Monday, 2 June 2008

Packing A Punch

Watching Gordon Ramsay's F Word last week, it was great to see a high profile chef promoting healthy food as a feature on his entertaining show. To see Ricky Hatton (a supreme athlete in the 3 months leading up to his fights and a self-confessed slob for the rest), being transformed and convinced was inspirational. It is amazing still how many people class healthy food as something which is a chore, something which is boring or lacking in flavour or food that is never going to fill you up in a million years.

I'm a big lad myself and love my food, all of it, and in the past 18 months I've trimmed down significantly simply by following the subject that I teach; simple to prepare, healthy, tasty and balanced food. No diets (spit), not cutting back on the amount that I eat, just learning each and every day ways to make food more and more exciting without having to pile in the salt and excess fat. Oh, and eating my beloved suet puds, cakes and biscuits in moderation!

A good friend of mine in Leeds, Scott, is following a similar regime. Last week us two big northern food loving blokes compared recipes and discussed the subject at length. How times and subjects have changed. After treating his family to my Thai beef salad, Scott produced a few tried and tested recipes which follow this philosophy; big tasting, gut filling healthy food.

A simple south Indian curry recipe was there for the taking and it took me no time on returning home to experiment and make it even tastier. I love south Indian food, specifically Keralan, with their combination of fish, fruit and coconut based curries. The recipe called for tamarind of which I had none, but a quick call into the Asian food expert Wil assured me that the ageing mango sitting on my windowsill would indeed work perfectly as a fruity replacement. Lots of lime added sourness and a good dose of Nam Pla turned it into an India/Thailand hybrid.

One final addition were a couple of handfuls of new season samphire which added a welcome crunch. Vegetarians could replace the fish with sweet potatoes, squash, aubergines or mushrooms. All in all, it was up there with the best curries I have made and ticked all of the relevant boxes; incredibly tasty, filling and healthy grub which is so simple to prepare. Food that makes you feel good to be alive and puts a smile on your face. Not faddish or diet food, this is 100% food loving northern bloke territory. And to that I say whey aye to healthy food. Cheers Scotty.

Fish, Samphire and Mango Curry
Feeds 2

1 tbsp groundnut or rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
A thumb size of ginger, grated
1 large red chilli or 2 birds eye chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tsp cumin, coriander and turmeric
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 400ml tin of coconut milk
2 fillets of firm fish, cubed (I used salmon but the usual suspects, cod and haddock, would do)
A couple of handfuls of prepared prawns
A couple of handfuls of samphire
1 mango, skinned and flesh pureed
1 tbsp nam pla fish sauce or soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh coriander

1 - Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, ginger and chillies. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
2 - Add the spices and mustard seeds and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the seeds begin to pop and the spices become fragrant.
3 - Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
4 - Blanch the samphire for 2 minutes then drain and cool.
5 - Add the fish and prawns and simmer for 5 minutes. Finally stir in the mango, samphire, fish sauce and lime juice. Heat through and taste for seasoning. You may want to add more fish sauce, soy and lime juice. You want it sweet, sour and salty.
6 - Serve with fresh coriander and your rice of choice.


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

"Pan metron ariston" or everything in moderation as they say. Eating healthyt has to be a way of life:D

Sylvie said...

Great proof that healthy food doesn't have to be boring!

Anonymous said...

This is the best recipe ever.
You have chosen all our favourite ingredients - mango, prawns and samphire!

Chef Jeena said...

David, I adore Indian food, I have great inspiration from Indian cuisine. My kitchen has been totally taken over by huge glass jars of spices, herbs, beans and lentils!!

You are so right about healthy food tasting great. I love the look of your recipe I bet it tasted amazing.

Great post. :-)

Rosie said...

It was great to hear Mr G .R himself prompting seasonal food!! This recipe cxertainly isn't boaring and has all great flavours - well done David!!

Rosie x

Jan said...

That looks and sounds delish. Good job!

The H.I. said...

As the self-proclaimed, only healthy Irishman I love coming across new healthy tasty recipes. Defo going to give this a go. Never used samphire before so not sure whether I can get it over here across the pond. Is there something similar in texture and taste to sub in case?

Thistlemoon said...

I am so with you David! Healthy food is to me some of the best - it makes me feel better after I eat it and I really enjoy the tastes! It is a way of life.
I still enjoy treats too - I am never giving up ice cream and bread - but healthy is yummy!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Sounds fab David. You can get light coconut milk now which doesn't have so much fat in it.

Cynthia said...

David, now you make me have to cook fish curry with green mango tomorrow. Thank you! It is my favourite :)

Hollow Legs said...

I've never seen samphire for sale, but I don't have a local fishmonger either which is such a shame, as this recipe sounds right up my street.

Petra Barran said...

Hey Dave,

This reminds me a little of one of the most delicious things I ever ate; Tapado - a great luscious, tangy fish stew, down in Livingston, Guatemala...I'll try and make it for you when you come to mine!


aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I've never seen samphire in a curry before - but why the hell not? (I guess it's just not around for that long - more's the pity). This sounds great, and I'm keen to try.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realise that the F-word had started again! How on earth did I miss that?

The curry sounds amazing. Will have to track down some samphire and give it a go...

David Hall said...

Val - absolutely!

Sylvie - ditto!

GBVC - great minds think alike!

Jeena - glad you agree, brilliant

Rosie - it is nice to see a bit of responsibility from the likes of Gordon rather than the usual celeb chef nonsence!

Jan - thanks!

Gavan - left you a message on ya blog but use asparagus instead if you like, samphire is called sea asparagus, or leave it out all together!

Jenn - it is a way of life but we have lots of treats. I certainly not bleating on saying everything has to be healthy. Cakes, biscuits, chocolate, ice cream, I love them all but in moderation like everything in life!

Amanda - yes, I use it now and again and if I was cooking with coconut milk all of the time I would use the lower fat version more

Cynthia - coming from you that means a lot, your food is amazing when it comes to this type of cuisine!

Lizzie - it was an addition from me, but not needed, use normal asparagus perhaps?

Petra - getting excited already?!

FOS _ see comments above about samphire - just leave it out, not needed really

Angela - F Word is one cook show I really rate amongst the current over saturated food TV market! Love Ramsay


Abitofafoodie said...

What a tasty-sounding curry. I really enjoy fish curries but for some reason never think to make them. Love the idea of adding samphire (which I adore).

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