WITH GREEN APPAMS (Brown Rice and Coconut Pancakes) and EVEN GREENER CHUTNEY
Ever dreamed of bringing the taste of India into your home? Now’s your chance. I’m not going to pretend this is a quick meal to make, especially not the first time as you get your head around the lengthy list of ingredients and processes. But every single minute will be a joyfully aromatic experience and completely worth it when you plonk your Ironclad Pan down on the table in front of your hungry loved ones who have just endured hours of great smells coming from the kitchen.
I suggest you serve this curry with green chutney and homemade green appams. But if that’s one or two recipes too many then serve with raita and rice or another carbohydrate of your choice. You’ll need to start the appam mix at the beginning of the day or preferably the night before.
To make this dish vegan use tofu instead of eggs and paneer. Fry it up first before adding to the curry for extra texture.
The key to great Indian cooking is using fresh spices. I buy mine from Khyber Spice Invader online. They arrive 2 days after ordering and they’re great value and excellent quality and you can order your cashew nut pieces here too. They taste just like the whole ones! Don’t order bulk spices unless you plan to use them all quickly. It’s better to buy small amounts more often.
“Tempering”or “blooming” the spices is the term used when you unlock the spices flavours and nutritional benefits in a pan with hot oil. Heat your Ironclad Pan to a high heat then turn down to medium. When you add your fat it should shimmer but not smoke. Toss the spices into the pan and, as they start to crackle and release their aromas, swiftly remove from the pan to prevent them from burning. Some of the mustard seeds tend to pop out of the pan so I always have a lid standing by. This will only take seconds so don’t walk away!
For the sake of making it easier to understand I have broken the recipe down into stages so you can understand it more simply before you embark on this curry project. A mixer is also essential in making great curry. You’ll use it more than once in the making of this dish.
THE FIRST TEMPER AND BLITZ…
1 T coconut oil or ghee
1 T mustard seeds
3 inches Cinnamon broken into bits
1 t black cardamon seeds or 12 green cardamon pods
10 peppercorns lightly ground
1 t fenugreek seeds
1 bay leaf
1 red chilli chopped into big hunks
THEN SAUTE …
1 T coconut oil
2 T butter
2 T grated ginger
12 garlic cloves roughly chopped (1 bulb)
2 onions, finely chopped
TO THE ONION MIX ADD BLITZED TEMPER AND…
2 t turmeric
1 t smoked paprika
1 t salt
BLITZ HALF THE ONION MIX WITH …
3 medium tomatoes cut into chunks
¾ c roasted cashew nut pieces
¼ c lemon/lime juice
½ c water
RETURN TO PAN WITH SAUTED ONIONS and STIR IN...
450 g paneer cubed
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved
¼ c roasted cashew nut pieces
AND FINALLY THE SECOND TEMPER AND BLITZ…
2 T coconut oil
12 fresh curry leaves (rubbed between your fingers to release their oils)
½ t black cardamom seeds or 6 whole green cardamon pods
1 T coriander seeds
1 T yellow mustard seeds
¼ cup roasted cashew nut pieces
Here’s the recipe in detail.
Heat your Ironclad Pan to a high heat then turn down to medium and melt the coconut oil. Throw in the mustard seeds, cardamon, black pepper, cinnamon, fenugreek, bay leaf and chilli and temper for a few seconds till it’s all crackling and the heavenly aromas of the spices are released. It will take a matter of seconds.
In your mixer, blitz all the spices and chilli together adding a little water to create a fine paste.
OMG, you thought those spices smelt good when they were in the pan?! Get a load of that smell now and share that aromatic joy with whoever might be walking past the kitchen! *** You can blitz up the whole green cardamon pods if that’s what you are using.
Don’t wash the pan, and over a low heat, melt the coconut oil and butter. Then add the ginger, garlic and onions and sauté, stirring often, till the onions are soft and translucent. It should take about 15 minutes.
Add the blitzed spice mix, turmeric powder, smoked paprika and salt to the onion mix and fry off for a further minute or two. *** Don’t wash your mixer.
In your mixer blitz half the hot sautéed onion mix, the tomatoes, ¾ cup of the cashew nut pieces and lemon juice to a fine slurry then return the mix to the pan with the remaining onions and simmer for 10 minutes. If you want a thinner curry sauce add more water at this point.
Stir in ¼ c cashew nut pieces, paneer, and eggs and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Check for seasonings. If you like it saltier, add more salt now. If you want it hotter, add more chilli.
In a separate pan, a Lil’ Legacy if you have one, temper the second toasting ingredients in coconut oil. Blitz this spice mix with ½ cup of water and stir into the curry mix and heat through.
To finish sprinkle the last of the cashew nuts and paprika over the curry and serve hot to the table.
*** If you want to make this dish a day in advance or in the morning before you serve it, it will taste even better the longer it sits. Do everything except add the eggs and store in a container in the fridge. Then, half an hour before you’re ready to serve, transfer back into the pan, arrange the eggs on top, sprinkle with cashew nuts and paprika and re-heat in the oven at 180° for half an hour.
Serve with green appams, green chutney and extra freshly chopped chilli if you like it hot and let the worries of the world slip away.
What can I say, this fragrant, fresh, nutty sauce is just sooooo good on everything! Curry or not!
2 c coriander leaves and fine stalks.
1 c mint leaves, stalks removed
4 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
1 t toasted cumin seeds
1 T miso
¼ c lemon juice
2 T roasted peanuts
½ c water
¼ c sesame oil
1 T maple syrup
1-2 green chillies. Or none if you prefer to keep it cooling rather than heating!
Blitz all ingredients in mixer till finely blended. Add in a little more water if it’s too thick.
Pour all but ½ c chutney into a serving bowl, leave the remaining ½ c in the mixer. You will blend this with the appam batter later on.
SUPER FAST ( OR NOT) GREEN APPAMS
Crunchy, moist, half fried, half steamed coconut rice pancakes. The perfect accompaniment to curry of any kind… Take the plunge. Make them. And if you love them, purchase your very own appam pan and take the experience to the next level!
3 c raw brown basmati rice
½ c dried coconut flakes or desiccated coconut or 1 cup fresh grated coconut.
1 c cooked white basmati rice
1 t dried yeast
1 T maple syrup
1 t salt
Water to mix
Usually this recipe calls for fermenting the blended rice and coconut mix overnight. If you’ve come to the party late then I find a simple hour long ferment process will suffice but it will taste much more fermented if left overnight.
Rinse the raw rice in cold water till it runs clear through a sieve.
Put the raw rice and coconut in a large stainless steel bowl and pour in just enough boiling water to cover the ingredients.
Place uncovered in the oven with just the light on to soak for at least 4-5 hours. Or leave in a warm place if it’s a sunny day.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Now blitz (in that green chutney mixer you didn’t clean earlier) the mixture in batches, using any of the left over soaking water and extra warm water to create a very smooth pouring consistency (like double cream). The mix should be completely silky smooth with no lumps of raw rice.
Return the mix to the large stainless steel bowl, cover with a tea towel and return to the oven with the light on for an hour till the mix is risen and bubbly.
*** If you have more time, it’s at this point you would let the mix ferment overnight.
If you have an appam pan then you already know what you’re doing!
But if you don’t, heat your Ironclad Pan to a medium heat, lightly grease with spray and ladle ¾ c of appam mix into the pan, swirl the pan to distribute the appam mix evenly and cook for approx. 2 minutes till the pancakes are sizzling and holey and almost cooked through. For the last minute of cooking turn off the heat and pop a lid on the pan. Don’t cook both sides. The bottom should be crunchy and brown and the top nicely steamed.
*** Like any pancakes, the first couple might not turn out excellently! Add more water if the mix is too thick, it really should be like pouring double cream.
Store in a stack under a tea towel until you’ve got enough to go around. If there is mix left over store in the fridge. It will get more delicious the longer it ferments and should last for 3-4 days.
So. That’s appams for you. The addictive, healthy vegan alternative to naan bread, poppadom’s and roti.
And welcome to Ironclad Pan Indian cuisine in your kitchen!