This week Celebrity Chef from Ready Steady Cook & Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala cooks us a heartwarming curry, loved by his regulars at lunchtimes!
LUNCH time at The Little Geranium is a totally different experience to our evening dinner by intention.
I focus on Asian Oriental influenced dishes at lunchtime inspired by my time working in Thailand and Hong Kong.
I was in my 20s then and I wanted to learn about Asian food because it was the new trend back in the 80s. It still is a trend, especially with the arrival of some of the big Asian brands like Nobu, Hakkasan, and Zuma. But in my opinion the more basic oriental restaurants need to evolve over here in Spain pretty quickly.
Generally the Chinese food reminds me of the restaurants that my father took me to in the 70s. I didn’t know any different in those days and thought that the crab soup made with no crab was amazing! I also thought that the finger bowl was a lemon soup.
It’s not difficult to make a great curry and you don’t need a million different ingredients, just the key ones. Our regulars insist on having a curry as part of their tapas choices at lunch time, some have even asked me to name the curry after them! Chicken curry, prawn curry and vegetable curry, the same sauce but put together differently, everyone loves it and everyone asks for the recipe so here it is!
One client who you will know is Lorraine Kelly, she loves the Asian flavours and always has a vegetable curry on the table as well as her favourite Thai beef salad.
Lorraine is as you see her on TV, one of the genuine ones, always smiling and always appreciative, she lights up the restaurant. Curry should be spicy but not mind blowing! I remember one Ready Steady Cook show where I made a curry and accidentally put too many chillies in it. The contestant spent 20 minutes chopping the coriander. I had made the curry, some mushroom rice and some dips along with a sort of quick flatbread in 20 minutes real time.
The coriander was the final touch and my contestant /assistant dropped it in the curry at the end and put a spoon in to taste. The smile on his smug face was wiped off by the sheer shock of the spice and it was a picture that I will always remember. So how is the chicken curry Fern Britton asks. With squinting watering eyes and hollow husky voice he replies…Lovely! Talking through his breath he says…..the coriander adds the final flavour… So you live and learn and when you think you know it all you don’t and by making things over and over again is the only way to perfect them.
I love your curry said Robert Horler at his birthday lunch at The Little Geranium recently. A regular, a friend, a foodie and an avid reader of this page.
“Thanks Rob, is that all you love?” I asked. “No mate, I love it all and I love you,” and with that he grabs me and squeezes me and lifts me off the ground two feet, kissing me firmly on my lips. Gee thanks mate…. It’s only a curry..Happy Birthday!
- 4 chicken breasts free range (campo or corral chicken)
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 kaffir lime leaves or curry leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- ½ litre coconut milk
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 tsp palm sugar (or soft brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper cut into julienne strips
- 1 tablespoon of runny honey
- Juice of half a lemon
- Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper add to taste
- 2 mild green chillies de seeded and chopped roughly
For the curry paste
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 long, red Jalapeno mild chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed with the outer leaves removed and thinly sliced
- 2 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
- 4 large shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 flat tbsp of medium curry powder or Ras al hanout
- 2-3 tbsplight olive oil
First make the curry paste
- Put the garlic, chillies, lemongrass, ginger, shallots and turmeric in a food processor and whizz to a paste. With the motor running, trickle in a little oil and blend well, scraping the sides of the processor several times. (Or you can pound the ingredients together in batches using a pestle and mortar).
To make the curry sauce
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces.
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron casserole or heavy-based pan. Tip in the curry paste and stir over a medium heat for a few minutes . Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until they are beginning to soften.
- Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and stir to coat them in the spice paste.
- Now add the lime leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, coconut milk, stock, sugar, soy and fish sauces and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook gently on a low heat for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is tender.
- Taste and add the seasoning, the strips of green pepper and the lemon juice and honey. Taste again.
- Finally add the chopped green chilli and chopped coriander, stir in and serve
- Serve with rice or mushroom rice which I love. Simply fry off some mushrooms with a little garlic and fold them through your fluffy rice.
You can email Steven for any questions or bookings at:
Steven Saunders FMCGB
The Little Geranium
La Cala de Mijas (Behind the Town Hall)