South African Recipe

I haven’t spent much time in my kitchen the last few days, it’s been light meals and rushing around. My middle son has started college, and yes he is studying at a culinary school, wants to become a chef so he can teach his mum a few professional tricks. Our home feels empty with 2 of my boys now almost out the house, my 17 year old is staying at the college residence. Although he drove me crazy when he was at home I miss him terribly. The only positive is that I got to cook a Spicy Durban Chicken Curry, only because I didn’t have to hear his moans about the fact that he hates Chicken Curry and even more so if it was chicken on the bone.

This Spicy Durban Chicken Curry will definitely tantalize your tastebuds with it’s robust flavours. There are many different versions of cooking a chicken curry but my favourite is this one, cooked the South African Indian way with no fancy frills, just plain old chicken curry.

If you have eaten a curry cooked in a South African Indian home you will know a lot of our meat dishes are cooked with meat on the bone. The bone adds loads of flavour to the sauce or gravy as we know.

We do cook our chicken curry very similar to the way we would cook a Durban Lamb Curry https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/durban-lamb-curry/ . There’s is no quick fix to cooking a delicious curry, you cannot achieve the same results if you just add all the ingredients to the pot and just cook it in a hurry. You do have to layer the flavours, saute your onion and garlic, roast your spices and let the curry simmer on a low heat. The longer it simmers the more flavourful it becomes. It’s even more delicious if you allow it to stand for a while before serving.

I remember my mum sometimes cooked the chicken curry and then popped it into the oven for a short while, this totally enhanced the flavour of the curry. Like I have mentioned in a previous post it is best to roast your spices and grind them, you can store them in an airtight bottle. I don’t grind a whole lot, just enough to last me a couple of weeks so that way I know it still maintains its freshness. Nothing beats freshly ground spices.

If you love curries then you may also want to try some of these recipes:

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/mince-curry-potatoes/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/gadra-borlotti-bean-curry/


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Spicy Durban Chicken Curry
Spicy Durban Chicken Curry cooked with Indian Spices
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Instructions
  1. Heat ghee and add the whole spices, cinnamon, bay leaf, elachie, black elachie, star aniseed. When it becomes fragrant add onion, chilli and curry leaf
  2. Saute until onion is slightly brown
  3. Add ginger/garlic paste and saute for a further minute
  4. Add the ground spices, coriander, cumin, soomph, chilli powder, masala and turmeric
  5. Mix well, add a few drops of water to prevent scorching and fry for a minute
  6. Add the chicken and potatoes. Season with salt. Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes
  7. Add half cup of water and simmer until potatoes are tender and soft. The tomatoes and amount of water I've added creates enough gravy, however you can add more if required. Please note that your gravy should be thick, not runny
  8. Sprinkle in the garam masala and crush the methi leaves with your fingertips and add it in. Mix well. Turn heat off and allow your curry to stand at least half an hour before serving.
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I have fond memories of this dish growing up, Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin. You must wonder why the name Yellow Potato, well that name comes from the addition of turmeric that turns the potato into a beautiful hue of yellow.

My mum often made us sandwiches topped with this curry and a spread of grated mango pickle/atchar on top. It was the most delicious thing ever. I didn’t think my sandwiches were anything to rave about when I was at school. However, I had a friend that thought I had the most scrumptious food in my lunchbox and couldn’t wait for me to share my mum’s delicious sandwiches with her. Who would have thought sandwiches made with Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin would be such a hit.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and has great health benefits, it’s why I love using turmeric in my cooking. The added bonus is that this dish is vegan and the addition of mint adds a new spin to the classic recipe. Mint may not always seem like the perfect herb to pair with potatoes but the flavour is amazing.

The best way to eat this dish is with freshly baked bread. Although my family prefers rice or roti. Do try it with some bread and let me know what you think, it may be an overload of carbs but it’s worth it. If you have some pickle/atchar in your cupboard even better, nothing beats the cumin potatoes with that hint of tanginess.

It’s not even suppertime and I’m already salivating. The best food is made with simple ingredients, it’s why I’m not into gourmet food, takes too much effort with way too many ingredients. I don’t have the time nor the patience for that. I will leave that to the experts. Well if you looking for a quick dinner then this is your recipe. You may also want to try some of my other great potato recipes.

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/old-fashioned-potato-salad/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/indian-inspired-fried-potatoes/


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Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil and add cumin seeds
  2. Once the cumin seeds start to burst add the onion, curry leaf and chillies
  3. When the onion is transluscent add the potatoes and turmeric. Season with salt
  4. Saute the potatoes for a minute. Add half cup of water and simmer on a low temperature until potatoes are soft and tender. During the cooking process you can add a little more water if it dries out before the potatoes are cooked
  5. Mix in the mint leaves and serve hot
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What better to serve on a rainy day in Johannesburg, curry of course! I ate the most delicious Chickpea and Butternut Curry at a restaurant over the weekend and I had to re-create it for my family. Chickpea has become a hit in our home, of late, but it becomes boring if you try the same recipe too often. I have a family that needs to be constantly introduced to new flavours and recipes, they get bored easily. Thank goodness my mum taught me how to cook and I have a little bit of a right brain to bring out some creativity in the kitchen.

I only ever remember eating fried chickpeas when I lived at home, I don’t know if my mum knew there were other ways to cook chickpeas back then. Not that I minded eating the fried chickpeas, it was delicious. How the world has changed. Now you can cook chickpeas in so many different ways, you’re spoilt for choice.

This is a rich, fragrant dish and I definitely recommend using freshly ground spices, makes the dish even more aromatic and flavourful. I used coconut milk but you can substitute it for cream if you want a richer curry. I also cook everything as spicy as I can but please feel free to reduce the amount of chilli if you can’t handle too much heat. A great dish for a main meal and can be served with naan bread or basmati rice. I served mine with naan bread, recipe will follow shortly.


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Chickpea and Butternut Curry with Coconut Milk

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Instructions
  1. Chop up the butternut and set aside. Blend the onion, chilli, ginger/garlic into a smooth paste.

  2. Heat oil and fry the onion mixture until the onion is transluscent

  3. Add the cumin, coriander, chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well and fry for a minute. Add a drop of water to prevent it from burning

  4. Drain the chickpeas and give it a quick rinse, I prefer to do this but you don't have to. Add the chickpeas and butternut and mix it well with the spices.

  5. If you are using the Knorr stockpot you can add it in and add a cup of warm water with it. If you using a cup of vegetable stock then add it now but do not add any more water.

  6. Add the can of coconut cream.

  7. Mix it all together and simmer on a low heat until the butternut is soft but not mushy and the sauce reduces.


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The name of this dish derives from the fact that it is cooked in an Indian wok, called Kadai and it’s cooked with tomatoes, onion and bell peppers. It is different to Paneer Makhani, I would say not as rich and creamy. There are two different variations to cooking Kadai Paneer, one is the dry version and the other with gravy. Paneer has become so popular and there are hundreds of recipes using paneer. I have posted a Spicy Paneer recipe previously. You can use the same recipe and just omit the herbs and spices.

I am excited to try other paneer dishes and if I do I will definitely share them with you.

 

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Kadai Paneer
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Instructions
  1. Blend the onion, chilli and ginger/garlic paste until smooth. Heat oil and add the onion mixture until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the chill powder, coriander powder, garam masala and turmeric. Fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes and bell pepper. Season with salt and simmer until tomatoes are cooked
  4. Add the cream and heat through. Add fenugreek and paneer. Turn off heat and garnish with coriander. Serve with roti or naan bread
  5. Recipe adapted from https://vegecravings.com/kadai-paneer-gravy-recipe/
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Today is Heritage Day in South Africa, a public holiday where people are encouraged to celebrate their culture and diversity. Although we have our problems, some days more than others, I still love living in our beautiful country.It can be stressful when we hear about the escalating crime and have to constantly look over our shoulders and be extra vigilant. Amongst the negativity I choose to remain positive and hopeful, it’s the only way to live in South Africa, there is always hope. We do have some amazing people in South Africa, I have friends and neighbours from different cultures, we may all look different but our beliefs and value systems are all the same. I am blessed with a home, food on my table and clothes on my back, I’m thankful and it’s all I need right now.

It’s also national braai day and whilst I’m sitting in my lounge, typing away, I can smell the aroma of the grilled meat, coming from my neighbour’s property. We unfortunately have started our month long “abstaining from meat” for religious reasons so no braai for us. However, I cooked my family a vegetarian feast and hubby dearest said it was absolutely delicious, he couldn’t stop raving about how delicious lunch was. I’m glad he did as I slogged in the kitchen for a good few hours and would have been rather disappointed if the critic was not good.

I made dhall puri to go with the veg curries I cooked. This an Indian flat bread that is stuffed with a dhall filling and deep fried. It is buttery, a little crisp with a hint of cumin, it tastes better than any Indian bread I make and if I could I would make it often, but it is deep fried so I restrict myself to making every few months, as a treat for my family. I learnt to make this from my mum-in-law. At first I wouldn’t even attempt it as I thought it was a time-consuming, tedious task but once you get the hang of making it, it is really not that bad. Takes a little bit of patience and a few attempts to perfect the art of making dhall puri.

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Dhall Puri
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Instructions
  1. For the filing:
  2. Soak dhall overnight. Rinse well and boil until soft but not mushy, dhall should be soft when pressed between your fingers. Once cooked, drain excess water and set aside to cool
  3. Place dhall in a food processor and pulse until it's processed into fine breadcrumb like consistency. Do not over process.
  4. Heat the butter in a pan, saute the spring onion for a few seconds, add the cumin and tumeric together with the dhall. Season with salt and mix well. Allow it to cool and add the coriander
  5. To make the puri:
  6. Sift flour and baking powder. Rub the butter with your fingertips into the flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yogurt. Pour the milk, you may need more or less milk depending on the weather so please do not pour in all the milk at once, along the edge of the flour and bring the dough together. Knead until you form a soft, smooth dough
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll them into round balls
  8. Flatten each ball a little, place it in the palm of your hands and add a tablespoon and a half of filling to the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough together and seal it well.
  9. Roll each filled ball on a lightly dusted surface. Be very gentle when rolling or the filling will leak out.
  10. Heat oil on medium heat and fry each puri individually. Once it puffs up, turn and cook the other side. Be gently when turning it. Place individually on paper towels, to drain excess oil
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My kitchen is my sanctuary, people have places in their home that helps them relax, my kitchen is what helps me relax. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog, I wanted to share more than just my recipes and my passion for cooking. I want to share my story and how my kitchen, my hobbies and passion keeps me healthy, sane and fulfilled.

There are so many women out there that are stay at home moms and I hear them say they are bored or their lives are not fulfilled, trust me I’ve been there too. I wont exactly say I was bored, I was never bored as I’ve always kept myself busy but I also felt that my life lacked meaning and fulfillment after I left my corporate job. I made a conscious decision to resign from my full-time job and take care of my sons but I was never content just being home and taking care of my family,

I always wanted more to my life. It’s why I always had a hobby, learnt a new skill, worked part-time jobs, did a little catering from home.  I am a qualified nail technician, I did a few beauty courses  and I work from home now. Although I don’t earn as well as I earned in my corporate job it gives me some financial independence. This also keeps me sane and gives me the space I need, my duty is not only to be a mother and wife but I also have a duty to take care of myself.  I think a woman should always be independent and be skilled at something, Life is really unpredictable and you never know when you may need to use that skill or have your own money.  I was in my first relationship for 10 years and I never thought I will ever divorce but I had reached a point of choosing between sanity and staying alive or an unhappy, abusive marriage and I chose to rather save myself but I could only do that because I was financially independent. I could only walk away from a life of hell because I was able to survive on my own, I had a job, I owned my own home and I owned my own car. I know of women that are stuck in abusive marriages because they are not financially independent. They fear what life would be like when they step out on their own and yes it is a scary thought but imagine how easy it would be if you had money of your own. . Again, this is why your financial independence is a priority, above anything else a woman should be able to walk away from a bad relationship and should be able to take care of herself without depending on a man.

I’m lucky to have been given a second chance in life, I am now married to a wonderful man who takes great care of my boys and I, but I will never forget the struggles I faced and it’s why I’m determined to always learn, to always improve my skills and most importantly to always feel fulfilled. There’s an amazing affirmation written by Louise Hay and I think every woman should practice this “I love you, and  I am beginning to make positive changes in my life right now. Day by day I will improve the quality of my life.  it is safe for me to be happy and fulfilled”. Change always begins with you and if you start loving yourself, you will start taking better care of yourself.

I look forward to sharing my life in the kitchen and for now here’s my recipe that was created with love in my kitchen today. This is another fuss free recipe and I promise to bring you more fuss free recipes so you can have more time to love yourself. You can double the recipe if you cooking for a family!

 

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Indian spiced chicken with baby potatoes and carrots
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Cut up your carrots and your potatoes.
  2. Pop all the ingredients in a large bowl, mix them really well and rub the spices into the chicken. Place in an ovenproof dish, cover wiith foil and bake until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Remove the foil and cook further until the chicken is slightly brown. Serve hot with some crusty bread!
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Growing up we never heard of a dish called Jalfrezi,  If we wanted spicy we had to settle for our mums South African way of cooking, it’s the only way we knew.  We also didn’t have many authentic Indian restaurants in South Africa, back in the day, no I’m not that old but let’s just say it was a while ago. Today we have authentic Indian restaurants all over Johannesburg and I’m sure in other cities too.  It’s how we’ve been introduced to many of the Indian dishes we’ve never heard of before. My hubby has been a fan of Jalfrezi, since he first tasted it at a restaurant and I think I only ever tried cooking it once before. I thought today was a good day to try it again,  this is a stir-fried dish consisting of onion, tomatoes, green chilli and bell peppers.  I have read though that the Jalfrezi was originated by the British in India, it’s how they curried their cold meat. We don’t mind how it was created, it’s super delicious and I love the slight crunchiness of the onion and bell pepper. I also love the use of fresh chilli in my Indian dishes so this ticked all the right boxes for me. The cherry on the top is that it is so quick and easy to prepare.

You can adjust the amount of chilli, we love everything hot so it was perfect for us.  Can be served with rice or naan bread.

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Salmon Jalfrezi
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Instructions
  1. Marinate the salmon with the cumin, chilli powder, turmeric, salt and garlic. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Flash fry the fish and set aside
  3. In the same pan, fry the finely sliced onion until it's slightly brown, add the garlic and ginger. Add the tomato and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the turmeric, chill powder, and garam masala. Cook for a minute
  5. Add the bell pepper, cubed onion and chilli. Add a few drops of water and allow to cook for about 8 minutes or until peppers are just cooked. Will still have a little crunch. If you prefer a more saucy dish add about a 1/4 cup of water when adding the onion and peppers.
  6. Drizzle the juice of half a lemon over the fish and serve. Can be served with rice or naan bread
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Finally, my day is looking brighter after a not so great start this morning.  But I’m going to let bygones be bygones and not talk about my “eventful” morning as I don’t want to jinx my bright and sunny afternoon.

It’s a beautiful sunny, perfect beach kinda day in Johannesburg today. But we not so lucky, there is no beach in this city of gold, we can dream right?  Not really a day for curry, not that it matters much to me  as I can eat curry any day. I must admit I didn’t really plan a menu for today and just whipped a dish with veggies I had in my refrigerator .I rarely mix my veggies unless it is a Veg Breyani, with my picky eaters I think one veggie at a time is enough for they eye.

This is a simple, healthy curry dish. You can add all in one pot and let it simmer away, absolutely no fuss. If you want a richer, creamier curry you can add some cream to it.  I added a little extra masala and chilli powder as I like a bit of heat to my curries but please feel free to tone it down if you prefer a milder curry. I also tried to keep it simple, veg curries are normally uncomplicated in terms of spices and I prefer it this way.  You can use any veggie you prefer, I used carrots, green beans, barlotti beans and my favourite, potatoes. I prefer veggies with a bit of crunch, rather than ones that can get mushy quite quickly.

Can be served with rice or roti.

 

 

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Mixed Veg Curry
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Instructions
  1. Chop up vegetable and set aside.
  2. Heat oil, add cumin seeds. Once seeds start to burst add curry leaf and onion and fry until onion is slightly brown.
  3. Add ginger/garlic paste and fry for a mijnute
  4. Add turmeric, chilli powder and masala. Fry for a minute, add a few drops of water if required. Add tomatoes and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Add vegetable, season with salt and cover and simmer on low heat. After 5 minutes add about a cup of water, you may not need a whole cup if you are using veggies that cook quickly. Also consider the potatoes you are using as some cook much softer and faster than others and in this instance may also use less water. You don't want a watery curry, you can always add more water halfway through cooking if required.,
  6. Once vegetable is tender and cooked, add garam masala
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Firstly, I’m not even sure what’s the correct word for this dish anymore, far too confusing for my brain. Pilaf or Pulao is supposed to be a dish with a touch of spice and the rice and curry is mixed together and then cooked. Breyani or Biryani on the other hand is supposed to be a layered dish, a little more spicy than a Pilaf. Even for an Indian this can be much too confusing at times. I love food and I love reading all of the history behind some dishes but at the end of the day if something tastes great, quite frankly does it really matter if it’s a Breyani or a Pilaf.

I tried to keep this dish as simple as I could, it can be a tedious task but so worth it so you really don’t mind putting in a bit of effort. It is great to marinate your chicken overnight but if you don’t have the time to prep in advance it’s perfectly ok not to. I decided to make this on the  spur of the moment so I didn’t have time to prep in advance but it still tasted divine. It is a beautiful piquant dish and so worth the effort put into making it.

I used a cup and a half of rice but you an always increase the quantity to two cups. I also used about 80 grams of butter but you can easily leave out the butter or add less butter. If you not eating Pilaf everyday you can indulge in a little extra butter. It’s also best to roast your spices and grind them yourself, nothing beats freshly ground spices, the aroma is nothing compared to a store bought one.

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Chicken Pilaf/Pulao
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Instructions
  1. Wash rice, season with salt and cook until it's half done. Sprinkle a little food colouring in, cover and set aside. Do not mix in the food colouring immediately. After a few minutes it will give the rice a few different tones, when mixed.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius. Boil your potatoes until half cooked, season and shallow fry them, set aside
  3. Heat oil on low heat, add the 2 pieces of cinnamon stick, elachie, star aniseed and bay leaf. Fry until fragrant and add onion, curry leaf, chilli and thyme. Sauté the onion until it is a little brown
  4. Add the ginger/garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add the chilli powder, masala, ground coriander, cumin, soomph, turmeric, ground cardamom and garam masala. Add a few drops water and fry for a minute, then add the yogurt, mix well
  5. Add the chicken and the mint. Season with salt. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes
  6. Mix the curry, potato and rice together. Place the cubes of butter on top of the rice. Sprinkle a cup of water over the rice and cook in the oven for an hour. You can leave it in for a short while longer if it's not fully cooked and add a few extra drops of water, if required. Once cooked garnish with coriander.
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Okra or lady-fingers as some people know it, is definitely not the nicest thing to prepare. It is a little slimy but I don’t think enough to make you go squeamish. Okra must be washed and wiped properly with some paper towels, then left to air dry for a short while. I usually cut them up and place them on some paper towel to dry out a bit.

Once cooked it is delicious, it has a crisp, nutty flavour,  provided that you cook it perfectly. Okra needs to be sautéed just until it’s cooked, if you overcook it then it can be mushy. The sliminess of the okra also disappears when cooked. My boys are definitely not ready to even try okra, maybe they will when they get older. Much like me, I only started enjoying food that was good for me much later in my life. Now I can empathise with my mum, for all the hell I gave her. She always says “it’s payback time” when my boys give me the hell I gave her.

We usually eat the sautéed okra with dhall, you can try my Dhall recipe to go with,  but you can have it as an accompaniment to a meat dish too. There are a few different ways to cook Okra, I haven’t been really adventurous with it because I never know if it will work for my fussy husband. This Sauteed Okra is guaranteed to be eaten so I’m sticking with this recipe for now. Okra is really healthy so no excuses for not eating more of it, it has potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid and calcium and low in calories too. So here’s a few good reasons to be enjoying more Okra dishes. I hope I can soon find a way to get my boys to eat it too.

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Sauteed Okra/lady-fingers
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Instructions
  1. Wash the okra, wipe it properly with a paper towel. Cut it and place on a paper towel to air dry for 15 minutes
  2. Heat oil in a flat pan or pot, you need enough space to spread out the okra. Add the onion and fry until slightly brown.
  3. Add the chilli and garlic and fry for a minute.
  4. Add the turmeric and okra. Season with salt. Mix well and sauté on low heat. Do not cover the pan.
  5. After 10 minutes add the grated tomato. Mix gently and cook further until okra is soft and just a little caramelised.
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