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Lifestyle

Recipes for sunnier times: Yotam Ottolenghi’s satay chicken and nasi goreng


I visited Bali last November to take part in the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, set up in response to the first Bali bombing in 2002 and now in its 17th year. It all feels a world away now: the time when we are able to travel again is a long way off, I know, but it is possible to come up with ways to forge a sense of connection in these days of physical distancing. Cooking the food of far-afield places is the one I can offer, and even if you can’t get your hands on all the ingredients right now, file away these aromas of Bali and bring them out in happier times.

Nasi goreng (pictured above)

Nasi goreng came second in a CNN poll of the world’s best 50 foods, which I find a little surprising, but at the same time also totally get: who doesn’t love a good fried rice? My variation uses brown rice, but you can save time by using leftover cooked rice. This makes a bit more sambal than you need, but it keeps in the fridge for up to a week, ready to be spooned over rice or noodles, or alongside fish and meat.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 2

250g short-grain brown rice
135ml sunflower oil
5 fresh makrut lime leaves, or zest of 1 lime or 5 bay leaves
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 large eggs
6 spring onions, finely chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

For the sambal
4 red chillies (or fewer, to taste), pith and seeds removed
1 plum tomato, roughly chopped
10g fresh turmeric root, peeled and finely chopped, or ¼ tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp green peppercorns, roughly crushed
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
10g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 small shallots, finely chopped
20ml lime juice
Salt

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Put the rice in a large saucepan with 500ml water, bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for 30 minutes, then drain into a sieve.

Meanwhile, put the sambal ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor with a teaspoon and a half of salt and blitz smooth.

Heat 90ml oil in a large saute pan on a high heat, then add the lime leaves and half the sambal, and stir-fry for three minutes, until very fragrant (careful: it might spit). Add the cooked rice, soy sauce and another two tablespoons of oil, and stir-fry for 10 minutes, until the rice is coated and beginning to crisp up. Stir through three-quarters of the spring onions, then spoon the rice into two medium bowls and use the back of a spoon to compact it.

Wipe the pan clean, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and put on a high heat. Once very hot, crack in the eggs and fry hard until the whites are crisp around the edges and the yolks still runny, then transfer to a plate.

Turn out the rice bowls on to two plates, top each with an egg and scatter over the rest of the spring onions. Serve with the remaining fresh sambal and lime wedges for squeezing.

Satay chicken and sambal platter

Yotam Ottolenghi’s satay chicken and sambal platter.



Yotam Ottolenghi’s satay chicken and sambal platter.

The bright colours and bold flavours of Balinese food are what make it stand out, but it was a simple satay chicken at a food market that stole the show for me. I’ve tried to echo those flavours here. This is a great sharing dish: just arrange everything on a large platter and let your guests construct their own parcels.

Prep 20 min
Marinate 1 hr+
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

For the chicken
4 chicken legs
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
3 limes – 1½ juiced, to get 1½ tbsp, the rest cut into wedges, to serve
2 gem lettuces, leaves separated
½ large cucumber, cut into 4cm-long batons
Salt

For the satay sauce
90g crunchy peanut butter
2½ tbsp soy sauce
2½ tbsp maple syrup
2 small red chillies, finely chopped (pith and seeds removed if you prefer less heat)
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
4 makrut lime leaves, stalks discarded and leaves finely chopped, or zest of 1 lime, or 4 bay leaves
1½ tsp lime juice

For the sambal
1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped (pith and seeds removed if you prefer less heat)
1 lemongrass stick, papery outer layer discarded, very finely chopped
½ tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Put the chicken legs in a large bowl with the soy sauce, maple syrup, two tablespoons of oil, the lime juice and a half-teaspoon of salt, then set aside to marinate for an hour, or in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 210C (190C fan)/WEB 425F/gas 7. Tip out the contents of the chicken bowl on to a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper, arrange the chicken skin side up and pat the skin dry. Pour over the remaining tablespoon of oil, then roast for 40-45 minutes, until the juices run clear and the skin is crisp.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk all the satay sauce ingredients with a tablespoon and half of water, until smooth, and in a second bowl mix all the sambal ingredients with half a teaspoon of salt.

Transfer the chicken and all the liquid from the tray to a large platter. Arrange the lettuce, cucumber, sambal, lime wedges and the bowl of satay sauce alongside, and serve.

Black rice pudding with papaya and ginger syrup

This pudding is sure to make an impact at the dinner table, but in fact couldn’t be easier to put together. Be sure to plan ahead by soaking the rice in advance. You can prepare the rice, syrup and coconut flakes a day ahead, leaving you with a simple assembly job just before you want to serve it. If you can’t find papaya, swap it for mango – it’ll work just as well.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s black rice with papaya and ginger syrup.



Yotam Ottolenghi’s black rice with papaya and ginger syrup.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 4

400g black venus rice or Thai black rice, soaked in plenty of water for 1-4 hours
3 tbsp maple syrup
Flaked sea salt
1 medium papaya, peeled, seeds discarded and cut into 2cm cubes, or 2 ripe mangoes
2 limes – zest finely grated, to get 1½ tsp, and juiced, to get 3 tbsp
160g full-fat coconut milk
Flaked sea salt

For the syrup
100ml maple syrup
10g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
2 whole star anise, roughly crushed
4 strips finely shaved lime zest

For the coconut flakes
60g coconut flakes
2½ tbsp maple syrup

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave to steep for at least an hour, or overnight.

Drain and rinse the rice, then put it in a medium-sized saucepan with 1.2 litres water, the maple syrup and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium and cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring every now and then, until cooked through and the consistency of wet porridge. Leave to cool completely (or refrigerate if you’re getting ahead).

Mix the coconut flakes with the maple syrup and spread out on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 13 minutes, mixing once halfway, until golden brown and crisp, then remove and sprinkle generously with flaked salt.

Mix the papaya (or mango) with the lime juice. Divide the cooled black rice between four bowls and top with the coconut milk, papaya and lime juice mixture, the strained syrup, the coconut flakes and lime zest, and serve.



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