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5 Recipes From London Chefs to Try This Week

Ideas for home cooking from some of London’s best chefs and restaurants

A pan of rice topped with various seafood.
Sabor’s seafood rice
Sabor [Official Photo]

Hello regular readers of 5 to Try. While we pause on directing to you restaurants across the city for the weekend and the industry continues to process the devastating impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak, each Friday afternoon, for the time being, we’ll bring you recipes from some of London’s best chefs and restaurants to try at the weekend instead.

If you like them, let us know, and share with a friend. And take care.

Anaïs van Manen’s fried rice
Anaïs van Manen’s fried rice
Anaïs van Manen

Cupboard Cooking, The Art of Fried Rice,
by Anaïs van Manen, Bao, XU

I grew up eating fried rice, perhaps I’m made of fried rice. It’s is the easiest form of comfort food one can make at home and in desperate times you can really forage deep down into your fridge and cupboard.

There’s no such thing as fixed recipes at home; we should always be open minded and as flexible as possible as in time, we will face limitations. But there are a couple of things I like to follow:

  • Use yesterday’s rice. Or cook your rice with a tiny bit less of water, and as soon as it’s cooked, spread it on a plate and cool it out ASAP. You don’t want your rice to be wet or you’ll end up with porridge.
  • If you want eggs in it, fry your eggs separately first. Don’t add it to your fried rice pan raw as it might not cook or disintegrate in your rice.
  • Chop a good amount of garlic, ginger, and/or spring onion whites. Let’s call this “GGS.”
  • Fry up half of your GGS in oil, until fragrant, then add your rice, break it up and let it crisp for one minute without moving it, then you can start moving it. Add your seasonings: it could be soy sauce, gochujang, fish sauce, shrimp paste, Siracha, tomato paste — anything that you have in house. Take out of the plan and leave to the side while you cook the proteins, vegetables, and other things you’ll add to the fried rice.
  • Fry up any accompaniments with you have with the rest of GGS, and a bit of salt and black pepper. I usually do one protein and a vegetable thinly sliced. Bacon or lardo are great; if you’re a vegetarian, use lots of thinly sliced vegetables. (Try to keep them as thin and similarly cut as you want them to cook evenly.)
  • Add your fried eggs and rice — and mix mix, break it up, mix it again, toss, toss, and season with more seasoning...sautéed, sautéed.
  • Finish with sesame oil if you have it, chopped spring onion greens.
  • Lastly, I love to have this with a side of pickles or ferments. Yums! BUT my favourite thing to add is: GRATED CHEESE.

Masala beans on toast by Hoppers’ Karan Gokani
Masala beans on toast
Karan Gokani [Official Photo]

Masala Beans,
by Karan Gokani, Hoppers

This is my ultimate store-cupboard go to breakfast/late night snack. See my note on frozen bread to ensure you don’t have to leave the house if you ever need to make this. Enjoy!

Serves 2

1 tin baked beans
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder (or unsmoked paprika)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Madras curry powder
½ tsp each ginger and garlic, minced or paste
1 sprig curry leaves, ideally fresh
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil or ghee

Heat the fat in a saucepan over medium heat for a minute.

Add mustard seeds and wait for them to stop spluttering.

Add curry leaves, ginger and garlic and keep stirring. Ensure they don’t burn or go brown.

After about a minute, once you’ve lost the raw smell of the garlic, add in the spices and reduce heat. Add a splash of water if the spices catch.

A minute later, tip in the tin of beans and warm up well. Season to taste, if required.

Serve on toast and top with grated cheddar.

Tip: Slice any excess bread and store in the freezer. This avoids bread drying up or going mouldy and toasting it from frozen results in a very fresh toast.

Michelin-starred Sabor’s Nieves Barragan Mohacho’s seafood rice
Sabor’s seafood rice
Sabor [Official Photo]

Seafood Rice,
by Nieves Barragan Mohacho, Sabor

This is a perfect dish to share with family and friends, full of flavour, easy to share and that everybody can enjoy. Also, in Spain during the lent we do not eat meat on Friday, so this dish will be perfect for those who observe it.

Note: this won’t be able to be followed to the letter but will hopefully offer useful inspiration for any frozen fish and rice you may have in your kitchen.

Serves 6

480 g Calasparra rice
1500mls bisquet
300g Monkfish
300g Gurnard
12 medium size prawns
500g shell on prawns (for the bisque)
310 ml Arbequina Olive oil
3 tbs chopped parsley

For the Bisque:
Shells and heads of the prawns
2 carrots, chopped
3 shallot, chopped
3 celery stick, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 Bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, crushed
200ml Brandy
200ml Manzanilla Sherry
4 tbsp tomato puree
3l water
60ml Arbequina Olive oil

For the Bisquet: Add the oil in a large sauce pan and caramelise the prawn shells for a couple of minutes in a medium-low heat. Add the chopped vegetables and caramelise them for 4-5 min. Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 more minutes. After that, add the brandy and sherry until the alcohol evaporates add the water and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain with a sieve and keep the stock.

Confit Fish: Confit 150g of monkfish and 150g gurnard cut in 2 cm pieces and 12 medium size prawns in 140 ml of Arbequina olive oil and keep aside.

Confit the 12 heads of the medium prawns in 50ml of Arbequina olive oil during 10 minutes a low heat to make a prawn oil. Filter and keep aside.

For the rice: in 60ml of Arbequina olive oil in a medium size pan at medium heat, add the rice and tossed until the rice gets clear and shiny. Add the bisque and the remaining 150g of the monkfish and the 150g of the gurnard cut in a 0.5cm cubes. Stir slowly until the rice is almost cooked, add the confit fish and prawns, the prawn oil and the chopped parsley and mix it well with the rice, add salt and pepper to taste.

Pici cacio e pepe, by Padella one of London’s best fresh pasta restaurants
Pici cacio e pepe
Padella [Official Photo]

Pici Cacio e Pepe,
by Tim Siadatan, Padella and Trullo

Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) is a classic dish from Rome and is one of our most popular dishes when it goes on the menu.

Romans use pecorino but we prefer a high quality, aged parmesan because it gives the dish more depth of flavour. But if you want to keep it traditional, swap the cheese in the ingredient list below.

Serves 4

For the pici
375g white bread flour
180ml water
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch fine sea salt

Add the flour to a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Mix together the water, olive oil and salt and pour into the well. Start incorporating the flour into the water/olive oil/salt mixture until a dough starts to form. Once it forms, take the dough out, transfer to a clean table and start kneading it until it becomes smooth. With a rolling pin, shape it into a rectangle about 2cm thick, wrap in cling film and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes somewhere cool.

To make the pici, cut the dough into 15g strips (weigh one to check and use as a guide) and keep overage with a damp tea towel. On a dry, clean work surface — stainless steel or wood, you don’t want something too smooth as a little bit of friction is important (a large wooden chopping board would do) — start rolling the strip outwards, with both palms of your hands, applying pressure evenly and pushing out, until you have a noodle the same thickness as a biro. Basically, you’re making wriggly worms. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Cook straight away or if making in advance, store lengthways on a heavily floured tray (they stick together) covered with cling film and refrigerate for no more than 24 hours.

For the cacio e pepe
1 batch of pici dough
160g unsalted butter
100g Parmesan, finely grated
4 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring the water up to the boil and season with salt to resemble milt sea water. Drop the pici in water and cook for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, add the butter, black pepper, lemon juice and a splash of pici water to a saucepan on a medium heat and then turn down to a low heat until they emulsify (melt into each other).

When the pici is cooked, remove it from the water and add to the saucepan with the butter and pepper. Keep the pasta water. Add the Parmesan — but do not stir. Leave the parmesan to sit and melt from the residual heat of the pan — this prevents it from becoming chewy little cheesy balls. Once the parmesan has melted, stir the pici and sauce together to incorporate. Season with sea salt and serve immediately.

Borlotti beans with garlic and tomato,
by Adam Coghlan, Editor, Eater London

Pardon me, but this hastily assembled brand new column only elicited four professional recipes this week, so the fifth is being supplied by me. Don’t stop reading here though. This is a very good quick dinner and arguably an even better accompaniment for a fortifying breakfast or brunch, if served with eggs on toast, the following day.

Serves 2

Tin of decent borlotti beans
Few cloves of garlic
Aromatic herbs like bay, rosemary, thyme, or tarragon
Tomato puree
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Smash garlic cloves and fry in what seems like too much olive oil until golden. Squirt in what looks like way more tomato puree than necessary and fry it up until it starts to clump, brown, and even burn a little. Then add some water and stir to form a thick glossy liquid. Chuck in the aromatics and the tin of beans (including all the beany water from the tin.) Bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes until it’s all nice incorporated. It should be like a thick soupy stew. At this point you can add in some greens, such as kale, spring greens, or spinach, and perhaps a little curly leaf parsley (that’s the Superiority Burger flex.) Drizzle with a little olive oil, and maybe a touch of acidity either from lemon, or sherry vinegar.

Have a decent weekend in.


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