Posts Tagged 'cream'

Chicken Tikka Masala

This is a cheats version of the classic Anglo-Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s cheaty because it doesn’t involve the separate preparation of chicken tikka. Nor is the chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices, it’s simply added to the finished sauce. This version is highly spiced and quite intense, almost veering into “Murgh Makhani” territory.

Essential to the success of this dish is the preparation of fresh garam masala. My own garam masala recipe leans heavily on the clove and green cardamom and the intense fragrance is ideal for this recipe. You’ll also need to source dried fenugreek leaves, often sold under the name “kasoori methi”. They have a very distinctive flavour and are an essential component to this sauce.

Fresh green chillies, whether whizzed up in the sauce or cooked whole in the sauce add a really vibrant flavour to the sauce, as does the inclusion of fresh coriander at the end of cooking. Health food it ain’t, with all that butter and cream, but it’s great as an occasional treat.


  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 400g canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 5 free-range chicken breast fillets, cubed
  • 400ml water
  • 80g butter
  • 100ml single cream
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves, ground into powder
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Grind the cumin and coriander seeds to a fine powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large casserole or pot. Cook the onions gently until soft and golden. This should take at least 20 minutes.
  3. Now add the garlic-ginger past and fry for another minute or two. Add a splash of water if the mixture is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato puree and increase the heat slightly. Add the reserved cumin and coriander powders, paprika, chilli powder, yoghurt and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, adding a little water if necessary. This step is essential to cook out the raw flavour of the tomatoes and spices.
  4. Now remove the pot from the heat, add 400ml of water and whizz the sauce to a fine consistency using a stick blender.
  5. Return the pot to the heat and add the diced chicken. Allow to simmer gently for 25 mintes.
  6. Now time to finish the sauce – add the sugar, butter cream, lemon juice and fenugreek leaf powder. Simmer for another 10 minutes and check the flavour and consistency. If the sauce is took thick add another splash of water. I might add a little extra lemon juice, salt or sugar at this point – just adjust it to your own taste.

Serves 5-6.


Vegetable Makhanwala

The Big 8 – The only curry recipes you’ll ever need!” – Part 6/8

Vegetable Curry

A vegetarian curry? You might think I’ve lost my marbles here, but trust me, this is really good.

I used 2 large carrots, 3 small yellow courgette, 200g green beans, 3 large tomatoes. You could also use broccoli, cauliflower, peas, broad beans, spinach, aubergine or okra. Cooked chickpeas would also work very well with this. Dice the vegetables according to cooking time – for example, carrots should be cut smaller than broccoli etc. Use your own judgment here.


  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 x 400g canned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp of each the following: ground coriander, garam masala, paprika, turmeric
  • 800g fresh vegetables, diced
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 100ml cream
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tbsp honey


  1. Place a large pot or casserole on the hob and heat the oil. Add the onions and cook the onions gently for around 20 minutes until soft and light brown in colour.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry-fry gently for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat.
  3. Blitz the garlic, root ginger, tomatoes and water in a blender until smooth. Remove the browned onions, garlic and ginger from the pot using a slotted spoon and put in a blender. Add the canned tomatoes and a splash of water. Blend until smooth.
  4. Put the casserole back on the heat. There should be some residual oil, but you can add a little extra. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and stir fry for a minute to release the flavours.
  5. Add the onion/tomato mixture to the casserole, then add the ground spices. Add the salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes to cook out the tomatoes and reduce the sauce slightly. Add the diced vegetables along with the dried fenugreek and cook at a gentle simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the veggies are cooked to your satisfaction.
  6. Now reduce the heat and finish the dish by adding the cream, butter and honey. Still well to combine and simmer very gently for a minute before serving. Best served with some chapatti or plain white rice.

Serves 6.

Leek & Potato Soup with Truffle Oil

This is a thick and rich soup, perfect for winter. It also makes a great starter for a dinner party; just serve it in small portions as it is quite rich. The truffle oil makes this soup even more luxurious, but you can easily leave this out. You can also use less cream if you prefer a lighter soup.


  • 50g butter
  • 3 large leeks
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 200ml single cream
  • ½ tsp truffle oil (optional)
  • salt & pepper


  1. Remove the green portion of the leeks and wash thoroughly. Slice the white part of the leeks.
  2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add the sliced leeks, along with the potatoes and celery. Add a good pinch of salt and cover the saucepan. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened completely.
  3. Add the chicken stock and whizz using a stick blender. Simmer gently for 5 minutes then stir through the truffle oil and cream. Season to taste with salt and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper. Garnish with a drop of truffle oil or a blob of cream and some finely chopped chives.

Serves 4.

Pommes Dauphinoise

Potato Dauphinoise #2

Here’s a recipe for a rich and unctuous potato dauphinoise – perfect for using up your leftover Christmas ham and red cabbage. Unlike a lot of recipes I’ve seen for dauphinoise, I don’t start mine on the hob. I prefer to cook from scratch in the oven which allows me to season each layer of potatoes individually. This means the dauphinoise will always be perfectly seasoned.

Purists will tell you that a proper dauphinoise should not contain any cheese, that the potatoes and cream form their own golden crust. Well, I’ve tried both, and I prefer this with cheese. Of course, you don’t need a mandoline to cut the potatoes, but it certainly speeds things up. Using a mandoline also has the advantage of ensuring all of your potato slices are of the same thickness and therefore cook evenly.


  • 6-8 medium potatoes
  • butter
  • 250ml double cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • ½ clove garlic, grated or minced
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (or Gruyére)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Slice the potatoes, using a mandoline if you have one . If doing this using a knife, ensure the slices are of a similar thickness, about 3-5mm.
  3. Add the milk, cream and garlic to a saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and take off the heat.
  4. Butter a baking dish (about 24cm squared) and add a layer of potatoes. Give the potatoes a light sprinkling of sea salt and a few turns of black pepper. Keep adding layers of potatoes, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. I normally get about 6 layers from this amount of spuds.
  5. Add the cream and milk mixture then top with a couple of handfuls of grated cheese and some more black pepper.
  6. Cook for about 1 hour at the bottom of the oven. You might want to place some buttered foil on the baking dish for the last 15 minutes if you don’t want the top to get too brown. I don’t bother, as the crispy bits are very tasty.


  • Nigel Slater (as always) has some great variations on dauphinoise in his book, Real Food – including a tasty looking version made with smoked mackerel fillets.
  • You could use a full clove of garlic, but I prefer to keep the garlic flavour subtle in this one.  Make sure the garlic is grated or ground to a paste though, you don’t want to end up with chunks of garlic in this one.

Serves 4.

Easy Chicken Korma

The Big 8 – The only curry recipes you’ll ever need!” – Part 2/8

Chicken Korma

I can remember my first “proper” curry – a chicken madras in Khan’s Balti House in Donnybrook about 15 years ago. Strange I know, but I tend to remember things like that. I’ve been smitten with Indian food ever since, but some time ago I realised that restaurant style food is difficult to achieve at home. You need a lot of time and vast amounts of ghee, a type of clarified butter. You should also let your food rest overnight before serving; this allows the flavours to mature and the spices to mellow and mingle.

Happily, some restaurant dishes produce better results at home than others. This korma is the perfect example – it’s reminiscent of the restaurant version but includes fresh green chillis, dried fruits and toasted nuts. It tastes spectacular and it’s very quick and easy to cook. Serve with pilau rice and naan bread.


  • 4 free-range skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 200g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • thumb-size piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder (good quality)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 150ml single cream
  • 65g creamed coconut
  • 4 tbsp ground almonds
  • 5 tbsp sultanas
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 fresh green chilli peppers, sliced
  • 2 tsp garam masala (to taste)
  • fresh coriander
  • 5 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp flaked coconut, toasted (optional)


  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy saucepan and add a knob of butter. Fry the onion gently for about 10 minutes until it’s well caramelised. At this point, add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the dried spices and stir-fry for another minute.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add 2 cups of cold water. Whizz the mixture with a stick blender until it’s completely smooth.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the cream, ground almonds, sultanas and dissolve the creamed coconut then simmer gently for another 5 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt and add a little extra sugar if you think it needs it. Stir through the garam masala and fresh coriander. Garnish with flaked almonds and toasted coconut, if using. Serve.

Serves 4.

Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset

A posset is a very old drink which dates from the Middle Ages. It was originally a milky drink used as a cure for minor illnesses. Wine was frequently used to curdle the flavoured/spiced milk. Nowadays, possets are generally dense cream desserts made with cream, sugar and citrus fruits. This is the classic recipe, made with lemon.


  • 300 ml double cream (must be double cream)
  • 75g caster sugar
  • juice of 1-2 lemons


  1. Add the cream to a saucepan with the sugar and bring slowly to the boil. Stir constantly to ensure the sugar dissolves.
  2. When the cream reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring all the time.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the juice of 1 lemon. The mixture should begin to thicken. Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary. The mixture should be sweet but very fresh and tangy.
  4. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then pour into 4 shot glasses or espresso cups. Bang the glasses/cups to remove air bubbles.
  5. When cool, chill overnight, or at least 3 hours before serving. Take out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

Clotted Cream

M&S Clotted Cream

Fans of ‘afternoon tea’ will be pleased to hear that clotted cream is available to buy in Marks & Spencer. Good old Marks. This 150g packet cost €2.50. I’ve kept an eye out for clotted cream for years but none of the ‘Irish’ supermarkets stocked it. Get baking those scones!