Showing posts with label Traditional Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Traditional Recipes. Show all posts

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!





Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dum Ka Rote Halwa (Baked Semolina Pudding)

































This is a very popular halwa in Chennai, India well known for its name "Dum Ka Rote". To make this halwa the mixture is first cooked on flame then baked in the oven on low. In olden days they baked on charcoal ovens with burning charcoals on the top and bottom of the baking dish. But they controlled the heat, by keeping it on low. It was baked on low heat for a long time till it became crusty at the top and bottom. The crust is a delicacy and we as kids used to fight for it as it was the best part of the halwa. This halwa is what you would die for as it is so insanely delicious!!

Basha's Halwa in Chennai is world famous (as he says in this video) and whosoever has tasted it once keeps craving for more. I am dedicating this recipe to one of my readers who was badly craving for it and requested me for its recipe. The recipe for Dum ka rote has been rotating in our family for many years and it is the closest to Basha's halwa I can say. Basha uses only melon seeds as garnish. I could not get melon seeds in the stores here, so had to use some which I managed to save after eating a melon,  therefore, I have used them sparingly. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Semolina (coarse)
1 Cup / 225gm Unsweetened Khoya
1 1/2 Cups / 325gm Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Ghee + 1 tbs
1 Cup / 115gm Almonds (for paste)
 Almonds and Cashews (chopped for garnish)
2 Tbs melon seeds for garnish
1/8th Tsp Saffron
1 Cup half and half / Whole Milk
1/4 Cup Whole Milk (for grinding almonds to a paste and for soaking saffron threads)













Method:
1. Soak semolina in 1 cup half and half or whole milk till it gets soaked well for 10 minutes.

2 Cut the Unsweetened Khoya (Nanak Khoya or Bapu ka Khoya) into small pieces and blend them in a food processor till reduced to powder.

3. Grind the almonds separately in a grinder first to a fine powder then add a little milk and grind to a fine paste with no lumps.

4. Mix together the sugar, ghee and the ground almonds with the khoya powder in the food processor and pulse till everything gets blended well. Transfer to a bowl.

5. Now add the soaked semolina and whisk everything with a hand whisk to a smooth thick batter.

6. Crush the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle, add some warm milk to it then add this saffron milk to the halwa mixture and mix well.

7. Transfer this mixture to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and on medium heat keep stirring till it comes to a boil and then starts slowly thickening. Do not stop stirring at this stage as it could get burnt at the bottom quickly. Finally when it starts leaving the sides, remove from the stove.














































8. Grease a baking dish with ghee and pour the thickened halwa into it. Sprinkle the slivered almonds and melon seeds then drizzle the remaining ghee on top and place it in the centre of the oven preheated at 325 degrees fahrenheit.
















9. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the top and the bottom layers start browning and the sweet scented aroma of saffron is filling the air. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature.







10. The above picture was taken when I made the halwa again for a picnic. This time luckily I found the melon seeds at the Sri Lankan store. 



















11. As you see in the above picture all the nuts ( I used chopped cashews and almonds) and melon seeds are gathered in the centre This is because this time I changed the baking technique a bit. I used the convection bake (temp: 350 degrees fahrenheit) instead of the regular bake and as it baked all the nuts and seeds came from the sides to the centre. Also it got crispier on the sides and center more compared to the previous halwa which got evenly crisp all over. I prefer the convection method of baking for this halwa as it had a beautiful crust and a crispy centre just like the basha halwa. And it tasted delicious!

12. You can decorate the halwa with silver paper and serve it to your guests for dessert. 








Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Broiled Golden Pomfret with Chaat Masala

The golden pomfret (pompano)  is a soft mild flavoured fleshy fish with a buttery flavour and no fishy or gamy smell. When fresh it tastes very delicious. You can use any kind of spicy or herb flavoured marinade on it and it works very well. This time I used chaat masala along with the other spices and it was just so delicious! My husband who is always quite reluctant when it comes to eating fish, actually enjoyed eating it.


Ingredients:
1 Golden Pomfret fish (around 1.25lbs)
 Juice of half a lemon
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Kashmiri red chilly Powder  
1 Tsp MDH Chaat Masala 
1 Tsp Ground Black Pepper 
1 Tsp ginger garlic paste
1 Tbs Olive oil 
Salt to taste

Method: 
1 Clean the fish by scraping the skin and cut into two filets with out removing the skin. You could ask the fish vendor to clean and make filets for you. 

2. Sprinkle salt and lemon juice on the fish filets and rub them well. 


3. Mix together the black pepper, turmeric, red chilly powder and chaat masala with the ginger garlic paste and smear this marinade on the fish filets well. Leave to rest for half an hour. 

4. Heat a cast iron frying pan, brush it with 1 or 2 tsp of olive oil and place the fish on the pan skin side down. Let the fish get fried on the bottom  well. 


5.  Switch off the stove, drizzle the remaining olive oil on top of the fish and then place the frying pan with the fish on the top rack of the pre heated oven.

6.  Broil the fish on high for 5 - 6 minutes till the fish is browned all over. Switch off the oven. Tranfer to a serving plate and enjoy the crispy delicious mouth watering fish. 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Zafrani Halwa Pies


I grew up eating these baked pies filled with almond, channa dal paste flavoured with saffron. It was always accompanied with rice kheer (porridge) which went so well with these pies. I have been craving for these for a long time and wanted to bake them like my mom but smaller in size. At last I tried them out to satisfy my craving. They turned out better than I had imagined. My mom used to make the pie crust with ghee (clarified butter) but I wanted something light and healthy so I followed a different recipe for the pie crust which was light, flaky and good.  For the halwa I followed my mom's recipe

For the pie dough I followed this recipe from Simple Bites.  I cut down the recipe by half and the halwa I made following the recipe below was just enough to use up all the dough. 

For the Halwa:

Ingredients: 
1/4 cup Channa dal
1/4 cup Almonds (peeled)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tbs Ghee
Saffron a pinch

























Method: 

1. Soak the channa dal for 30 minutes after rinsing in water 3 or 4 times till the water is clear. Soak the almonds in warm water or microwave them with a little water for 30 seconds. The peels will easily come off.

2. Boil the channa dal till it gets cooked, let it cool, then grind it to a smooth paste. Grind the almonds separately to a fine paste.

3. Take a sauce pan and on medium heat add one or two cloves and 2 green cardamoms then add the ground dal and almond paste.

4. Add the sugar and keep stirring till it thickens then dd the saffron dissolved in warm milk. Stir till the milk gets absorbed and the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan. Remove and set aside to cool.
























5. Take the refrigerated pie dough and start rolling it into a fairly thick circle on a pastry board dusted with flour. Cut round shapes with a cookie cutter or a steel tumbler with a sharp rim.

























6. Place some halwa in each of them, brush the edge lightly with water or egg white and close it in the shape of a half moon or turnover.

























7. Press the edges with a fork to seal them then brush them with saffron water (soak a few threads of saffron in a tsp of water) to give them a coloured decorative edge.

8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25 - 30 minutes. When they turn lightly golden at the bottom they are done. Remove and cool on a wire wrack and enjoy with Rice Kheer.



Rice Kheer (Porridge)



























Ingredients:

1 1/2 Litres Whole Milk
1/4 Cup Basumathi Rice
3/4 - 1 Cup White Sugar
15 Almonds for garnish
4 - 5 Drops Rose Essence
1 Tsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
2 Green Cardamoms


Method: 

1. Boil milk and leave on simmer to thicken for 10 minutes till it reduces a bit.  Wash the basumathi rice 3 or 4 times till the water runs out clear and leave it to soak in water for 15 minutes.

2. In another pot on medium heat add ghee. Crack the cardamoms a bit to release the flavour then add to the pot followed by the soaked basumathi rice.

3. Sauté the basumathi rice in the ghee till it dries up a bit, then add 3 - 4 cups of water and let it cook till it becomes mushy on low medium heat. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn after all the water gets absorbed.

4. Add sugar and the reduced whole milk, cook for some more time on simmer while stirring continuously. When it is of porridge consistency remove and leave it to cool.

5. Meanwhile microwave almonds soaked in water for 40 seconds on high. When cool peel, cut into thin slivers and set aside for garnish.

6. Add 4 to 5 drops of rose essence to the kheer, mix well, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with almonds, chill in the fridge and serve. Chilled Kheer tastes better. Enjoy as it is for dessert or with Halwa pies.



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Saffron Rice




Ingredients: 

1 Cup Basumathi Rice
A pinch of Saffron
Salt to taste
4 tbs milk


Method: 

1. Wash the rice 3 or 4 times or till the water is no longer murky. Then soak the rice for half an hour.

2. Boil at least 2 litres of water in a pot. When the water is boiling put the rice in it. Add 1 tsp of salt or a little more. The water should taste like sea water not too salty. Give it a stir and let it cook.

3. Check the grains to see if they are done. Take one grain of rice and press it between your thumb and index finger. It should be just a little gritty inside but soft outside. So it is time to stop cooking.

4. Drain the rice immediately in a colander.

5. Soak the saffron in 1 tbs hot milk in a mortar and pestle and crush the saffron threads till they soften and dissolve. Add the remaining milk and pour it in the rice pot. Throw in some mint leaves and close the lid, leave it to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then switch off the stove.

6. Serve hot with any curry of your choice. You could serve the Saffron Rice  with the following Curries:

Green Masala Chicken Khorma
White Chicken Khorma
Butter Chicken 
White Methi Chicken


There's one more way of making saffron rice. Dissolve the saffron in hot water instead of milk. To this add a blob of unsalted butter. Let it rest for sometime till the saffron softens and leaves out color. Take a bowl of rice and add the saffron solution to it. Mix well. The rice gets saffron colored. You could sprinkle this rice on top of the white rice as garnish with some toasted nuts or mix this with the white rice and serve.

Green Masala Chicken Khorma

I was kind of inspired by Farruqh Aziz's "Hariyali chicken khorma" on her interesting blog "CubesandJuliennes". She had made it in mughlai style with a rich and creamy sauce. But I wanted to keep it simple and make it in my south indian style which I love too. The concept was good enough to get me going. Here's the recipe:








Ingredients:
 Chicken 2 legs and 2 wings
1 Onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup Yoghurt
1/2 cup Coconut milk 
2 tbs Olive oil
4 - 6 Green chillies
1 sprig of Cilantro
A few fresh Mint leaves
2 black Cardamoms
1 inch Cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp crushed Black pepper
2 tsp fresh Ginger Garlic paste

For the ground masala
2 green Chillies
1 sprig of Cilantro
1/2 tsp whole Black pepper
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
2 Cloves 
3 green Cardamoms

Method: 

1. Clean wash and drain the  chicken,  Cut the onion into thin slices.

2.Put all the dry masala ingredients in a grinder and pulse them first before adding the chillies and cilantro with a pinch of salt.

3. To a sauce pan on medium heat add the whole spices - black cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf followed by the sliced onions and fry till golden brown.

4. Add the ginger garlic paste and the ground  masala to the fried onions and saute then add the chicken pieces. 

5. Turn over and roast the chicken in the masala till it changes colour.  Add the yoghurt, whole green chillies, coconut milk and let it cook on medium heat till done. 

6. For the last finishing touch which gives the extra flavour toss in the crushed black pepper, cilantro and mint. Cover with the lid and switch off the stove. Let it rest for 2 minutes then serve hot with saffron rice and pineapple kachumbar salad. 



Notes:

 For the coconut milk,  I always choose "A taste of Thai" if not available then I go for Aroy D.   Unlike the other brands. "A taste of Thai" has 85% coconut milk and 15% water while Aroy D has 60% coconut milk and 40%  water with no preservatives or guar gum. There is another brand "Thai Kitchen" looks similar to "A taste of Thai" but not as good. It has guar gum in it which gives the milk a gooey texture. In cooking if the quality of the ingredients is not good then all the taste and flavour is lost.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tandoori Chicken

Barbecued Tandoori Chicken Biryani
Smoked Butter Chicken 
Butter Chicken, My Style!

The secret to good tasting tandoori chicken lies not only in the marinade and the length of time the chicken is marinated, but also the technique of cooking it.

The rule #1 is to keep the chicken dry before rubbing in the marinade. The yoghurt and the ginger garlic paste should not be runny. You should use hung yoghurt or greek yoghurt and grind the ginger garlic in a wet grinder to get a thick paste without adding water. If you don't have a wet grinder then you could use grated ginger and garlic (1:1 ratio).

Next comes the technique of cooking. Of course the tandoori chicken is at its best when cooked in the tandoor which is a clay oven. Since we cannot cook in the tandoor at home we could barbeque or grill it and also bake it in the oven.

Soaking the chicken in brine for up to six hours and marinating in the tandoori masala for up to 4 hours before cooking, enhances the flavour and taste to a great extent.



Here's the recipe!

Ingredients: 
3 Chicken legs
2 tbs Hung sour yoghurt 
1 tbs tandoori masala 
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1tbs vegetable oil 
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Clean, wash, drain and towel dry the chicken legs each cut into 2 pieces (thigh and drumstick).  Make slits in the chicken pieces then rub with salt and lemon juice and set aside for 10 -15 minutes.

2. Mix together all the spices and the hung yoghurt in a bowl, add the vegetable oil and the required amount of salt to make the tandoori marinade.

3. Massage the chicken with this marinade and leave for up to 4 hours. 


4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. I line the cookie sheet with tin foil and place the chicken pieces on it. This way it is easier to keep the cookie sheet clean. 

5. Remove from the oven when the chicken is well done - should be moist and juicy inside and brown and crispy outside. 

6. Serve hot on a bed of onion rings and lemon wedges sprinkled with chaat masala. Enjoy with Naan and dal or rice. 


Monday, November 28, 2016

Lamb Shank Curry (Delhi Style)

It's been a long time since I made this curry in Delhi style. We used to relish it so much when we lived there. Luckily I happened to stumble upon it recently in one of those little trips into my past and therefore managed to bring this inanimate thing back to life. I had to make it the very next day otherwise it would have been a long lost forgotten thing again.

What makes it so unique in "Delhi style" is just one different spice and one finishing touch which changes its entire chemistry. It is the magic of the fried onions and the hint of the smoky flavour from the black cardamom that gives it the distinct flavour and taste which is so different from the traditional curries.

Here's the recipe!


Ingredients: 
2 Lamb shanks
2 medium onions
4 green chillies
1-2 Black cardamoms
1 Bay leaf
4 Cloves
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbs yoghurt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste.


Method: 
1. Cut each one of the lamb shanks into 2 pieces. This makes it easier to eat the bone marrow which is very delicious rather than keeping them whole. Then clean them by trimming away the fat and removing the skin carefully without chopping off the tender meat. Rinse well, drain and keep aside.

2. Slice the two onions. Heat 1 tbs oil in a pressure cooker, add the black cardamom, cloves and the bay leaf and fry half the onion slices to a light golden brown. Reserve the other half.

4. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric, kashmiri chilli powder and coriander powder, give it a stir then add the lamb shanks and salt. Sauté well with the spices. 

5. Add the whisked yoghurt to the pot followed by green chillies, cilantro and 1-2  cups of water. The water should be 2 inches above the shanks. After the first whistle in the pressure cooker turn down the heat, close the lid air tight and pressure cook for 10 - 15 minutes.  (But if you are not using a pressure cooker you will have to cook on low to medium heat for at least 45minutes to an hour. They should be so tender as to come off the bone. You can also cook in the instant pot following the directions for cooking meat accordingly.)

6. Meanwhile fry the reserved onion in the remaining 1tbs of vegetable oil till nicely browned but not burnt. So extra care should be taken while frying the onions to have them rightly done. Set aside.

7. Once the shanks are done turn down the heat to low and add these fried onions to the pressure cooker, cover lightly not air tight and let it simmer slowly for some more time (5-10 mins).  The browned onions not only give colour to the curry but also a sweet nutty flavour which when combined with the smoky flavour from the black cardamom and other spices further enhances the taste and makes the curry insanely delicious! 

8. Do not let the curry thicken too much. If it tends to thicken then sprinkle a little water on all sides and let it simmer till the oil comes on top until you don't see those fried onions anymore. Add chopped fresh cilantro to garnish and enjoy with rotis (flat bread), naan or rice. 

Notes:

Kashmiri Chilli powder - Kashmiri chilli is a mild form of chilli which gives colour and flavour to the dish and not much heat. You can get the MDH brand of Kashmiri chilli powder from any indian grocery store.  I haven't found any other brands here. Or the other best alternative would be to soak the kashmiri chillies in water and grind them into a paste. Though this is a lengthy process, it is fresh and more flavourful. 

Black Cardamoms - Another variety of cardamoms. They are big and black and have a smoky flavour. All asian grocery stores carry it. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ande ki kadi (Egg Curry)



Ingredients:
Eggs - 4
Onion - 1 medium size
Tomato - 1 large
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Dried seedless tamarind pulp - 1 tsp 
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Fenugreek powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few 
Green chillies - 4 small

Method:

1. Hard boil the eggs and keep aside. Please make sure that the eggs and the water are at room temperature before you put them to boil. Switch off the stove when the water begins to boil. Leave for 15 minutes then drain the water and allow them to cool in cold water before you start peeling their shell. Overcooked eggs have a crumbly yolk with a grey green tint, a sulphur like odour which is distasteful and a rubbery white. 

2. Cut the onion into thin slices and tomatoes into small quarters. Remove stems from the green chillies. 

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Fry the sliced onion to golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste, tomatoes, curry leaves, whole green chillies and salt, followed by turmeric, red chilly, coriander, cumin and fenugreek powders. You can enhance the flavour by adding roasted ground cumin and fenugreek (roast the cumin and fenugreek seeds first then grind them to a powder). 

4. Stir fry till the tomatoes are soft and tender. 

5. Soak the tamarind pulp in a little water after rinsing it. Squeeze the tamarind in the water to extract the juice and add it to the curry. I don't like to use tamarind paste as the taste and flavour is different, plus it has preservatives. 

6. Adjust the salt and simmer for sometime. Now remove the shells from the boiled eggs, make long slits and add them to the curry. Leave them on simmer to absorb the curry juices till they get discoloured. 

7. Garnish with chopped cilantro. The egg curry is now ready to serve. Enjoy with boiled jasmine rice. It goes so well with this curry. 


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Husainy Malai chicken kebabs


Soft, tender, juicy and grilled to perfection, these cheesy chicken tikka kebabs just melt in your mouth when you eat them. The first marinade of salt and lemon juice breaks down their fibre and makes them soft and succulent. The second marinade in a blend of cream cheese, hung yoghurt and light spices tones them down adding more moisture and flavour. Also using the right technique of grilling kicks them up a notch. They are at their best when enjoyed as soon as they are done, hot from the grill as their juices run out. Heating them over and over again affects their taste and texture, so it should be avoided. I have made them many times and I realized that marinating them for 24 hours really makes a lot of difference as it enhances the flavour and taste very much. 

Here's the recipe:




Ingredients:
Chicken breasts - 2 (halves from 1 whole chicken) 
Green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers - 1 each
Onion - 1
Lemon - 1
Seven spices - 1 tsp (optional)
Vegetable/olive oil - 2 tbs plus more for basting
Heavy duty tin foil - as much as you need.

1st marinade
Lemon juice - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

2nd Marinade:
Hung yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Cream cheese - 1/4 cup
Green Cardamoms - 12
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 - 4
Cilantro - 1/4 cup





Method:
1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into cubes. Drain and towel dry them.

2. Rub the chicken cubes with salt and lemon juice, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Remove from marinade, and leave to drain for sometime in a colander. 

3. Prepare the second marinade by whisking together the cream cheese, hung yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, ground green chilli cilantro paste (pound it using a mortar and pestle with just a little salt), freshly ground cardamom, cumin and fennel powder (grind together the green cardamoms with cumin and  fennel seeds in a dry grinder).

4. Add the drained chicken cubes to this marinade, mix well, then spoon in the oil and mix together again. Leave this to marinate for 15- 20 hours. 

5. Brush the metal skewers with oil and set them aside. 

6. Cut the bell peppers and onions into dices. Sprinkle them with with salt, pepper and a little of the cream cheese marinade

7. Start skewering the chicken cubes alternating with bell peppers and onions. Brush them with oil and set aside.

8. Place the skewers on a foil lined cookie sheet and broil on high for 5-6 mins on each side or until just rightly done which is when they turn opaque and slightly golden. Baste them with oil before turning them over. They would become hard if you overcook them, so do not, let them be juicy and tender to melt in your mouth. 

9. Slowly slide them down from the skewers on to a fresh heavy duty tin foil and quickly wrap them up to keep them hot. Use a silicon glove or clean moist paper towels when you do this otherwise you'll end up scorching your hands. Remove them from the pointed end one by one, otherwise they will break.

10. Finally as a finishing touch, sprinkle some lemon juice and garam madala powder optional) and serve them hot with the bell peppers, onions and lemon wedges. Enjoy them with rice, naan, yoghurt mint chutney etc. I made plain rice pulao, cranberry sauce and salad for a change. These juicy and delicious tikka kebabs just melt in the mouth. So yummy, enjoy!




Tips:

1. You could grill the chicken tikka kebabs and the vegetables separately too on different skewers if you want. But grilling them together keeps the chicken pieces moist.

2. Cherry tomatoes and pineapple can be used with the kebabs for grilling.

3. Wrapping them up in tin foil as soon as they are done retains their moisture as well as keeps them hot. You could prepare them early and keep them wrapped in foil. But before serving them, place them in a hot oven for 5 - 10 mins depending on the quantity.  (The oven should have been preheated at 400 degrees and then switched off ). Do not forget and leave them in the oven for a long time as they will dry out. It is better to set a timer on.

4. Using metal skewers is convenient. But if you want to use wooden skewers, soak them in water for a couple of hrs. I put them in a 2 litre soft drinks bottle filled with water, then closed the cap. This way it is easier to soak them rather than laying them down in a dish filled with water which takes up counter space.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Methi Fish Curry

I love to eat fish especially south indian style fish curries which are mouth watering. I keep trying all kinds of fish recipes - baked, fried, grilled, kebabs, cutlets, curries, etc each time looking for exotic and unique flavours which I haven't tasted. Today I wanted to make a fish curry to eat with rice but with a different flavour. I happened to hop on this blog on this blog "Cubes and Juliennes" and the recipe "Methi Machli" on this blog caught my attention. I could imagine the magic aroma of "methi" emanating from the dish as I read the recipe and saw the pictures which made me fall in love with her food. This was inspiration enough for me to create my fish curry with the flavour of methi (fenugreek) which for sometime made me methi crazy too just like the author Farruqh Aziz Ansari. A look at her recipes tells me that she is an amazing cook. I am sure going to try some of her recipes and post them here.

Here's my version of Methi fish curry:



Ingredients:

Trout fish filets - 6 (1/2 a pound)
Methi (Fenugreek) seeds - 1 tsp
Zeera (Cumin) seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tomato paste - 1 tbs
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Whole green chillies - 2 medium size
Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - 1 tbs
Cilantro chopped - 1 tbs
Lemon juice - 1- 2tsp
Canola oil - 3 tbs
Salt to taste

Method: 
1. Clean, wash and drain the fish filets. 
2. Rub salt on the fish filets. Mix together 1/2 tsp red chilly powder and 1/2 tsp turmeric with 1 tsp lemon juice and marinate the fish filets with this paste for 10 mins. 
3. Heat 1 tbs canola oil in a non stick or cast iron pan and lightly fry the fish filets on both the sides. Remove and set aside. 
4. Heat 2 tbs of the remaining oil in a Kadai (pot) add the methi seeds and as soon as they change color a bit and you get a whiff of their aroma, quickly add the cumin seeds followed by the ginger garlic paste, whole green chillies (with stems removed) coriander powder, turmeric powder, kashmiri chilly powder and tomato paste. 
5. Fry the mixture in the oil till the raw smell of the spices and tomato paste is gone. Add 1/2 a cup water, stir well.
6. When it comes to a boil, add the fried fish, cover and let it simmer on low for 5 minutes. 
7. Add the chopped cilantro and Kasuri methi, sprinkle the remaining lemon juice. Simmer for another minute and serve hot with boiled rice or tomato dosa. Enjoy the fish curry with the exotic flavour of methi. 



Friday, May 6, 2016

Tomato Rasam

http://mamasecretrecipes.blogspot.ca/search/label/SoupsRasam is a tomato based spicy soup which is eaten separately or mixed with boiled rice and is enjoyed by all south indians in their everyday meals. It is traditionally prepared using tamarind juice and tomatoes as its base and there are so many different versions of it and each one has its unique taste and flavour of spices and seasonings. Eating a vegetarian thali served with rasam and sambar followed by a glass of soothing and cooling flavoured butter milk on a hot summer day is heaven indeed!

Ingredients:

Tomatoes - 4 
Garlic cloves - 4 
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Ground black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro chopped - 1 tbs
Tamarind - a marble sized ball

For tempering:
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Crushed garlic cloves - 2 small
Asafoetida - a pinch
Canola/Vegetable oil - 1 tsp


Method: 

1. Cut tomatoes into quarters, peel the garlic cloves and cook them with a little water in a sauce pan. Add turmeric, cumin and pepper powders. 
2. When tomatoes are soft mash them with the back of the spoon, add more water and let it simmer. 

3. Soak tamarind in a little water, extract its juice and add it to the pan.
4. Adjust the salt, strain the tomato rasam and add chopped cilantro.
5. For the tempering heat the oil, first add the mustard seed, when it splutters, add the crushed garlic and as soon as it turns golden brown (do not burn it) add the cumin seeds. When they start changing color add the curry leaves and a pinch of powdered asafoetida.


6. Immediately add the tempering to the rasam. The rasam is now ready to enjoy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bottle gourd coconut yoghurt curry

This is just one of my favourite side dishes to eat with rice. It is a very flavourful dish which is made with vegetables steamed in a coconut yoghurt sauce and flavoured with ground spices and tempering. A great vegetarian delight originating from Kerala but enjoyed by all the south indians. This can be made with pumpkin, bottle gourd, ash gourd, cucumber, white radish, beetroot and pineapple. Whenever I make this dish I wipe the pot clean, because it is so tasty. I just love it!

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

Bottle gourd - 2 cups
Turmeric      - 1/2 tsp
Coconut grated - 1/2 cup
Green Chillies  - 2 small
Cumin seeds    - 1 tsp
Cilantro           - 1 tbs
Yoghurt           - 1/2 cup
Coconut oil / Canola oil       - 2 tsp
Water             -  1/4 cup

For Tempering:

Dried red chillies - 2 small
Curry Leaves       -  6
Mustard seeds      1/2 tsp  

Method: 

1. Peel the bottle gourd, cut it lengthwise into 2 halves, scoop out the pulp and cut it into small cubes.

2. Steam it with 1/4 cup water till it is just tender, do not over cook.

3. Grind together the grated coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and cilantro with a little water to make a smooth paste.

4. Add this ground paste to the cooked bottle gourd along with the turmeric powder and simmer for a while till the raw smell vanishes. Switch off the stove.

5. Whisk the yoghurt to a creamy texture and add it immediately to the pot with the bottle gourd, mix well gently. Put it back on the stove on very low heat till it is hot enough. Remove from heat to add the tempering.

6. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and when they splutter add the dried red chillies followed by the curry leaves. Immediately pour this over the bottle gourd coconut yoghurt gravy. Close the lid to retain the flavours. Serve hot with boiled rice. It is so yummy!

Tips:

1. Do not over cook the vegetables.

2. Do not boil the gravy after adding the yoghurt as it will curdle. Heat it only on low heat while stirring every now and then.

3. Use 3 day old slightly sour yoghurt. The sweetness of the coconut combined with the tangy  yoghurt balances the taste.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Green Masala Chicken

The Hara (Green) Masala Chicken has many variations. I like to keep it simple to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices and not make it too heavy by using coconut, almonds, yoghurt and cream which I feel tones down the actual flavors and makes the dish tangy, sweet and heavy.
For this dish, I am using the same recipe my mom used for making lamb (hare masale ki phaal) which I loved so much. 

Again I forgot to take a picture for the blog.

Here's the recipe

Ingredients: 
Chicken - 4 legs
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs

Green masala paste:
Green chillies - 2- 4 (medium size)
Onions - 1 medium size 
Garlic clove - 2 medium size
Fresh coriander - 1/2 cup
Fresh Mint - 1/4 cup
Cloves - 4 
Green Cardamom - 4
Black Pepper corns - 1 tbs
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Method: 

1. Clean, wash the chicken legs, put them in a pot, add a glass of water, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and 1/2 a tsp turmeric, salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for sometime till it is cooked.

2. Meanwhile grind together first the dry spices (black pepper, cumin, cloves and cardamoms). Now add the garlic, 1/2 onion, green chillies and fresh mint and coriander leaves. Grind again to make a paste and set aside. 

3. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a sauce pan. Slice the other 1/2 of the onion and fry in the oil till they caramelize.

4. Take the cooked chicken pieces from the soup and add them to the pan with the onions. Turn down the heat and lightly fry them turning them over gently from side to side till they are evenly golden brown.

5. Now add the soup left from the cooked chicken followed by the ground masala and cook till the mixture thickens. Adjust the salt. The green chicken is now ready.

6. Garnish with some chopped fresh coriander on top and serve hot with some jasmine rice. 

Boiling the chicken first in water spiced up with turmeric, salt and ginger garlic paste makes it soft, juicy and aromatic. Then, sautéing it with caramelised onions enhances its flavour. Finally adding the ground green masala after the chicken has browned in the pan retains the flavours of the herbs and spices ground together. This chicken is so delicious!!