Archive | August, 2011

Thai Spiced Corn Cakes with Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce

5 Aug

As you probably all know by now, I have a chilli plant on the terrace which is producing lots of beautiful red birds-eye chillis at the moment. We are overrun with them. I pick some every day and freeze them in a plastic pot. Make that two plastic pots, that are full.

I love Thai sweet chilli sauce so it didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to make some with our chillis. This homemade version has none of the nasty chemicals that you find in many of the store-bought sweet chilli sauces and it tastes just as good. I think it’s even better. The Washer Up thinks so too, he said it’s less sweet and more rounded, so there you go.

Inspiration for what to make to go with this fabulous sauce came from watching these towering sweetcorn plants growing while walking the dog in the morning. I swear they must grow about a foot every day.

This one has pink hair for some reason, does that mean the corn will be pink too?

I made two attempts at these corn cakes/fritters. The first recipe I used didn’t hold together very well in the pan. I ended up with a spicy sweetcorn hash with some very small cakes because the sweetcorn breaks away very easily from the cakes.

For my second attempt I followed The Washer Up’s instruction. He wisely explained that sweetcorn is a bit of a nightmare (in his experience) and that it would hold together much better if I blended half of the mixture and then added the rest of the corn kernels for some texture. So that is what I did, and it worked.

Those Thai street vendors who are knocking out hundreds of the things every day, no problem at all, obviously know something we don’t. If you are brave enough, you can try it without blending the mix first, to see if you have any more success than I did. I would definitely add a bit more egg though, and keep your fingers crossed.

Thai Spiced Corn Cakes & Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce

For the Sweet Chilli Sauce:

makes a 250 ml bottle, vegan, gluten-free. From Chilli World

  • 10 chillies, finely chopped
  • 225 gr (1 cup) sugar
  • 110 ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 110 ml (1/2 cup) white vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or fish sauce)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Remove the stems from the chillis and finely chop them (wearing gloves is a good idea). Put them in a small saucepan with the sugar, water, vinegar, garlic, paprika and salt and bring to a rolling boil over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar for a few seconds then reduce the heat to low

Simmer until the liquid reduces slightly and thickens to a light syrup, about 10-15 minutes. Mix the cornflour with a few tablespoons of water in a cup until smooth then stir this into the sauce. Cook for another few minutes until thickened slightly then remove from the heat and stir in the soy (or fish) sauce and lime/lemon juice.

Pour the hot sauce into a sterilised (boiled in water, then dried in a warm oven for 5 minutes) bottle, seal and leave to cool before storing in the fridge.

For the Thai Spiced Corn Cakes:

serves 2-3, vegetarian, gluten-free

  • 2 fresh corn cobs
  • 1o fine green beans, trimmed & finely sliced
  • about 100 gr (1/2 cup) polenta (cornmeal), plus extra for coating
  • 50 gr (1/3 cup) masa arepa (precooked corn flour) or plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp Thai green curry paste (or red)
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • salt & white pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • Thai sweet chilli sauce to serve (see above)
  • lime cheeks, to serve

Mix the corn, polenta, masa arepa flour (or plain flour), eggs, curry paste, green beans, spring onion, coriander, chilli, soy sauce and lime juice in a bowl until well combined.

Take out about half of the mixture and blend it to a chunky paste. Add this back into the rest of the sweetcorn and mix well. Season with salt and white pepper then taste to see if you want to add any more curry paste/lime juice/salt. Cover and put in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up.

Pour a thin layer of polenta onto a large flat plate. Remove the mix from the fridge and start to take small handfuls of the mix and make them into pattie shapes. You may want to squeeze them to make them hold together well. Put them on the polenta plate and lightly coat both sides. You can cover and refrigerate again now if you like.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the corn cakes for about 3 minutes on each side until golden & crispy. Serve immediately with the sweet chilli sauce and a lime cheek to spritz over.

The sweet chilli sauce can be used as a dipping sauce for anything really. Fried food works particularly well and it is also great as a base for a Thai salad dressing or marinade. Just add some soy sauce, lime juice and sesame oil, taste and adjust to your liking.

Enjoy!!

Things That Made Me Smile Today….

We finally found some Agapanthus. We’ve been looking for some since we came back from here. Their season is nearly over but we had to have them anyway.

We are having some cushion covers made for this seating area on the terrace. The fabrics we bought are different faded blue linens, so all the plants in that area now are going to be on a blue and white theme. I can’t wait for the cushions to be ready and then I will take some proper pictures with it all set up, exciting!

He does planting as well as washing up!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce

2 Aug

Sometimes things are just meant to be. Like this recipe. It came together because I was looking at all the big green beef tomatoes (tomate ensalada) that are yet to ripen when I was walking the dog.

I started thinking about “Fried Green Tomatoes” the film, which I’ve never seen and the dish, which I’ve never tried. I wasn’t even sure whether it was a special type of tomato that was always green or if it was just an unripe tomato. I googled it when I got home.

It turns out that they are just sliced unripe tomatoes that are breaded with cornmeal (polenta) and fried. They are usually served with a wedge of lemon and some hot pepper sauce. Hot pepper sauce? That is when it started to come together.

We have a huge scotch bonnet chilli pepper bush on our terrace which was given to us last year by our sister-in-law, Marie Elena, before she moved back to England. This year it has come back even stronger than last year and we have just started harvesting the first lot of red-hot round juicy chillis.

There are literally hundreds of them on there and more and more are turning from green to red every day. I’ve been researching Caribbean dishes that use scotch bonnet chillis and am formulating some recipes in my head that I will be trying and posting soon.

The thing is that these recipes only use one, or at the most, two of these chillis and am just about to have loads. I always freeze my chillis, to keep them fresh, and I just take one or two out as required but I needed to make some room in the freezer, it is full of chillis and figs at the moment.

So I decided to make a hot pepper sauce out of my scotch bonnets to go with the fried green tomatoes. That used up about twenty of them anyway. It is a hot, hot pepper sauce but it has a kind of fruitiness to it as well which is unusual but works perfectly with the tomatoes.

Beware, this sauce is addictive. You think it’s too hot but then you keep going back for more. The Washer Up loves it, but he is the biggest chilli head I know. He just put some on a cheese and tomato sandwich.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce

For the hot pepper sauce:

Makes a bit less than 250 ml bottle. Vegan, gluten-free. From The Chilli King

  • about 20 scotch bonnet chillis (mine are quite small)
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 100 ml water

Remove the stalks and any large membranes from the chillis and roughly chop. Blend/process for few seconds until finely chopped. Add this to a small pan with the vinegar and salt & bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5-10 minutes until softened.

When it starts to reduce and thicken slightly add the water and sugar, stir and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile sterilize your glass bottle by boiling it in water then drying out in a warm oven for 5 minutes.

Once cooled blend the sauce again until smooth and pour it through a funnel into the sterilised bottle, seal and leave to cool. Once opened keep sealed in the fridge, it should last for a few months.

For the tomatoes:

Serves 2. Vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 2 large green (unripe) tomatoes
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) polenta (cornmeal)
  • 75 gr (1/2 cup) arepa precooked corn flour (or plain flour)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of paprika
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 75 ml greek yoghurt mixed with 75 ml milk (I used goat’s milk) or 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • salt & black pepper
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • lemon wedges, to serve
  • hot pepper sauce (see above)

Mix the polenta, arepa flour (or plain flour), cayenne, paprika and thyme in a bowl and season with salt & pepper. Mix the yoghurt and milk (or put the buttermilk) in a shallow dish and season with salt & pepper.

Cut the top of the core out of the tomatoes and then slice off the top and bottom. Cut each tomato into four 1cm or less slices. Dip the tomatoes in the yoghurt mixture then put them, one by one, in the polenta bowl. Toss the  bowl around to coat the tomatoes completely on both sides.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the tomatoes for 3 -4 minutes per side until golden & crispy. Drain on paper towels and then serve, stacked on a plate with the lemon wedges and hot pepper sauce.

If the film is anywhere near as good as the dish then I need to download it soon. Enjoy!

Things That made Me Smile Today……

Beautiful red berries on a stick in the ground. I don’t know what they are but I bet they’re poisonous!

Pretty red bug probably eating my plants!

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