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As my blog title suggests, these pages contain a wild mix of recipes which sample a wide range of flavours and cultures. I won't even try to apply an over-arching theme to this project other than to say that every dish is about creating good food!

The Polyphagous Dragon offers multiple options for site navigation in the sidebar panels. Use the Contents box to search for recipes by dish type, the Blog Archives to search for a specific recipe by title or the Ingredients Index to pull up all recipes that feature a particular ingredient. See also my Cooking Philosophy notes for further insights.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tilapia Green Curry

A flavourful and fresh fish curry.

Tilapia Green Curry

  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large green tomato

Masala Paste:
  • 2 inch piece ginger root
  • 1 garlic
  • 3 shallots
  • 6 hot peppers (chilies or jalapeños)
  • 1/2 packed cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 garlic
  • 3 hot peppers (chilies or jalapeños)


Cut fish into bite-size pieces and set aside.

To prepare the masala paste:

Peel and coarsely chop the ginger, garlic and shallots.
Stem, core, seed and coarsely chop the hot peppers.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process to a paste.
Set aside.

To prepare the tempering:

Mince the garlic and hot peppers.
Slice the shallots.
Heat the butter in a small frying pan.
Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots start to soften.
Add the hot peppers and continue cooking until shallots are very soft and just starting to brown.
Remove from heat and set aside.

To bring it all together:

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan.
Add the mustard seeds and cover pan until they have finished popping.
Add the masala paste and cook, uncovered, until the oil rises to the surface (about 5 minutes).
Add the water and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Add the fish and simmer until the fish is just cooked through (3 to 5 minutes).
Add the tempering mixture and simmer for a further minute.
Tilapia Green Curry 1

Serve hot over rice.

Potato Curry

This simple curry works great as a vegetarian main dish with rice or flatbreads. It's also a great potato option to accompany a meat dish.

Potato Curry

  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame oil
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 3 or 4 shallots
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes
  • 2 hot peppers (chilies or jalapeños)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup water


Peel the potatoes and cut into half inch cubes.
Mince the garlic, shallots and hot peppers.
Dice the tomatoes.

Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight fitting lid.
Add the garlic and stirfry for 1 minute.
Add the potatoes and shallots and stirfry until the shallots are soft.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir to blend well, and bring to a vigorous boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.
Potato Curry 1

Serve hot.

Tropical Beets

Tropical Beets

  • 1 lb. beetroot
  • 1 tablespoon raw sesame oil
  • 2 hot peppers (chilies or jalapeños)
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water


Peel and julienne beets.
Mince the hot peppers and shallots.

Heat oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid.
At the hot peppers and shallots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the beets and vinegar and mix in well.
Stirfry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add water and 1/4 cup coconut milk and bring to a vigorous boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the beets are just tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the remaining coconut milk, return to a boil, and simmer for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve hot.

Chana Dal

This simple dal doesn't require a lot of prep work, but you will need to start well in advance to give the beans time to soak and the dish time to simmer.

Chana Dal

  • 1 cup chana dal (chickpeas)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 hot peppers (chilies or jalapeños)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne


Soak the chickpeas overnight in water.

Mince the hot peppers.
Drain chickpeas and place in the bowl of a food processor with about a quarter cup water.
Process to a coarse paste.
Add the cumin and hot peppers and process to blend in.

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot.
Add the mustard seeds and cover the pan until the seeds stop popping.
Add the remaining spices and dal mixture.
Stirfry for a few minutes to ensure the flavoured oil is well blended throughout.

Add the remaining water and stir until the mixture comes to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes until the dal is cooked through and flavours are well blended. Simmer covered for thin, soupy dal, or uncovered for a thicker dal.

Serve hot, straight from the pan.

Pumpkin & Coconut

A hearty vegetable dish. Best served as a vegetable side with a main course, but you won't need a lot of rice or potatoes with this one.

Pumpkin + Coconut

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cups grated pumpkin or buttercup squash
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes


Dice the onion.
Heat oil in a large frying pan.
Add the cumin seeds and cook until just fragrant.
Add the onion and stirfry until it is soft and just beginning to brown.
Add the pumpkin and continue to stirfry for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the coriander and sugar and continue cooking until the pumpkin is very soft.
Add the coconut and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to mix all ingredients together well.
Add the water and chili flakes and continue to cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes until all flavors are well blended.
Serve hot.

Deep Fried Banana

Simple and delicious.

Fried Banana

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • coconut or peanut oil for frying
  • bananas


Whisk egg and sugar together until batter is bubbly and thick.
Fried Banana Batter

Heat just over half an inch of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan.
Slice bananas into rounds approximately 1/2 inch thick.
Dip banana rounds into the batter, then transfer immediately into the hot oil.
Flip banana pieces over to ensure even browning on all sides. The batter will only take a few seconds to cook.
Fried Banana Cooking

Remove bananas from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to blot excess fat.
Fried Banana Blotting

Serve hot with a generous grinding of black pepper or a scoop of lemon ice cream.

Coconut Egg Custard

A rich, milk-free custard.

Coconut Egg Custard

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Demerara sugar*
  • 400 mL coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


* Or to taste. I first made these with a full cup of sugar, working from a recipe which called for even more, but found the custards far too sweet.


Preheat oven to 325°F.
Beat the eggs until foamy.
Beat in the sugar, then the coconut milk and spices.
Divide mixture evenly between 6 custard cups.
Place cups in a large, deep, baking dish such as a lasagna pan.
Pour boiling water into the baking dish, filling to 1/2 the height of the cups.
Coconut Egg Custard 1

Bake at 325°F for 35-40 minutes (until custard is set).
Remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving so custard firms up.
Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Coconut Egg Custard Close Up