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Oriental

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a brace of wild trout recently and decided to cook them in an Oriental style. This caused a bit of a of stir (not a stir fry) at home. The rational used by my detractor (the Wife) was that as they were such a fine pair of fish, they could be let stand on their own merits and there was little need to “Mess around with them with all those ingredients”. Under normal circumstances, I would be the last person to go against the views of the Wife. But, I really wanted to make the most of these delightful ingredients. I pressed ahead and hoped against hope that I would turn out a delicious dish. Wild trout is a delicate fish and needs to be treated in the same way as one might treat an argument against the instincts of the Wife. That is, proceed with caution.

If you are looking for elegance, look somewhere else. If you are looking for subtlety pass by, my friend.  This dish is not such a preparation, it’s like being hit in the face with the all ingredients from an Oriental grocery store, all at once. Don’t get me wrong, it is delicious and you won’t regret making it. Just be prepared for a flavour explosion in your face.

If you have a crowd to feed…. What am I saying! Nobody has a crowd to feed these days. I got my chicken thighs on a 3 for 2 offer and ended up with more than I needed. Having said that, we ate this on the day we cooked it, the day after and also froze a few portions that got eaten a few days later.  For simplicity, divide the recipe by three if you are feeding three hungry people, by two if you are feeding four and so on.  Having said all that, I really do have to say “My, my that is one tasty thigh”. This is a really delightful recipe. Don’t be put off by the quantity and diversity of ingredients. It is really easy to prepare and diversity is good.

There are short ribs and then there are short ribs. One can’t blame the average butcher for trying to sell as much of the animal as possible. But, many go too far and end up harming their own businesses by selling bits of the animal that should really be put to other use. The humble short rib or Jacob’s Ladder is such a cut. The very best of the short ribs comes from high up the ribs, towards the front of the animal. As one goes lower and back, the ribs get thinner, the meat gets likewise and the connective tissue to meat ratio goes up. Having said all that, I was stunned by the quality of the short ribs I used for this recipe.

Here’s a little adventure into the worlds of Thai flavours and video. I will be smoking some salmon over the coming couple of weeks and while I was thinking about doing something “different”, I thought doing something with a bit of Thai flavour might be fun. I took the trouble to shoot a bit of footage to show the process. I have been utilising video in my business over the past few months and thought that I might apply it here on the blog too.

While thinking about this recipe, I got to consider my storyline. It should be an easy one to write. Halibut is my favourite fish and right now, I am having a great time with many of the Thai flavours that bring out the very best in fish. With very little thinking done, I hit upon “curry favour”. I could easily bend that around to “favourite curry” and have a play on words. This would be easy.

Is there such a thing as an authentic recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala? I doubt it very much. When I did my bit of research for this delight, I came up with a number of conflicting claims on the original. For many years, I thought that it was just some greasy, mild creamy muck that came in a jar from the supermarket. You know the type of stuff, hot colour, thin taste and a huge desire to drink lots of water later in the evening. There are claims that a Pakistani chef, operating in Glasgow, having run out of curry sauce, added some spice to his tomato soup and Chicken Tikka Masala was born. Others believe it to be an Indian original and I believe that England also lays a claim to its origins. In truth, most Chicken Tikka Masalas I have ever tasted didn’t merit anybody claiming the original.  So, I thought I should try my own.

Don’t make a mistake about it, I’m a real hard-man. I walk tough, I talk tough. I can see out most of the bad-assed things that life throws my way. Though, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule of tough. I’m a sucker for a sob story. I can’t stand the sight of blood (particularly my own) and I am a fear-ridden jelly when it comes to the dentist.

We recently got a steam oven at home. The oven has transformed our weeknight dinners Sous vide enthusiasts will know that one can cook sous vide in a steam oven too, depending on make, model etc. But, that’s for another day. During the week, we tend to eat a reasonable amount of fish with salmon being a once-a-week staple. In truth, it used to be a case of “Grilled salmon, it must be Tuesday”. This is not a good way to run your culinary life. The arrival of the steam oven has opened my mind to lots of different steamed dishes. High on the list of favourites is Sesame Ginger Chicken. It is a perfect partner to the egg fried rice I posted last week.

If there were awards for home cooking, there are plenty of contenders for the big accolades. I could put forward any number of culinary delights. Best Sous Vide Beef might be a fillet served with a lovely wine sauce. Roast Chicken of the Year would be hotly contended and there would be plenty of fish dishes hoping to net the big one. But, not many would be interested in helping the competition shine. My Egg Fried Rice is one contender. So, in my Imaginary Home Cooking Awards, the big actors can slog it out amongst themselves. We have one contender for what can be viewed as the best of the rest.

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