Posts Tagged 'mint'

Mint & Cucumber Raita

A raita is a classic yoghurt-based sauce from India. It can be used to accompany breads, poppadoms, biryanis and grilled meats. The restaurant version, made with bottled mint sauce, can be a little disappointing. This version is made with fresh mint leaves and cucumber which gives it a fantastic flavour. This recipe serves 2-4 people.

Remove the seeds from ½ of a cucumber and grate (or very finely chop) into a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Now squeeze the water out of the cucumber. Add 225g thick Greek yoghurt along with 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves. You can also add a pinch of ground cumin and a pinch of chili powder if you wish. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix. Taste and add a little extra salt if necessary.

There are lots of variations on the classic raita recipe, just add the following to 225g of yoghurt and season:

  • Mint Sauce Raita – the restaurant classic, add 2 teaspoons of bottled mint sauce.
  • Jeera Raita – add a teaspoon of freshly toasted cumin seeds, finely ground.
  • Tomato & Cucumber – skin and de-seed 2 tomatoes, finely dice and add along with dived cucumber.
  • Cucumber, Onion & Fresh Coriander

Seekh Kebab

Seekh Kebab with Naan Bread and Raita

Seekh kebabs are a classic on Indian restaurant menus and typically cooked in the tandoor oven. “Seekh” means skewer, but the truth is you don’t really need skewers for this; just form the meat into long sausage shapes before cooking. You can also form the meat into patties, which will turn them into a “shami” kebab. My version uses great flavourings such as fenugreek, fresh mint and garam masala.

The trick to achieving a good seekh kebab is to finely mince the lamb. Minced lamb from the butcher or supermarket is typically too coarse. Use a food processor to pulse the lamb giving a finer texture. By doing this you won’t need any binding ingredients such as egg or flour. Don’t go crazy with the food processor, you don’t want purée!

Serve with naan bread, salad and raita.

(Note: you could also add a small pinch of red food colouring, as the restaurants do, but you really don’t need it.)

Ingredients

  • 450g minced lamb (I used minced lamb shoulder)
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 green chili peppers, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tbsp tomato pureé
  • 1 tsp salt
  • handful fresh mint
  • handful fresh coriander
  • juice of ½ lemon

Seekh Kebab

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Run the lamb mince through your food processor to achieve a finer texture, as described above. Place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well before shaping, use metal skewers if you have them.
  4. I like to use a grill pan to cook this in the oven. This means a lot of the fat can cook out of the meat, but it will still be succulent. Place on the grill pan and cook for 15 minutes.

Serves 4 as a starter, 2 for a main course.

Salse Verde

Salsa Verde

Salsa verde makes a great accompaniment to fish or chicken. Absolutely addictive. Just blitz the following ingredients (apart from the grain mustard) in a food processor and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Ingredients

  • ½ clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • extra-virgin olive oil (enough to give a sauce consistency)
  • 2 tsp grain mustard

Tzatziki

This cool, fresh sauce makes a great accompaniment for grilled chicken, souvlaki or toasted pitta bread. Use the amounts below only as a guide and adjust according to your own taste. Make sure you grate or crush the garlic as you don’t want to have any lumps of garlic in this.

Ingredients

  • 250g natural yoghurt
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ clove garlic, finely grated
  • fresh mint, a handful, chopped
  • a pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Remove the seeds from the cucumber and coarsely grate into a bowl. Add a good pinch of salt and leave to stand for a few minutes. Squeeze the grated cucumber to remove most of the liquid.
  2. Add the yoghurt, fresh mint, oregano and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix well and season to taste with a little salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Mint Sauce

Mint

As far as I’m concerned, spring lamb is at it’s peak right now in terms of tenderness and flavour. I don’t like to mess with a tried and trusted formula; it’s got to be mint sauce with my lamb. Here’s a good recipe to accompany your gigot.

Ingredients

  • a good handful of mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard
  • salt & pepper

Chop the mint leaves finely and mix with the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add more seasoning if you like. That’s it.