Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tanzania - Coconut bean soup

Whilst looking for a suitable recipe for Tanzania I noticed that coconut milk is often used (which I love) so I found this interesting looking soup to make. I also get brownie points with my husband because he loves beans of every kind :)


1 chopped onion
Knob of butter
1 green pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can coconut milk
750mL water
125g cooked rice

Saute the onions in the butter until soft.

Chop the green pepper and add it to the pan along with the salt, pepper and curry powder. I didn't have curry powder so I kind of made my own with garlic granules, tumeric and cumin. It smelled great while it cooked.

Next add the chopped tomatoes. 

I was ready to eat it at this stage because it smelled delicious! But hold back and wait, it gets better :D Add the coconut milk and kidney beans. Simmer for 10 minutes. (Note: Here the recipe says to add the water too. I chose not to as we prefer a thicker soup)

Lastly add the cooked rice and simmer for a further 5 minutes. 

At last! The agonizing wait is over and the soup is ready to eat. Hurrah! 

We had ours with sausage sandwiches but it's really filling and easily works as a meal all on its own. It was delicious. The coconut milk makes the soup really creamy and adds a lovely delicate flavour to it. JD had more the next day and said it tasted even better then. I would definitely have this again.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Uzbekistan - Plov

Plov is a seasoned rice dish often including meat but also sometimes just vegetables. This lamb version from Uzbekistan served with whole roasted garlic looked too good not to try.


1 cup rice
2 large carrots
1 large onions
400 gr cubed leg of lamb
Vegetable or lamb stock
1 tsp peppercorns
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup barberries

1 garlic head of garlic per person

I couldn't get barberries so I used cranberries instead. Apparently fresh cranberries are best for the sourness but I couldn't get those either -.- I also used ground pepper instead of grinding my own peppercorns.

Prepare the garlic first. Cut off the stem and pour about a teaspoon of oil over each one and wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray and cook for an hour in a medium heat oven (about Gas mark 5).

 Next saute the cubed lamb in 3 tablespoons of oil until it is browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside for later.

Grate the carrots and slice the onions.

Put the peppercorns (or ground pepper), cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and mash up violently until they're quite fine.

Saute the onions in the oil left from cooking the lamb until they are soft and clear.

Now add the carrot and ground spices and stir well cooking the carrot for a minute or two.

When the carrot is cooked add the rice and stir so the oil coats the rice.

Add the stock and leave the rice to cook for about 30 minutes, checking to see if more liquid is needed every 15 minutes. Then add the barberries and lamb and stir them in well.

Serve with the whole roasted garlic and some crusty bread.

This dish smelled fantastic as it was cooking and also the ground spices smelled great as JD mashed them together. So it was really disappointing that this dish didn't seem to have much of a strong flavour. The carrot and onion in the rice was lovely, the lamb was tender and flavourful and even the cranberries in this dish which could have been a strange taste worked really well. I felt it should have been more spicy so while I did enjoy the plov I couldn't help but feel it was missing something. It was the first time I'd had roasted garlic too and that was delicious spread on the bread. I think if I were to make plov again I would add more of the spices or maybe add them towards the end of the cooking process so they are more apparent.
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