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Fried Rice (Indonesian)

14 Aug

In Indonesia this dish would be called Nasi Goreng. It is one of the most popular family or street foods, almost a national dish, often eaten for breakfast, made from left-overs from the night before and found on most Indonesian or malay restaurant menues in the west. The Chinese brought their fried rice dishes to Indonesia, where they adapted to local tastes; the Indonesians cook this dish in woks but it tends to be spicier and flavoured by their sweet sticky Kecap Manis. This is a great dish, adaptable to whatever you have available, and can be made with meat, shellfish, poultry, offal or kept clean and simple with no animal products at all. The only essential ingredient is cold cooked rice making it a useful way to use left-overs and an easy to prepare breakfast or delicious packed lunch.

  • Cold cooked long grain rice
  • green or spring onions
  • garlic
  • Seasoning Ketjap Manis (a sweet soy sauce and speciality of Indonesia)
  • vegetable use whatever is in season, green beans, long beans, runner beans, asparagus, chinese greens, peppers, carrots, fennel, corn, peas, mushrooms
  • protein you can use fried tofu, peanuts, chicken, prawn, pork or sausage.
  • Additional flavouring use dried prawns whole or powdered or prawn paste.

Toppings Serve with fresh vegetables such as; cucumber, cherry tomatoes, peppers or green onions and comdiments such as crispy fried onions and sambal olek (chilli paste), you can also serve topped with shredded egg omelet or hard boiled eggs.


Cooks Note If you don’t have Katjap Mannis you can make a similar product by mixing soy sauce with sugar, and a little miso paste, garlic and chinese 5 spice) or just use soy sauce and a little sugar.


Lemon Rice (Indian)

11 Sep

Basmatti rice is one of my favourite types of rice, I love the fragrant taste and it is strong enough to take all kinds of seasoning and re-cooking. In this method the rice is first cooked with salt and turmeric and then cooked for a second time with a final fry of mustard seeds, curry leaves and cashew nuts and finally seasoned with lemon juice and lemon zest. It can be cooked in one go or the basic rice can be re-cooked with seasoning making this a great left-overs recipe.

  • 1 cup Basmatti rice
  • salt
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • small handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 lemon

Wash the rice in several changes of water and put in a pan with one and a half times the volume of water and slat to taste. I usually use a little cup that i know makes just enough for 2. Bring to a brisk boil then turn down the heat and cover, tightly and cook the rice for 10 minutes.

When the rice is cooked do not lift the lid but set the rice aside for a further 7-10 minutes to continue cooking in its own steam. Remove the cover after 7 minutes and lightly fork over the rice, cover again for 3 mins if it is still a little hard. The rice is now ready for the next stage. It can be served as it is or seasoned following this recipe or you can let it cool and save it for later.


heat a little oil in a small pan and add the cashews, mustard seed and curry leaves when the mustard seeds start to crackle tip into the rice and gently mix in along with the juice and the zest of the lemon, as much or as little as you like.

Fried Rice, Tofu & Vegetables

7 Oct

This is a wonderful hearty dish of fried brown rice with seasonal vegetables and oriental seasonings. Perfect with aubergines, peppers and long beans but works equally well with courgettes, french beans, carrots and peppers.
Serves 2

  • 2 portions of cooked brown rice
  • 1 small cake tofu, cubed
  • 1 small aubergine, cubed
  • handful green or long beans, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Handful beansprouts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried seaweed salad (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


  • 2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (optioanl)
  • 1/4 – 1 tsp chilli flakes/powder to taste
  • pinch sugar

Mix up the sauce and prepare all the ingredients, set aside ready to use. Put a large pan or wok over a high flame and add a thin layer of oil. Add the aubergines and tofu, stir and fry until the cubes start to turn golden then add the beans, stir-fry for 1 minute then add the garlic, onion, pepper and dried seaweed. Fry until the beans are cooked but still bright green with some bite. Add the rice and sesame seeds, stir and fry until warmed through then add the sauce and bean sprouts, stir and cook for a further minute then serve.

Recipe Source
Devised and tested in my kitchen using seasonal vegetables from our garden and larder ingredients.

Cumin Spiced Rice

29 Aug

This is a delicious way of cooking basmati rice, with plenty of garlic and just a hint of Indian spices. It is great served with simply cooked vegetables, curries, grilled chicken or even on its own with a yogurt relish or Indian sauce such as Tomato Pachadi on the side.

Serves 6-8 Prep 7 min cook 10 min + 10 min resting
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 small pieces of cinnamon bark
400ml basmati rice
600ml stock (chicken or vegetable) or water
1/2 tsp black pepper coarsely ground (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric

Wash the rice and drain in a sieve. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large heavy pan with a tight fitting lid. When hot drop in the cumin seeds. As soon as they begin to change colour add the garlic, salt, pepper and cinnamon stir and fry for a few seconds then add the rice. Stir and fry until the rice becomes opaque and the garlic is aromatic. Pour in the stock or water and add the turmeric, stir once and bring quickly to the boil. Cover tightly, turn the heat down and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave covered for a further 10 minutes, this allows the rice to plump up in the steam and finish cooking.

Variation Mix in some cooked broad beans to make a heartier pilaf.

This recipe was originally posted on on 29/8/2007.

Corn Chips

23 Aug

Corn chips are a wonderful snack food, little crisp triangles of ground corn. I remember making them as a student in Glasgow; corn chips and a hot chilli sauce were our flat’s party piece but I hadn’t made them for at least 20 years. I recently bought a packet of corn or tortilla chips in our local supermarket and was so disgusted by the list of crap they contained I just had to start making them again myself to go with all the Tomato Chilli Salsa I’ve bottled. If you make them yourself they are a healthy snack and simple to make.

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp of oil (corn, grape seed or sunflower)
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

Fill a cup with cornmeal and pour into a mixing bowl. Using the same cup fill, to just under 3/4 with hot water add the oil and salt stir and stir into the cornmeal. Work the mixture well, with a metal spoon, until it is well mixed. Leave to rest for 10 – 15 minutes or so, while the oven is heating. You should have a soft pliable dough that comes away clean from the bowl. Dump the ball of dough onto a sheet of aluminium foil, roughly press out with your fingers, then put another layer of foil over the top and roll out. The tin foil stops the paste from sticking and allows the paste to be rolled out thinly without breaking. If the ball is two large divide in two and roll out in two batches. Peel the top layer of foil away and score the dough into biscuit sizes then lift the sheet and place on a baking tray. Bake in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes until the chips are crisp and golden.

Cook’s Tip
The measurements here are in cups. Just a teacup, it doesn’t matter what size the cup is as the ratio that matters. Here in France I’ve used the kind of cornmeal normally used for making polenta, semoule moyenne, or medium ground.

Lamb Biryani

22 Aug

This is a fast and tasty way of making a meat and rice dish using the leftovers from a roast leg of lamb. I love Biryani, but it can be a complicated affair to make, with this method it is only slightly more complicated that making boiled rice yet it tastes fantastic. Perfect with Tomato Pachadi or Raita (Sweet Mint Yogurt) or make a heartier meal of it and serve with greens such as Kashmiri Style Greens or with a vegetable curry such as Cauliflower & Potato Curry.

100-200g shoulder or leg of lamb, removed from the bone cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic
2 cm piece of ginger, peeled
seeds from 6 green cardamom pods
pinch coarse sea salt
1 tsp home made garam masala
2 tbsp natural thick yogurt

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, minced
1 large green chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 large cup of basmatti rice
1.5 large cups hot lamb stock

grated lemon zest
coriander leaf

Pound the first five marinade ingredients together in a large pestle and mortar to make a paste, stir in the yogurt , and pour over the lamb, stir to coat well and leave to infuse while you do the rest. Wash the rice and leave to soak in warm water. Meanwhile heat a little oil in a large saucepan and throw in the cumin seeds after a few seconds throw in the onion and chilli stir and fry for a minute or so. Drain the rice and add stir and fry until it turns opaque, add the lamb and its marinade stir well and cook for 1 minute then add the hot stock cover and cook for 10 minutes. Leave covered for another 10minutes, then fluff up the rice with a fork and stir in coriander leaf and a little lemon zest and its ready.

Cooks Note Once in a while we have a roast leg of lamb as a special treat and there is always some lamb left on the bone. That is unless we have Yorkshire wallers staying with us, in which case not only will the bones be bare but we’ll have to referee the wrestling match over the bone -:)  Anyway these last bits of meat are fairly undercooked and are perfect for this dish, so if you do have any pickings after the Sunday roast then it is well worth using them to make this dish, and the bone can be boiled up to make a wonderful cooking stock for the rice.

Asparagus & Cashew Pullao

10 Apr

I had some left over cooked basmati rice a while back and I wanted to make something fresh and delicious with it, this is what I came up with. It worked beautifully with this seasons fresh asparagus and made a perfect foil for the many Indian style pickles and chutneys I make.

* 1 medium onion
* 3-4 spears asparagus, cut into bite size pieces.
* 1 tbsp desiccated coconut (optional)
* handful of cashew nuts
* 1 tsp mustard seeds
* 1/2 tsp masala powder (cardamom seed, cumin, salt, black pepper, clove)
* 1/4 tsp turmeric
* chilli powder to taste
* 3 cups basmati rice, cooked
* 1 fresh green chilli, thinly sliced
* Fresh green herbs coriander, mint and garlic chives.

Make the masala powder and set aside. Peel and dice the onion. Put a little vegetable oil in a large wide pan and add the onion. Fry until starting to colour then add the asparagus and fry for a minute or two. Add the coconut, cashews, all the spices and fry for a few more minutes. Add the fresh chilli, cooked rice and stir well to mix. Stir in the fresh herbs and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or a yogurt sauce and an Indian style pickle. See Indian Recipes

The ingredients can be varied to use whatever vegetables are in season, in the summer months it works equally well with batons of fried courgette. For those who are fond of seafood this dish is absolutely delicious with some cooked crab meat stirred through it before serving.

This recipe was originally posted on on 10/04/2009.

Spiced Rice & Lentils

21 Feb

This is a great vegetarian rice dish. It is protein rich and makes a great accompaniment to all kinds of Indian vegetable dishes. As always rice is cooked in ratio to water so the simplest way is to measure the rice in a glass or cup, no matter what size so long as everything is in proportion.

Serve this rice with a spicy sauce such as Tomato Chatni and a dry vegetable dish such as Chard & Potato Curry or Spicy Green Beans with Coconut or you could serve it with a light meat dish such as Spring Chicken & Spinach Curry

* 11/2 cups basmati rice
* 1/2 cup split hulled yellow mung beans
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tsp cumin seeds
* 12 curry leaves
* 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tsp salt
* 3 cups water

Measure out the rice and lentils and wash in warm water until the water runs clear and not cloudy. Cover with water and set aside to soak for 20 mins. In a large heavy pan heat the oil and add the cumin seeds as soon as they start to crackle add the curry leaves and black pepper stir and very quickly add the drained rice and lentils. Stir for several minutes to roast the rice and lentils and to mix them well with the seasoning. Add the water and turn the heat up high. When it begins to boil lower the heat, cover and cook without lifting the lid for 10 minutes. Quickly check that all the water has gone, replace the lid tightly and leave covered for a further 10 minutes to finish cooking in its own steam.

This recipe was originally posted on on 21/2/2007.

Rachel’s Yellow Rice

8 Jan

This is a great way of cooking basmati rice, loads of flavour, lovely luminous yellow colour and it goes well with any Indian dish; lentil, fish, vegetable or meat. This is Rachel’s favourite rice dish and in our house it’s an exact science, we always cook it the same way and always use basmati rice.

* 1 tbsp Oil
* 1 onion, minced
* 1 clove garlic
* 6 green cardamon pods
* 1 stick cinnamon
* 4 cloves
* 2 cups basmati rice
* 1 tsp turmeric
* 1/2 – 1tsp salt
* 3 cups water

Wash the rice in several changes of water and leave to drain. Use a large heavy bottom pan with a tight fitting lid. Fry the whole spices in the oil for 30 seconds then add the onion and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the rice, stir and roast slightly before adding the turmeric, salt to taste and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover tightly and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, but keep the lid on, and set aside, for another 10 minutes, to finish cooking in the steam.

Cook’s Tip
If using another variety of rice cooking time and quantity of liquid required may vary.

This recipe was originally posted on on 8/1/2008.

Chicken & Pepper Soup

4 Jan

This is a fantastic tasting yet simple soup. The flavours are complex enough to merit serving it as a starter for a formal meal you can also add a handful of rice to make a complete meal out of it.

Serves 4
* 4 chicken wings
* 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
* 2 bay leaves
* 1.5 litres water
* 4 large red peppers
* sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
* handful fresh mint leaves chopped
* handful fresh basil leaves chopped
* handful of white rice, optional
Preheat oven to 250c. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and lay cut side down on an oven tray. Bake for about 30 minutes or until they are soft and the pepper skins start to blister. Remove from the oven and place in plastic bag, leave to cool, remove the skins and slice into thin strips, set aside along with any remaining juice. Wash the chicken wings and place in a large pan with the water, 2 bay leaves and the onion. Boil for 1 hour to make the soup stock. Strain, reserve the chicken wings, and discard the onion and bay leaves. Put the strained stock back into a clean pan along with the peppers and their juice, if adding the rice add now and simmer for 20 minutes. Pick over the chicken wings and add the chicken meat and fresh herbs cook for a few more minutes then serve.