So I cooked from this UK cookbook (all the North sea fish were present) called hot and spicy. Not exactly hot, a bit spicy, and really not all that interesting. It cost a whole $3.95 at the time so we probably got our money’s worth. The theme was cashews because yum… but then again not even as much yum as I would like. Two and a half out of five stars and only that because the beef dish was incredible.
Odd thing about this book was that all these recipes apparently serve 4 people. I’m not sure what 4 people they serve as they’re very small portions and the 5 of us ate everything at the table.
Red-hot Beef with Cashews
- 500g boneless, lean beef sirloin, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh root ginger, finely chopped
- 1 red bird-eye chilli, chopped
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp red curry paste
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted cashew nuts
- 1 spring onion, thickly sliced diagonally
- cucumber slices, to garnish
- Cut the beef into 1cm wide strips. Place them in a large, non-metallic bowl.
- To make the marinade, toast the sesame seeds in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown, shaking the pan occasionally.
- Place the seeds in a pestle and mortar with the garlic, ginger and chilli, and grind to a smooth paste. Add the soy sauce and curry paste and mix well.
- Spoon the paste over the beef strips and toss well to coat the meat evenly. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 hours or overnight.
- Heat a heavy frying pan or griddle until very hot and brush with vegetable oil. Add the beef strips and cook quickly, turning often, until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and spoon onto a hot serving dish.
- Heat the sesame oil in a small pan and quickly fry the cashew nuts until golden. Take care that they do not burn. Add the spring onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the beef strips and serve immediately garnished with cucumber slices.
Notes on this recipe:
- Best recipe cooked all night. With the Thai red curry paste, and the birds-eye chilli, this is nicely spicy, beautifully marinated, tender, and delicious.
- Grinding the spices takes much longer than you think it will – if you have a spice grinder, I suggest using it.
- I went for the marinating all night option, so I’m not sure what it’d be like only marinated for a couple of hours.
Spiced Cashew Nut Curry
- 250g unsalted cashew nuts
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 small green chilli – deseeded and chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 tbsp coconut cream
- 300ml hot vegetable stock
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
- salt and pepper
- boiled jasmine rice, to serve
- Soak the cashew nuts in cold water overnight. Drain thoroughly. Crush the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cumin seeds and cardamon pods in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and stir-fry the onion and garlic for 2 – 3 minutes to soften, but not brown. Add the chopped chilli, crushed spices, cinnamon stick and ground turmeric, and stir-fry for a minute more.
- Add the coconut cream and the hot stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, then add the cashew nuts and lime leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve hot, accompanied by jasmine rice.
Notes on this recipe:
- It was insipid, and far too watery. The wateriness was caused by the coconut cream we used being quite runny. If I was making it again (apart from adding more chillies), I’d check the consistency of the coconut cream and consider just stirring some vegetable stock powder into that if the coconut cream is runny.
- Yes, I know coconut cream should not be runny.
- Generally this dish was far more boring than it had any right to be.
- 675g waxy potatoes, cut into chunky pieces
- few strands of saffron
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5cm piece of root ginger, grated
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- 25g cashew nuts
- 3 tbsp boiling water
- 60g butter
- celery leaves to garnish
- Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
- Place the saffron strands in a small bowl. Add the boiling water and set aside to soak for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan and add the potatoes. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, for 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add the grated ginger, chilli, celery and cashew nuts and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the butter to the pan, lower the heat and stir in the saffron mixture. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Transfer to a warm serving dish, garnish the gingered potatoes with the celery leaves, and serve at once.
Notes on this recipe:
- These potatoes wouldn’t know ginger or chilli if they fell over them.
- Again fairly boring, not really worth the effort of cooking them without adding a whole lot more interesting flavour.