Chicken achari

Since we’re not going to be in Scotland FOREVER I’m taking this time to master a few Scottish recipes so I can easily replicate them in the States. I’m satisfied with my steak pie and my next dish is actually Indian. Glasgow has been named the Curry Capital of Britain four times and a local restaurant claims to have invented chicken tikka masala. I know you can get Indian food in the States and I’m not even going attempt to know about authentic Indian food in India, but nothing beats a proper British curry.

My favorite is chicken achari or achari murgh. It’s a curry cooked with typical Indian pickling spices and actually can be made with either lamb or chicken. I’ve had pickle as a condiment at Indian restaurants in States but over here you can get big containers in all flavours – from hot to mango to lime. I love it. I ate it out of the jar on Ryvita crackers until I discovered that our local Indian does a curry. Chicken achari is now my usual for a Saturday night in with a glass of wine and some garlic naan. Yesterday, I decided to try making it for myself as I had a package of chicken thighs that needed cooking and I obviously have the time! I used this recipe and it came out great.

acharichickencurry

I got all the spices at the local Asian shop around the corner. This place has everything. There’s a few Lebanese recipes I want to try that call for pomegranate molasses and this place has it! They have cheap spices, cheap cilantro and they get fresh Morton’s rolls delivered every morning. They only thing they’re missing is wine and cheese but fair enough I guess. I can make the 10 minute walk for wine.

To expand on the food theme I’m so excited for this weekend – we’re going to Viva Brazil for Sunday lunch. I went last summer and got WAY too full, so this time I’m going with a game plan. I’m not going to shun the salad bar but I’m going to take it easy on the carbs and not have any fruity sugary cocktails until after dinner (if I can manage).

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Scottish Steak Pie

Had a lovely weekend. Met up with a fellow American for Sunday lunch at Citation and afterwards we found the rumoured bubble tea stall in the Savoy Centre. The Savoy Centre is exactly as it sounds. Totally 70’s and made up of tiny little storefronts selling DVDs, random household stuff and a wig shop. There’s also a growing Asian population so there’s now a Chinese medicinal herbs office and most importantly, a bubble tea stall!

bubbleteasavoycentre

I am addicted to sucking up those bubbles!

Our lunch at Citation was a brilliant two course and a glass of wine for a tenner deal. We both started with chicken liver parfait and I got the pork roast while my friend got the butternut squash risotto. The roast was amazing and such a big portion for the price. Even so, I woke up this morning craving even more comfort food. I don’t make a lot of traditional Scottish food but I do make – and absolutely love – Scottish steak pie.

Now, this isn’t a British steak and ale pie. There’s no ale or beer in it. No vegetables other than one large yellow onion. No herbs or spices other than salt and pepper. It’s not even pie shaped. This is the traditional Scottish New Year’s/Hogmanay dish that can be enjoyed year round and it is absolutely delicious.

Every New Year’s Day my mother-in-law has the family over for steak pie. Most people I know go over to their ‘wee maw’s’ for their New Year’s steak pie. It’s tradition, it’s yummy and it happens to be the perfect hangover food. A lot of people will pick up a pie at their local butcher’s but it’s so easy to make yourself. After my first time tasting it, I immediately asked for the recipe. My MIL rattled off a few ingredients to throw in the slow cooker – an onion, stewing beef, an Oxo cube (beef stock) and some water. Sometimes she’ll throw in some mini beef sausages toward the end but it really is that simple.

Scottish Steak Pie

Serves 3 to 4

500g stewing/casserole/slow cook beef
one medium yellow onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp and 1 tbsp black pepper
1 Oxo cube or any beef stock cube
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
200g puff pastry

1. Cut the onion into slices and drop into the slow cooker
2. Trim the beef and cut into bite sized pieces if not already pre-diced.
3. Mix the flour, salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a large bowl and then add the beef, coating each piece in the seasoned flour.
4. Heat the olive oil in a pan until very hot and then brown the beef in small batches. As always, don’t crowd the pan and allow each piece to get browned on all sides. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker once done.
6. Crumble the Oxo cube in, add the remaining 1 tbsp black pepper and enough water to barely cover the mixture. The top pieces should still be a bit above water.
6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. An hour before done, mix 1 tsp cornflour with 2 tsp water and add to the mixture to thicken it up.

Now as for the puff pastry topping, I prefer to cook the pastry separately and then add it to the individual servings. I see from a quick perusal on the internet that this is sacrilege for some people, but this is how my Glaswegian MIL taught me so I’m sticking to it! Plus, I’m not a fan of ‘soggy bottom’ pastry.

I usually use store bought puff pastry but today I tried making my own and it turned out pretty well! I followed this recipe (to a freaking T by the way – I even watched the video) and used a little less than half for tonight’s dinner. I just rolled it out and cut long strips to bake. I love this way because you get little flaky batons to dip into the gravy.

scottishsteakpie

We usually eat ours over boiled potatoes but anything goes. My MIL serves hers with mashed potatoes and boiled carrots or green beans. I get chips with mine if I’m eating out at a pub or cafe. We had a big portion for dinner tonight and Danny proclaimed it the best steak pie I’ve made and that I’m to try and make mince and tatties next!