garlic powder: Don’t hate the smell, it’s especially delicious in breaded mixtures for meat and fish. • Dried oregano: It is the only dried herb I will support; it is flavoursome in a yummy tomato sauce. • Chilli powder: It’s versatile and brings depth and roundness to anything you cook because a little bit goes a long way. • Coriander seeds: Incredibly fragrant, floral and flavourful - toasted or ground, coriander is a staple for me in most of my cooking with its gentle aromas. • Cumin seeds: Toasted, ground or crushed, cumin brings nutty freshness and flavour to just about everything and magnificent when paired with curry leaves. Great as a rub and ideal for anything veggy. • Cayenne: A little goes along way – my favourite way to add some heat to dishes. • Spanish Paprika: Adds colour and a sweet peppery chilli flavour bringing out sweetness, especially with tomatoes, sauces and rice dishes.

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Profile for The Beacon

Beacon Magazine Issue 73  

September/October 2016 Wedding Special - A local Leicestershire publication

Beacon Magazine Issue 73  

September/October 2016 Wedding Special - A local Leicestershire publication