I have asked some clients to lunch. I’m still gaining confidence with homemade curry paste, so I will use my usual dry spices with added fresh garlic and ginger. Local mangoes are in the fruit shops, so they will be lovely for garnish, along with a lime grown by the Country Frog.
Because it is the middle of a working day, and the weather is warm, I want the meal to be fresh and light. We will have only an hour to eat and talk, so I prefer not to be cooking when the guests are here. This calls for a Town Frog Action Plan (in any other language, a list).
Pork with silverbeet and red peppers
Fresh green beans with ginger
Dhal (not too sloppy)
On the side: pappadums, relish, mango, lime, chillies
2. Stuff I will need
Pork: meat chopping board, large pan with lid (serve from the pan)
Beans: onion board, small pan with lid, flat serving plate
Eggplant: same board, medium pan with lid, serving bowl (white?)
Dhal: small saucepan, groovy serving bowl
Pappadums, pickles, mango, limes: small dishes
3. Action plan
Cut vegetables (except eggplant which discolours)
Cut onions, crush garlic, slice ginger (put in water to stop discolouring)
Lay table (colour coordinate!)
Cook up pork but don't add greens
15 mins before guests due:
Cook up storm!
Don't forget the pappadums...
MILD PORK CURRY with silverbeet and red pepper
Cooking time: 30 minutes
½ kilo pork, cubed (or minced)
2 onions, diced
5 - 6 large leaves silverbeet, shredded (or 150 - 250 gm frozen, thawed and drained)
1 large red pepper/capsicum, diced (1 cup)
4 - 6 cm fresh ginger root, grated
½ cup fresh lime juice
1- 1½ cups water
2 tablespoons mild (yellow) curry paste/ for hotter curry 1 tablespoon red curry paste
1. In a bowl, place pork, onion, ginger and curry paste; mix well to coat the pork.
2. Fry red pepper in a little oil. Set aside in bowl.
3. In same pan, fry pork and spice for about 5 minutes.
4. Add water and lime juice. Cover and simmer 30 minutes until pork is tender.
5. If preparing ahead, turn off heat and leave covered. To finish, stir in peppers and greens, and bring to a good boil for 5 minutes.
DRY RED LENTIL DHAL
Cooking time: 10 minutes
In a small saucepan lightly fry 1 sliced onion, 1 star anise, ½ stick of cinnamon bark, crushed garlic. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 generous cup red lentils and 2¼ cups (280ml) water. Simmer ten minutes until liquid has been absorbed and lentils are soft. Add more water if needed.
SIDE DISHES - fresh sliced mango, lime, chilli, and fruit relish
I will finishing the “prepare ahead” part of the meal by opening a jar of Brown Frog’s mango relish. Not too sweet and there is bite from added chillies. In a future blog, we will share recipes for country-style pickles, chutney, and relish. For now, here is a vegetarian alternative to the pork in the above curry.
Vegetarian LENTIL CURRY with silverbeet and red peppers.
Substitute ¾ cup uncooked brown or green lentils, adding them at Step 4 of the pork recipe. Simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in 1 cup cubed potato and/or pumpkin. Continue to cook with the lid on until lentils and potato are soft, then add fried peppers and shredded silverbeet. Mix up from the bottom with spatula so as not to break the potato.
Next time: Side dishes for my light lunch - fresh beans with ginger, and spicy eggplant.
Written and compiled by two frogs.