The dish below comes courtesy of Vicky Bhogal, a British Asian woman who has done a lot to raise the profile of South Asian cuisine in the UK. Her passion for cooking owes a lot to her mother, who, apparently, instilled the same type of devotion for food preparation in her daughter. Vicky's intention is to replicate many of the recipes that her mother used to make when Vicky was younger.
Cashew, prawn, brazil nut and lemon rice
This is dinner party food. It is also comfort food that is as virtuous as it is heart-warming. You just put everything in the pan together, quickly stir-fry, add water, steam and voilà, there you have it! These quantities make enough for two, so double them if you're cooking for four, or six, or eight, or the whole troop. Note to readers: I tend to cheat a little bit and add more nuts such as: hazelnuts, chestnuts, peanuts... the list goes on. Refer to the first line. I am nuts about nuts.
2 tbsp mild and light olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ onion thinly sliced
Zest from 1 lemon
250g cooked and peeled prawns
2 tomatoes, diced
1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
75g cashew nuts
60g toasted brazil nuts, chopped
1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
½ teaspoon salt
100g basmati rice, washed until the water runs clear, drained
Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin. When sizzling, add the onion and lemon zest and fry until translucent. Add the prawns, tomatoes, coriander, cashews, brazils, chilli and salt, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the rice and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds.
Now add the water, bring up to a boil, turn down the heat to very low, cover and steam for 15 minutes. Once cooked, graze the rice gently with a fork, to loosen the grains, and serve piping hot.
Playlist. It goes without saying that the music has to be as sizzling as the dish. These are my suggestions:
Oscar Peterson - Honeysuckle Rose
Karen Dalton - When a Man Loves a Woman
Souad Massi - Yemma
Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee
Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground
Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues
Los Van Van - Dale Dos
Baaba Maal - African Woman