Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Courgette (Zucchini) Recipe 1

At this time of year many of us are dealing with the glut of vegetables, so I thought I would share a couple of recipes in case you, like me, are faced with the prospect of eating courgettes at every meal! This one is for fried (spicy) courgettes.

Slice a couple of onions or shallots, and soften them in vegetable oil in a very large pan (a wok is best). You will need about 3-4 tablespoons of oil in the pan - sounds a lot, but you have to cover the courgette slices with them later so don't be too economical. Once the onions are soft, add salt to the oil, along with whatever spices you like. Black pepper is good with courgettes, as is chilli powder or paprika/smoked paprika (I sometimes used smoked pimenton de la vera). You can use anything really, cook the spices briefly and ensure they're well mixed into the oil.
Slice your courgettes thinly, then add to the pan. Mix well so that all the courgettes get a covering of oil and turn up the heat a bit to get them cooking. A large pan of courgettes like this will take about 10 minutes to cook through, with regular stirs.
This is a nice light supper dish, which I usually serve with rice. We Brits are found of our spicy food but we're abysmally bad at cooking rice, so here is my fool-proof recipe for perfect basmati rice.

Put your rice in the pan with some salt. Add water, just enough so that when you put your index finger in the pan with the tip resting on the surface of the rice the water level comes up no further than the first joint of your finger. You'll probably think this isn't enough water, but trust me, it is. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cook until the water is absorbed but try not to leave it until the point the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Then stir the rice, replace the lid and turn off the heat, leave it for 5-10 minutes and when you look at it again you'll have lovely fluffy rice. If you start the rice at the same time you start cooking the onions, it'll be ready when your courgettes are.

Anyway, back to the courgettes. Once they're cooked through but still reasonably firm, you can either serve them as they are or, my favourite, add some desiccated coconut - a couple of tablespoons is usually enough. The coconut adds a little sweetness and extra flavour. Hey presto, spicy courgettes.

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