Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Finally! - South Asian Dishes in the Slow Cooker!

150 Best Indian, Thai, Vietnamese & More 
Slow Cooker Recipes
by Sunil Vijayakar
Paperback, 208 pages

Let's face it: some slow cooker books are kind of.... safe. You know, another chili, more soup... beef stew. Not that I don't love all those things, but I always wanted a slow cooker book that ventured way out of the ordinary and delivered exotic cuisine with great flavour.

Somebody heard my wishes!

As the book covers many countries and regions (all of them delicious!) many different styles and ingredients are covered. There are even some pickles and chutneys at the end of the book to go with your fabulous dishes.

I don't know if I ever told you - before I moved to the coyote-infested suburbs I lived in a largely South Asian part of Toronto. Submerged in the fabulous cultures, my tummy was always my guide and I learned to love the infinite variations on curries there are to be had. And what better way to make a curry than in the slow cooker? First - you don't have to heat up your house, and curries are perfect for the old crockpot - prep them in the morning and have sumptuous, exotic, and fragrant dishes ready for dinner!


Contents include:
Introduction
Slow Cooker Know-How
Meat Dishes
Poultry & Eggs
Fish & Shellfish
Vegetables, Fruits & Nuts
Rice & Pulses
Accompaniments

We tried the Cambodian Pork & Lemongrass Curry the other night - absolutely delicious!

Here are a couple of recipes that you can sample at home, happy slow cooking!

Beet Curry
Serves 4

Vegan Friendly
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Medium (approx. 4 quart) slow cooker
Heat Rating: 2

2 tbsp    oil    30 mL
1 tsp    black mustard seeds    5 mL
1    onion, chopped    1
2    cloves garlic, minced    2
2    long red chile peppers, finely chopped    2
8    curry leaves (see Tips, left)    8
1 tsp    ground turmeric    5 mL
1 tsp    cumin seeds    5 mL
1    piece (2 inches/5 cm) cinnamon stick    1
1 lb    beets, peeled and cut into matchsticks    500 g
1 cup    diced tomatoes, with juice (see Tips,     250 mL
    left)
1 cup    water    250 mL
    Salt
1⁄4 cup    coconut cream (see Tips, left)    60 mL
    Juice of 1 lime
    Chopped cilantro leaves

1.    In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and cover. When the seeds stop popping, uncover, reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic and chiles. Stir-fry until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add curry leaves, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and beets and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
2.    Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add tomatoes, water and salt to taste. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until beets are tender. Stir in coconut cream and lime juice. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Tips
If you can’t find curry leaves, substitute dried or fresh bay leaves.
You can use fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes. You will need about half of a 14-oz (398 mL) can for this recipe.
Coconut cream is a thicker, more concentrated version of coconut milk. Look for it in Asian markets. If you can’t find it, skim off the top layer of a can of coconut milk that has been left standing (not shaken).


Excerpted from 150 Best Indian Thai, Vietnamese & More Slow Cooker Recipes by Sunil Vijayakar © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


Cambodian Pork & Lemongrass Curry
Serves 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Medium (approx. 4 quart) slow cooker
Heat Rating: 2

2 tbsp    oil    30 mL
6    shallots, finely chopped    6
2 tbsp    finely chopped lemongrass     30 mL
    (see Tips, left)
1 tbsp    minced gingerroot    15 mL
1 tbsp    minced garlic    15 mL
1 tbsp    ground cumin    15 mL
2 tsp    crushed fenugreek seeds    10 mL
1 tsp    ground turmeric    5 mL
1¼ lbs    trimmed pork shoulder or blade (butt),     625 g
    cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes and
    patted dry (see Tips, left)
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp    tamarind paste (see Tips, left)    15 mL
1 tsp    finely grated lime zest    5 mL
2 tbsp    freshly squeezed lime juice    30 mL
1    can (14 oz/400 mL) coconut milk    1
8    baby new potatoes, quartered    8
2    red bell peppers, seeded and chopped    2
1    long red chile pepper, thinly sliced    1

1.    In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots, lemongrass, gingerroot, garlic, cumin, fenugreek and turmeric and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add pork and sauté until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2.    Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Stir in tamarind paste, lime zest and juice, coconut milk and potatoes. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours or on High for 11⁄2 to 2 hours, until potatoes are cooked and pork is meltingly tender. Stir in bell peppers and chile pepper. Cover and cook on High for 15 minutes, until peppers are tender. Ladle into warm bowls.

Tips: Serve with fluffy rice.
Before chopping the lemongrass, be sure to remove the tough outer leaves.
Many butchers sell cut-up pork stewing meat, which is fine to use in this recipe.
Be sure to use tamarind paste (sometimes labeled “concentrate”), which comes in a jar. Tamarind in a block needs to be dissolved in water and pressed through a sieve to remove seeds and pulp before being added to recipes and, therefore, becomes more diluted in flavor and texture.


Excerpted from 150 Best Indian Thai, Vietnamese & More Slow Cooker Recipes by Sunil Vijayakar © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


Bombay Chicken Curry
Serves 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Medium (approx. 4 quart) slow cooker
Heat Rating: 2

2 tbsp    oil    30 mL
2    onions, chopped    2
2    cloves garlic, minced    2
3 tbsp     medium curry powder    45 mL
1 tsp    ground ginger    5 mL
1 tsp    ground turmeric    5 mL
2 lbs    skinless bone-in chicken thighs    1 kg
    (about 8)
1    can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes,     1
    with juice
1    can (14 oz/400 mL) coconut milk    1
    (see Tips, left)
    Salt

1.    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir-fry until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, curry powder, ginger and turmeric and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until well coated with mixture and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, with juice, and stir, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan.
2.    Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add coconut milk. Season to taste with salt and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours or on High for 2 hours, until chicken is falling off the bone.

Tips
Serve this with an abundance of steaming basmati rice to soak up the sauce.
Be sure to shake the can of coconut milk well before using, because the cream layer collects on top after it’s been sitting.


Excerpted from 150 Best Indian Thai, Vietnamese & More Slow Cooker Recipes by Sunil Vijayakar © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


Sunil Vijayakar was born in Bombay, where, while working as a food stylist for the film industry, he founded a successful catering company. He is now based in London and specializes in preparing food for photography.

Sunil has written a number of cookbooks and contributes to many popular weekly and monthly publications.