Cooking has made a comeback! Throughout the world, COVID-19 has inspired many of us to get back into the heart of the home – the kitchen.
From home baking to bobotie, Qatar’s home cooks have shown their creativity and passion for whipping up lots of tasty meals. We’re a nation of food lovers with an amazing range of citizens from across the globe and we’re making the most of this time to experiment and whip up new recipes and family favourites.
So let’s take a peek into the kitchens of Qatar’s talented home cooks to see what’s cooking. First up in the series we have two home cooks- Ann Thomas and Gary Richardson who are whipping up a storm in their kitchen.
Has Covid19 changed the way you cook at home? It’s definitely led to more frequent experiments in the kitchen to add to our repertoire! In general, we stick to our comfort fare.
What’s your dish? Kappa and Meen Curry - mashed and seasoned tapioca flavoured with coconut and a spicy and tangy fish curry.
Why did you choose this dish? Where I come from, Kappa and Meen Curry is not just a dish; it is an emotion! It evokes a strong sense of home and belonging. This dish came from very humble beginnings; field workers would eat this dish for nourishment to garner enough strength to plough and work the fields. However, over time it has been elevated to a position of comfort food that nourishes the heart as much as it does the body. It is a familiar sight at restaurants, weddings et al! I have loved it all my life and it was amongst the first things I learned to cook for my then to-be husband. If the foundation of our marriage were based on food, it would be this dish! Hands down!
1kg Tapioca (frozen works just fine)
8-10 shallots or one medium-sized red onion chopped Julienne
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch piece of ginger
½ cup of grated coconut
2-3 Green chillies
1/2 teaspoon of Turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon of Cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of Mustard Seeds
5 Sprigs of Curry leaves and additional leaves for garnish
3-4 Tbsps. of Coconut oil
Salt to Taste
1kg Seer Fish (Kingfish) cut into 2-inch cubes
8-10 shallots or one medium-sized red onion finely julienned
15 cloves of garlic finely julienned
1-inch piece of ginger finely julienned
3-5 petals of kokum (tamarind)
4 tablespoons of Red Chili powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 Tbsp of fenugreek seeds
1 Tbsp of mustard seeds
5 sprigs of curry leaves and additional leaves for garnish
5-7 tbsp of coconut oil
Salt to taste
Water from a recently boiled kettle
1. Bring fish to room temperature, wash thoroughly and set aside
2. Wash kokum petals and soak in enough water to cover the petals. This needs to soak for at least an hour
3. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds with half a tbsp of mustard and grind to a fine powder.
4. To this powder add chilli powder, turmeric and enough water to make a thick paste and set aside
5. Heat the pan or earthen pot and add coconut oil to it. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add shallots, ginger, garlic and 2 sprigs of curry leaves.
6. When this begins to turn a light brown, add the masala paste and keep stirring until the oil separates (at this point you may add more oil if needed)
7. Add 5 cups of hot water, soaked kokum (along with the water) and remaining curry leaves.
8. Cover and bring to a boil. Then add the cubed fish and salt to taste.
9. Bring the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes. Then uncover and reduce gravy until it reaches desired consistency (approximately 20 minutes)
10. Garnish with fresh curry leaves
Tastes even nicer the following day and makes an excellent accompaniment for rice as well!!
Has Covid19 changed the way you cook at home? Yes, it has. Being at home has given me more time in the kitchen. Before Covid19 I spent 1- 2 hrs to get dinner ready, now its all day! I enjoy applying my work skills to home cooking and being able to make ingredients from scratch rather than store-bought. Covid19 has shifted the ingredients we use in our meals. We have always been conscious of nutritional value. During this time, we are using more ingredients with immune-boosting properties.
What’s your dish? Bobotie - South Africa's version of Moussaka. Bobotie is a savoury mince dish of fruity, aromatic and spicy flavours. The mince is slow-cooked with curry powder, raisins and apricot jam added for its fruity sweetness. The curried mince is then topped with a savoury egg custard and baked till the custard sets and is golden in colour. It is traditionally served with fragrant yellow rice and chutney.
Why did you choose this dish? I chose this dish because of my heritage growing up in Cape Town, South Africa. Also, this dish has a very rich, long history from many cultures. It’s easy to prepare and the perfect comfort food. The combination of mince and egg custard gives it a light texture packed full of flavour.
1 kg beef mince
1 medium-sized onion finely diced
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 stick cinnamon
1 medium-sized green apple, peeled and grated
2 tbsp apricot jam
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tin chopped peeled tomato
1 tbsp salt
½ tsp white pepper ground
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup milk
2 slices white bread (crust off)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 clove sticks
Savoury custard mix
5 whole eggs
½ cup milk
Pinch of turmeric
Chef Gary's cooking tips
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