The start of each year invariably sees most of us stretched to the limit after all the expenses over the festive season, the food, the gifts, the wine – it all adds up and still somehow it manages to be more than we originally budgeted for. I was fortunate enough to spend a few short days in Europe over the past month and swapping Rands for Euros is something that could make one quickly lose ones appetite. But it was wonderful and it was worth it. Just experiencing the different cultures, the history, the food and the flavours provides an inspiration that goes way beyond currency conversions! I have so much to write about from the simplest foods from the street restaurante and pastelarias of Lisbon to the simple sophistication of Parisian cuisine.
But more of this in future chapters…. One thing that remains universal is the budget-beating chicken. It remains a constant on any menu the world over and it is definitely the protein of choice in Europe at the moment. We all make the mistake of taking chicken for granted but we must always remember the many ways in which it is spiced-up, dressed-up or served up from countries in Europe + India + Mexico to the shores of Morocco. With a bit of creativity you can delve into the delights of chicken in a thousand different international ways without ever having to leave your kitchen … and to boot, you can beat the budget blues!
As a start I thought I would share my Indian chicken meatball recipe today. It’s really simple and the apple + cumin salsa makes this dish something extraordinary. I served it in a phulka but you can serve it in anything like a roti + pancake etc.
Goat and Bean Curry: People probably thought I was off my head when I decided to cook goat on Dinner Divas for national television. We have over 50 million people in this country, 11 official languages and a rainbow of cultures – I wanted to show the people of our beautiful nation that it is a healthy and delicious choice. It’s affordable too! Did you know more goat meat is eaten throughout the world than any other red meat? This is a fact!
Goat meat is a healthy alternative to beef and chicken because of its lower calorie, fat and cholesterol totals. It comprises 63 percent of all red meat that is consumed worldwide! Currently, goats make up the main source of animal protein in many North African and Middle Eastern nations. Goats are also important in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and other tropical regions across our planet.
Anyway, I got a shoulder of goat meat from my mom’s local butcher and decided to transform this into a delicious goat curry. You will often hear people say that goat meat is tough, tastes “funny”, poor man’s meat so to speak…this is where we are naive I think. If we are not prepared to try something and taste for ourselves we will be forever missing out on the real flavours that permeate our society and world. You have to try this goat for yourself. Take my word for it – it’s just delicious.
A few strands of saffron (if you don’t have saffron use a pinch of turmeric powder)
3 Large onions
2T Cooking oil
2 Cups of hot water
Few strands of saffron (if you don’t have saffron use ½ t turmeric powder)
Cook the Basmati rice as per the packet instructions however add the few strands of saffron to the water and remember to also add salt before boiling the rice. Drain the rice using a sieve. Rinse with hot water. Then add the ghee and lightly mix through.
Cut the onions in side lengths in strips. Fry till golden brown over medium heat in the oil and ghee.
Boil the eggs. Tip: For perfectly hard boiled eggs – bring the eggs to boil and then turn the heat down and let the egss stand in the hot water for 10 minutes.
Peal the eggs.Add the saffron to the water and add the pealed eggs.
Let it stand for about 10 minutes to colour and flavour the eggs.
To serve - Use the rice as a base in your serving dish. Cut the boiled eggs into quarters and place on top of your rice base. Sprinkle the fried, golden brown onions over the rice and eggs and serve immediately.