Saturday, September 23, 2017

Green Biryani




I had this craving for eating something delicious that was bothering me. But when you return home after a long time and don't have the time to do groceries you try to be resourceful with what is left in the freezer and on the grocery shelf in your home. That's exactly what I did for the whole week and exhausted all the resources except for some frozen shrimp, a couple of onions, green chillies and a can of coconut milk. I had no mood to eat the same shrimp dishes once again. This need compelled me to make something different and unique with the ingredients I had. As they say "necessity is the mother of invention, lo and behold, I made this green biryani with shrimp and coconut milk. I call it green biryani because I used green masala with no turmeric, tomatoes or red chilli powder etc.

It was so flavourful, tasty and delicious!! And the best thing of all is I made it in instant pot, it was pretty quick and easy.

Ingredients:
25 Jumbo Tiger Shrimp  
2 Cups Basumathi Rice
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Onions (medium size)
11/2 TBS Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Black Cardamom
2 inch stick Cinnamon 

For the Green Masala Paste
4-6 Green chillies 
1 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves
1/2 Cup Cilantro
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper Corns
4 Cloves
4 green Cardamoms
a pinch of Saffron
Salt as required.




Method: 

1. Wash the rice and soak it in water for at least half an hour

2. Peel, devein, wash and clean the shrimp and keep aside.

3. Slice the onions, grind the ginger garlic paste. Reserve some mint and cilantro for steaming the rice and grind together the rest with 2 green chillies, cumin seeds, black pepper corns, cloves, green cardamom and a little water to a fine paste. First grind the dry spices then add the mint, cilantro and green chillies. This is the green masala.

4. Heat oil in the instant pot, (set it on sauté mode) lightly fry the shrimp quickly, remove and keep aside.

5. In the same oil in the instant pot fry the onions till golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste, green masala, lightly stir, add 1/2 cup coconut milk, a little water mix well and switch off the instant pot. Soak the saffron threads in 1 tbs hot water and set aside.

6. Meanwhile steam the rice by cooking it in boiling salted water till 70% done. Drain it. Switch on the instant pot to sauté mode low and when the green masala comes to a boil, pour the rice over the masala curry.

7. Throw in the reserved mint and chopped cilantro, saffron water and the remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk. Add 3- 4 drops of green food colouring to 1tbs of the cooked rice. Mix well and sprinkle this coloured rice on the top layer of rice.

8. Close the instant pot lid. Switch it on and set it to pressure cook on low for 5 mins.  Keep the valve in the venting position.

9. After 5 mins open the instant pot lid. Then gently slide a flat spatula from the sides to the bottom and slowly lift the rice and fluff it. Repeat gently and carefully from all sides till rice is mixed well with the sauce taking care not to break the long basumathi grains.

10. Serve hot and enjoy with onion yoghurt or tomato chutney. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Apple Turnovers




You could have these apple turnovers for breakfast or tea time, they are just so enjoyable. If you have some puff pastry ready at home you could quickly prep them up in no time using any fruit or savoury fillings of your choice with meat, chicken or vegetables. They are so easy to make that you would wonder why you haven't been making them before.
Ingredients:

1 Pack of Puff pastry dough 

4Large Apples (cored and peeled) 
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 
1/2 TSP Cinnamon (ground)
1/2 TSP Vanilla Essence
1 TBS Unsalted Butter



Method:
1. Thaw the puff pastry if frozen and unfold it on a lightly floured pastry board. Cut into 4x4inch squares if it is a thin long sheet. Otherwise if it is a big thick square, cut it into smaller squares and roll into 4×4 inch square
2. For the apple filling, peel, core and slice the apples. Add a blob of butter to the sauce pan followed by the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla essence. Combine well and cook till the apples caramelize and are no longer runny. Remove to cool and set aside.
























3. Place one or two teaspoons of filling in the centre of each pastry square, brush the edges with egg white and fold into a triangle. Then press the edges using your fingers.






















4. You could be a bit creative to make a design on the edges with the fork or cookie cutter. This not only makes them look pretty but helps to seal them well.You could also make square shaped hand pies by using 2 pastry squares one on top of the other with the filling inside.



























5. Prick with the fork in the centre to let the air out before putting them in the oven. This prevents the pastry from bubbling while baking. Glaze them with egg white and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It is better to keep them chilled in the fridge for sometime before placing them in the oven.






















6. Bake in the oven preheated at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 30 – 35 minutes till golden brown.
























7. Cool them on a wire rack and enjoy with tea or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Chicken Neza Kebab

























So far I have made these kebabs 3 or 4 times and each time I made, they turned out delicious and were enjoyed by everyone in the family including the guests who happened to visit us. I found this recipe in the "Ashok's book of favourite indian recipes". I had been eyeing on these for a long time but the thought of trimming the drumsticks made me feel lazy and I kept putting it off. At last when I finally decided to make them it actually did not take me that long. 

I did not modify the recipe much except for the fact that I rubbed lemon juice and salt prior to marinating with the gram flour masala. Also to add more flavour to it I fried the gram flour in ghee instead of just dry roasting it as given in the book. And of course I had to use a different roasting technique coz I do not have a tandoor (clay oven) at home.

"Neza" in urdu means spear or lance and the nawabs of lucknow relished these kebabs which were shaped like a spear.  These kebabs just melt in the mouth and so flavourful that no wonder these were one of the yummiest delicacies of the Nawabs' kitchens. I would like to include this recipe in the lost recipes of indian cuisine as I have not seen this delicacy prepared in any households or even in any of the restaurants' menus in India or elsewhere as far as I know. If anybody does, then please do share with me.






Here's the recipe and picture from the book: 






Ingredients:
10 Chicken Drumsticks (medium size)
5 Tbs Besan (gram flour)
2 Tbs Ghee 
1 Tbs Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Tsp Red Kashmiri Chilli Powder 
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
4 Green Chillies deseeded 
1/4 Cup Cilantro 
1 Tsp Garam Masala Powder 
1 Tsp Green Cardamom Powder 
1/2 Cup Greek or hung yoghurt 
2 tbs Lemon juice



For Basting:

2 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tbs Cream Cheese
1 Tbs Whipping Cream
1 Tbs Gouda Cheese



Method:










1. Peel the skin up to the ankle and slit the drumstick flesh from the top end to the ankle and cut around neatly with a pair of scissors to remove the tendon and ligaments as shown in the pics above.










2. Now scrape the drumstick with a knife to clean and with the scissors remove the tendon with the skin sticking to it. It snips and comes off easily with the scissors.












3.Trim the top end a bit and flatten the flesh with the back of a knife and pound with a kitchen hammer. Handle them gently as the flesh breaks and comes off.














4. Wash, drain, towel dry, then rub salt and lemon juice to the flattened/pounded drumsticks and set aside. Meanwhile prepare the marinade. Heat ghee in a small kadai or sauce pan. Add the gram flour and fry it in the melted ghee till the raw smell disappears and a nutty aroma emanates into the air.

























5. At this stage switch off the stove and add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric and kashmiri chilli, stir quickly to mix smoothly, let it cool a bit then add the hung yoghurt, whisk well then finally add the green cardamom and garam masala powders. Adjust the salt, mix well, then rub it on the flattened chicken drumsticks one by one so that they are all smeared well with the marinade. Leave aside for up to 4 hours or over night.

6. Add the deseeded and chopped green chillies and cilantro to the marinated chicken drumsticks just an hour before roasting them so as to retain their flavour.























7. Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees on convection roast, place them on a grill in a cookie sheet in the centre of the oven, baste them with olive oil and roast for 35 minutes. For larger drumsticks it might take a little longer. You need to turn them over to roast well on both the sides 10 mins before the cooking time. And finally when they are almost done baste them with the cheese mixture, leave for 2 more minutes and remove when the cheese gets absorbed and they turn golden brown. Do not over cook.

























8. Enjoy with onion, tomato, lemon or pineapple kachumbar salad. So yummy and delicious!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Chicken Foccaccia



Ingredients:

For the dough:
3 cups All Purpose Flour 
1tbs Active Dry Yeast                  
1 tsp Salt                    
1 tbs Olive Oil            
1cup Water


Toppings:
1/4 Cup Green Olives
1 Cup Shredded Chicken
1 Sliced Onion
1 Diced Tomato
1 TSP Dried Basil
1 TSP Dried Oregano
Red Cayenne Pepper flakes (optional)

Yield: Makes two 12 inch Focaccias or one big Focaccia.

   
Method: 

1. Heat 1 cup of water for 35 seconds in the microwave. It should feel lukewarm on your wrist. Mix 1 tbs active dry yeast and 1 tsp granulated sugar. If the yeast is active within 3 - 4 minutes it would become frothy and begin to rise to the surface, otherwise it will be flat which means it is stale so should not be used for baking. 

2. In a food processor pulse to combine 3 cups of sifted all purpose flour and salt. Pour the yeast solution through the feed tube and pulse 3 or 4 times until well incorporated and the whole mixture forms a ball. Add 1 tbs olive oil and pulse for 2 - 3 seconds till the dough becomes springy and starts to spin which means it is kneaded enough.

3. Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and with greased hands shape it into a ball by gathering towards the bottom and pinching to close, then place it in a greased bowl, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and leave it in a warm dry place on the counter to rise - 45 minutes to an hour till it is double in size. But yes, you have to check to see if your dough passed the window pane test. Donna Currie in her article on Serious Eats describes how to test "if the gluten has developed well enough for it to hold the bubbles while it rises, and stretch even more as the gases expand from the heat."

4. Place the puffed up dough in the centre of a greased pizza pan and slowly start spreading the dough  outward by pressing gently and evenly with the tip of your fingers greased with olive oil till it covers  the entire circumference of the pizza pan and is shaped into a 12 - 14 inch circle as big as the pizza  pan. Alternatively you could just press the dough on a lightly floured surface and start working on it with your fingers using the same technique till you stretch it to form a 12 - 14 inch circle. Transfer to a pizza pan or stone. 























5. Drizzle olive oil generously on the surface of the crust, then with the help of a fork prick everywhere. Alternatively you could use your fingers to make depressions all over. This is done to prevent the bubbles from popping up while baking.























6. Sprinkle dried oregano and basil on the crust.  Then use toppings of your choice. Below are pictures of focaccia with different toppings.


7. The focaccia in the above picture has shredded chicken, diced fresh tomatoes, onions, green olives as toppings. 

8. Focaccia with Mushrooms, Black Olives and Mozzarella Cheese. 

9. Sun Dried Tomatoes and Onions focaccia.

10. Portobello Mushrooms and Cheddar Cheese Focaccia. Enjoy!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Gongkura Lamb Curry































Gongkura greens are edible Sorrel leaves most popularly used in South Indian Cuisine especially in the states of Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in India. It has a distinctive tangy taste and is one of the main ingredients of Andhra Cuisine. It is also a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are beneficial to your overall health. 

I grew up eating a variety of dishes made with gongkura and I still cherish those memories. Here in Canada finding gongkura is like finding a lost treasure. When you find it you consider yourself lucky so you grab it at once with out thinking. I love all the dishes made with gongkura and I intend to post all the recipes here as and when I keep making them from time to time. I want to grow them in my backyard so I can cook them whenever I want to atleast during the summer months. 

The Gongkura lamb curry is made with lamb meat and bones. Using lamb meat from the rib area (sar seena) makes the best tasting Gongkura curry indeed! I was lucky to find the gonkura leaves in a store in Toronto and got to make it and enjoy it after so many years - with steamed rice it was insanely delicious!!

I made this in my instant pot and it was so convenient and quick. 

Here's the Recipe:

l lb Lamb bones with meat (from the rib cage and neck)
2 bunches  Sorrel leaves 
1 tbs  Channa dal 
1 tbs Ginger garlic paste 
3 - 4 Garlic cloves 
2 large onions
1 medium ripe tomato
2 tsp Turmeric 
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli pepper 
1 tsp Coriander powder 
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder 
4 - 6 Green chillies 
1small dried red chilli deseeded
2 tbs Oil 
Ghee - 1 tbs
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds 
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds 
 Fresh Curry leaves -  a few 

Method: 

1. Clean and wash the lamb rib & neck pieces with the bones and keep aside. 

2. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Wash the channa dal. Pluck the gongkura leaves only (no stems), wash, drain, chop them and set aside. 

3. Add 2 tbs of oil to the instant pot in the sauté mode on high followed by half of the sliced onions and fry them till soft and translucent. 

4. Add 1 heaped tbs ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder and 1 tsp coriander powder, give it a stir then add the lamb pieces and roast them well in the onion masala. Add 3 whole green chillies, 1 tbs channa dal and 1/2 cup water then close the lid. Cancel the sauté mode and pressure cook on high for 15 minutes till tender. The valve should be turned to sealing position after closing the lid. When done let the steam vent out on its own. 

5. When all the steam is released on its own, switch off the instant pot, open the lid and empty the contents of the instant pot in a dish. Lightly rinse the pot inside with a little water which you can add to the lamb curry. Set aside.

6. Switch the instant pot on high in the sauté mode again.  Heat one tbs of oil and ghee, sprinkle the mustard seeds and let them crackle, add the deseeded dried red chilli, cumin seeds, then crushed garlic cloves with their peel and curry leaves followed immediately by the chopped gongkura leaves. Fry them well then add 1/2 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Blend the gongkura with the other ingredients using an electric hand blender. Now throw in the remaining 3 whole green chillies and simmer on low sauté mode for 5 minutes. If we added them before the curry would be really spicy when blended.























8. Finally add the cooked lamb curry to the instant pot with the gongkura curry, sprinkle some garam masala powder, chopped cilantro, a little water and simmer on low for 5 minutes. The gongkura lamb curry is now ready to enjoy with steamed jasmine rice and ghee. So yummy and delicious!