Sunday, 12 April 2015

Spice Kitchen review, plus a recipe for Sri Lankan Cashew Nut & Green Bean Curry

If you're a regular reader of my blog, I'm sure you know that I love spicy food. I'm always on the lookout for new ingredients to try out, so I have really enjoyed testing out some new spice mixes from Spice Kitchen; Spice Kitchen was set up by mother and son team, Shashi & Sanjay Aggarwal in Birmingham, UK...
"Spice Kitchen is an online shop specialising in high quality hand-blended and home-ground Indian Spices. We also sell various cookware that can help you to create authentic Indian food. We specialise in selling authentic Spice Tins, which are known as 'Masala Dabbas' in India. These shiny stainless steel tins contain 7 separate containers for easy access to the myriad of spices that you will need to create perfectly blended Indian dishes and curries.
We source the freshest spices from around the world, hand-blend, roast and grind them and pack them carefully. We promise you that you will never have smelt spices like them (so much so that they smell outside the packaging!)."
 Spice Kitchen
I was lucky enough to get to try out  eight of their international spice mixes, which include Sri Lankan, Mexican and Baharat spice blends. I've tried out about half of the mixes so far, and I can tell you that they taste as good as they smell! Apart from my Sri Lankan recipe below, I've used the Mexican mix in my veggie chilli, the Baharat in my bean stew and the garam masala in my shami kebabs. All tasted really flavoursome and authentic.

I was going to mention that I haven't ever eaten authentic Sri Lankan food, but then I remembered that I have! One of my claims to fame is that I once worked with the lovely Karthi Gnanasegaram (now a presenter on BBC news and sports programmes), who's Sri Lankan mother used to send in some of her amazing vegetarian home cooked food for us all to sample.

I wasn't sure what to cook with my spice mix, so I researched various Sri Lankan curry recipes and found lots for cashew nut curry and green/snake bean curry. I thought I'd combine the 2 main ingredients and see what happened! The nuts gave the curry a really interesting taste and texture and the flavours were quite different from those you would expect in an Indian curry.

Cashew Nut & Green Bean Curry

Serves 4

  • 100g/4oz cashew nuts, soaked in water overnight
  • 200g/8oz green beans, cut into 2cm slices
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or vegetable ghee
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • A spring of curry leaves (approx 10)
  • 2-3 tsp Sri Lankan spice mix
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 50g/2oz creamed coconut (block), chopped into chunks 
  • 1 cup boiling water
Soak the cashew nuts in a bowl of water overnight. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil/ghee in a pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, curry leaves and stir.

Once the onions are soft and beginning to change colour, add the spice mix and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the green beans, coconut cream and water. Simmer, with the lid on, for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has thickened and the beans are almost tender.

Add the drained cashew nuts and stir to combine. Simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.

Serve with fragrant basmati rice and coconut sambol.

Nut-free alternatives: Use 200g diced paneer/Quorn/meat free pieces, or other vegetables instead of the nuts, if you prefer.

Fragrant basmati rice: Soak, rinse and drain 1 cup of basmati rice. Cover with 1¾ cups boiling water, a cinnamon stick, 1 whole chilli and 2 green cardamom pods. Simmer for 10 minutes, covered and then turn the heat off and leave to steam for a further 5 minutes (lid on).

Coconut Sambol
  • ½ cup fresh coconut, finely grated
  • ¼ to ½ tsp red chilli powder (to taste)
  • 1 small red onion grated, or chopped in a food processor
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  •  a pinch of salt (to taste)
Mix all ingredients together, adding chilli to taste. Chill until needed.

I received some complimentary Spice Kitchen products for review/recipe development. All views expressed are genuine. 
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  1. Sounds interesting. Never thought of trying cashew nuts and green beans together. Sounds very yummy!

    1. Thanks. I've never cooked anything like it before either! Was really pleased with the results though :-)

  2. Cashew nut's in curry? I can't wait!


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