Featured in our egg feature in this newsletter, this is one of Japan’s greatest comfort foods, much loved by children and adults alike. The name literally translates as ‘parent and child bowl’, due to the chicken and eggs being used in the same dish. It is quick and easy, perfect for lunch or a light supper, and is a really authentic taste of Japan.
This lovely veggie dish (itself a rarity in meat-loving Spain) is from Andalucia, heavily influenced by North Africa. The tang of capers and apple vinegar is balanced by a little sugar, and the dish is seasoned with coriander, cumin and paprika. It is best to keep the cauli crunchy, and the dish can be enjoyed cold as well as hot, for example as part of a salad buffet. Sweet, sour and aromatic, this is a real treat!
The meatball is available on pretty much every tapas menu in Spain, but the quality varies enormously – this version is one we enjoyed in Jerez de la Frontera, and is different first because the size of the meatball is, well, big, and second because it is just totally delicious. It is hearty enough to be served as a main course with a few chips, if you allow two meatballs a head, but of course it is also great as part of a tapas spread. The two elements (meatball and sauce) can be prepared ahead of time and then reheated either in a pan or in the oven (better, but be careful the dish doesn’t dry out) when it is time to eat. The smoked paprika is the key player in making this sauce truly delicious.
Recently spotted in Singapore on the menu of a certain large hamburger operation is the Rendang Burger, which we think is an excellent idea. Reports claim that the corporate version is very tasty indeed, but it won't be as tasty as this! We've used our handmade Rendang blend combined with extra coconut, lemon grass and crispy fried onions to recreate that deep, aromatic and spicy rendang flavour. Build your burger with an Asian slaw, and forget the ketchup - this one needs to be topped with your favourite chilli sauce for the ultimate flavour. In Malaysia or Singapore, this would always be garnished with a fried egg (so many things are in that part of the world!), feel free to go native should you desire.
Goulash is the go-to stew of central and eastern Europe, a simple dish of meat cooked slowly with heaps of brick-red Hungarian sweet paprika as the main seasoning. The recipe differs slightly from country to country, and it is usually made with beef. But for a touch of luxury veal is often used, and this is the version we really like. Veal if carefully sourced is a wonderful meat, milder in flavour and more tender than beef. We recommend our friends at Ginger Pig butcher in Borough Market for the very best veal, and this is one of the most delicious things you can do with it. Goulash goes really well with buttered tagliatelle-type noodles, but rice or potatoes are good too.
One of the most popular noodle treats of all, this dish originated in China and was a streetfood - 'Dan Dan' refers to the name of the pole hawkers would carry around, the cooking equipment on one end, the ingredients on the other. It's a really simple dish, brought to life by the use of Facing Heaven chilli from Szechuan, and also Szechuan peppercorns. Traditionally it is made with minced pork or occasionally beef, but veggies can substitute those with mushrooms, aubergine or tofu. There are three stages to the recipe - the chilli oil, the minced pork and the sauce - all of which can be done in advance if you like, before putting together the finished dish when required.
Mexico's answer to a cheese toastie, the quesadilla consists of corn or flour tortillas stuffed with cheese and a bewildering array of other goodies, depending on area and mood. For this recipe we are using chicken sauteed with our new Mexican Chilli Lime blend (July's Spice of the Month) to make a quesadilla filling enough to be served as a dinner along with some spicy side dishes. It is best to use a cheese which melts fairly quickly and evenly - a mixture of Monterey Jack and cheddar works well.
One of Britain's national dishes, and a star of England's performance in the Spice World Cup, it is said this was invented in a Glasgow Indian restaurant when a customer requested sauce with his chicken tikka. The chef (allegedly!) simply combined tomato ketchup with cream and mild spices, and hey presto! Obviously the dish has evolved since then, and the ketchup has disappeared from the equation. Chicken tikka masala has a reputation as a curry for people who don't like curry, but our version includes plenty of spice - although not hot ones. This dish is best served with hot, fluffy naan bread and a veggie side dish.
We came across Ajvar during our Spice World Cup coverage, and sort of fell in love! This wonderful relish is truly addictive, and great to have around for a dip, for a cheeseboard or just to slap on a sarnie! A great version is available from our friends and next-door neighbours at Borough Market, Taste Croatia, but should you want to make your own, this is how. It can be either hot or not, up to you.
Sharing a laksa recipe is a dangerous business - it's one of those things where everyone's is definitive, and no other road should be walked! In addition, laksa differs enormously depending on where it's from - Assam, Penang, Sarawak, for example. This recipe is for the Singapore Curry version, which is an addictive blend of coconut, curry and Malaysian spices like lemon grass and lime leaf. In Singapore this type of laksa would usually be prepared with clams, but we think it works equally well with fat, juicy prawns. And finally, this recipe is not definitive, just the way we like to make it! Also in Singapore a local curry blend would be used, but our Zanzibar blend makes the ideal substitute. Top tip, by the way - you don't actually need to cook rice vermicelli, just rehydrate it in hot water.