Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad

 

If you are after a salad that is healthy, zingy, super tasty, fresh AND will feed a crowd, then my Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad with a nuoc cham dressing works a treat.

Much of the salad can be prepped in advance and it is far easier to prepare than you would think if you have a magi-mix as it can do all the slicing (other than the chicken) easily and efficiently.

The three herbs that I like to use to give it a delicious freshness is mint, coriander and Thai basil (you can easily pick this up in large supermarkets these days). The addition of peanuts and fried shallots (you can have these ready made too to save time) really adds to the textures and flavours.

 

Vietnamese Chicken Salad 

Serves 8-10

1/2 white cabbage, finely chopped

1/2 red cabbage, finely chopped

7 carrots, peeled and finely grated (you can do this in the magi-mix too on the grater setting)

6 chicken breasts, skin removed

3 large handfuls of coriander, finely chopped

2 handfuls of fresh mint, finely chopped

2 handfuls of fresh Thai basil, finely chopped

2 handfuls of unsalted peanuts

2 handfuls of crispy fried shallots (to save time buy these already made)

 

Nuoc Cham Dressing

3 tbsp  fish sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1-2 limes, freshly squeezed

1 heaped tbsp caster sugar

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (keep seeds in if you want more heat)

 

  1. If you have a magi-mix place your attachment, which has the thinnest slicer, and slice the red cabbage and white cabbage. If you do not, then you need to do this by hand.
  2. Next change the attachment to the grater and grate the carrots. If you do not have this you can do this with a regular grater.
  3. Place the chicken breasts whole into a deep pan and cover with water and bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and allow to cool and then use two forks to shred finely. Place to one side in bowl.
  4. Next finely chop the coriander, mint and Thai basil.
  5. Heat a frying pan and when it is hot add the peanuts and allow to bronze slightly – this will take around 3 -4 minutes. Keep moving around the pan so that they don’t burn. Once lightly bronzed remove and place to one side.
  6. If you are preparing the shallots from scratch – instead of bought fried shallots – simply finely slice them and then shallow fry them in sunflower or vegetable oil until bronzed. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen paper.
  7. Next you want to make the ‘nuoc cham dressing’. The trick is to add all the ingredients to a pan and warm up so that the sugar has completely dissolved. It is important to taste test so that you have a good balance of salty, sweet, zingy and sweet. If it is too salty from the fish sauce add a little more caster sugar. If you find it too chilli hot, strain the dressing and therefore remove the chillies.
  8. You can prepare all of this a day in advance and keep in the fridge (minus the shallots, which can be kept in a sealed jar). IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO ADD THE DRESSING UNTIL JUST BEFORE SERVING.
  9. When you are ready to serve add a little of the dressing to the chicken and mix in to soften and flavour the chicken.
  10. Next use a mixing bowl and add a little of every ingredient and a little of the dressing and mix well before repeating the process. Make sure you keep back some of the shallots to scatter on the top along with a little of all the herbs.
  11. Serve on a large platter so guests/family can help themselves. It also looks rather lovely presented in this way.
  12. Best eaten at room temperature.

Any leftovers will keep in the fridge easily for a few days. If you want to feed more then use the whole cabbage, add a few extra chicken breasts, add an extra handful of herbs and double up on the dressing.

 

 

 

 


Butter Chicken

After quite a number of requests, I bring you my butter chicken recipe this week. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser, liked by all ages, owing to its creamy tomato flavour. As the name suggest it contains butter – quite a lot if I’m honest – and cream, so perhaps this is one that you cook once in a while as opposed to each week. It’s delicately spiced as opposed to spicy so by default appeals to most palates. It is the one curry that using the breast meat works well. Typically I would always suggest using chicken thigh or the whole chicken cut into pieces by your butcher, but for butter chicken breast meat is perfect.

Whilst it is super straightforward to make there are a few stages to consider. You need to marinate the meat – minimum an hour or even overnight if you are really organised. After this you then char the chicken in a pan (grill also works well). Using the same pan you lightly bronze the onion and blitz that into a smooth paste. Next step is to create a buttery, creamy tomato sauce before adding the onion and meat and allowing it to simmer and infuse together. It can be cooked in advance so is certainly a good one if you are entertaining. I think you are going to like it. If you are on instagram and you make please tag me @chilliandmint #chilliandmint

Have a good week everyone.

Butter Chicken

Serves 6 (if serving with other dishes)

750g chicken breast or thigh (boneless), cut into bite sized pieces

marinade

3 tbsp full fat natural yoghurt

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp coriander powder

juice from half a lemon

1 tsp salt

 

onion puree

1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or regular butter

2 tbsp oil

2 white onions, roughly chopped

 

creamy tomato sauce

75g salted butter

400g passata (or fresh tomatoes)

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar

1 tsp salt

pinch freshly ground black pepper

150ml double cream

1 tbsp dried methi/fenugreek leaves

 

  1. First you need to marinate the chicken. Mix all the marinade together and then cover tightly with cling film/foil and place in the fridge for an hour – to overnight.
  2. Once you have marinated the chicken sufficiently heat the ghee/butter in a frying pan.  Add the pieces of chicken so that they sealed and charred on both sides. This takes about 3-4 minutes on each side. They won’t be completely cooked at this stage so don’t try and nibble a piece quite yet! You will need to char the chicken in batches so that it does not overcrowd the pan. You do not want to steam it so don’t overcrowd the chicken or put a lid on the pan.
  3. Once all the chicken pieces have been charred, place in a bowl and keep to one side.
  4. In the same pan add the ghee and gently fry the onion so that it begins to bronze – this will take around 6 minutes. Remove from the pan, with all the charred scrapings from the bottom and blitz into a smooth paste using a small blender.
  5. In a deep pan/karahi, add the butter. When it is melted add the spices followed by the passata, black pepper, salt and jaggery/sugar. (If you are using fresh tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes in the pan and then blitz these too into a smooth paste and then return to the pan to follow the next steps.) Allow to simmer on a gentle heat for 7 minutes, by which time the sauce will have thickened sufficiently.
  6. Add the double cream, onion puree, chicken and dried fenugreek. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes on a low heat. Taste test and add more salt (and butter if you fancy) if needed.

To serve add a pinch more dried fenugreek and a drizzle of double cream. Equally fresh coriander on top would work well to serve.

It is delicious eaten with naan or rice. Accompanying dishes that would work well would be my chana dal and I will be eating mine with my tindora/ivy gourd curry.

 

 

 

 

 


Nigel Slater’s Beef and Okra Soup for Stormzy

A recipe in the Guardian caught my eye recently and I made a note to myself to try making it in the New Year. Nigel Slater – who quite frankly is a culinary genius, came up with a dish ‘beef okra soup recipe for Stormzy’.  Now beef is a meat I rarely eat if I’m honest. Large slabs of any meat – particularly steak – don’t really float my boat, but if the meat is slow cooked and falling off the bone, with spices, then that is exciting. The recipe ingredients sung to me: ginger, garlic, plum tomatoes, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, okra, Scotch bonnet chillies. It sounded the perfect meal to make you feel alive and well in the cold bleak month of January. Don’t you agree?

 

It’s very straightforward but does take time, so if you have things to do in the house one morning then it is the perfect dish to cook. Nigel states that “the dish is even better if refrigerated overnight and reheated the following day”, so would be perfect for feeding a crowd as you can do all the preparations and cooking a day in advance. I’m too excited to dig in so shall be having it for my supper, I can hardly wait.

I’ve made a few changes to the recipe but you can find the original recipe here.

Nigel Slater’s Beef and Okra Soup for Stormzy

serves 6

1.6kg beef short ribs (get your butcher to cut the ribs into short lengths)

3 large onions, roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

60g ginger, skin removed sliced and then cut again into thin batons

1.6kg plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthways

3 tbsp beef dripping/oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

12 black peppercorns

6 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1-2 scotch bonnet, seeds removed (unless you want it super hot) and finely diced (wear gloves)

3 bay leaves

1 litre hot beef stock

350g okra, sliced lengthways

salt and pepper

 

  1. Heat your oven to 220 degrees centigrade/gas mark 9 and place the ribs in a casserole pan in the oven for 20 mins.
  2. After 20 mins remove from the oven and add the dripping or oil and then add the garlic and onions and return to the oven for 15 minutes, lowering it to 180 degrees/gas mark 4.
  3. Remove from the oven again and this time stir in the ginger, spices, chillies, bay leaves and half of the halved tomatoes (reserve the rest for later).
  4. Return to the oven for 40 minutes and then remove from the oven and pour in the hot stock, cover and return to the oven for an hour.
  5. After the hour place the casserole pot onto the hob and add the okra and remaining tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, by which time the okra will have softened.
  6. Before serving cut the beef from the bones and place in a deep bowl and ladle in the broth and vegetables.


Happy New Year and Toor Dal with Fresh Coconut and White Poppy Seeds

Happy New Year and a warm welcome to my new (and old of course!) followers who have recently signed up to this blog.

January is a funny old month. The revelries from Christmas and the New Year are well and truly over and we all look forward to making a fresh start in the new year. With goals, aims, hopes and plans whirling away in our heads, it’s like shedding a skin and growing a new one. Veganuary has gained a lot of momentum over the last few years, with increasing numbers introducing more vegan recipes into their diets and some even making the transition to become fully vegan. Whilst I have no plans to ‘do’ veganuary, I naturally eat a number of vegan meals throughout the year without even really thinking about it. Indian food is heavily focused on vegetables with the large majority in India having a vegetarian diet. On this blog I have a number of recipes which would work really well if you want to bring more vegetarian or vegan meals into your culinary repertoire. Here are just a few.

Upma (a savoury breakfast semolina eaten in India)

Dale Bora (a delicious street snack from Kolkata)

Indian sprout and carrot curry

Beetroot curry

Cauliflower with dried fenugreek/methi

Black pepper tofu

Aubergine, peanut and tomato curry

Indian corn on the cob

Butternut, lemongrass, coconut and spinach curry

For my first recipe for 2020 however I thought I would show you a new dal recipe, which just happens to be vegan. I have loads on my blog – just pop the word ‘dal’ in the search box on the right when you go to my blog. Dals all taste so different that I could make a different one each day of the week and they would be completely unique.

This one uses the toor dal, which is also known as ‘pigeon pea’. It looks similar to the chana dal, which is a split chickpea. You don’t need to soak it but it does take around 50 minutes to soften sufficiently if you are using the stove top. When it is gently boiling away you will need to remove, with a spoon, the scum that will form whilst cooking. You may also need to add more water if it looks to become too dry. I never measure out the water and instead go more from sight and add a little more here and there when required.

Excuse the rather dark muted photos of the dal – I cooked it in the afternoon and when I was ready to photograph the light had gone so had to use the lights from my kitchen which give it a pretty awful glow. Anyway you get the gist. I ate it along with a butternut squash curry I made and a cabbage curry mopped up with some homemade luchi – which are also known as poori. Most delicious and all coincidentally vegan.

 Toor Dal with Poppy Seeds and Fresh Coconut

250g toor dal, washed through a couple of times with cold water

900ml water

2 tbsp rapeseed/sunflower oil

1 white onion, finely chopped

30g grated fresh coconut (or desiccated)

a small handful of fresh coriander

100ml water

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

2 tsp white poppy seeds

10 fresh curry leaves (you can freeze them – much better than dried which have lost their taste)

1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tomato, finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/2 fresh lemon, juice only

salt to taste

  1. First rinse the toor dal and then place it in a pan and cover completely with water. Start by adding 900ml water and you can add more later once the water has soaked up. It will take around 50 minutes to soften. Scum will form on the top so just remove this with a spoon and discard. You know the dal has softened when you can easily pinch one toor dal between your thumb and forefinger. Continue to add a little more water if it has all been soaked up.
  2. Meanwhile in a frying pan, add a tablespoon of oil and gently fry the onion and the fresh coconut so that they begin to lightly bronze. Remove from the pan and then blitz in a blender with some fresh coriander and then leave to one side.
  3. Using the same pan add the rest of the oil and add the cumin, mustard and poppy seeds. They will begin to sizzle almost immediately. Be careful of the spluttering.
  4. Add the fresh curry leaves and the ginger-garlic paste – fresh or store bought. Move around the pan and then add the tomato and fresh chilli.
  5. Return the blitzed onion-coconut-fresh coriander to the pan and stir so that all the ingredients are nicely mixed together.
  6. Now add the turmeric, coriander, Kashmiri chilli powder, lemon juice and salt.
  7. Once the dal has softened turn the contents of the frying pan into the dal and mix together. Check the salt levels.
  8. Leave to simmer for a few more minutes, then you are ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

 


Fennel and Preserved Lemon Soup

As those who have been following this blog for a while will know, I absolutely ADORE soups. I’m happy to eat them all year round for breakfast (yes, in Vietnam you eat pho – which is their version of a soup/broth – for breakfast), lunch or supper. I am always trying to think of new pairings that might work well and since I had some fennel in my fridge that needed to be eaten I thought I would use that as the star ingredient and built up a few other ingredients around them.

I always have preserved lemons in my fridge so I decided to use them along with a leek. My other go to ingredient, which completely elevates dishes and which I do go on about a lot on my instatories, is my garlic confit. Seriously it takes very little effort to make a batch, stores in the fridge for ages, and really adds huge flavour to a host of dishes. In fact, it would make a great Christmas gift for any foodie friends or family. It shows thought and I bet the receiver would love you forever (although I am sure they already do ;o) anyway I digress.

The other ingredients are vegetable stock – I literally just used a stock cube, water, pepper and salt. I decided to top each soup with a parmesan crips and some of the fennel fronds to add a bit of umami to the dish (coming from the parmesan). If you are on instagram go to my stories and you can watch me cooking the dish on my instastories.

I think this soup would be a good one over the Christmas season if you are cooking for large groups. We always have a starter at each meal when the whole family gets together, so I will be definitely adding this one to my repertoire over Christmas.

 

Fennel and Preserved Lemon Soup

Serves 4-6

3 tbsp garlic confit including around 5 garlic cloves from the confit

2 fennel, finely chopped (fronds removed and placed to one side)

1 leek, finely sliced

1-2 preserved lemons, finely chopped

1.2 litres water

1 vegetable stock cube

salt and pepper

 

Parmasan Crisps

will make 6

50g parmesan, finely grated

freshly ground black pepper

 

 

  1. Finely cut the fennel, removing the fronds and placing them to one side – you can use these later when serving the soup.
  2. Finely cut the leeks.
  3. Heat a large deep pan an add the garlic confit – oil and a few of the garlic cloves. This is what will really give the soup flavour and depth. Move around the pan and then add the fennel, leeks and a little salt and allow them to sweat and soften for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the preserved lemon. Add one to begin with, you can easily add one more later if you want it more lemony.
  5. Add the vegetable stock and boiling water and allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Using a hand blender, blend the soup so that it is completely smooth. You many need to add more water if you want it less thick in consistency. Taste test and then add a little more salt and freshly ground pepper. Also check on how lemony the soup is. If you would like it more so, add one more preserved lemon. It’s really down to personal preference so taste test and see what you think. Personally I like to add two.
  7. To make the parmesan crisps, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  8. Finely grate the parmesan and then place them in round piles and flatten to approx 2 inches in diameter on the greaseproof paper. Space them out as they will spread slightly. Add a little freshly ground black pepper on top.
  9. Heat in the oven for 6-8 minutes, so that they begin to lightly bronze, then remove and allow to cool.
  10. When serving the soup place a couple of ladles in each bowl and then add a parmesan crisp, some fennel fronds and sound freshly ground pepper.

Delicious. I hope you agree.

 


Honey and Smoked Paprika Spatchcock Partridges on a Rocket Pesto

Recently I was watching ‘Masterchef the Professionals’ and chef Monica Geletti set the challenge of spatchcocking a quail and making a rocket pesto (series 12, episode 4 if you want to take a look). She made it look ridiculously easy, but of course being under pressure of being on TV for the first time the chefs didn’t find it quite as easy as she made it look. It did however, give me the idea of replicating said dish at home as we had some partridges sitting in my freezer, and whilst a little bigger than quail, will require the same method of cooking albeit for a few minutes longer.

She set the challenge at 15 minutes to do the whole thing – prep and cook the quail and make the pesto. It took me a little longer, but not too much – largely owing to the fact I was cooking for three and not one. The result was absolutely delicious and I think spatchcocking game birds is definitely the way forward. Excuse the poor quality photos – I cooked it in the evening when it was dark outside, so taking photos in those conditions is never going to give you the perfect shot – but you get the idea.

 

Spatchcock Honey and Smoked Paprika Partridge with a Rocket Pesto

3 partridges/quail

2 tbsp runny honey

2 tsp smoked paprika powder

1 garlic cloves

70g pine nuts

110g fresh rocket

good glugs of extra virgin olive oil (around 150ml)

approx 50g parmesan cheese, freshly grated

 

 

 

  1. First prepare the game bird (quail, partridge etc) by cutting up the backbone and remove the innards from it.
  2. Turn it over and then press down hard so that it lays flat.
  3. Now you want to make a rub. You could mix honey with smoked paprika – which I did, or you could use sumac, garam masala, cumin, curry powder – lots of options.
  4. Once you have covered the bird with the rub, heat a griddle pan and when it is hot place the bird down firmly into the pan, breast side first – you want to sear the outside so that it creates the charred lines across it. This will take a few minutes.
  5. Then turn it over and after a further minute, remove the bird and place on a plate whilst you continue to sear the remaining birds. Once they have all been seared place back into the griddle pan or a roasting dish and cook in an oven preheated to 80 degrees fan – for 7-10 minutes (around 7-8 for a quail, and 10 for a partridge which is a little bigger). To check that they are cooked simply give then a gently prod with your finger. When they are done the flesh will feel firm.
  6. Whilst it is cooking, lightly toast off the pine nuts in a frying pan (do NOT add any oil) so that the oils are released naturally.
  7. Place the garlic into a pestle a mortar and pound it until smooth and then add the rocket, followed by the pine nuts. You can do all of this in a mini blender but I think it is nice to have a little bit of texture, hence preparing it in a pestle and mortar.
  8. Add a little of the oil and some parmesan. You need to taste and see if you need more of any of the ingredients as it is very much down to personal taste. Season as required.
  9. Once the partridge has cooked sufficiently, remove from the oven and cut in half lengthways.
  10. To plate up, place a bit of the rocket pesto in the centre of the plate and smear into a round circle, wider than the bird.
  11. Then place the halved bird on top of the pesto, leaning one half at angles onto the other.
  12. I also accompanied with a few roast potatoes and some kale, which I had lightly cooked in some oil and some chilli flakes.

To follow I skipped pudding and instead opted for a cheeseboard with some fresh fruit. All in all a deliciously decadent meal and yet very easy to prepare.


Indian Sprout and Carrot Curry – perfect for this time of year

This recipe I posted way back in 2012 (yes my blog has been running for that long!), but unless you scroll my recipe library you are unlikely to know it is even there. Quite frankly, it’s fab and will win over even the non-sprout lover amongst us. Seriously. Basically, by adding a touch of spice, it elevates the humble sprout. We are beginning to see them in the shops so I urge you to give this recipe a whirl when you are next mulling over what to cook. Give it to your family, flat mates, friends and don’t tell them what it is and I can bet you they will love it and ask for more. Mention the word ‘sprout’ however and then they may not even give the dish a chance.

My mother-in-law originally taught me this many years ago and now it’s a firm favourite in my Indian culinary repertoire.  If you cook it alongside a dal it makes a perfect vegan meal. I suggest my go to ‘Bengali Red Split Lentil Dal’ would be the perfect accompaniment. Both dishes can be prepared and cooked within 30 mins and  are very affordable, healthy and tasty. It’s a win win win.

Indian Sprout and Carrot Curry

Serves 4

325g sprouts, finely sliced

300g carrots, grated

1 green chilli, finely sliced (optional)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 level tsp turmeric

1 tsp nigella seeds (kalo jeera)

1 tsp salt

100ml water

1. Finely slice the sprouts, grate the carrots and, if using, finely chop the chilli. I tend to leave the seeds in, but to make it less spicy just remove the seeds.

2. Heat a pan with oil and add the nigella seeds. After 10 seconds add the chilli and turmeric and stir in together for a further 10 seconds.

3. Add the sprouts and carrots and stir well with the other ingredients. Continue to stir continuously on a medium heat so that the carrots and sprouts soften and do not burn. Use a wooden spoon to press down on the ingredients as you gently stir.

4. After a few minutes of stirring add 50ml of water and stir into the curry. You may find that you do not need to use the remaining 50ml of water if the sprouts and carrots are sufficiently softened. Add the salt to taste. Continue stirring for a further 5-7 minutes and the dish will be done.

Nigella seeds (above)


Lamb Keema an alternative to Spaghetti Bolognese

A British staple is good old spaghetti bolognese – we all grew up eating it and many regard it as the ultimate comfort food. These days I rather gravitate towards the Indian twist on the bolognese known as ‘lamb keema masala’. My girls adore it too and I personally like to eat it with some hot Indian flat bread. It has onions and garlic in it, like bolognese, but how it differs is the range of fragrant spices that go into it: cloves, cardamom, coriander, cumin, garam masala and ginger. I like to dice a large potato and throw that in too and it soaks up all the glorious flavours.

So how about this giving my keema a go next time you think of cooking a mince dish? It’s versatile, very easy to prepare and tastes really delicious. Bolognese with a twist. I hope you agree.

Lamb Keema Masala

Serves 4

800g minced lamb

2 tbs vegetable oil

1  red onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 fresh green chilli, finely chopped

5cm ginger, grated

6 black peppercorns,  roughly ground

5 cloves, whole or ground

5 cardamom pods, whole or ground

1 bay

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground almonds

1 heaped tsp of tomato puree

1 tsp salt

1 large potato, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 handfuls of peas, optional

handful of fresh coriander to garnish

1. Warm the oil in a pan and then add the onion and garlic. When it begins to darken after 3-5 minutes add the ginger, green chillies black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf and gently fry all the ingredients for another couple of minutes.

2. Add the ground mince and chopped potato and stir into the onion, garlic and spices. Allow the lamb to brown, but use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the mince and make sure it does not clump together.

3. Now add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala, along with the ground almonds and tomato puree. Don’t forget to add a little salt. If you are adding peas add them at this stage.  You can add a little water – around 100ml will do – to moisten it all.

3. Gently simmer, with a lid on for 20 minutes, stirring intermittently. Check that the potatoes have softened.

4.  You can cook it earlier in the day and reheat it when you are ready to eat.

Note: You may find you need to add a very little boiling water when reheating it. 

5. Garnish with fresh coriander when serving.

 

It’s great with boiled rice or Indian flat bread.

 


Lunching and Brunching in Berlin

 

Berlin has a wealth of wonderful brunch and lunch spots so my list is not exhaustive, but instead some of the places I (or my sources) visited and recommend. I travelled with my husband and two daughters (13 and 10) recently and we all enjoyed the offerings at each establishment. Have a read and if you visit any I would love to hear what you think or perhaps you have some that you would add to the list.

Cafe Krone: Oderberger Str 38

Mon-Fri: 9-4pm Sat-Sun: 9.30-6.30pm(Sun) and 7pm (Sat)

There is always a crowd waiting to eat at this buzzy hip eatery in Prenzlauer Berg, although the wait is never very long. It’s near to the Mauerpark flee market, as well as the smaller and more refined flee market, ‘Flohmarkt Arkonaplatz’, both of which operate on Sundays. Cafe Krone offers a range of delicious hot drinks and brunch options including: ‘shakshuka’, ‘eggs benedict’, ‘eggs cooked anyway’, ‘pancakes’, ‘croissants’ – basically something to appeal to every palate. A great place to relax and enjoy the Berlin buzz and plan your adventures for the day ahead.

Jabe  Alte Schönhauser Str. 7-8, Mitte

Mon-Fri: 11.30-4pm, Sat: 12-11.30pm, Sun: 1-9.30pm

If you fancy a Japanese fix then head to Jabe for some seriously tasty Japanese fare. There are a number of starters – or what they call ‘titbits’ to share, such as ‘tebasaki’, ‘grilled tako’, ‘tomorokoshi’, ‘and ‘gyoza’ and then mains including a wide range of ‘udon bowls’, for example: ‘teriyaki don bowl’, ‘salmon truffle bowl’ and ‘kitzune bowl’, as well as a four different types of ‘salmon sashimi’. The place has good zen – as you would expect from a Japanese eatery and is a good pitstop for lunch (or dinner).

 

Mischke Fleischerei Schönhauser Allee 144

Mon-Fri 8-6.30pm, closed wkends

This butchers shop is a great place to have lunch if you want something quick and typically German. There is a wide range  meats with sides and sauces at reasonable prices. You can order anything from soups to schnitzel, although we opted for the traditional German sausage, which they heat up for you. You can sit outside or perch at high stools at little tables. It’s authentic and tasty so definitely worth a look in when you are in Berlin.

photo credit @cecconisberlin

Cecconi  Torstrasse 1, 10119

Monday – Friday: 11.30am – midnight
Saturday: 11am – midnight
Sunday: 11am – 11pm

Nestled on the ground floor of private members club, Soho House Berlin, Cecconi’s offers the public weekend brunch options, as well as all week lunch and dinner. It’s focus is Italian food – with tasty homemade pasta and seafood dishes to tempt diners. It’s sophisticated cool vibes create the perfect setting to pass a couple of hours eating and drinking and generally just soaking up the Berlin atmosphere.

Monsieur Vuong Alte Schönhauser Str. 46

Mon-Thurs: 12am-11pm

Fri-Sun: 12am-12pm

Did you know that the Vietnamese community make up 1.16% of all Berliners? As such there are a host of delicious Vietnamese restaurants spread across the city, which is good news for Berliners and tourists alike. I adore Vietnamese food so it was only natural that I would find myself gravitating to this cuisine on more than one occasion on my recent visit to Berlin.

Monsieur Vuong lies in the heart of the Mitte district (not far from Jabe in fact). The restaurant stands out with its red and yellow awning and its red leather benches outside. Inside the walls are painted orange and pink and there is always a buzz that attracts a hip crowd. The menu is short – as all good menus should be – with changing specials every two days. The food was fresh, light and zingy with delicious cocktails on offer too.  Definitely worth a visit when you are in Berlin.

 

Photo credit @vaguesouvenir

Cafe Einstein Stammhaus  Kurfürstenstr. 58, 10785

Mon-Sun: 8am-midnight

If you are seeking old school Viennese glamour and charm, then make a bee line to Cafe Einstein Stammhaus in the Tiergarten neighbourhood – it’s the perfect place for bunch whilst reading a newspaper on wooden rolls. It is housed in an Italian neoclassical villa in one of Europe’s great old coffeehouses. It’s waiters are dressed in black and white suits, and marble-topped tables with leather banquettes make the Viennese-inspired cafe feel like a relic of pre-war Berlin. It’s great for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and is the perfect place to get your apfel strudel fix.

Film aficionados will recognise the place as the tense cafe scene in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

 

W-Der Imbiss Kastanienallee 49, 10119

Sun – Thu: 12pm – 10pm
Fri – Sat: 12pm – 11pm

It was the amusing use of the logo (you’ll see what I mean when you look at the photo below) that initially caught our attention to this Vegetarian Indo-Mexi-Cali-Ital fusion restaurant. Quite a mix hey! We were drawn to the thali – which is the Indian version of Spanish tapas – lots of small dishes so you can try a wide range of things.  It was always busy when we passed by, so made a mental note to visit it before we left. It’s self service, albeit you give your order at the counter and in turn are given a number. When it’s called out they bring it to your table. It’s small and intimate inside with more tables outside for diners to spill out to. It’s fun, well priced and nice to have some Indian spice in another European city for a change.

 

Do you have any favourite brunch or lunch spots that you gravitate to when you are in Berlin? I would love to know so do share in the comments section below.

 

 

 


10 Minute Vegetable Noodle Broth

Earlier this week I popped the photo above onto my instagram feed. It was a last minute speedy photo, not really styled, but a quick snap before I dived in. I hadn’t given it much attention but thought I would pop it up on my feed. It was simply a quick broth that I had thrown together in 10 minutes one lunch time. I hadn’t made the broth from scratch by boiling up the bones/veg, it was a quick fix that hit the spot and fast.

It had such a positive response with a number of people asking me for the recipe that I thought I would pop it up on my blog so you can all see how quick and easy it is to prepare.

In fact I have popped up very similar recipes on my blog to this one over the last few years. Check out the following. All equally delicious and pretty simple to make as you will see.

 

Fragrant Lemongrass and Ginger Salmon Broth

Chiang Mai Noodle Broth

Miso Chilli Vegetable Noodle Broth

King Prawn Noodle Broth

 

So for the one I made earlier this week the magic ingredient is my garlic confit. Have you tried making it? I popped it up on a post in the summer and all I can say is that it is now my fridge staple.

If you haven’t made a batch then simple add olive oil and add 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped. Let me know how you get on if you make it and tag me #chilliandmint @chilliandmint on your instagram feeds. Happy lunch time eating all. Life’s too short to rely on sandwiches and salads every lunch.

10 Minute Vegetable Noodle Broth

serves 2

2 tbsp of garlic confit oil or regular olive oil if you have not made my recipe above

4 garlic confit cloves or 4 regular garlic cloves, chopped

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, skin removed and finely chopped into batons

3 spring onions, sliced at an angle

1 red or green chilli, finely chopped, optional

1 heaped tbsp of white miso paste

1 pint boiling water

1 tbsp light soy sauce

8 broccoli florets, chopped in half

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

2 packets of udon noodles

2 eggs

10 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

handful of fresh coriander

sprinkling of Japanese togarashi

 

  1. Gently lower the eggs into a pan of boiling water. If you want soft boiled eggs leave for 6 minutes max and if you want hard leave them for 8 minutes.
  2. In another pan, heat the garlic confit oil and garlic in a pan. If you have not made a batch of garlic confit – do seriously – you won’t look back after you have made one batch. Otherwise use olive oil and some fresh garlic roughly chopped. Move around the pan for a few minutes.
  3. Add almost all the  ginger batons, spring onions and chilli (if adding) followed by the miso paste and light soy sauce. Move around the pan for 20 seconds and then add the boiling water. I never actually measure out the water so add a pint and if you think it needs more, which it may well do add a little more.
  4. Add the udon noodles and broccoli and simmer gently for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, spinach and leave for 1 minute before turning off the heat. Taste test the broth and add more miso paste, soy sauce, boiling water to your liking.
  6. Remove the eggs from the pan and run under cold water whilst you remove the shell – you will find it easier to remove the shell this way. Cut them in half lengthways.
  7. Ladle the broth and noodles into deep bowls then add a good handful of fresh coriander, the remaining fresh ginger batons and place the eggs on top. Sprinkle some Japanese togarashi on top.

I often like to add a little Sriracha on top.

So easy and great for lunch or supper whether you are on your own or with company.

Slurping compulsory. Enjoy.