cover

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nigella Lawson has written ten bestselling cookery books including the classics How to Eat and How To Be A Domestic Goddess – the book that inspired a whole new generation of bakers. These books, and her TV series, have made her a household name around the world.

www.nigella.com
@Nigella_Lawson

ABOUT THE BOOK

Over a hundred relaxed, achievable and delicious recipes; enjoy the food that Nigella shares day-to-day at her table.

Nigella Lawson is a champion of the home cook and her new book celebrates the food she loves to cook for friends and family. The recipes are warming, comforting, and inspirational, from new riffs on classic dishes – including Chicken Fricassée and Sticky Toffee Pudding – to adventures in a host of new dishes and ingredients, from Aubergine Fatteh to White Miso Hummus.

At My Table includes dishes to inspire all cooks and eaters, from Hake with Bacon, Peas and Cider to Indian-Spiced Chicken and Potato Traybake and Chilli Mint Lamb Cutlets; plus a host of colourful vegetable dishes, like Eastern Mediterranean Chopped Salad and Carrots and Fennel with Harissa.

No Nigella cookbook would be complete without sweet treats, and At My Table is no exception, with Emergency Brownies, White Chocolate Cheesecake and a Victoria Sponge with Cardamom, Marmalade and Crème Fraîche set to become family favourites.

As Nigella writes, ‘happiness is best shared’ and the food in this book will be served and savoured at your own kitchen table just as it is at hers.

Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Also by Nigella Lawson

Title Page

Dedication

Introduction

Turkish Eggs

Waffles

Egg Tortilla Pie

Black Pudding Hash with Fried Egg

Golden Egg Curry

Devilled Eggs

Tomato and Fried Bread Hash

Chilli Cheese Garlic Bread

Whipped Feta Toasts

Toasted Brie, Parma Ham and Fig Sandwich

Catalan Toasts

Parmesan French Toast

Beef and Aubergine Fatteh

Spelt Spaghetti with Spicy Sesame Mushrooms

Gemelli with Anchovies, Tomatoes and Mascarpone

Mussels with Pasta and Tomatoes

Capellini with Scallops

Radiatori with Sausage and Saffron

Meatballs with Orzo

Mung Bean Dal with Mint and Coriander Raita

Turmeric Rice with Cardamom and Cumin

Carrots and Fennel with Harissa

Roast Red Chicory

Butternut and Sweet Potato Curry

Garlic and Parmesan Mash

Potato Waffles from Leftover Garlic and Parmesan Mash

Red Cabbage with Cranberries

Smashed Chickpeas with Garlic, Lemon and Chilli

Brussels Sprouts with Preserved Lemons and Pomegranate

Garlicky Roast Potatoes with Oregano and Feta

Moroccan Vegetable Pot

Couscous with Pine Nuts and Dill

Sweet Potato Tacos with Avocado and Coriander Sauce and a Tomato and Pear Relish

Tomato and Horseradish Salad

Quinoa Salad with Walnuts, Radishes and Pomegranate

Radicchio, Chestnut and Blue Cheese Salad with a Citrus, Grain Mustard and Honey Dressing

Chopped Salad

Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Salad with a Passionfruit Dressing

Bashed Cucumber and Radish Salad

Subverting the Spiralizer

Spiced Almonds

Coriander and Jalapeño Salsa

Red-Hot Roast Salsa

White Miso Hummus

Pear and Passionfruit Chutney

Golden Garlic Mayonnaise

Flash-Fried Squid with Tomato and Tequila Salsa

Hake with Bacon, Peas and Cider

Polenta-Fried Fish with Minted Pea Purée

Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

Roast Loin of Salmon with Aleppo Pepper and Fennel Seeds

Coconut Shrimp with Turmeric Yogurt

Chicken and Pea Traybake

Chicken with Red Grapes and Marsala

Lime and Coriander Chicken

Spatchcock Chicken with Miso and Sesame Seeds

Indian-Spiced Chicken and Potato Traybake

Chicken Barley

Roast Poussins with Couscous, Cumin, Cinnamon and Thyme Stuffing

Chicken Fricassée with Marsala, Chestnuts and Thyme

Roast Duck with Orange, Soy and Ginger

Cellophane Rolls

Slow Roast 5-Spice Lamb with Chinese Pancakes

Herbed Leg of Lamb

Cumberland Gravy

Lamb Kofta with Garlic Sauce

Spiced Lamb with Potatoes and Apricots

Chilli Mint Lamb Cutlets with a Preserved Lemon and Mint Sauce

Lamb Shanks with Dates and Pomegranate Molasses

Bulgar Wheat with Flaked Almonds and Nigella Seeds

Slow Roast Pork Shoulder with Caramelised Garlic and Ginger

Apple Pork Chops with Sauerkraut Slaw

Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

Pork Steaks with Port and Figs

Cumberland Sausage with Apples and Onions

Flat Iron Steak with a Parsley, Shallot and Caper Salad

Roast Topside with Caramelised Onions

Rump Steaks with Anchovy Cream Sauce

Queen of Puddings

Apple Gingerjack

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Rose and Pepper Pavlova with Strawberries and Passionfruit

Chocolate Olive Oil Mousse

Ginger Wine Syllabub

Warm Blondie Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Maple Roast Plums with Cinnamon Muscovado Yogurt

Butterscotch Pots

Passionfruit Ice-Cream Cake with Coconut-Caramel Sauce

No-Churn Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

No-Churn Bourbon Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Emergency Brownies

Pear, Pistachio and Rose Cake

Cumin Seed Cake

Lemon Tendercake with Blueberry Compote

Victoria Sponge with Cardamom, Marmalade and Crème Fraîche

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream

Vanilla Layer Cake with Ermine Icing

Ginger and Walnut Carrot Cake

Raspberry-Flecked Sour Cream Cake

Scented Citrus Cake

Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake with Crumbled Amaretti Cream

Coconut Snowball Cake

Double Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

Forgotten Cookies

Negroni Sbagliato

Turmeric and Ginger Vodka

Dirty Lemon Martini

Grapefruit Margarita

Acknowledgements

Copyright

ALSO BY NIGELLA LAWSON

HOW TO EAT

The pleasures and principles of good food

HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS

Baking and the art of comfort cooking

NIGELLA BITES

Uncomplicated, fresh, perfect for everyday

NIGELLA SUMMER

Easy cooking, easy eating

FEAST

Food that celebrates life

NIGELLA EXPRESS

Good food fast

NIGELLA CHRISTMAS

Food, family, friends, festivities

NIGELLA KITCHEN

Recipes from the heart of the home

NIGELLISSIMA

Instant Italian inspiration

SIMPLY NIGELLA

Feel good food

in memory of Ed Victor

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INTRODUCTION

When I moved into my first home, before I did anything else, I bought a table, a table not just to eat at, but to live around.

I read recently that when NASA originally designed their spaceships, they didn’t put in a table: it wasn’t thought necessary, and it was hard to see how it would work; without gravity, the food would just float off it. But, as Mary Roach wrote in Packing for Mars, the astronauts did mind, and asked for one to be put in, even if it meant strapping on a tray, with food velcroed to it. In the alienating isolation of space, they wanted, they said, “to sit around a table at the end of the day and eat like humans”.

A table is more than a piece of furniture, just as food is more than fuel. “It seems to me,” wrote M.F.K. Fisher, “that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.” Around a table is where these three things meet. Our lives are formed by memories, and the focus of mine is the food I’ve cooked and the people I’ve cooked for, the people who have sat at my table, as well as the other tables I’ve eaten at, from the blue formica table of my childhood, to the mottled zinc one that is the nexus of my life now.

This book, like all the books I’ve written and all the cookery books I’ve read, is not just a manual, but a collection of stories and a container of memories. But then, any recipe ever written, any meal ever eaten, is a story, the story of home cooking which, in turn, is about who we are, where we’ve come from and the lives that we’ve lived, and what we say to each other – all those assertions of love, friendship, hospitality, hope – when we invite people to sit at our table and eat the food we’ve made for them.

Personal history, the weaving of memories that sum up a life, social history, the story of how a culture most intimately expresses itself, a cookery book can be about all these things and more, but at its core, it answers that important, everyday question: “What are we going to eat?”

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The food in this book, that comes from my kitchen, is eaten at my table, and will be eaten at yours, is the food I have always loved cooking. It doesn’t require technique, dexterity or expertise, none of which I lay claim to. Life is complicated; cooking doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t matter how many cookery books I write or how many times I am erroneously called a chef, I will never be a professional. But then, no one needs qualifications to cook, or human beings would have fallen out of the evolutionary loop a long time ago. I cook, as you do, to feed myself, my family, my friends. A home cook is not a lesser being than a chef, though a markedly different one. I hate hearing people describe themselves as “just” a home cook. We may not have the technical proficiency of a chef, but why should this matter? We cook to bring pleasure, comfort and flavour to life, to the table. This is not to say we operate in bumbling chaos, although I have learnt over the years that I need a certain amount of this. In a sense, a recipe is a way of finding order in the mess of life. It’s a guide, something to hold on to. And because of this, it must always be reliable, and as exact as possible, even if cooking itself can never be a precise art. There is a lot of snobbery about giving exact measurements – as if they impede the creativity of the real cook – but I do need the recipes I write (and the recipes I read) to provide as reliable and straightforward a guide as possible, without denying the spontaneity of cooking. So, please do not become hamstrung by weights and measures; I freely admit that cooking itself demands a certain cavalier attitude towards both. If you want to use 300g of carrots in a stew, when I have stipulated 250g, that’s fine, but there needs to be a framework in the first instance, and often there can be a significant discrepancy in the weights of particular ingredients, so an entirely laissez-faire attitude would be not be helpful. In baking, of course, absolute precision is a prerequisite; in cooking there can be more freedom of movement.

But no matter how specific the amounts given – both in general and, in particular, of spices, herbs, salt, citrus and so on – nothing can do the job of your palate. You cannot cook without tasting, and you need to taste, taste, taste and taste again. A recipe can be an idea, a starting point, but when I write one, I need to know I’m giving you the tools to share the food I make. And for me, too, a recipe is the way I share my enthusiasms. I repeat certain ingredients unashamedly. The home cook has to, and happily. If I buy a jar of preserved lemons, say, for a particular recipe, or require you to, it wouldn’t occur to me to leave that opened jar in the fridge with nothing else to do with it. And, indeed, it is finding ways to use up such a jar that is in itself inspiring. A home cook may work with a much more limited storecupboard than a chef, but still, we do discover new ingredients, and they inject new flavours into the food we cook. Home cooking isn’t about treating food as a museum piece or an empty exercise in nostalgia. So many of the recipes here are drawn from meals I remember, the food I’ve eaten at various stages in my life, but in evoking memories, I’m also making them part of how I live and eat now.

Perhaps it is slightly churlish of me, but I admit that there is an always forthcoming question I have come to dread when I tell people I’m working on a new book or have just written one. It is “What’s the theme?” Part of me wants to answer “cooking doesn’t need to have a theme, any more than life has a theme,” or “the theme is the food I love cooking and like eating”, though I feel the book’s subtitle – a celebration of home cooking – says this more graciously. And the book’s structure, or lack of it, reflects this too. All cooking, all life, is part of a continuum and, as this book came into being, I felt I didn’t want to interfere with the honest jumble. The messiness of having no chapters, no breaks in the run of recipes felt so much more like the way I actually cook and live. Of course, there has to be some order; there is a flow to the recipes which, once the book was finished, I tried to impose without losing a certain random quality. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” and this Kierkegaardian premise holds true here, too. That’s to say, I tried to keep the “living forwards” element intact. To those who like clear delineations and neat order, I apologise; but I breathe easier without either. And I felt emboldened by the different approach of the e-book. I’d been checking a recipe in a book of mine in e-book form, and found the list of recipes at the beginning enormously helpful. There’s no reason why this should just be a feature of a digital format, and so I have happily imported that idea here.

Any food writer I’ve ever spoken to has always agreed that while coming up with recipe ideas is easy – we all tend to have a natural greed that invites us to think obsessively about what we want to eat and cook – giving a clear indication of how many each recipe is intended to feed is confoundingly difficult. I’ve written about my hesitancy in this area before: when having people over to eat, I am always stricken with fear that there won’t be enough food; there are always leftovers. But that’s the way I like it, and that’s how a home should be. Knowing there’s always something in the fridge to eat without having to cook afresh not only makes life easier, it gives a sense of security and comfort.

My portions are generous, that I freely admit; I am never knowingly undercatered. But the problem I have settling on a serving size to give for each recipe is more than just a personal neurosis. There simply cannot be any precise or absolute formula to rely on when deciding. How old are the eaters? How large are their appetites? What else are they eating at the same meal? How big was the meal they ate earlier in the day? How large the plates are that they’re eating off will make a difference to the portion sizes, too.

Of course, some recipes make deciding on serving sizes relatively easy, though this is generally if they are to feed one or two people. Elsewhere, I have tried to give a range of, say, 4–6 or 6–8, to show that there is room for manoeuvre and to guide you – which is always what I prefer to do – rather than bark instructions.

But, as I said above: I always err on the side of generosity, believing that, whether in the kitchen or out of it, this is a happier way to be.

TURKISH EGGS

If I hadn’t eaten the Turkish eggs at Peter Gordon’s restaurant, The Providores, I most certainly wouldn’t be tempted by the idea of poached eggs on Greek yogurt. I say that only to pre-empt any hesitancy on your part. For çılbır, pronounced “chulburr”, is a revelation and a complete sensation.

If you can’t get the Aleppo pepper, also known as pul biber or Turkish red pepper flakes, which has a mild, almost sweet heat and a distinctive lemoniness, you could substitute paprika, adding a pinch of dried chilli flakes. But, in these days of online grocery shopping, I’d encourage you to go for the real thing.

If you have an egg-poaching method of your own that you’re perfectly happy with, ignore my instructions below. But if you’re interested, this is how I, having tried just about every way in order to overcome an almost pathological fear of egg poaching, go about it. I know the business of putting the eggs in a strainer seems like a fussy step too far (and I admit I don’t always follow my own instructions), but here’s the thing: the crucial element in creating beautifully formed poached eggs is how fresh they are, as the longer they sit after they’ve been laid, the more watery the egg whites become. And since a freshly laid egg is generally held to be one that has been laid no longer than 48 hours before it’s cooked, I very much doubt the eggs I buy at the supermarket count. If you gently crack an egg into a fine-mesh strainer and swirl it over a bowl, the wateriness (which turns into a stringy kind of fluff while cooking) drips away, and the jellied white that remains holds its shape more. Having said that, I do think that unless you’ve worked the brunch station at a busy restaurant for months on end, you’ll be hard pushed to turn out perfectly formed poached eggs every time. So do not feel that anything less than perfection is a mistake, and accept a little straggliness here and there.

It is not advisable to make ahead/store*

1   Fill a wide-ish saucepan (I use one of 22cm diameter) with water to come about 4cm up the sides of the pan. Put it on the heat and cover so that it heats up faster. Line a large plate with some kitchen roll, get out a slotted spoon, and put both near the pan now.

2   Now fill another pan – on which a heatproof bowl can sit comfortably – again with water to come 3–4cm up the sides, and bring to the boil. Put the yogurt in said bowl, stir in the garlic and salt, and sit it on top of this pan, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir it until it gets to body temperature and has the consistency of lightly whipped double cream. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl as it is, over the pan.

3   Melt the butter gently in a small pan until it is just beginning to turn a hazelnutty brown (this is why, in classic French cuisine, it’s known as beurre noisette), but make sure it’s not actually burning. Turn the heat off under the pan, then stir in the olive oil, followed by the beautiful red pepper flakes; it will foam up fierily. Leave to one side while you get on with the eggs. And this is when you should be thinking of putting the toast on.

4   When you are ready to poach the eggs, crack the first egg into a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a small bowl, then lift it up a little and swirl gently for about 30 seconds, letting the watery part of the white drip into the bowl. Gently tip the egg into a small cup or ramekin and, aiming for the white, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice; I know everyone else says vinegar, but I just don’t like the taste of it on the egg, and the lemon does the trick just the same. Proceed as above with the second egg.

5   When the poaching water is just starting to simmer, take a cup or ramekin in each hand and gently slide in the eggs, one on each side of the pan. Turn the heat right down so there is no movement in the water whatsoever, and poach the eggs for 3–4 minutes until the whites are set and the yolks still runny. Transfer the eggs with your slotted spoon to the paper-lined plate to remove any excess water. Do remember to switch off the heat. Sorry to state the obvious, but I have too often left it on this low without noticing.

6   Divide the warm creamy yogurt between two shallow bowls, top each with a poached egg, pour the peppery butter around and slightly over the yogurt, scatter the chopped dill on top, and eat dreamily, dipping in some thick well-toasted bread as you do so.

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Turkish Eggs

WAFFLES

I was watching an American TV show recently and missed a lot of the plot, as I was distracted by the amount of waffle-eating going on. I tried to prevent myself getting a waffle iron; I’d made that mistake once before. Reader, I didn’t succeed. But I vowed that this time I wouldn’t use it once then consign it to a cupboard under the stairs, and I’ve been as good as my word and have turned into something of a weekend waffler.

How long you cook the waffles for, as well as how many you make, will depend on the waffle iron you’re using. Mine is a sturdy, non-stick stove-top Belgian waffle iron, which takes a 250ml cup of batter per batch; if you’re operating a different machine, follow the directions for quantities and cooking times that come with it.

I advise you to preheat your oven to 120°C/100°C Fan before you start so that you can pop the waffles on a wire rack over a baking sheet as you make them, to keep them warm. This also helps to give them a lovely crisp crust.

For make ahead/store notes see here

1   Pour the milk into a large measuring jug.

2   Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Put the egg whites into another – grease-free – bowl ready to whisk, and add the yolks to the milk jug.

3   Add the oil and vanilla to the jug of milk and yolks and beat together, then whisk the egg whites, ready and waiting in their bowl, until you have firm peaks.

4   Pour the jug of wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ones, and whisk together, making sure there are no lumps (a little hand whisk is fine for this), then fold in the beaten egg whites slowly, gently and thoroughly until you have a thick, smooth and airy batter.

5   Heat the waffle iron according to instructions (some need to be lightly oiled before you start). The one I use requires you to separate the halves and put each on a separate ring to heat up first.

6   Fill one side of your heated waffle iron with 1 cup/250ml (or appropriate amount) of batter and close with the other heated half of the waffle iron. Cook for 1 minute, then turn the waffle iron over and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. If you’re using an electric waffle iron, you will obviously not be turning it over, so you may need to cook for a minute or so longer. Just follow the instructions that come with the iron in all cases.

7   Ease the cooked waffle out of the waffle iron. Keep going until all the batter is used up. If you’re not keeping the waffles warm in the low oven (see recipe introduction) each waffle should be eaten just as soon as it comes out of the iron. Generously pour maple syrup over your waffle, and tumble a few berries alongside if wished.

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Waffles

EGG TORTILLA PIE

This recipe for an easy, throw-it-all-together supper or bolstering weekend breakfast comes from my long-time kitchen companion, Hettie Potter, and very grateful I am, too. Impressively, she makes this a single portion. I, no modest eater, feel it is perfectly substantial for two, though it is a little tricky to divide.

Think of this as a pie that uses flour tortillas in place of pastry and, although I have given precise measures for what to chuck in, consider them guidance only. The same goes for the ingredients themselves: replace the ham with sliced leftover sausages or leave it out altogether, and use any cheese you like. All that really matters is that you can form a pie: whatever size tortillas you use, they have to be able to line your dish, and come at least 2cm up the sides.

It is not advisable to make ahead/store

1   Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan. Pour 1 teaspoon of the oil into a shallowish, round, ovenproof dish, and use a pastry brush to grease the base and sides lightly. Line it with 1 of the tortillas, making sure it comes up the sides a little. In effect, you are creating a tortilla bowl inside your dish.

2   Drop in the ham, crack in the eggs – sprinkling the yolks with a little salt – and then scatter about a third of your grated cheese on top.

3   Brush one side of the second tortilla with oil – keeping a little bit of oil in reserve – and place it, oiled-side up, loosely on top of the filling. Press the edges of the tortillas together, pushing them down into the dish and up the sides, then brush these edges with a little more oil.

4   Top with the remaining cheese, then add a few squeezes or shakes of hot sauce, depending on how fiery you want this to be. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, by which time the eggs will be cooked inside, the cheese melted, and the edges of the tortilla crust crisped and browned. Ovens do vary, so you may find you need to alter the cooking time. Eat immediately. This is not a huge problem.

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Egg Tortilla Pie

BLACK PUDDING HASH

WITH FRIED EGG

You’re either a black pudding hater or a black pudding lover, and while I wouldn’t even try to win over the former, it gives me pleasure to gratify the latter. This is not entirely selfless, since I belong firmly in this camp. Given the choice, I go for Stornoway black pudding, which has a firmer texture and crisps up more as it cooks, but I have yet to meet a black pudding that I don’t like, and a softer, moussier-textured version will do just as well. I’ve given the recipe here assuming you’re starting off with uncooked potatoes, which means you need some water in the pan as you cook them, but if you make this with leftover cooked potatoes (of whatever sort) just fry the cubes in oil until crisp.

It is not advisable to make ahead/store*

1   Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized, heavy-based, non-stick frying pan and fry the cubed potatoes in a single layer, over a high heat, for 5 minutes. Then stir for a further minute, before gently pouring the water over and sprinkling in the salt. Stir again, and once the water has bubbled up, turn the heat down to medium and leave to cook for another 7–10 minutes until the water has evaporated and the potatoes are cooked through.

2   Add most of the spring onion and most of the chilli, give a good stir for about 30 seconds, then push the potatoes to the edges of the pan, so they form a beautiful golden frame, and tumble the black pudding into the space in the middle. Leave to fry, without touching it, for 2½ minutes, then stir everything together gently in the pan and cook for another minute until the black pudding is hot all the way through.

3   Taste to see if you need more salt, then divide the hash between two waiting plates. Wipe out the pan with some kitchen roll, making sure not to burn yourself, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and when hot, crack in the 2 eggs and fry them, spooning some of the hot oil over, so that the white around the yolk cooks through. Top the hash with the fried eggs, and sprinkle over the remaining spring onion and chilli.

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Black Pudding Hash with Fried Egg

GOLDEN EGG CURRY

This magnificent addition to my eating life comes courtesy of Yasmin Othman (who has brought much deliciousness my way over the years) and I glow with gratitude every time I eat it. This – called masak lemak telur in Malaysian – is very far removed from the egg curries I remember from my early youth, and would much prefer to forget. What we have here are eggs poached in a rich, aromatic, turmeric-tinted, tamarind-sharp, coconutty sauce or soup.

This has definite heat, but not eye-wateringly so. If you’d like it a bit milder, do not pierce the three whole finger chillies. And if you’d like it a lot milder, then you could de-seed the finger chilli that goes in the paste, and dispense with the whole ones in the soup. But even if, like me, you love fiery food, I don’t advise eating the whole chillies. I won’t stop you, but you have been warned.

For make ahead/store notes see here*

1   With a stick blender, blitz the 2 green chillies and 1 roughly chopped green finger chilli, shallots, garlic, ginger and turmeric to a paste.

2   Heat the oil in a heavy-based wok or a pan of similarly wide diameter that comes with a lid, add the paste and the lemongrass and fry gently, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, by which time the paste will be cooked and softened. Either don’t use a wooden spoon here, or use one you don’t mind being stained by the turmeric.

3   Add the coconut milk, water, sea salt and tamarind. Make a couple of little incisions in each of the 3 whole finger chillies with the point of a small sharp knife and drop them in, too. Turn the heat up to bring to a near boil, then reduce the heat again and simmer gently for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce has cooked and reduced to a thick golden soup.