23. Cook or bake one thing from each cookbook- Nigella Fresh

13 Jul

Have you ever gone grocery shopping in New York City?

I think that sometimes most of the time it’s really awful.

Like, awful enough to make you want to order take-out and never go to the grocery store again.

Because I need an excuse to do that.

Gone are the wide aisles and the easy to find merchandise. They’ve been replaced with teeny tiny hard to maneuver rows, things stacked on top of each other, and people using carts when they really shouldn’t be.

Yeah, I’m looking at you, Buff Gym Man, with your cart blocking the whole path. Use a basket.

I can never make a “quick run” to the grocery store. Because it takes me LITERALLY 20 minutes to find whatever I’m looking for.

Unless it’s things I get all the time.

Like apples.

Or cereal.

Or butter. I’ve been buying a lot of butter recently. I know where that is.

The ONE good thing about taking forever to find things is that it gives me time to ponder the ingredients I’m getting.

There are two things I think about when buying new ingredients:

1. Am I ever going to use this again?

2. Will it really really and truly change the dish if I don’t use it? Because if not, and I’m likely never going to use it again, chances are it ain’t coming in my basket.

Like in this recipe. Black mustard seeds. Sound awesome, super cool, and pretty fly. But! Am I ever going to use them again? Probably not. Unless someone sends me a recipe for black mustard seed souffle. Which would be pretty gross.

Will they really change the recipe?


Do I buy them?


Because have you SEEN my severe lack of cabinet space and severe lack of disposable income for things like black mustard seeds?

I’d rather spend my money on important things like chocolate. And blueberry balsamic vinegar.

Like I said, important things.

But, dear, sweet Nigella Lawson. You go and request, nay demand, tamarind paste for this recipe.

And I comply.

Because you’re pretty, and awesome, and tell me to use my 4-cup measuring cup because you think I could HAVE a 4-cup measuring cup, even though that’s something only my sweetest dreams are made of.

So now. Does anyone have a recipe for tamarind paste souffle? Bring. It. On.

Keralan Fish Curry with Lemon Rice

Serves 4-6

From Nigella Fresh by Nigella Lawson


2 3/4 pounds firm white fish, such as sole, cod, haddock, or halibut


2 teaspoons turmeric

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 medium onions, halved and cut into thin half-moons

2 long red chillies (I didn’t use them, but I did use paprika!)

1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger

pinch ground cumin

13 3/4 ounces (about 1 2/3 cups) unsweetened coconut milk

1-3 tablespoons concentrated tamarind paste

1 tablespoon liquid fish stock (again, didn’t use)


1. Cut the fish into bite-sized chunks, put them into a large bowl, and rub with a little salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric.

2. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan, and put in your half-moons of onion; sprinkle them with a little salt to stop them browning and then cook, stirring, until they’ve softened.

3. Cut the whole, unseeded chillies into thin slices across (although, if you really don’t want this at all hot, you can seed and then just chop them) and then toss them into the pan of onions.

4. Peel the ginger and slice it, then cut the slices into straw-like strips and add them, too, along with the remaining teaspoon of tureric and the cumin. Fry them with the onions for a few inutes.

5. Pour the can of coconut milk into a large glass measuring cup and add a tablespoon of tamarind paste and the fish stock, using boiling water from the kettle to bring the liquid up to the 4 cup mark. Pour it into the pan, stirring it in to make the delicate curry sauce. Taste and add more tamarind paste if you want to.

6. When you are absolutely ready to eat, add the fish to the hot sauce and heat for a couple of minutes until it’s cooked through, but still tender.


Lemon Rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

10 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) basmati rice

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon dried mint

juice and zest of 1 lemon

approx. 2 1/4 cups water


1 tablespoon black mustard seeds


1. Choose a saucepan with a close-fitting lid, and heat the oil gently before adding the rice.

2. Stir the rice around to get a good coating of oil and add the turmeric and mint, stirring to mix.

3. Squeeze in the lemon juice, and add the water so that it covers the rice by a good couple of inches.

4. Stir in the salt, put the lid on tightly, bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking very gently with the lid on until all the water has been absorbed. This should take about 15 minutes.

5. If, when the rice has cooked, the pan is still a bit waterlogged, take it off the heat and replace the lid with a tea towel draped over it to absorb the remaining water. It will sit quite happily like this if you nee it to for about 30 minutes or even longer, and then you can fluff it with a fork, season it with some more salt if it needs it, and then turn the rice out into a bowl.

6. While the rice is cooking, toast the ustard seeds by heating them for a couple of minutes in a dry frying pan, then set aside.

7. When you’ve turned the rice into it’s bowl, sprinkle these, along with the grated lemon zest, on top.

41 days until 26


One Response to “23. Cook or bake one thing from each cookbook- Nigella Fresh”

  1. Julie July 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    you can use tamarind paste to make pad thai! and that’s the only fancy ingredient you’ll need for that (unless fish sauce isn’t a staple in your fridge/cabinet, but it should be!)

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