Category Archives: coriander

turkey masala burgers

turkey masala burgers with sweet potato wedges and cauliflower pickle

A turkey isn’t just for Christmas. It’s for all year round.

That was the message put out by the British Turkey board. Headed up by Paul Kelly – a good Essex boy – me and a bunch of others were entertained as a guest of Cyrus Todiwala to help promote the use of turkey throughout the year. Cyrus was an affable host, preparing dinner and chatting away. We were blown away by dishes like turkey heart pie and turkey cafreal tikka. All of us were stuffed with the amount of turkey dishes served, it really did showcase the bird!

It inspired me to cook an Indian-flavoured dinner. I have to be honest and say I’d not used turkey outside of December for a few years; it’s appearance in supermarkets seems to have declined. I would quite often but the breast strips for marinating, stir frying or for pies. Using mince here I made a burger with rich masala flavours, inspired by Cyrus Todiwala’s tikka recipe. I marinated mine in clotted cream, because I had some knocking about, but traditionally you’d use yoghurt.

My turkey here was succulent and meaty, and supported by spiced flavours it was a real hit. I will definitely be putting turkey in my basket more regularly.

Based on a recipe by Cyrus Todiwala

Turkey masala burgers (serves 4):

800g British turkey mince

¼ teaspoon turmeric

2 heaped tablespoons clotted cream

40g ginger

4 cloves garlic

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

Juice of 1 lime

½ teaspoon garam masala

For the sweet potatoes:

5 sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the cauliflower pickle:

400g frozen cauliflower

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

½ red onion, peeled and sliced

Burger buns and mango chutney, to serve

  1. Season the mince with the turmeric and plenty of salt and pepper. Combine well then form into 4 patties, and leave covered in the fridge while you make the marinade.
  2. Bash up the garlic and ginger with the cumin, coriander and chilli powder in a pestle and mortar until you have a paste. Add the lime juice and cream and mix well to combine. Smother the turkey patties in the marinade, cover (twice!) and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C, get a saucepan over a high heat and the grill on medium high. Slice the potatoes into wedges, dust with the cumin and drizzle with oil. Roast for 30 – 40 mins, turning frequently until starten to blacken at the edges. Sprinkle salt over as they come out of the oven.
  4. When the potatoes are in the oven, put the onion in a bowl with the vinegar and a pinch each of salt and sugar. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add the cumin and nigella seeds to the saucepan and allow to heat for a minute. Add the cauliflower and jam the lid on. Toss frequently and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Add the onion for the last minute of cooking and check for seasoning.
  6. Grill the burgers for about 6 – 9 minutes each side, until browned and cooked through. Serve in a toasted burger with plenty of mango chutney.

beef madras

beef madras curry from sorted food

YouTube is quickly giving rise to a whole new breed of superstar; the self-made vlogger. From NineBrassMonkeys to Periodic Videos, if you’ve got something to say there’s a place for your voice. And if people like you, you’ll build a following (a quick shout out to my great mate MeganIsSleeping – go watch, subscribe and like!). This of course allows room for all hobbies, including food and cooking. I’ve given it a try myself but struggle to make it work. Some people that have found the magic formula are Sorted Food. With nearly half a million subscribers and over 35 million combined views, they’re clearly doing something right.

I was sent a printed copy of Sorted Food’s Food with Friends. On first pass everything reads a little ordinary, but looking again there’s surprising time-saving ingenuity at play – tapenade as a duxelle substitute in a Wellington, tinned oysters in a gratin, BLT in tortilla form. In terms of writing all the instructions are bold and brash with laddish overtones, featuring plenty of SQUEEZE this and SPLASH that. There’s definitely a debt to Jamie Oliver in the style, but it may put some off.

As a fan of the channel, Spud Jr took over this one. We left this simmering for 90 minutes but there was definitely something missing from the flavour, it lacked depth. I had to tone down the chilli content for the family so the tomato was the dominant flavour. It took a little boost from powdered coconut to add a rich sweetness (I love  this stuff from Maggi’s and have always got a box handy for coconut rice, Thai dishes or cake mixes). The instructions are slightly off on this recipe, referencing a paste which you may not realise you’ve just created in previous steps. My beef also wasn’t tender in 90 minutes, so this recipe would need someone confident dealing with casseroling meat to know it may take longer. I reckon with patience 4 hours would make this melting and delicious.

This are nitpicks really, from someone who’s spent a long time in the kitchen. If you’re looking for a great core of recipes you’re likely to actually want to make in an accessible style, this would be a good start. With recipes at the more humble end of budgets and a focus on fast food (the good kind!), this would be a great book to slide into a student’s bag before they head off to Uni (or gift them the Kindle version).

If you want to give it a try, The Ultimate Barbie from the Sorted crew is free to download for Kindle. Thanks to Penguin for the book.

Beef madras (serves 4):

2 onions, peeled

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon chilli powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon

800g diced beef

4 tablespoons tomato puree

200ml beef stock

1 tin tomatoes

2 tablespoons powdered coconut

For the leek garnish:

½ a leek

1 tablespoon cornflour

  1. Get a large lidded casserole on the hob over a high heat. Season the beef and fry all over until browned.
  2. While the beef browns, in a food processor blitz the onion, garlic and ginger to a paste. Add the salt and some pepper, the chilli, coriander, lemon and fennel and whizz for a second or two to recombine. Add this to the browned beef and continue to fry until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and stock, stir well to combine and then cover. SImmer on a low heat for 60 minutes and stir in the coconut. After 90 minutes check to see if the beef is tender.
  4. For the leek garnish, slice the leek into fine strips and dust with cornflour. In a generous amount of oil fry the leek strips for a minute on each side then drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt and scatter over the curry. Serve with creme fraiche and basmati rice.

sledgehammer chicken

roasted chicken with dry rub

I’ve cooked a few whole birds on the barbecue before, such as southeast spatchcock and slathered with BBQ sauce. But with getting a drum-style barbecue this year I could try grilling a whole one for the first time.

sainsburys vertical chicken roasterThis chicken came about from trying Sainsbury’s new chicken roaster. It’s a metal stand which holds the bird in a vertical position while it roasts. Assembled it’s rather phallic, but once you look past that you have a metal prong over a tray which all hooks together. The pieces come apart and you are able to fold it away to pretty much nothing. You’re cooking a chicken to a similar principle as a beer-butt chicken which I’ve always wanted to try but just don’t like the taste of beer (the quickest my face goes from happy to sad is noticing there’s onion rings on the menu, then spotting they’re beer-battered onion rings. Horrid yeasty aftertaste, yeeuch).

I rubbed the meat all over with a sweet spice mix and awkwardly impaled the chicken on the spike. And now it looked like it had waltzed off Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video, hence the name.

Peter Gabriel dancing chickens sledgehammerSpot the difference

I started mine off on the BBQ with the lid down, but after 70 minutes the bird had barely started to warm up and it just wasn’t feeling right. I brought it into the oven and finished it off there. The flavour was great and it had taken on some smoke so not all was lost. Carving into it the flesh was moist and tender.

Is the roaster worth it? I’m not quite convinced. You could go down the beer can route on the BBQ, and in the oven it takes up a lot of space being vertical. Being able to put liquid underneath (I used white wine) means a natural mist is retained going up into the cavity but the skin stays crisp. That said as long as time allows I’ll be sticking to my preferred Heston technique. The roaster is a fun gadget, but not essential.

Thanks to Sainsbury’s for sending me the roaster to try out.

Sledgehammer chicken (serves 4 – 6):

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch of chilli powder

Olive oil

1 medium chicken

Splash of white wine

  1. Mix the spices together and blend with enough olive oil to make a gloopy paste. Smear all over the chicken and make a real mess of it. Impale the chicken on your chicken roaster and fill the tray with wine.
  2. Light the BBQ. Once the flames have died down and there is a thin coating of white ash over the coals, place your chicken into the BBQ and close the lid. Roast there for 2 – 3 hours until the chicken is 70°C at the thickest part (always use a probe thermometer, it’s the only way to be sure). Or if your BBQ isn’t quite hot enough, transfer to a 180°C oven. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. I served mine with potatoes roasted with chorizo.

chicken katsu with oyster noodles

chicken panko katsu on oyster noodles

I do love panko breadcrumbs. The ridiculous extra crunch the Japanese breadcrumbs give is so satisfying. So I was really looking forward to chicken coated in panko when I got home.

Until I realised I didn’t have any eggs. The typical pane station is flour, egg, breadcrumb. But with no eggs what was I going to do? I figure all it needed was something for the breadcrumbs to stick to. So why not the chef’s friend cornflour? My only problem was avoiding that gluey taste that cornflour can give, so I added some ground spices to mask the flavour. Seemed to work pretty well. To the point in fact where I don’t see the need to waste an egg on breadcrumbing again!

This is an easy to rustle-up, easy to multiply dinner that is a great combo of crunchy chicken and slurpy noodles. You could use any sauce you like with the noodles – even a splash of soy would do.

Chicken katsu with oyster noodles (serves 2):

2 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon cornflour

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander


A little plain flour

Panko breadcrumbs

4 noodle nests

1 litre chicken stock

Large handful of broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces

A pinch of chilli flakes

1 carrot

A pinch of sesame seeds

  1. Get a large pan with shallow oil over a medium heat, and a saucepan for your noodles over a high heat.
  2. Lay out a sheet of cling film and dust with salt and pepper. Put the chicken on this and lay another piece of chicken on top. Using a rolling pin, bash the chicken to approx 1cm thin.
  3. In a bowl combine the cornflour, cumin and coriander. Add milk until you get a thick, sludgy paste. Set up a breading station, with one bowl of plain flour, your cornflour sludge, and the breadcrumbs. Dust the chicken with flour, dip in the cornflour paste and then in the breadcrumbs. Make sure they are well coated.
  4. Lower the chicken into the oil gently. When done on one side flip over until done, then drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Get the chicken stock on to boil in the saucepan and add the noodles. After 3 minutes or when the noodles are done, drain them and rinse well with cold water.
  6. Add the broccoli back to the noodle saucepan, add the chilli along with a splash of water. Peel the carrot and use the peeler to shave into strips into the broccoli. Jam the lid on and cook fast. After about 3 minutes the broccoli should be tender, so add the oyster sauce and toss well. Cook for a further minute and then add the noodles back to the pan, tossing well to mix. Serve in a bowl topped with sesame seeds, and top with the sliced chicken.

tuna with greens and coconut rice

tuna with greens and coconut rice

I’m certain people who cook a lot, like me, ponder something along these lines: when you really enjoy a dinner, one that you made, what made it special? Was it the choice ingredients, or the exotic technique you used… or was it the company? Heston talks often about this theory – the atmosphere of a meal – and how you can recapture it. It’s often impossible.

I love having friends over for dinner. This occasion was a reunion of very old colleagues who had been through various trials together and come out as good friends on the other side. I took the rare opportunity to cook some fish and heaved a great pile of broadly-Asian-flavoured tuna and rice in front of us, and we all dug in. I know I cooked it, but I really enjoyed the meal. And I’d like to think it was the rare tuna, the fruity rice, or savoury greens, but I suspect that took a sideline to tales of disastrous bike rides, hasty pool tournaments and broken chopsticks. That’s what I enjoyed.

Tuna with greens and coconut rice (serves 3):

1 large mugful of rice

1 heaped tablespoon instant coconut milk powder

450g diced tuna (sustainably sourced, please)

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

A few mixed green crunchy veg, e.g. tenderstem broccoli, sugar snap peas

1 large bag of spinach

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Soy sauce, to serve

Bunch of coriander, chopped

Chilli flakes, to serve

Lime wedges, to serve

  1. Get a saucepan over a medium heat and add the rice, coconut powder and twice the amount of boiling water to rice. Cover and simmer while you do everything else. When the water has subsided taste and check for seasoning.
  2. Get another frying pan very hot. While it heats up, crush the seeds along with salt and pepper together lightly. Scatter on to a chopping board and roll the tuna pieces all over to cover. When the pan is hot add a dash of oil and then stir fry the tuna for about 90 secs, until all sides are coloured. Remove to one side.
  3. Add the crunchy veg to the pan and toss for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the oyster sauce, and then the spinach. Toss together briefly until the spinach wilts. Serve everything in a great pile, adding a drizzle of soy sauce and a sprinkle of coriander to everything, and plonk chilli and lime on the side for guests to pimp their own.

diamond jubilee chicken

heston blumenthal's diamond jubilee chicken

Another year, another royal celebration, another round of special dishes by Heston Blumenthal. Following last year’s trifle to commemorate the royal wedding, this year Heston produced a panoply of picnicky treats. I’ve had a stab at one here: Diamond Jubilee Chicken.

I’m really not a fan of coronation chicken, the dish originally commissioned for the Queen’s coronation. For me the fruit in there just really jars. Thankfully this version dismisses all that and you get a lovely curried chicken mayo. I read the summary of the ingredients and given it a go myself. You can skip the brining if you like, but brining gives you succulence and depth of flavour, with a lovely finish of peppery nigella seeds which I adore.

I haven’t been able to try the shop-bought version. It may or may not taste like the Heston dish but it makes a great buffet treat regardless.

Diamond Jubilee chicken:

3 chicken breasts

For the brine:

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 star anise

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon golden syrup

For the dressing:

300ml mayonnaise (home made if you can)

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon nigella seeds

Lemon juice, to taste

  1. Put the chicken and all the brining ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with water and add enough salt to make an 6% brine solution. Allow to brine for 6 hours, then drain, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Grill the chicken until cooked through (I used a George Foreman Grill). Allow to cool on a wooden board and then slice into bite-size chunky pieces.
  3. For the dressing blend all the ingredients together, then stir in the chicken. Dust with paprika and serve with toast, crudites or salad.

spiced chorizo and chickpea stew

spiced chorizo and chickpea stew

I’ve made variations on this before, but the one killer ingredient I’ve added here that I wanted to shine a spotlight on is nigella seeds. I saw a Tweet from the excellent @pearcafe, and thought the addition of nigella seeds to their soup of the day was inspired. So I threw some into this stew and it was ace. Thanks ‘E’! I’ve never been to Bristol but if I do The Pear Café will be first on my list of places to visit :-)

Spiced chorizo and chickpea stew (serves 4):

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 onion, diced

200g chorizo, in chunks

1 tin of chickpeas

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tin tomatoes (I’ve got a bit of a thing for tinned cherry tomatoes at the moment)

250ml chicken stock

2 slices of brown bread

1 clove of garlic, peeled

  1. Get a large casserole on a high heat and add a splash of olive oil. When hot, throw in the seeds and allow to pop and sizzle for a minute. Add the onion and chorizo and stir often until the chorizo starts to bleed.
  2. Add the chickpeas (don’t bother to drain), tomatoes, paprika and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. While that simmers throw the brown bread and garlic in a food processor and whizz to a powder with a pinch of salt.
  4. In a separate pan melt some butter and when foaming add the breadcrumbs. Toss often until browned all over, then drain on kitchen paper until the stew is ready.
  5. Check the seasoning on the stew. You may find in addition to salt and pepper you may need some red wine vinegar to balance it all out. Ladle into serving dishes and top with the breadcrumbs. If you have any, a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil would be brill.