Monday, March 13, 2006

THE GENIUS OF KEN HOM

Peppers are obligatory for a stir-fry, if you ask me. Carrots and cabbage are very well, but a stir-fry should appeal to the eye as well as the palate, which doesn't really make them suitable for winter. (I wonder why our winter vegetables are all similar colours?) Anyway, we managed to get some peppers from Sainsburys last week and have been making the most of them: sweet and sour vegetables on Friday, a couple of Indian dishes on Sunday.

The page in my Ken Hom book with this recipe is covered in splashes. We eat it a lot. It's great with tofu (fry before adding the veg, as it takes longer).

KEN HOM'S SWEET 'N' SOUR VEGETABLES
(serve with egg-fried rice for protein!)

Mixed vegetables, enough for two from the following: carrot strips, broccoli florets, shredded cabbage, sliced peppers, bamboo shoots.
Cashew Nuts, toasted
Tsp Sesame Oil
Groundnut Oil for frying

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
2tbsp dry sherry (or martini!)
1tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sugar
100ml vegetable stock

NB: I use a dessertspoon instead of tbsp, to reduce the quantities.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a cup. Heat the oil and stir-fry the veg, keeping it crunchy. Pour on sauce. Sizzle for a minute until the sauce is desired consistency. Serve, garnished with toasted cashews.

Sunday's Chana Massala (chickpeas) and Spicy Potatoes were more of an improvised event.

CHANA MASSALA starts with a few cloves, bay leaves, cardamom pods and cumin seeds being toasted in a pan; next add a paste of onion, garlic, chilli, 1 tomato, 2tsp tomato puree, 2tsp dried pomegranate seeds, and fry for a few minutes. Stir in chickpeas with 1tbsp cooking water, lemon juice, garam masala and fresh coriander to taste. This is best eaten at a temperature closer to body temp than boiling.

SPICY POTATOES was even more spontaneous, consisting of 1tsp mustard seeds, green chilli, half a green pepper, two cloves of garlic - finely chopped and gently fried - then some cubed, steamed potatoes, 0.5tsp turmeric, 1tsp coriander, 0.25tsp asaefotida, and salt and lemon juice to taste.