Spicy Pork Goulash

One of the national dishes of Hungary, I have come up with my own goulash recipe using Sri Lankan spices and pork meat. It goes very well with polenta.
INGREDIENTS
500g pork, diced
1 big red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 big tomatoes, the skin removed then chopped (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
3 red peppers, sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs paprika
1 tbs crushed chilli
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbs dry herbs
2 bay leaves
3 tbs olive oil
1 cup red wine
3 cups of stock (chicken or beef)
Salt to taste
METHOD
Sprinkle the pork with the flour, heat the pan with half of the oil, add the meat and fry until browned. Remove from pan, add the rest of the oil, then add the onion, garlic and red peppers. Mix well and cook until they soften. Add spices, tomatoes, bay leaves and the herbs, mix well. Pour in the wine and seasoning, then add the meat and stock. Cover and cook on a low flame for 30-40 minutes. Check the seasoning, then add the parsley. Serve with rice or polenta.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Spinach and Cheese Filo Bake


INGREDIENTS
500g pack ready rolled filo pastry
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
500g spinach (washed and drained)
200g curly kale (chopped)
200g Savoy cabbage (chopped)
200g leeks (white part, chopped)
100g hazelnuts (roasted and chopped)
1 tbs plain flour
250g Camembert cheese (cut into thin slices)
150g breadcrumbs with 3 tbs parsley (mixed together)
3 tbs olive oil
100g butter (melted)
2 egg yolks (beaten)
Salt and pepper
METHOD
Heat the oven to 180*. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and then the spinach, leeks and other greens. Mix well. Next, add the flour and remove from the heat. Add the nuts and check the seasoning. Line the filo pastry sheets in a baking dish, brush with egg. Spoon over half of the green mixture, then cover with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Top up with the remaining mixture and cover with pastry. Transfer to a baking plate. Brush with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes until golden.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Coq au Vin

This classic French chicken dish is normally made with bacon, but I decided to try without. It came out nicely, full of flavour. Serve on special occasions.
INGREDIENTS
750g chicken thighs and legs with the skin on
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tbs tomato puree
1 cup small shallots (in Srilanka we use these a lot)
2 cups carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
250g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbs olive oil
2 cups red wine
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 star anise
Salt and pepper to taste
Bouquet garni – 3 bay leaves, 2 sprigs rosemary, 3 sprigs thyme, 5 cloves tied into a small bundle (make sure you remove it before serving).
Fresh thyme for garnish
To thicken:
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs butter
Heat the butter in a pan, add the flour to make a puree; add into the casserole
METHOD
Heat half of the oil in a thick-bottom pan, add the chicken skin side down and cook 5-8 minutes uncovered, turning once until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a separate bowl. Heat the rest of the oil then add the garlic, onion and mushrooms, then the carrot, tomato, and tomato puree. Add red wine, chicken stock and herbs, put the chicken back into the pan and mix carefully. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, then add the thickener. Cover and cook for 50 mins – 1hr. Remove the star anise and bouquet garni, check the seasoning. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve with a potato bake.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Pork Wellington

Inspired by the legendary dish, Beef Wellington, I have added my own ingredients to transform pork fillet into something special. The flavour of the apple really enhances the taste.
INGREDIENTS
750g pork fillet
300g brown mushrooms (chopped)
3 celery sticks (peeled and chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 green apples (grated)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
30cm x 40cm puff pastry sheet
2 tbs black sesame seeds
2 tbs Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks (beaten)
3 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
METHOD
Heat the oven to 180*
Heat a non-stick frying pan, and seal the fillet of pork. Keep it on the side.
Using the same pan heat the oil then add garlic, onion, celery, and mushrooms. Stir together, and when the aromas come out add the apple. Remove from the heat.
Lay the pastry on a sheet pan and spread with the mushroom mixture. Then lay on the pork fillet and spread with the mustard and seasoning.
Center the fillet, fold over the pastry to wrap and seal.
Keep it in the fridge for 20 minutes
Take it out and brush with egg yolk, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Healthy Carrot and Oat Cake

Easy to make, full of flavour and nutritious ingredients, this stunning cake is great with tea or serve as a dessert. I add Sri Lankan cashew nuts and herbs.

INGREDIENTS
3 cups grated fresh carrot
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups ground oats
1 cup honey
1 cup yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 chopped cashew nuts
1/2 cup mix seeds and nuts (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, crushed almonds)
1/2 cup sultanas and dry cranberries
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
METHOD
Heat the oven to 180*
In a bowl mix together the yogurt, honey, eggs and oil
In a separate bowl mix together the carrots, oats, cashew nuts, dry fruits, herbs and baking ingredients
Combine both mixtures togethers
Bake in a lined cake tin (22 x 6 cm) for 30 minutes in a hot oven, 180*
Then reduce the heat to 170* and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sesame Marmite Chicken

Roasted sesame seeds, lemon zest and Marmite bring amazing taste to this chicken recipe! I hope you’ll love it as much as we do in our house.
INGREDIENTS
500g chicken breast or thigh (skinless and boneless)
 2 tbs sesame seeds (roasted)
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbs crushed chilli
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbs lemon zest
1 tbs Marmite
1 tsp thyme leaves
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
METHOD
Heat the oven to 180*
Blend all the ingredients together as a paste
Marinade the chicken and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes
Cover and keep on one side for around 10 minutes, then slice and serve with  rice

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Lentil Rice with Noodles

Lentil rice with noodles is well-known Persian dish. When I lived in Dubai I followed this same recipe, but I did it in my own way using a few Sri Lankan ingredients to create more flavour. I hope you will enjoy it.
INGREDIENTS
2 cups (256g) Basmati rice (washed and drained)
1 cup (128g) green lentils (par boiled)
1 cup (128g) noodles (roasted to golden brown)
100g potato (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup (64g) sultanas
1/2 cup (64g) dates (pitted and chopped)
1/2 cup (64g) pine nuts or cashews (roasted)
100g chopped onion
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
3 tbs chopped ginger
1 dried lime (chopped)
2 small capsicums (chopped)
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 tbs butter
4 tbs olive oil
3-4 cups boiling water
1 tbs cumin powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp mace threads
1 tbs ground black pepper
1/4 tsp saffron
METHOD
Heat the pan. Add 2 tbs olive oil then add garlic, ginger, onion, capsicum, cumin powder and stir well until the aroma comes out.
Then add potatoes, lentils, noodles and rice and the rest of the ingredients. Add hot water to cover the mixture, mix well and cover with a lid. Cook on a low heat until the rice is fluffy and the potatoes are cooked through. Remove from heat, mix slowly with a fork or the edge of a wooden spoon. Remove the bay leaves. Serve with a sesame chicken (recipe to follow) and creamed spinach.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Chicken and Vegetable Quiche

This is a delicious yet simple bake for lunch, full of flavour too. Instead of chicken you can just use vegetables.

 

INGREDIENTS 

Frozen puff pastry roll

300g skinless and boneless chicken (diced)

250g potato (boiled and diced)

150g leeks (sliced)

100g grated carrot

150g baby spinach (washed and dried)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 eggs (beaten)

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs lime juice

1/2. cup double cream

150g cheddar cheese (grated)

50g parsley (chopped)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

METHOD

Heat the oven to 175*

Line the pastry tray with the puff pastry sheet and keep in the fridge

Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic and leeks cook for about 5 minutes

Add the chicken and for cook another 15 minutes, then add salt and pepper

Remove from heat, add spinach, carrot, lime juice and half of the parsley

In bowl mix the eggs and cream

Take the pastry out of the fridge, fill with the chicken and vegetable mixture then pour the egg mixture over the top

Sprinkle with the cheese and rest of the parsley

Bake around 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown

Serve with mixed salad leaves


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Stuffed Cuttlefish

In Sri Lanka we use fresh cuttlefish in a variety of different ways. I have my own recipe for this curry using my Mum’s curry ingredients. It tastes so amazing that I just had to share it with you all.

INGREDIENTS

500g small cuttlefish (cleaned and washed – ask your fishmonger)

1 medium onion (chopped)

3 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 tbs chopped fresh ginger

1 big tomato (chopped)

1 tsp chilli powder

1tsp roasted curry powder

1 tsp black pepper powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3 cardamom (chopped)

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 inch lemon grass (chopped)

2 sprigs of curry leaves

2 tbs fresh  lime or lemon juice

2 tbs coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

1 cup coconut milk (200ml)

Salt to taste

For the stuffing 

50g leeks or spring onion (chopped)

100g carrot (grated)

100g cauliflower (grated)

100g parboiled potato (diced)

2 tbs fresh parsley or chives (chopped)

1 tbs olive oil or butter

Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD 

Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan, add spring onion or leeks and cook for about 7 minutes

Add the remaining vegetables and cook all together for another 5 minutes, then check the seasoning

Remove from the heat and let it cool down

Stuff the vegetables mixture into the cuttlefish, and keep on one side

Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic, onion, ginger, lemon grass, curry leaves, cardamom and cinnamon.  When the aromas come out add the chopped tomato and mix well. Then add the curry powders and cook for another five minutes

Add the coconut milk and let it simmer, check the seasoning

Then arrange the stuffed cuttlefish carefully into the curry, cover and cook for a further 7 minutes

Remove from the heat, and add the lime juice

Serve with rice or bread


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Three Flavour Risotto

Rather than make a standard mushroom risotto, I decided to liven it up a bit by adding some fresh vegetable flavours and grated halloumi. I am very happy with the result – three dishes in one!

INGREDIENTS 

400g risotto rice

1 white onion, chopped 

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs white wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves 

3 sprig of thyme 

3 cups vegetable stock

1 cup white wine 

2 tbs cream cheese (or creme fraiche)

50g  Parmesan cheese, grated

150g halloumi cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra Flavour Ingredients

  1. 100g green peas (fresh or frozen) and 3 tbs fresh mint, chopped
  2. 1 cup oven-roasted pumpkin (seeded and peeled) with 2 tbs chives, snipped
  3. 100g cherry tomatoes (remove the skin) with 3 tbs fresh basil, chopped

 

METHOD 

Heat the pan, add the oil and then the garlic and onion. Sauté until soft.

Add the rice, stir for 5 minutes on low heat then add the wine and herbs. Mix well, then add the vegetable stock a little at a time.

When the rice is cooked add the cream, halloumi cheese and vinegar. Check the seasoning. 

Separate into three bowls and add one set of flavourings into each bowl (peas, pumpkin and tomatoes). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.