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If you love Rick Stein’s simple cooking, but aren’t a fan of Cornish-style seafood, his latest recipe book is full of easy, home cook-friendly dishes inspired by locations across the globe.
Rick Stein’s seafood cred is unparalleled in the celebrity chef hall of fame. Since beginning his career in 1975 by opening The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, Stein’s love of simple seaside fare has become his signature. In fact, his name has practically become synonymous with Cornwall, where he owns no less than six destination restaurants.
He’s not just a fish king, though. With more than 25 cookbooks and 30 TV programmes under his belt, including Rick Stein’s India and Far Eastern Odyssey, he’s a bona fide food expert whose recipe repertoire spans far and wide. Testament to this is Stein’s new cookbook, Rick Stein At Home, stuffed with meals inspired by destinations across the globe.
Born out of his genuine passion for the kitchen, At Home is full of simple yet delicious recipes that are ideal for home cooking. Whether you’re after a mid-week meal for one, or a feast to serve for friends, Stein has done the recipe-planning for you. With a diverse pool of inspiration, expect everything from frying pan dinners to comforting desserts. Got a gap in this week’s meal plan? You’ll want to fill it with one of these simple recipes…
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Firstly, for a non-summer-specific salad that makes the perfect working lunch, you’ll want to whip up a portion of Stein’s Vietnamese poached chicken salad. He cooks the meat with warming fresh ginger, then covers it in a sticky dressing made with lime juice, chilli and garlic. Trust us, you’ll be adding this to your weekly lunch rota before you know it.
If dal is your ultimate comfort food, then you’ll want to try Stein’s take on the classic tarka dal. He boils yellow lentils until they’re soft and creamy, then stirs in fried shallots, Kashmiri chillies and curry leaves for a punchy hit of flavour.
Finally, if ‘pop it in the oven and forget about it’ is your recipe dream, then Stein’s Cornish briam will be your nirvana. He adds a selection of vegetables – think: carrot, courgette, tenderstem broccoli – to a casserole dish with tomato and potato slices, then slow cooks the lot, before sprinkling it with feta just before serving. Two words: Sunday bliss.
We’ve got a feeling these easy dishes will remain in our recipe repertoire for evermore…
Vietnamese poached chicken salad with mint and coriander
Rick says: “What appeals to me about this salad is the combination of lightly poached chicken, bean sprouts, spring onions and herbs with roasted chopped nuts and sesame seeds, and the slightly gloopy fish sauce, lime juice and chilli dressing.”
Serves 8–10 as a first course or 4 as a main course
- 50g root ginger, peeled and sliced
- 4 small skinless, boneless, free-range chicken breasts
- ½ large cucumber
- 8 spring onions, trimmed, halved and shredded
- 150g fresh bean sprouts
- small handful mint, leaves torn into small pieces
- small handful fresh coriander sprigs
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 60g roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
For the dressing:
- 4 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
- ½ tsp cornflour
- 1 medium-hot red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Put the ginger into a large, shallow pan with a litre of water and bring to the boil. Add the chicken breasts and leave them to simmer for 5–6 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken to cool in the liquid.
For the dressing, put the Thai fish sauce, vinegar, lime juice and sugar into a small pan and bring to the boil. Mix the cornflour with a teaspoon of water, stir this into the pan and simmer gently for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then stir in the red chilli and garlic.
For the salad, peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the flesh into 5cm long matchsticks and add them to a large bowl with the spring onions, bean sprouts, mint and coriander, then toss together.
Lift the chicken breasts out of the poaching liquid and pull them into long chunky strips. Add these to the salad bowl and mix gently. Serve the salad with the dressing drizzled over the top and scattered with sesame seeds and chopped peanuts.
Tip: When peeling ginger, use the bowl end of a teaspoon to scrape the skin off. It’s much easier than using a peeler.
Yellow dal with tomato, turmeric & fried Kashmiri chillies (tarka dal)
Rick says: “This is the dal I make most often, mainly because it’s so incredibly easy and quick, but also because finishing it off with a tarka is so special. A tarka is a last-minute fry of spices and chilli which you pour, still sizzling, on top of the dal in the dish.”
- 200g yellow tur dal, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, then drained
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 green chillies, slit lengthways
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- small handful fresh curry leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
For the tarka
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 dried Kashmiri chillies, each broken into 3 pieces
- about 15 fresh curry leaves
- handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped, to garnish
Put the dal into a large saucepan and add water to cover by about 4cm. Add all the remaining dal ingredients, bring to the boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer for 45–60 minutes. The dal should be soft but still with a little bite. Use a potato masher to break up about half of the lentils, being sure to leave plenty of texture.
For the tarka, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the mustard seeds and fry for 30 seconds until they pop. Stir in the shallots, Kashmiri chillies and curry leaves and fry for 2–3 minutes until the shallots are softened and golden.
Spoon the tarka on top of the dal, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and serve.
Rick says: “The thought behind this recipe was to come up with a dish that uses all the vegetables currently grown by the farmers who supply our restaurants in late August – things like carrots, courgettes, broccoli and new potatoes. Ross Geach at Trerethern Farm, also known as Padstow Kitchen Garden, grows wonderful vegetables on his land overlooking the Camel estuary. The view alone makes you feel the vegetables will taste really special, which indeed they do. I cooked this for a sequence in my Rick Stein’s Cornwall series, having remembered a lovely slow-cooked vegetable dish called briam from the island of Corfu, and it works a treat. As our local vegetables don’t perhaps have the intense sweetness of Mediterranean produce, I added some chilli and feta to give it a bit more oomph.”
- 150ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 500g waxy new potatoes, peeled and cut lengthways into 5mm slices
- 400g carrots, peeled or scrubbed and sliced lengthways
- 2 large courgettes (about 400g) sliced lengthways
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
- 5–6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 300g tenderstem broccoli
- 4 large tomatoes (or 6 medium), thickly sliced
- 1 red or green finger chilli, sliced
- handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
- a few thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the woody stalks
- 200ml passata
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C. Grease a roasting tin or a shallow, lidded casserole dish with oil. Spread the potato slices in a single layer and season well with salt and pepper. Layer the carrots on top, then the courgettes, then the onion and garlic, seasoning each layer with plenty of salt and pepper.
Scatter over the broccoli and cover it with tomato slices. Add the chilli, herbs and a final sprinkling of salt and pepper. Pour over the passata and the olive oil.
Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil or put a tight-fitting lid on the dish and place in the oven for about 1¼ hours. Sprinkle over the crumbled feta and return the tin to the oven, uncovered, for a further 15–20 minutes.
Allow it to cool slightly before serving as a side dish or as a main with crusty bread or rice.
Tip: You can use any late summer vegetables you have for this dish.
Rick Stein At Home: Recipes, Memories And Stories From A Food Lover’s Kitchen by Rick Stein (£26, BBC Books) is out now
Photography: James Murphy