Eggs for breakfast is a genuinely global phenomenon and there is a dazzling array of recipes from around the world using them. This one is from North Africa (versions of it are popular throughout the Middle East), and the other main ingredient apart from egg is tomato. Various veggies can be added depending on which country’s recipe you are following, but we like it best just adding plenty of sweet peppers, whichever colour you choose. It is spiced with cumin seeds, caraway seeds, cayenne and paprika (our Harissa spice blend does the job perfectly), and is lovely served with a hunk of bread, or a warm pitta bread. Along with the similar Mexican Huevos Rancheros, this is one of our favourite Sunday brunch treats.
One of the mainstays of Mexican (and indeed Californian) cuisine is guacamole, starring the sinfully rich flavour of avocado set off by chilli, tomato, lime and coriander. It is served as a dip, and as a stuffing for tacos, burritos and quesadillas. It is very quick and easy to make (in fact the most difficult part is finding avocados of the right ripeness!), and always a favourite. We find the best avos to use are the wrinkly, dark green Haas variety, but make sure they are still reasonably firm when you buy them – the really ripe, soft ones will work, but nowhere near so well. We season our version with our Spice of the Month, Mexican Chilli Lime, but if you are not a fan of chilli heat simply replace this with some extra lime juice and salt. One final tip – people will often complain that when they make guacamole, it quickly becomes grey or black and doesn’t look very nice. This is because it is exposed to oxygen, so as soon as you have made the guacamole, cover with clingfilm to keep off the air. If your guacamole does discolour, simply giving it a good stir can rectify this.
One of the classic salads, this originated in the French city of Nice, on the sun-kissed Cote d’Azur. In the beginning it was a simple combination of tomatoes, anchovies and olive oil but nowadays there are quite a few versions, and heated discussions about which is the ‘authentic’ one. The recipe here is our favourite way of doing it, and we give it the Spice Mountain touch by adding a sprinkle of our Tomato, Olive and Basil salt, and a smidgen of our Smoked Garlic granules, along with lemon juice and black pepper. You can add a bit of carbohydrate action to the proceedings with some boiled new potatoes if you choose, and this makes for an excellent lunch dish alongside a chilled crisp white wine and a hunk of crusty bread. We like to use fresh tuna, but have no problem with good quality canned (and this is a good idea if you are making a large salad to share).
This is one of the best things you can do with our spice of the month, miso. Apart from the umami thwack of the miso, it also throws in earthy, nutty tahini and sesame seeds, sticky and sweet pomegranate molasses, fresh and zingy coriander and mint – all these combining to jazz up one of our favourite veggies, aubergine. The term ‘food porn’ can be thrown around lightly nowadays, but this is genuinely it.
One of Sri Lanka’s favourite foods, kotthu is genuinely lovely. It is made using chopped up roti/paratha (which if you are lucky enough to have a Sri Lankan/South Indian shop handy can be bought already chopped and frozen) which is then fried up with a selection of veggies, spices including curry leaves and leftover curry. It is quick and easy to make. In Sri Lanka it is a popular streetfood, where it would be cooked on a hot griddle, but in a domestic kitchen it is best made in a wok or a deep frying pan. Our recipe uses two stages, first to make a quick chicken curry to use in it, then the actual kotthu. But if you have some leftover curry you don’t need to worry about the first stage, just use the leftovers. And of course it works just as well omitting the meat altogether.
This is a wonderful, slow-cooked casserole which originates from the Mexican state of Jalisco, and particularly the state capital Guadalajara. In its homeland it is traditionally made with goat, but beef works just as well. It stars Guajillo and Ancho chilli, which gives a warm, fruity and slightly smoky flavour, backed up by the Mexican favourites Oregano and Cumin. The long marination process is essential, as is the slow cooking, but apart from the time taken it is a very easy recipe to prepare. It is perfect for a Saturday night family supper when served with warm corn tortillas and a selection of garnishes and salsas which should include chopped red onion and coriander, and some quartered limes to squeeze over the top. Any leftovers can be used for stuffing tacos or burritos during the following week.
This dish is a way we discovered to use our Spice of the Month, Coconut and Beetroot curry blend, and follows the same principles as a ‘normal’ Tandoori but tastes completely different. It works very well with chicken of course, but an interesting variation is to use fish – try cod, swordfish, salmon or tuna steaks, any firm, meaty fish. The method uses coconut milk instead of the more usual yoghurt, and it is not as spicy hot as a regular tandoori so if you like it hot, add a teaspoon or two of Kashmiri chilli powder. There aren’t many ingredients involved, and of course cooking just involves sticking a tray in the oven, so this is very easy to do if you don’t have much time.
Asia is a wonderland for tasty, savoury fried snacks and near the top of everyone’s list is the onion bhaji, which of course is a staple in Indian restaurants here in the UK. They do however come in other forms to the ‘tennis ball’ usually found here, and if you’re making them yourself it works better (and is much easier) to do flat ones – this means the batter won’t be so cakey, you won’t need so much oil, and they cook faster and crispier. We include curry leaves and some fresh green chilli in our batter, just because we like them, but these aren’t essential if you don’t have them handy. The best bet for spicing up the bhaji batter is our Bombay Potato curry blend, but if you don’t have that in the pantry, use a blend of turmeric, cumin and coriander.
Although originally a European dish, Schnitzel is very popular in Australia where it is very common on pub and restaurant menus. It is easy enough to make, and of course the spicing/seasoning varies from chef to chef. Our version is seasoned with our Tomato, Olive and Basil Salt (a blend which is bang full of Umami) but other ideas are Cuban Seasoned Salt, Cajun Blend or if you are a fan of hotter food, Lemon, Chilli and Fennel Salt. You can accompany your Schnitzel with your favourite kind of fried potato, with some spaghetti dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper, or for a lighter meal, with some crispy green salad.
As you may remember, we at Spice Mountain are very fond of a rendang. We found this version at the Tiong Bahru food court in Singapore, and while it had the same flavours as the more common beef rendang, it was different.