The Guardian - Feast

Poached eggs with tamarind and coconut sauce


Prep Cook Serves 5 min 15 min 3-4

200g white basmati rice, preferably pre-soaked

1 x 400ml tin coconut milk Salt and pepper 2 tbsp vegetable oil 200g chopped tinned tomatoes (ie, ½ tin)

2 tsp brown sugar 1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)

4 eggs

Juice of ½ lemon

For the curry paste 4 tbsp tamarind paste (from 65g tamarind pods, if making from fresh) 3 banana shallots, peeled

1 large thumb ginger, peeled

4 garlic cloves,

Leave out the fish sauce if you are vegetarian. You will need a large frying pan with a lid.

Put the rice in a large pot, cover with twice its volume of cold water, add two tablespoon­s of the coconut milk and season well. Bring to a boil, simmer gently for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to its lowest setting and cover the pan until you are ready to eat.

If you are making your own tamarind paste, break open the pods and cover with boiling water. Don a pair of washing-up gloves, rub the tamarind into the water to dissolve the paste, then sieve out the puree and discard the seeds.

Roughly chop the shallots, ginger, garlic and chillies, throw into a food processor and blitz to a rough paste. Stir in the tamarind, coriander seeds and turmeric, and season well.

Set a saucepan on a high heat, add the oil and, when hot, tip in the paste. Turn down the heat to medium, stirfry for three to four minutes, then stir in the rest of the coconut milk, the tomatoes, sugar and fish sauce, if using, and simmer for five minutes.

Now for the eggs: pour water into a large frying pan to a depth of 5mm and bring to simmering point. Crack in the eggs, turn down the heat, cover the pan and leave to cook until the whites are set.

Squeeze the lemon into the sauce and taste for seasoning. Spoon the rice on to plates, cover with the curry sauce and top each with an egg. This would be lovely scattered with fresh parsley or coriander.

And for the rest of the week … The curry sauce is delicious with grilled fish or mussels. If you have fresh tamarind pods, make more of the tangy paste than you need here, and use the excess to add a sour note to cocktails.

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